free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!
This chapter is occupied in its first nineteen verses with an enumeration of the porters and Then of their arrangement. The porters were those who were to have charge of the entrances of the sanctuary. For at present, all was in plan only, thus set out by David beforehand.
1 Chronicles 26:1
The subject of the porters has been before us in 1 Chronicles 9:17-27; 1 Chronicles 15:23, 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 16:38; 1 Chronicles 23:5, in which last passage we are told that there were four thousand of the Levites who were porters. The divisions of the porters spoken of in the present chapter were from the sons of Korah or Kore, and Merari (1 Chronicles 23:10, 1 Chronicles 23:19). The Korahite porters are given us in the first nine verses. The first mentioned is Meshelemiah, who, though called the same in 1 Chronicles 23:2, 1 Chronicles 23:9, appears as Shelemiah in 1 Chronicles 23:14, and in 1 Chronicles 9:19 as Shallum. Asaph, given here as one of the ancestors, must be replaced by Ebi-asaph (1 Chronicles 6:23, 1Ch 6:37; 1 Chronicles 9:19; also Exodus 6:24), who was a Korahite, whereas Asaph was a Gershonite (1 Chronicles 6:39, 1 Chronicles 6:43).
1 Chronicles 26:2, 1 Chronicles 26:3
These verses contain the enumeration of seven sons of Shelemiah, of the firstborn of whom, viz. Zechariah, express mention was made in 1 Chronicles 9:21.
1 Chronicles 26:4, 1 Chronicles 26:5
Here we have the enumeration of eight sons of Obed-edom (1 Chronicles 15:21, 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 16:38). That in this last reference Obed-edom seems to be called "son of Jeduthun" is owing probably to the omission of a name. For former occurrences of the sentence, God blessed him, with its present evident allusion, see 1 Chronicles 13:14; 2 Samuel 6:11. To this passage, the expression of 1 Chronicles 25:5, "to lift up the horn," is probably analogous, where see comment.
1 Chronicles 26:6, 1 Chronicles 26:7
In the former of these verses, eulogy is pronounced by anticipation on the six grandsons of Obed-edom through his son Shemaiah, about to be mentioned in the latter verse. The singular number of the verb (נוֹלַד), with a plural nominative, as found here, often occurs elsewhere, and repeatedly, even in this book, in cases where the relative pronoun אַשֶׁר intervenes between the subject and its verb. That ruled throughout the house of their father. The plural masculine abstract noun (הַמִּמְשָׁלִים) here employed, in place of a verbal or participial form, is intended to gain force. A similar use of the feminine form of the same noun in the singular, and with suffix, may be cited from 2 Chronicles 32:9. Whose brethren. An erroneous translation for his brethren; a correction, however, rendering more patent the inconvenience of the unexplained absence of the conjunction, which seems to be called for before both "Elzabad," and "his brethren." Bertheau suggests that other names are wanting which should fill up the meaning of "his brethren." The brethren intended were probably Elihu and Semachiah.
1 Chronicles 26:8
Able men for strength for the service. The Hebrew gives this in the singular, אִישׁיחַיִל, etc. The apparent intention is to distribute equally to each and every one of all of the sons of Obed-edom, the high character for strength given to them as grouped here together.
1 Chronicles 26:9
This somewhat sudden return to the name of Meshelemiah is evidently in order to put his numbers in a convenient position, to be added to those of Obed-edom just stated, thus making in all eighty porters from the Korabites.
1 Chronicles 26:10, 1 Chronicles 26:11
The porters from the descendants of Merari are given in these two verses, in all thirteen. Hosah, it will be remembered, is found together with Obed-edom in 1 Chronicles 16:38, as one of the porters of the the ark. These thirteen bring up the number of porters to ninety-three. We have read (1 Chronicles 9:22) that later the number became two hundred and twelve. Though… yet. The likelier translation of the Hebrew would be, For there was not a firstborn (i.e. the issue of the firstborn had failed, and his line was therefore extinct), and his father made him the chief. Moreover, it is but probable that, if it had been a case of superseding the firstborn, the fact would not have been stated without an explanation of what had led to it or justified it.
1 Chronicles 26:12
Translate, To these divisions of the porters, as regards the chief men, belonged the charge together with their brethren to officiate in the house of the Lord. According to the present chapter, then, the divisions add up to ninety-three. And if at any time of the history it were the case that these ninety-three were the leaders of groups among the total of "four thousand porters," it would put exactly forty-two under each of these ninety-three, leaving but one over. This number ninety-three, meantime, does not agree with the two hundred and twelve of 1 Chronicles 9:22. And the three score and two of Obed-edom in 1 Chronicles 9:8 of the present chapter does not agree with the three score and eight of Obed-edom in 1 Chronicles 16:38. At the same time, no little light may be thrown on this subject by noticing that the porters numbered in Zerubbabel's time one hundred and thirty-nine (Ezra 2:42); and that the number one hundred and seventy-two is given for them by Nehemiah (Nehemiah 11:19). The conclusion may well be that the numbers varied in David's time and the other times severally;and that the date in question (1 Chronicles 9:22) was not the same with the date of David in our present chapter, but was a subsequent date nearer the time of the Captivity. There is, therefore, no special ground for doubting the accuracy of the numbers given in this chapter.
1 Chronicles 26:14-16
The casting of lots for the four chief names and the four chief aspects of gates, now proceeds. A special note is made of the care taken for the house of Asuppim; i.e. of "gatherings" or "stores." For all that we know of this "house," we seem to be left to the verses (15, 17) of this passage, and to the expression (Nehemiah 12:25), "the storehouses, or stores of the gates" (though the Authorized Version, the "thresholds" of the gates), which would have been more intelligible had it been reversed, "the gates of the stores." Presumably it was a building for keeping safe certain of the sacred property, and was situated south of the temple, and, judging from 1 Chronicles 26:17, had two doorways. The Vulgate translates seniorum concilium. To Shuppim. Nothing can be made of this word in this connection, as a proper name, though we have it (1 Chronicles 7:12, 1 Chronicles 7:15) as such. It is now generally rejected, as probably duo to the error of some transcriber, whose eye may have been caught again by the last tee syllables of the closely preceding "Asuppim." But some would place it as the last word of the previous verse, and make it amplify the meaning of Asuppim, e.g. "gatherings for stores." Shallecheth. By derivation, this word means "sending or throwing down." Hence some call it, "the refuse gate." The situation of it is, however, defined here, as by the causeway of the going up, and would seem to render such an interpretation less likely. According to Grove (in Smith's 'Bible Dictionary'), this causeway is still traceable: it runs up from the central valley of the town to the sacred site west of the temple (1 Kings 10:5; 2 Chronicles 9:4); and Grove would identify the "gate of Shallecheth" with the present Bab Silsileh. The Septuagint translates ἡ πυλὴ παστοφορίου, i.e. the gate of the temple-cell, which word they could get from the inverting of the order of the first two letters of the Hebrew Shallecheth. The Septuagint then mutts the following word, מְסִלָּה, Ward against ward; i.e. watch with watch. The expression up- pears to refer to the fact that Hosah's lot threw to him the charge of a double position.
1 Chronicles 26:17, 1 Chronicles 26:18
These verses give the number of individuals who composed the watch at a time, beginning again from Shelemiah's eastward position. The two and two toward Asuppim suggest most naturally the suppositon of two attendants at each of two gates, or else of two succeeding two. Parbar (פַרְבָּר). This word appears as פָּרְוָר in 2 Kings 23:11. These words, with forms akin to them, are often found in the Targums, but not elsewhere in the Scriptures. The nearest approach to the meaning of the word, as yet discovered, is a "suburb." The connection may just do as much as indicate that, whereas four porters kept the causeway gate, the Parbar gate was in closer proximity to the temple that was to be, but what this Parbar really was is not yet ascertained. Possibly it is the προάστειον of Josephus ('Ant.,' 15. 11.5). If we add the numbers of Levites given in these two verses, it will be noticed that they mount up to twenty-four.
1 Chronicles 26:20-28
These verses describe those Levites to whom belonged the care of the treasures of the house of God and of the treasures of things dedicated, i.e. "dedicated to maintain the house of the Lord" (1 Chronicles 26:27, 1 Chronicles 26:28).
1 Chronicles 26:20
First, the Hebrew text contains no "of" in the first word of this verse; and, secondly, no meaning can be obtained cut of the name Ahijah as it is placed here. The Septuagint reading, "their brethren," is exactly what we should expect, and is paralleled by other passages (2 Chronicles 29:34). This correction of the present text may be safely accepted, viz. אֲחֵיהֶם for אֲהִיָּה The two classes of treasures are here marked, preparatory to the statements of 1 Chronicles 26:22 and 1 Chronicles 26:26-28.
1 Chronicles 26:21, 1 Chronicles 26:22
These verses name those who had the care of the treasures of the house of the Lord. They are Gershonites through Laaden, previously called Libni (1 Chronicles 6:17; also Exodus 6:17; Numbers 3:18). The sons named as heads of houses are three, viz. Jehieli (1 Chronicles 23:8) and his sons, Zetham and Joel. Those who think that 1 Chronicles 23:8 carries with it the meaning that Jehieli, Zetham, and Joel were all three brothers, can, in point of fact, plausibly reduce this verse to their shape. For the yod, not welcome at the end of the name Jehieli here, might be read the conjunction vau in both instances in which it occurs. The reading would then run thus: "Jehiel and the sons of Jehiel, both Zetham and Joel his brother."
1 Chronicles 26:23
The chiefs of the preceding two verses were introduced as descendants of Gershon through his son Laadan. The four names of this verse would seem to stand collectively for that of their father Kohath. One might, under these circumstances, have looked for the name of some member of each of these sub-families to appear in the number of the treasure-keepers just about to be mentioned. This is not so. Yet among other officials, and before the end of the general subject, the Izharites (1 Chronicles 26:29) and the Hebronites (1 Chronicles 26:30, 1 Chronicles 26:31) do appear. This may possibly explain the mapping out thus of the Kohath family.
1 Chronicles 26:24, 1 Chronicles 26:25
Shebuel (1 Chronicles 23:16; 1 Chronicles 24:20), then, was the Amramite representative (and apparently a very special one in the office of נָגִיר, here attributed to him) through Gershom, the elder son of Moses. Next, through Eliezer, the second son of Moses, and through Rehabiah, son of Eliezer (1 Chronicles 23:17), we are brought to the four—Jeshaiah (1 Chronicles 24:21, Isshiah), and Joram, and Zichri, and Shelomith, who seem at first to mark four successions of generations upon Rehabiah, but who more probably (though it cannot be said positively) were four brothers, each a son of Rehabiah (1 Chronicles 23:17). And it may be that it is to these four that reference is made in the first clause of our next verse (26), "Which Shelomith and his brethren," etc. The Shelomith here intended as an Amramite must be distinguished from the Gershonite of 1 Chronicles 23:9, and from the Izharite of 1 Chronicles 23:18.
1 Chronicles 26:26
The treasures. The very first use of this word to signify a place where treasures were kept is in Joshua 6:19, Joshua 6:24. The same word is used for either the place or the treasures kept in it. Not found in the Books of Samuel, the word often occurs in the two Books of Kings and of Chronicles, once in Ezra, several times in Nehemiah, etc. In our next chapter (1 Chronicles 27:25, 1 Chronicles 27:27, 1 Chronicles 27:28) it appears in the Authorized Version as "storehouses" and "cellars." Captains over thousands and hundreds (so see Exodus 18:21, Exodus 18:25; Numbers 31:14, etc.; Deuteronomy 1:15; 1 Samuel 8:12, etc.). Captains of the host (so Deuteronomy 20:9; Joshua 5:14, Joshua 5:15; Jdg 4:2; 1 Samuel 17:55, etc.).
1 Chronicles 26:27
For such proceeds of war, see 2 Samuel 8:10-12, etc.
1 Chronicles 26:28
It is, perhaps, somewhat remarkable that, though the sacred history suggests to us numerous fit occasions for the "dedications" spoken of in this verse, yet they are not described in detail, nor even alluded to at the times when they occurred. Samuel, Saul, Abner, and Joab had then been unwittingly finding some of the treasures now disposed to highest use by David.
1 Chronicles 26:29-32
The chapter closes with some enumeration of those who were appointed to the outward business (הַחִיעוֹנָה לַמְּלָאכָה) over Israel i.e. the secular or civic rather than temple business.
1 Chronicles 26:29
Though the Authorized Version of 1 Chronicles 15:22 would make it appear very unlikely that the Chenaniah, a "chief of the Levites," here spoken of was identical with the present Chenaniah, yet the other translation of that passage, and the view that some take of it as describing one who had the special ordering of the carrying of the ark, would leave it more likely. For the officers and judges, see 1 Chronicles 23:4; 2 Chronicles 19:5-11. The too generic term "officers" (Exodus 5:6-19 : Numbers 11:16, etc.) may be advantageously superseded by the word "scribes." These scribes and judges, it appears, were taken from the families of Izhar and Hebron alone, without any Amramite or Uzzielite of the other Kohathites, and without any Gershonite or Merarite of the other Levites.
1 Chronicles 26:30
Were officers among them of Israel. The simpler translation would be, were for the superintending of Israel (compare the verb in 1 Chronicles 26:32). On this side Jordan westward; literally, across Jordan westward, the point of view being from the Persian side. So Ezra 4:16; Ezra 6:6; Ezra 8:36; Nehemiah 2:7; but also Joshua 5:1; Joshua 22:7, when the point of view was that of those who had still to cross the Jordan to the west. The expression, in all the business of the Lord, is probably no mere reminiscence of the temple or semi-sacred business (such as the gathering of the tithes, etc.), but rather the recognition of the fact that all that pertained to the right discharge of the civil duties of an Israelite's life lay within that description.
1 Chronicles 26:31
This verse is at first sight obscure; but its purport is to say that the Hebronite family was, in the lust year of David's reign, found at Jazer of Gilead, which seems a Merarite city (Joshua 13:25; Joshua 21:39; Numbers 21:32), and that Jerijah (1 Chronicles 23:19; 1 Chronicles 24:23) was then chief of them. He and his brethren were now appointed to the superintendence of the two tribes and a half eastward of Jordan, while "Hashabiah and his brethren" fulfilled the like duties westward of Jordan The number of those east of Jordan constituted overseers seems large in proportion to those mentioned on the west; but we must bear in mind that the numbers of Chenaniah and their range of sphere are not stated. These will presumably complete the six thousand of 1 Chronicles 23:4. Otherwise we have but to fall back on the conviction that the present account is imperfect as well as brief.
1 Chronicles 26:32
Chief fathers. The number of chief fathers mentioned in this verse leads Keil to point out very justly that here at least the designation cannot mean anything beyond the fathers of individual families—cannot mean the heads of those groups which are composed of all the branches or relations of one house. They must have been heads of households (πατέρες), not heads of fathers' houses (πατριαί). The ambiguity is owing to the use of the words רָשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת in 1 Chronicles 26:32, the latter of which words has so often supposed the word בֵּית to precede it, coupled to it by a hyphen. Adding the numbers of 1 Chronicles 26:30 and 1 Chronicles 26:32, we find a total of Hebronite "officers and judges" amounting to four thousand four hundred. The remaining sixteen hundred to complete the" six thousand" were drawn from the Gershon, Amram, and Izhar families. Some of the Uzzielites probably helped the Hebronites.
HOMILIES BY J.R. THOMSON
1 Chronicles 26:14. -A wise counsellor.
Nothing more is told us of this person than is contained in these words; but how much does even so brief a record imply!
I. THE EVENTS OF HUMAN LIFE OFTEN CALL FOR THE EXERCISE OF WISDOM IN COUNSEL. It is SO in the Church, in order that provision may be made for spiritual wants, that employment may be found for spiritual gifts, that differences may be composed and strength consolidated, It is so in the world; for human society presents so many difficult problems, and folly and ignorance are so general, that only a leaven of wisdom can preserve mankind from corruption and dissolution.
II. THOSE NOT PERSONALLY CONCERNED IN ANY BUSINESS ARE SOMETIMES MOST FITTED TO ADVISE, A wise man is not only wise for himself; his wisdom is intended by Providence to be placed at the service of others. And the impartiality of an onlooker often enables him to take a wider view and to form a fairer judgment than can be possible to others more interested and excited.
III. THERE ARE QUALITIES WHICH ARE SPECIALLY CONTRIBUTIVE TO WISDOM. These may be enumerated—natural sagacity, prolonged experience, knowledge, impartiality of mind, sympathy with human feelings, insight into character, etc. Such gifts and acquirements make a man "a wise counsellor."
IV. GOD, IN HIS PROVIDENCE, IS EVER RAISING UP SUCH COUNSELORS FOR THE SERVICE OF MANKIND. It has often been observed that, in the conduct of great movements, Providence employs men of impulse and energy, and conjoins with them in service men of deliberate, calm, sagacious judgment. And it is not only in what are called great affairs that this arrangement is observable. Wise men may be found in all conditions of life.
V. THE HAPPIEST RESULTS FOLLOW THE COUNSELS OF THE WISE. They are the means of directing the young, of succouring the tempted, of guiding the affairs of state, of promoting the peace of Churches, of advancing the gospel of Christ.—T.
1 Chronicles 26:20.-Temple treasures.
Only very thoughtless persons can suppose that religion and money can be dissociated. In this world things material and spiritual are so blended that we have not to ask—Must the cause of God have anything to do with wealth and property? but—What are the proper and scriptural relations between them? In explaining these, we remark —
I. ALL TREASURE IS THE LORD'S. He created all that men use and prize. It is his own property. If we give to him, we can only give "of his own."
II. IN THE HANDS OF THE LORD'S PEOPLE TREASURE IS A TRUST. The irreligious cannot be expected so to regard it; but it is marvellous that enlightened Christians can ever lock upon the matter in any other light. God lends men their possessions that they may use them for his glory, and prepare to give in an account to himself, approving their fidelity and piety.
III. TREASURE MAY BE CONSECRATED TO THE LORD'S TEMPLE. What in the olden time among the Jews the temple at Jerusalem was regarded as being, that the Church of Christ is in this dispensation. And money may lawfully and wisely be expended in the erection of churches, chapels, schools, mission-rooms, etc; and in the maintenance of pastors, teachers, and evangelists. Christian wisdom may define the limits and extent of generous gifts. But, although in the ages of superstition there may have been danger of excess in donations and endowments, there is very little danger in our days, when large sums are spent on personal luxuries and ostentation, and when there is an impression that the one special department for economy is religion.
IV. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE LORD'S TREASURE SHOULD BE IN SAFE KEEPING. It is an honourable office to have charge of religions and benevolent funds. It should be regarded as a stewardship from Heaven. Many who cannot preach or teach may render service in Christ's Churches by acting as treasurers and almoners, and by their faithful custody and wise disbursement of funds may serve the body of Christ and please the Divine Head.—T.
1 Chronicles 26:29.-Officers and judges.
Israel was a theocracy; the state was the Church, and the Church was the state. Hence the king seems half a priest; and the Levites were appointed to the discharge of civil and magisterial offices.
I. CIVIL SOCIETY AND CIVIL ORDER ARE Or GOD. Jehovah is the supreme Governor, the Lord and King of all. Subordination and obedience are principles in the Divine government. Earthly governments are all imperfect, yet they contain in them elements of Divine significance. "The powers that be are ordained of God;" not that all rulers act righteously, or that there are no cases where resistance is justifiable; but that so far as governments embody the principles of peace and order they have the sanction of the King of kings.
II. IT IS LAWFUL FOR RELIGIOUS MEN TO SERVE IN THE STATE. Just as labour, trade, navigation, etc; are all lawful, and are sanctified by the Word of God and by prayer, so is it with the office of the magistrate, the servant of the state.
III. IT IS FOR THE ADVANTAGE OF ALL PARTIES THAT RELIGIOUS MEN SHOULD TAKE CIVIL OFFICE. For the officers and judges themselves, as the position will enlarge the area of their influence, and promote the soundness of their judgment and the widening of their sympathies. For the subjects generally, who will benefit when Christianity is brought to bear upon the discharge of duties which involve the general interests.
IV. GOOD RULERS SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY THE CONFIDENCE, CO-OPERATION, AND PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE. We cannot be too thankful when men of Christian character are appointed to public positions. It becomes us, remembering the special dangers and temptations to which such persons are exposed, to plead on their behalf at the throne of grace, that they may be taught by the Holy Spirit to speak the truth fearlessly, to rebuke iniquity, to act righteously, and so to secure the public tranquillity and well-being, and the glory of God.—T.
HOMILIES BY W. CLARKSON
1 Chronicles 26:1-28.-The blessing of God.
There lies much meaning in the simple words, "God blessed him" (1 Chronicles 26:5). They refer to Obed-edom, and may remind us —
I. THAT IT IS THE ACCOMPANIMENT OF A RIGHT STATE OF HEART TOWARD GOD. Obed-edom had taken the ark into his house when God "made a breach upon Uzza" (1 Chronicles 13:11). He then and thus gained the favour of Jehovah, not indeed by the mere fact that the ark of the covenant was under his roof, but because his readiness to receive and preserve it was the expression of a true and genuine piety (see homily in loc.). If our "heart is right in the sight of God," so that we are eager to render to him or to his cause any service we can bring, we are then in that spiritual condition in which we may look for the Divine blessing. It is not any one single action, but a right relation of soul to God, that draws down his abiding favour.
II. THAT IT TAKES VARIOUS FORMS WITH US, AS IT DID IN ANCIENT TIMES.
1. The temporal forms it assumed then. These were:
(1) Family mercies—God blessed Obed-edom by enlarging his household (1 Chronicles 26:4, 1 Chronicles 26:5), and giving him descendants of whom he could be proud (1 Chronicles 26:6-8).
(2) Military reputation-some were "mighty men of valour" (1 Chronicles 26:6.)
(3) Bodily vigour—others were "able men for strength for the service' (1 Chronicles 26:8).
(4) Posts of special honour—others were "over the treasures of the dedicated things" (1 Chronicles 26:20-28). God may grant us his blessing in much the same way now; but while we gratefully accept it and conscientiously use it, if he does so bestow it, we must not reckon on these lower manifestations of his Divine regard. We are on sure ground when we speak of:
2. The spiritual forms it assumes now. They are such as these:
(1) Concord and piety in the home;
(2) reputation for devoted service of Christ;
(3) capacity for holy usefulness;
(4) trustfulness. These are blessings which correspond with those of the older dispensation, but which take a more spiritual form. They are blessings which fill the heart rather than the hand, benedictions of "the kingdom of heaven" rather than bestowments of the monarchy of earth. If it can be said of any of us, in any large and full sense, that "God blessed him," such a one will be the recipient of other bestowments beside these—of
(5) rest of heart in Christ;
(6) joy of faithful and loving service;
(7) hope of eternal glory.—C.
1 Chronicles 26:29-32.-The business of the Lord and the service of the king.
The duties which an Israelite might render to his Divine and to his earthly sovereign are thus expressed (1 Chronicles 26:30). They are also spoken of as "matters pertaining to God and affairs of the king" (1 Chronicles 26:32). The distinction thus drawn is suggestive of the relation which the two services sustain to one another. We conclude —
I. THAT THEY ARE CLEARLY DISTINGUISHABLE, ONE FROM THE OTHER. It is one thing to "serve God" and another thing to "honour the king." We may remember those who have been most devoted courtiers, but indifferent servants of God. "Had I but served my God," etc. (Wolsey). There have been very consecrated men who have lived a life of protest or even of hostility to the "reigning house." Indeed, it may be the bounden duty of a good man to disobey the mandates of his earthly sovereign. The honours we pay to the "noble army of martyrs" are the best witness that we do make this distinction in our minds. It is a possible thing that we may find ourselves citizens of a country where the laws of the land are directly at variance with the will of God. But it is also true —
II. THAT THEY ARE COMMONLY FOUND TO BE CONSISTENT ONE WITH THE OTHER. Happily it is not often the case now that a man has to choose whether he will "love the one and hate the other," etc. Usually both may be honourably and faithfully served at the same time. Indeed, it will be found:
1. That we never serve the king better than when we are actively serving God. To be engaging in Divine worship, and thus encouraging piety and the good morals which are its invariable attendant; to be evangelizing, and thus to be elevating and enriching those who have fallen into sin and vice; to be occupied in any of the thousand forms of philanthropy which distinguish this age of ours; to be thus occupied in the "business of the Lord" is to be taking a very true and useful part in "the service of the king." Indeed, the monarch of a land has no more loyal and serviceable subjects than those whose piety prompts them to "every good word and work" among their fellow-subjects. It may be equally true:
2. That we never serve God more truly than when we are serving the king. With the Jew, patriotism and piety were inseparably united. He who wished to please and honour Jehovah strove to serve Israel. He who injured the people of God was an enemy of the Most High. And so with us. The statesman who is faithfully and conscientiously serving his country may be pleasing and serving God quite as much as the minister in the pulpit, or the writer of sacred hooks at his desk. And not only the statesman who is charged with great and high things: all of us in our humbler ranks, when we join with our fellow-citizens in promoting the welfare of our common country, may be "serving God acceptably." Only, if we wish to enjoy his smile and win his Divine blessing in the act, we must do our work
HOMILIES BY F. WHITFIELD
1 Chronicles 26:1-32.-Doorkeepers, treasure-keepers, and external services.
We are presented in this chapter with three separate lists. First, the classes of the doorkeepers (1 Chronicles 26:1-19); secondly, the stewards of the sanctuary treasures (1 Chronicles 26:20-28); thirdly, those appointed for the external business (1 Chronicles 26:29-32). According to 1 Chronicles 26:19 the doorkeepers were Korahites and Merarites. To the latter belonged Obed-edom and his family, numbering eight sons and sixty-two grandchildren, all valiant heroes. All these doorkeepers were so distributed that twenty-four guard stations were occupied daily. The next enumeration is the treasures of the house of God and the treasures of the dedicated things. The former were under the charge of a branch of the Gershonites; the latter under a branch of the Kohathites. The last list in the chapter refers to the "outward business over Israel." This business comprised the service of "scribes and judges," and it was committed to the Izharites along with Chenaniah. For this work David had set apart six thousand Levites (see 1 Chronicles 23:4). One spiritual lesson may be learned from the twenty-seventh verse of this chapter: "Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord." The spiritual points may be suggested by the following heads: —
1. The house of the Lord—God's spiritual kingdom—whether it be in a man's own soul or whether it be a Church or nation, must not only be set up by the Spirit of God, but it must be kept up or "maintained."
2. It is maintained by fighting—fighting our worse than Canaanitish foes—the corruptions of our nature, the self-will, pride, and evil of our hearts, the 'world, the flesh, and the devil within us and around us.
3. The "spoils" of this spiritual warfare—every victory over sin, every triumph over passion, evil inclination, and temptation—these are all trophies or "spoils" which we must "dedicate" to God, from whom they have all come. His the power, the strength, the victory. All are to be laid at the Saviour's feet and used for his glory.
4. This, not one battle, but "battles"—many of every kind. The armour continually on, the fight continually maintained. "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour or' God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13).
5. Thus, and only thus, can the "house" or kingdom of God in a man's soul be "maintained."—W.
HOMILIES BY R. TUCK
1 Chronicles 26:4, 1 Chronicles 26:5.-Culture by trusts.
The reference made to Obed-edom recalls the fact that he and his family were blessed in the trust of work to do for God, the work of caring for his sacred, ark-symbol. We may dwell on God's design in relation to the moral and spiritual characters of men by his putting them in trust, pressing them under the sense of responsibility.
I. MEN PUT IN TRUST. Life is full of these trusts from its beginning to its close. The Divine idea for all men is exhibited in the two great heads of the race. The first Adam was put in Eden, and trusted to dress and keep it, and not to touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The second Adam was set in our human spheres, and trusted with the great work of revealing God to men, and redeeming men from their sins. We may trace the same dealing with men at every stage of life. Man is not his own; he is under authority, trusted with his Lord's goods, and his Lord's commissions.
1. We deal with our children on this principle. We train character by trusts of increasing value. It is only the bad child that may not be trusted.
2. In youth-time there are foretastes of the grave life-responsibilities which help to prepare us to undertake them. In youth-time we begin to feel the gravity of life, and there is a deepening thoughtfulness, the overshadowing of the seriousness of full manhood.
3. The beginning of manhood brings larger and heavier trusts and responsibilities, which call out our best powers. These trusts concern business, the family, society, and religion.
4. And advancing life provides constant addition of trusts, until our middle manhood sometimes seems to be overweighted, and flesh and heart almost fail. Illustrate by a few special cases: e.g.
(1) A man waking up to the consciousness of power, in knowledge, skill, influence, position, or wealth: if he be a true-hearted man to feel—I can—brings a solemn sense of responsibility, and a great longing to be found faithful.
(2) A girl changed into a woman by the responsibility of becoming s wife and a mother.
(3) The case of accepting a religious life. The religious man goes every day under the pressure of this trust—"a God to glorify." And if there is any peculiar nobility and power about the life of the religious man, it comes out of his "trust," and is cultured by his "trust." Then we are no true men or women until we have found out our holy burden, and are taking it up, and bearing it cheerfully, as our Lord's yoke laid upon us. When a man views life on earth aright, he finds it to be no play-scene, in which mere appearances meet the eye and the ear. He finds it full of awful realities and possibilities—a life, not a pastime.
II. MEN CURSED OR BLESSED THROUGH THEIR TRUSTS. A design of blessing is in them, and a tremendous possibility of curse. Lest they should become a curse, they are only given up to the measure of a man's ability. If more were entrusted to us than we could undertake, our natures could only be crushed. In this view some may be thankful that they have only one talent; and some warnings come from the careers of those whom we call "men of genius." Men are blessed by their trusts when their whole natures open to accept them,—as flowers, responsive to sun and shower, open to receive, and are blessed. In lifting ourselves up to meet trusts is found the repression of all evil, and the culture of all good—the very blossoming of our nature. The true conception of the angel is not with folded wings, standing, but with poised, or outspread wings, ready to obey, rising to meet his trust. Men are cursed by their trusts, when they despise or neglect them; when they are unwilling to belong to another; when their natures are shut up to pleasure, not to duty; to self, not to God.
Do you say—But my trusts seem such little things? So they are. So must all human trusts be. It is a little thing just to take care of God's ark. Nevertheless they are arranged in the heavenly Father's wisdom, and they may—if we will let them—culture the earth-children for their heavenly home. Let us be "faithful over the few things."—R.T.
1 Chronicles 26:12.-The acceptableness of lowly services.
"The porters." This subject has been previously treated (see homily on 1 Chronicles 9:19), but another outline may be suggested.
I. MAN'S ESTIMATE OF THE LOFTY AND THE LOWLY IN SERVICE. On what considerations does it rest? And what decisions does it involve? Indicate some of the mistakes men make, especially in undervaluing kinds of service that do not gain prominence.
II. THE SUPERIOR PRACTICAL NECESSITY OF LOWLY SERVICES IN ACTUAL LIFE. Illustrate that for our physical and moral good we could much better dispense with the few great services than with the thousandfold lowly ones. On these the real sum of human happiness depends. And it may some day come to light that our Lord's blessed kingdom was more prospered and advanced by Christian faithfulness in little things, than by the great doings which won men's attention and praise.
III. THE POSSIBILITY OF FINDING EXPRESSION FOR HIGH CHRISTIAN CHARACTER IN ALL KINDS OF SERVICE—BOTH IN THE LOFTY AND IN THE LOWLY, Porter and priest may both show themselves, and utter their sanctified characters, in their several work.
IV. THE SUPERIOR OPPORTUNITIES FOE EXPRESSING CHARACTER WHICH ARE FOUND IN THE LOWLY PLACES. Because a certain self-consciousness tends to spoil all public work. In the lowly spheres no "eye of man" attracts our attention. We work altogether "in the great Taskmaster's eye;" and so we can be altogether more simple and genuine. There is too much of self always tempting men who toil in what are called the higher kinds of service.
In conclusion, show the Divine estimate of place and work, and how it stands in the second place, subordinate always to the Divine estimate of character. God, we may surely say, is chiefly concerned, not with what we did, but with how we did it. The welcome is given at last to character. To priest and porter God will only say at last, "Well done, good and faithful."—R.T.
Verse. 20.-On dedicating things.
The general idea seems to be that Christians must dedicate themselves to God; and though this is most true, it may be presented so as to hide away the fact that God requires the Christian to dedicate to him all he has, as well as all he is. Still, as in the older times, God is to be served by things as well as by persons. In the text it is noticed that "Ahijah was over the treasures of the house of God, and over the treasures of the dedicated things." It may be well to point out the important relations which things bear to persons.
(1) The sense of possession in things.
(2) The selection and preservation of things as expressing character.
(3) The power of representation in things; a gift may carry a man himself to his friend.
(4) The use of things to indicate feeling. It may be said that God does not really care for "things," and that all "things" are already his; that he even refuses sacrifice and offerings, and only asks for men's devotion, love, and trust.
But if God permits us to have the sense of possession, and, in ever so limited a sense, to call things our own, we may be sure that he does care for things, because they can do just what our voice in worship can do —
(1) reveal man to him; and
(2) express man's particular emotions to him. We can translate into their fitting meanings other signs than verbal ones; and we can make our acts, our gifts, and our possessions speak his praise, directly, and through others whom we may influence and inspire by the devotion to God of what we have.
Then show what our things may be made to express, illustrating from the devotion of our property and acquirements to God's service.
(1) Dependence on the living God, who giveth to us "all things richly to enjoy."
(2) Thanksgiving to him, whose gifts so manifestly pass our deserts.
(3) Consecration of self; for to be acceptable everything must carry to God ourselves—his "living sacrifices.''
(4) Zeal in his honour, that keeps us anxious to devote to him our best. Plead—where are our "dedicated things"? Are they worthy of us? Are they worthy of the God whom we love, who has done such great things for us?—R.T.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 26". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany