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In this chapter we have the names and classification of the musicians. These, like the priests and their assistants, were divided by lot into twenty-four courses.
1. Captains of the host Not military captains, but princes, chief men of Israel, who formed David’s cabinet for counsel and assisted in all these arrangements of the priests and Levites.
Prophesy with harps This prophesying was the public recitation of psalms to the praise of God, a service which had long been cultivated in the schools of the prophets. See note on 1 Samuel 10:5.
2. Prophesied according to the order of the king That is, in accordance with David’s arrangements and orders.
3. Six Only five names are here given, but a comparison of names in vers. 9-31 shows that Shimei (1 Chronicles 25:17) has been dropped out of the text of this verse.
5. Heman the king’s seer in the words of God Besides his musical talent, Heman had also the gift of revelation, to make known to the king the things of God. Asaph and Jeduthun were also seers. 2 Chronicles 29:30; 2 Chronicles 35:15.
To lift up the horn The expression is obscure as it stands in the present text. Some understand it of the use of the horn in the musical service, but as the horn is not named among the instruments used by these Levites, some of the best expositors connect the phrase with what follows, and explain it in the metaphorical sense of increasing one’s power. For this sense of the words comp. 1 Samuel 2:10; Psalms 148:14; Lamentations 2:17. So, to increase Heman’s power and honour God “ gave” him “fourteen sons and three daughters.”
6. Under the hands of their father Under the direction and leadership of their father.
7. All that were cunning All that were skilled or disciplined in the service of song.
8. They cast lots, ward against ward The word rendered ward means a charge, a guardianship or superintendency. They cast lots to determine the order in which these different classes of singers should serve in the holy service, one class having charge until succeeded in the regular order by another. Our translators have repeated the word ward, but the Hebrew text reads literally: They cast lots for the charge, in the same manner as the small so the great, the skilled with the scholar. Of the four thousand Levites appointed for the service of song, (1 Chronicles 23:5,) the two hundred and eighty eight represented in 1 Chronicles 25:9-31 were the skilled ones, (“all that were cunning,” 1 Chronicles 25:7.) And these were so arranged and distributed by lot that the rest of the four thousand (3,712) were amply supplied with teachers, there being one teacher for about thirteen scholars. So both the small and great, (that is, the older and the younger, comp. 1 Chronicles 24:31,) the teachers and the scholars, were divided into classes, and distributed by lot.
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 25". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20