From 1 Chronicles 22-24
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The following passage describes the organisation David setup in preparation for Solomon for Solomons rule.
23 When David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel. (1 Ch 23:1)
The succession of Solomon is abbreviated. In the beginning of the book of Kings you may remember David’s successor was challenged by Adonijah (1 Ki 1).
2 David assembled all the leaders of Israel and the priests and the Levites. 3 The Levites, thirty years old and upward, were numbered, and the total was 38,000 men. 4 “Twenty-four thousand of these,” David said, “shall have charge of the work in the house of the LORD, 6,000 shall be officers and judges, 5 4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 shall offer praises to the LORD with the instruments that I have made for praise.” 6 And David organized them in divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. (1 Ch 23:2-6)
David gathers together all the leaders, priests and levites. This represents the heads of the whole community. He gives them various responsibilities.
- building the temple,
- watching the gate,
- singing praise.
The people of God serve in different ways. Each plays their part.
Many of the levites were given the responsibility of building the temple. The remaining people did the rest.
7 The sons of Gershon were Ladan and Shimei. 8 The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the chief, and Zetham, and Joel, three. 9 The sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the heads of the fathers’ houses of Ladan. 10 And the sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, and Jeush and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei. 11 Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second; but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons, therefore they became counted as a single father’s house. (1 Ch 23:7-11)
No role is explicitly mentioned. I assume the sons of Gershon were divided up among the roles above.
12 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four. 13 The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was set apart to dedicate the most holy things, that he and his sons forever should make offerings before the LORD and minister to him and pronounce blessings in his name forever. (1 Ch 23:12-13)
The sons of Kohath are given an important role. Looking after the most holy things, offering sacrifices and ministering to the LORD.
14 But the sons of Moses the man of God were named among the tribe of Levi. 15 The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. 16 The sons of Gershom: Shebuel the chief. 17 The sons of Eliezer: Rehabiah the chief. Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very many. 18 The sons of Izhar: Shelomith the chief. 19 The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the chief, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. 20 The sons of Uzziel: Micah the chief and Isshiah the second.
21 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish. 22 Eleazar died having no sons, but only daughters; their kinsmen, the sons of Kish, married them. 23 The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Jeremoth, three. (1 Ch 23:14-23)
Moses is named the man of God. Quite an impressive distinction. People of prominence were given this title. Namely prophets. They have been counted as Levites. They are not named as priests.
The genealogy gives personal accounts. Describing varying amounts of children each had. Eliezer in particular had only one son – Rehabiah. However, Rehabiah himself has many. Eliezer has lots of daughters though and these are married off.
24 These were the sons of Levi by their fathers’ houses, the heads of fathers’ houses as they were listed according to the number of the names of the individuals from twenty years old and upward who were to do the work for the service of the house of the LORD. 25 For David said, “The LORD, the God of Israel, has given rest to his people, and he dwells in Jerusalem forever. (1 Ch 23:24-25)
As we saw earlier the levites were assigned to serve in the house of the LORD.
Do you serve in the church in some way?
The rationale David gives is ‘the LORD, the God of Israel, has given rest to his people, and he dwells in Jerusalem forever’. When the LORD rests, he takes up residence in the temple. The Chronicler refers to Jerusalem where the temple will be built. Unlike the tent of meeting, the temple will not move. Which leads us into the Chronicler’s next point.
26 And so the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the things for its service.” 27 For by the last words of David the sons of Levi were numbered from twenty years old and upward. 28 For their duty was to assist the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, having the care of the courts and the chambers, the cleansing of all that is holy, and any work for the service of the house of God. 29 Their duty was also to assist with the showbread, the flour for the grain offering, the wafers of unleavened bread, the baked offering, the offering mixed with oil, and all measures of quantity or size. 30 And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the LORD, and likewise at evening, 31 and whenever burnt offerings were offered to the LORD on Sabbaths, new moons, and feast days, according to the number required of them, regularly before the LORD. (1 Ch 23:26-31)
The Chronicler lists several of their duties in the house of the LORD.
- assist the sons of Aaron (offerings and sacrifices),
- caring for the courts and chambers,
- cleaning all that is holy,
- assist with the showbread, flour, and wafers,
- thanking and praising the LORD (morning and evening),
- helping with the festival burnt offerings.
These people probably didn’t get the recognition of the priests, but they offered valuable service to the LORD in looking after his house.
32 Thus they were to keep charge of the tent of meeting and the sanctuary, and to attend the sons of Aaron, their brothers, for the service of the house of the LORD. (1 Ch 23:32)
Story of Israel
Servanthood has its foundation in people serving God in worship. The terms for “service” and “worship” are often interchangeable. Worship is a central aspect of serving God and entails total obedience, not merely correct religious observances. As we have seen above service often requires some form of consecration. The priests themselves were set apart for their ministry.
The passage also alludes to the story of Israel. Initially they moved around and the Tent of Meeting was where the LORD chose to be with them. There they served. Later however after they entered the promised land they served in the temple built by Solomon.
Their service did not continue because they abandoned the LORD and were kicked out of the land. Sent into exile.
However the LORD promised through Ezekiel they would be restored and again serve in the new temple.
43 Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. 2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. 3 And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. 4 As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, 5 the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. (Eze 43:1–5)
15 “But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept the charge of my sanctuary when the people of Israel went astray from me, shall come near to me to minister to me. And they shall stand before me to offer me the fat and the blood, declares the Lord GOD. 16 They shall enter my sanctuary, and they shall approach my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my charge. (Eze 44:15–16)
The new temple service anticipates the coming of the LORD.
Story of Jesus
In the gospel Jesus acknowledges the service of his people. The serve in the new way of the Spirit (cf. Rom 7.6). As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman.
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” (Jn 4:21–26)
It is our duty.
7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ” (Lk 17.7-10)
Throughout the ages all of God’s people have been serving him. Keep serving him in thanks and praise.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.