1 Chronicles 24


Gill, in his commentary, gives us a useful summary of this chapter.

‘This chapter relates the distribution David made of the priests into twenty-four classes or courses, and which were observed by lot, and each course had a head or principal man over it, 1 Chronicles 24:1 and of a like distribution of the Levites into the same number of courses, to attend the priests in theirs, 1 Chronicles 24:20.’

The Divisions Of Priests

‘These were the divisions of the descendants of Aaron: The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. But Nadab and Abihu died before their father did, and they had no sons; so Eleazar and Ithamar served as the priests. With the help of Zadok a descendant of Eleazar and Ahimelek a descendant of Ithamar, David separated them into divisions for their appointed order of ministering. A larger number of leaders were found among Eleazar’s descendants than among Ithamar’s, and they were divided accordingly: sixteen heads of families from Eleazar’s descendants and eight heads of families from Ithamar’s descendants. They divided them impartially by casting lots, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of God among the descendants of both Eleazar and Ithamar. The scribe Shemaiah son of Nethanel, a Levite, recorded their names in the presence of the king and of the officials: Zadok the priest, Ahimelek son of Abiathar and the heads of families of the priests and of the Levites—one family being taken from Eleazar and then one from Ithamar. The first lot fell to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, the fifth to Malkijah, the sixth to Mijamin, the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, the ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shekaniah, the eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, the thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, the fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, the seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Happizzez, the nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezkel, the twenty-first to Jakin, the twenty-second to Gamul, the twenty-third to Delaiah and the twenty-fourth to Maaziah. This was their appointed order of ministering when they entered the temple of the LORD, according to the regulations prescribed for them by their ancestor Aaron, as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded him.’ 1 Chronicles 24:1-19

The descendants of the two sons of Aaron, Eleazar and Ithamar, were divided into 24 groups to administer the priestly duties. Each Levite was chosen by lot and assigned in groups in order to minister for a week, beginning on the evening of the Sabbath.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Due to the fact that many thousands of the Levites were eligible to participate in the temple services, it was necessary that some systematic manner of determining the order in which they would serve as required. One must be impressed with the manner of David’s making such a determination by lot, duly witnessed by all parties concerned.’

Zadok and Ahimelech, rather Abiathar, 1 Chronicles 24:6, helped David in drawing up the priestly duties, as the captains of the host’ helped him in making the divisions of the singers, 1 Chronicles 25:1.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The assignment of their order in the courses was made by lot to the families belonging to Eleazar, and to the families belonging to Ithamar, equally. Both houses had furnished functionaries of the highest class, and therefore no preference was now given to either over the other.’

This was the numerical order fixed for their ministerial attendance in the house of the Lord, an attendance which was after the manner determined for them by their forefather Aaron, according to instructions which he received from God.

The Rest Of The Levites

‘As for the rest of the descendants of Levi: from the sons of Amram: Shubael; from the sons of Shubael: Jehdeiah. As for Rehabiah, from his sons: Ishiah was the first. From the Izharites: Shelomoth; from the sons of Shelomoth: Jahath. The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth. The son of Uzziel: Micah; from the sons of Micah: Shamir. The brother of Micah: Ishiah; from the sons of Ishiah: Zechariah. The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The son of Jaaziah: Beno. The sons of Merari: from Jaaziah: Beno, Shoham, Zakkur and Ibri. From Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. From Kish: the son of Kish: Jerahmeel. And the sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. These were the Levites, according to their families. They also cast lots, just as their relatives the descendants of Aaron did, in the presence of King David and of Zadok, Ahimelek, and the heads of families of the priests and of the Levites. The families of the oldest brother were treated the same as those of the youngest.’ 1 Chronicles 24:20-31

The list of Levites mentioned here are the sons of Aaron who were mentioned in 1 Chronicles 24:1-19, and they were responsible for helping the priests in their duties. This list here includes only the descendants of Kohath and Merari.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The object of this second enumeration of the Levitical families, 1 Chronicles 23:7-23, seems to be the designation of the heads of the families in David’s time. The omission of the Gershonites is curious and can only be accounted for by supposing that the author did not find any account of their heads in his authorities. The addition to the Merarites, 1 Chronicles 24:26-27 is also curious. It brings the number of families up to twenty-five, which is one more than we should have expected.’

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It should be remembered that these lists of names represent families rather than individuals and that a number of these families continued into New Testament times, for example, Zacharias was of the line of Abijah, Luke 1:5. Interesting as the omission is, we can give no reason for the omission of the family of Gershon. The variations in these lists are of no importance. Some of these courses died out or had to be consolidated with others and new ones were formed to take their place. At the time of the return from exile, 538 B.C., only four of these courses were operative.’

Beno is not really a name, it’s Hebrew for ‘his son’, and is to be attached to Jaaziah.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The principal fathers over against their younger brethren, i.e., all the Levitical houses enumerated drew lots in their courses on equal terms, the older families having no advantage over the younger ones. As there were 24 courses of the priests, so we must suppose that there were 24 of the Levites, though the number of the families as given in the text, 1 Chronicles 23:7-23 / 1 Chronicles 24:20-30 is 25.’

Go To 1 Chronicles 25