Think back over the material covered in Chronicles thus far: nine chapters of genealogies, a chapter-and-a-half naming David’s Mighty Men, and now five chapters of rosters of priests, Levites, musicians, and officials… Moving the Ark and discussing the Temple have provided half of the content of David’s story… And a family tree and a brief mention of David’s predecessor is the only backstory we’ve received. Pay attention to this data and discern the author’s intentions from it.
Today - after commissioning the Temple project and organizing the Levites and the Priests in yesterday’s reading – David and his chiefs coordinate the service of the musicians, gatekeepers, Temple officers and government ministers. Reading these rosters is on par with reading the genealogies: they can be difficult on the whole but contain nuggets of interest along the way. It is simply fascinating that these records were maintained for centuries. Their preservation is a reflection of the priests’ priorities, just as their record here reflects the Chronicler’s priorities.
The final chapter today covers the roster of military and tribal leaders. After a few verses it might dawn on you to ask: “Wait a second… Isn’t this just like the census that David got in trouble for?” Yes, and the text is going to note that near the end as well. Notice, though that there is an age cutoff to David’s counting, for the LORD, according to Genesis, …had promised to make Israel as many as the stars of heaven.”
Our verse for this week is Psalm 119:11: I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
1 Chronicles 25 through 27. Now let’s read it!
1 Chronicles 25 - 27
25:1 David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals. The list of those who did the work and of their duties was: Of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asharelah, sons of Asaph, under the direction of Asaph, who prophesied under the direction of the king. Of Jeduthun, the sons of Jeduthun: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the direction of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with the lyre in thanksgiving and praise to the LORD. Of Heman, the sons of Heman: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamti-ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, Mahazioth. All these were the sons of Heman the king's seer, according to the promise of God to exalt him, for God had given Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. They were all under the direction of their father in the music in the house of the LORD with cymbals, harps, and lyres for the service of the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the order of the king. The number of them along with their brothers, who were trained in singing to the LORD, all who were skillful, was 288. And they cast lots for their duties, small and great, teacher and pupil alike.
The first lot fell for Asaph to Joseph; the second to Gedaliah, to him and his brothers and his sons, twelve; the third to Zaccur, his sons and his brothers, twelve; the fourth to Izri, his sons and his brothers, twelve; the fifth to Nethaniah, his sons and his brothers, twelve; the sixth to Bukkiah, his sons and his brothers, twelve; the seventh to Jesharelah, his sons and his brothers, twelve; the eighth to Jeshaiah, his sons and his brothers, twelve; the ninth to Mattaniah, his sons and his brothers, twelve; the tenth to Shimei, his sons and his brothers, twelve; the eleventh to Azarel, his sons and his brothers, twelve; the twelfth to Hashabiah, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the thirteenth, Shubael, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the fourteenth, Mattithiah, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the fifteenth, to Jeremoth, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the sixteenth, to Hananiah, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the seventeenth, to Joshbekashah, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the eighteenth, to Hanani, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the nineteenth, to Mallothi, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the twentieth, to Eliathah, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the twenty-first, to Hothir, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the twenty-second, to Giddalti, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the twenty-third, to Mahazioth, his sons and his brothers, twelve; to the twenty-fourth, to Romamti-ezer, his sons and his brothers, twelve.
26:1 As for the divisions of the gatekeepers: of the Korahites, Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph. And Meshelemiah had sons: Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth, Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Eliehoenai the seventh. And Obed-edom had sons: Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sachar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth, Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peullethai the eighth, for God blessed him. Also to his son Shemaiah were sons born who were rulers in their fathers' houses, for they were men of great ability. The sons of Shemaiah: Othni, Rephael, Obed and Elzabad, whose brothers were able men, Elihu and Semachiah. All these were of the sons of Obed-edom with their sons and brothers, able men qualified for the service; sixty-two of Obed-edom. And Meshelemiah had sons and brothers, able men, eighteen. And Hosah, of the sons of Merari, had sons: Shimri the chief (for though he was not the firstborn, his father made him chief), Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth: all the sons and brothers of Hosah were thirteen.
These divisions of the gatekeepers, corresponding to their chief men, had duties, just as their brothers did, ministering in the house of the LORD. And they cast lots by fathers' houses, small and great alike, for their gates. The lot for the east fell to Shelemiah. They cast lots also for his son Zechariah, a shrewd counselor, and his lot came out for the north. Obed-edom's came out for the south, and to his sons was allotted the gatehouse. For Shuppim and Hosah it came out for the west, at the gate of Shallecheth on the road that goes up. Watch corresponded to watch. On the east there were six each day, on the north four each day, on the south four each day, as well as two and two at the gatehouse. And for the colonnade on the west there were four at the road and two at the colonnade. These were the divisions of the gatekeepers among the Korahites and the sons of Merari.
And of the Levites, Ahijah had charge of the treasuries of the house of God and the treasuries of the dedicated gifts. The sons of Ladan, the sons of the Gershonites belonging to Ladan, the heads of the fathers' houses belonging to Ladan the Gershonite: Jehieli.
The sons of Jehieli, Zetham, and Joel his brother, were in charge of the treasuries of the house of the LORD. Of the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites—and Shebuel the son of Gershom, son of Moses, was chief officer in charge of the treasuries. His brothers: from Eliezer were his son Rehabiah, and his son Jeshaiah, and his son Joram, and his son Zichri, and his son Shelomoth. This Shelomoth and his brothers were in charge of all the treasuries of the dedicated gifts that David the king and the heads of the fathers' houses and the officers of the thousands and the hundreds and the commanders of the army had dedicated. From spoil won in battles they dedicated gifts for the maintenance of the house of the LORD. Also all that Samuel the seer and Saul the son of Kish and Abner the son of Ner and Joab the son of Zeruiah had dedicated—all dedicated gifts were in the care of Shelomoth and his brothers.
Of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were appointed to external duties for Israel, as officers and judges. Of the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his brothers, 1,700 men of ability, had the oversight of Israel westward of the Jordan for all the work of the LORD and for the service of the king. Of the Hebronites, Jerijah was chief of the Hebronites of whatever genealogy or fathers' houses. (In the fortieth year of David's reign search was made and men of great ability among them were found at Jazer in Gilead.) King David appointed him and his brothers, 2,700 men of ability, heads of fathers' houses, to have the oversight of the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of the Manassites for everything pertaining to God and for the affairs of the king.
27:1 This is the number of the people of Israel, the heads of fathers' houses, the commanders of thousands and hundreds, and their officers who served the king in all matters concerning the divisions that came and went, month after month throughout the year, each division numbering 24,000:
Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel was in charge of the first division in the first month; in his division were 24,000. He was a descendant of Perez and was chief of all the commanders. He served for the first month. Dodai the Ahohite was in charge of the division of the second month; in his division were 24,000. The third commander, for the third month, was Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada the chief priest; in his division were 24,000. This is the Benaiah who was a mighty man of the thirty and in command of the thirty; Ammizabad his son was in charge of his division. Asahel the brother of Joab was fourth, for the fourth month, and his son Zebadiah after him; in his division were 24,000. The fifth commander, for the fifth month, was Shamhuth the Izrahite; in his division were 24,000. Sixth, for the sixth month, was Ira, the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite; in his division were 24,000. Seventh, for the seventh month, was Helez the Pelonite, of the sons of Ephraim; in his division were 24,000. Eighth, for the eighth month, was Sibbecai the Hushathite, of the Zerahites; in his division were 24,000. Ninth, for the ninth month, was Abiezer of Anathoth, a Benjaminite; in his division were 24,000. Tenth, for the tenth month, was Maharai of Netophah, of the Zerahites; in his division were 24,000. Eleventh, for the eleventh month, was Benaiah of Pirathon, of the sons of Ephraim; in his division were 24,000. Twelfth, for the twelfth month, was Heldai the Netophathite, of Othniel; in his division were 24,000.
Over the tribes of Israel, for the Reubenites, Eliezer the son of Zichri was chief officer; for the Simeonites, Shephatiah the son of Maacah; for Levi, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel; for Aaron, Zadok; for Judah, Elihu, one of David's brothers; for Issachar, Omri the son of Michael; for Zebulun, Ishmaiah the son of Obadiah; for Naphtali, Jeremoth the son of Azriel; for the Ephraimites, Hoshea the son of Azaziah; for the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joel the son of Pedaiah; for the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah; for Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner; for Dan, Azarel the son of Jeroham. These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel. David did not count those below twenty years of age, for the LORD had promised to make Israel as many as the stars of heaven. Joab the son of Zeruiah began to count, but did not finish. Yet wrath came upon Israel for this, and the number was not entered in the chronicles of King David.
Over the king's treasuries was Azmaveth the son of Adiel; and over the treasuries in the country, in the cities, in the villages, and in the towers, was Jonathan the son of Uzziah; and over those who did the work of the field for tilling the soil was Ezri the son of Chelub; and over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite; and over the produce of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite. Over the olive and sycamore trees in the Shephelah was Baal-hanan the Gederite; and over the stores of oil was Joash. Over the herds that pastured in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite; over the herds in the valleys was Shaphat the son of Adlai. Over the camels was Obil the Ishmaelite; and over the donkeys was Jehdeiah the Meronothite. Over the flocks was Jaziz the Hagrite. All these were stewards of King David's property.
Jonathan, David's uncle, was a counselor, being a man of understanding and a scribe. He and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni attended the king's sons. Ahithophel was the king's counselor, and Hushai the Archite was the king's friend. Ahithophel was succeeded by Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar. Joab was commander of the king's army.