1 Chronicles 23

Starting with the events in 1 Chronicles 21 when David purchased Ornan’s threshingfloor, David is making preparation and setting various administrative control for the Temple.  Although David is not allowed to build the Temple, it appears that he will do everything possible to ensure Solomon’s success.

1 Chronicles 23:1-2

1 So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel. 2 And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.

  • When David made Solomon king, it appears he brought together all the princes, priests and Levities.
  • However, 1 Kings has a slight difference, 1 Kings 1:41-43.

41 And Adonijah and all the guests that with him heard as they had made an end of eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the shofar, he said, Wherefore noise of the city being in an uproar? 42 And while he yet spoke, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came: and Adonijah said to him, Come in; for you a valiant man, and brings good tidings. 43 And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David has made Solomon king.

  • Adonijah and those with him were not at the anointing of Solomon.

1 Chronicles 23:3

3 Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their heads, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand.

  • No surprise that only those thirty and older were counted. This is what is specified throughout Numbers 4, for example Numbers 4:3.

3 From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the Ohel of the congregation.

  • The count was 38,000 total Levites.
  • Formerly the count of Levities in Numbers 4 was as follows:
  • Numbers 4:36-37

36 And numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred and fifty. 37 These were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, all that might do service in the Ohel of the congregation, which Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of Yehovah by the hand of Moses.

  • Total number of Kohathites was 2,750.
  • Numbers 4:40-41

 40 Even numbered of them, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers, were two thousand and six hundred and thirty. 41 These were numbered of the families of the sons of Gershon, of all that might do service in the Ohel of the congregation, whom Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of Yehovah.

  • Total number of Gershonites was 2,630.
  • Numbers 4:44-45

44 Even numbered of them after their families, were three thousand and two hundred. 45 These were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of Yehovah by the hand of Moses.

  • Total number of sons of Merari was 3,200.
  • Numbers 4:48-49

48 Even numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore. 49 According to the commandment of Yehovah they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as Yehovah commanded Moses.

  • The overall total was 8,580.
  • So from the time of Moses to David almost 500 years later there was an increase of 30,000.
  • David split these into several groups as specified below.

1 Chronicles 23:4-5

4 Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of Yehovah; and six thousand were overseers and judges: 5 Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised Yehovah with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.

  • 24,000 were dedicated to the construction of the Temple.
  • 6,000 were overseers and judges.
  • 4,000 were porters.
  • 4,000 praised Yehovah with Instruments.

1 Chronicles 23:6

6 And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

  • David next divided the Levites into courses.
  • Levi the son Israel, Jacob, had three sons.
  • It is not clear if the following were the age limit above in 1 Chronicles 23:3, 30 years of age or that of 1 Chronicles 23:24, 20 years of age.
Father Levi
Son Gershon Kohath Merari

1 Chronicles 23:7-9

7 Of the Gershonites were, Laadan, and Shimei. 8 The sons of Laadan; the chief was Jehiel, and Zetham, and Joel, three. 9 The sons of Shimei; Shelomith, and Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the chief of the fathers of Laadan.

  • Laadan is also called Libni in 1 Chronicles 6:17.

17 And these are the names of the sons of Gershom; Libni, and Shimei.

  • This is a total of 6 courses so far.
  • The sons of Shimei oversaw something of Laadan.
  • In some other translation they had involvement in Laadan’s houses. Others believe that Shimei was actually a grandson of Laadan.  Neither of these can be confirmed.
Father Levi
Son Gershon
3rd Gen Laadan Shimei
4th Gen Jehiel Zetham Joel Shelomith Haziel Haran

1 Chronicles 23:10-11

10 And the sons of Shimei were, Jahath, Zina, and Jeush, and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei.  11 And Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second: but Jeush and Beriah had not many sons; therefore they were in one reckoning, according to their father’s house.

  • Shimei had a total of 7 sons.
  • However, this only represented 6 courses.
  • Jeush and Beriah because of the number of sons, they were one course.
  • These are an additional 3 courses to the 6 listed for a total of 9 courses.
  • Zina and Zizah are two names for the same individual.
Father Levi
Son Gershon
3rd Gen Shimei
4th Gen Shelomith Haziel Haran Jahath Zina Jeush Beriah

1 Chronicles 23:12

12 The sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four.

  • Kohath had 4 sons.
  • The courses are described in the subsequent verses.
Father Levi
Son Kohath
3rd Gen Amram Izhar Hebron Uzziel

1 Chronicles 23:13

13 The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before Yehovah, to minister to him, and to bless in his name for ever.

  • Aaron was separated out for the Priesthood.
  • As priests they were responsible for:
    • Sanctifying the most holy things.
    • Burning incense.
    • And a number of other things listed in the Torah.
    • They were to be a blessing to Yehovah forever.
  • There are 2 courses that come from Aaron, these are found in 1 Chronicles 24:2.

2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office.

  • These are used in the basic divisions.
  • This brings the total number of courses to 11.
Father Levi
Son Kohath
3rd Gen Amram
4th Gen Aaron Moses
5th Gen Eleazar Ithamar Gershom Eliezer

 1 Chronicles 23:14-17

 14 Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi. 15 The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer. 16 Of the sons of Gershom, Shebuel was the chief. 17 And the sons of Eliezer were, Rehabiah the chief. And Eliezer had none other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many.

  • 2 courses came from Moses 6th
  • This brings the total to 13 courses.
Father Levi
Son Kohath
3rd Gen Amram
4th Gen Moses
5th Gen Gershom Eliezer
6th Gen Shebuel Rehabiah

 1 Chronicles 23:18-19

 18 Of the sons of Izhar; Shelomith the chief. 19 Of the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. 20 Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah the first, and Jesiah the second.

  • These represented 1 course from Izhar, 4 courses from Hebron and 2 courses from Uzziel.
  • This brought the total courses to 20 courses.
Father Levi
Son Kohath
3rd Gen Izhar Hebron Uzziel
4th Gen Shelomith Jeriah Amariah Jahaziel Jekameam Michah Jesiah

1 Chronicles 23:20-23

21 The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. The sons of Mahli; Eleazar, and Kish. 22 And Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters: and their brethren the sons of Kish took them. 23 The sons of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jeremoth, three.

  • 1 course from Kish and 3 courses from Mushi.
  • This brings the total number of courses to 24.
Father Levi
Son Merari
3rd Gen Mahli Mushi
4th Gen Eleazar Kish Mahli Eder Jeremoth

1 Chronicles 23:24

24 These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of Yehovah, from the age of twenty years and upward.

  • Courses are as follows:
Course Family Father Head Verse
1 Gershonites Laadan Jehiel 8
2 Gershonites Laadan Zetham 8
3 Gershonites Laadan Joel 8
4 Gershonites Shimei Shelomith 9
5 Gershonites Shimei Haziel 9
6 Gershonites Shimei Haran 9
7 Gershonites Shimei Jahath 11
8 Gershonites Shimei Zizah 11
9 Gershonites Shimei Jeush/ Beriah 11
10 Kohath Amram/Aaron Eleazar 2*
11 Kohath Amram/Aaron Ithamar 2*
12 Kohath Amram/Moses/ Gershom Shebuel 16
13 Kohath Amram/Moses/ Eliezer Rehabiah 17
14 Kohath Izhar Shelomith 18
15 Kohath Hebron Jeriah 19
16 Kohath Hebron Amariah 19
17 Kohath Hebron Jahaziel 19
18 Kohath Hebron Jekameam 19
19 Kohath Uzziel Michah 20
20 Kohath Uzziel Jesiah 20
21 Merari Mahli Kish 22
22 Merari Mushi Mahli 23
23 Merari Mushi Eder 23
24 Merari Mushi Jeremoth 23

* These are found in 1 Chronicles 24:2

  • Most of the courses are from the 4th This was the generation that left Egypt.
  • The exception is Aaron is 5th generation and Moses is 6th generation.
  • Although it is 24 course as one would expect, it does ring true. Two of the courses are the Priest Class, that will be divided in 1 Chronicles 24.

1 Chronicles 23:25-26

25 For David said, Yehovah Redeemer of Israel has given rest to His people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever: 26 And also to the Levites; they shall no more carry the Mishkan, nor any vessels of it for the service thereof.

  • The eventual building of the Temple would bring to rest to the articles of the Mishkan and Levites who were assigned to move them.
  • However, there was still plenty of work to be performed.

1 Chronicles 23:27

27 For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:

  • Next it appears that the levities were numbered from 20 years of age and older.
  • These would do things in preparation for more significant service later.
  • These became the working staff for the Priests.

1 Chronicles 23:28-29

28 Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of Yehovah, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of the Redeemer; 29 Both for the shewbread, and for the fine flour for meat offering, and for the unleavened cakes, and for that which is baked in the pan, and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure and size;

  • The basic duties of these Levities was to wait on the Priests and assist as necessary.
  • This included service in:
    • The courts,
    • The chambers,
    • Purifying of all holy things,
    • Work of the service of the house.
  • This encompassed a lot of different things.
  • These Levites would help with Shewbread and preparing unleavened breads.

1 Chronicles 23:30-32

30 And to stand every morning to thank and praise Yehovah, and likewise at even; 31 And to offer all burnt sacrifices to Yehovah in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded to them, continually before Yehovah: 32 And that they should keep the charge of the Ohel of the congregation, and the charge of the holy place, and the charge of the sons of Aaron their brethren, in the service of the house of Yehovah.

  • They were to praise Yehovah in the morning and evening.
  • To assist in the Burnt Offering on Sabbaths, New Moons and feast days.
  • They would do as directed by the Priests.
  • What is unusual in 1 Chronicles 23 is that it uses 20 years of age as a determinant, when it states in Numbers 8:24-26.

24 This is it that belongs to the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the Ohel of the congregation: 25 And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service, and shall serve no more: 26 But shall minister with their brethren in the Ohel of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites touching their charge.

  • It is unclear why this was done.

Return to 1 Chronicles

Return to Book of the Bible