Lange Commentary - 1 Chronicles 24:1 - 24:31

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Lange Commentary - 1 Chronicles 24:1 - 24:31

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

For the Chapter 24 passage and footnotes, see 1Ch_23:1 ff.

The Twenty-four Classes of Priests: 1Ch_24:1-19.—The enumeration of these follows quite suitably after the foregoing passage, particularly after 1Ch_23:32; comp. the “sons of Aaron” with that in 1Ch_24:1 of our chapter.—The sons of Aaron: Nadab and Abihu, etc. Comp. on this introduction to the Davidic regulations referring to the Mosaic time in 1Ch_24:1-2, 1 Chronicles 5:29, and Exo_6:23; Lev_10:1; Num_3:4.

1Ch_24:3. And David distributed them, so that Zadok of the sons of Eleazar. For åéçì÷í , comp. on 1Ch_23:6; for Zadok and Abiathar, on 1Chr 5:30, 1Ch_16:39, 1Ch_18:16; for ôְּ÷ֻãָּä , official class, on 1Ch_23:11.

1Ch_24:4. And the sons of Eleazar were found more numerous in chief men. These “men” ( âְּáָøִéí ), of whom Eleazar had twice as many in heads or chiefs ( øָàùִׁéí ) as Ithamar, are the chiefs, not of the great complex of families or houses (Berth.), but of the several families, the fathers, chiefs of the several priestly homes.

1Ch_24:5. And they divided them. The subject is David, Zadok, and Ahimelech, to whom naturally this matter belonged.—One with the other, literally, “ these with those,” those of Eleazar with those of Ithamar; comp. 1Ch_25:8.—For the holy princes and the princes of God. On the former phrase, comp. Isa_43:28, and the parallel phrase: “princes of the priests,” ùָׂøֵé äַëֹּäֲðִéí , 2Ch_36:14; on the second (Sept. ἄñ÷ïíôåò êõñßïõ ) the equivalent: “high priests, upper priests.” For the princes of priests and high priests from Ithamar, who were far behind those of the line of Eleazar in number and importance, comp. on 2Chr 5:30.

1Ch_24:6. Wrote them, namely, the classes, as the lot determined.—One father-house being taken for Eleazar and one for Ithamar, that is, alternately, from the urn containing the lots for Eleazar, and then from that containing the lots for Ithamar (so àָçֻæ signifies; comp. Num_31:30; Num_31:47), that none might seem preferred before the other. And, indeed, this alternation in drawing the lots might have been so managed, that, on account of the double number of the families of Eleazar, two lots for Eleazar might be drawn for every one for Ithamar (comp. Berth.). Whether this mode of drawing lots be indicated by the doubling of the àָçֻæ in the second place( åְàָçֻæ àָçֻæ ìְàִéúָîָø ), as Berth, thinks, is more than doubtful. Notwithstanding the almost universal agreement of the mss. respecting this double àָçֻæ , and the fact that the old translators and the Rabbis did not understand the passage, the alteration of the first àָçֻæ into àֶçָã (see Crit. Note) appears to be the only means of obtaining a correct conception of these otherwise dark words.

1Ch_24:7 ff. The names of the twenty-four classes are now given in order, as they were settled by lot.—And the first lot came out of the urn; comp. for éöà in this sense, Jos_16:1; Jos_19:1. Jehoiarib and Jedaiah, the names of the first two classes, are so named together in 1Ch_9:10. For Jedaiah, comp., besides Ezr_2:36, Neh_7:39; for Jehoiarib, as the class from which Mattathias and the Maccabees sprang, 1Ma_2:1; for Abijah, as the class of Zacharias the father of John the Baptist, Luk_1:5; for the classes of Immer (1Ch_24:14) and Jachin (1Ch_24:17), 1Ch_9:10; 1Ch_9:12. Some of the twenty-four classes never occur again, namely, Seorim (1Ch_24:8), Jeshehah (1Ch_24:13), and Hapizez (1Ch_24:15), some at least not among the priests, as Mijamin (1Ch_24:9), Huppah (1Ch_24:13), and Gamul (1Ch_24:17). With respect to the name Pethahiah (1Ch_24:16), Holzhausen (Die Weissagungen des Joel übers. und erklärt, Gött. 1829) has propounded the quite arbitrary conjecture that it is identical with Pethuel ( ôְּúåּàֵì = ôְּúַçְéָä ) the father of the prophet Joel,—a conjecture which is of almost as much value as that of Raschi, who would identify Pethuel the father of Joel with Samuel (comp. R. Wünsche, Die Weissagungen des Joel, 1872, p. 1).

1Ch_24:19. According to their order by Aaron their father, as the Lord … had commanded him. Comp. the words occurring so often in the law: “And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron” (for example, Num_4:1; Num_4:17), and similar Pentateuchic testimonies for the regulation of the priestly service according to the divine command.—The credibility of the present statements of the Chronist regarding the origin of the twenty-four classes of priests, and their order in the service by David, is attested by Eze_8:16-18 (see the exposition of the passage), Neh_12:1-7; Neh_12:12-21, and by Josephus, Antiq. vii. 14. 1 Chronicles 7 : äéÝìåéíåí ïὗôïò ὁ ìåñéóìὸò ἄ÷ñé ôῆò óÞìåñïí ἡìÝñáò , Against the assertion made by de Wette and Gramberg, and defended by Herzberg (Gesch. des v. Israel, i. 381 ff.), that the twenty-four classes originated after the exile, see Movers, Chronik, p. 279 ff., and Oehler in Herzog’s Real Encycl. xii. 185 ff.

5. The Classes of the Levites: 1Ch_24:20-31.—And for the remaining sons of Levi, after the enumeration of the priests. By this might be understood all the Levites except the family of Aaron or the priests; but as in the two following chapters the twenty-four orders of singers and the divisions of the porters and of those charged with external duties are enumerated apart, it seems necessary to suppose that the present section speaks only of the Levites employed in worship, and not of the whole body. They are “the brethren of Aaron,” the Levites specially assigned to the priests as assistants in divine service, whose division into classes is here described. Only on this assumption is explained the otherwise very surprising, indeed inconceivable, incompleteness of the present list of Levitical classes, compared with that of the Levitical houses named in 1Ch_23:6-23, which embraces all the three families, the Kohathites, the Merarites, and the Gershonites, whereas the Gershonites are wholly excluded from the present list. This exclusion seems to have its ground in this, that, 1Ch_26:20 ff., several Gershonite houses had the charge over the treasures of the sanctuary, and also the duties of officers and judges (although this is not expressly stated) were partly discharged by the Gershonites. So at least Keil, whereas others certainly, as Berth., regard our list as laid out for a full enumeration of all the Levitical classes or houses, but from some cause (perhaps “because the author was not able to make out all the names of the classes”) no longer fully preserved. The list, for the at least often defective character of which the elucidation of the details will afford more than one proof, begins after omitting the Gershonites, 1Ch_24:20, at once with the classes of the Kohathites.—For the sons of Amram, Shubael was the chief or head of a class; obviously the son of Gershom son of Moses, therefore grandson of Amram, who is called Shebuel 1Ch_23:16. The same double spelling of this name is found also 1Ch_25:4; 1Ch_25:20, in a family of singers of the house of Heman. As chief of the class springing from Shubael was, in David’s time, Jehdeiah, a person otherwise unknown, whose name, 1Ch_27:30, is also borne by an officer of David.

1Ch_24:21 ff. Other chiefs of classes are now named—1. For the Amramite class, Isshiah (different from the one named 1Ch_24:25). 2. For the Izharite class, Jahath (1Ch_24:22). 3. For the Uzzielite class of Micah, Shamir (1Ch_24:24). 4. For the Uzzielite class of Isshiah, Zechariah (1Ch_24:25). In this kind of enumeration, it is strange that in 1Ch_24:23, where we should expect to find the chiefs of some classes of the great Hebronite family (1Ch_23:19), only the names of the four chiefs or founders of the Hebronite houses, Jeriah, Amariah, Jahaziel, and Jekamam, are mentioned, quite as in 1Ch_23:19, and indeed introduced by a mere åּáְðֵé before the name of the first éְøִéָּäåּ . There can be no doubt that the text is here defective. It is probable that not merely the name çֶáְøåֹï is to be inserted after åּáְðֵé (see Crit. Note), but that also the names of the four chiefs in David’s time have fallen out after those of the four classes.

1Ch_24:26-27 bear still clearer marks of the corruption of the present text, perhaps even of its complete spuriousness, than 1Ch_24:23 (comp. partly the Crit. Notes and partly the Exeg. Expl. of 1Ch_23:21-23). Especially strange is—1. The áְּðֵé éַ ֽòֲæִéָּäåּ in 1Ch_24:26 b, detached from that which goes before (instead of ‬ åּáְðֵé éØ ). 2. The áְּðåֹ in the same place, that cannot possibly be taken for a proper name (with some older exegetes), but rather indicates that a proper name had fallen out before it. 3. The repetition of áְּðֵé îְøָøִé at the beginning of 1Ch_24:27, which appears to presume a wholly different mode of enumeration from that which is usual from 1Ch_24:20 on. 4. The copula åְ before ùֹׁäַí , as first of the sons of Jaaziah, in 1Ch_24:27 b. To all this are to be added the reasons which make improbable the existence of a Jaaziah as third son of Merari along with Mahli and Mushi; see on 1Ch_23:21 f. The spurious character of the two verses appears therefore almost certain, though they are attested by the Sept., Syr., and the Vulg.—For 1Ch_24:28-29, comp. likewise the remark on 1Ch_23:21 ff.

1Ch_24:30. And the sons of Mushi: Mahli, and Eder, and Jerimoth. As in 1Ch_24:23, so here it is strange to name the houses without stating the chiefs of the classes taken from them. The text appears here also to be defective.

1Ch_24:31. And these also cast lots like their brethren the sons of Aaron. From this manifestation of the quite analogous character of the allotment of the Levites and the priests (1Ch_24:1-19), it is highly probable that the number of the Levitical classes (as also that of the singers in the following chapter) was likewise twenty-four, although in the present text, the partial defectiveness of which is obvious, and needs no further proof, only fifteen chiefs of classes are expressly named.—The fathers, the chief like his younger brother; that is, the eldest brother representing the house, as well as his younger brother (for äָøֹàùׁ , in apposition with the father-house, comp. on 1Ch_23:17-18). Quite correct in sense the Vulg.: “tam minores, quam majores; omnes sors æqualiter dividebat.” That nothing is communicated to us of the order of the several classes, as they were settled by lot, completes the impression of the great defectiveness which characterizes this section.