Lange Commentary - 1 Chronicles 25:1 - 25:31

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Lange Commentary - 1 Chronicles 25:1 - 25:31

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

For the Chapter 25 passage and footnotes, see 1Ch_23:1 ff.

The Twenty-four Classes of Singers: 1 Chronicles 25.—And David and the captains of the host separated. “Captains of the host”( ùׂøé äöáà ) are those partakers in the legislative and judicial government of David who were designated, 1Ch_24:6, merely as “princes,” 1Ch_23:2, as “princes of Israel.” The designation explains itself from the conception of Israel as the host of the Lord (Exo_12:17; Exo_12:41), not from that of the Levites as an army, or their doings as a military service (Num_4:23).—The sons of Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun. The ìְ before àָñָó is here nota accusativi; comp. Ezr_8:24. For the genealogy of the three song-masters, of whom Asaph was a Gershonite, Heman a Kohathite, and Jeduthun a Merarite, see 1Ch_6:18; 1Ch_6:24; 1Ch_6:29 ff.—Who prophesied with harps, or showed themselves inspired with harps; for “the really artificial play is, like every art, an expression of inspiration or enthusiasm ” (Berth.); comp. Exo_31:3, and for the Keri äַðִּáָּàִéí as alone admissible, the Crit. Note.—And the number of the workmen for the service was. For the position of the genitive àַðְùֵׁé åâå× after the governing îִñְôָø with suffix, comp. the similar construction ðַôְùׁåֹ òָöֵì , “his the sluggard’s soul,” Pro_13:4 (Ew. § 309, c). That statements are actually made in the sequel concerning the number of the Levitical musicians appears from 1Ch_25:3-5, where the families of them are referred to: four sons of Asaph (1Ch_25:2, without express mention of the number four), six sons of Jeduthun, and fourteen sons of Heman; and also from 1Ch_25:7, where the sum of all the singers of these families is stated to be 288.

1Ch_25:2. Sons of Asaph under Asaph, literally, “by the hand,” or “at the hand,” of Asaph, that is, led by him. òַìÎéַã here means the same as in the 1Ch_25:3; 1Ch_25:6, òַìÎéãֵé , “at the hands,” under the guidance or order.

1Ch_25:3. For Jeduthun, the sons of Jeduthun were Gedaliah, or, “as to Jeduthun (the family of Jeduthun), the sons of Jeduthun,” etc. As the number of these “sons of Jeduthun” (perhaps disciples trained by him; comp., for this figurative import of the term’ “sons” in our section, on 1Ch_25:7) is expressly stated to be six, and yet only five are here named, hence one name must have fallen out, and, indeed, according to 1Ch_25:17, that of Shimi, the only one that is wanting in our verses, while all the other twenty-three names recur (1Ch_25:9-31).—Under their father Jeduthun on the harp, or “under the guidance of their father Jeduthun on the harp;” áַּëִּðּåֹø belongs to éְãåּúåּï . For the following: “ who prophesied (or ‘ was inspired”) to thank and praise the Lord,’ comp. 1Ch_14:4; 2Ch_5:13.

1Ch_25:4. Giddalti and Romamti-ezer. The genitive òֶæֶø probably belongs also to âִּãַּìְúִּé , so that the full name of this son of Heman is Giddalti-ezer (though in 1Ch_25:9 this is not expressly stated).

1Ch_25:5. All these were the sons of Heman, the king’s seer m the words of God. Heman is so called as mediator of divine revelations for the king; comp. 2Ch_35:15, where the same predicate is applied to Jeduthun, and 1Ch_21:9, where Gad is introduced as David’s seer.—To lift up the horn; and God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. The rich blessing of descendants is here, as elsewhere (for example, Job_42:13; Psa_127:3 f.; also 1Ch_26:5), represented as a lifting up of the horn, that is, the might and consequence of the person concerned; comp. for äֵøִéí ÷ֶøֶï (which does not mean to “sound the horn,” as Berth., misled by the certainly erroneous Masoretic accentuation, supposes) in this figurative sense, for example, 1Sa_2:10 (Luk_1:78); Lam_2:17; Psa_89:18; Psa_92:11; Psa_148:14.

1Ch_25:6. All these were under their father, literally, “ under the guidance of their father.” The genitive àֲáִéäֶí is distributive, and does not refer specially to Heman (Berth.); for by “all these” our verse clearly points to all enumerated from 1Ch_25:2, and not merely to Heman’s sons, 1Ch_25:4-5.—Under the king, with Asaph, and jeduthun, and Heman. That here, by the òַìÎéְãֵé referring to äַîֶּìֶêְ and the three following names, David appears co-ordinated with the three song-masters, is explained by his having co-operated With them in the first arrangement and institution of the service of song.

1Ch_25:7. And their number…all that were cunning, were two hundred eighty and eight. This total of 288, or 24 x 12, as the sequel (1Ch_25:9 ff.) shows, is explained by this, that each of the twenty-four (4 + 6 + 14) sons of Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman, with, his eleven “brethren,” not his nearest kindred, but rather his companions in calling, was incorporated into one class or choir of twelve musicians, so that thus there were twenty-four such dodecades. These 288 musicians were designated “all the cunning” ( ëָּìÎäַîֵּáִéï ), as by instruction and practice they were entrusted with the art of sacred singing, and were able to train the great body of singers (the 4000 who, 1Ch_25:8, are distinguished from them as “scholars,” úַּìְîִéãִéí ).

1Ch_25:8. And they cast lots for the charge, âּåֹøָìåֹú îִùְׁîֶøֶú , properly, “lots of service” ( êëÞñïõò ἐöçìåñéῶí , Sept.).—The small as the great, the teacher with the scholar. To ìְòֻîַּú belongs ëַּ÷ָּèֹï ëַּâָּãåֹì as genitive: “ in the way of as the small so the great” (comp. Ecc_5:15 and Ew. § 360, a.). The repetition of a îִùְׁîֶøֶú after ìְòֻîַּú , which some mss. present, and some Rabbinical expositors, as Raschi and Kimchi, demand, is an unnecessary attempt to amend and interpret. The passage says that the whole of the Levites destined for the service of song, the leaders as well as the choristers, the 288 îֵáִéðִéí as well as the 3712 úַּìְîִéãִéí , were chosen by lot; and so the regularly exchanging classes, or ἐöçìåñßáé , included both kinds of singers.

1Ch_25:9-31. The Result of the Lot.—And the first lot came out for Asaph to Joseph, literally, “for Asaph, (namely) for Joseph” his son. The ìְ “for” or “on,” is usually omitted in the following. For the question whether the words “his son and his brethren twelve” (or, “he and his sons and his brethren”—together—“twelve”), which stand after the following twenty-three names, have fallen out after ìְéåֹñֵó , or were intentionally omitted, see Crit. Note.

1Ch_25:11. The fourth to Izri, his sons. This Izri is called Zeri in 1Ch_25:3, as several other names in this list vary in spelling and form from those in 1Ch_25:2-4,—namely, Nethanjahu and Hananjahu, 1Ch_25:12; 1Ch_25:23 (for Nethaniah, Hananiah, 1Ch_25:2; 1Ch_25:4); Hashabiah, 1Ch_25:19 (for Hashabjahu, 1Ch_25:3); Jesharelah, 1Ch_25:14 (for Asharelah, 1Ch_25:2); Azarel, 1Ch_25:18 (for Uzziel, 1Ch_25:4; comp. the various forms of the royal name Uzziah-Azariah, 1Ch_3:12; 2Ch_26:1); Shubael, 1Ch_25:20 (for Shebuel, 1Ch_25:4); Jeremoth, 1Ch_25:22 (for Jerimoth, 1Ch_25:4); Elijathah, 1Ch_25:27 (for Eliathah, 1Ch_25:4). For the absence of Shimi, 1Ch_25:17, in the former list, see on 1Ch_25:3. The various deviations in the spelling and formation of the names deepen the impression of the historical character, for which the whole account of singing-classes vouches. That of the twenty-four names of the leaders only one, that of Mattithiah, 1Ch_25:21, occurs elsewhere (1Ch_15:18; 1Ch_15:21, in the account of the removal of the ark), proves nothing against the credibility of the present double list, the arbitrary invention of which would be far more difficult to conceive than the assumption of its resting on ancient and genuine documents.

With regard to the series of names in 1Ch_25:9-31, what is remarked by Keil suffices for its explanation :—“The series is so determined by lot, that the four sons of Asaph hold the first, third, fifth, and seventh places; the six sons of Jeduthun, the second, fourth, eighth, tenth, twelfth, and fourteenth places; lastly, the four sons of Heman mentioned in 1Ch_25:4, the sixth, ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth places; and the remaining places, 15–24, fall to the remaining sons of Heman. Hence it follows that the lots of the sons of the three song-masters were not put in separate urns, and one lot drawn from each urn in succession, but all the lots were united in one urn, and, in drawing, the lots of Asaph and Jeduthun so came out, that after the fourteenth drawing only the sons of Heman remained.” This simple explanation of the order of the names is certainly preferable to the artificial assumption of Bertheau, that “two series of seven each were first put in the urns, and one drawn from each of these alternately, and then the remaining ten sons of Heman were put in.”