The offices of the Levites.
- The porters and treasurers of the temple, had occasion for strength and valour to oppose those who wrongly attempted to enter the sanctuary, and to guard the sacred treasures. Much was expended daily upon the altar; flour, wine, oil, salt, fuel, beside the lamps; quantities of these were kept beforehand, besides the sacred vestments and utensils. These were the treasures of the house of God. These treasures typified the plenty there is in our heavenly Father's house, enough and to spare. From those sacred treasuries, the unsearchable riches of Christ, all our wants are supplied; and receiving from his fulness, we must give him the glory, and endeavour to dispose of our abilities and substance according to his will. We have an account of those employed as officers and judges. The magistracy is an ordinance of God for the good of the church, as truly as the ministry, and must not be neglected. None of the Levites who were employed in the service of the sanctuary, none of the singers or porters, were concerned in this outward business; one duty was enough to engage the whole man. Wisdom, courage, strength of faith, holy affections, and constancy of mind in doing our duty, are requisite or useful for every station.
1 Chronicles 26:1-12 . DIVISIONS OF THE PORTERS.
1, 2. Concerning the divisions of the porters--There were four thousand ( 1 Chronicles 23:6 ), all taken from the families of the Kohathites and Merarites ( 1 Chronicles 26:14 ), divided into twenty-four courses--as the priests and musicians.
Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph--Seven sons of Meshelemiah are mentioned ( 1 Chronicles 26:2 ), whereas eighteen are given ( 1 Chronicles 26:9 ), but in this latter number his relatives are included.
5. God blessed him--that is, Obed-edom. The occasion of the blessing was his faithful custody of the ark ( 2 Samuel 6:11 2 Samuel 6:12 ). The nature of the blessing ( Psalms 127:5 ) consisted in the great increase of progeny by which his house was distinguished; seventy-two descendants are reckoned.
6. mighty men of valour--The circumstance of physical strength is prominently noticed in this chapter, as the office of the porters required them not only to act as sentinels of the sacred edifice and its precious furniture against attacks of plunderers or popular insurrection--to be, in fact, a military guard--but, after the temple was built, to open and shut the gates, which were extraordinarily large and ponderous.
10. Simri the chief . . . though . . . not the first-born--probably because the family entitled to the right of primogeniture had died out, or because there were none of the existing families which could claim that right.
12. Among these were the divisions of the porters, even among the chief men--These were charged with the duty of superintending the watches, being heads of the twenty-four courses of porters.
1 Chronicles 26:13-19 . THE GATES ASSIGNED BY LOT.
13. they cast lots--Their departments of duty, such as the gates they should attend to, were allotted in the same manner as those of the other Levitical bodies, and the names of the chiefs or captains are given, with the respective gates assigned them.
15. the house of Asuppim--or, "collections," probably a storehouse, where were kept the grain, wine, and other offerings for the sustenance of the priests.
16. the gate Shallecheth--probably the rubbish gate, through which all the accumulated filth and sweepings of the temple and its courts were poured out.
by the causeway of the going up--probably the ascending road which was cast up or raised from the deep valley between Mount Zion and Moriah, for the royal egress to the place of worship ( 2 Chronicles 9:4 ).
ward against ward--Some refer these words to Shuppim and Hosah, whose duty it was to watch both the western gate and the gate Shallecheth, which was opposite, while others take it as a general statement applicable to all the guards, and intended to intimate that they were posted at regular distances from each other, or that they all mounted and relieved guard at the same time in uniform order.
17-19. Eastward were six Levites--because the gate there was the most frequented. There were four at the north gate; four at the south, at the storehouse which was adjoining the south, and which had two entrance gates, one leading in a southwesterly direction to the city, and the other direct west, two porters each. At the Parbar towards the west, there were six men posted--four at the causeway or ascent ( 1 Chronicles 26:16 ), and two at Parbar, amounting to twenty-four in all, who were kept daily on guard.
18. Parbar--is, perhaps, the same as Parvar ("suburbs," 2 Kings 23:11 ), and if so, this gate might be so called as leading to the suburbs [CALMET].
1 Chronicles 26:20-28 . LEVITES THAT HAD CHARGE OF THE TREASURES.
20. of the Levites, Ahijah--The heading of this section is altogether strange as it stands, for it looks as if the sacred historian were going to commence a new subject different from the preceding. Besides, "Ahijah, whose name occurs after" the Levites, is not mentioned in the previous lists. It is totally unknown and is introduced abruptly without further information; and lastly, Ahijah must have united in his own person those very offices of which the occupants are named in the verses that follow. The reading is incorrect. The Septuagint has this very suitable heading, "And their Levitical brethren over the treasures," &c. [BERTHEAU]. The names of those who had charge of the treasure chambers at their respective wards are given, with a general description of the precious things committed to their trust. Those treasures were immense, consisting of the accumulated spoils of Israelitish victories, as well as of voluntary contributions made by David and the representatives of the people.
1 Chronicles 26:29-32 . OFFICERS AND JUDGES.
29. officers and judges--The word rendered "officers" is the term which signifies scribes or secretaries, so that the Levitical class here described were magistrates, who, attended by their clerks, exercised judicial functions; there were six thousand of them ( 1 Chronicles 23:4 ), who probably acted like their brethren on the principle of rotation, and these were divided into three classes--one ( 1 Chronicles 26:29 ) for the outward business over Israel; one ( 1 Chronicles 26:30 ), consisting of seventeen hundred, for the west of Jordan "in all business of the Lord, and in the service of the king"; and the third ( 1 Chronicles 26:31 1 Chronicles 26:32 ), consisting of twenty-seven hundred, "rulers for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king."