- We have an account of Levi in this chapter. The priests and Levites were more concerned than any other Israelites, to preserve their descent clear, and to be able to prove it; because all the honours and privileges of their office depended upon their descent. Now, the Spirit of God calls ministers to their work, without any limit as to the families they came from; and then, as now, though believers and ministers may be very useful to the church, none but our great High Priest can make atonement for sin, nor can any be accepted but through his atonement.
1 Chronicles 6:1-48 . LINE OF THE PRIESTS.
5. Uzzi--It is supposed that, in his days, the high priesthood was, for unrecorded reasons, transferred from Eleazar's family to Ithamar's, in which it continued for several generations.
10. he it is that executed the priest's office in the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem--It is doubtful whether the person in favor of whom this testimony is borne be Johanan or Azariah. If the former, he is the same as Jehoiada, who rendered important public services ( 2 Kings 11 ); if the latter, it refers to the worthy and independent part he acted in resisting the unwarrantable encroachments of Uzziah ( 2 Chronicles 26:17 ).
in the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem--described in this particular manner to distinguish it from the second temple, which was in existence at the time when this history was written.
14. Azariah begat Seraiah--He filled the supreme pontifical office at the destruction of Jerusalem, and, along with his deputy and others, he was executed by Nebuchadnezzar's orders at Riblah ( 2 Kings 25:18 2 Kings 25:21 ). The line of high priests, under the first temple, which from Zadok amounted to twelve, terminated with him.
16-48. The sons of Levi; Gershom, &c.--This repetition (see 1 Chronicles 6:1 ) is made, as the historian here begins to trace the genealogy of the Levitical families who were not priests. The list is a long one, comprising the chiefs or heads of their several families until David's reign, who made a new and different classification of them by courses.
20. Zimmah his son--his grandson ( 1 Chronicles 6:42 ).
24. Uriel--or Zephaniah ( 1 Chronicles 6:36 ).
27. Elkanah--the father of the prophet Samuel ( 1 Samuel 1:1 ).
28. the sons of Samuel--The sons of Samuel are here named Vashni and Abiah. The first-born is called Joel ( 1 Samuel 8:2 ); and this name is given to him in 1 Chronicles 6:33 . It is now generally thought by the best critics that, through an error of the copyists, an omission has been made of the oldest son's name, and that Vashni, which is not the name of a person, merely signifies "and the second." This critical emendation of the text makes all clear, as well as consistent with other passages relating to the family of Samuel.
32. before the dwelling-place, &c.--that is, in the tent which David had erected for receiving the ark after it was removed from the house of Obed-edom [ 2 Samuel 6:17 ]. This was a considerable time before the temple was built.
they waited on their office according to their order--which David, doubtless by the direction of the Holy Spirit, had instituted for the better regulation of divine worship.
33. Shemuel--that is, Samuel. This is the exact representation of the Hebrew name.
39. his brother Asaph--They were brothers naturally, both being descended from Levi, as well as officially, both being of the Levitical order.
42. Ethan--or Jeduthun ( 1 Chronicles 9:16 , 2 Chronicles 35:15 ).
48. Their brethren also the Levites were appointed unto all manner of service--Those of them who were endowed with musical tastes and talents were employed in various other departments of the temple service.
1 Chronicles 6:49-81 . OFFICE OF AARON AND HIS SONS.
49. But Aaron and his sons offered, &c.--The office and duties of the high priests having been already described, the names of those who successively filled that important office are recorded.
60. thirteen cities--No more than eleven are named here; but two additional ones are mentioned ( Joshua 21:16 Joshua 21:17 ), which makes up the thirteen.
61. unto the sons of Kohath, which were left--that is, in addition to the priests belonging to the same family and tribe of Levi.
by lot, ten cities--( Joshua 21:26 ). The sacred historian gives an explanation ( 1 Chronicles 6:66 ). Eight of these are mentioned, but only two of them are taken out of the haft tribe of Manasseh ( 1 Chronicles 6:70 ). The names of the other two are given ( Joshua 21:21 ), where full and detailed notices of these arrangements may be found.
62. to the sons of Gershom--Supply "the children of Israel gave."
67-81. they gave unto them of the cities of refuge--The names of the cities given here are considerably different from those applied to them ( Joshua 21:13-19 ). In the lapse of centuries, and from the revolutions of society, changes might have been expected to take place in the form or dialectic pronunciation of the names of those cities; and this will sufficiently account for the variations that are found in the lists as enumerated here and in an earlier book. As to these cities themselves that were assigned to the Levites, they were widely remote and separated--partly in fulfilment of Jacob's prophecy ( Genesis 49:7 ), and partly that the various districts of the country might obtain a competent supply of teachers who might instruct the people in the knowledge, and animate them to the observance, of a law which had so important a bearing on the promotion both of their private happiness and their national prosperity.