1 Chronicles 23

The Levites

1 When David was old and full of years, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.
2 He also gathered together all the leaders of Israel, as well as the priests and Levites.
3 The Levites thirty years old or more were counted, and the total number of men was thirty-eight thousand.
4 David said, “Of these, twenty-four thousand are to be in charge of the work of the temple of the LORD and six thousand are to be officials and judges.
5 Four thousand are to be gatekeepers and four thousand are to praise the LORD with the musical instruments I have provided for that purpose.”
6 David separated the Levites into divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.


7 Belonging to the Gershonites: Ladan and Shimei.
8 The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the first, Zetham and Joel—three in all.
9 The sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, Haziel and Haran—three in all. These were the heads of the families of Ladan.
10 And the sons of Shimei: Jahath, Ziza,[a] Jeush and Beriah. These were the sons of Shimei—four in all.
11 Jahath was the first and Ziza the second, but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons; so they were counted as one family with one assignment.


12 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel—four in all.
13 The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was set apart, he and his descendants forever, to consecrate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices before the LORD, to minister before him and to pronounce blessings in his name forever.
14 The sons of Moses the man of God were counted as part of the tribe of Levi.
15 The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer.
16 The descendants of Gershom: Shubael was the first.
17 The descendants of Eliezer: Rehabiah was the first. Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous.
18 The sons of Izhar: Shelomith was the first.
19 The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth.
20 The sons of Uzziel: Micah the first and Ishiah the second.


21 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish.
22 Eleazar died without having sons: he had only daughters. Their cousins, the sons of Kish, married them.
23 The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth—three in all.
24 These were the descendants of Levi by their families—the heads of families as they were registered under their names and counted individually, that is, the workers twenty years old or more who served in the temple of the LORD.
25 For David had said, “Since the LORD, the God of Israel, has granted rest to his people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever,
26 the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the articles used in its service.”
27 According to the last instructions of David, the Levites were counted from those twenty years old or more.
28 The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the LORD: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God.
29 They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size.
30 They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening
31 and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the LORD on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the LORD regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.
32 And so the Levites carried out their responsibilities for the tent of meeting, for the Holy Place and, under their relatives the descendants of Aaron, for the service of the temple of the LORD.

1 Chronicles 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

David declares Solomon his successor. (1-23) The office of the Levites. (24-32)

Verses 1-23 David, having given charge concerning the building of the temple, settles the method of the temple service, and orders the officers of it. When those of the same family were employed together, it would engage them to love and assist one another.

Verses 24-32 Now the people of Israel were so many, there should be more employed in the temple service, that every Israelite who brought an offering might find a Levite ready to help him. When more work is to be done, it is pity but there should be more workmen. A new heart, a spiritual mind, which delights greatly in God's commandments, and can find a refreshing feast in his ordinances, forms the great distinction between the true Christian and all other men in the world. To the spiritual man every service will yield satisfaction. He will be ever abounding in the work of the Lord; being never so happy as when employed for such a good Master, in so pleasant a service. He will not regard whether he is called to take the lead, or to keep the charge of others who are placed over him. May we seek and serve the Lord uprightly, and leave all the rest to his disposal, by faith in his word.

Cross References 40

  • 1. 1 Kings 1:33-39; 1 Chronicles 22:9; 1 Chronicles 28:5; 2 Chronicles 1:8
  • 2. S 1 Kings 1:30; 1 Chronicles 29:28
  • 3. ver 24; Numbers 8:24
  • 4. 1 Chronicles 21:7
  • 5. Numbers 4:3-49
  • 6. Ezra 3:8
  • 7. 2 Chronicles 34:13; Nehemiah 4:10
  • 8. 1 Chronicles 26:29; 2 Chronicles 19:8; Ezekiel 44:24
  • 9. S 1 Chronicles 15:16; Psalms 92:3
  • 10. Nehemiah 12:45
  • 11. 2 Chronicles 8:14; 2 Chronicles 23:18; 2 Chronicles 29:25
  • 12. S Numbers 3:17; 1 Chronicles 24:20
  • 13. 1 Chronicles 6:71
  • 14. S Genesis 46:11; S Exodus 6:18
  • 15. Exodus 6:20; Exodus 28:1
  • 16. Exodus 30:7-10; Deuteronomy 21:5
  • 17. S 1 Chronicles 15:2
  • 18. S Numbers 6:23
  • 19. Deuteronomy 33:1
  • 20. Exodus 18:4
  • 21. 1 Chronicles 26:24-28
  • 22. 1 Chronicles 24:21
  • 23. 1 Chronicles 26:25
  • 24. 1 Chronicles 24:23; 1 Chronicles 26:31
  • 25. S 1 Chronicles 6:19; 1 Chronicles 24:26
  • 26. S Exodus 6:19
  • 27. Numbers 36:8
  • 28. S Numbers 4:3; Numbers 10:17,21
  • 29. S 1 Chronicles 22:9
  • 30. Numbers 4:5,15; Numbers 7:9; Deuteronomy 10:8
  • 31. 2 Chronicles 29:15; Nehemiah 13:9; Malachi 3:3
  • 32. S Exodus 25:30
  • 33. Leviticus 2:4-7; Leviticus 6:20-23
  • 34. Leviticus 19:35-36; S 1 Chronicles 9:29,32
  • 35. S 1 Chronicles 9:33; Psalms 134:1
  • 36. S 2 Kings 4:23
  • 37. Leviticus 23:4; Nu 28:9-29:39; Isaiah 1:13-14; Colossians 2:16
  • 38. Numbers 1:53; 1 Chronicles 6:48
  • 39. Nu 3:6-8,38
  • 40. 2 Chronicles 23:18; 2 Chronicles 31:2; Ezekiel 44:14

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. One Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint and Vulgate (see also verse 11); most Hebrew manuscripts "Zina"

Chapter Summary


In this chapter David makes Solomon king, 1Ch 23:1, calls together the princes, priests, and Levites, numbers the latter, and assigns them their proper work, 1Ch 23:2-5, divides them into three classes, 1Ch 23:6-23, when the number of them was taken from twenty years of age, and upwards; the reasons of which are given, partly from the rest the land enjoyed, and partly from the several branches of their work and office in the temple, 1Ch 23:24-32.

1 Chronicles 23 Commentaries

Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.