1 Chronicles 26 Study Notes
26:1-3 The following list of gatekeepers is limited to the two Levitical clans of Kohath and Merari. Since Asaph the musician belonged to the clan of Gershom (6:39-43), the Asaph mentioned here is a different person. Possibly “Asaph” here should read “Ebiasaph” instead, as it does in the LXX. Compare also “Ebiasaph” at 9:19.
26:4-8 Obed-edom was a gatekeeper by profession, though he joined the musicians during the transport of the ark to Jerusalem (15:21). Now that plans were being set up for permanent duties, he figured prominently among the guards, coming uniquely equipped with a clan of sixty-two family members. Shemaiah, his son, is a different person than Shemaiah the secretary whose father was Nethanel (24:6).
26:9 The sons of Obed-edom are embedded in the discussion of Meshelemiah.
26:10-11 Certain Merarites also served as gatekeepers.
26:12 The Chronicler emphasizes that the service these gatekeepers performed was just as significant as the duties of those who led in worship. Without dedicated gatekeepers, the ministry of the temple could not proceed.
26:13 Rather than dividing the gatekeepers into twenty-four shifts, their assignments were based on which gates they were assigned to guard.
26:14-15 The selection of leaders for each gate was made in the context of family membership, but capability must have been an overriding consideration. In those cases where sons and fathers seemed to be equally qualified, they were not held back because they belonged to the same family. Both son and father were placed in command of their own gates. This was true for Shelemiah and his son Zechariah, as well as for Obed-edom and his sons.
26:16 The Shallecheth was the gate designated for disposal of refuse and materials left over from animal sacrifices.
26:17-19 Guard duty was not limited to the gates of the temple. Obviously the storehouses needed protection, and guards were also installed outside the temple grounds, specifically on the road leading to the temple. The external temple guards could deal with problems outside the temple compound, such as unacceptable sacrificial animals.
26:20-22 The gatekeepers came primarily from the clans of Merari and Kohath. The Gershonites were assigned to watch over the treasuries of the temple. This included guarding temple resources from theft or vandalism, as well as accounting for them and keeping them stored. Ahijah supervised this work. The treasuries included long-term deposits, as well as the funds needed for day-to-day operation of the temple.
26:23-27 When all of these arrangements were made, there still was no temple. David gave money for the cause, and many of his high-ranking officials and military officers also gave to the temple fund. A large share of these contributions was derived from the plunder of various military victories.
26:28 Even before there was any talk of building the temple, the leaders of Israel were dedicating treasures to the tabernacle. The accumulated items went all the way back to the prophet Samuel, King Saul, his commander in chief Abner, David’s general Joab, and David himself.
26:29 One other group of Levites needed to be organized. These were the officers and judges who would enforce the divine law in Israel.
26:30-32 The tribes on the eastern side of the Jordan River—Reubenites . . . Gadites, and half . . . of Manasseh—were already becoming isolated from the rest of Israel. Only at the very end of his reign was David able to provide a suitable teacher for these more remote tribes.