And he commanded them, saying, this is the thing that ye shall
These were the rulers over hundreds among the priests and Levites, and which he, as high priest, could command, and whom he could convene without suspicion, being such as he had a connection with, and were unarmed men: and for the better understanding of what follows, it should be observed, that the priests, in the times of David, were divided into twenty four courses, which were by turns to serve a week in the temple; the course that came in entered when the sabbath began, and that which went out went out when it ended, and each course consisted of a thousand men: now with respect to both these courses, both that which went in and that which went out, Jehoiada gave them the following charge:
a third part of you that enter in on the sabbath;
on the beginning of it, to do duty in the temple the week following:
shall even be keepers of the watch of the king's house,
which, according to some, was that part of the temple where the king was hid and brought up, supposed to be the north part of it: or rather these were set at the north gate of the temple, which led to the royal palace, lest any should rush out of that, and kill the king.