1 Chronicles 23

1 When David got to be an old man, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.
2 At the same time he brought together all the leaders of Israel, the priests, and the Levites.
3 The Levites thirty years and older were counted; the total was 38,000.
4 David sorted them into work groups: "24,000 are in charge of administering worship in the sanctuary; 6,000 are officials and judges
5 4,000 are security guards; and 4,000 are to serve in the orchestra, praising God with instruments that I have provided for praise."
6 David then divided the Levites into groupings named after the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
7 The Gershonites: Ladan and Shimei.
8 The three sons of Ladan: Jehiel, Zetham, and Joel.
9 The three sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran, all heads of the families of Ladan.
10 The four sons of Shimei: Jahath, Ziza, Jeush, and Beriah.
11 Jahath came first, followed by Ziza. Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons so they were counted as one family with one task.
12 The four sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
13 The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was especially ordained to work in the Holy of Holies, to burn incense before God, to serve God and bless his Name always. This was a permanent appointment for Aaron and his sons.
14 Moses and his sons were counted in the tribe of Levi
15 The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer.
16 Shubael was the first son of Gershom.
17 Rehabiah was the first and only son of Eliezer; but though Eliezer had no other sons, Rehabiah had many sons.
18 Shelomith was the first son of Izhar.
19 Hebron had four sons: Jeriah, Amariah, Jahaziel, and Jekameam
20 Uzziel had two sons: Micah and Isshiah.
21 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish
22 Eleazar died without any sons, only daughters. Their cousins, the sons of Kish, married the daughters.
23 Mushi had three sons: Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth.
24 These are the sons of Levi twenty years and older, divided up according to families and heads of families and listed in the work groups that took care of the worship in the sanctuary of God.
25 David said, "Now that the God of Israel has given rest to his people and made Jerusalem his permanent home,
26 the Levites no longer have to carry the Tabernacle and all the furniture required for the work of worship."
27 These last words of David referred only to Levites twenty years old and above.
28 From now on the assigned work of the Levites was to assist Aaron's sons in the work of worship in God's house: maintain courtyards and closets, keep the furniture and utensils of worship clean, take care of any extra work needed in the work of worship,
29 and provide bread for the table and flour for the Meal Offerings and the unraised wafers - all baking and mixing, all measuring and weighing.
30 Also they were to be present for morning prayers, thanking and praising God, for evening prayers,
31 and at the service of Whole-Burnt-Offerings to God on Sabbath, at New Moons, and at all festivals. They were on regular duty to serve God according to their assignment and the required number.
32 In short, the Levites, with the sons of Aaron as their companions in the ministry of holy worship, were responsible for everything that had to do with worship: the place and times and ordering of worship.

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.

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

Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.