1 Chronicles 23-26: Levite Duties

Not only did David gather materials for building the Temple, he began preparing the Levites for the shift that they would experience regarding worship.

Introduction

The next few chapters of 1 Chronicles is devoted to the duties of the priesthood. Not only did David gather materials for building the Temple, he began preparing the Levites for the shift that they would experience regarding worship. Once the Temple was set in Jerusalem, the Israelites would have a specific place of worship and enemies would have a specific location to attack. This would have a major effect on how the Levites were to carry out their duties. David sets up offices and divisions to carry out musical praise, guard duty, and more.
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Number of Levites

Perhaps to remind the audience of who the Levites were, 1 Chronicles 23 gives the genealogy of the Levites, starting with Levi and his sons. Following the descendants Merari, Kohath, and Gershon, we are reminded of important Levites, as well as, introduced to Levites that are given duties by David. Much of the genealogy can be found in Numbers and Exodus.

David's illegal census allowed the number of Levites present in Israel to be counted, and we are told there were 38,000 men. Of these men, 24,000 were to perform the general work for God's House. 6,000 men were made officers and judges. 4,000 were assigned to be porters or guards, while another 4,000 were assigned to be musicians. Musicians were required to perform daily before the Ark.

Aaron's Sons

Aaron had 4 sons, but 2 of them died for committing sin in the holy place (of all places!). Thus, the priestly lineage spanned only from the two living sons: Eleazar and Ithamar. The legitimacy of these two lines led to the establishment of two high priests, Zadok and Ahimelech, because they both had rightful claim to the title.

We are told that Eleazar had more chief men in his lineage, and Ithamar only had half of that number. Due to this imbalance, David assigned lots and shifts at the tabernacle with size in consideration. The priests were assigned shifts to take up their duties at the Temple, based on the lots they were given.
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Musicians

Photocredit: Unsplash.com/Mariusz Prusaczyk
Many Levites were assigned to provide music for the Lord in praise. There are three families specifically placed in charge of the music: those of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun. One family plays the harp (or something similar—it's generally referred to as a psaltry)[1], another family plays the cymbals, and the final family plays the trumpet. This number of men assigned to this task is very large and shows the importance of music in worship.
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Porters (Gatekeepers)

Chapter 26 gives details on the divisions of the porters or gatekeepers. These men were responsible for protecting the holy objects and kept guard at the gates leading to the Temple. Assignments were given by casting lots for which division would guard which gate. Most of the people assigned to guard the fate were from the Levite tribes of Merari and Kohath.
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Other Duties

The Gershonites, on the other hand, were assigned to keep watch over the treasury. Another group of Levites was also assigned to administering the law and presiding as judges over the people.
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References

  1. "Psaltery". BibleStudyTools.com; visited February 2017

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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