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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
The divisions of the porters, 1 Chronicles 26:1-12. The gates assigned to them, 1 Chronicles 26:13-19. Those who were over the treasures, 1 Chronicles 26:20-28. Different officers, 1 Chronicles 26:29-32.
1Concerning the divisions of the porters: Of the Korhites was Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph.
The divisions of the porters - There were four classes of these, each of which belonged to one of the four gates of the temple, which opened to the four cardinal points of heaven. The eastern gate fell to Shelemiah; the northern, to Zechariah, 1 Chronicles 26:14; the southern, to Obed-edom, 1 Chronicles 26:15; the western, to Shuppim and Hosah, 1 Chronicles 26:16. These several persons were captains of these porter-bands or door-keepers at the different gates. There were probably a thousand men under each of these captains; as we find, from 1 Chronicles 23:5, that there were four thousand in all.
2And the sons of Meshelemiah were, Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth,
3Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Elioenai the seventh.
4Moreover the sons of Obededom were, Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, and Sacar the fourth, and Nethaneel the fifth,
5Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth: for God blessed him.
For God blessed him - "That is, Obed-edom; because of the ark of the Lord which was in his house; and to him was given the honor that he should see his children and grand-children, even fourscore and two, masters of the Levites." - T. In 1 Chronicles 26:8, we have only sixty-two mentioned.
6Also unto Shemaiah his son were sons born, that ruled throughout the house of their father: for they were mighty men of valour.
They were mighty men of valor - They were not only porters or door-keepers in the ordinary sense of the word, but they were a military guard for the gates: and perhaps in this sense alone we are to understand their office.
7The sons of Shemaiah; Othni, and Rephael, and Obed, Elzabad, whose brethren were strong men, Elihu, and Semachiah.
8All these of the sons of Obededom: they and their sons and their brethren, able men for strength for the service, were threescore and two of Obededom.
9And Meshelemiah had sons and brethren, strong men, eighteen.
10Also Hosah, of the children of Merari, had sons; Simri the chief, (for though he was not the firstborn, yet his father made him the chief;)
11Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth: all the sons and brethren of Hosah were thirteen.
12Among these were the divisions of the porters, even among the chief men, having wards one against another, to minister in the house of the LORD.
The rest of this chapter, with the whole of the 28th, is wanting both in the Syriac and Arabic.
13And they cast lots, as well the small as the great, according to the house of their fathers, for every gate.
They cast lots - for every gate - None of these captains or their companies were permitted to choose which gate they would guard, but each took his appointment by lot.
14And the lot eastward fell to Shelemiah. Then for Zechariah his son, a wise counseller, they cast lots; and his lot came out northward.
15To Obededom southward; and to his sons the house of Asuppim.
The house of Asuppim - The house of the collections; the place where either the supplies of the porters, or the offerings made for the use of the priests and Levites, were laid up.
16To Shuppim and Hosah the lot came forth westward, with the gate Shallecheth, by the causeway of the going up, ward against ward.
The gate Shallecheth - The gate of the projections: probably that through which all the offal of the temple was carried out.
17Eastward were six Levites, northward four a day, southward four a day, and toward Asuppim two and two.
Eastward were six Levites - It is supposed that there were more guards set at this eastern gate, because it was more frequented than the others. At each of the other gates were only four; at this, six.
18At Parbar westward, four at the causeway, and two at Parbar.
19These are the divisions of the porters among the sons of Kore, and among the sons of Merari.
20And of the Levites, Ahijah was over the treasures of the house of God, and over the treasures of the dedicated things.
The treasures of the house of God - Where the money was kept, which was to be expended in oblations for the temple. - Jarchi.
21As concerning the sons of Laadan; the sons of the Gershonite Laadan, chief fathers, even of Laadan the Gershonite, were Jehieli.
22The sons of Jehieli; Zetham, and Joel his brother, which were over the treasures of the house of the LORD.
23Of the Amramites, and the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites:
24And Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was ruler of the treasures.
Shebuel the son of Gershom - "Shebuel, that is, Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, who returned to God [שבואל shebuel]. And David, seeing him expert in money matters, constituted him chief treasurer." - T.
25And his brethren by Eliezer; Rehabiah his son, and Jeshaiah his son, and Joram his son, and Zichri his son, and Shelomith his son.
26Which Shelomith and his brethren were over all the treasures of the dedicated things, which David the king, and the chief fathers, the captains over thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the host, had dedicated.
27Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the LORD.
The spoils won in battles did they dedicate - It seems these were intended for its repairs. This custom prevailed amongst almost all the people of the earth. All who acknowledged any supreme Being, believed that victory could only come through him; and therefore thought it quite rational to give him a share of the spoils. Proofs of this exist in all ancient histories: thus Virgil: -
Irruimus ferro, et divos, ipsumque vocamus
In partem praedamque Jovem.
Aen. iii., ver. 222.
"With weapons we the welcome prey invade:
Then call the gods for partners of our feast,
And Jove himself, the chief invited guest."
On this passage Servius observes:
Ipsum vocamus. Ipsum regem deorum, cui de praeda debetur aliquid: nam Romanis moris fuit, ut bella gessuri de parte praedae aliquid numinibus pollicerentur: adeo ut Romae fuerit unum templum Jovis Praedatoris: non quod praedae praeest, sed quod ei ex praeda aliquid debeatur.
"Jupiter himself, the king of the gods, to whom a portion of the prey was due: for it was a custom among the Romans, when entering on a war, to promise some part of the prey to their deities. And there was a temple at Rome dedicated to Jupiter Praedator, not because he presided over the prey, but because a part of the prey was due to him."
28And all that Samuel the seer, and Saul the son of Kish, and Abner the son of Ner, and Joab the son of Zeruiah, had dedicated; and whosoever had dedicated any thing, it was under the hand of Shelomith, and of his brethren.
29Of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were for the outward business over Israel, for officers and judges.
Outward business - Work done without the city; cutting of timber, hewing stones, ploughing the fields belonging to the sanctuary. - Jarchi.
30And of the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his brethren, men of valour, a thousand and seven hundred, were officers among them of Israel on this side Jordan westward in all the business of the LORD, and in the service of the king.
In all the business of the Lord - Every thing that concerned ecclesiastical matters.
In the service of the king - Every thing that concerned civil affairs: see also 1 Chronicles 26:32.
Thus courts of ecclesiastical and civil judicature were established in the land; and due care taken to preserve and insure the peace of the Church, and the safety of the state; without which the public welfare could neither be secured nor promoted. Whatever affects religion in any country, must affect the state or government of that country: true religion alone can dispose men to civil obedience. Therefore, it is the interest of every state to protect and encourage religion. It would certainly be ruinous to true religion, to make the state dependent on the Church; nor should the Church be dependent on the state. Let them mutually support each other; and let the state rule by the laws, and the Church live by the Bible.
31Among the Hebronites was Jerijah the chief, even among the Hebronites, according to the generations of his fathers. In the fortieth year of the reign of David they were sought for, and there were found among them mighty men of valour at Jazer of Gilead.
32And his brethren, men of valour, were two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers, whom king David made rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.