|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:1-31 The divisions of the priests and Levites. - When every one has, knows, and keeps his place and work, the more there are the better. In the mystical body of Christ, every member has its use, for the good of the whole. Christ is High Priest over the house of God, to whom all believers, being made priests, are to be in subjection. In Christ, no difference is made between bond and free, elder and younger. The younger brethren, if faithful and sincere, shall be no less acceptable to Christ than the fathers. May we all be children of the Lord, fitted to sing his praises for ever in his temple above.
Verses 26-29. We now pass from the Kohath family to that of Merari. For the oft-repeated Mahli and Mushi, they belonged to the time of Moses (Exodus 6:19; Numbers 3:33). The elder of these, Mahli, as already seen in 1 Chronicles 23:21, 22, had two sons, Eleazar and Kish, the sons of the latter of whom took the daughters of Eleazar, who had no sons, and thus kept only one house surviving, the head of which was (ver. 29) Jerahmeel. This would seem to complete all that needs to be said of the Mahli line. Meantime, however, we are confronted by the contents of the latter half of our ver. 26 and ver. 27. These purport to give, amid some confusion of expression, sons of Merari by Jaaziah his son (Beno). No anterior authority, however, can be found for this Jaaziah. Neither of him nor of any of the three names (omitting Beno, which is evidently to be translated "his son") here linked on to his, is anything known. While we accept the text as it at present is, we have an additional branch with three families to add to the account of Merari - the branch of Jaaziah, the three families of Shoham, Zaeeur, Ibri. Even so we have in ver. 27 to obliterate arbitrarily the conjunction van, prefixed to the name Shoham. Under these circumstances, Keil impatiently rejects these clauses altogether, as an interpolation, though one of which he can give no account, and adds up, in consequence, the families of Levi (exclusive of the priests) to twenty-two instead of the unexplained twenty-five of the present text. On the other hand, Bertheau retains the present reading, and accepts Jaaziah as a third branch of the family of Merari. If this were so, it is surprising that nowhere else is room found for the slightest mention of Jaaziah, nor any other mention of these supposed descendants.
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