For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For by the last words of David.—That is, owing to his last commands. So Vulg. (juxta praecepta David novissima) and Syriac.
The Levites were numbered.—Literally, these (are), i.e., according to the later idiom, this (is) the enumeration of the sons of Levi, from twenty years old and upward. The verse seems to mean that David towards the end of his reign instituted a census of Levites from twenty instead of thirty years old. Thus, the Authorised Version gives the sense. Others render, For in the Last words (i.e., records) of David is the number of the sons of Levi from twenty, &c., as if the chronicler were referring to some historical work in which this special census was recorded. (Comp. 1Chronicles 29:29. ) The verse is a parenthetic remark of the chronicler, interrupting the speech of David, which, however, is resumed in 1Chronicles 23:28, and continued to the end of the chapter.1 Chronicles 23:27. By the last words of David — By his last order and constitution, made by God’s direction, and by the Holy Spirit. This is here added to signify, that this great affair was thus settled by David, not in his younger years, when it might have been thought to have been the effect of youthful heat, presumption, and rashness, but when he was come to the greatest maturity, when he was old and near his death, and going to give up his account to his Lord and Maker of all his actions, and particularly of the alterations which he made in the service of God, which he declared was done by the Spirit of God. These were, in a manner, his dying words, which usually make the deepest impression.1 Chronicles 27:24; 1 Chronicles 29:29). Others suppose that he left behind him a work containing directions for the service of the sanctuary.
24-27. These were the sons of Levi … that did the work … from the age of twenty years and upward—The enumeration of the Levites was made by David (1Ch 23:3) on the same rule as that followed by Moses (Nu 4:3), namely, from thirty years. But he saw afterwards that this rule might be beneficially relaxed, and that the enrolment of Levites for their proper duties might be made from twenty years of age. The ark and tabernacle being now stationary at Jerusalem, the labor of the Levites was greatly diminished, as they were no longer obliged to transport its heavy furniture from place to place. The number of thirty-eight thousand Levites, exclusive of priests, was doubtless more than sufficient for the ordinary service of the tabernacle. But this pious king thought that it would contribute to the glory of the Lord to employ as many officers in his divine service as possible. These first rules, however, which David instituted, were temporary, as very different arrangements were made after the ark had been deposited in the tabernacle of Zion.By the last words of David; by his last order and constitution, made by God’s direction and by the Spirit, as hath been once and again noted and proved before. This is here added, to signify that this great affair was thus settled by David, not in his younger years, when it might have been thought to be the effect of youthful heat, and confidence, and presumption, and rashness; but when he was come to the greatest maturity, when he was old and near his death, and going to give up his account to his Lord and Maker of all his actions, and particularly of the alterations which he made in the service of God; which he declared was done by the Spirit of God. These were in a manner his dying words, which usually make the deepest impressions. For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. by the last words of David, the Levites were numbered, from twenty etc.] Render, in the Last Acts of Davit is contained the number of the sons of Levi from twenty years old and upward.Verse 27. - The... words of David. Although there are many instances of the expression, "the words of" David or some other king, as equivalent to his "doings" (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29), and not a few instances of the same phrase, standing for the "account" or "history' of any one (1 Chronicles 27:24; 1 Chronicles 29:29, three times; 2 Chronicles 9:29), the expression here may rather parallel passages like 2 Samuel 23:1; 2 Chronicles 29:30. 1 Chronicles 23:21. As in 1 Chronicles 6:19; Exodus 6:19, and Numbers 3:33, two sons of Merari are mentioned-Mahli and Mushi-who founded the two families of Merari which existed in the time of Moses. Mahli had two sons, Eleazar and Kish; the first of whom, however, left behind him at his death only daughters, who were married to the sons of Kish (אחיהם, i.e., their cousins), according to the law as to daughters who were heiresses (Numbers 26:6-9). The descendants of Mahli, therefore, were comprehended in the one father's-house of Kish, whose head at that time (1 Chronicles 24:29) was Jerahmeel.
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