And to offer all burnt sacrifices to the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded to them, continually before the LORD:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And to offer all burnt sacrifices.—Rather, And over all offering of burnt offerings. The Levites had to select and prepare the victims, the priests offered them, when ready, upon the altar. The Levites had to do this “by number,” i.e., according to the several numbers prescribed by the Law for each occasion. (See Numbers 28)
According to the order commanded unto them.—According to the rule concerning them: i.e., concerning the sacrifices.
Continually.—Heb., tamîd, the technical term in connection with the burnt offerings, which regularly recurred at stated times, e.g., a lamb was offered morning and evening. (Comp. Numbers 28:6.)2 Chronicles 29:34; 2 Chronicles 35:11-12.
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.Commanded unto them, i.e. unto those persons, the Levites, of whom he speaks. Or, concerning them, i.e. about those things.
in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number; because, besides the daily sacrifices, there were additional offerings at those times:
according to the order commanded unto them continually before the Lord; see Numbers 28:1.And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)31. to offer] The Levites’ duty was to give any help short of actually offering the victim on the altar and sprinkling the blood. See 2 Chronicles 29:21-27; 2 Chronicles 30:16-17; 2 Chronicles 35:10-11.
the set feasts] i.e. the three yearly feasts; Exodus 23:14-17.
by number, according to the order commanded unto them] R.V, in number according to the ordinance concerning them. The words refer not to the Levites (A.V.), but to the sacrifices (R.V.).Verse 31. - And to offer; Hebrew, "and for all the offering of burnt offerings." For other references to the help which the Levites gave in the matter of the burnt offerings, and for the number (2 Samuel 2:15; Numbers 28:1-31) of them, see Numbers 29:2-34; 2 Chronicles 29:32-34; 2 Chronicles 35:2-12. The priests alone performed the actual sacrifices. The set feasts. These refer to the three:
(1) the Passover (Leviticus 23:4, 5);
(2) the Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-17);
(3) the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-37). 1 Chronicles 23:24. "These (the just enumerated) are the sons of Levi according to their fathers'-houses, according to those who were counted (Numbers 1:21.; Exodus 30:14) in the enumeration by name (Numbers 1:18; Numbers 3:43), by the head, performing the work for the service of the house of Jahve, from the men of twenty years and upwards." המּלאכה עשׂה is not singular, but plural, as in 2 Chronicles 24:12; 2 Chronicles 34:10, 2 Chronicles 34:13; Exodus 3:9; Nehemiah 2:16, cf. 2 Chronicles 11:1. It occurs along with עשׁי, with a similar meaning and in a like position, 2 Chronicles 24:13; 2 Chronicles 34:17; Nehemiah 11:12; Nehemiah 13:10. It is only another way of writing עשׁי, and the same form is found here and there in other words; cf. Ew. 16, b. The statement that the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and upwards is accounted for in 1 Chronicles 23:25 thus: David said, The Lord has given His people rest, and He dwells in Jerusalem; and the Levites also have no longer to bear the dwelling (tabernacle) with all its vessels. From this, of course, it results that they had not any longer to do such heavy work as during the march through the wilderness, and so might enter upon their service even at the age of twenty. In 1 Chronicles 23:27 a still further reason is given: "For by the last words of David was this, (viz.) the numbering of the sons of Levi from twenty years old and upwards." There is a difference of opinion as to how העחרונים דויד בּדברי are to be understood. Bertheau translates, with Kimchi, "in the later histories of David are the number equals the numbered," and adduces in support of his translation 1 Chronicles 29:29, whence it is clear that by "the later histories of David" a part of a historical work is meant. But the passage quoted does not prove this. In the formula והאחרנים והאחרנים דּברי... (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29; 2 Chronicles 12:15; 2 Chronicles 16:11, etc.), which recurs at the end of each king's reign, דּברי denotes not historiae, in the sense of a history, but res gestae, which are recorded in the writings named. In accordance with this, therefore, דויד דּברי cannot denote writings of David, but only words or things ( equals deeds); but the Levites who were numbered could not be in the acts of David. We must rather translate according to 2 Chronicles 29:30 and 2 Samuel 23:1. In the latter passage דויד דּברי are the last words (utterances) of David, and in the former דויד בּדּברי, "by the words of David," i.e., according to the commands or directions of David. In this way, Cler. and Mich., with the Vulg. juxta praecepta, have already correctly translated the words: "according to the last commands of David." המּה is nowhere found in the signification sunt as the mere copula of the subject and verb, but is everywhere an independent predicate, and is here to be taken, according to later linguistic usage, as neutr. sing. (cf. Ew. 318, b): "According to the last commands of David, this," i.e., this was done, viz., the numbering of the Levites from twenty years and upwards. From this statement, from twenty years and upwards, which is so often repeated, and for which the reasons are so given, it cannot be doubtful that the statement in 1 Chronicles 23:3, "from thirty years and upwards," is incorrect, and that, as has been already remarked on 1 Chronicles 23:3, שׁלשׁים has crept into the text by an error of the copyist, who was thinking of the Mosaic census.
(Note: The explanation adopted from Kimchi by the older Christian commentators, e.g., by J. H. Mich., is an untenable makeshift. It is to this effect: that David first numbered the Levites from thirty years old and upwards, according to the law (Numbers 4:3; Numbers 23:30), but that afterwards, when he saw that those of twenty years of age were in a position to perform the duties, lightened as they were by its being no longer necessary for the Levites to bear the sanctuary from place to place, he included all from twenty years of age in a second census, taken towards the end of his life; cf. 1 Chronicles 23:27. Against this Bertheau has already rightly remarked that the census of the Levites gave the number at 38,000 (1 Chronicles 23:3), and these 38,000 and no others were installed; it is nowhere said that this number was not sufficient, or that the arrangements based upon this number (1 Chronicles 23:4, 1 Chronicles 23:5) had no continued existence. He is, however, incorrect in his further remark, that the historian clearly enough is desirous of calling attention to the fact that here a statement is made which is different from the former, for of this there is no trace; the contrary, indeed, is manifest. Since אלּה (1 Chronicles 23:24) refers back to the just enumerated fathers'-houses of the Levites, and 1 Chronicles 23:24 consequently forms the subscription to the preceding register, the historian thereby informs us plainly enough that he does not communicate here a statement different from the former, but only concludes that which he has formerly communicated. We cannot very well see how, from the fact that he here for the first time adduces the motive which determined David to cause the Levites from twenty years old and upwards to be numbered and employed in the service, it follows that he derived this statement of David's motive from a source different from that account which he has hitherto made use of. Nor would it be more manifest if 1 Chronicles 23:27 contained - as it does not contain - a reference to the source from which he derived this statement.)
In 1 Chronicles 23:28-32 we have, in the enumeration of the duties which the Levites had to perform, another ground for the employment of those from twenty years old and upwards in actual service.
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