Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Now these are the divisions.—Literally, And for the sons of Aaron, their divisions (were as follows). The sentence forms a superscription to the section (1Chronicles 24:1-19).1 Chronicles 24:1-2. These are the divisions of the sons of Aaron — The several branches into which that family was divided. Therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office — Their brethren being dead, and leaving no issue, they and their sons were the only persons to whom the execution of that office could be committed according to the law.2 Chronicles 29:34; 2 Chronicles 35:11-12.
1Ch 24:1-19. Division of the Sons of Aaron into Four and Twenty Orders.
1. Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron—(See on 1Ch 23:6).The priests are divided by lot into twenty-four orders, 1 Chronicles 24:1-19. Ministers allotted them out of the Levites, out of the tribe of the Kohathites and Merarites, 1 Chronicles 24:20-31.
the sons of Aaron; Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar; 1 Chronicles 6:3, these were the immediate sons of Aaron; but the division or distribution of them into classes are of their posterity in the times of David, who descended from the two latter.Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Chronicles 24:1-19. David’s Organization of the Priests by courses
1. Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron] R.V. And the courses of the sons of Aaron were these.
the sons of Aaron] Song of Solomon 6:3; Exodus 6:23.Verse 1. - The Hebrew of this verse reads, And to the sons of Aaron, their divisions מַחְלְקותָם); the sons of Aaron: Nadeb and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. The word "divisions" is the same word that is translated "courses" in ver. 6, and which verse also would read literally, "And David divided them divisions to the sons of Levi, to Gershon, Kohath, and Merari." Our present verse evidently continues both the subject and construction of that verse. Of the four sons (Exodus 6:23), two died without issue, viz. Nadab and Abihu (ver. 2); and the other two have to supply the "chief men of the house," viz. Eleazar sixteen, and Ithamar eight (ver. 4). 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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