The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Immer.—1Chronicles 9:10; Jeremiah 20:1 (perhaps a lamb).
Bilgah.—Nehemiah 10:9 (“Bilgai”), 12:5 (smiling; comp. Isaac, the laugher).
Ahimelech the son of Abiathar - A wrong reading. It should be "Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech." See the 2 Samuel 8:17 note.
Jedaiah, Harim, Seorim, Malchijah, Mijamin, Hakkoz, Abijah, Jeshua, Shecaniah, Eliashib, Jakim, Huppah, Jeshebeab, Bilgah, Immer, Hezir, Aphses, Pethahiah, Jehezekel, Jachin, Gamul, Delaiah, and Maaziah; of all which courses we know little more than their names, though they continued in some form or other both under the first and second temple, to the destruction of it; the Jews say only four of these courses returned from the Babylonish captivity, which were those of Jedaiah, Harim, Pashur, and Immer; though Pashur is not among these here; yet they say each of these four had six lots, and that the names and the order of the other courses were retained and continued under them, and supplied by them: hence we read of Mattithiah, from whom sprung the Maccabees, as of the course of Jehoiarib,"In those days arose Mattathias the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem, and dwelt in Modin.'' (1 Maccabees 2:1)which was the first course, and the most honourable; wherefore Josephus (p), who was of it, valued himself upon it, that he was not only of the priestly order, but of the first class or course of the twenty four; and we also read of the course of Abijah, the eighth course, of which was Zechariah the father of John the Baptist, Luke 1:5 of these courses; see Gill on Luke 1:5.The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. Bilgah] “Bilgah” (Nehemiah 12:5) appears as a priest or priestly family in the time of the Return, and (under the form “Bilgai,” Nehemiah 10:8) in the time of Nehemiah.
Immer] Cp. 1 Chronicles 9:12; Ezra 2:37; Jeremiah 20:1.Verse 14. - Bilgah... Immer. The former name reappears, not for the same per-sen, in Nehemiah 12:5, 18; and, under a slightly altered form, Bilgai, in Nehemiah 10:8. The latter is the name of a family known already (1 Chronicles 9:12), and which became much better known (Ezra 2:37; Ezra 10:20; Nehemiah 3:29; Nehemiah 7:40; Nehemiah 11:13; Jeremiah 20:1). The notices parallel to one another (Ezra 2:59; Nehemiah 7:61) are interesting, but obscure. They probably speak of a place called Immer, but even this is not quite clear. 1 Chronicles 24:6 gives a more detailed account of the drawing of the lots: "One father's-house was drawn for Eleazar, and drawn for Ithamar." The last words are obscure. אחוּז, to lay hold of, to draw forth (Numbers 31:30, Numbers 31:47), here used of drawing lots, signifies plucked forth or drawn from the urn. The father's-house was plucked forth from the urn, the lot bearing its name being drawn. זאז ואהז, which is the only well-attested reading, only some few MSS containing the reading אהז ואחד, is very difficult. Although this various reading is a mere conjecture, yet Gesen. (Thes. p. 68), with Cappell and Grotius, prefers it. The repetition of the same word expresses sometimes totality, multitude, sometimes a distributive division; and here can only be taken in this last signification: one father's-house drawn for Eleazar, and then always drawn (or always one drawn) for Ithamar. So much at least is clear, that the lots of the two priestly families were not placed in one urn, but were kept apart in different urns, so that the lots might be drawn alternately for Eleazar and Ithamar. Had the lot for Eleazar been first drawn, and thereafter that for Ithamar, since Eleazar's family was the more numerous, they would have had an advantage over the Ithamarites. But it was not to be allowed that one family should have an advantage over the other, and the lots were consequently drawn alternately, one for the one, and another for the other. But as the Eleazarites were divided into sixteen fathers'-houses, and the Ithamarites into eight, Bertheau thinks that it was settled, in order to bring about an equality in the numbers sixteen and eight, in so far as the drawing of the lots was concerned, that each house of Ithamar should represent two lots, or, which is the same thing, that after every two houses of Eleazarites one house of Ithamarites should follow, and that the order of succession of the single houses was fixed according to this arrangement. To this or some similar conception of the manner of settling the order of succession we are brought, he says, by the relation of the number eight to sixteen, and by the words אהז and אהז ואהז. But even though this conception be readily suggested by the relation of the number sixteen to eight, yet we cannot see how the words אהז and אהז ואהז indicate it. These words would much rather suggest that a lot for Eleazar alternated with the drawing of one for Ithamar, until the eight heads of Ithamar's family had been drawn, when, of course, the remaining eight lots of Eleazar must be drawn one after the other. We cannot, however, come to any certain judgment on the matter, for the words are so obscure as to be unintelligible even to the old translators. In 1 Chronicles 24:7-18 we have the names of the fathers'-houses in the order of succession which had been determined by the lot. יצא, of the lot coming forth from the urn, as in Joshua 16:1; Joshua 19:1. The names Jehoiarib and Jedaiah occur together also in 1 Chronicles 9:10; and Jedaiah is met with, besides, in Ezra 2:36 and Nehemiah 7:39. The priest Mattathias, 1 Macc. 2:1, came of the class of Jehoiarib. Of the succeeding names, שׂערים (1 Chronicles 24:8), ישׁבאב (1 Chronicles 24:13), and הפּצּץ (1 Chronicles 24:15) do not elsewhere occur; others, such as חפּה (1 Chronicles 24:13), גּמוּל (1 Chronicles 24:17), do not recur among the names of priests. The sixteenth class, Immer, on the contrary, and the twenty-first, Jachin, are often mentioned; cf. 1 Chronicles 9:10, 1 Chronicles 9:12. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, belonged to the eighth, Abiah (Luke 1:5).
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