1 Chronicles 24:6
And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) And Shemaiah . . . wrote them.—Made a list of the names in the order determined by lot, as given below (1Chronicles 24:7-18).

The chief of the fathers.—Better, the heads of the houses or clans.

One principal household being taken . . .—The Hebrew text is corrupt, but we may with great probability restore the original reading by the change of a single letter, and translate, one clan was drawn for Eleazar, and one drawn for Ithamar: i.e., alternately. So one Hebrew MS. The LXX. has, “one by one for Eleazar, and one by one for Ithamar.” (So some Hebrew MSS. The Syriac and Vulg. read, “one house for Eleazar, and another house for Ithamar.”) The chances would be that the Ithamarites would all be drawn before the Eleazarites. (Comp. 1Chronicles 25:22-31, where ten “sons of the Hemanite” are left over, and drawn last.)

1 Chronicles 24:6. Shemaiah, the scribe, wrote them before the king — Their names were written and put into an urn, out of which the lots were to be drawn: which, that there might be no suspicion of fraud, were drawn before the king, the princes, the high-priest and his assistant, and before the several families of priests and Levites. One principal household being taken for Eleazar, &c. — That is, one of the principal families of Eleazar was first taken, and then one of Ithamar’s, and thus alternately, till all the families of Ithamar had received their lot. And afterward all the lots came forth to the rest of Eleazar’s families, which were double in number to those of Ithamar.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.Wrote them before the king - i. e., "wrote down their names as the lots were drawn forth."

Ahimelech the son of Abiathar - A wrong reading. It should be "Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech." See the 2 Samuel 8:17 note.

6. one principal household—The marginal reading is preferable, "one house of the father." The lot was cast in a deliberate and solemn manner in presence of the king, the princes, the two high priests, and the chiefs of the priestly and Levitical families. The heads of families belonging to Eleazar and Ithamar were alternately brought forward to draw, and the name of each individual, as called, registered by an attendant secretary. To accommodate the casting of the lots to the inequality of the number, there being sixteen fathers' houses of Eleazar, and only eight of Ithamar, it was arranged that every house of Ithamar should be followed by two of Eleazar, or, what is the same thing, that every two houses of Eleazar should be followed by one of Ithamar. If, then, we suppose a commencement to have been made by Eleazar, the order would be as follows: one and two, Eleazar; three, Ithamar; four and five, Eleazar; six, Ithamar; seven and eight, Eleazar; nine, Ithamar; and so forth [Bertheau]. The lot determined also the order of the priests' service. That of the Levites was afterwards distributed by the same arrangement (1Ch 24:31). Or, the chief (which word is easily supplied out of the context) of one house of the fathers was taken (to wit, by lot)

for Eleazar, ( i.e. out of his family,) and that which was taken after it was

taken for Ithamar, i.e. out of his family. The meaning is, that the first lot fell to Eleazar, and the second to Ithamar, and the third to Eleazar, and the fourth to Ithamar; and so successively, until all the families of Ithamar had received their lots; and afterwards all the lots came forth to the rest of Eleazar’s families, which were double in number to those of Ithamar, as was said, 1 Chronicles 24:4. And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe,.... The Targum is, Moses the chief scribe, so called: one

of the Levites wrote them: the lots, and the names upon them, put into the urn, and as they came out, which was first, second, &c. and this was done

before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites; and in this public manner, before such great personages, and in the presence of those that were interested in the affair, that it might appear plainly no fraudulent methods were taken, and that there might be no suspicion of any:

one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one for Ithamar; the sense of Jarchi as above, and other Jewish writers, is, that one was added to each family of Eleazar, and so made sixteen, and Ithamar's were retained, and left as at first, eight: but the sense is, that first one family of Eleazar was taken, and then one of Ithamar's family, and then one of Eleazar's again, and so on until sixteen were gone through; and then the other eight were divided under so many heads of the family of Eleazar.

And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. the scribe, one of the Levites] Particularly described in order to distinguish him from the king’s scribe (cp. 2 Chronicles 24:11).

one principal household] R.V. one fathers’ house.

one taken] R.V. one taken (without italics) by an easy emendation of the Hebrew. The alternate drawing here described could have lasted only for the first sixteen lots; in the last eight drawings the descendants of Eleazar must have drawn against each other only; cp. 1 Chronicles 24:4.Verse 6. - The person who acted as clerk or secretary on the occasion, and the whole number of the witnesses, and the lot-taking itself, are here given. The present Hebrew text repeats the word אָחֻז (taken) twice, before the name of Ithamar, at the end of the sentence. The evident and easy correction of the first occurrence of which into אֶחָד (one) will make the clause and sense correspond with what goes before. Bertheau, however, and Keil, and some others do not accept this correction, and would keep the present Hebrew text, the first-named, moreover, contending that the repetition of the word for "taking" points to two lots being represented by each house of Ithamar, whose total number was only eight, for one of Eleazar, whose total was sixteen. Not only does the repetition of the present Hebrew text not avail to authorize such a supposition, but the supposition itself would be unsupported and gratuitous. What is really told us amounts to this only, that the drawing was first from the collection of families under the name of Eleazar, and then from that descended from Ithamar. For anything we are here told, the urn of Ithamar can have held out only half as long as that of Eleazar, and it can be only conjecture to suppose that two lots were drawn from the urn of Eleazar for every one from that of Ithamar, so as to make them run out together at the end. Could any one of the names from sixteen to twenty-four that are recorded in this chapter as "coming forth" in the shape of a "lot," be identified as belonging to families descended from Ithamar, the question might be solved. Ahimelech the son of Abiathar; read, as above, ver. 3, 1 Chronicles 18:16, etc., Abiathar the son of Abimelech. In conclusion, the whole duties of the Levites are summed up in three clauses: they were to keep the charge of the tabernacle, the charge of the sacred things, i.e., of all the sacred things of the worship, and the charge of the sons of Aaron, i.e., of all that the priests committed to them to be done; cf. Numbers 18:3., where these functions are more exactly fixed.
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