The thirteenth to Shubael, he, his sons, and his brothers, were twelve:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The thirteenth to Shubael.—The Hebrew is, to thirteenth, Shubael, his sons and his brethren, twelve; and so in the next verse. The meaning seems to be: as to, or as regards, the thirteenth. Shubael (Shebuel) has occurred before (1Chronicles 23:16; 1Chronicles 24:20).1 Chronicles 24:31. The lot was not applied indiscriminately to all the 24 courses, but was only used to settle which course of Asaph, which of Jeduthun, and which of Heman, should on each occasion be taken. Asaph was given the precedence over his brethren, and his four courses were assigned the first, and then each alternate place. Jeduthun took rank next, and received alternate places, first with Asaph, and then with Heman, until his courses were exhausted. After this, all the later places fell necessarily to Heman, whose courses continue without interruption from the 15th.
8. they cast lots, ward against ward—"Ward" is an old English word for "division" or "company." The lot was cast to determine the precedence of the classes or divisions over which the musical leaders presided; and, in order to secure an impartial arrangement of their order, the master and his assistants, the teacher and his scholars, in each class or company took part in this solemn casting of lots. In the first catalogue given in this chapter the courses are classed according to their employment as musicians. In the second, they are arranged in the order of their service.1 Chronicles 25:2,
the second to Gedaliah, who with his brethren and sons were twelve: and which must also be understood of Joseph, and supplied to him; for those being both in one verse, as Jarchi observes, it is but once mentioned, but must be supplied, or otherwise the number of two hundred and eighty eight could not be made up; the same is observed of all the other lots and courses to the end of the chapter as here, and therefore need no more remarks.The thirteenth to Shubael, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. Shubael] Called Shebuel, 1 Chronicles 25:4.1 Chronicles 25:3) received the first, third, fifth, and seventh places; the six sons of Jeduthun, the second, fourth, eighth, twelfth, and fourteenth; and finally, the four sons of Heman (first mentioned in 1 Chronicles 25:4), the sixth, ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth places; while the remaining places, 1 Chronicles 25:15-24, fell to the other sons of Heman. From this we learn that the lots of the sons of the three chief musicians were not placed in separate urns, and one lot drawn from each alternately; but that, on the contrary, all the lots were placed in one urn, and in drawing the lots of Asaph and Jeduthun came out so, that after the fourteenth drawing only sons of Heman remained.
(Note: Bertheau, S. 218, draws quite another conclusion from the above-mentioned order in which the lots were drawn. He supposes "that two series, each of seven, were first included in the lot: to the one series belonged the four sons of Asaph and the three sons of Heman, Mattaniah, Uzziel or Azarel, and Shebuel or Shubael; to the other, the six sons of Jeduthun and Bukkiah the son of Heman. A lot was drawn from each series alternately, commencing with the first, so that the four sons of Asaph and the three sons of Heman obtained the places 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13; while to the six sons of Jeduthun, and the son of Heman added to them, fell the places 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14. The still remaining ten sons of Heman were then finally drawn for, and received the placed from the 15th to the 24th." This very artificial hypothesis explains, indeed, the order of the lots, but we cannot think it probable, because (1) for the supposed dividing of the lots to be drawn into divisions of 10 and 14 no reason can be assigned; (2) by any such division the sons of Heman would have been placed at a disadvantage from the beginning as compared with the sons of Asaph and Jeduthun, since not only Asaph's four sons, but also all Jeduthun's six sons, would have been placed in the first rank, while only four sons of Heman accompany them, Heman's ten remaining sons having had the last place assigned them.)
As to the details in 1 Chronicles 25:9, after Joseph we miss the statement, "he and his sons and his brothers, twelve;" which, with the exception of the הוּא, used only of the second lot, and omitted for the sake of brevity in all the other cases, is repeated with all the 23 numbers, and so can have been dropped here only by an error. The words ליוסף לאסף are to be understood thus: The first lot drawn was for Asaph, viz., for his son Joseph. In the succeeding verses the names are enumerated, sometimes with and sometimes without ל. Some of the names diverge somewhat in form. Izri, 1 Chronicles 25:11, stands for Zeri, 1 Chronicles 25:3; Jesharelah, 1 Chronicles 25:14, for Asarelah, 1 Chronicles 25:2; Azarel, 1 Chronicles 25:18, for Uzziel, 1 Chronicles 25:4 (like the king's names Uzziah and Azariah, 1 Chronicles 3:12, and 2 Chronicles 26:1); Shubael, 1 Chronicles 25:20, for Shebuel, 1 Chronicles 25:4 (cf. 1 Chronicles 23:16 with 1 Chronicles 24:20); Jeremoth, 1 Chronicles 25:22, for Jerimoth, 1 Chronicles 25:4; Eliyathah, 1 Chronicles 25:27, for Eliathah, 1 Chronicles 25:4. Besides these, the fuller forms Nethanyahu (1 Chronicles 25:12), Hashabyahu (1 Chronicles 25:3), Hananyahu (1 Chronicles 25:23), are used instead of the shorter Nethaniah, etc. (1 Chronicles 25:2, 1 Chronicles 25:19, 1 Chronicles 25:4). Of the 24 names which are here enumerated, besides those of Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman, only Mattithiah recurs (1 Chronicles 15:18, 1 Chronicles 15:21) in the description of the solemnities connected with the bringing in of the ark; "but we are not justified in seeking there the names of our twenty-four classes" (Berth.).
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