So the number of them, with their brothers that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)So the number of them, with their brethren . . . was two hundred fourscore and eight.—This total of two hundred and eighty-eight skilled musicians (24 × 12) shows that each of the twenty-four leading minstrels, called in 1Chronicles 25:2-4 the “sons” of Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman, was associated with a company of eleven “brethren,” who were experts in the chanting of the sanctuary. The twenty-four leaders accompanied the singing of their choirs with instrumental music.1 Chronicles 25:7. All that were cunning — Who were so skilful that they were able to teach others; and, together with their scholars, made up the four thousand mentioned 1 Chronicles 23:5.1 Chronicles 25:9-31. The 24 band-leaders, together with their bands, formed a body of 288 persons (24 x 12 equals 288) Besides these, we hear of there being above 3,700 singers, who were probably divided, like the trained musicians, into 24 courses, which must have contained about 155 each 1 Chronicles 23:5. All that were cunning; who were so skilful that they were able to teach others.
Two hundred fourscore and eight; which, together with their scholars, make up the four thousand mentioned 1 Chronicles 23:5.
that were instructed in the songs of the Lord; taught how to sing them:
even all that were cunning; expert and well skilled in the science of singing:So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. in the songs of the Lord] R.V. in singing unto the LORD.
cunning] R.V. skilful; as 1 Chronicles 15:22, where the same Heb. word is used.
two hundred fourscore and eight] The number corresponds with the twenty-four courses of twelve members each about to be enumerated.Verse 7. - This verse introduces a large additional number of those called for the present brethren of the foregoing twenty-four. These brethren (partly composed of their sons, as appears from vers. 9-31) were to aid in the songs of the Lord, and were apparently under instruction for that purpose. Each one of the twenty-four had eleven associated subordinates with him, and for whose instruction and service he was probably answerable. These would, of course, multiply up to the two hundred four score and eight mentioned in the verse. This verse appears (contrary to the interpretation of Keil, Bertheau, and others) with sufficient precision to mark two classes מְלֻמְּדֵי־שִׁיר, and הַמֵּבִּין, the latter not embracing the former, but the two together making up the two hundred and eighty-eight spoken cf. These two classes will surely satisfy the "teacher and the scholar" classification of the following verse; the classes are denoted by the same Hebrew roots. In ver. 7 the passive Pual participle of the instructed and the Hiphil participle of the cunning, or skilled, correspond exactly with the "scholar" (תַלְמִיד) and the "teacher" (מֵּבִין) of ver. 8. The contents of vers. 9-31 point to the same, being as they are without an allusion to any other outsiders - to any but the already introduced names of "sons" and "brethren." The supposing, therefore, of any allusion here to the "four thousand" of 1 Chronicles 23:5 seems unnecessary and unnatural in whatever way they were distributed - and probably enough it was in an analogous manner - no distinct reference is made to them here. 1 Chronicles 25:1. "David and the princes of the host separated for the service the sons of Asaph," etc. הצּבא שׂרי are not princes of the Levite host; for although the service of the Levites is called צבא צבא in Numbers 4:23, yet the princes of the Levites are nowhere called הצבא שׂרי. This expression rather denotes either the leaders of the army of the chiefs of Israel, as the host of Jahve, Exodus 12:17, Exodus 12:41, etc. Here it is used in the last signification, as synonymous with princes of Israel (1 Chronicles 23:2); in Exodus 24:6 we have simply the princes, along with whom the heads of the fathers'-houses of the priests and the Levites are mentioned. לעבדה הבדּיל, separate for the service; cf. Numbers 16:9. The ל in אסף לבני is nota acc. Since Asaph was, according to 1 Chronicles 6:39-43, a descendant of Gershon, Heman, according to 1 Chronicles 6:33-38, a descendant of Kohath, and Jeduthun ( equals Ethan) a descendant of Merari (1 Chronicles 6:44-47), all the chief families of Levi had representatives among the singers. The Kethibh הנביאים is an orthographical error for הנּבּאים (Keri), partic. Niph., corresponding to the singular הנּבּא, 1 Chronicles 25:2 and 1 Chronicles 25:3. נּבּא, prophetare, is here used in its wider signification of the singing and playing to the praise of God performed in the power of the Divine Spirit. In reference to the instruments of these chief musicians, cf. 1 Chronicles 15:16. The suffix in מספּרם refers to the following noun, which is subordinated to the word מספּר as genitive; cf. the similar construction עצל נפשׁו, his, the sluggard's, soul, Proverbs 13:4, and Ew. 309, e. "Their number (the number) of the workmen for the service, i.e., of those who performed the work of the service, was (as follows)."
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