1 Chronicles 26:32
And his brethren, men of valour, were two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers, whom king David made rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Chronicles 26:32. Two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers — Which is a very great number to be employed about two tribes and a half, when all the rest of the tribes had only one thousand seven hundred, (1 Chronicles 26:30,) besides those under Chenaniah, of whom see on 1 Chronicles 26:29. But the reason hereof is plain, because the tribes without Jordan, being more remote from the king’s court, and from the place of public and solemn worship, needed more than ordinary help to instruct and keep them in the practice of true religion, and the worship of God, and obedience to their king.

26:1-32 The offices of the Levites. - The porters and treasurers of the temple, had occasion for strength and valour to oppose those who wrongly attempted to enter the sanctuary, and to guard the sacred treasures. Much was expended daily upon the altar; flour, wine, oil, salt, fuel, beside the lamps; quantities of these were kept beforehand, besides the sacred vestments and utensils. These were the treasures of the house of God. These treasures typified the plenty there is in our heavenly Father's house, enough and to spare. From those sacred treasuries, the unsearchable riches of Christ, all our wants are supplied; and receiving from his fulness, we must give him the glory, and endeavour to dispose of our abilities and substance according to his will. We have an account of those employed as officers and judges. The magistracy is an ordinance of God for the good of the church, as truly as the ministry, and must not be neglected. None of the Levites who were employed in the service of the sanctuary, none of the singers or porters, were concerned in this outward business; one duty was enough to engage the whole man. Wisdom, courage, strength of faith, holy affections, and constancy of mind in doing our duty, are requisite or useful for every station.Rulers - This term is somewhat too strong. The same kind of office was assigned to Jerijah and his brethren in the trans-Jordanic region as to Hashabiah and his brethren in western Palestine 1 Chronicles 26:30, namely, a superintendence over religious matters and over the interests of the king. 1Ch 26:29-32. Officers and Judges.

29. officers and judges—The word rendered "officers" is the term which signifies scribes or secretaries, so that the Levitical class here described were magistrates, who, attended by their clerks, exercised judicial functions; there were six thousand of them (1Ch 23:4), who probably acted like their brethren on the principle of rotation, and these were divided into three classes—one (1Ch 26:29) for the outward business over Israel; one (1Ch 26:30), consisting of seventeen hundred, for the west of Jordan "in all business of the Lord, and in the service of the king"; and the third (1Ch 26:31, 32), consisting of twenty-seven hundred, "rulers for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king."

Two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers; which is a very great number to be employed about two tribes and a half, when all the rest of the tribes had only one thousand and seven hundred, 1 Chronicles 26:30, besides those under Chenaniah; of whom See Poole "1 Chronicles 26:29". But the reason hereof is plain, because the tribes without Jordan being more remote from the king’s court, and from the place of public and solemn worship, needed more than ordinary help to instruct and keep them in the practice of the true religion, and the worship of God, and in obedience to their king.

And his brethren, men of valour, were two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers,.... That is, the brethren or kinsmen of Jerijah the Hebronite were so many principal men in their families, and men of fortitude and courage:

whom King David made rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh; all which lay on the other side Jordan; and being so remote from the seat of civil government, and of the worship of God, they were in greater danger of revolting, both from their obedience to their king, and duty to their God; land therefore so large a number was appointed over them, to instruct them and keep them in their duty to both, as follows:

for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king; to see that they kept close to the pure worship and service of God; and were faithful and loyal subjects of the king.

And his brethren, men of valour, were two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers, whom king David made rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, for every matter pertaining to {q} God, and affairs of the king.

(q) Both in spiritual and temporal things.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
32. his brethren] i.e. the brethren of Jerijah.

chief fathers] R.V. heads of fathers’ houses.

rulers] R.V. overseers; cp. 1 Chronicles 26:30 (R.V. “had the oversight”).

Manasseh] R.V. the Manassites.

and affairs] R.V. and for the affairs.

Verse 32. - Chief fathers. The number of chief fathers mentioned in this verse leads Keil to point out very justly that here at least the designation cannot mean anything beyond the fathers of individual families - cannot mean the heads of those groups which are composed of all the branches or relations of one house. They must have been heads of households (πατέρες), not heads of fathers houses (πατριαί). The ambiguity is owing to the use of the words רָשֵׁי הָאָבות in ver. 32, the latter of which words has so often supposed the word בֵּית to precede it, coupled to it by a hyphen. Adding the numbers of vers. 30 and 32, we find a total of Hebronite "officers and judges" amounting to four thousand four hundred. The remaining sixteen hundred to complete the" six thousand" were drawn from the Gershon, Amram, and Izhar families. Some of the Uzzielites probably helped the Hebronites.



1 Chronicles 26:32David set another branch of the Hebronites, under the head Jeriah (cf. 1 Chronicles 23:9), over the East-Jordan tribes. Between the words "Jeriah the head," 1 Chronicles 26:31, and ואחיו, 1 Chronicles 26:32, a parenthesis is inserted, which gives the reason why David made these Hebronites scribes and judges among the East-Jordan tribes. The parenthesis runs thus: "As to the Hebronites, according to their generations, according to fathers, they were sought out in the fortieth year of David's rule, and valiant heroes were found among them in Jazer of Gilead." Jazer was a Levite city in the tribal domain of Gad, assigned, according to Joshua 21:39, to the Merarites (see on 1 Chronicles 6:81). The number of these Hebronites was 2700 valiant men (1 Chronicles 26:32). The additional האבות ראשׁי is obscure, for if we take אבות to be, as it often is in the genealogies, a contraction for בּית־עבות rof no, the number given does not suit; for a branch of the Hebronites cannot possibly have numbered 2700 fathers'-houses (πατριαὶ, groups of related households): they must be only 2700 men (גּברים), or heads of families, i.e., households. Not only the large number demands this signification, but also the comparison of this statement with that in 1 Chronicles 26:30. The 1700 חיל בּני of which the Hebronite branch, Hashabiah with his brethren, consisted, were not so many πατριαὶ, but only so many men of this πατριά. In the same way, the Hebronite branch of which Jeriah was head, with his brethren, 2700 חיל בּני, were also not 2700 πατριαὶ, but only so many men, that is, fathers of families. It is thus placed beyond doubt that אבות ראשׁי cannot here denote the heads of fathers'-houses, but only heads of households. And accordingly we must not understand לאבות (1 Chronicles 26:31) of fathers'-houses, as the lxx and all commentators do, but only of heads of households. The use of the verb נדרשׁוּ also favours this view, for this verb is not elsewhere used of the legal census of the people, i.e., the numbering and entering of them in the public lists, according to the great families and fathers'-houses. There may therefore be in נדרשׁוּ a hint that it was not a genealogical census which was undertaken, but only a numbering of the heads of households, in order to ascertain the number of scribes and judges to be appointed. There yet remain in this section three things which are somewhat strange: 1. Only 1700 scribes and judges were set over the cis-Jordanic land, inhabited as it was by ten and a half tribes, while 2700 were set over the trans-Jordanic land with its two and a half tribes. 2. Both numbers taken together amount to only 4400 men, while David appointed 6000 Levites to be scribes and Judges 3. The scribes and judges were taken only from two fathers'-houses of the Kohathites, while most of the other Levitical offices were filled by men of all the families of the tribe of Levi. On all these grounds, it is probable that our catalogue of the Levites appointed to be scribes and judges, i.e., for the external business, is imperfect.
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