1 Chronicles 9:13
And their brothers, heads of the house of their fathers, a thousand and seven hundred and three score; very able men for the work of the service of the house of God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) And their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers.—We can hardly suppose so many as 1,760 priestly clans dwelling in the holy city. Either the phrase “heads of their father-houses” belongs to the last verse, and has been accidentally brought into its present position; or in this instance it means simply “heads of single families;” or “their brethren, heads of their (respective) clans,” refers to other father-houses not mentioned by name, and the number 1,760 refers to all the guilds and clans of 1Chronicles 9:10-13, and should be separated from the preceding phrase by a semicolon. This last explanation is probably right. The total number given in Nehemiah 11:10-14 for the priests is 1,192. (See Note on 1Chronicles 9:9.)

Very able men.—See Margin, and 1Chronicles 7:9.

For the work.—“For” is wanting in the Hebrew. Perhaps “doers of” (Nehemiah 11:13) has Mien out.

1 Chronicles 9:13. Able men — Hebrew, mighty men of valour; which is here mentioned as an excellent qualification for their place; because the priests might meet with great opposition in the discharge of their office, in the execution of the censures upon all impure persons without exception, and in preserving sacred things from violation by the touch of forbidden hands.9:1-44 Genealogies. - This chapter expresses that one end of recording all these genealogies was, to direct the Jews, when they returned out of captivity, with whom to unite, and where to reside. Here is an account of the good state into which the affairs of religion were put, on the return from Babylon. Every one knew his charge. Work is likely to be done well when every one knows the duty of his place, and makes a business of it. God is the God of order. Thus was the temple a figure of the heavenly one, where they rest not day nor night from praising God, Re 4:8. Blessed be His name, believers there shall, not in turn, but all together, without interruption, praise him night and day: may the Lord make each of us fit for the inheritance of the saints in light."Jedaiah," "Jehoiarib," and "Jachin," are not here names of individuals but of priestly families. From 1 Chronicles 24:7-17, it appears that Jehoiarib was the original head of the first "course," Jedaiah of the second shift, and Jachin of the twenty-first shift. 2. the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions—This chapter relates wholly to the first returned exiles. Almost all the names recur in Nehemiah (Ne 11:1-36), although there are differences which will be explained there. The same division of the people into four classes was continued after, as before the captivity; namely, the priests, Levites, natives, who now were called by the common name of Israelites, and the Nethinims (Jos 9:27; Ezr 2:43; 8:20). When the historian speaks of "the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions," he implies that there were others who afterwards returned and settled in possessions not occupied by the first. Accordingly, we read of a great number returning successively under Ezra, Nehemiah, and at a later period. And some of those who returned to the ancient inheritance of their fathers, had lived before the time of the captivity (Ezr 3:12; Hag 2:4, 10). Very able men, Heb. mighty men of valour; which is here noted as an excellent qualification for their place; because the priests might meet with great opposition and difficulty in the faithful discharge of their office, in the execution of the censures upon all impure persons without exception, and in preserving sacred things from violation by the touch of forbidden hands; of which see an eminent instance in Azariah, 2 Chronicles 26:17, &c. And their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers, one thousand and seven hundred and threescore. These, with other priests, made up this number, which was greater than those of Judah and Benjamin, that dwelt in Jerusalem, put together:

very able men for the work of the service of the house of God: men that had not only strength of body, which some part of the work of the priests required; but had courage and fortitude of mind to set about the service of God with cheerfulness, and to preserve it from corruption.

And their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers, a thousand and seven hundred and threescore; very able men for the {d} work of the service of the house of God.

(d) To serve in the temple, every one according to his office.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. heads of the house of their fathers] R.V. heads of their fathers’ houses.

a thousand and seven hundred and threescore] Only the five ‘courses’ of priests mentioned above (viz., Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, and Jachin, 1 Chronicles 9:10, and Malchijah and Immer, 1 Chronicles 9:12) seem to be included in this reckoning. Some commentators however regard Azariah (= Seraiah) in 1 Chronicles 9:11 as the name of a new course, which after the Exile took the place of one of the old courses reckoned in 1 Chronicles 24:7-18. If this be right we have here the sum of six courses.

In Nehemiah 11:12-14 the number of the priests is given on a different plan; eight hundred and twenty-two “did the work of the house”; two hundred and forty-two were “chiefs of fathers’ houses”; an hundred and twenty-eight were “mighty men of valour.” The total falls far short of the thousand and seven hundred and threescore of Chron. We have not sufficient data on which to base any attempt at reconciling the two totals.

very able men] Render, mighty men of valour. The Heb. is the same as in Nehemiah 11:14. Cp. 2 Chronicles 26:17.Of the sons of Benjamin, i.e., of the Benjamites, four heads are named, Sallu, Ibneiah, Elah, and Meshullam; and of the first and fourth of these, three generations of ancestors are mentioned, of the second only the father, of the third the father and grandfather. "And their brethren according to their generations, 956;" cf. on 1 Chronicles 9:6. "All these men" are not the brethren whose number is given, but the heads who have been mentioned by name. Now, if we compare this with Nehemiah 11, we meet in 1 Chronicles 9:7-9 with only one of the four heads of Benjamin, Sallu, and that too, as in the Chronicle, as a son of Meshullam, while the ancestors of both are different. Instead of the three others in 1 Chronicles 9:8, we have סלּי גּבּי, 928; and in 1 Chronicles 9:9, as overseer (prefect), and Jehudah as ruler over the city.
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