In four quarters were the porters, toward the east, west, north, and south.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In four quarters were the porters.—“To the four winds used the warders to stand” (to be), viz., on the four sides of the tent of meeting, and from the age of Solomon on the four sides of the square enclosure of the Temple.Nehemiah 12:29, dwelt for the most part in the villages round Jerusalem. They were the descendants of those originally selected for the work by David. David's arrangements are here regarded as having had the sanction of Samuel - which would imply that he planned them in the lifetime of Saul, while he was still a fugitive and an outlaw. The porters, i.e. the chief porters, as this is explained, 1 Chronicles 9:26. 1 Chronicles 9:22 there were twenty four wards: In four quarters were the porters, toward the east, west, north, and south.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)24. In four quarters] R.V. on the four sides. Fuller details are given in 1 Chronicles 26:14-18.1 Chronicles 9:18. The first half of this verse, "And until now (is he) in the king's gate eastward," must be referred to Shallum (Berth.). To imagine a reference to all the doorkeepers, "until now are they," does not suit 1 Chronicles 9:24-26, according to which the doorkeepers kept guard upon all the four sides. The eastern gate of the temple was called the king's gate, because by this gate the king went in and out to the temple; cf. Ezekiel 46:1-2; Ezekiel 41:3. The remark, "until now is Shallum watcher," etc., presupposes the existence of the temple at the time of the preparation of this register, and points to the pre-exilic time. Against this Bertheau has raised the objection that the name king's gate may have been retained even in the post-exilic times for the eastern gate. This must of course be in general admitted, but could only be accepted if it were proved that Shallum lived after the exile. This proof Bertheau obtains by taking the words, "until now is Shallum in the king's gate," to mean, "that, according to the ancient arrangement, Shallum, the chief of all the doorkeepers, had still to guard the eastern entrance; according to which Shallum would be the collective designation of the whole series of the chiefs of the doorkeepers who lived from David's time till after the exile;" but the words cannot be thus interpreted. Such an interpretation cannot be made plausible by identifying the name Shallum with Meshelemiah or Shelemiah, to whose lot it fell in the time of David to be doorkeeper to the eastward (1 Chronicles 26:1, 1 Chronicles 26:14); for in doing so, we would overlook the fact that in 1 Chronicles 9:21 of our chapter also he bears the name Meshelemiah. The circumstance that both Shallum and Meshelemiah are called Ben-Kore, of the sons of Abiasaph, by no means justifies the identification of these two quite different names; for it is neither necessary nor probable that בּן should here be taken in its narrower sense, and Kore regarded as the immediate father of both. The name קרא is repeated in the family of the east doorkeepers, as we learn from 2 Chronicles 31:14, where it is stated that this office was held by a Kore ben Jimna. "These (who are named in 1 Chronicles 9:17) are the doorkeepers for the camp of the sons of Levi" (of the Levites), - an antiquated expression, bringing to remembrance the time of Moses, when the Levites, on the journey through the wilderness, were encamped about the tabernacle (Numbers 3:21.).
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