And certain of them had the charge of the ministering vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ezra 8:20 et seq.)
“ And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.”
Literally, for by number they used to bring them in (to the sanctuary), and by number they used to take them out.And certain of them had the charge of the ministering vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28, 29. Duties of the Levites
28. And certain of them] The reference is to the Levites. The contents of 1 Chronicles 9:28-29 clearly refer to Levitical duties (cp. 1 Chronicles 23:29), and the transition from porters to Levites is made easier by the fact that the four porters last mentioned (1 Chronicles 9:26-27) are Levites.
the ministering vessels] R.V. the vessels of service.
that they should bring them in and out by tale] R.V. for by tale were they brought in and by tale were they taken out.Verse 28. - That they should bring them in by tale and by tale carry them out. That is, that they should scrupulously number them. 1 Chronicles 9:22 the narrative seems to return to the enumeration begun in 1 Chronicles 9:17-19, so that the reflections on the earlier times, 1 Chronicles 9:19-21, are to be regarded as a parenthesis. 1 Chronicles 9:22 runs: "They all who were chosen for doorkeepers for the thresholds, 212 (men): they, in their villages were they registered; they were ordained by David and Samuel the seer on their fidelity." The infinitive התיחשׂ is used substantively, "in reference to them, in their villages as their genealogical registration accomplished." If 1 Chronicles 9:22 be the continuation of 1 Chronicles 9:17-21, then the number given (212) will refer to the doorkeepers in active service at the time of the preparation of the register. With this hypothesis, however, the last clause of the verse, which states that David and Samuel had appointed them, does not seem to harmonize. But if we consider that the four men mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:17 are heads of fathers'-houses, and that their fathers'-houses were not extinguished at the death of their temporary heads, and performed the same service from generation to generation, it might well be said of the generation performing the service at the time of the preparation of our register, that David had appointed them to their office. The case would of course be similar, if, as we have above supposed, the four names in 1 Chronicles 9:17 are designations of the classes of doorkeepers, for these classes also performed the same service continually. The statements of our 22nd verse cannot be referred to the time of David, for in 1 Chronicles 26:8-10 the number of the doorkeepers appointed by David amounted only to eighty, viz., sixty-two of the sons of Obed-Edom, and eighteen of the sons of Meshelemiah, which, with the addition of thirteen Merarites (1 Chronicles 26:10-11), gives a total of ninety-three, while in our verse the number is 212. According to Ezra 2:42, the number of doorkeepers who returned with Zerubbabel was 139 men; and in the register, Nehemiah 11:19, the number is stated to be 172. From the remark that they were registered in their villages (חצריהם, as in 1 Chronicles 6:41; Joshua 13:23, and elsewhere), we learn that the doorkeepers dwelt in villages near Jerusalem, whence they came to the city so often as their service required, as the singers also did in the post-exilic time, Nehemiah 12:29. יסּד, to found, set, ordain, and so appoint to an office. "David and Samuel the seer:" הראה, the ancient designation of the prophets, for which at a later time נביא was the more usual word; cf. 1 Samuel 9:9. Nowhere else do we find any record of Samuel's having taken any part in David's arrangement of the service of the Levites in the holy place. Samuel, moreover, was no longer living when David began to arrange the worship at the time when the ark was brought to Jerusalem, for he died before Saul, and consequently before the beginning of David's reign; cf. 1 Samuel 25:1 with 1 Samuel 28:3. Bertheau is consequently of opinion that this statement of our historian rests merely upon the general recollection, according to which the worship was organized afresh, and established in its newer form, in the time of David and Samuel. This is of course possible, but there is no cogent reason against accepting the much less remote supposition that the chronicler took this remark from his authority. The mention of Samuel after David has not a chronological signification, but David is named first on account of his connection with the matter in hand; for the thorough re-organization of the worship, and the classification of the persons engaged in carrying it on, originated with David. For these arrangements of David, however, Samuel had prepared the way in his struggle for the restoration of the theocracy, and of the worship which had fallen into desuetude under Eli and his profligate sons. To do this in any measure, he must have, without doubt, ordained trustworthy men to the individual offices, and thus have prepared the way for King David. בּאמוּנתם is found in 1 Chronicles 9:26, 1 Chronicles 9:31 without the suffix, with the meaning "in good faith" (cf. 2 Kings 12:16; 2 Kings 22:7; 2 Chronicles 31:12), and accordingly is here upon their fidelity, i.e., because they had been recognised to be faithful.
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