And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In the book of Moses.—The general arrangements only were given in the Pentateuch. The “courses” were of David’s time; and their restoration must have been imperfect, as neither were the twenty-four courses of priests complete nor were the Levites in full force.Ezra 6:18. They set the priests in their divisions, &c. — When they had dedicated the house, they settled the household: they would have had small comfort in the temple, however solemnly dedicated, without the temple- service: and therefore having set up the worship of God in it, in this dedication of it, they took measures for keeping it up, and in doing so made the book of Moses their rule, to which they had a regard in this establishment. Though the temple-service could not be performed with so much pomp, and such a multitude of sacrifices, and other oblations, as formerly, because of their poverty; yet perhaps it was performed with as much purity, and close adherence to the divine institution, as ever, which was the true glory of it. Zechariah 4:10, the lavish offering of Solomon (see the marginal reference "n").
as it is written in the book of Moses; see Numbers 3:6, from hence it is plain the Pentateuch was not written by Ezra, as suspected by Spinosa (m), but by Moses; see the argument of the book of Genesis. See Gill on Genesis 1:1.And they set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem; as it is written in the book of Moses.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. the priests in their divisions, &c.] The verse refers to the organization of the priests and Levites described in 1 Chronicles 23-26. According to this arrangement, the service of the Temple was distributed by periods, of a week each, among the courses and divisions of priests and Levites (see 2 Kings 11:9; 2 Chronicles 23:4).
On the “divisions” of the priests, see Luke 1:5; Luke 1:8-9.
for the service of God] ‘Service’, the same word as that rendered ‘work’ in Ezra 4:24. But there ‘the work of the house of God’ refers to he building; here ‘the work or service of God’ refers to the worship. Compare the word ‘liturgy’ (λειτουργία) and the growth of its special application.
as it is written in the book of Moses] The reference seems to be to the Levitical arrangements generally upon which the Davidic and Solomonic organization was founded, as described in the books of Chronicles. Special mention of the ordering of the priests and Levites occurs in Numbers 3, 8.
This verse concludes the Aramaic section (Ezra 4:8 to Ezra 6:18).Verse 18. - They set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses. The completion of the new temple was naturally followed by an arrangement of the ministers corresponding to that which had been originally made by David, and afterwards adopted by Solomon, for the service of the old temple (see 1 Chronicles 23:6-23; 1 Chronicles 24:1-19). This arrangement was based upon the ordinances of the law with respect to the respective offices of the two orders, as given in the Book of Numbers (Numbers 3:6-10; Numbers 8:6-26), and, so far, was according to the writing of the book of Moses. But the "courses" themselves were not established till David's time. CELEBRATION OF THE PASSOVER IN THE ENSUING MONTH, AND OBSERVANCE OF THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD (Ezra 6:19-22). Specially solemn passovers were celebrated on specially solemn occasions; and these received special record at the hands of the sacred writers. Of this kind are the passover celebrated By Hezekiah in the year B.C. 726, recorded in 2 Chronicles 30, and that celebrated by Josiah in B.C. 624, recorded in 2 Chronicles 35. Both of these followed upon a cleansing of the temple, and restoration of the temple worship after a period of suspension. Ezra seems to place the passover of B.C. 516 in the same category. It marked the period of the full re-establishment of the regular ordinances of religion, more or less interrupted from the time of the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar. It terminated the abnormal and commenced the normal condition of things. Perhaps it is to mark this, that Ezra at this point disuses the Chaldee dialect, which he had introduced in ch. 4:8, and returns to the Hebrew, the established language of the Jewish religion. Deuteronomy 12:11; Deuteronomy 14:23; Jeremiah 7:12; Nehemiah 1:9), and therefore undoubtedly originated with the Jewish historian; but the matter itself, the wish that God Himself would destroy him who should injure His temple, recalls the close of the inscription of Bisitun, wherein the judgments of Ahuramazda are imprecated upon him who should dare to injure the image and inscription, and his blessing invoked upon him who should respect them (Berth.).
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