Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
1Ch 24:1-19. Division of the Sons of Aaron into Four and Twenty Orders.
1. Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron—(See on 1Ch 23:6).
But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest's office.
2. Nadab and Abihu died before their father—that is, not in his presence, but during his lifetime (see Nu 3:4; 26:61).
therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest's office—In consequence of the death of his two oldest sons without issue, the descendants of Aaron were comprised in the families of Eleazar and Ithamar. Both of these sons discharged the priestly functions as assistants to their father. Eleazar succeeded him, and in his line the high priesthood continued until it was transferred to the family of Ithamar, in the person of Eli.
And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service.
3. Zadok … and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar—This statement, taken in connection with 1Ch 24:6, is not a little perplexing, since (2Sa 15:24, 35; 20:25) Abiathar is mentioned as the person conjoined in David's time with Zadok, in the collegiate exercise of the high priesthood. Some think that the words have been transposed, reading Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech. But there is no ground for regarding the text as faulty. The high priests of the line of Ithamar were the following: Ahiah or Ahimelech, his son Abiathar, his son Ahimelech. We frequently find the grandfather and grandson called by the same name (see list of high priests of the line of Eleazar, 1Ch 6:30-41). Hence the author of the Chronicles was acquainted with Ahimelech, son of Abiathar, who, for some reason, discharged the duties of high priest in David's reign, and during the lifetime of his father (for Abiathar was living in the time of Solomon, 1Ki 2:27) [Keil].
And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers.
4. there were more chief men found—The Hebrew may be translated, "There were more men as to heads of the sons of Eleazar." It is true, in point of fact, that by the census the number of individuals belonging to the family of Eleazar was found greater than in that of Ithamar. And this, of necessity, led to there being more fathers' houses, and consequently more chiefs or presidents in the former.
Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God, were of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar.
5. Thus were they divided by lot—This method of allocation was adopted manifestly to remove all cause of jealousy as to precedence and the right of performing particular duties.
And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar.
6. one principal household—The marginal reading is preferable, "one house of the father." The lot was cast in a deliberate and solemn manner in presence of the king, the princes, the two high priests, and the chiefs of the priestly and Levitical families. The heads of families belonging to Eleazar and Ithamar were alternately brought forward to draw, and the name of each individual, as called, registered by an attendant secretary. To accommodate the casting of the lots to the inequality of the number, there being sixteen fathers' houses of Eleazar, and only eight of Ithamar, it was arranged that every house of Ithamar should be followed by two of Eleazar, or, what is the same thing, that every two houses of Eleazar should be followed by one of Ithamar. If, then, we suppose a commencement to have been made by Eleazar, the order would be as follows: one and two, Eleazar; three, Ithamar; four and five, Eleazar; six, Ithamar; seven and eight, Eleazar; nine, Ithamar; and so forth [Bertheau]. The lot determined also the order of the priests' service. That of the Levites was afterwards distributed by the same arrangement (1Ch 24:31).
Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah,
The third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim,
The fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin,
The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
The ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah,
The eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim,
The thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,
The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer,
The seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Aphses,
The nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel,
The one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul,
The three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah.
These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of the LORD, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.
And the rest of the sons of Levi were these: Of the sons of Amram; Shubael: of the sons of Shubael; Jehdeiah.
Concerning Rehabiah: of the sons of Rehabiah, the first was Isshiah.
Of the Izharites; Shelomoth: of the sons of Shelomoth; Jahath.
And the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth.
Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah: of the sons of Michah; Shamir.
The brother of Michah was Isshiah: of the sons of Isshiah; Zechariah.
The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi: the sons of Jaaziah; Beno.
The sons of Merari by Jaaziah; Beno, and Shoham, and Zaccur, and Ibri.
Of Mahli came Eleazar, who had no sons.
Concerning Kish: the son of Kish was Jerahmeel.
The sons also of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites after the house of their fathers.
These likewise cast lots over against their brethren the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, and Zadok, and Ahimelech, and the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites, even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren.