May 7 Reading: I Chronicles 23-25 Commentary
“All these men were under the supervision of their father for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God.” (I Chronicles 25:6)
I Corinthians 14:33 says this about God – “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…” This New Testament passage is talking about certain issues in the early church, specifically services that were disorderly and becoming a distraction to those who attended. Paul was simply stating that disorder is not God’s nature. That theme is seen throughout the pages of the Bible, all the way back to Genesis.
We see God’s order in the way the Creation account happened (Gen. 1), in the specific instructions God gave Noah for building the ark (Gen. 6) and in the details God put into the blueprints of the tabernacle (Ex. 25-27). His giving of the law for all Israel to follow is another example.
It even become evident in how positions with kingdoms are set up, with roles for priests, musicians, palace officials, the military and other state offices. All these things point to a God who likes for things to be done in an orderly way. That should bring us great comfort in a world that seems so chaotic at times.
I Chronicles 23 – Levite Genealogy
When David was older he made his son Solomon king over Israel. Additionally, he brought all the Levites together and had them counted. He then divided them into groups that maintained different responsibilities.
38,000 Levites 30 years old or more were counted in total (v. 3). And David divided them into these groupings (vv. 4-5):
1. 24,000 were put in charge of working the temple
2. 6,000 were named officials and judges
3. 4,000 were assigned the duty of gatekeepers
4. 4,000 were dedicated to praise the Lord by playing musical instruments
Why did David do this? The answer can be found in verse 25. David said:
“Since the Lord, the God of Israel, has granted rest to his people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever, he Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the articles used in its service” (vv. 25-26).
So in essence, because there would no longer be a tabernacle to transport once the temple was built, David designated the Levites to new responsibilities.
I Chronicles 24 – Breaking Down the Priests
I Chronicles 24 give a brief reminder of the divisions of the descendants of Aaron. This included another mention of his four sons, two of which (Nadab and Abihu) died at the hands of the Lord because they burned incense with improper fire (see Lev. 9:23 – 10:2).
Aaron’s other two sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, both have descendants. As Zadok and David began to separate the divisions, they noticed a larger amount of leaders that were Eleazar’s descendants. There were sixteen heads of families from Eleazar to Ithamar’s eight (v. 4). So to avoid the appearance of favoritism in assigned responsibilities, they divided the responsibilities by casting lots (v. 5). This method helped people in ancient times determine the Lord’s will on a matter.
The scribe Shemaiah wrote down the order by which the priests would serve. The first lot fell to a priest descended from Eleazar and then to one descended from Ithamar. It went back and forth between the two lines until 24 rotations for service had been assigned. (vv. 6-19).
I Chronicles 25 – Musicians in David’s Court
In addition to creating new responsibilities for the Levites at the temple, David also assigned people for the ministry of prophesying, and to play harps, lyres and cymbals (v. 1). These musicians came from the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun (vv. 2-5).
And again here we see orderliness in the line of authority:
“All these men were under the supervision of their father for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives—all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord—they numbered 288. Young and old alike, teacher as well as student, cast lots for their duties” (vv. 6-8).
The passage lists 24 families with 12 “sons and relatives” serving from each family (vv. 9-31).
Questions and Thoughts to Consider from I Chronicles 23-25:
“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…” I Corinthians 14:33
What comfort to you get from God in a world that is so chaotic and disorderly? Do you have any challenges with putting things in order in your own life?
David had roles for everyone in his kingdom. It was not a disorganized mess. Everyone knew their role, did it well and helped bring peace to the kingdom. Churches and para-church organizations should function the same way today. What role can you play in that?
What other points would you want to know about in our I Chronicles 23-25 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.