1 Chronicles 26

They continue to cast lots for assignments to these different posts in and around the temple. We know not what casting lots consisted of, but it is evident that God spoke through the practice, and the people recognized God's hand in the choosing by lot. We never have a record of anyone complaining against the outcome of the lot; rather, each accepted the outcome as God's divine appointment. A good example is the lot cast to find Achan. It is significant here, therefore, the kind of men God chose to fulfill each post in and around the temple, though the temple was not built yet.

In this chapter we have a further account of the disposition and distribution of the Levites, to serve in other offices, as of porters at the several gates of the temple, for which they cast lots, #1Ch 26:1-19 of others, as over the treasures of the house of the Lord, #1Ch 26:20-28, and of others that were appointed judges in the land, to administer justice to the people, #1Ch 26:29-32. (Gill)

1 The divisions of the porters. 13 The gates assigned by lot. 20 The Levites that had charge of the treasures. 29 Officers and judges.

* the divisions. There were four classes of these, each of which belonged to the four gates of the temple, which opened to the four cardinal points of heaven. The eastern gate fell to Shelemiah; the northern to Zechariah, (ver. 14;) the southern to Obed-edom, (ver. 15;) and the western to Shuppim and Hosah, (ver. 16.) These several persons were captains of these porter-bands, or door-keepers, at the different gates. There were probably a thousand men under each of these captains; as we find, from ch. 23:5, that their whole number was four thousand. (TSK, Online Bible)

We have here an account of the business of the Levites. That tribe had made but a very small figure all the time of the judges, till Eli and Samuel appeared. But when David revived religion the Levites were, of all men, in the greatest reputation. And happy it was that they had Levites who were men of sense, fit to support the honour of their tribe. We have here an account,

I. Of the Levites that were appointed to be porters, #1Ch 26:1-19.

II. Of those that were appointed to be treasurers and storekeepers, #1Ch 26:20-28.

III. Of those that were officers and judges in the country, and were entrusted with the administration of public affairs, #1Ch 26:29-32. (MH)

I. Of the Levites that were appointed to be porters, #1Ch 26:1-19.

The porters were appointed to attend the temple; they guarded all avenues leading to it; opened and shut all outer gates and attended them; they directed and instructed those who were going to worship in the courts of the sanctuary in the proper prescribed behavior to be observed; they encouraged those who were nervous; they sent back strangers and the unclean, and they guarded against thieves and other enemies of the house of God. Christ gave to ministers the keys to the kingdom of heaven so that they can only admit those permitted by the law of Christ. (Matthew 16:19) In other words, a minister, or the porter, cannot keep out any the law allows in, nor can he permit any the law would keep out.

Of those called to this service, there were:

V. 6, men of valour <2428> – "Valiant" in the Old Testament is for the most part the translation of [chayil], "power," or "might," and is applied to the courageous and to men of war ("mighty men of valor")... (ISB)

They were mighty men of valor: this clause is divers times mentioned, because their office returned both strength and courage; for they were to shut the doors of the temple, one whereof was so great and weighty, that in the second temple it required the help of twenty men to open and shut it, as Josephus, an eye-witness, reports. They were also to keep the guard, and to keep out all unclean or forbidden persons, who might sometimes presumptuously attempt to enter into the temple, as Uzziah did, and to prevent or suppress any tumults or disorders which might happen in the temple or in its courts, and to keep the treasures of the temple. #1Ch 26:20,22,24,26, and to be officers and judges over Israel, #1Ch 26:29, and to manage every matter pertaining to God and the affairs of the king, #1Ch 26:32. (Poole)

However, not even Solomon's temple was built when David appointed these officers, let alone Harod's that Josephus witnessed.

6. mighty men of valour—The circumstance of physical strength is prominently noticed in this chapter, as the office of the porters required them not only to act as sentinels of the sacred edifice and its precious furniture against attacks of plunderers or popular insurrection—to be, in fact, a military guard—but, after the temple was built, to open and shut the gates, which were extraordinarily large and ponderous.

Regardless, these were men well-known for their military capacity and physical strength.

V. 7, strong <2428> men – Same word as above.

which may rather denote their valour and courage, as before, though strength of body was needful, particularly to open and shut the doors of the temple, which, Josephus {r} says, required the assistance of twenty men. (Gill)

Obed-edom's family. Obed-edom has been already mentioned in 1 Chron 16:38 and 15:24 as doorkeeper; see the commentary on the passage. From our passage we learn that Obed-edom belonged to the Kohathite family of the Korahites. According to v. 19, the doorkeepers were Korahites and Merarites. The Merarites, however, are only treated of from v. 10 and onwards. 'edom uwl|`obeed (v. 4) corresponds to w|lim|shelem|yaahuw <heb> (v. 2), and is consequently thereby brought under laqaar|hiym (v.1). Here, vv. 4, 5, eight sons with whom God had blessed him (cf. 13:14), and in 6 and 7 his grandchildren, are enumerated. The verb nowlad <heb> is used in the singular, with a subject following in the plural, as frequently (cf. Ew. §316, a). The grandchildren of Obed-edom by his first-born son Shemaiah are characterized as hamim|shaaliym <heb>, the dominions, i.e., the lords (rulers) of the house of their fathers (mim|shaal <heb>, the abstract dominion, for the concrete mosheel <heb>; cf. Ew. §160, b), because they were chayil <heb> gibowreey <heb>, valiant heroes, and so qualified for the office of doorkeepers. In the enumeration in v. 7, the omission of the w cop. with 'echaayw <heb> 'el|zaabaad <heb> is strange; probably we must supply w| before both words, and take them thus: And Elzabad and his brethren, valiant men, (viz.) Elihu and Semachiah. For the conjecture that the names of the 'echaayw <heb> are not given (Berth.) is not a very probable one. (Emp added. KD)

To me, valour leans more toward courage in the face of danger. Strong leans more toward physical strength.

V. 8, able <2428> men – Same word.

men of fortitude of mind and strength of body, as before observed: (Gill)

V. 9, strong <2428> men

V. 14, wise counsellor, who probably "earned" this post on the council-board (1 Timothy 3:13)

Ver. 14. A wise counsellor; which is noted as an excellent and useful accomplishment for his office, in which there was need of wisdom as well as courage, as may appear by the description of their work, #1Ch 26:20, &c. See Poole "1Ch 26:6". (Poole)

For some reason, God saw the need of a wise counsellor at this post.

then for Zechariah his son (a wise counsellor); and who was his firstborn, #1Ch 26:2 a man of great parts and learning: for they were not mean persons that were employed in this office, nor was the office a mean one, like that of our porters; but men of considerable rank and figure, and of knowledge and learning, were in it; some of them were judges, #1Ch 26:29 and their places were places of great trust, they had much treasure committed to them, as appears by #1Ch 26:20 ... (Gill)

Ver. 14. A wise counsellor; which is noted as an excellent and useful accomplishment for his office, in which there was need of wisdom as well as courage, as may appear by the description of their work, #1Ch 26:20, &c. See Poole "1Ch 26:6". (Poole)

Note that the Lord's service is a service for men of strong mind and body. It is not for the 90 lb weakling—that is, a job for those who can find no other occupation.

Vv. 1-19.

Points that stand out about this section:

First, God is the one who chose who should serve where. However, they were all Levites.

Second, there was no complaining; each was content with his lot in life.

Third, note the character, particularly physical, of these men. These men were not wimps nor woosses. These were big men, well able to take care of themselves and take care of any who would try to cause trouble. Any one of them could work as a "bouncer" in a bar.

God's work is meant to be done by men who CANNOT be pushed around and who can and will stand their ground. Men who are not afraid to literally fight a lion in a pit in the snow. The kind of man the world paints as a man of God is not the Biblical picture.

II. Of those that were appointed to be treasurers and storekeepers, #1Ch 26:20-28.

1. Though the temple was not yet built, David knew it would be a great house, requiring a great amount of provisions daily upon the altar. All the people had laid up a great amount in store for what would be needed.

These treasures typified the plenty there is in our heavenly Father's house, enough and to spare. In Christ, the true temple, are hid treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and unsearchable riches. (MH)

2. Note from where the treasures of dedicated things came – v. 27, mostly Out of the spoils won in battles, acknowledging divine protection in battle. (Heb. 7:4, Num. 31:50.) This practice of giving of the spoil of battle for the support of God's house was followed by Saul, Abner, Joab, Samuel and David.

Note, The more God bestows upon us the more he expects from us in works of piety and charity. Great successes call for proportionable returns. (MH)

Here the mighty men of war who were fearful of nothing man had to offer were fearful of not giving due recognition to the God of their protection. Also, v. 26, those who held important posts in the nation gave due recognition to the God who exalted them.

3. There were treasurers over the treasures—that is, men over the men who were in charge of the great wealth that belonged to the Lord, vv. 20, 26. These treasurers over the treasures were to keep watch that the wealth of the temple did not somehow "seep through the cracks" as happened in 2 Kings 12:4ff.

Note the recognition here that all men are sinners, and even the best of men can be influenced by money, so there were men watching the men who were watching the wealth. It was not an "accusation" of wrong against the treasures, and no one took it that way. There was an accounting of the accountants. Common sense tells us to watch closely those who control the money.

III. Of those that were officers and judges in the country, and were entrusted with the administration of public affairs, #1Ch 26:29-32.

Officers and judges—again, we encounter the word valour <2428>, vv. 29, 32.

All the offices of the house of God being well provided with Levites, we have here an account of those that were employed as officers and judges in the outward business, which must not be neglected, no, not for the temple itself. The magistracy is an ordinance of God for the good of the church as truly as the ministry is. (MH)

29. officers and judges—The word rendered "officers" is the term which signifies scribes or secretaries, so that the Levitical class here described were magistrates, who, attended by their clerks, exercised judicial functions; there were six thousand of them (#1Ch 23:4), who probably acted like their brethren on the principle of rotation, and these were divided into three classes—one (#1Ch 26:29) for the outward business over Israel; one (#1Ch 26:30), consisting of seventeen hundred, for the west of Jordan "in all business of the Lord, and in the service of the king"; and the third (#1Ch 26:31,32), consisting of twenty-seven hundred, "rulers for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king." (JFB)

First, there is no such thing Scripturally as the "separation of church and state", unless, that is, the "church" is a pagan, non Christian church.

Second, the officers and judges scattered throughout the land were the Levites, those knowledgeable of God's law.

Third, these men, not women, were men of valour. Again, they were not whimps, and could not be pushed around.

Forth, those who were in charge of God's affairs, rendering justice according to God's laws, were also in charge of the State's (king's) affairs – vv. 30, 32, for every matter or service, pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.

Fifth, this uniting of "church and state" with the same men in charge of justice and the affairs of the king shows us that any wrong or evil was a sin, primarily, against God, and not the state, or king.

It is happy with a kingdom when its civil and sacred interests are thus interwoven and jointly minded and advanced. (MH)


3. There were more Levites employed as judges with the two tribes and a half on the other side of Jordan than with all the rest of the tribes; there were 2700; whereas as the west side of Jordan there were 1700, #1Ch 26:30,32. Either those remote tribes were not so well furnished as the rest with judges of their own, or because they, lying furthest from Jerusalem and on the borders of the neighbouring nations, were most in danger of being infected with idolatry, and most needed the help of Levites to prevent it. The frontiers must be well guarded. (MH)


4. This is said to be done (as were all the foregoing settlements) in the fortieth year of the reign of David (#1Ch 26:31), that is, the last year of his reign. We should be so much the more industrious to do good as we can see the day approaching. If we live to enjoy the fruit of our labours, grudge it not to those that shall come after us. (MH)

David knew Solomon was to build the glorious temple, so he planed every detail possible for the work to go smoothly. God help us, when we see that day approaching, to make godly arrangements for our children.