1 Chronicles 9 – Leaders in Jerusalem
A. Leaders in Jerusalem at the return from exile.
1. (1-2) Summary of the genealogies.
So all Israel was recorded by genealogies, and indeed, they were inscribed in the book of the kings of Israel. But Judah was carried away captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. And the first inhabitants who dwelt in their possessions in their cities were Israelites, priests, Levites, and the Nethinim.
a. So all Israel was recorded: The first eight chapters of 1 Chronicles list these genealogical records. These records were inscribed in the book of the kings of Israel, but these are not the same books we know today as 1 or 2 Kings.
i. “Not in that sacred and canonical book so called, but (as hath been oft observed before) in the public records, wherein there was an account of that kingdom, and of several families in it, according to their genealogies.” (Poole)
b. But Judah was carried away captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness: In one sentence, the Chronicler reminds us that it was not the clash of empires or the intrigues of the geopolitical scene that doomed the kingdom of Judah. It was their unfaithfulness to God. If they had remained faithful, God would have protected them amid the rise and fall of a hundred powerful empires.
c. And the first inhabitants who dwelt in their possessions in their cities were Israelites: The Chronicler completely skips over the 70 years of captivity between verses 1 and 2. His interest is not only in the past (demonstrated by 8 previous chapters of genealogies) but also in the present and in the future. The Israelites were back in the land.
i. “All this means that Chronicles has taken the history of Israel a stage further than 1 and 2 Kings. Although 2 Kings ends on a note of genuine hope (2 Kings 25:27-30), it is restrained and Israel is still in exile. But now winter is over, and these lists are a definite sign that spring has begun to arrive.” (Selman)
ii. No longer was there a kingdom of Judah and another kingdom of Israel; now they were all Israelites. “Called here by the general name of Israelites, which was given to them before that unhappy division of the two kingdoms, and now is restored to them when the Israelites are united with the Jews in one and the same commonwealth, so that all the names and signs of their former division might be blotted out.” (Poole)
d. Who dwelt in their possessions: The idea is that the people of the tribes of Israel came back to their ancestral lands, promised to them by God and first possessed in the days of Moses and Joshua.
i. In their possessions: “‘Their ancestral land’ (NEB; their own property, NIV) is a term rarely found in Chronicles (only 1 Chronicles 7:28; 2 Chronicles 11:14; 31:1). Its occurrence here evokes its frequent use in of Moses (e.g. Leviticus 25:10ff, Numbers 27:4) and Joshua. ” (Selman)
ii. God kept the land empty for them during the exile. “A wonderful providence of God it was, that as the land kept her Sabbaths for those seventy years, so the country should be all that while kept empty, till the return of the natives.” (Trapp)
e. Priests, Levites, and the Nethinim: These were three categories of workers at the temple, who had the work of restoring the temple and its worship in the days of Ezra.
· Priests were the descendants of Aaron who had the right to offer sacrifice and take care of the Holy Place in the temple.
· Levites were the much broader class of religious workers, who served in many ways: practical, artistic, and spiritual.
· The Nethinim were special servants given to the temple.
i. “The ‘temple servants’ were literally ‘given ones.’ They might consist of captives who had been spared but enslaved to temple service. Early Hebrew examples include the certain Midianite women (Numbers 31:35, 47) or the people of Gibeon (Joshua 9:22-23), but their organization as a class is credited to David (Ezra 8:20).” (Payne)
2. (3-9) Leading post-exilic citizens of Jerusalem.
Now in Jerusalem the children of Judah dwelt, and some of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim and Manasseh: Uthai the son of Ammihud, the son of Omri, the son of Imri, the son of Bani, of the descendants of Perez, the son of Judah. Of the Shilonites: Asaiah the firstborn and his sons. Of the sons of Zerah: Jeuel, and their brethren; six hundred and ninety. Of the sons of Benjamin: Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Hodaviah, the son of Hassenuah; Ibneiah the son of Jeroham; Elah the son of Uzzi, the son of Michri; Meshullam the son of Shephatiah, the son of Reuel, the son of Ibnijah; and their brethren, according to their generations; nine hundred and fifty-six. All these men were heads of a father’s house in their fathers’ houses.
a. Now in Jerusalem the children of Judah dwelt: This begins a list (1 Chronicles 9:2-17) that is in some ways similar to a list in Nehemiah 11 and in some ways different. Biblical researchers debate if the lists are more similar or more different, and the exact points of connection and difference can be difficult to assess.
B. Other post-exilic leaders in Jerusalem.
1. (10-13) Leaders among the priests.
Of the priests: Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, and Jachin; Azariah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the officer over the house of God; Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchijah; Maasai the son of Adiel, the son of Jahzerah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Meshillemith, the son of Immer; and their brethren, heads of their fathers’ houses; one thousand seven hundred and sixty. They were very able men for the work of the service of the house of God.
a. They were very able men: This same phrase is translated mighty men of valor in many other Old Testament passages (Joshua 1:14, Judges 6:12, 1 Samuel 16:18, and many others). It shows that when it came to doing the work of the service of the house of God, it takes a man of strength and courage, the same qualities that are needed in a warrior.
i. “The phrase ‘very able men’ means ‘mighty men of valour’ and is so rendered in this historic connection in Nehemiah 11:14. The description is usually employed with reference to military men, and that makes its use here the more arresting.” (Morgan)
2. (14-16) Leaders among the Levites.
Of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, of the sons of Merari; Bakbakkar, Heresh, Galal, and Mattaniah the son of Micah, the son of Zichri, the son of Asaph; Obadiah the son of Shemaiah, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun; and Berechiah the son of Asa, the son of Elkanah, who lived in the villages of the Netophathites.
3. (17-34) Levite gatekeepers and temple workers.
And the gatekeepers were Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their brethren. Shallum was the chief. Until then they had been gatekeepers for the camps of the children of Levi at the King’s Gate on the east. Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, from his father’s house, the Korahites, were in charge of the work of the service, gatekeepers of the tabernacle. Their fathers had been keepers of the entrance to the camp of the LORD. And Phinehas the son of Eleazar had been the officer over them in time past; the LORD was with him. Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was keeper of the door of the tabernacle of meeting. All those chosen as gatekeepers were two hundred and twelve. They were recorded by their genealogy, in their villages. David and Samuel the seer had appointed them to their trusted office. So they and their children were in charge of the gates of the house of the LORD, the house of the tabernacle, by assignment. The gatekeepers were assigned to the four directions: the east, west, north, and south. And their brethren in their villages had to come with them from time to time for seven days. For in this trusted office were four chief gatekeepers; they were Levites. And they had charge over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God. And they lodged all around the house of God because they had the responsibility, and they were in charge of opening it every morning. Now some of them were in charge of the serving vessels, for they brought them in and took them out by count. Some of them were appointed over the furnishings and over all the implements of the sanctuary, and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the incense and the spices. And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices. Mattithiah of the Levites, the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the trusted office over the things that were baked in the pans. And some of their brethren of the sons of the Kohathites were in charge of preparing the showbread for every Sabbath. These are the singers, heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites, who lodged in the chambers, and were free from other duties; for they were employed in that work day and night. These heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites were heads throughout their generations. They dwelt at Jerusalem.
a. And the gatekeepers were: This describes the re-institution of the organization of the temple work and workers in the early days of the second temple. They were anxious to organize things in the same manner as King David did originally.
i. It also denotes that there was definite organization and division of labor among the Levites. “When the morning broke, it called to duty first the porters who opened the House of God; and then, after due ablution, each band of white-robed Levites began its special service. There was no running to and fro in disorder, no intrusion on one another’s office, no clashing in duty, no jealousy of each other’s ministry. It was enough to know that each had been appointed to his task, and was asked to be faithful to it. The right ordering of the whole depended on the punctuality, fidelity, and conscientiousness of each.” (Meyer)
ii. “Since both Meshelemiah and Zechariah served under David (1 Chronicles 26:8-11), this ‘Tent of Meeting’ would seem to refer to the curtained form of God’s house erected prior to Solomon’s permanent temple.” (Payne)
b. Phinehas the son of Eleazar had been the officer over them in time past; the LORD was with him: The Chronicler remembered the faithful work of Phinehas in the days of Moses (Numbers 25:7-13), and linked his faithfulness to the work of the gatekeepers in the days of Ezra.
i. “The fact that the LORD was with him [Phinehas] indicates that the Lord was also with those gatekeepers of the Chronicler’s day who followed in the same living tradition of divine service.” (Selman)
4. (35-44) The ancestors and descendants of King Saul.
Jeiel the father of Gibeon, whose wife’s name was Maacah, dwelt at Gibeon. His firstborn son was Abdon, then Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, Zechariah, and Mikloth. And Mikloth begot Shimeam. They also dwelt alongside their relatives in Jerusalem, with their brethren. Ner begot Kish, Kish begot Saul, and Saul begot Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Esh-Baal. The son of Jonathan was Merib-Baal, and Merib-Baal begot Micah. The sons of Micah were Pithon, Melech, Tahrea, and Ahaz. And Ahaz begot Jarah; Jarah begot Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri; and Zimri begot Moza; Moza begot Binea, Rephaiah his son, Eleasah his son, and Azel his son. And Azel had six sons whose names were these: Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan; these were the sons of Azel.
a. Kish begot Saul, and Saul begot Jonathan: For emphasis, some of the genealogy of the line of Saul (both before him and after him) is listed. This was to emphasize the fact that God did not wipe out the line of Saul, and that his descendants lived to the days of Ezra and the return from exile.
i. “Since the genealogy continues for twelve generations after Saul, the fact that his dynasty crashed and his kingship was transferred to David did not remove his family’s place in Israelite history. They too had lived in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 9:38), and though we do not know whether this continued after the exile, even for them there were signs of hope.” (Selman)