1 Chronicles 25 Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

(Read all of 1 Chronicles 25)
This chapter relates the appointment of the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, to be singers in the temple, 1 Chronicles 25:1 the distribution of them by lot into twenty four classes, twelve in each class, 1 Chronicles 25:8.

Verse 1. Moreover, David and the captains of the host separated to the service,.... Of singing the praises of God; this was done by the princes of the people, and the chief of the priests, who were gathered together, and before whom the lots were cast, both for priests and Levites, and now here for the singers, see 1 Chronicles 22:2 and those that were separated were

of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun; or Ethan, the three precentors, or chief of the singers:

who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals; sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, endited by the Holy Spirit of God; which contained in them prophecies concerning things to come, particularly relating to the Messiah, of which there are many in the book of Psalms; and to the tunes of these they played on the above instruments of music:

and the number of the workmen, according to their service, was; as follows.

Verse 2. Of the sons of Asaph,.... Who were separated, and by lot appointed, to the service of singers in the temple:

Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah; called Jesharelah, 1 Chronicles 25:14, these had the third fourth, fifth, and seventh lots, 1 Chronicles 25:9,

under the hands of Asaph; under his instruction and authority:

which prophesied according to the order of the king; which Asaph composed psalms under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, and was ordered by King David to sing them, and by whose command they were inserted in the book of Psalms, where they now stand with his name to them.

Verse 3. Of Jeduthun,.... Or Ethan, the sons of Jeduthun:

Gedaliah and Zeri; called Izri, 1 Chronicles 25:11,

and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six; whereas five only are mentioned; it may be thought that Shimei, 1 Chronicles 25:17 is the sixth, he not being mentioned elsewhere; it is a tradition of the Jews, that his mother was now with child of him, and it being foreseen by the Holy Spirit that he would be the chief of a course, the number six is given, as Jarchi observes; but rather, as Kimchi, he was young, and not fit to sing, yet was chosen the head of a course, until he was grown up and fit for it; to these six came up the second, fourth, eighth, twelfth, fourteenth, and tenth lots, 1 Chronicles 25:9 and these

[were] under the hands of their father Jeduthun; to instruct and direct them, and appoint their service to them:

who prophesied with a harp; or sung a prophetic psalm or hymn on that:

to give thanks, and to praise the Lord; for what he had done and promised, and foretold he would do for his people.

Verse 4. Of Heman: the sons of Heman,.... The third chief singer:

Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel; the same with Azareel, 1 Chronicles 25:18Shebuel; called Shubael, 1 Chronicles 25:20

and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamtiezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth; in all fourteen, to whom came the sixth, ninth, eleventh, fifteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth, twentieth, twenty second, twenty fourth, seventeenth, nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty third lots, 1 Chronicles 25:13.

Verse 5. All these were the sons of Heman, the king's seer,.... The prophet of the king, as the Targum, who was frequently with him, assisting himin the words of God: in divine things:

to lift up the horn; to blow with the hornpipe or trumpet, and to magnify and set forth the greatness of the kingdom of Israel, and especially of the King Messiah, the horn of salvation, that would be raised up in the house of David:

and God gave to Heman fourteen sons; whose names are before mentioned:

and three daughters; of whom we have no more account, only may observe, that both are the gifts of God, and an heritage from him, Psalm 127:3.

Verse 6. All these were under the hands of their father, for song in the house of the Lord,.... Instructed and directed by him in the performance of the service in the temple:

with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God; which were the three principal instruments of music used in the temple service:

according to the king's order, to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman; who ordered and directed them what to sing, what tunes to make use of, and what instruments to play upon to those tunes.

Verse 7. So the number of them, with their brethren,.... Who each of them had twelve with them, as after reckoned:

that were instructed in the songs of the Lord; taught how to sing them:

[even] all that were cunning; expert and well skilled in the science of singing:

was two hundred and eighty eight; for there being twenty four classes answerable to those of the priests, and twelve in each class, twelve times twenty four makes two hundred and eighty eight.

Verse 8. And they cast lots, ward against ward,.... That is, which ward or course of the singers should answer to and attend on the first ward or course of the priests in their weekly service, and which the second, and so on:

as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar; no regard was had to the age of a person, his being the firstborn or a younger brother, or to his office and station, whether as a teacher or a learner in the science of singing; he was made the head of a course, as the lot came up; and it may easily be observed, by comparing the lots in the following verses with the sons of the chief singers, according to the order of them in 1 Chronicles 25:2 that the younger are often preferred in the courses by lot to the elder, of which even the first lot is an instance.

Verse 9. Now the first lot came forth for Asaph to Joseph,.... His second son to the preference of the firstborn, 1 Chronicles 25:2,

the second to Gedaliah, who with his brethren and sons were twelve: and which must also be understood of Joseph, and supplied to him; for those being both in one verse, as Jarchi observes, it is but once mentioned, but must be supplied, or otherwise the number of two hundred and eighty eight could not be made up; the same is observed of all the other lots and courses to the end of the chapter as here, and therefore need no more remarks.