1 Chronicles 23 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 1 Chronicles 23)

Verse 2

[2] And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.

Gathered, … — To declare God's mind and his own will, that Solomon should be his successor: and to acquaint them with those directions which he had received from God by the spirit.

Verse 3

[3] Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand.

Upwards — Not only 'till fifty, as it was appointed, Numbers 4:2,3, but even 'till their death: for that was but a temporary law grounded upon a special reason, because the Levites were employed in carrying the tabernacle and sacred vessels from place to place; and therefore God would have them freed from those burdens when they came to feel the infirmities of age: which reason wholly ceasing upon the building of the temple, their work being far easier than it had been, and their service being more a privilege than a burden, their time of service is justly prolonged.

Verse 4

[4] Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the LORD; and six thousand were officers and judges:

Officers — To take care that all the work of the temple about sacrifices should be punctually performed, either by themselves or others: which they were not to do all at once, but by courses, a thousand at a time.

Judges — Not in the affairs of the temple; there the priests presided; but in several parts of the kingdom, where they assisted the princes and elders of every tribe, in the administration of justice.

Verse 13

[13] The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever.

Sanctify — That he might keep them from pollution: for these most holy things were polluted when they were touched by any other person.

He and his — Not only his eldest sons the high-priests successively, but all his posterity or all the priests; for the works here following were not peculiar to the high-priest, but common to all the priests.

Verse 14

[14] Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi.

Levi — They were accounted only as common Levites, and were not priests: which is mentioned for the honour of Moses, and the demonstration of his eminent piety and self-denial, who willingly left the government to Joshua, and the priesthood to Aaron, and was content to have his posterity reduced to a private and mean condition.

Verse 24

[24] These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of the LORD, from the age of twenty years and upward.

Twenty years — As the Levites were anciently numbered from two several times, from the twenty fifth year of their age, and from the thirtieth, Numbers 4:3; 8:24. In like manner they are here numbered both from their twentieth year, when they were solemnly prepared for, and instructed, and by degrees exercised in some parts of their work; and from their thirtieth year, when they were admitted to the full exercise of their office. And the reason why they were now sooner admitted to service than they had been formerly, is given in the next verses because now their work was more easy, being wholly discharged from that burdensome work of carrying the tabernacle. Besides the people of Israel were multiplied: therefore more hands were necessary, that every Israelite who brought an offering, might find a Levite ready to assist him.

Verse 28

[28] Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;

Holy things — Holy places, and garments, and vessels, and sacrifices, which were to be washed and cleansed from any filthiness that might cleave to them.

Verse 29

[29] Both for the shewbread, and for the fine flour for meat offering, and for the unleavened cakes, and for that which is baked in the pan, and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure and size;

All measure — All measures used either in sacred or civil things, the publick standards whereof were kept in the temple; and therefore the care of keeping them inviolable and producing them upon occasion, musts needs belong to the priests, and under them to the Levites, who were to examine other measures and all things by them, as occasion required; that so the priests might be at leisure for their higher and greater employments.

Verse 30

[30] And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even;

Morning and even — The two solemn times of offering sacrifices: which work was attended with publick prayer and thanksgiving.

Verse 32

[32] And that they should keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the holy place, and the charge of the sons of Aaron their brethren, in the service of the house of the LORD.

Charge — What the priests should commit to their charge, or command them to do.