The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Chronicles

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1 Chronicles 9

1Ch 9:1

1Ch 9: "The record of the heads of the families are set out in order: [1] The heads of families in Jerusalem: vv 1-3. [2] Those of Judah: vv 4-6. [3] Of Benjamin: vv 7-9. [4] Of the priests: vv 10-13. [5] Of the Levites: vv 14-16. [6] The organisation and duties of the porters [gatekeepers]: vv 17-29. [7] Levitical duties: vv 30-34. [8] Genealogy of the house of Saul: vv 35-55" (GEM).

1Ch 9:2

THE TEMPLE SERVANTS: Or "Nethinim" (AV). They are said specifically to be those "whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites" (Ezr 8:20), thus indicating both their realm of activity and their historical origin. In most of the occurrences they are listed with and after the Levites (cf 1Ch 9:2; Ezr 7:7; Neh 7:73). Because of this reference to the activity of David and their being joined with Solomon's servants (Ezr 2:58; Neh 7:60; cf 1Ki 9:21) and the foreign names that they bear, it has been thought that they were foreigners, mostly captives of war, put into this service. For example, Mehunim (Ezr 2:50; Neh 7:52) may refer to those overcome by Uzziah (2Ch 26:7). Nephusim (Ezr 2:50; Neh 7:52) may refer to the Hagarite clan of Naphish (Gen 25:15; 1Ch 5:19). Because of the similarity of duty, some have sought their background in the Gibeonites, "hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God" (Jos 9:23,27) and also in the Midianites (Num 31:30,47). The correlation is probably no more than that of similarity of service, not direct relationship. Whatever may be the roots of their origin, they were treated as part of the people of God, at least as proselytes (Neh 10:28...). They are mentioned by name in the OT in post-Exilic times. From Babylon 612 returned, 392 with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:58: Neh 7:60) a count which includes "the children of Solomon's servants") and 220 with Ezra (Ezr 8:20) as "ministers for the house of our God" from the place Casiphia (Ezr 8:17) "in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king (Ezr 7:7). Like other sacred ministers, they were exempted from taxation (Ezr 7:24).

1Ch 9:17

Vv 17-29: The porters (Heb sho'erim, gatekeepers) were not only porters, but guards as well, protecting the sacred edifice from pollution (Eze 44:7,23,24). They had their various courses appointed by lot (1Ch 26). They entered their service on the sabbath, and continued for a week (2Ki 11). Over them were the four keepers of the threshold [principal gatekeepers: v 26]. The porters ministered at the outside entrances. The keepers of the threshold were at the inner entrances. It was a very privileged position, protecting the sanctuary from those who wish to enter, and preventing those of a contrary nature. The responsibility was based on fellowship. David longed for such a privileged position (Psa 84:10).

1Ch 9:20

PHINEHAS SON OF ELEAZAR WAS IN CHARGE OF THE GATEKEEPERS: Phinehas seems to become something like the adoptive father of the sons of Korah -- after Korah died trying to usurp the position of Phinehas, Aaron's son.

1Ch 9:27

EACH MORNING: Manna given (Exo 16:21). The house of the LORD was opened (1Ch 9:27). Fire on the altar (Lev 6:12). Incense offered (Exo 30:7). Praise offered (1Ch 23:30). Service offered (here). Sacrifice presented (2Ch 2:4; 13:11). God visits (Job 7:18). God is their arm (Isa 33:2). His compassions new (Lam 3:23). The Philistines present themselves (1Sa 17:16). God silences the wicked (Psa 101:8). God dispenses justice (Zep 3:5). Rulers should administer justice (Jer 21:12).

1Ch 9:40

MERIB-BAAL (MEPHIBOSHETH): The treatment of the name "Baal" is probably an example of deliberate change, for theological reasons, by the scribes who copied out the scriptures. With personal names that included the word "Baal" (which could simply mean "master" or "lord"), the scribes deliberately replaced "Baal" with "Bosheth" (which means "shame"). To them the idol "Baal", in all his many forms, was a "shameful thing", and any passing allusion to him was to be avoided if possible. Hence, it is likely that Jonathan's son was actually named "Meribbaal", but later scribes made sure that the (by then) hated name of "Baal" was replaced -- yielding "Mephibosheth" (cp 1Ch 8:34; 9:40 and 2Sa 9:6; 19:24; 21:7).

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