Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
DIVISIONS OF THE
1, 2. Concerning the divisions of the porters--There were four thousand
all taken from the families of the Kohathites and Merarites
divided into twenty-four courses--as the priests and musicians.
Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph--Seven sons of
Meshelemiah are mentioned
whereas eighteen are given
but in this latter number his relatives are included.
5. God blessed him--that is, Obed-edom. The occasion of the blessing
was his faithful custody of the ark
(2Sa 6:11, 12).
The nature of the blessing
consisted in the great increase of progeny by which his house was
distinguished; seventy-two descendants are reckoned.
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
10. Simri the chief . . . though . . . not the first-born--probably
because the family entitled to the right of primogeniture had died out,
or because there were none of the existing families which could claim
12. Among these were the divisions of the porters, even among the chief
men--These were charged with the duty of superintending the watches,
being heads of the twenty-four courses of porters.
13. they cast lots--Their departments of duty, such as the gates they
should attend to, were allotted in the same manner as those of the
other Levitical bodies, and the names of the chiefs or captains are
given, with the respective gates assigned them.
15. the house of Asuppim--or, "collections," probably a storehouse,
where were kept the grain, wine, and other offerings for the sustenance
of the priests.
16. the gate Shallecheth--probably the rubbish gate, through which
all the accumulated filth and sweepings of the temple and its courts
were poured out.
by the causeway of the going up--probably the ascending road which was
cast up or raised from the deep valley between Mount Zion and Moriah,
for the royal egress to the place of worship
ward against ward--Some refer these words to Shuppim and Hosah, whose
duty it was to watch both the western gate and the gate Shallecheth,
which was opposite, while others take it as a general statement
applicable to all the guards, and intended to intimate that they were
posted at regular distances from each other, or that they all mounted
and relieved guard at the same time in uniform order.
17-19. Eastward were six Levites--because the gate there was the most
frequented. There were four at the north gate; four at the south, at
the storehouse which was adjoining the south, and which had two
entrance gates, one leading in a southwesterly direction to the city,
and the other direct west, two porters each. At the Parbar towards the
west, there were six men posted--four at the causeway or ascent
and two at Parbar, amounting to twenty-four in all, who were kept daily
18. Parbar--is, perhaps, the same as Parvar ("suburbs,"
and if so, this gate might be so called as leading to the suburbs
CHARGE OF THE
20. of the Levites, Ahijah--The heading of this section is altogether
strange as it stands, for it looks as if the sacred historian were
going to commence a new subject different from the preceding. Besides,
"Ahijah, whose name occurs after" the Levites, is not mentioned in the
previous lists. It is totally unknown and is introduced abruptly
without further information; and lastly, Ahijah must have united in his
own person those very offices of which the occupants are named in the
verses that follow. The reading is incorrect. The Septuagint has
this very suitable heading, "And their Levitical brethren over the
treasures," &c. [BERTHEAU].
The names of those who had charge of the
treasure chambers at their respective wards are given, with a general
description of the precious things committed to their trust. Those
treasures were immense, consisting of the accumulated spoils of
Israelitish victories, as well as of voluntary contributions made by
David and the representatives of the people.
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
who probably acted like their brethren on the principle of rotation,
and these were divided into three classes--one
for the outward business over Israel; one
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."