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The genealogies of the several tribes being given, according as they were written in the books of the kings of Israel, ( 1 Chronicles 9:1), an account follows of those who first settled in Jerusalem after their return from the Babylonish captivity; of the Israelites, ( 1 Chronicles 9:2-9), of the priests, ( 1 Chronicles 9:10-13) of the Levites, and of the charge and offices of several of the priests and Levites, ( 1 Chronicles 9:14-34), and the chapter is concluded with a repetition of the genealogy of the ancestors and posterity of Saul king of Israel, ( 1 Chronicles 9:35-44).
Ver. 1 . So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies , etc.] Not now by the writer of this book in the preceding chapters; for two of the tribes are not reckoned at all, and the rest but in part; but there had been kept an exact account of them: and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel ; not in the canonical book or books of Kings, but in the annals, journals, and diaries, which each king took care to be kept with some exactness, often referred to in the preceding books; out of which this writer, under a divine direction, had taken what was proper to be continued, and had carried the genealogy down to the captivity of the ten tribes; but the genealogy being lost with them, he could proceed no further, nor say anything more concerning them: but Judah ; for so the word should be stopped, and read according to the Hebrew accents: [who] were carried away to Babylon for their transgression ; their idolatry, and were now returned again; of them the writer proposes to give a further account.
Ver. 2 . Now the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions in their cities , etc.] Who first returned from Babylon upon the proclamation of Cyrus, and enjoyed their former possessions, and dwelt in the cities they had before, or in such as were allotted them, or they chose: [were], the Israelites, the priests, Levites, and the Nethinims ; the whole body that returned were divided into four classes, as they had been before the captivity; the Israelites were the common people in general, the body politic; the priests, the ecclesiastics, who officiated in sacred things; the Levites, who ministered to them; and the Nethinims were such persons as were “given”, as the word signifies, to do servile work for the sanctuary, as, to be hewers of wood and drawers of water; such were the Gibeonites, ( Joshua 9:27), and such as were appointed by David for such work, (see Ezra 8:20).
Ver. 3 . And in Jerusalem dwelt of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin , etc.] Of which tribes were the largest number that went into, and returned out of, captivity: and of the children of Ephraim and Manasseh ; such of those tribes who had joined the others when Jeroboam introduced his idolatry, or had fled to them when Samaria was besieged and taken by Shalmaneser, and so went into captivity with Judah, and now returned; and as many of them as took the advantage of the proclamation of Cyrus, who were carried captive with the ten tribes.
Ver. 4 . Uthai, the son of Ammihud , etc.] Called Athaiah, ( Nehemiah 11:4) though his ancestors there are differently reckoned here; his genealogy here is traced from his father Ammihud, through Omri, Imri, Bani, Pharez, to Judah.
Ver. 5 . And of the Shilonites , etc.] Not called so from the city of Shiloh, which was in Ephraim; whereas these here intended were of the tribe of Judah, and were either the descendants of a man whose name was Shiloni, ( Nehemiah 11:5) or rather these are the same with the Shelanites, ( Numbers 26:20) so called from Shelah the son of Judah; and so the Targum here is, “and of the tribe of Shelah:” Asaiah the firstborn, and his sons ; the same with Maaseiah, ( Nehemiah 11:5).
Ver. 6 . And of the sons of Zerah , etc.] Another son of Judah: Jeuel, and their brethren; six hundred and ninety ; or their kinsmen; for this number includes all of the posterity of Pharez, Shelah and Zerah mentioned.
Ver. 7 . And of the sons of Benjamin , etc.] Who were of the tribe of Benjamin, and went with Judah into captivity, and returned with them, and such of them as dwelt in Jerusalem before that: Sallu the son of Meshullam ; whose pedigree is differently given, ( Nehemiah 11:7), the son of Hodaviah, the son of Hassenaah ; perhaps these men had two names, there called Joel and Pedaiah.
Ver. 8 . And Ibneiah the son of Jeroham , etc.] Who with two more, Elah and Meshullam, whose ancestors are given, of whom we have no mention elsewhere, were all of the tribe of Benjamin, said to settle at Jerusalem.
Ver. 9 . And their brethren, according to their generations, nine hundred amd fifty and six , etc.] Which was the number of the Benjaminites there resident put together, and which greatly exceeded that of Judah, ( Chronicles 9:6) all these men were chief of the fathers, in the house of their fathers ; principal men in the families of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, even all the seven before mentioned.
Ver. 10 . And of the priests , etc.] Who returned and dwelt at Jerusalem: Jedaiah, and Jehoiarib, and Jachin ; Jedaiah was the son of Jehoiarib, and Jachin is called Jachin, ( Nehemiah 11:10).
Ver. 11 . And Azariah the son of Hilkiah , etc.] That is, the son of Azariah, whose name was Seraiah, (see 1 Chronicles 6:13,14 Nehemiah 11:11), whose pedigree is traced up from Hilkiah through Meshullam, called Shallum, ( 1 Chronicles 6:12,13). Zadok, Meraioth, to Ahitub, the ruler of the house of God ; high priest in it; which is to be understood of Ahitub, and not of Azariah or Seraiah in the time of Ezra; for Joshua was then high priest.
Ver. 12 . And Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pashur , etc.] In this genealogy, between Jeroham and Pashur, were three more here omitted, Pelaliah, Amzi, Zechariah, ( Nehemiah 11:12), and then Pashur the son of Malchijah, as here: and Maasiai the son of Adiel ; whose pedigree is traced up from hence, through Jahzerah, Meshullam, Meshillemith, to Immer; one of the five heads of the courses settled by David, ( 1 Chronicles 24:14). The names of this man, and of his ancestors, are given, with some variation, in ( Nehemiah 11:13).
Ver. 13 . And their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers, one thousand and seven hundred and threescore .] These, with other priests, made up this number, which was greater than those of Judah and Benjamin, that dwelt in Jerusalem, put together: very able men for the work of the service of the house of God : men that had not only strength of body, which some part of the work of the priests required; but had courage and fortitude of mind to set about the service of God with cheerfulness, and to preserve it from corruption.
Ver. 14 . And of the Levites , etc.] Having given an account of the two first classes of the people, the Israelites and priests, the author of the book now proceeds to the Levites, the third class; and the first mentioned is Shemaiah, whose ancestors, Hashub, Azrikam, and Hashabiah, [were] of the sons of Merari ; the third son of Levi.
Ver. 15 . And Bakbakkar, Heresh, and Galal, and Mattaniah , etc.] Four more of the chief of the Levites, the pedigree of the last of which is traced up by Micah and Zichri to Asaph, the singer in the times of David, a descendant of Gershon, the first son of Levi; the first of these is thought by Hillerus to be the same with Bakbukiah, ( Nehemiah 11:17).
Ver. 16 . And Obadiah the son of Shemaiah , etc.] Called Abda the son of Shammua, ( Nehemiah 11:17) the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun ; who was Ethan, another of the singers in the time of David: and Berechiah the son of Asa, the son of Elkanah, that dwelt in the villages of the Netophathites ; the villages about Netophah, which was in the tribe of Judah, ( 1 Chronicles 2:54), ( Nehemiah 7:26) which may be understood either of Elkanah, the ancestor of Berechiah, whose dwelling was there; or of Berechiah, and must be rendered, who had dwelt there ; for now he dwelt at Jerusalem.
Ver. 17 . And the porters , etc.] Or keepers of the gates of the tabernacle: were Shallum, and Akkub, and Talmon, and Ahiman, and their brethren; Shallum was the chief ; of these four porters, and their brethren.
Ver. 18 . Who hitherto waited in the king’s gate eastward , etc.] At the gate through which the king went into the temple, and was at the east of it; and here these porters were placed in the same order after the captivity, and their return from it, as before: they were porters in the companies of the children of Levi ; or in the camp of Levi, which was placed around the tabernacle, as in the wilderness: the Septuagint version is, “these are the gates of the camp of the children of Levi”; at which these porters were placed.
Ver. 19 . And Shallum the son of Kore , etc.] The same as in ( Chronicles 9:17) whose pedigree is traced up to Ebiasaph the son of Korah, (see Exodus 6:24) and his brethren, of the house of his father, the Korahites ; so called, because they descended from Korah: [were over] the work of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle ; until the temple was built: and their fathers being over the host of the Lord ; the Levites, who were the Lord’s army, and whose service is represented as a warfare, ( Numbers 4:5) [were] keepers of the entry ; into the tabernacle, that none might enter that were impure; or into the court of the priests, excepting priests; or into the holiest of all, as Kimchi suggests.
Ver. 20 . And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the ruler over them in time past , etc.] Over the host, over the Levites, and the chief of them; which is to be understood of Phinehas the son of Eleazar, in the time of Moses, who succeeded his father in that post, (see Numbers 3:32) though some think, as Kimchi observes, that this was not Phinehas the priest, but a certain Levite of this name in this post; but since he is said to be in time past, it may very well be understood of him: and it also is observed, and the Lord was with him ; inspiring him with zeal for his honour and glory, assisting and strengthening him to do his will and work, as particularly in the affair of Zimri, ( Numbers 25:7,8), the Targum is, “the Word of the Lord was for his help;” this may be said for the encouragement of him that was in the same office now.
Ver. 21 . And Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah , etc.] Some think this refers to one that was in the times of David; but it seems rather to respect one that was after the Babylonish captivity, (see 1 Chronicles 26:1,2) though he and his brethren were in an office established in the times of David, and the order of which was now, as then, observed: was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation : who was the chief porter, and kept the door; either that led into the outer court, and kept out all unclean persons from entering there; or that which led into the court of the priests, that none but priests might enter there.
Ver. 22 . All those that were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve , etc.] As fixed in the days of David, and might not be fewer: these were reckoned by their genealogies in their villages ; where they dwelt: whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office ; the scheme was first drawn by Samuel the prophet, and communicated to David, who put it into execution, to be constantly and perpetually observed.
Ver. 23 . So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the Lord , etc.] They that were appointed in David’s time to watch the gates of the temple, their posterity succeeded them in that office; for it was hereditary: namely, the house of the tabernacle, by wards ; that which was at Gibeon in David’s time, and now one was erected until the temple was built.
Ver. 24 . In four quarters were the porters , etc.] For, according to the Targum on ( 1 Chronicles 9:22) there were twenty four wards: towards the east, west, north, and south ; and, as the same paraphrase has it, six wards to the east, six to the west, six to the north, and six to the south.
Ver. 25 . And their brethren, which were in their villages , etc.] Assigned them to dwell in: were to come after seven days from time to time with them ; there was a new course of them every week; the old ones went off of duty, and another course succeeded, which came out of the villages where they dwelt, and the old course retired to theirs.
Ver. 26 . For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office , etc.] The four chief porters who were over all the two hundred and twelve, and had one over them, ( 1 Chronicles 9:17), these were never changed, nor went into the country villages; but were always upon the spot, and in their office, superintending the rest: and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God ; (see Chronicles 26:20).
Ver. 27 . And they lodged round about the house of God , etc.] In chambers on the outward wall about it, that they might be near to do their office: because the charge was upon them ; to guard the house: and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them ; that is, the opening of the doors of the mountain of the house, and the court of women; for as for others, that appertained to the priests, as Dr. Lightfoot observes; under the second temple, it is said f70 , Ben Geber was over the shutting of the gates in the evening, and so of opening in the morning.
Ver. 28 . And certain of them had the charge of the ministering vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale .] Which the priests used in sacrificing, and which the Levites brought to them, and returned again to their proper places.
Ver. 29 . Some of them also were appointed to oversee the vessels, and all the instruments of the sanctuary , etc.] They were committed to their care; they delivered them out on occasion, and their business was to see that they were returned when they had done their use and service: and the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices ; which were used in meat offerings, drink offerings, etc. (see Chronicles 26:20) under the second temple, Ahiah was over the libations or drink offerings f71 .
Ver. 30 . And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices .] For though the Levites had the care of the spices, they might not make the ointment with them, only the priests, (see Exodus 30:23).
Ver. 31 . And Mattithiah, one of the Levites, who was the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite , etc.] Of whom (see 1 Chronicles 9:19), had the set office over the things that were made in the pans ; the meat offerings that were made in pans; and so had the care of the fine flour, oil, and frankincense used in them, which he delivered to the priests when necessary, (see Leviticus 2:5), the Septuagint version is, “over the works of the sacrifice of the pan of the high priest;” as if it respected peculiarly his meat offering, ( Leviticus 6:20,21), we read in the Misnah of the offerings of the high priest, as expressed by this word, which it signifies, and not pans, but what was fried in them f73 ; and Ben Melech on the place says, this man was an high priest who offered every day the tenth part of an ephah in a pan, half of it in the morning, and half of it in the evening, according to ( Leviticus 6:20), but that cannot be, for certain it is he was a Levite, as the text expresses it.
Ver. 32 . And other of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, were over the shewbread, to prepare it every sabbath , etc.] Twelve loaves of which were set every week before the ark upon the shewbread table, and the old ones taken away: now the work of these Levites was to make this shewbread, and get it ready every week to be set upon the table, and which was done not by them, but by priests; under the second temple, the family of Garmu was set over this work f74 .
Ver. 33 . And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites , etc.] Others of them were employed in singing, and were masters of the song, and presided in that service, (see 1 Chronicles 6:31) who remaining in the chambers were free ; from all other work and service; and there they abode, even in the chambers of the temple, that they might be near to perform their work, and not be defiled, and made unfit for it: for they were employed in that work day and night ; some or other of them, either in composing or singing psalms and hymns, or teaching others how to sing them.
Ver. 34 . These chief fathers of the Levites were chief throughout their generations , etc.] Even all before made mention of in this chapter: these dwelt at Jerusalem ; always resided there, and did not in turns go into the country villages, as the inferior Levites did; their office requiring them to be constantly there, being chief of the porters, singers, etc. who had the superintendency and direction of the rest.
Ver. 35-44 . And in Gibeon dwelt the father of Gibeon , etc.] Whose name is here mentioned, which is not in ( 1 Chronicles 8:29). Jehiel, whose wife’s name was Maachah ; as there, but here called his sister, as a wife sometimes is, ( Genesis 20:2,5 1 Corinthians 9:5). From hence to the end of the chapter is a repetition of the ancestors and posterity of Saul king of Israel; which is made to lead on to and connect the following history of the kings of Judah, begun in this book, and carried on in the next unto the Babylonish captivity, (see 1 Chronicles 8:29-40), and the notes there.