Read 1 Chronicles 23
23 When David was old and full of years, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.
2 He also gathered together all the leaders of Israel, as well as the priests and Levites. 3 The Levites thirty years old or more were counted, and the total number of men was thirty-eight thousand. 4 David said, “Of these, twenty-four thousand are to be in charge of the work of the temple of the Lord and six thousand are to be officials and judges. 5 Four thousand are to be gatekeepers and four thousand are to praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have provided for that purpose.”
6 David separated the Levites into divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
7 Belonging to the Gershonites:
Ladan and Shimei.
8 The sons of Ladan:
Jehiel the first, Zetham and Joel—three in all.
9 The sons of Shimei:
Shelomoth, Haziel and Haran—three in all.
These were the heads of the families of Ladan.
10 And the sons of Shimei:
Jahath, Ziza, Jeush and Beriah.
These were the sons of Shimei—four in all.
11 Jahath was the first and Ziza the second, but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons; so they were counted as one family with one assignment.
12 The sons of Kohath:
Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel—four in all.
13 The sons of Amram:
Aaron and Moses.
Aaron was set apart, he and his descendants forever, to consecrate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices before the Lord, to ministerbefore him and to pronounce blessings in his name forever. 14 The sons of Moses the man of God were counted as part of the tribe of Levi.
15 The sons of Moses:
Gershom and Eliezer.
16 The descendants of Gershom:
Shubael was the first.
17 The descendants of Eliezer:
Rehabiah was the first.
Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous.
18 The sons of Izhar:
Shelomith was the first.
19 The sons of Hebron:
Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth.
20 The sons of Uzziel:
Micah the first and Ishiah the second.
21 The sons of Merari:
Mahli and Mushi.
The sons of Mahli:
Eleazar and Kish.
22 Eleazar died without having sons: he had only daughters. Their cousins, the sons of Kish, married them.
23 The sons of Mushi:
Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth—three in all.
24 These were the descendants of Levi by their families—the heads of families as they were registered under their names and counted individually, that is, the workers twenty years old or more who served in the temple of the Lord. 25 For David had said, “Since the Lord, the God of Israel, has granted rest to his people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever, 26 the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the articles used in its service.” 27 According to the last instructions of David, the Levites were counted from those twenty years old or more.
28 The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. 29 They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size. 30 They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening 31 and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moonfeasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the Lordregularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.
32 And so the Levites carried out their responsibilities for the tent of meeting, for the Holy Place and, under their relatives the descendants of Aaron, for the service of the temple of the Lord.
On the surface, 1 Chronicles 23 may appear dry to read, but below the surface it is anything but that. At the time of Israel’s history, King David was aging and ill. He declared Solomon as King even though his other son Adonijah was celebrating with his men the possibility of becoming the next King. Thankfully, the transition between brothers would be peaceful, and David honored his vow to Bathsheba declaring Solomon as King. Read 1 Kings 1:24-34 for a more in-depth view of these details.
The key verse for historical purposes is 1 Chronicles 23:25 which says, “The Lord God of Israel has given rest to His people, He dwells in Jerusalem forever.” The nation is now in Jerusalem and the Lord has revealed to David that his son Solomon would build the temple. David is now organizing the divisions and work of the Levites. The first part of the chapter sees David dividing the work of the Levites into 6 important duties:
- Overseers of the work of the “House of the Levites”
- Officers and Judges
- Praising the Lord with instruments used and made by David (worship)
- Priest duties of the Sons of Aaron, Moses, and Amran set apart for the holy duties of ministry to the Lord
- Assist the priests above in their works in the tent of the Tabernacle
These divisions are sacred and civil appointments of the Levites, ordained by God through David, and now unto Solomon. The relationship seen here can be defined as “King unto Priest.” In reading this, we can see the parallel as Solomon will be building the Temple of Jerusalem with the directives and sacred organization from his father, King David. So, Jesus Christ came to build His temple within all of us with directives to follow that have sacred intent and purpose. The Levites each had important works, and so do each of us have significant purposes in the Kingdom of God.
It is obvious in this chapter that the sons of Aaron are called to be “separate” which means holy in their work and worship. The Levites are obviously called to aid the sons of Aaron in the many and varied jobs related to the temple works, duties to the people, and duties to the priests. We might see the obvious division of being both a worker and worshiper. We now have to ask ourselves, in the modern-day church, are we just workers and not worshippers or are we just worshippers and not workers?
The correct answer for us is that we are both. The Lord led organization of the temple duties is eerily similar to the church today. We must see ourselves as “separate” which means we are growing in our relationship with Christ and His Holiness. Galatians 2:20 says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and this life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” The natural progression of our faith will be like the Levites of the temple in that our enduring commitment to Christ will allow us to grow in His Holiness within. Then, we are invited to participate in and experience eternal significance in what we are asked to do. Finally, it is obvious that God desired the Levites and the sons of Aaron to have unity and fellowship as they worked side by side. He desires the same for us as our life in the church should be marked by holiness, enduring faith, and joyous fellowship as we work together to further the kingdom of God.
Now, we can read verse 30 of this rich chapter and echo the prayers of the Levites and the sons of Aaron in their daily duties and lives, “They are to stand every morning to thank the Lord, and, likewise, every evening.” May we all embrace His joy in serving our families, others and our church every morning and every evening with thanksgiving and praise to God for what He continues to do in our own lives and the life of the church!
- How do you think David felt passing on the building of the temple to his son Solomon?
- As you read through the duties of the Levites in the temple, how are they similar to the modern day church?
- How can you better integrate being both a worker and a worshipper in your own life?
Matthew Henry’s commentary from the 18th century speaks to us perfectly about this chapter. He writes, “To the spiritual man every service will yield satisfaction. He will be ever abounding in the work of the Lord; being never so happy as when employed for such a good Master, in so pleasant a service.”
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4 thoughts on “1 Chronicles 23”
At my teacher work station in the classroom, I have a quote posted that reminds me that “Work becomes worship when you dedicate it to God and perform it with an awareness of his presence.” It calls me to see miracles in the mundane as my classroom is fertile, holy ground ripe for planting seeds of the gospel in young lives. It’s so more than a STAAR score or a grade on a report card, but a window of time to impact the next generation with the hope of Christ. As I step into the final days of this school year, I praise God for this opportunity and seek to steward it well. “And whatever you do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
This morning I was reminded of the true meaning behind being a Father here on Earth. Verse 13 led it off for me, “Aaron was set apart, he and his descendants forever, to consecrate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices before the Lord, to minister before him and to pronounce blessings in his name forever.” As an expecting 1st time Dad here in a month, I felt again how important a foundation built on Jesus Christ is. How your child must see you in action (V. 30), living out your faith, knowing that above all else my sacrifices in life go towards God alone NOT the other worldly time fillers. This God willing leads to multiplying Heaven and planting seeds in the lives of others daily.
All day, everyday we should be the “church” to the world. We are to be a light in a dark place “I AM the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). They (the world, unbelievers/believers) should know us by our fruit. Gal 5:22-23. How do we impact the people around us? Do we leave them wanting to know more about the love, peace, kindness that we exude or are they ready for us to leave them alone?
David had people in a place for a specific job to make sure that all ran smoothly for Solomon. We are to do a “job” serving the Lord with gladness. Do we do well?
God thank You for my listening ears to ear who or how I can be of service to You. Thank You for me being Your hands and feet today. Help me to hear, listen and obey today in Jesus name amen.
What a well-written commentary full of inspiring instructions and thoughts. As I read, I was thinking here we have a little part of heaven on earth. What a day that will be when we will be given jobs in Heaven to oversee the Kingdom along side with our King! 🙌🏻
4,000 men appointed to the worship team! That’s an incredible orchestra! Who was the conductor?! Imagine that role, worship leader!
Revelation 5: 11 “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”