Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 9

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression.

All Israel were reckoned by genealogies. From the beginning of the Hebrew nation, public records were kept, containing a registration of the name of every individual, as well as the tribe and family to which he belonged. "The book of the kings of Israel and Judah" does not refer to the two canonical books that are known in Scripture by that name, but to authenticated copies of those registers, placed under the official care of the sovereigns; and as a great number of the Israelites (1 Chronicles 9:3) took refuge in Judah during the invasion of Shalmaneser, they carried the public records along with them. The genealogies given in the preceding chapters were drawn from the public records in the archives both of Israel and Judah; and those given in this chapter relate to the period subsequent to the restoration; whence it appears (cf. 1 Chronicles 3:17-24) that the genealogical registers were kept during the captivity in Babylon. These genealogical tables, then, are of the highest authority for truth and correctness, the earlier portion being extracted from the authenticated records of the nation; and as to those which belong to the time of the captivity, they were drawn up by a contemporary writer, who, besides enjoying the best sources of information, and being of the strictest integrity, was guided and preserved from all error by divine inspiration.

Verse 2

Now the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions in their cities were, the Israelites, the priests, Levites, and the Nethinims.

The first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions. This chapter relates wholly to the first returned exiles. Almost all the names recur in Nehemiah (Nehemiah 11:1-36), although there are differences, which will be explained there. The same division of the people into four classes was continued after, as before, the captivity-namely, the priests, Levites, natives who now were called by the common name of Israelites, and Nethinims, i:e., given (to the sanctuary). This designation, applied first to the Levites (Numbers 3:9) became afterward the distinctive title of the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:27; Ezra 2:43; Ezra 8:20). When the historian speaks of the "first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions," he implies that there were others who afterward returned and settled in possessions not occupied by the first. Accordingly we read of a great number returning successively under Ezra, Nehemiah, and at a later period. And some of those who returned to the ancient inheritance of their fathers, had lived before the time of the captivity (Ezra 3:12; Haggai 2:4; Haggai 2:10).

Verses 3-17

And in Jerusalem dwelt of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh;

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 18

Who hitherto waited in the king's gate eastward: they were porters in the companies of the children of Levi. Who hitherto waited in the king's gate eastward [ `ad (H5704) heenaah (H2008), until now]. But Houbigant and others consider these words as a proper name: 'And Adana was over the king's gate eastward'-the only one of the gates that is particularly mentioned, probably because of its magnificence and pre-eminent importance as the entrance of the kings of Judah into the temple.

They were porters in the companies of the children of Levi - i:e., according to the orders or courses into which the tribe was divided did they render this service; because the office of porter about the doors of the tabernacle was one which was assigned exclusively to Levites. The king had a gate from his palace into the temple (2 Kings 16:18), which doubtless was kept constantly close except for the monarch's use; and although there was no king in Israel on the return from the captivity, yet the old ceremonial was kept up, probably in the hope that the sceptre would, ere long, be restored to the house of David. It is an honour, by which Eastern kings are distinguished, to have a gate exclusively devoted to their own special use, and which is kept constantly closed, except when he goes out or returns (Ezekiel 44:2). There being no king then in Israel, this gate would be always shut.

Verse 19

And Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, of the house of his father, the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle: and their fathers, being over the host of the LORD, were keepers of the entry.

Shallum ... and his brethren ... the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle. They occupied a higher position, their office being more directly connected with the sacred service than the former (1 Chronicles 9:18).

Verse 20

And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the ruler over them in time past, and the LORD was with him.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 21

And Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter (principal porter; namely, in the reign of David, 1 Chronicles 26:1-2; 1 Chronicles 27:2)

Of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation - i:e., kept the door which opened from priest's court into the tabernacle, which contained the ark (2 Samuel 6:17).

Verse 22

All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office.

All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. So great a number being appointed to posts of the nature specified, implies that they performed their duties by a system of rotation.

These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain.

For a long time after the entrance into Canaan there was great disorder and irregularity prevailing among the Levites, both as to the time and manner of discharging their sacred duties. Samuel, among the many important services which, by his public administration as a judge, he rendered to his country, devised a plan for the methodical arrangement of the Levitical functions in the tabernacle. And as his scheme seems to have been only partially developed at the period compulsory retirement from public life, he communicated his intentions to David (most probably at Nob, cf. 1 Samuel 19:18), who when he was fully established on the throne, finally matured the project, by distributing the Levitical tribe into twenty-four courses, which were called in rotation to do duty at the sanctuary. They were required, according to the royal regulations, to travel from the cities and villages where they were located, to Jerusalem, at stated seasons in succession, for the purpose of ministering in or about the temple during their allotted term of service. [Samuel is called "the seer;" for he retained during his lifetime, and was known ever after by the simple name haaro'eh (H7200), "the seer," a name which preceded the introduction and use of the higher designation naabiy' (H5030). The distinction between these was wide and important; because although they related to an office of the same generic character-namely, that of a special revelation-the latter belonged to a more advanced state of the ancient preparatory church: "the seer" had respect to receiving revelation as an act, but the prophet as a functionary.]

Verse 23

So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the LORD, namely, the house of the tabernacle, by wards.

So they and their children had the oversight of the gates - i:e., as they were appointed in David's time, so their families continued in the hereditary office. Of the house the Lord, namely, the house of the tabernacle. In David's reign the old tabernacle continued at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:2; 2 Chronicles 1:3; 2 Chronicles 1:5), where worshippers repaired from distant parts of the country. A temporary tabernacle was provided by that king for the ark on its removal to Jerusalem, before the temple was built, and some have conjectured from this passage, that after the return from Babylon another provisional tabernacle was constructed, in which the duties of the Lord's house were performed, and before which the daily sacrifices prescribed by the Mosaic law were offered, until the second temple was completed.

By wards, [ lªmishmaarowt (H4931)] - according to watches, each in his set time at the gates. There is a strong presumption that the preceding list relates to the staff of Levitical officials who did duty at Gibeon, rather than at Jerusalem after the captivity, furnished by the introduction of the name of Gibeon; which, on any other hypothesis appears abrupt and unaccountable.

Verse 24

In four quarters were the porters, toward the east, west, north, and south.

In four quarters were the porters - i:e., the principal porters, with their assistants.

Toward the east, [ mizraach (H4217)] - from the rising of the sun. [ yaamaah (H3220), seaward - i:e., west, as looking to the Mediterranean; tsaapownaah (H6828), north, because the ancients regarded the north as dark or unknown; and negbaah (H5045), south, the region south of Palestine being an arid, parched desert.] These words, expressing the cardinal points of the compass, were, among the Hebrews, derived from the characteristic features of their own land, or from the prevalent impressions of the people of the direction spoken of.

Verses 25-30

And their brethren, which were in their villages, were to come after seven days from time to time with them.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 31

And Mattithiah, one of the Levites, who was the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the set office over the things that were made in the pans.

Mattithiah ... had the set office over the things that were made in the pans, [ hachabitiym (H2281), things cooked or fried. machªbat (H4227) is the word used for a pan, Leviticus 6:21 ].

Verses 32-34

And other of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, were over the shewbread, to prepare it every sabbath.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 35

And in Gibeon dwelt the father of Gibeon, Jehiel, whose wife's name was Maachah:

And in Gibson dwelt the father of Gibeon - chief man of Gibeon (cf. 1 Chronicles 8:21, where the same thing is mentioned without any individual's name).

Jehial, [ Yª`iy'eel (H3273). The Kethib has y-`-w-'-l, Jeuel; Septuagint, Vatican, Ieeel; Alexandrine, Ieieel]. Jehiel is supposed to be another name for Abiel (1 Samuel 9:1); although the letter ain in the former creates a difficulty.

Whose wife's name was Maachah, [Septuagint, Vatican, Mooocha]. Her husband's name and hers are recorded as being prominent ancestors in the genealogy of Saul.

Verse 36

And his firstborn son Abdon, then Zur, and Kish, and Baal, and Ner, and Nadab,

Ner. This name ranks here as fifth son, but it is omitted, 1 Chronicles 8:30, although in both passages Ner is stated to have been the father of Kish.

Verses 37-38

And Gedor, and Ahio, and Zechariah, and Mikloth.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 39

And Ner begat Kish; and Kish begat Saul; and Saul begat Jonathan, and Malchishua, and Abinadab, and Eshbaal.

Kish begat Saul. Here, as well as in the pedigree as given, 1 Chronicles 8:33, he is represented as the greatgrandson of Abiel (Jehiel); whereas he appears as grandson, 1 Samuel 9:1; 1 Samuel 14:51. The explanation is, that a link has been dropped-a circumstance common to all the genealogies.

Verses 40-43

And the son of Jonathan was Meribbaal: and Meribbaal begat Micah.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 44

And Azel had six sons, whose names are these, Azrikam, Bocheru, and Ishmael, and Sheariah, and Obadiah, and Hanan: these were the sons of Azel.

Azrikam, Bocheru ... [ Bokªruw (H1074). The Septuagint, apparently reading bªkoruw (H1069), has: Ezrikam proototokos autou (cf. 1 Chronicles 8:38), his first-born.]

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.