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The Families of Levi, and Their Cities - 1 Chronicles 6
1 Chronicles 6
(5:27-6:66). As to the tribe of Levi, we have several communications: (1.) the genealogy of the high-priestly family of Aaron, down to Jehozadak, who was led away into exile by Nebuchadnezzar (1 Chronicles 6:1-15); (2.) a short register of the families of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, which does not extend far into later times (1 Chronicles 6:16-30); (3.) the genealogies of the musicians Heman, Asaph, and Ethan (1 Chron 6:31-47), with remarks on the service of the other Levites (1 Chronicles 6:48, 1 Chronicles 6:49); (4.) a register of the high priests from Eleazar to Ahimaaz the son of Zadok (1 Chronicles 6:50-53), with a register of the cities of the Levites (1 Chron 6:54-81). If we look into these genealogies and registers, we see, both from a repetition of a part of the genealogy of the high priest (1 Chronicles 6:50-53), and also from the name of the eldest son of Levi appearing in two different forms - in 1 Chronicles 6:1. Gershon; in 1 Chronicles 6:16-17, 1 Chronicles 6:20, etc., Gershom - that the register in 1 Chronicles 6:1-15 is drawn from another source than the registers in 1 Chron 6, which, with the exception of the genealogies of David's chief musicians, are throughout fragmentary, and in parts corrupt, and were most probably found by the author of the Chronicle in this defective state.
(5:27-41). The family of Aaron, or the high-priestly line of Aaron, to the time of the Babylonian exile. - 1 Chronicles 6:1-3. In order to exhibit the connection of Aharon (or Aaron) with the patriarch Levi, the enumeration begins with the three sons of Levi, who are given in 1 Chronicles 6:1 as in Genesis 46:11; Exodus 6:16, and in other passages. Of Levi's grandchildren, only the four sons of Kohath (1 Chronicles 6:2) are noticed; and of these, again, Amram is the only one whose descendants - Aaron, Moses, and Miriam - are named (1 Chronicles 6:3); and thereafter only Aaron's sons are introduced, in order that the enumeration of his family in the high-priestly line of Eleazar might follow. With 1 Chronicles 6:2 cf. Exodus 1:18, and on 1 Chronicles 6:34 see the commentary on Exodus 6:20. With the sons of Aaron ( 1 Chronicles 6:44) compare besides Exodus 6:23, also Numbers 3:2-4, and 1 Chronicles 24:1-2. As Nadab and Abihu were slain when they offered strange fire before Jahve (Leviticus 10:1.), Aaron's race was continued only by his sons Eleazar and Ithamar. After Aaron's death, his eldest son Eleazar was chosen by God to be his successor in the high priest's office, and thus the line of Eleazar came into possession of the high-priestly dignity.
1 Chronicles 6:4-15
(5:30-41). In 1 Chronicles 6:4-15 the descendants of Eleazar are enumerated in twenty-two generations; the word הוליד , “he begat,” being repeated with every name. The son so begotten was, when he lived after his father, the heir of the high-priestly dignity. Thus Phinehas the son of Eleazar (Exodus 6:25) is found in possession of it in Judges 20:28. From this the older commentators have rightly drawn the inference that the purpose of the enumeration in 1 Chronicles 6:4-15 was to communicate the succession of high priests from Eleazar, who died shortly after Joshua (Joshua 24:33), to Jehozadak, whom Nebuchadnezzar caused to be carried away into Babylon. From the death of Aaron in the fortieth year after Israel came forth from Egypt, till the building of the temple in the fourth year of the reign of Solomon, 400 years elapsed (480 - _40 = 440, 1 Kings 6:1). From the building of the temple to the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple by the Chaldaeans there was an interval of 423 years (36 years under Solomon, and 387 years during which the kingdom of Judah existed; see the chronological table to 1 Kings 12). Between the death of Aaron, therefore, and the time when Jehozadak was led away into captivity, supposing that that event occurred only under Zedekiah, lay a period of 440 + 423 = 863 years. For this period twenty-two generations appear too few, for then the average duration of each life would be 39 1/4 years. Such an estimate would certainly appear a very high one, but it does not pass the bounds of possibility, as cases may have occurred in which the son died before the father, when consequently the grandson would succeed the grandfather in the office of high priest, and the son would be omitted in our register. The ever-recurring הוליד cannot be brought forward in opposition to this supposition, because הוליד esuace in the genealogical lists may express mediate procreation, and the grandson may be introduced as begotten by the grandfather. On the supposition of the existence of such cases, we should have to regard the average above mentioned as the average time during which each of the high priests held the office. But against such an interpretation of this list of the posterity of Eleazar two somewhat serious difficulties are raised. The less serious of these consists in this, that in the view of the author of our register, the line of Eleazar remained an uninterrupted possession of the high-priestly dignity; but in the historical books of the Old Testament another line of high priests, beginning with Eli, is mentioned, which, according to 1 Chronicles 24:5, and Joseph. Ant. v. 11. 5, belonged to the family of Ithamar. The list is as follows: Eli (1 Samuel 2:20); his son Phinehas, who, however, died before Eli (1 Samuel 4:11; his son Ahitub (1 Samuel 14:3); his son Ahijah, who was also called Ahimelech (1 Samuel 14:3; 1 Samuel 22:9, 1 Samuel 22:11, 1 Samuel 22:20); his son Abiathar (1 Samuel 22:20), from whom Solomon took away the high-priesthood (1 Kings 2:26.), and set Zadok in his place (1 Kings 2:35). According to Josephus, loc. cit., the high-priestly dignity remained with the line of Eleazar, from Eleazar to Ozi ( עזּי , 1 Chronicles 6:4-6); it then fell to Eli and his descendants, until with Zadok it returned to the line of Eleazar. These statements manifestly rest upon truthful historical tradition; for the supposition that at the death of Ozi the high-priesthood was transferred from the line of Eleazar to the line of Ithamar through Eli, is supported by the circumstance that from the beginning of the judgeship of Eli to the beginning of the reign of Solomon a period of 139 years elapsed, which is filled up in both lines by five names, - Eli, Phinehas, Ahitub, Ahijah, and Abiathar in the passages above quoted; and Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, and Zadok in 1 Chronicles 6:6-8 of our chapter. But the further opinion expressed by Joseph. Antt. viii. 1. 3, that the descendants of Eleazar, during the time in which Eli and his descendants were in possession of the priesthood, lived as private persons, plainly rests on a conjecture, the incorrectness of which is made manifest by some distinct statements of the Old Testament: for, according to 2 Samuel 8:17 and 2 Samuel 20:25, Zadok of Eleazar's line, and Abiathar of the line of Ithamar, were high priests in the time of David; cf. 1 Chronicles 24:5. The transfer of the high-priestly dignity, or rather of the official exercise of the high-priesthood, to Eli, one of Ithamar's line, after Ozi's death, was, as we have already remarked on 1 Samuel 2:27., probably brought about by circumstances or relations which are not now known to us, but without an extinction of the right of Ozi's descendants to the succession in dignity. But when the wave of judgment broke over the house of Eli, the ark was taken by the Philistines; and after it had been sent back into the land of Israel, it was not again placed beside the tabernacle, but remained during seventy years in the house of Abinadab (1 Sam 4:4-7:2). Years afterwards David caused it to be brought to Jerusalem, and erected a separate tent for it on Zion, while the tabernacle had meanwhile been transferred to Gibeon, where it continued to be the place where sacrifices were offered till the building of the temple.
Thus there arose two places of worship, and in connection with them separate spheres of action for the high priests of both lines, - Zadok performing the duties of the priestly office at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39; cf. 1 Kings 3:4.), while Abiathar discharged its functions in Jerusalem. But without doubt not only Zadok, but also his father Ahitub before him, had discharged the duties of high priest in the tabernacle at Gibeon, while the connection of Eli's sons with the office came to an end with the slaughter of Ahijah (Ahimelech) and all the priesthood at Nob (1 Sam 22); for Abiathar, the only son of Ahimelech, and the single survivor of that massacre, fled to David, and accompanied him continuously in his flight before Saul (1 Samuel 22:20-23). But, not content with the slaughter of the priests in Nob, Saul also smote the city itself with the edge of the sword; whence it is probable, although all definite information to that effect is wanting, that it was in consequence of this catastrophe that the tabernacle was removed to Gibeon and the high-priesthood entrusted to Zadok's father, a man of the line of Eleazar, because the only son of Ahimelech, and the only representative of Ithamar's line, had fled to David. If this view be correct, of the ancestors of Ahitub, only Amariah, Meraioth, and Zerahiah did not hold the office of high priest. But if these had neither been supplanted by Eli nor had rendered themselves unworthy of the office by criminal conduct; if the only reason why the possession of the high-priesthood was transferred to Eli was, that Ozi's son Zerahiah was not equal to the discharge of the duties of the office under the difficult circumstances of the time; and if Eli's grandson Ahitub succeeded his grandfather in the office at a time when God had already announced to Eli by prophets the approaching ruin of his house, then Zerahiah, Meraioth, and Amariah, although not de facto in possession of the high-priesthood, might still be looked upon as de jure holders of the dignity, and so be introduced in the genealogies of Eleazar as such. In this way the difficulty is completely overcome.
But it is somewhat more difficulty to explain the other fact, that our register on the one hand gives too many names for the earlier period and too few for the later time, and on the other hand is contradicted by some definite statements of the historical books. We find too few names for the time from the death of Aaron to the death of Uzzi (Ozi), when Eli became high priest, - a period of 299 years ( vide the Chronological View of the Period of the Judges, ii. 1, S. 217). Five high priests - Eleazar, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, and Uzzi - are too few; for in that case each one of them must have discharged the office for 60 years, and have begotten the son who succeeded him in the office only in his 60th year, or the grandson must have regularly succeeded the grandfather in the office, - all of which suppositions appear somewhat incredible. Clearly, therefore, intermediate names must have been omitted in our register. To the period from Eli till the deposition of Abiathar, in the beginning of Solomon's reign - which, according to the chronological survey, was a period of 139 years - the last five names from Zerahiah to Zadok correspond; and as 24 years are thus assigned to each, and Zadok held the office for a number of years more under Solomon, we may reckon an average of 30 years to each generation. For the following period of about 417 years from Solomon, or the completion of the temple, till the destruction of the temple by the Chaldaeans, the twelve names from Ahimaaz the son of Zadok to Jehozadak, who was led away into captivity, give the not incredible average of from 34 to 35 years for each generation, so that in this part of our register not many breaks need be supposed. But if we examine the names enumerated, we find (1) that no mention is made of the high priest Jehoiada, who raised the youthful Joash to the throne, and was his adviser during the first years of his reign (2 Kings 11, and 2 Chronicles 22:10; 2 Chronicles 24:2), and that under Ahaz, Urijah, who indeed is called only הכּהן , but who was certainly high priest (2 Kings 16:10.), is omitted; and (2) we find that the name Azariah occurs three times (1 Chronicles 6:9, 1 Chronicles 6:10, and 1 Chronicles 6:11), on which Berth. remarks: “Azariah is the name of the high priest in the time of Solomon (1 Kings 4:2), in the time of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:17), and in the time of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 31:10).” Besides this, we meet with an Amariah, the fifth after Zadok, whom Lightf., Oehler, and others consider to be the high priest of that name under Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 19:11. And finally, (3) in the historical account in 2 Kings 22:4., Hilkiah is mentioned as high priest under Josiah, while according to our register (1 Chronicles 6:13) Hilkiah begat Azariah; whence we must conclude either that Hilkiah is not the high priest of that name under Josiah, or Azariah is not the person of that name who lived in the time of Hezekiah. As regards the omission of the names Urijah and Jehoiada in our register, Urijah may have been passed over as an unimportant man; but Jehoiada had exerted far too important an influence on the fate of the kingdom of Judah to allow of his being so overlooked. The only possibilities in his case are, either that he occurs in our register under another name, owing to his having had, like so many others, two different names, or that the name יהוידע has fallen out through an old error in the transcription of the genealogical list. The latter supposition, viz., that Jehoiada has fallen out before Johanan, is the more probable. Judging from 2 Kings 12:3 and 2 Chronicles 24:2, Jehoiada died under Joash, at least five or ten years before the king, and consequently from 127 to 132 years after Solomon, at the advanced age of 130 years (2 Chronicles 24:15). He was therefore born shortly before or after the death of Solomon, being a great-grandson of Zadok, who may have died a considerable time before Solomon, as he had filled the office of high priest at Gibeon under David for a period of 30 years.
Then, if we turn our attention to the thrice recurring name Azariah, we see that the Azariah mentioned in 1 Kings 4:2 cannot be regarded as the high priest; for the word כּהן in this passage does not denote the high priest, but the viceroy of the kingdom ( vide on the passage). But besides, this Azariah cannot be the same person as the Azariah in 1 Chronicles 6:9 of our genealogy, because he is called a son of Zadok, while our Azariah is introduced as the son of Ahimaaz, the son of Zadok, and consequently as a grandson of Zadok; and the grandson of Zadok who is mentioned as being high priest along with Abiathar, 1 Kings 4:4, could not have occupied in this grandfather's time the first place among the highest public officials of Solomon. The Azariah mentioned in 1 Kings 4:2 as the son of Zadok must not be considered to be a brother of the Ahimaaz of our register, for we very seldom find a nephew and uncle called by the same name. As to the Azariah of 1 Chronicles 6:10, the son of Johanan, it is remarked, “This is he who was priest (or who held the priest's office; כּהן , cf. Exodus 40:13; Leviticus 16:32) in the house (temple) which Solomon had built in Jerusalem.” R. Sal. and Kimchi have connected this remark with the events narrated in 2 Chronicles 26:17, referring it to the special jealousy of King Uzziah's encroachments on the priest's office, in arrogating to himself in the temple the priestly function of offering incense in the holy place. Against this, indeed, J. H. Mich. has raised the objection, quod tamen chronologiae rationes vix admittunt; and it is true that this encroachment of Uzziah's happened 200 years after Solomon's death, while the Azariah mentioned in our register is the fourth after Zadok. But if the name Jehoiada has been dropped out before Johanan, and the Jehoiada held the high priest's office for a considerable time under Joash, the high-priesthood of his grandson Azariah would coincide with Uzziah's reign, when of course the chronological objection to the above-mentioned explanation of the words וגו כּהן אשׁר הוּא is removed.
(5:41). Jehozadak is the father of Joshua who returned from exile with Zerubbabel, and was the first high priest in the restored community (Ezra 3:2; Ezra 5:2; Haggai 1:1). After הלך , “he went forth,” בּגּולה is to be supplied from וגו בּהגלות , “he went into exile” to Babylon; cf. Jeremiah 49:3.
(Ch. 6). The families and cities of the Levites. - Vv. 1-34. Register of the families of the Levites. - This is introduced by an enumeration of the sons and grandsons of Levi (1 Chronicles 6:16-19), which is followed by lists of families in six lines of descent: ( a) the descendants of Gershon (1 Chronicles 6:20-21), of Kohath (1 Chronicles 6:22-28), and of Merari (1 Chronicles 6:29-30); and ( b) the genealogies of David's chief musicians (1 Chronicles 6:31, 1 Chronicles 6:32), of Heman the Kohathite (1 Chronicles 6:33-38), of Asaph the Gershonite (1 Chronicles 6:39-43), and of Ethan the Merarite (1 Chronicles 6:44-47); and in 1 Chronicles 6:48, 1 Chronicles 6:49, some notes as to the service performed by the other Levites and the priests are added.
(6:1-4). The sons of Levi are in 1 Chronicles 6:1 again enumerated as in 1 Chronicles 6:1; then in 1 Chronicles 6:16-22 the sons of these three sons, i.e., the grandsons of Levi, are introduced, while in 1 Chronicles 6:1 only the sons of Kohath are mentioned. The only object of this enumeration is to make quite clear the descent of the Levitic families which follow. The name of the first son of Levi is in 1 Chronicles 6:16, 1 Chronicles 6:17, 1 Chronicles 6:20, etc. of this chapter גּרשׁם , which was the name of Moses' son, cf. 1 Chronicles 23:15.; whereas in 1 Chronicles 6:1 and in the Pentateuch we find a different pronunciation, viz., גּרשׁון . The names of Levi's grandsons in 1 Chronicles 6:17-22 coincide with the statements of the Pentateuch, Exodus 6:17-19, and Numbers 3:17-20, cf. Numbers 26:57. Bertheau and other commentators consider the words in 1 Chronicles 6:17, “and these are the families of Levi according to their fathers,” to be a “concluding subscription” to the statements of 1 Chronicles 6:15-17, and would remove ו before אלּה , as not compatible with this supposition. But in this he is wrong: for although the similar statement in Exodus 6:20 is a subscription, yet it is in Numbers 3:20 a superscription, and must in our verse also be so understood; for otherwise the enumeration of the descendants of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, which follows, would be brought in very abruptly, without any connecting particle, and the ו before אלּה points to the same conclusion.
(6:5-15). The three lists of the descendants of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari are similar to one another in plan, and in all, each name is connected with the preceding by בּנו , “his son,” but they differ greatly in the number of the names.
1 Chronicles 6:20-21
(6:5-6). The ל before גּרשׁום is introductory: “as to Gershom.” Those of his descendants who are here enumerated belong to the family of his oldest son Libni, which is traced down through seven generations to Jeaterai, a name not elsewhere met with. Of the intermediate names, Johath, Zimmah, and Zerah occur also among the descendants of Asaph, who is descended from the line of Shimei, 1 Chronicles 6:39.
1 Chronicles 6:22-28
(6:7-13). The genealogy of the descendants of Kohath consists of three lists of names, each of which commences afresh with בּני , 1 Chronicles 6:22, 1 Chronicles 6:35, and 1 Chronicles 6:38; yet we learn nothing from it as to the genealogical connection of these three lines. The very beginning, “The sons of Kohath, Amminidab his son, Korah his son, Assir his son,” is somewhat strange. For, according to Exodus 6:18, Exodus 6:21, and Exodus 6:24, Kohath's second son is called Izhar, whose son was Korah, whose sons were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. Amminidab is nowhere met with as a son of Kohath; but among the descendants of Uzziel, a prince of a father's-house is met with in the time of David who bore this name. The name Amminidab occurs also in the time of Moses, in the genealogies of the tribe of Judah, 1 Chronicles 2:10; Numbers 1:7; Ruth 1:19, as that of the father of the prince Nahshon, and of Elisheba, whom Aaron took to wife, Exodus 6:23. But since the names Korah and Assir point to the family of Izhar, the older commentators supposed the Amminidab of our verse to be only another name for Izhar; while Bertheau, on the contrary, conjectures “that as an Amminidab occurs in the lists of the descendants of Kohath as father-in-law of Aaron, Amminidab has been substituted for Izhar by an ancient error, which might very easily slip into an abridgment of more detailed lists.” But we have here no trace of an abridgment of more detailed lists. According to Exodus 6:21 and Exodus 6:24, Korah was a son of Izhar, and Assir a son of Korah; and consequently in our genealogies only the name Izhar is wanting between Korah and Kohath, while instead of him we have Amminidab. An exchange or confusion of the names of Izhar and Amminidab the father-in-law of Aaron, is as improbable as the supposition that Amminidab is another name for Izhar, since the genealogies of the Pentateuch give only the name Izhar. Yet no third course is open, and we must decide to accept either one or the other of these suppositions. For that our verses contain a genealogy, or fragments of genealogies, of the Kohathite line of Izhar there can be no doubt, when we compare them with the genealogy (1 Chronicles 6:33) of the musician Heman, a descendant of Kohath, which also gives us the means of explaining the other obscurities in our register. In 1 Chronicles 6:22 and 1 Chronicles 6:23 the names of Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph, and again Assir, follow that of Korah, with בּנו after each. This בּנו cannot be taken otherwise than as denoting that the names designate so many consecutive generations; and the only peculiarity in the list is, that the conjunction w is found before Abiasaph and the second Assir, while the other names do not have it. But if we compare the genealogy in Ex 6 with this enumeration, we find that there, in 1 Chronicles 6:39, the same three names, Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph, which are here enumerated as those of the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Korah, were said to be the names of the sons of the Izharite Korah. Further, from Heman's genealogy in 1 Chronicles 6:37, we learn that the second Assir of our list is a son of Abiasaph, and, according to 1 Chronicles 6:37 and 1 Chronicles 6:23, had a son Tahath. Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph must consequently be held to have been brothers, and the following Assir a son of the last-named Abiasaph, whose family is in 1 Chronicles 6:9 further traced through four generations (Tahath, Uriel, Uzziah, and Shaul). Instead of these four, we find in 1 Chronicles 6:37 and 1 Chronicles 6:36 the names Tahath, Zephaniah, Azariah, and Joel. Now although the occurrence of Uzziah and Azariah as names of the same king immediately suggests that in our register also Uzziah and Azariah are two names of the same person, yet the divergence in the other names, on the one hand Zephaniah for Joel, and on the other Uriel for Shaul, is strongly opposed to this conjecture. The discrepancy can scarcely be naturally explained in any other way, than by supposing that after Tahath the two genealogies diverge-ours introducing his son Uriel and his descendants; the other, in 1 Chronicles 6:36, mentioning a second son of Tohath, Zephaniah, of whose race Heman came.
1 Chronicles 6:25-30
(6:10-15). “And the sons of Elkanah, Amasai and Ahimoth.” As it is clear that with אלק וּבני אל a new list begins, and that the preceding enumeration is that of the descendants of Abiasaph, it is at once suggested that this Elkanah was the brother of the Abiasaph mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:15. If, however, we compare the genealogy of Heman, we find there (1 Chronicles 6:36 and 1 Chronicles 6:35) a list of the descendants of Joel in an ascending line, thus, - Elkanah, Amasai, Mahath, Elkanah, Zuph; from which it would seem to follow that our Elkanah is the son of Moel mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:36, for Ahimoth may be without difficulty considered to be another form of the name Mahath. This conclusion would be assured if only the beginning of 1 Chronicles 6:26 were in harmony with it. In this verse, indeed, בּנו אלקנה , as we read in the Kethibh, may be without difficulty taken to mean that Elkanah was the son of Ahimoth, just as in 1 Chronicles 6:20 Elkanah is introduced as son of Mahath. But in this way no meaning can be assigned to the אלקנה which follows בני , and Bertheau accordingly is of opinion that this אלקנה has come into the text by an error. The Masoretes also felt the difficulty, and have substituted for the Kethibh בנו the Keri בּני , but then nothing can be made of the first אלקנה in 1 Chronicles 6:26. Beyond doubt the traditional text is here corrupt, and from a comparison of 1 Chronicles 6:35 and 1 Chronicles 6:34 the only conclusion we can draw with any certainty is that the list from צופי onwards contains the names of descendants of Elkanah the son of Mahath, which is so far favourable to the Keri אלקנה בּני . The name Elkanah, on the contrary, which immediately precedes בנו , seems to point to a hiatus in the text, and gives room for the conjecture that in 1 Chronicles 6:10 the sons of Elkanah, the brother of Abiasaph and Assir, were named, and that there followed thereupon an enumeration of the sons or descendants of the Elkanah whom we meet with in 1 Chronicles 6:36 as son of Joel, after which came the names Elkanah בּנו , Zophai בּנו , etc. נחת and אליאב we consider to be other forms of תּוח and אליאל , 1 Chronicles 6:34, and צופי is only another form of צוּף . The succeeding names, Jeroham and Elkanah (1 Chronicles 6:27), agree with those in 1 Chronicles 6:34; but between the clauses “Elkanah his son” (1 Chronicles 6:27), and “and the sons of Samuel” (1 Chronicles 6:28), the connecting link בּנו שׁמוּאל , cf. 1 Chronicles 6:33, is again wanting, as is also, before or after הבּכר (1 Chronicles 6:28), the name of the first-born, viz., Joel; cf. 1 Chronicles 6:33 with 1 Samuel 8:2. Now, although the two last-mentioned omissions can be supplied, they yet show that the enumeration in 1 Chronicles 6:22 is not a continuous list of one Kohathite family, but contains only fragments of several Kohathite genealogies. - In 1 Chronicles 6:29 and 1 Chronicles 6:30, descendants of Merari follow; sons of Mahli in six generations, who are not mentioned elsewhere. Bertheau compares this list of names, Mahli, Libni, Shimei, Uzza, Shimea, Haggiah, and Asaiah, with the list contained in 1 Chronicles 6:44, Mushi, Mahli, Shamer, Bani, Amzi, Hilkiah, and Amaziah, and attempts to maintain, notwithstanding the great difference in the names, that the two lists were originally identical, in order to find support for the hypothesis “that the three lists in 1 Chronicles 6:20 have not found a place in the Chronicle from their own intrinsic value, or, in other words, have not been introduced there in order to give a register of the ancestors of Jeaterai, the sons of Samuel and Asaiah, but have been received only because they bring us to Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, 1 Chronicles 6:34, 1 Chronicles 6:39, 1 Chronicles 6:44, in another fashion than the lists of names in 1 Chronicles 6:33.” But this hypothesis is shown to be false, apart altogether from the other objections which might be raised against it, by the single fact of the total discrepancy between the names of the Merarites in 1 Chronicles 6:29 and 1 Chronicles 6:30 and those found in 1 Chronicles 6:44-47. Of all the six names only Mahli is found in both cases, and he is carefully distinguished in both - in the genealogy of Ethan as the son of Mushi and grandson of Merari; in our list as the son of Merari. When we remember that Merari had two sons, Mahli and Mushi, after whom the father's-houses into which his descendants divided themselves were named (Numbers 3:20; Numbers 26:58), and that the same names very frequently occur in different families, it would never suggest itself to any reader of our register to identify the line of Mushi with the line of Mahli, seeing that, except the name of Mahli the son of Mushi, which is the same as that of his uncle, all the other names are different. 1 Chronicles 6:29 and 1 Chronicles 6:30 contain a register of the family of Mahli, while the ancestors of Ethan, 1 Chronicles 6:44-47, belonged to the family of Mushi. Our list then absolutely cannot be intended to form a transition to Ethan or Ethan's ancestors. The same may be said of the two other lists 1 Chronicles 6:20-22 and 1 Chronicles 6:23-28, and this transition hypothesis is consequently a mere airspun fancy. The three lists are certainly not embodied in the Chronicle on account of the persons with whose names they end-Jeaterai, the sons of Samuel, and Asaiah; but the author of the Chronicle has thought them worthy of being received into his work as registers of ancient families of the three sons of Levi which had been transmitted from ancient times.
(6:16-34). The genealogies of the Levite musicians - Heman, Asaph, and Ethan. - These registers are introduced by an account of the service of the Levites about the sanctuary (1 Chronicles 6:31, 1 Chronicles 6:32), and conclude with remarks on the service of the remaining Levites (1 Chronicles 6:48, 1 Chronicles 6:49).
1 Chronicles 6:31-32
(6:16-17). “These are they whom David set for the leading of the song in the house of Jahve, after the resting of the ark,” cf. 1 Chronicles 6:20, 1 Chronicles 6:22. ידי על “upon the hands,” “to the hands;” that is, both for leading, and, according to arrangement. To the hands of the song, i.e., to manage the singing, to carry it on, to conduct it. הערון ממּנוח , “from the resting of the ark,” i.e., from the time that the ark of the covenant, which in the prae-Davidic time had been carried about from one place to another, had received a permanent resting-place on Zion, and had become the centre of the worship instituted by David, 2 Samuel 6:17. “And they served before the dwelling of the tabernacle with song.” משׁכּן לפני , “before the dwelling,” for the sacrificial worship, with which the singing of psalms was connected, was performed in the court before the dwelling. The genitive מועד אהל is to be taken as explanatory: “The dwelling (of Jahve), which was the tent of the meeting (of God with His people).” מועד אהל was the usual designation of the tabernacle built by Moses, which was at first set up in Shiloh, then in the time of Saul at Nob, and after the destruction of that city by Saul (1 Sam 22) in Gibeon (1 Chronicles 21:29). It denotes here the tent which David had erected upon Mount Zion for the ark of the covenant, because from its containing the ark, and by the institution of a settled worship in it (cf. 1 Chronicles 16:1-4.), it thenceforth took the place of the Mosaic tabernacle, although the Mosaic sanctuary at Gibeon continued to be a place of worship till the completion of the temple (1 Kings 3:4; 2 Chronicles 1:3), - “till Solomon built the house of Jahve in Jerusalem,” into which the ark was removed, and to which the whole of the religious services were transferred. In their services they stood כּמשׁפּטם , according to their right, i.e., according to the order prescribed for them by David; cf. 1 Chron 16:52ff.
1 Chronicles 6:33-38
(6:18-23). “These (following three men, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan) are they who stood (in service) with their sons.” The three were the heads of the three Levitic families, to whom the execution of the liturgic singing was entrusted. The names of their sons, vide 1 Chronicles 25:1-6. The object of the following genealogies is to show their descent from Levi. “Of the sons of the Kohathite family (is) Heman the singer.” המשׁורר , ὁ ψαλτῳδός lxx. Heman is named first as being the head of the choir of singers who stood in the centre, while Asaph and his choir stood on his right hand, and on the left Ethan and his choir, so that when they sang in concert the conducting of the whole fell to Heman. His family is traced back in 1 Chronicles 6:33-38 through twenty members to “Kohath the son of Levi, then son of Israel” (Jacob).
1 Chronicles 6:39-43
(6:24-28). “His brother Asaph,” who is Heman's brother only in the more general sense of being closely connected with him, partly by their common descent from Levi, partly by their common calling, was a descendant of Gershon from his younger son Shimei. His genealogy contains only fifteen names to Gershon, five less than that of his contemporary Heman, probably because here and there intermediate names are omitted.
1 Chronicles 6:44-47
(6:29-32). “And the sons of Merari their brethren (i.e., the brethren of the choirs of Heman and Asaph) on the left (i.e., forming the choir which stood on the left hand) were Ethan and his sons.” As in the case of Asaph, so also in that of Ethan, וּבניהם (1 Chronicles 6:18) is omitted, but is to be supplied; when the introductory clause “and the sons of Merari” is at once explained. Ethan is a Merarite of the younger line of Mushi (see above). The name of his father is here קישׁי , and in 1 Chronicles 15:17 it is קוּשׁיהוּ , which latter is clearly the original form, which has been shortened into Kishi. Instead of the name Ethan ( איתן ) as here and in 1 Chronicles 15:19, we find in other passage a Jeduthun mentioned as third chief-musician, along with Heman and Asaph (cf. 1 Chronicles 25:1; 2 Chronicles 35:15; Nehemiah 11:17, cf. 1 Chronicles 6:41); from which we see that Jeduthun was another name for Ethan, probably a by-name - ידוּתוּן , “praiseman” - which he had received from his calling, although nothing is said in the Old Testament as to the origin of this name. His genealogy contains only twelve names to Merari, being thus still more abridged than that of Asaph.
1 Chronicles 6:48-49
(6:33-34). “And their brethren the Levites,” i.e., the other Levites besides the singers just mentioned, “were נתוּנים given for every service of the dwelling of the house of God,” i.e., given to Aaron and his sons (the priests) for the performance of service in the carrying on of the worship; cf. Numbers 3:9; Numbers 8:16-19; Numbers 18:6. But Aaron and his sons had three duties to perform: (1) they burnt the offerings on the altar of burnt-offering and on the altar of incense, cf. Numbers 18:1-7; (2) they looked after all the service of the holy place; (3) they had to atone for Israel by offering the atoning-sacrifices, and performing the cleansings according to all that Moses commanded. This last clause refers to all the three above-mentioned duties of the priests. Moses is called the servant of God, as in Deuteronomy 34:5; Joshua 1:1, Joshua 1:13.
(6:35-38). The remarks as to the service of the priests are followed by a catalogue of the high priests, which runs from Eleazar to Ahimaaz the son of Zadok (cf. 2 Samuel 15:27), who probably succeeded his father in the high-priesthood even in the time of Solomon. This genealogy is similar in form to the genealogies given in 1 Chronicles 6:20-30, and has therefore most probably been derived from the same source as this, and has been drawn in here to form a transition to the enumeration of the cities of the Levites; for it begins in 1 Chronicles 6:44 with the dwelling-places of the sons of Aaron, and the אהרן לבני ... מושׁבותם ואלּה of 1 Chronicles 6:44 corresponds to the אהרן בּני ואלּה of 1 Chronicles 6:49. The order of the names coincides exactly with that of the longer register in 1 Chr 5:30-34.
(6:39-66). Register of the cities of the Levites, which agrees on the whole with the register in Josh 21, if we except different forms of some names of cities, and many corruptions of the text, but differing in many ways from it in form; whence we gather that it is not derived from the book of Joshua, but from some other ancient authority.
1 Chronicles 6:54
(6:39). 1 Chronicles 6:54 contains the superscription, “These are their dwelling-places according to their districts, in their boundaries.” So far the superscription belongs to the whole catalogue of cities. The suffixes point back to the לוי בּני , 1 Chronicles 6:1. טירה , from טוּר , to surround in a circle, signifies in the older language a “nomad village” (cf. Genesis 25:16; Numbers 31:10); here, on the contrary, it is sued in a derivative sense for “district,” to denote the circle of dwellings which were granted to the Levites in the cities of the other tribes. The following words, “For the sons of Aaron of the family of Kohath,” etc., are the superscription to 1 Chronicles 6:54-61, and together with the confirmatory clause, “for to him the (first) lot had fallen,” are a repetition of Joshua 21:10, where, however, ראשׁנה is found after הגּורל , and has perhaps been here dropped out.
1 Chronicles 6:55-56
(6:40-41). 1 Chronicles 6:55 and 1 Chronicles 6:56 correspond almost verbally with Joshua 21:11 and Joshua 21:12, as 1 Chronicles 6:57-60 also do with Joshua 21:13-19. As we have already in our remarks on Joshua commented upon the whole catalogue, it will not be necessary to do more here than to group together the errors and defects of our text.
1 Chronicles 6:57-60
(6:42-45). The plural המּקלט ערי is incorrect, for only one of the cities thereafter named, viz., Hebron, was a city of refuge for homicides, and in Joshua 21:13 it is correctly written מקלט עיר . After יתּיר retfA the usual addition ואת־מגרשׁיה is omitted, 1 Chronicles 6:59. Before Bethshemesh the name Juttah has been lost, and before Geba (1 Chronicles 6:60) the name Gibeon, so that only eleven cities are mentioned, but the sum is rightly given as thirteen. Instead of the name חילן , 1 Chronicles 6:58, there is found in Joshua 21:15 and Joshua 15:51 חלן ; instead of עין , Joshua 21:16, we have in 1 Chronicles 6:59 the more correct name עשׁן ; and the name עלּמת , 1 Chronicles 6:60, is in Joshua 21:18 עלמון .
1 Chronicles 6:61-63
(6:46-48). Summary statements of the number of cities which the remaining Kohathites, the Gershonites, and the Merarites received in the domains of the various tribes, corresponding to Joshua 21:5-7. In 1 Chronicles 6:61 occurs a hiatus; between המּטּה and ממּחצית the words “Ephraim and of the tribe of Dan and” have been omitted. In 1 Chronicles 6:48 the words “of the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan” are quite intelligible without חצי , which is found in Joshua.
1 Chronicles 6:64-65
(6:49-50). 1 Chronicles 6:64 and 1 Chronicles 6:65 are not here in their proper place; for their contents show that they should be in the middle of the thirty-ninth verse, after the general superscription, and before the words “for the sons of Aaron.” They are found also in Joshua 21:8-9, as a superscription before the enumeration by name of the cities assigned to the priests; but how the confusion has arisen in our text cannot be certainly ascertained. Bertheau thinks “the wish to make mention of the cities of the high-priestly family at the beginning of the enumeration, has induced the author of the Chronicle to communicate the introductory remarks belonging to the lists of cities with other statements as to the tribal domains, only after the enumeration of the cities of the sons of Aaron.” By that supposition the position of 1 Chronicles 6:61 is certainly explained, but not that of 1 Chronicles 6:64 and 1 Chronicles 6:65; for even with the supposed desire, 1 Chronicles 6:64 and 1 Chronicles 6:65 should have been placed before 1 Chronicles 6:61. But besides, this, the clause וגו אהרן לבני in 1 Chronicles 6:54 neither has anything to connect it with the preceding superscription nor a verb; and the subject of ויּתּנוּ , 1 Chronicles 6:55, is also wanting. That which was missed before 1 Chronicles 6:54 and in 1 Chronicles 6:55 is contained in 1 Chronicles 6:64 and 1 Chronicles 6:65; whence it is manifest that 1 Chronicles 6:64 and 1 Chronicles 6:65 ought to stand before 1 Chronicles 6:54, and have by some inexplicable accident fallen out of their proper place, and have come into an unsuitable position after 1 Chronicles 6:63. The plurals יקראוּ and שׁמות , instead of the singulars יקרא and שׁם , as in Joshua 21:9, bring the words into more manifest correspondence with the circumstances, since the subject of יקראוּ , “the sons of Israel,” may be easily supplied from 1 Chronicles 6:53, and many names of cities are mentioned. The masc. אתהם instead of the fem. אתהן is probably only an oversight. With 1 Chronicles 6:66 begins the enumeration of the cities of the other Levitic families only summarily given in 1 Chronicles 6:61, which forms a very suitable continuation of 1 Chronicles 6:63.
1 Chronicles 6:66-70
(6:51-55). The cities of the remaining Kohathites; cf. Joshua 21:20-26. For וּממּשׁפּחות we must read וּלמשׁפּחות , for the preposition מן gives no suitable sense: it is never used to introduce a subject. The sense is, “as regards the families of the sons of Kohath, the cities of their dominion in the tribe of Ephraim were (the following). They gave them.” The plur. המּקלט ערי instead of the sing., as in 1 Chronicles 6:57. As to the four cities of the tribe of Ephraim, 1 Chronicles 6:52, 1 Chronicles 6:53, see on Joshua 21:21-22, where instead of יקמעם we find the name קבצים . Before 1 Chronicles 6:54 a whole verse has been lost, which was as follows: “And of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh and her pastures, Gibbethon and her pastures;” cf. Joshua 21:23. Then follows 1 Chronicles 6:69, which contains the names of the two other cities of the tribe of Dan. In 1 Chronicles 6:70 we have the names of the cities of half Manasseh, Aner and Bileam, i.e., Ibleam (Joshua 17:11), correctly given; but the names Taanach and Gath-rimmon in Joshua 21:25 are incorrect, and have been inserted through a transcriber's error, arising from the copyist's eye having wandered to the preceding verse. The singular למשׁפּחת , 1 Chronicles 6:70, is incorrect; and the plural למשׁפּחות is to be substituted (as in 1 Chronicles 6:66). The words וגו לבני למשׁפּחות are a subscription, which corresponds to להם ויּתּנוּ in 1 Chronicles 6:67.
1 Chronicles 6:71-76
(6:56-61). The cities of the Gershonites; cf. Joshua 21:27-33. “To the sons of Gershon (they gave) out of the family of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Golan and Ashtaroth;” see on Joshua 21:27. In 1 Chronicles 6:72, קדשׁ is a mistake for קשׁיון , Joshua 21:28 (see on Joshua 19:20); in 1 Chronicles 6:73, ראמות for the more correct ירמות , Joshua 21:29, a city which was also called רמת , Joshua 19:21, or had been so called originally; and ענם for עין־גּנּים (Josh.), as the city is called also in Joshua 19:21. It cannot be determined whether ענם is a transcriber's error, or another name for עין־גּנּים . In 1 Chronicles 6:74, משׁל (which should perhaps be pointed משׁל ) is a contracted form of משׁאל , Josh. 31:30; Joshua 19:26; and in 1 Chronicles 6:75, חוּקק is probably an error for חלקת , Joshua 21:31; Joshua 19:25, occasioned by its being confounded with חקּק in the tribe of Naphtali, Joshua 19:34. In 1 Chronicles 6:76 the fact that Kadesh was a city of refuge is not mentioned, as it is in Joshua 21:32. חמּון is a shortened form of חמּות־דּאר , Joshua 21:32; for this city is called in Joshua 19:35 חמּת , from the warm springs in the neighbourhood. Finally, Kirjathaim is contracted in Joshua 21:32 into קרתּן .
1 Chronicles 6:77
(6:62). The cities of the Merarites; cf. Joshua 21:34-37. “To the sons of Merari the remaining,” sc. Levites. In Joshua 21:34 it is more clearly put הנּותרים הלויּם , for the remaining Merarites are not spoken of. What is intended to be said is, that the Merarites, alone of the Levites, are still to be mentioned. In the tribe of Zebulun, in 1 Chronicles 6:77, only two cities are named, Rimmon and Tabor, instead of the four - Jokneam, Karthah, Dimnah, and Nahalal - in Joshua 21:34. The first two names have been dropped out of our text, while רמּונו corresponds to the דּמנה of Joshua, but is a more correct reading, since רמּון occurs in Joshua 19:13 among the cities of Zebulun, while דּמנה is not mentioned; and תּבור must consequently correspond to the נהלל in Joshua. Nahalal occurs in Joshua 19:15 and in Judges 1:30, in the form Nahalol, among the cities of Zebulun, and consequently seems to be the more correct name, but has not yet been pointed out with certainty, since its identification with Mâlul (Arabic m‛lûl ), south-west from Nazareth, rests upon very slender foundation. Bertheau's conjecture that the name of the city has been dropped out, and that of a more exact description of its position, perhaps תּבר כּסלת גּבוּל על , Joshua 19:12, only the last word has remained, is no more probable than that of Movers, that instead of the name of the city, only the neighbourhood in which the city lay, viz., Mount Tabor, is mentioned.
1 Chronicles 6:78-79
(6:63-64). 1 Chronicles 6:78-79 are wanting in some editions of the book of Joshua, but are found in many MSS and in the oldest printed copies, and have been omitted only by an oversight; see on Joshua 21:30., note 2. As to the city Bezer, see on Deuteronomy 4:43; and concerning Jahzah, Kedemoth, Mephaath, vide on Joshua 13:18.
1 Chronicles 6:80-81
(6:65-66). For Ramoth in Gilead, a city of refuge (Joshua 21:36), and Mahanaim, see on Joshua 13:26; and for Heshbon and Jazer, on Numbers 21:28, Numbers 21:32.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 6". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19