Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the LORD; and six thousand were officers and judges:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward.—It is clear from 1Chronicles 23:5 that David himself is supposed to utter both verses, thus personally assigning their commission to the Levites. The Hebrew here is peculiar. We may render: “Of these let there be for superintending the work of the house of Jehovah twenty-four thousand, and scribes and judges six thousand.”
To set forward.—An infinitive, as at 1Chronicles 22:12. The verb is that of which the participle often occurs in the titles of the Psalms. (Authorised “Version, “chief musician.”) It means “to lead,” or “superintend.” The Levites had a share in prisoners of war, according to Numbers 31:30. These they could employ in the more menial work of the sanctuary. The Gibeonites were spared on condition of becoming “hewers of wood and drawers of water,” i.e., Levitical bondsmen; and other whole cities may have received the same terms (Joshua 9:23; Joshua 9:27). We have details of the functions of these superintending Levites in 1Chronicles 23:28-32, below.
And six thousand were officers and judges.—See above. “Officers” (shōtĕrîm) are first mentioned in Exodus 5:6 (see Note there; and comp. Deuteronomy 16:18). The word means writers (comp. Assyrian sadhāru, to write). The progress of the entire people in power and civilisation elevated the Levites also; and from a warlike troop of defenders of the sanctuary, they became peaceful guardians of the great Temple at Jerusalem and its treasures, musicians and artists in its service, instructors and judges scattered throughout the whole country (Ewald).1 Chronicles 23:4. To set forward the work of the house of the Lord — To take care that all the work of the temple, about sacrifices, should be punctually performed, either by themselves or others; which they were not to do all at once, but by courses, a thousand at a time. Six thousand were officers and judges — Not in the affairs of the temple, there the priests presided, but in several parts of the kingdom, where they assisted the princes and elders of every tribe, in the administration of justice.1 Chronicles 23:28-32 give the most complete account in Scripture of the nature of the Levitical office. To set forward the work of the house of the Lord, i.e. to take care that all the work of the temple about sacrifices and other parts or means of God’s service should be punctually and diligently performed, either by themselves or others; which they were not to do all at once, but by courses, a thousand at a time, as we shall shortly see.
Officers and judges; whose work it seems to have been to judge of and determine all difficult causes or differences which might arise, either among the inferior priests or Levites about their sacred administrations, or among the people, which being governed in all their concerns only by the laws of Moses, it was fit and necessary that the priests and Levites should be consulted and concerned in their matters.
and six thousand were officers and judges: that acted as justices of the peace in the several parts of the country, heard causes and administered justice to the people, being trained up in and acquainted with the laws of God, civil as well as ecclesiastic; some were more properly judges, and others executioners of their sentence; see Deuteronomy 16:18.Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the LORD; and six thousand were officers and judges:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. twenty and four thousand] These were divided into courses (1 Chronicles 23:6), serving by turn, apparently twenty-four in number, consisting each of a thousand men. The priests also were divided into a corresponding number of courses (1 Chronicles 24:4; 1 Chronicles 24:18).
to set forward the work] R.V. to oversee the work. This phrase assumes that the work itself was done by others, e.g. by Nethinim (see 1 Chronicles 9:2, note). In 1 Chronicles 23:24 (cp. 1 Chronicles 23:28), however, the Levites are described as doing the work.
officers and judges] Cp. 2 Chronicles 19:8; 2 Chronicles 19:11. In Deuteronomy 17:9 (cp. ib. Deuteronomy 16:18) the harder causes are reserved for “the priests the Levites,” ordinary causes being decided by judges who were not Levites.Verse 4. - To set forward (Hebrew לְנַצֵּחַ, Piel conjugation). The strict meaning of the word here is to superintend. The word has already occurred in the same sense in 1 Chronicles 15:21. Officers and judges (Hebrew וְשֹׁמְרִים וְשֹׁפְטִים). The explanation of the nature of the work of these, as really outward work, for the "outward business of Israel," is distinctly stated in 1 Chronicles 26:29; 2 Chronicles 19:5-11. These officers are mentioned under the same Hebrew term in Exodus 5:6, in a very different connection. It is plain that they were generally foremen, or overseers; while the judges took cognizance of matters which involved the interests of religion. This verse and the following give between them the four divisions of Levites, afterwards to be more fully described. The fuller account of the "twenty-four thousand" priests (including attendants) occupies ch. 24; the "six thousand" officers and judges, 1 Chronicles 26:20-32; the "four thousand" porters, 1 Chronicles 26:1-19; and the "four thousand who praised the Lord with the instruments," ch. 25. 1 Chronicles 22:18 is introduced without לאמר, because it is clear from the preceding דויד ויצו that the words are spoken by David: "The Lord has given you peace round about; for He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subdued before Jahve and before His people." The subdued land is Canaan: the inhabitants of the land are, however, not the Israelites over whom the Lord had set David as king, for the words בּידי נתן cannot apply to them, cf. 1 Chronicles 14:10., Joshua 2:24; it is the Canaanites still left in the land in the time of David, and other enemies, who, like the Philistines, possessed parts of the land, and had been subdued by David. On הארץ נככּשׁה, cf. Joshua 18:1; Numbers 32:22, Numbers 32:29. This safety which the Lord had granted them binds them in duty to seek Him with all their heart, and to build the sanctuary, that the ark and the sacred vessels may be brought into it. The ל in לבּית is not a sign of the accusative (Berth.), for הביא is not construed with accus. loci, but generally with אל, for which, however, so early as Joshua 4:5, ל is used, or it is construed with the acc. and ה locale - הבּיתה, Genesis 19:10; Genesis 43:17.
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