1 Chronicles 24:31
These likewise cast lots over against their brethren the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, and Zadok, and Ahimelech, and the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites, even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren.
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(31) These likewise cast lots over against their brethren the sons of Aaron.—Rather, Just like, in the same way as their brethren, the priests. The same compound preposition (le‘ummath) recurs in 1Chronicles 26:12; 1Chronicles 26:16. In 2Samuel 16:13 it has the sense of over against, or parallel with. The lots were cast, as in the case of the priests, to determine the order according to which the classes were to serve in rotation.

Their brethren the sons of Aaron.—This expression seems to indicate that the preceding list does not include all the Levites, but only those who assisted the priests in the Temple services: that is, the 24,000 of 1Chronicles 23:4. The chronicler naturally returned to them after his account of the priestly classes. Hence, perhaps, the omission of the Gershonite houses is intentional. The narrative proceeds to treat of the Levites who were not in immediate attendance on the priesthood in 1 Chronicles 25, 26

The chief of the fathers.—Rather, the chiefs of the clans.

Even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren.—Rather, clansthe chief just like his younger brother. The word “fathers” (ābôth) is a brief form of “father-houses” (bêth- ābôth). The meaning appears to be that all the Levitical houses received their position by lot, senior and junior branches alike. The order, as thus determined, is not communicated; nor is it expressly stated that the Levitical classes were twenty-four in number, but it appears highly probable, both from the data of the text, and from the analogy of the classes of the priests and the musicians (1 Chronicles 25).

1 Chronicles 24:31. These likewise cast lots — There was the like solemnity used in their distribution as there was in that of the priests, by casting lots; whereby they knew what Levites should wait in every course with the sons of Aaron. Even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren — These words are somewhat obscure, but the meaning, says Bishop Patrick, is, that both elder and younger had their places by lot, not by seniority of houses: they who were of greater dignity drew lots against those who were of less: and they were to take their courses as they fell either to the elder or the younger family.

24:1-31 The divisions of the priests and Levites. - When every one has, knows, and keeps his place and work, the more there are the better. In the mystical body of Christ, every member has its use, for the good of the whole. Christ is High Priest over the house of God, to whom all believers, being made priests, are to be in subjection. In Christ, no difference is made between bond and free, elder and younger. The younger brethren, if faithful and sincere, shall be no less acceptable to Christ than the fathers. May we all be children of the Lord, fitted to sing his praises for ever in his temple above.The principal fathers over against their younger brethren - i. e., "all the Levitical houses enumerated drew lots in their courses on equal terms, the older families having no advantage over the younger ones." As there were 24 courses of the priests, so we must suppose that there were 24 of the Levites, though the number of the families as given in the text 1 Chronicles 23:7-23; 1 Chronicles 24:20-30 is 25. 6. one principal household—The marginal reading is preferable, "one house of the father." The lot was cast in a deliberate and solemn manner in presence of the king, the princes, the two high priests, and the chiefs of the priestly and Levitical families. The heads of families belonging to Eleazar and Ithamar were alternately brought forward to draw, and the name of each individual, as called, registered by an attendant secretary. To accommodate the casting of the lots to the inequality of the number, there being sixteen fathers' houses of Eleazar, and only eight of Ithamar, it was arranged that every house of Ithamar should be followed by two of Eleazar, or, what is the same thing, that every two houses of Eleazar should be followed by one of Ithamar. If, then, we suppose a commencement to have been made by Eleazar, the order would be as follows: one and two, Eleazar; three, Ithamar; four and five, Eleazar; six, Ithamar; seven and eight, Eleazar; nine, Ithamar; and so forth [Bertheau]. The lot determined also the order of the priests' service. That of the Levites was afterwards distributed by the same arrangement (1Ch 24:31). Over against their brethren the sons of Aaron, i.e. answerable for number and order to those of the priests, so as there should be a several course of the Levites for each course of the priests. This is expressed concerning the singers, 1 Chronicles 25, and the like is implied concerning the porters, 1 Chronicles 26, and is here sufficiently intimated concerning those Levites which were employed in other sacred ministrations.

The principal fathers over against their younger brethren; the lots of the elder and younger brethren were promiscuously put together, and the order was settled as the lots came forth, without any regard to the age, or dignity, or number of the persons or families, the youngest family having thee first course if they had the first lot, &c.

These likewise cast lots over against their brethren, the sons of Aaron,.... These, being divided into twenty four classes also, cast lots, which class should answer to, attend upon, and serve the first course of the priests, and which the second, and so on. And this they did in the same solemn and public manner as the priests had done:

in the presence of David the king, and Zadok, and Ahimelech, and the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites; as in 1 Chronicles 24:6.

even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren; the sense is, either that the one stood over against the other, to be distributed by lot, the one as well as the other; or they were chosen by lot, let it fall as it would, without any regard to age or dignity, to the seniority or largeness of houses and families; but as they were chosen, be they younger or elder, richer or poorer, their families more or less numerous and ancient, so they took their places.

These likewise cast {f} lots over against their brethren the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, and Zadok, and Ahimelech, and the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites, even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren.

(f) That is, every one had that honour which fell to him by lot.

31. over against their brethren] R.V. even as their brethren.

and Ahimelech] We expect and Abiathar; cp. 1 Chronicles 24:3; 1 Chronicles 15:11; 1 Chronicles 18:16; with the notes.

the chief of the fathers] R.V. the heads of the fathers’ houses.

even the principal … brethren] R.V. the fathers’ houses of the chief even as those of his younger brother.

Verse 31. - Over against... over against. This translation of the Hebrew (לְעמַּת) is obscure and awkward. The meaning is "equally with," or "correspondingly with" (1 Chronicles 26:12, 16, etc.). The root means "communion," and the word is found only in the constructive state. The Vulgate shows the translation, Omnes sors aequaliter dividebat; tam majores quam minores.

1 Chronicles 24:31וגו דויד לפני, as in 1 Chronicles 24:6. In the last clause אבות is used for בּית־אבות, as אבות ראשׁי stands frequently for בּית־אבות ראשׁי in these catalogues. הראשׁ stands in apposition to בּית־אבות, the father's-house; the head even as his younger brother, i.e., he who was the head of the father's-house as etc., i.e., the oldest among the brethren as his younger brethren. The Vulgate gives the meaning correctly: tam majores quam minores; omnes sors aequaliter dividebat.
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