Good morning! Today’s passage (1 Chronicles 24-26) is the middle of nine chapters dedicated to the temple. Today we see more of the people who contributed to proper functioning of the temple, Jerusalem, and Israel as a whole.
Chapter 24 continues the theme of dividing Levites which we saw in chapter 23, but here the focus is specifically on the priests, descendants of Aaron. The Chronicler gives us characteristic lists, order and numerical organization. One innovation we see here (and in following chapters) is the casting of lots in order to assign stations at random. Casting of lots gave the impression that God could choose to order the priests however God chose to manifest through apparent chance.
We’ve discussed before the importance of musicians in the life of Israel and the temple. They receive the focus in 1 Chronicles 25. Note that David himself takes a direct interest here, which fits our understanding of him as a musical person. We read examples of people who “prophesy with lyres, harps, and cymbals”, and the places where they were assigned. I’m not certain what it means to prophesy thus—might it have been some improvisational music style which led people into enthusiastic emotional states? That’s total guesswork on my part, but I’d love to imagine an ancient form of jazz which prophets could use to discern the will of God. Note again the casting of lots for musical duties. All ranks trust God to arrange them in the proper order.
Chapter 26 opens by describing the gatekeepers of the temple (and perhaps Jerusalem also?). In addition to taking turns watching and guarding the gates, it sounds like they were also men of influence, the elders whose counsel carried weight with the community. Other temple officials mentioned afterward include treasurers of battle loot, civic officers and judges who served as representatives of the king. We see in these descriptions the complex social structure that we didn’t get a full sense of in Samuel and Kings, with their interest in the personal family details of David’s line. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is 1 Chronicles 27-29. Thanks for reading!