Bible: What Does 1 Chronicles 23-29 Teach Us About Servant Leadership and Generosity?
High Priest and Levites
The next several chapters contain lists of servants—religious (Levites [chap. 23], priests [chap. 24]), musicians (chap. 25), gatekeepers (chap. 26), military personnel and other state officials (chap. 27)—in their various divisions.
First, the Levites must meet certain qualifications: they must be at least thirty year-old males (v. 3), and descend from Gershon, Kohath, or Merari (v. 6).
The chronicler mentions the Gershonites first (vv. 7-11), then the sons of Kohath (vv. 12-20), and finally the sons of Merari (vv. 21-23).
Other, younger men—twenty years old and above—David allows to help the sons of Aaron.
The text lists the types of services in which they could involve themselves: court and chamber work (v. 28a), purification of utensils (v. 28b), mixing and baking cakes and other ingredients (v. 29), attending regular burnt offerings (vv. 30-31), and taking care of any needs of the tabernacle or of its personnel (v. 32).
The Work of a Scribe
Divisions of Priests
1 Chronicles 24
Second, the chronicler compiles the divisions of the priests (vv. 1-19) and other Levites (vv. 20-31).
David, Zadok, and Ahimelech divide the sons of Eleazar and Ithamar according to their service schedule (vv. 1-3).
Using the lot, the officials choose men to assume responsibilities in the sanctuary and in the temple (vv. 4-5).
Shemaiah the scribe keeps a record of this lottery (vv. 6-18).
The other Levites also cast lots to determine when and where men would serve the temple or its personnel (vv. 20-31).
1 Chronicles 25
Third, David chooses two hundred eighty-eight musicians—sons of Asaph, Jedunthun, and Heman—for the service of the LORD: people skilled in strings and prophesying.
So that everyone knew “the when’s” and “the what’s” about their service, they cast lots (vv. 1-8).
The chronicler lists the results of the lottery: twenty-four groups of twelve each (vv. 9-31).
Watchman on the Wall
1 Chronicles 26
Next, a list of the divisions of gatekeepers appears (vv. 1-19).
Apparently, the responsibility was not as mundane as it sounds, for the chronicler mentions family heads whose sons were "men of great ability" (v. 6), "able men" (v. 7), and "able men with strength for the work" (v. 8).
These workers also chose lots to determine who would keep which gate (vv. 12-19).
Other men find assignments serving in the treasuries in the temple: dedicated things used to maintain the house.
Shelomith and his brethren control this position (vv. 20-28).
Still others are responsible to judge Israel outside Jerusalem; some rule on the west (v. 30), and some over the two and one-half tribes (vv. 31-32).
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Military and "State" Officials
1 Chronicles 27
Finally, the chronicler delineates the military divisions (vv. 1-15), the leaders of tribes (vv. 16-22), and other state officials (vv. 25-34).
Each month one division of the military (twenty-four thousand men in each division) "came in and went out" in the king's service.
Perhaps the best-known warrior, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, served as captain in the third month (vv. 5-6).
Each tribe appointed a certain officer; Elihu, one of David's brothers, led Judah (v. 18).
[Believing God's promise, David did not take a census of those under twenty.
It is also interesting to note that no one recorded the infamous census which Joab began (1 Chron. 21) [vv. 23, 24].
Various officials administer treasuries, storehouses, field laborers, vineyards and their produce, olive and sycamore trees, oil, various herds, camels, donkeys, and flocks (vv. 25-31).
Counselors, royal companions, priests, and General Joab all round out the last group (vv. 32-34).
After penning this long list of officials, the chronicler concludes his first book with two final chapters, recounting various events at the end of David's reign.
Exhortation to Leaders and to Solomon
1 Chronicles 28
David gathers together an impressive array of Israelite leaders—most of whom seem to hold a military position (v. 1)—, and he tells them that Yahweh had not allowed him to build God's temple because he had shed much blood (vv. 2-3).
Nevertheless, the king makes the point that not only has the LORD chosen him out of Judah to be ruler over Israel, the tribe of His choice, but that He has also selected Solomon to replace him as ruler and to build God's house (vv. 4-6).
Yahweh also promised David that He would establish Solomon's kingdom forever if the latter lived an obedient life (v. 7).
Finally, to the captains and stewards he adds an exhortation to obey, that they might secure a future for their children (v. 8).
Turning to his son, David solemnly charges him to know God and to serve Him faithfully and willingly, for the LORD knows all minds.
The king gives His chosen one a solid principle: "Seek Him, and He will reveal Himself; forsake Him, and He will reject you" (v. 9).
Laying it on the line for Solomon, David encourages him, "Just do it" (v. 10).
At this point, the retiring king gives his successor the plans and control of the supplies for the temple—its rooms, courts, servants, gold and silver for articles, utensils, and other structures—and asserts that the LORD provided them all (vv. 11-19).
Then David gives Solomon one final word of encouragement, admonishing him to make use of the many counselors whom he can call upon to help him finish the task which God has chosen him to do (vv. 20-21).
Solomon and Jerusalem's Temple
The Anointing of Solomon
Authors of the Books About David
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Judah's Generous Offering
1 Chronicles 29
The aged king reiterates Solomon's unique calling before the congregation, reminding them that building the house of God will not be easy for such a young man (v. 1).
Nevertheless, David believes that he has given his son a good head start by providing gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and precious stones in abundance (v. 2).
The king has been diligent in preparing the materials, yet he also wishes to set a good example of personal stewardship.
Thus, he contributes an exceedingly generous supply of gold and silver from his own private store (vv. 3-5a).
Having shared the knowledge of this deed with his people, David urges them to give a similar offering toward the holy project also (v. 5b).
A great outpouring of love to the LORD manifests itself among the people (and especially the leaders and captains), as collectively they give several thousand talents of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and precious stones.
Their willingness to sacrifice their means causes a refreshing joy to break forth among them all (v. 9).
Overwhelmed by such a heartfelt response, David leads the congregation in praise and prayer (vv. 10-19).
With language full of worship and adoration, he extols Yahweh's greatness and glory, His power and majesty, His sovereignty and creatorship (vv. 10-11).
David acknowledges God's grace, the gift that has prospered His people and enabled them to offer back so willingly what already belongs to Him (vv. 12-14).
He emphasizes even further Israel's humble status as a people (v. 15).
Once more, David repeats that they have offered toward the temple project in abundance, solely by God's grace (v. 16).
Their collective generosity obviously brings him great joy; thus, he desires that the LORD confirm that attitude in their heart and give Solomon a loyal spirit to complete what he has begun (vv. 17-19).
The king then commands the congregation, "Bless the LORD," and they worship Him-- near Eastern style (v. 20).
On the next day Israel sacrifices thousands of animals and celebrates a great feast (vv. 21-22a).
The people also re-anoint Solomon, and the young king takes his throne (vv. 22b-23).
Immediately, he receives honor and submission from the leaders (v. 24), and becomes a king of great majesty (v. 25).
The chronicler concludes his first book, recounting that David reigned forty years in Israel before he finally passed away at a "good old age, full of days and riches and honor" (vv. 26-28).
He also indicates that Samuel, Nathan, and Gad wrote a book that included all the events of the king's life (vv. 29-30).
1. What was the chronicler's purpose in reiterating so much of what Moses and others had written?
2. What could account for the minor differences in Chronicles and the other passages from which the author borrows material?
3. Why does the chronicler skip over so many "personal" stories?
4. Why do the Scripture compilers seem to have trouble with numbers?
5. Why was "gatekeeper" regarded as a position requiring "men of great ability"?
6. Who wrote 1 Chronicles?
7. Why does the casting of lots to make decisions seem to be legitimate? Are there any implications for today?
8. Why were genealogies so important to Israel?
9. What were the three desires of Jabez?
10. What king carried Israel into captivity?
11. Why did God give Saul’s kingdom to David?
12. What did David do to help Solomon with his great task of building the temple? Discuss his stewardship.
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