1 Chronicles 23:4 MEANING

1 Chronicles 23:4
(4) Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward.--It is clear from 1 Chronicles 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 1 Chronicles 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 1 Chronicles 23:28-32, below.

And six thousand were officers and judges.--See above. "Officers" (sh?t?rim) are first mentioned in Exodus 5:6 (see Note there; and comp. Deuteronomy 16:18). The word means writers (comp. Assyrian sadh?ru, 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).

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.

23:1-23 David, having given charge concerning the building of the temple, settles the method of the temple service, and orders the officers of it. When those of the same family were employed together, it would engage them to love and assist one another.Of which twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord,.... To prepare for the work of the priests by slaying the sacrifices, flaying them, cutting them in pieces, and washing them, and bringing them to the altar; 1000 of these served weekly in their turns:

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.

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