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Iain Duguid: Levitical responsibilities for the tabernacle in Numbers 3:6–10 included “keep[ing] guard over” (Hb. shamar) Aaron “and over the whole congregation, . . . [and] all the furnishings,” with a warning that “if any outsider comes near, he shall be put to death” (cf. 1 Chron. 23:32). The temple’s physical structure was much larger and more complex, with its four gates leading into the courtyard and to rooms in the gate complexes and along a colonnade used for administration and storage of temple treasures, equipment, clothing, and food (9:26–27). There was thus a need both to provide security against illegal (i.e., not clean) entry and theft or damage and to be responsible for financial and material resources. The organization of such matters is the concern of this chapter, the appointment of “gatekeepers” (26:1–19) who will also have oversight and administration of “treasuries” (vv. 20–28) and related external matters (vv. 29–32). The term “gatekeeper” (shoʻer) describes those responsible for all activities associated with the “gate” (shaʻar) and its associated rooms—hence a combination of maintaining security and keeping the treasury and stores (collecting and disbursing). Multiple responsibility is clear in the listing and detailed description in 9:17–32.

Andrew Hill: This chapter continues the lengthy section on the organization of the Levites and civil service corps under David (23:2–27:34). This passage contains two basic units: the register of Levitical gatekeepers and their duties (26:1–19), and a second register of other Levites and a list of their corresponding duties (26:20–32). The essential genre of the chapter is “register.”

August Konkel: vv. 20-32 — This closing section deals with two main topics: responsibility for the treasuries and duties of administration in the northern areas west and east of the Jordan. The treasuries are said to be those of the temple and the dedicated offerings. There is frequent reference to temple and palace treasuries. The dedicated offerings are not likely a third treasury, but are a part of the temple treasury, to provide for its maintenance.

Martin Selman: As God’s people pay proper attention to their status as a worshipping community, the distinction between the sacred and the secular disappears. All tasks, whether mundane or specialized, “religious” or “lay”, have value in the eyes of God. Every Levite was as much involved in the “service of the temple of the Lord” as the priests and their immediate assistants (cf. 23:24, 32). The gatekeepers were “to serve in the house of the Lord side by side with their kinsmen” (v. 12, REB, NEB), and even the Levitical officials in Transjordan were occupied with “the business of God and of the king” (v. 32, JB).


A. (:1-11) Composition of the Gatekeepers – Family Identity

“For the divisions of the gatekeepers there were of the Korahites, Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph. 2 And Meshelemiah had sons: Zechariah the first-born, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth, 3 Elam the fifth, Johanan the sixth, Eliehoenai the seventh. 4 And Obed-edom had sons: Shemaiah the first-born, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sacar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth, 5 Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, and Peullethai the eighth; God had indeed blessed him. 6 Also to his son Shemaiah sons were born who ruled over the house of their father, for they were mighty men of valor. 7 The sons of Shemaiah were Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad, whose brothers, Elihu and Semachiah, were valiant men. 8 All these were of the sons of Obed-edom; they and their sons and their relatives were able men with strength for the service, 62 from Obed-edom. 9 And Meshelemiah had sons and relatives, 18 valiant men. 10 Also Hosah, one of the sons of Merari had sons: Shimri the first (although he was not the first-born, his father made him first), 11 Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth; all the sons and relatives of Hosah were 13.”

Andrew Konkel: David’s administrative reorganization included the integration and assignments of security personnel. The rotation of sanctuary guards provided continuous protection for the temple complex. Korah is a descendant of the Levites through Levi’s second son, Kohath. The other line of gatekeepers is from Merari (v. 10). No gatekeepers are named from Gershon.

Andrew Hill: The clause “capable men with the strength to do the work” (26:8) is not a reference to the military character of these Levites (cf. “able men,” 26:7, 9). Rather, it indicates that these individuals possess the physical strength demanded for the difficult task of opening, closing, and guarding the large doors or gates providing access to the temple precinct.

B. (:12-19) Coordination and Placement of the Gatekeepers

“To these divisions of the gatekeepers, the chief men, were given duties like their relatives to minister in the house of the LORD. 13 And they cast lots, the small and the great alike, according to their fathers’ households, for every gate. 14 And the lot to the east fell to Shelemiah. Then they cast lots for his son Zechariah, a counselor with insight, and his lot came out to the north. 15 For Obed-edom it fell to the south, and to his sons went the storehouse. 16 For Shuppim and Hosah it was to the west, by the gate of Shallecheth, on the ascending highway. Guard corresponded to guard. 17 On the east there were six Levites, on the north four daily, on the south four daily, and at the storehouse two by two. 18 At the Parbar on the west there were four at the highway and two at the Parbar. 19 These were the divisions of the gatekeepers of the sons of Korah and of the sons of Merari.”

Frederick Mabie: In addition to protecting each of the compass-point entrances to the temple complex (cf. vv.13–18; especially the eastern entrance, which faced the main temple entrance and received added protection; cf. v.17), gatekeepers worked with the priests to ensure the sanctity of sacred space and sacred objects (cf. 15:18, 23–24). In light of the critical importance of protecting holy space and holy things, the Chronicler earlier described the task of the gatekeepers as a “position of trust” (cf. 9:22). Similarly, here he describes the gatekeepers as being “very capable men” (v.6), “able men” (vv.7, 9), “capable men with the strength to do the work” (v.8), and in the case of one of the east gate guards a “wise counselor” (v.14).

J.A. Thompson: What precisely did the gatekeepers do? They have generally been regarded by commentators as “cultic officials of a more or less peripheral nature,” and yet they were regarded as important and were classified as Levites, even if of a somewhat lower order. Recent study, however, suggests that the gatekeepers were a paramilitary security force. They possessed three significant roles in the Jerusalem temple-state:

(1) the governance of the state,

(2) the administration of temple revenue, and

(3) the maintenance of the temple and its paraphernalia.

There is evidence for this in 1 Chr 26:1–19, and further confirmation is found in the activities of these individuals throughout Chronicles. This information may be gained both in the list of names (vv. 1–11) and in their placement (vv. 12–18). They were stationed at entry ways to buildings and intersections within the city. They functioned as guards for the temple and its precincts from theft or from illegal entry into sacred areas. The vocabulary used by the Chronicler in relation to the gatekeepers ties them firmly to the Judean military establishment. Some of the soldiers who fought in David’s army in 1 Chronicles 12 were Levites (1 Chr 12:27), and priests (1 Chr 12:28), including Zadok, were described in military terms. The priests and Levites were thus related to David’s military organization in 1 Chronicles 12, which explains why chap. 27 fits into these chapters.

August Konkel: There were twenty‐four gatekeepers on duty at any one time (1Chron 26:17‐18): six at the east, four at the north, four at the south, two at the storehouse, four at the west, two at the gate above the ascent, and two at the colonnade (parbar; NIV, court).

Andrew Hill: The summary statement tracing the divisions of the temple gatekeepers to two of the sons of Levi, Kohath indirectly (from Izhar to Korah) and Merari (directly), legitimizes or sanctions these Levitical servants by means of their genealogy (26:19). The conclusion also attaches the family of Obed-Edom to the Kohathites through Korah (cf. 26:15, 19).

Iain Duguid: The “east” gate, “the king’s gate” (1 Chron. 26:14, 17; 9:18), had the most activity. It was common in walled towns for major business to be conducted at the gate (e.g., Ruth 4:1), and, at least in the later Persian and Greek Empires, people gathered at the gate of a royal complex to seek an audience, with gatekeepers crucial in determining access and communication of messages (e.g., Dan. 2:49 [“court”]; Est. 2:21; 3:2). Accordingly, it is relevant that “Zechariah,” allocated to the east gate, was a “shrewd counselor” (“one who counsels with insight”); all other instances of “counselor” in Chronicles are associated with a king (1 Chron. 26:14; 27:32, 33; 2 Chron. 22:3, 4; 25:16; cf. Ezra 4:5; 7:28; 8:25). This suggests a key administrative role for some of the gatekeepers.


A. (:20-28) Organization of Levitical Treasurers

“And the Levites, their relatives, had charge of the treasures of the house of God, and of the treasures of the dedicated gifts. 21 The sons of Ladan, the sons of the Gershonites belonging to Ladan, namely, the Jehielites, were the heads of the fathers’ households, belonging to Ladan the Gershonite. 22 The sons of Jehieli, Zetham and Joel his brother, had charge of the treasures of the house of the LORD. 23 As for the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites, 24 Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was officer over the treasures. 25 And his relatives by Eliezer were Rehabiah his son, Jeshaiah his son, Joram his son, Zichri his son, and Shelomoth his son. 26 This Shelomoth and his relatives had charge of all the treasures of the dedicated gifts, which King David and the heads of the fathers’ households, the commanders of thousands and hundreds, and commanders of the army, had dedicated. 27 They dedicated part of the spoil won in battles to repair the house of the LORD. 28 And all that Samuel the seer had dedicated and Saul the son of Kish, Abner the son of Ner and Joab the son of Zeruiah, everyone who had dedicated anything, all of this was in the care of Shelomoth and his relatives.”

Frederick Mabie: This section of the Levitical personnel who will serve at the Jerusalem temple focuses on stewards of temple treasures and other items dedicated to Yahweh (v.20). While the specifics of the main temple treasures are not given, the Chronicler provides additional details concerning the “dedicated things.” These separately kept treasures are connected with five individuals (Samuel, Saul, David, Abner, and Joab) and three groups of military leaders. Given the number of military leaders included in this list, most of these dedicated items originated from plunder following military victories (cf. v.27). A portion of these dedicated things will provide for the repair and maintenance of the temple complex (v.27), which suggests another aspect of David’s preparation.

August Konkel: The dedicated offerings are an accumulation of booty from many wars, going all the way back to Samuel and Saul. These were dedicated to repair of the temple (26:27), the usual meaning of the word (leḥazzeq). These dedications were gathered in anticipation of the temple that would be built. Treasure left for repair of the temple is a most noble legacy. Israel’s military and civil leadership are credited with the foresight of not only building the temple but also of maintaining it for later generations.

Andrew Hill: the duties of the treasurers certainly include tracking the inventory of the treasuries, periodic accounting of the goods in storage, and the guarding of the repositories.

Iain Duguid: The “treasuries” are of two types, each assigned to a family from a different Levitical line. Levites from the line of Gershon were assigned the “treasuries of the house of God/the Lord” (26:20, 22; 28:12), which covered a range of revenue; later we read of the collection of revenues at the east gate (2 Chron. 31:14), probably including the flour, wine, and so on mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:29. More detail is given of the content of the second type, the “treasuries of the dedicated gifts” (26:20, 26; 28:12), assigned to an Amramite family (line of Kohath). These contained the battle “spoils” (26:27); those David dedicated were previously detailed in 18:11 (and placed in the temple by Solomon; 2 Chron. 5:1), but those others set aside are not mentioned elsewhere (except possibly by Saul; 1 Sam. 15:15, 21). That these spoils are explicitly to be used for “maintenance of the house of the Lord” is a statement showing the Chronicler’s message to his hearers at least a century after the second temple was built: provision only for the act of building is not sufficient, as maintenance is an ongoing need, aided by the faithfulness of previous generations. The example of key people from Samuel onward is to be emulated.

B. (:29-32) Organization of Other Levites Serving away from the Temple

“As for the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were assigned to outside duties for Israel, as officers and judges. 30 As for the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his relatives, 1,700 capable men, had charge of the affairs of Israel west of the Jordan, for all the work of the LORD and the service of the king. 31 As for the Hebronites, Jerijah the chief (these Hebronites were investigated according to their genealogies and fathers’ households, in the fortieth year of David’s reign, and men of outstanding capability were found among them at Jazer of Gilead) 32 and his relatives, capable men, were 2,700 in number, heads of fathers’ households. And King David made them overseers of the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of the Manassites concerning all the affairs of God and of the king.”

Frederick Mabie: Twice the Chronicler notes that these “capable” (v.31) Levites are entrusted with a two-pronged service: spiritual service (“all the work of the LORD,” v.30; cf. “every matter pertaining to God,” v.32) and royal service (“the king’s service,” v.30; cf. “the affairs of the king,” v.32). Given their mandate as officials and judges, presumably they have the responsibility to settle and enforce matters in the religious realm (e.g., Torah law) and the civil realm (perhaps in conjunction with civil obligations toward the royal infrastructure; recall 1Sa 8:11–17).

J.A. Thompson: The descendants of Izhar and Hebron were assigned “duties away from the temple, as officials and judges over Israel.” These outside duties evidently were different from “the king’s service” (v. 30) and “the affairs of the king” (v. 32), both of which were taken over by the Hebronites. The descendants of Izhar thus performed a judicial role. The “officials” were the “helpers” of the judges, a kind of subordinate executive. The Hebronites (vv. 30–32) may have been responsible for religious and secular taxes. Clearly the Levites had a much broader role than that of subordinate temple servants.