1 Chronicles 23:1–32

Read the passage.

Did you think we were done with genealogies? If so, surprise! We get the descendants of Levi again, but this time in less detail than we had in chapter six.

The reason for it is to remind the readers that David organized the Levites along family lines. As part of the transition of power to Solomon (which was not as smooth as v. 1 suggests), David makes sure the Levites will know what their duties will be once the temple is built. Back when the Israelites were travelling to the Promised Land, most of the Levites were in charge of setting up and tearing down the tabernacle. They also carried the pieces of it, the altar, the ark of the covenant, and all of the other articles that were used in the worship of Yahweh. Once the land of Canaan was conquered, the tabernacle was set up more or less permanently, so fewer hands were needed to maintain proper order. With the new temple, however, more and different jobs would be needed to keep it up because it was larger and made of different materials.

After the divisions of the Levites are listed, their duties are listed again. It is a useful reminder for the returned exiles, and a good reminder for us that religious life in ancient Israel was a constantly occurring thing. Sacrifices and songs of praise were offered up at the tabernacle and temple every single day, morning and evening. Thirty-eight thousand men sound like a lot of people for a single temple, but they did not all serve at the same time. They went through rotations so they could tend to their families and homes, some of which were in distant cities. However, this still meant the other tribes of Israel needed to provide for the Levites through their sacrifices because they were working so hard in the temple, unable to work the land or keep flocks and herds of their own. It’s a far cry from the way most churches operate today meeting a few times a week at most, so we do well to keep these differences in mind.

You provide all good and necessary things to all who serve You.

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