1 Chronicles
1-19 Divisions of the Priests 20-31 The Levites Help the Priests
Divisions of the Priests

1Now the divisions of the descendants of Aaron [were these]: the sons of Aaron [were] Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2But Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no sons. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests. 3David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to their offices for their ministry. 4Since more chief men were found from the descendants of Eleazar than the descendants of Ithamar, they divided them thus: [there were] sixteen heads of fathers’ households of the descendants of Eleazar and eight of the descendants of Ithamar, according to their fathers’ households. 5Thus they were divided by lot, the one as the other; for they were officers of the sanctuary and officers of God, both from the descendants of Eleazar and the descendants of Ithamar. 6Shemaiah, the son of Nethanel the scribe, from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers’ [households] of the priests and of the Levites; one father’s household taken for Eleazar and one taken for Ithamar. 7Now the first lot came out for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah, 8the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim, 9the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin, 10the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah, 11the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah, 12the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim, 13the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Jeshebeab, 14the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, 15the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Happizzez, 16the nineteenth for Pethahiah, the twentieth for Jehezkel, 17the twenty-first for Jachin, the twenty-second for Gamul, 18the twenty-third for Delaiah, the twenty-fourth for Maaziah. 19These were their offices for their ministry when [they] came in to the house of the LORD according to the ordinance [given] to them through Aaron their father, just as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.

Here we see that the priests are divided by David, but that whoever performs the service is determined by lot. This means that God designates and determines who does service and not David (Lk 1:8-98Now it happened [that] while he was performing his priestly service before God in the [appointed] order of his division,9according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.). Because of the death of two of the four sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu (Lk 10:1-21Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come.2And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.), there are two remaining lines along which the priesthood is divided.

Eleazar was appointed by God to be the high priest, but the line of Ithamar got it. After Solomon the generation of Ithamar disappears. Zadok from the line of Eleazar is the priest according to God’s thoughts. Of the twenty-four divisions that David sets up, sixteen go to Eleazar and eight to the descendants of Ithamar.

Everyone is a priest of his own division. This teaches us that everyone is a worshipper in his own way, each has his own feelings. Each of the twenty-four is different. Yet we are never a single priest, we are one of the twenty-four. If we do priestly service together during worship, worship is most rewarding when we see that all brothers act as one and not each individually acts on his own, without concerning about others. It is about together “with all the saints” (Eph 3:1818may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,).

The believer who does priestly service with others is part of the whole company of priests, while still having his own place. Small communities of Christians have the advantage that every brother has the opportunity to express himself. No one will dominate either. In large meetings the danger of inactivity of the majority is obvious.

Aaron had four sons (verse 11Now the divisions of the descendants of Aaron [were these]: the sons of Aaron [were] Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.; Exo 6:2222The sons of Uzziel: Mishael and Elzaphan and Sithri.), all four of whom went out of Egypt with the people. They all four seemed to be priests, yet there was a distinction between two who were ‘spiritual’ priests and the other two who were ‘religious’ priests. This was reflected in the way they approached God. Two of them brought strange fire to the altar that the LORD had not commanded them. He had to punish this with death (verse 22But Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no sons. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests.; Lev 10:1-21Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them.2And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.).

The religion of the flesh, to approach God in its own way and according to its own insight, cannot exist before God. He must judge that. Their status as priest and the fact that they are descendants of such an excellent man in Israel as Aaron, did not prevent them from being punished by God’s judgment. This kind of priesthood ceases to exist because we read that they had no sons. The fleshly mind of the church in Corinth also brought with it judgment from God (1Cor 3:11And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.; 11:27-3427Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.28But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.29For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.30For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.31But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.32But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.33So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.34If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come.).

David, the king, divides together with Zadok and Ithamar, the priests – together they are a picture of the Lord Jesus as the King-Priest –the work of the priests (verse 33David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to their offices for their ministry.). Only the Lord Jesus indicates to whom priests are. These are all those who are connected with Him by faith in Him. He also indicates how and when they should perform their service.

The division of the priestly divisions is done by throwing the lot (verse 55Thus they were divided by lot, the one as the other; for they were officers of the sanctuary and officers of God, both from the descendants of Eleazar and the descendants of Ithamar.). The throwing of the lot to know the will of the LORD is characteristic of the Old Testament. The lot is also used in dividing the land (Jos 18:8-108Then the men arose and went, and Joshua commanded those who went to describe the land, saying, “Go and walk through the land and describe it, and return to me; then I will cast lots for you here before the LORD in Shiloh.”9So the men went and passed through the land, and described it by cities in seven divisions in a book; and they came to Joshua to the camp at Shiloh.10And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the LORD, and there Joshua divided the land to the sons of Israel according to their divisions.). In the New Testament there is one more reference to the throwing of the lot, and that is to know who the Lord designates as an apostle instead of Judas (Acts 1:2626And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.). In Acts 2 the outpouring of the Holy Spirit takes place (Acts 2:1-41When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.). From that moment on, there is no longer any question of the lot. The Lord makes clear through the Spirit what He wants, as He has made His will known in His Word.

Shemaiah records the divisions so that it can be consulted later (verse 66Shemaiah, the son of Nethanel the scribe, from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers’ [households] of the priests and of the Levites; one father’s household taken for Eleazar and one taken for Ithamar.). In the way in which this happens, we see, in picture, again the King-Priest: the Lord Jesus has authority and is the true High Priest. Before His face, in His presence, under His watchful eye, everything takes place. As Shemaiah records everything for later consultation, we have the Word of God in which is recorded how the service can be done ‘in order’, as God wills and through His Spirit will lead.

Zacharias, the father of John the baptist, belongs to the eighth priest division, that of Abiah (verse 1010the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah,), for he is “of the division of Abiah” (Lk 1:55In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.). The number eight indicates a new order of things. This is the case with the announcement of the birth of John.

Aaron (verse 1919These were their offices for their ministry when [they] came in to the house of the LORD according to the ordinance [given] to them through Aaron their father, just as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.) is a type of the Lord Jesus as the High Priest. Today every priest is subject to Him.


The Levites Help the Priests

20Now for the rest of the sons of Levi: of the sons of Amram, Shubael; of the sons of Shubael, Jehdeiah. 21Of Rehabiah: of the sons of Rehabiah, Isshiah the first. 22Of the Izharites, Shelomoth; of the sons of Shelomoth, Jahath. 23The sons [of Hebron]: Jeriah [the first], Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth. 24[Of] the sons of Uzziel, Micah; of the sons of Micah, Shamir. 25The brother of Micah, Isshiah; of the sons of Isshiah, Zechariah. 26The sons of Merari, Mahli and Mushi; the sons of Jaaziah, Beno. 27The sons of Merari: by Jaaziah [were] Beno, Shoham, Zaccur and Ibri. 28By Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. 29By Kish: the sons of Kish, Jerahmeel. 30The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. These [were] the sons of the Levites according to their fathers’ households. 31These also cast lots just as their relatives the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the heads of the fathers’ [households] of the priests and of the Levites—the head of fathers’ [households] as well as those of his younger brother.

Levites and priests are relatives, or brothers (verse 3131These also cast lots just as their relatives the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the heads of the fathers’ [households] of the priests and of the Levites—the head of fathers’ [households] as well as those of his younger brother.), one is not above the other. It is the same for us. The service of each of us is different, but we are all subject to the King-Priest. Also the ‘family head’ is not above the youngest brother. Different in age is each subject to the King-Priest.

This does not mean that there should be no mutual respect in the service, nor that young people should not be subject to the elderly (1Pet 5:5a5You younger men, likewise, be subject to [your] elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.). In Christ there are no such differences, but He does give each one his own task and responsibility in the functioning of the church on earth.

Similarly, in Christ there is no difference between a man and a woman, whereas in the church when she comes together this is the case (1Cor 14:3434The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.). This difference must also be visible when praying and prophesying in public by whether or not head covering and through the hair (1Cor 11:1-161Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.2Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.3But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.4Every man who has [something] on his head while praying or prophesying disgraces his head.5But every woman who has her head uncovered while praying or prophesying disgraces her head, for she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.6For if a woman does not cover her head, let her also have her hair cut off; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, let her cover her head.7For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.8For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man;9for indeed man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake.10Therefore the woman ought to have [a symbol of] authority on her head, because of the angels.11However, in the Lord, neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.12For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man [has his birth] through the woman; and all things originate from God.13Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God [with her head] uncovered?14Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him,15but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.16But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.).


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