1 Chronicles
1-19 2. The Divisions of the Gatekeepers 20-28 3. The Keepers of the Treasures 29-32 4. The Officers and the Judges
2. The Divisions of the Gatekeepers

1For the divisions of the gatekeepers [there were] of the Korahites, Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph. 2Meshelemiah had sons: Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth, 3Elam the fifth, Johanan the sixth, Eliehoenai the seventh. 4Obed-edom had sons: Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sacar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth, 5Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh [and] Peullethai the eighth; God had indeed blessed him. 6Also to his son Shemaiah sons were born who ruled over the house of their father, for they were mighty men of valor. 7The sons of Shemaiah [were] Othni, Rephael, Obed and Elzabad, whose brothers, Elihu and Semachiah, were valiant men. 8All 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. 9Meshelemiah had sons and relatives, 18 valiant men. 10Also Hosah, [one] of the sons of Merari had sons: Shimri the first (although he was not the firstborn, his father made him first), 11Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth; all the sons and relatives of Hosah [were] 13. 12To these divisions of the gatekeepers, the chief men, [were given] duties like their relatives to minister in the house of the LORD. 13They cast lots, the small and the great alike, according to their fathers’ households, for every gate. 14The 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. 15For Obed-edom [it fell] to the south, and to his sons went the storehouse. 16For Shuppim and Hosah [it was] to the west, by the gate of Shallecheth, on the ascending highway. Guard corresponded to guard. 17On the east there were six Levites, on the north four daily, on the south four daily, and at the storehouse two by two. 18At the Parbar on the west [there were] four at the highway and two at the Parbar. 19These were the divisions of the gatekeepers of the sons of Korah and of the sons of Merari.

After we have had the singers and their service in prophecy before us in 1 Chronicles 25, our eyes are now turned to the gatekeepers. In the New Testament we can recognize them in the overseers, they are the ones who supervise. Like desiring earnestly the gift of prophecy (1Cor 14:1-31Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual [gifts], but especially that you may prophesy.2For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in [his] spirit he speaks mysteries.3But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.), the aspiring of the office of overseer is encouraged (1Tim 3:11It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires [to do].). The gatekeeper has the “task to minister in the house of the LORD” (verse 1212To these divisions of the gatekeepers, the chief men, [were given] duties like their relatives to minister in the house of the LORD.); the overseer has the task to supervise “how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God” (1Tim 3:1515but in case I am delayed, [I write] so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.).

The leaders of the four thousand gatekeepers in total are mentioned (verses 1-111For the divisions of the gatekeepers [there were] of the Korahites, Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph.2Meshelemiah had sons: Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth,3Elam the fifth, Johanan the sixth, Eliehoenai the seventh.4Obed-edom had sons: Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sacar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth,5Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh [and] Peullethai the eighth; God had indeed blessed him.6Also to his son Shemaiah sons were born who ruled over the house of their father, for they were mighty men of valor.7The sons of Shemaiah [were] Othni, Rephael, Obed and Elzabad, whose brothers, Elihu and Semachiah, were valiant men.8All 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.9Meshelemiah had sons and relatives, 18 valiant men.10Also Hosah, [one] of the sons of Merari had sons: Shimri the first (although he was not the firstborn, his father made him first),11Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth; all the sons and relatives of Hosah [were] 13.; 1Chr 23:55and 4,000 [were] gatekeepers, and 4,000 [were] praising the LORD with the instruments which David made for giving praise.). The gatekeepers are at the four large gate buildings. Their big task is to see who is allowed to enter the temple and who is not. Those who are not allowed to enter they must keep outside, while all those who are allowed in must be allowed to enter.

We can apply this to receiving believers at the Lord’s Table to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Two dangers must be avoided. One danger is that of generosity, whereby anyone who wishes to do so can be received to the Supper without investigating. If an unknown person comes who claims to be a believer, this should be investigated. There must be witnesses (2Cor 13:11This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.). It is also important to establish that such a person does not live in sin (1Cor 5:1313But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.), that he has no wrong doctrine about the Lord Jesus and His work (Gal 5:99A little leaven leavens the whole lump [of dough].; 2Jn 1:1010If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into [your] house, and do not give him a greeting;) and that he does not belong to a group of Christians where public evil is not disciplined (2Tim 2:19b19Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”; 2Jn 1:1111for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.).

The other danger is a narrowness that refuses all those who do not belong to the same group of churches. Then believers are refused on other grounds than those just mentioned. The refusal of believers because of all kinds of not fundamental differences in opinion is sectarianism.

Although not everyone is a gatekeeper, all believers have the task of ensuring that the scriptural conditions for receiving or refusal are maintained. Being a gatekeeper is not an easy task.

The Galatians were not good gatekeepers. They have allowed false apostles to enter with their false teachings about the law (Gal 2:44But [it was] because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.). Like a true gatekeeper, Paul writes his letter to them, saying that he does not submit to such false brethren for one hour (Gal 2:55But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.).

The investigation of who or what should be admitted to the temple can also be applied to our bodies. For our body is also called “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1Cor 6:1919Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?). What do we allow to enter through eye and ear and thoughts and what do we absorb into our hearts? From the “gates” of the heart flow “the springs of life” (Pro 4:2323Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it [flow] the springs of life.
). That is why we must also watch over the entrances and exits of our hearts with the greatest care, and be gatekeepers for ourselves. We must condemn and remove what is not good, and allow what shapes us and makes our lives more to the glory of God.

Here we find Obed-edom (verses 4-84Obed-edom had sons: Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sacar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth,5Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh [and] Peullethai the eighth; God had indeed blessed him.6Also to his son Shemaiah sons were born who ruled over the house of their father, for they were mighty men of valor.7The sons of Shemaiah [were] Othni, Rephael, Obed and Elzabad, whose brothers, Elihu and Semachiah, were valiant men.8All 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.; verse 1515For Obed-edom [it fell] to the south, and to his sons went the storehouse.). He honored and watched over the ark (1Chr 13:13-1413So David did not take the ark with him to the city of David, but took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite.14Thus the ark of God remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house three months; and the LORD blessed the family of Obed-edom with all that he had.). Here God honors and blesses him indeed (verse 55Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh [and] Peullethai the eighth; God had indeed blessed him.) by giving him eight sons and entrusting him and his sons with the care of a gate and the storehouse. Besides supervising the south gate, he also takes care of the food of the priests. In it we see a picture of teaching in the church (cf. Mt 24:45-4745“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?46Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.47Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.). That is a big responsibility. His grandsons (sons of his son Shemaiah) are “mighty men of valor” (verse 66Also to his son Shemaiah sons were born who ruled over the house of their father, for they were mighty men of valor.) and “valiant men” (verse 77The sons of Shemaiah [were] Othni, Rephael, Obed and Elzabad, whose brothers, Elihu and Semachiah, were valiant men.).

Of one of the sons of Hosah, Shimri, is mentioned something special: “Although he was not the firstborn, his father made him first” (verse 1010Also Hosah, [one] of the sons of Merari had sons: Shimri the first (although he was not the firstborn, his father made him first),). Possible causes for this may be that he has special qualities, given to him by God, with an accompanying spiritual attitude, or because his oldest brother does not care about the things of God.

Although nothing of the temple exists yet, David can arrange everything because God has already revealed His plan for the temple to him (1Chr 28:11-1311Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan of the porch [of the temple], its buildings, its storehouses, its upper rooms, its inner rooms and the room for the mercy seat;12and the plan of all that he had in mind, for the courts of the house of the LORD, and for all the surrounding rooms, for the storehouses of the house of God and for the storehouses of the dedicated things;13also for the divisions of the priests and the Levites and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD and for all the utensils of service in the house of the LORD;). According to this plan David arranges everything. The keepers of the gates to be built are already appointed by lot, that is to say by the LORD Himself (verse 1313They cast lots, the small and the great alike, according to their fathers’ households, for every gate.). As a result, this designation is made without regard to the person.


3. The Keepers of the Treasures

20The Levites, their relatives, had charge of the treasures of the house of God and of the treasures of the dedicated gifts. 21The 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. 22The sons of Jehieli, Zetham and Joel his brother, had charge of the treasures of the house of the LORD. 23As for the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites and the Uzzielites, 24Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was officer over the treasures. 25His relatives by Eliezer [were] Rehabiah his son, Jeshaiah his son, Joram his son, Zichri his son and Shelomoth his son. 26This 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 the commanders of the army, had dedicated. 27They dedicated part of the spoil won in battles to repair the house of the LORD. 28And 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.

The treasures of the dedicated gifts come from the spoil won in the battles and from possible voluntary gifts (verses 26-2826This 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 the commanders of the army, had dedicated.27They dedicated part of the spoil won in battles to repair the house of the LORD.28And 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.). The spoil of war are collected in rooms of the temple building and treasurers have to watch over them.

The treasures represent what we have found of God’s truth regarding the church in Scripture with the help of believers who in the past have investigated God’s Word. These are treasures that believers have collected over the centuries for the benefit of the building of the church, God’s house now. Interpreters of God’s Word in previous centuries have also used these treasures.

We owe most of our knowledge of Scripture to what has been gathered from Scripture by believers over two thousand years. Faithful believers have always been allowed to build on what previous generations have discovered in the gold mine of God’s Word, and these treasures have always been supplemented and expanded, and that still happens. The treasurers take note of the treasures that have been discovered and add to them. They are treasures conquered in great battle and gathered in the hearts of believers. Every victory in faith is a contribution to the temple’s treasures.

Some treasures have remained in the temple as a brilliant reminder of victory, others have been used to repair damage. Thus Paul presents Christ to the church in Colossae as the One “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:33in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.) in order to eliminate the damage caused by the influence of philosophical thinking to which the Colossians have opened themselves.

Shebuel, a descendant of Moses, is king over the treasures (verse 2424Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was officer over the treasures.). Shebuel means ‘prisoner of God’. This reminds of Paul, who calls himself “the prisoner of Christ Jesus “ (Eph 3:11For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—) and a preacher of “the unfathomable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:88To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,). Treasures have also been entrusted to us. The great treasure is the Word of God. Its riches are inexhaustible.

Do we really see the Bible this way and guard it against attacks that are made on it out of unbelief or against disempowerment? Paul commands the young Timothy: “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to [you]” (2Tim 1:1414Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to [you].; 1Tim 6:2020O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly [and] empty chatter [and] the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”—).


4. The Officers and the Judges

29As for the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were [assigned] to outside duties for Israel, as officers and judges. 30As 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. 31As 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) 32and 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.

The Levites that we have been paying attention to before this section have the house of God as their workplace. This is applicable to the meetings of the believers, where they perform their task par excellence. The fourth task, the officers and judges, is different. They do not live in Jerusalem, but work in all of Israel, even at the other side of the Jordan. The judges enlighten the king in his task.

Believers are also used to resolve lawsuits among believers. These are disputes between believers about ordinary things that can happen in everyday life (1Cor 6:4-54So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church?5I say [this] to your shame. [Is it so, that] there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren,). In the church people are given to serve the believers. There is hardly a dispute imaginable that cannot be resolved by believers. This does not require a high intelligence, but a spiritual mind.

The spirit of the world penetrates the churches and increases the number of disagreements in all kinds of churches. The mistrust in a church can be so high that what one group says is totally incomprehensible to the other group. Then it may be advisable to call upon the help of wise brothers from another local church. They must be able to listen calmly to both parties.

It concerns “all the work of the LORD and the service of the king” (verse 3030As 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.) and “all the affairs of God and of the king” (verse 3232and 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.). The latter we can understand as the affairs of the Lord Jesus. All things among the believers directly touch God and Christ. Their honor is at stake. Only when that is considered, this difficult work can be done and continued.

Both on the west side (verse 3030As 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.) and on the east side (verse 3232and 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.) of the Jordan it is first about God and then about the king. The things of God are the religious things like bringing the prescribed sacrifices and removing idolatry. The king’s affairs relate to political affairs, justice and the preservation of peace.

Verse 3131As 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) refers to ‘the fortieth year of David’s reign’, that is to say, we are in the last year of his reign. We see here that David remains committed to and for the service of the LORD until the last moment.


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