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1 Chronicles Chapter Nine                            


1 Chronicles 9

Chapter Contents


This chapter expresses that one end of recording all these genealogies was, to direct the Jews, when they returned out of captivity, with whom to unite, and where to reside. Here is an account of the good state into which the affairs of religion were put, on the return from Babylon. Every one knew his charge. Work is likely to be done well when every one knows the duty of his place, and makes a business of it. God is the God of order. Thus was the temple a figure of the heavenly one, where they rest not day nor night from praising God, Revelation 4:8. Blessed be His name, believers there shall, not in turn, but all together, without interruption, praise him night and day: may the Lord make each of us fit for the inheritance of the saints in light.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on 1 Chronicles


1 Chronicles 9

Verse 1

[1] So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression.

The book — In the publick records, wherein there was an account of that kingdom, and of the several families in it.

Verse 2

[2] Now the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions in their cities were, the Israelites, the priests, Levites, and the Nethinims.

The first — After the return from Babylon.

Dwelt — That took possession of their own lands and cities, which had been formerly allotted them; but of late years had been taken from them for their sins, and possessed by other people.

Israelites — The common people of Judah and Israel, called here by the general name of Israelites, which was given them before that unhappy division of the kingdoms, and now is restored to them when the Israelites are united with the Jews in one and the same commonwealth, that so all the names and signs of their former division might be blotted out. And though the generality of the ten tribes were yet in captivity, yet divers of them upon Cyrus's general proclamation, associated themselves, and returned with those of Judah and Benjamin.

Levites — These took possession of the cities belonging to them, as they had need and opportunity.

Nethinims — A certain order of men, either Gibeonites or others joined with them, devoted to the service of God, and of his house, and of the priests and Levites; who, that they might attend upon their work without distraction, had certain places and possessions given to them; which they are now said to repossess.

Verse 4

[4] Uthai the son of Ammihud, the son of Omri, the son of Imri, the son of Bani, of the children of Pharez the son of Judah.

Ammihud — That there is so great a diversity of names between this catalogue and that of Nehemiah 11:4-36, may be ascribed to two causes: 1. to the custom of the Hebrews, who used frequently to give several names to one person: and, 2. to the change of times; for here they are named who came up at the first return but many of those in Nehemiah might be such as returned afterward, and came and dwelt either instead of the persons here named, or with them.

Verse 9

[9] And their brethren, according to their generations, nine hundred and fifty and six. All these men were chief of the fathers in the house of their fathers.

And fifty-six — They are reckoned but nine hundred and twenty-eight in Nehemiah 11:8, either because there he mentions only those that were by lot determined to dwell at Jerusalem, to whom he here adds those who freely offered themselves to it; or because some of the persons first placed there were dead, or removed from Jerusalem upon some emergent occasion.

Verse 11

[11] And Azariah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the ruler of the house of God;

The ruler — Or, a ruler in the house of God: not the high-priest, who was Ezra, Ezra 3:8, but a chief ruler under him.

Verse 13

[13] And their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers, a thousand and seven hundred and threescore; very able men for the work of the service of the house of God.

Able men — Heb. mighty men of valour: which is here noted as an excellent qualification for their place; because the priests might meet with great opposition in the discharge of their office, in the execution of the censures upon all impure persons without exception, and in preserving sacred things from violation by the touch of forbidden hands.

Verse 17

[17] And the porters were, Shallum, and Akkub, and Talmon, and Ahiman, and their brethren: Shallum was the chief;

Porters — Whose office it was to keep all the gates of the temple, that no unclean person or thing might enter into it.

Verse 18

[18] Who hitherto waited in the king's gate eastward: they were porters in the companies of the children of Levi.

King's gate — In the east-gate of the temple, which was so called, because the kings of Judah used to go to the temple through that gate. Under this gate he comprehends all the rest, which also were guarded by these porters.

Companies — Or, according to the courses. They kept the gates successively, according to that method into which the Levites were distributed, for the more convenient management of their several offices; among which this of the porters was one.

Verse 19

[19] And Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, of the house of his father, the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle: and their fathers, being over the host of the LORD, were keepers of the entry.

Tabernacle — Namely, in time past, when the tabernacle was standing, before the temple was built.

Fathers — The Kohathites.

Host — When the Israelites were in the wilderness, encamped in a military manner round about the tabernacle, with whom these were then placed.

Entry — Of the veil by which they entered into the tabernacle; which he calls the entry because then there were no gates. The meaning is, that all things were now restored to their primitive order; and the several persons took those offices upon them, which their ancestors had before them.

Verse 21

[21] And Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Was — In the time of David, as the following verse sheweth.

Porter — Chief porter.

The door — Of the door which led out of the priests court into the tabernacle, in which the ark was placed. Before the temple was built, they had a mean and moveable tent, which they made use of in the mean time. They that cannot yet have a temple, let them be thankful for a tabernacle, and make the best use of it. Never let God's work be left undone, for want of a place to do it in.

Verse 22

[22] All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office.

Villages — Where their usual residence was, and whence they came to Jerusalem in their courses.

Ordain — In the times of the judges there was much disorder both in the Jewish state and church, and the Levites came to the tabernacle promiscuously, and as their inclinations or occasions brought them. But Samuel observing they were greatly increased, began to think of establishing order in their ministration. And these intentions of his probably were communicated to David, who after his own peaceable settlement in his throne, revived and perfected Samuel's design, and took care to put it in execution.

Verse 23

[23] So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the LORD, namely, the house of the tabernacle, by wards.

The oversight — Namely, in David's time.

Tabernacle — This is added to explain what he means by the house of the Lord, not that tabernacle which David had set up for the ark; but that more solemn tabernacle, which Moses had made by God's express command; which in David's time was at Gibeon; in which God was worshipped until the temple was built.

Wards — By turns or courses.

Verse 25

[25] And their brethren, which were in their villages, were to come after seven days from time to time with them.

To come — From their several villages to the place of worship.

Seven days — Every seventh day the courses were changed, and the new comers were to tarry 'till the next sabbath day.

With them — To be with them, with the chief porters, who alway's abode in the place of God's worship.

Verse 26

[26] For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.

Set office — These were constantly upon the place, in the execution of their office, that they might oversee the inferior porters in their work.

Treasuries — In which the sacred utensils and other treasures belonging to the temple, were kept.

Verse 30

[30] And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices.

The ointment — This is added to shew, that though the Levites were intrusted with the keeping of this ointment, yet none but the priests could make it.

Verse 31

[31] And Mattithiah, one of the Levites, who was the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the set office over the things that were made in the pans.

The pans — Was to take care that fine flour might be provided, that when occasion required they might make cakes in pans.

Verse 33

[33] And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night.

These — Others of the Levites; of whose several offices he had spoken before.

Are — Or rather, were; which is understood, all along in the foregoing and following verses.

Chambers — That they might be ready to come whensoever they were called to the service of God in the tabernacle.

Free — From all trouble and employment, that they might wholly attend upon the proper work.

That work — Either composing or ordering sacred songs; or actually singing; or teaching others to sing them.

Day and night — Continually, and particularly in the morning and evening, the two times appointed for solemn service. Thus was God continually praised, as it is fit he should be, who is continually doing us good.

Verse 34

[34] These chief fathers of the Levites were chief throughout their generations; these dwelt at Jerusalem.

Jerusalem — Upon their return from Babylon they were not suffered to chuse their habitations in the country, as others were, but were obliged to settle themselves at Jerusalem, that they might constantly attend upon God's service there.

Verse 35

[35] And in Gibeon dwelt the father of Gibeon, Jehiel, whose wife's name was Maachah:

Maachah — In this and the following verses, he repeats Saul's genealogy, that he might make way for the following history.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on 1 Chronicles


09 Chapter 9


Verses 1-44

Verse 13

1 Chronicles 9:13

Very able men for the work of the service of the house of God.

Religious ability

We are not called to ecclesiastical statesmanship in this verse; we are called to the kind of work we can do best. There are very able doorkeepers, as well as very able preachers; there are very able administrators, as well as very able expositors: the one cannot do without the other. What we want in the house of God is ability--that is to say, faculty that can utilise all other men, penetrate into the meaning of all passing events, and tell exactly when work is to be done and when it is not to he attempted. Many are willing who are not able; many are able in nine particulars but fail in the tenth. Sometimes a whole number of talents is thrust away, because one talent--the talent of using the others--is wanting. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Obstructive forces

The era to which the statements of the text belong was, like every other era of the militant people of God, one that required men of ability--and it had them. In close connection with these statements, we read of them that they were “men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do”; that they “could order the battle array”; that they were mighty men of valour, “whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the toes upon the mountains”; and their deeds of personal prowess are stated in detail, showing that they were men of heroic blood and daring and achievement. Brawn and brain and blood stood in good stead in those ages of war and conquest, when the cleavage of swords and the thrust of spears and the might of muscle determined victory. Yet more than even this, does the Cause, in our day, call for. It calls, with profound beseeching, for the faith and the devotion of the majority, nay, of the whole body, of all who love it and love its Lord. After the battle of Solferino, one of the world’s decisive conflicts, when the line of battle extended for fifteen miles, Victor Emanuel concluded his “order of the day” in these words: “Soldiers! in former battles I have often had occasion to mention the names of many among you in the order of the day; this time I put the whole army on the order of the day!” The personal daring and deeds of every man made that battle the most memorable in modern warfare. When our Victor Emanuel can put the whole army in the order of the day the staid and suffering kingdom will come to victory. In our day there are patent obstructive forces to this end.

I. In the first place, we may notice that there is much unconsecrated ability which is due to Christ, but which is withheld from Him. His cause, as we have said, is committed to human instrumentality. He retains His own Divine efficiency in it, but He permits men to advance or to hinder it. Ordinarily, the power of the Church, in a given community, is in the ratio of the human influence and character which are allied to it. If the popular sentiment is decidedly in its favour, if the men and women who are able, intellectually, socially, pecuniarily, are unequivocally and spiritually Christian, the Church is easily progressive and controlling. But if the social leaders are divided in sentiment, and if the two parties are about equal in standing, in intelligence, in business and professional ability and in property, the kingdom is loaded with a serious disadvantage. Men form their opinions under the lead of other men. Social influence is powerful. The young look up to their seniors, to those who have had experience in affairs. The multitude are not independent thinkers and actors. And so, in this state of things, religion contends with odds against it. But human nature is not, of itself, in favour of religion. Human nature is not only unsanctified, but it is depraved. Men run downward naturally. So long as a moiety of those who have influence in the community are arrayed against personal religion, are even not practically and personally in its favour, the drift will be largely away from it. Religion needs the combined influence and example of all worthy people. Those who decline such support oppose an obstructive force to the progress and sway of the kingdom.

II. Not only have we a great amount of this concentrated ability, but that ability which is nominally consecrated to Christ is to a large extent inefficient. If the Church, such as it is in numbers, in ability, in social standing, were a compact, disciplined, working, spiritual force; if they were individually and collectively, able men for the service of the house of God, there would be the certainty of victory. But plainly it is not so. The nominal body of Christ, taken as a whole, cannot be relied on. The battle array shows a long, thin line, and therefore a weak one. We may take any department of our Christian work, and the report will be the same from each and all. Even public worship has scant attendance. If we should take our measure by the systematic endeavour of the Church to evangelise the parish, the showing, in the aggregate, would be no better. Now this inefficiency of great Churches, strong in numbers and character and resources, is an obstructive force to the progress end acceptance of real religion: it has a depressing influence on the Christian body and a repulsive effect on the world. We can readily see how different the popular impression would be were the whole Church engaged, with interest, with devotion, with the fervour of a passion, in its Christian enterprises. We are well aware that there are able and consecrated men and women who are faithful. The hope of the kingdom is in them: but the burdens of the kingdom are well-nigh insupportable by them. They need support; they need to-day the efficient aid of all those who are nominally consecrated to Christ. There is still another obstructive force.

III. We have to contend with misdirected ability. It may be consecrated and efficient, but it is unwisely used. It is of the guerilla order: “Self-constituted, or constituted by the call of a single individual; not according to the general law. It consists in its disconnection with the army; it is irregular as to permanence.” The semi-secular cause which they have espoused is made supreme. For that public worship is abandoned. The holy sacraments are supplanted by it. The devotional services of the Church are obliged to give way before gatherings for it. Devotion to Christ ranks lower than devotion to the cause. Now, what the Church needs for its efficiency, and what the world needs for its salvation, is the right use of all the misdirected ability of the workers. They should be called in from their petty guerilla undertakings to co-operation with the combined and disciplined army. No obstructive force should hinder the great work or postpone its final triumph. The effort that is now wasted is enough to give success to the one cause. The zeal spent in predatory excursions would insure victory to the Lord’s host.

IV. Further, in obstructive force is the influence of inconsistency. The Christian profession is of a strict order. Christian character is definitely marked. Disciples of Christ are separate from sinners. They belong to another kingdom. They should stand in their right and righteousness. They should command the respect and confidence of all other men. They should surround Christ as nobles surround their king. (B. Hart.)

Verse 22

1 Chronicles 9:22

And Samuel the seer.

Samuel, the prophet of the Lord

Samuel was the last of the judges (1 Samuel 8:4-5). Samuel was the first of the prophets (Acts 3:24).

I. Samuel in his childhood. He had a praying mother (1 Samuel 1:26-27). He had an early call to serve God (1 Samuel 2:18). He had a special message from the Lord (1 Samuel 3:8-9).

II. Samuel when he became a man. He was the one by whom God spake to the People (1 Samuel 3:19-21). He was the one by whom God defended the people (1 Samuel 7:12-13). He was the one by whom God instructed the people (1 Samuel 12:23-24). He was the one by whom God gave a king over the people (1 Samuel 10:24-25).

III. Samuel when he drew near his end. He appealed to the people (1 Samuel 12:2-3). He reasoned with the people (1 Samuel 12:7). He died with the respect of the people (1 Samuel 25:1). Lessons: Begin to serve the Lord early. Determine to follow the Lord fully. Be ready to hear the Lord only. Be persuaded to trust the Lord entirely. Samuel as the last of the judges was great. Samuel as the first of the prophets was greater. But for the greatest honour which Samuel had, see Psalms 99:6. (The Clergyman’s Magazine.)

Verse 27

1 Chronicles 9:27

And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them

The dominence of duty

As to recognising the imperativeness of duty. “The charge was upon them.’” Duty was the absolute and dominant thing to these gate-keepers. So should it be with us. Duty grows out of the relations in which we are placed.

1. Some of these relations are toward God. God puts us where we are.

2. Some of these relations, as with the Levite gate-keepers, are towards God’s house. The charge is upon us as Church-members to attend upon, give to, and work for the advancement of the Church to which we belong.

3. Some of these relations are toward our fellow-men. Israel depended on these Levites for certain service. Our family, Church, city, State, nation--all have claims upon us for duty.

II. Concerning the importance of adjusting one’s life so as to be able to do duty. These Levites “lodged round about the house of God.” That is, they so adjusted their arrangements of living that they could do the duty that devolved upon them. They planned for it, provided for its certain accomplishment.

III. As to some of the ways in which duty is presented to us.

1. In ways of permanent obligation. In the case of these Levites we are told that the work “pertained” to them. It was a permanent thing, of unchanging obligation. One of the best ways for us to recognise the dominance of duty is by faithfulness in connection with those possibly prosaic, but unchanging and permanent, duties that “pertain” to us.

2. Others come in the way of regular recurrence. “The opening thereof every morning pertained to them.” Most of our duties are of this everyday, regular, recurring kind.

3. Duty is presented to us oftentimes in things apparently trivial Theirs was the opening and shutting of the gates: Not apparently a great thing; but it had as close and vital a relation to character as if it had seen great, As they did their work, lowly though it seemed, well or ill, they were morally well or ill. To most of us the work God gives does not seem great. But little things can be greatly done. By doing little things faithfully many a life has been made great. (G. B. F. Halleck, D. D.)

Verses 35-44

1 Chronicles 9:35-44

And in Gibeon dwelt the father of Gibeon.

Pedigree of Saul

In the choice, anointing, and pedigree of Saul, which enter into the history of Israel, notice--

1. The condescension of God.

2. The sovereignty of God.

3. The providence of God. (J. Wolfendale.)

──The Biblical Illustrator