The Word Made Fresh
1The family groups descended from Aaron were these:
Aaron’s sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2Nadab and Abihu predeceased their father, and had no sons of their own, so the priesthood was passed down only through Eleazar and Ithamar. 3David organized the priests under the leadership of Zadok, who was a descendant of Eleazar, and Ahimelech, who was a descendant of Ithamar. 4There were more descendants of Eleazar than of Ithamar, and David organized them in sixteen divisions of Eleazar’s family and eight divisions of Ithamar’s family. 5They were organized by casting lots, for both families had priests who served God and who worked in the sanctuary. 6Shemaiah, son of Nethanel, a Levite, listed them in the king’s presence, including the officers, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech son of Abiathar and the family heads of the priests and Levites. One list was prepared for Eleazar and the other for Ithamar.
7The first lot was cast, and Jehoiarib was chosen. The second fell to Jedaiah; 8the third to Harim; the fourth to Seorim; 9the fifth to Malchijah; the sixth to Mijamin; 10the seventh to Hakkoz; the eighth to Abijah; 11the ninth to Jeshua; the tenth to Shecaniah; 12the eleventh to Eliashib; the twelfth to Jakem; 13the thirteenth to Huppah; the fourteenth to Jeshebeab; 14the fifteenth to Bilgah; the sixteenth to Immer; 15the seventeenth to Hezir; the eighteenth to Happizzez; 16the nineteenth to Pethahiah; the twentieth to Jehezkel; 17the twenty-first to Jachin; the twenty-second to Gamul; 18the twenty-third to Delaiah; the twenty-fourth to Maaziah. 19Their responsibilities were to serve in the LORD’s house according to the rules established by their ancestor Aaron as the LORD God of Israel had instructed him.
20The remaining group of Levi’s descendants were:
Amram, whose son was Shubael, whose son was Jehdeiah.
21Rehabiah, whose son was Isshaiah.
22The son of Shelomoth of the Izrahite clan was Jahath.
23Hebron’s sons were Jeriah, Amariah, Jahaziel, and Jekameam.
24Uzziel’s sons were Micah, whose son was Shamir, 25and Isshiah, whose son was Zechariah.
26Merari’s sons were Mahli and Mushi.
27The sons of Jaaziah, Merari’s descendant, were Shoham, Zaccur, and Pori.
28Mahli had no sons.
29Jerahmeel was the son of Kish.
30Mushi’s sons were Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth.
All these were descendants of the Levites arranged in the families of their ancestors. 31They also cast lots for their families in the presence of king David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the heads of families of the priests and Levites. The eldest were counted as well as the youngest.
1-6: Among the Levites, the descendants of Aaron had long ago been set apart to serve as priests in the tabernacle (Exodus 28:1). David organized them into units to serve in the temple his son Solomon would build. Shemaiah served as scribe to keep the record of who did what. Priests were among the few at that time who were taught to read and write, and recorders and secretaries were regularly chosen from among their number.
7-19: 24 “Lots” were drawn, sixteen from the family of Eleazar and eight from that of Ithamar. They were to be called to serve in the house of the LORD (the temple) in rotation, according to the procedure established by Aaron (Exodus 29:38-46), two weeks at a time, twice a year.
20-31: The rest of the Levites were also divided by lots according to their ancestry, again 24 in all (depending on how you count them). Again, keep in mind that the chronicler’s interest in providing this information was probably to justify the arrangement that was being used in the chronicler’s time by showing (or claiming) that it dated all the way back to the wonderful, inimitable king David.
The chronological record of these genealogies is gapped and sometimes overlaps. It is almost impossible to follow an exact line from the time of Jacob’s twelve sons to the time of David. The lesson here is simply that David, a man who took his faith seriously, also took great pains to see that the worship of God was engaged in properly after he was gone and his son Solomon had built the temple in Jerusalem.