The Word Made Fresh
1The Book of the Kings of Israel contains the records of the families of Israel.
The people of the kingdom of Judah were taken into exile to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. 2The first to return to their possessions in their towns were some Israelites, priests, Levites, and temple servants.
3Some of the people of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh lived in Jerusalem.
4From the tribe of Judah: Uthai, son of Ammihud, son of Omri, son of Imri, son of Bani. They were descended from Perez, who was the son of Judah. 5Asaiah and his sons were Shilonites who lived there. 6Six hundred ninety of the descendants of Zerah, including Jeuel and their relatives, lived there. 7The Benjaminites in Jerusalem were the descendants of Sallu, son of Meshullam, son of Hodaviah, son of Hassenuah. 8Also, Ibneiah son of Jeroham, Elah son of Uzzi (who was the son of Michri) and Meshullam son of Shephatiah (who was the son of Reuel, the son of Ibnijah). 9There were nine hundred fifty-six of them altogether. These were the family heads descended from their ancestors.
10The priests were Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, Jachin, 11and Azariah who was the son of Hilkiah son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub the head priest in God’s house. 12There was also Adaiah, son of Jeroham, son of Pashur, son of Malchijah, and Maasai son of Adiel, son of Jahzerah, son of Meshullam, son of Meshillemith, son of Immer, 13plus one thousand seven hundred sixty of their relatives who were qualified to serve in God’s house.
14The Levites were, first, Shemaiah son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, descended from Merari. 15In addition there was Bakbakkar, Heresh, Galal, and Mattaniah son of Mica, son of Zichri, son of Asaph; 16as well as Obadiah son of Shemaiah, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun, and Berechiah son of Asa, son of Elkanah who lived in the Netophathite villages.
17The gatekeepers were Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, and Ahiman. Their relative Shallum was their head. 18They had been previously stationed at the king’s gate on the east side, but now served as gatekeepers of the Levite encampment. 19Shallum son of Kore son of Ebiasaph son of Korah and his Korahite relatives were in charge of the priestly workers who guarded the tent entrance, just as their ancestors had guarded the LORD’s camp. 20Phineas son of Eleazar was their superior in those days, and the LORD was with him. 21Zechariah son of Meshelemiah kept the gate at the entrance of the meeting tent. 22There were in all two hundred twelve gatekeepers. Their family records were kept in their villages. David and the prophet Samuel entrusted them to their offices, 23and they and their descendants guarded the entrances to the LORD’s house (that is, the sacred tent). 24The gatekeepers were stationed on the east, west, north, and south. 25Their relatives from the villages were required to come and assist them every seven days. 26The four Levite gatekeepers were responsible for the rooms and the contents in the LORD’s house. 27They would spend the night nearby because they were responsible for guarding it and opening it each morning.
28Some of them were in charge of the tools and implements used there and had to count everything brought in and taken out. 29Others were responsible for the furnishings, the sacred utensils, the choice flour, the wine, the oil, incense, and spices. 30Still others among the priests’ sons mixed the spices. 31Mattithiah, one of the Levites, firstborn son of Shallum the Korahite, was in charge of preparing the flat cakes. 31Others of the Korahites were in charge of preparing the bread rolls each Sabbath. 33Others were designated as the singers. They were heads of families of the Levites who lived in the temple rooms. They had no other responsibilities but were on call day and night. 34These were the heads of the ancestral families of the Levites, generation to generation, who lived in Jerusalem.
35Jeiel, the ancestor of Gibeon, lived in Gibeon with his wife Maacah. 36Their sons were Abdon, Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab, 37Gedor, Ahio, Zechariah, and Mikloth. 38Mikloth was the father of Shimeam. They lived across from their relatives in Jerusalem. 39Ner’s son was Kish, whose son was Saul. Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Esh-baal. 40Jonathan’s son was Meribaal. Meribaal was the father of Micah. 41Micah’s sons were Pithon, Melech, Tahrea and Ahaz. 42Ahaz was the father of Jarah. Jarah’s sons were Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri. Zimri’s son was Moza. 43Moza was the father of Binea, who was the father of Rephaiah, who was the father of Eleasah, who was the father of Azel. 44Azel’s six sons were Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan.
1: The impression given in these verses is that the lists we have been working through are in some way connected with the Exile; that perhaps while they were in exile in Babylon an effort was made to preserve as much of the lineage of the people as possible from what remained of the records in Samaria and Jerusalem.
2-9: We have seen that when Nebuchadnezzar carried off the population of Jerusalem, he left behind the poorest of them. They include Israelites (from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh as well as Judah and Benjamin), priests, Levites, and temple servants (gatekeepers and the like). This chapter is an attempt to account for the remaining Israelite families.
10-13: A list of the priests who stayed behind: 1760 of them to serve in a destroyed temple and minister to the remaining 956 Israelite citizens, although it is possible that the 1760 is intended to be inclusive. However, we know that Nebuchadnezzar was careful not to disturb the gods worshiped by the people he conquered, and it may well have been his intent to preserve their religion while destroying their economy.
14-16: The lists in the remainder of the chapter appear to predate the Exile. No numbers are given for the Levites (who are responsible for maintaining the utensils and furnishings), gate keepers, singers, or others, and we will see mention of both the meeting tent and the temple in the verses that follow.
17-27: And so, we have lists of gatekeepers, etc., but the list appears to cover those who were gatekeepers in the wilderness for the tabernacle, in Jerusalem during the time of David for the tent of meeting, and in the temple during and after the time of Solomon. In Jerusalem their time of service is on a rotating basis. They live in outlying towns and villages but stay in Jerusalem when they are on duty.
28-32: The service of the Levites is described here – caring for the utensils (basins, tongs, etc.) and the furnishings. Clearly these verses fit most comfortably in that period in which the temple in Jerusalem is in full swing.
33-34: The singers and other Levites in charge of all that goes on in the temple are provided for out of the sacrifices that are made daily. Many of the Levites live elsewhere and only come to Jerusalem for a few weeks each year, but some of them are leaders who are permanent residents of the temple courts.
35-44: This list of Saul’s family is almost identical to the one already given in 8:29-40, with some additional names tacked on at the end. Some of the names are spelled differently (i. e., Zechariah in verse 37 was Zecher in chapter 8, verse 31) but essentially the lists are the same. This prepares us to move now into the narrative portion of I Chronicles which begins with the battle in which Saul and Jonathan are killed.
There will be other chapters here and there that consist almost entirely of lists of names, but you are finished now with what is by far the longest listings of family records. Give yourself a pat on the back. If you can’t reach your back, have someone else do it for you. You deserve it.
Next, we’ll meet Saul again. Very briefly.