Saturday, August 17, 2013

CLXV - I Chronicles 22-26 - Organization of David

David was a great man.  He loved God as we all should.  God loved David and gave him many talents:  Leadership; Military strategy; Courage in battle; Expertise in combat; Administration; Understanding the hearts of men; Humility of spirit; Sense of Fairness; Compassion; Poetry, Music; and, as we will see in this post, Organization Skills.

Israel was at peace now.  David knew that he still had plenty of work to do to set up a government for this young nation Israel.  Jerusalem was now established as the capitol of Israel.  David's residence and administration buildings have been built.  His military was now in the competent hands of Joab with David's hand-picked captains to assist him.  His council of ministers had been established and now operating to his pleasure.  The Ark of the Covenant was in its proper (but temporary) place.  So what would one think would be on David's mind?  The building of the Temple has always been on his mind.  God told him
that he was not to build the Temple, but his son Solomon would build it.  David accepted that as God's will, but David figured it wouldn't hurt to help Solomon by making some preparations for him to make things easier.  In this post we will see how David actually was the one who set up the nation and its government to make it possible for Solomon to rule over the greatest nation in the History of civilization.  I do not attempt to diminish Solomon's ability at all, but rather I choose to give honor and credit to David for his efforts to help his son and have everything set in place for him, long before Solomon was crowned king.

Chapter 22  -  Preparations of the Temple

In the very first verse David chooses the location for the Temple Solomon is to build.  In verse 2 David assesses the abilities of all of the non-Israelites residing in the entire nation.  He then proceeds to appoint the laborers for the Temple to be built.  This will have saved Solomon a lot of time.  As we see in vss 14-16 David even gathers the materials for the Temple, including about 3750 tons of gold, 37,500 tons of silver, and bronze and iron "too great to be weighed".  {David did this not only because he wanted to have a part in the building of the Temple, but also, fathers do things to help their sons.}  Going back to vs 6, David charged his son Solomon to build the Temple.  Read these verses to see exactly what David said to Solomon in the presence of the leaders of Israel.  He then, in the presence of Solomon, charged all of Israel to help Solomon when he became king.  Note that in vss 11-13--David prays that Solomon will be wise, and also that Solomon will obey the law of the Lord.  I'm not certain exactly how old Solomon was at this time, but he was under 20 years of age.  In the final verses 17-19 David praises God for all that he has achieved. The Lord has given peace to his people in Israel.  The Lord has defeated all their enemies. The Lord is with his people. The Lord has given to them their own country.

Chapter 23  -  The Levites

At the very beginning of this chapter it says David is "old and full of years".  David was about 70 years of age, which in those days was very old.  David has been tirelessly organizing the kingdom for his son.  And the order in which he did it was perfect.  Now we see how much detail David took in his organizing.  In studying the Law as God had Moses to write it, David knew how important it was to make certain the Levites were in their proper places, performing their duties as originally assigned them back when Moses wrote the Law.  The Scripture tells us that there were 38,000 Levite men that were thirty years of age or older.  David assigned 24,000 to work in the Temple, 6000 to be officials and judges, 4000 to be gatekeepers, and 4000 to be musicians.  This chapter continues with genealogy of the tribe of Levi, starting with the three sons of Levi.  As you read the remaining verses of chapter 23 you will see that David states the duties of the Levites, all of which surrounds the priests.  But remember, only descendants of Aaron were priests.  Most other Levites served the priests.

Chapter 24  -  The Divisions of Priests

This chapter tells how David organized the Levites, even down to which of them would serve and in their respective time periods.  All priest were descendants of Aaron.  Verses 4-5 David divided the priests into 24 groups. 16 of these groups were of men from the descendants of Eleazar. And 8 of these groups were from the descendants of Ithamar. The groups would work in turn so that there would always be priests on duty in the temple.  As generations would pass, the families descending from each of the priests named in vss 7-18 would select priests to occupy the positions in rotation as David set it up.  The selection process was "casting lots".  This process was used throughout the Old and the New Testaments.  All of this that David had done was in accordance to the Law as written by the hand of Moses.

Chapter 25  -  The Musicians

David liked music.  He arranged there to be music at the Temple at all times.  So he organized the Levite musicians accordingly.  Back in chapter 16 when David brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem, he assigned three chief musicians to accompany the Ark.  Those three were Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman.  Asaph had 4 sons and Jeduthun had 6 sons. Heman had 14 sons, totaling 24 sons.  These sons made the 24 leaders for the groups.  As stated back in chapter 23, 4000 Levites praised the Lord with instruments (23:5). Of their descendants, there would always be 288 skilled musicians, chosen proportionately from the 24 sons would be assigned the honorable task of playing their instruments at the site of the Temple.  These musicians would take turns according to verses 9-31 This is a list of the groups in the order of their duties.  Their descendants in future generations would maintain those positions, selecting individuals using the same manner of casting lots.

Chapter 26  -  The Gatekeepers

 In verses 1-9 The Israelites had not built the temple yet.  But the David made these arrangements so that the Levites would be ready. There were 4000 temple guards (23:6). They were all from the families of Kohath and Merari. (Korah was from the clan of Kohath.)  The east gate was to be the main gate. So, there were 6 guards at this gate but only 4 at the other gates. There were also 2 guards at the stores building.  There were additional guards placed elsewhere, but no specific locations were named.  Those 4000 temple guards were to rotated accordingly among themselves as named in this chapter.  To be a gatekeeper is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.  A gatekeeper was guard assigned to protect the Temple.  The gatekeepers were Levites also, but their duties were not of the traditional sense.  As we have studied about the Temple thus far, we see that these guards are really put to task and frequently so.  These gatekeepers must be prepared to place their lives on the line at any given moment.

Next post:  The Organization Continues Up to David's Final Days

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