New European Version: Old Testament

Deeper commentary on this chapter

Audio talks on this chapter:


Video presentations on this chapter:


Other material relevant to this chapter:


Hear this chapter read:



About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

CHAPTER 23 Oct. 7 
The Number and Genealogy of the Levites
Now David was old and full of days; and he made Solomon his son king over Israel. 2He gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites. 3The Levites were numbered from thirty years old and over: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty-eight thousand. 4David said, Of these, twenty-four thousand are to oversee the work of the house of Yahweh; six thousand are to be officers and judges; 5four thousand are to be doorkeepers; and four thousand are to praise Yahweh with the instruments which I made for giving praise. 6David divided them into divisions according to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 7Of the Gershonites: Ladan and Shimei. 8The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the chief, Zetham and Joel, three. 9The sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, Haziel and Haran, three. These were the heads of the fathers’ households of Ladan. 10The sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, Jeush and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei. 11Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second: but Jeush and Beriah didn’t have many sons; therefore they combined to become a father’s house. 12The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four. 13The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses; and Aaron was sanctified, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons, forever, to burn incense before Yahweh, to minister to Him, and to bless in His name, forever. 14But as for Moses the man of God, his sons were named among the tribe of Levi. 15The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. 16The sons of Gershom: Shebuel the chief. 17The sons of Eliezer were: Rehabiah the chief. Eliezer had no other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many. 18The sons of Izhar: Shelomith the chief. 19The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the chief, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. 20The sons of Uzziel: Micah the chief, and Isshiah the second. 21The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish. 22Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters only; and their brothers the sons of Kish took them as wives. 23The sons of Mushi: Mahli, and Eder, and Jeremoth, three. 24These were the sons of Levi after their fathers’ houses, even the heads of the fathers’ houses of those who were counted individually, in the number of names by their polls, who did the work for the service of the house of Yahweh, from twenty years old and over. 25For David said, Yahweh, the God of Israel, has given rest to His people; and He dwells in Jerusalem forever. 26Also the Levites will no longer need to carry the tabernacle and all its vessels for its service. 27For by the last words of David the sons of Levi were numbered, from twenty years old and over. 28Their ministry was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of Yahweh, in the courts, and in the rooms, and in the purifying of all holy things, even the work of the service of God’s house; 29for the showbread also, and for the fine flour for a meal offering, whether of unleavened wafers, or of that which is baked in the pan, or of that which is soaked, and for all kinds of measure and size. 30And to stand every morning to thank and praise Yahweh, and likewise in the evening; 31and to offer all burnt offerings to Yahweh, on the Sabbaths, on the new moons, and on the set feasts, in number according to the ordinance concerning them, continually before Yahweh; 32and that they should keep the duty of the Tent of Meeting, and the duty of the holy place, and the duty of the sons of Aaron their brothers, for the service of the house of Yahweh.


23:4 To oversee the work of the house of Yahweh- This system of arrangements in God’s house would’ve been practically experienced by Solomon. He twice uses the Hebrew word translated “oversee” in Proverbs. He says that ants are self-motivated; they need no “guide, overseer or ruler” (Prov. 6:6,7). This seems a critique of the complex system of overseers which Solomon had to place over Israel in order to build the temple and build up the Kingdom. Ideally, he seems to be saying, every Israelite ought to be a zealous worker. Prov. 12:24 says the same: “The hand of the diligent [whoever he / she is] shall bear rule [in practice]” [s.w. Prov. 6:7 “ruler”]. And we must ask ourselves, whether for whatever reason the new Israel hasn’t slumped into the same problem, of lack of self-motivation, waiting to be asked to do something before we do it, over-relying upon our “overseers”. The ants aren’t like this. They see the job to be done, and naturally get on with it. 
Sanctified, that he should sanctify- This is alluded to in Jn. 17:17-19 where Jesus says that He sanctified Himself on the cross in order to sanctify us. Our sanctification is ultimately in order to do the same for others; because we are a Kingdom of priests (1 Pet. 2:5,6), the Levites are our pattern. Salvation and acceptance by God aren’t given to us simply to personally enjoy, but so that we may serve others with them.