1 Chronicles 22
David Prepares for Temple Building
Then David said, “This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”
So David gave orders to gather the foreigners who were in the land of Israel, and he assigned stonecutters to hew out stones to build the house of God. David prepared large quantities of iron to make nails for the doors of the gates and for the clamps (trusses), and more bronze than could be weighed; and cedar trees beyond number, for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought large quantities of cedar timber to David. David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the Lord shall be exceedingly magnificent, famous, and an object of glory and splendor throughout all lands [of the earth]. So now I will make preparations for it.” Therefore, David made ample preparations before his death.
Solomon Charged with the Task
Then he called for Solomon his son and ordered him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, “My son, I had intended to build a house for the [a]Name (Presence) of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house for My Name, because you have shed so much blood on the earth before me. Behold, a son will be born to you, who will be a man of peace. I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My Name (Presence). He shall be My son and I will be his father; and I will establish his royal throne over Israel forever.’ Now, my son, may the Lord be with you so that you may be successful and build the house of the Lord your God, just as He has spoken concerning you. Only may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper, if you are careful to observe and fulfill the statutes and ordinances which the Lord commanded Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed. Now listen, [b]with great trouble I have prepared and provided for the house of the Lord 100,000 talents of gold, 1,000,000 talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for they are great in quantity. I have also prepared and provided timber and stone, and you may add to them. Further, you have workmen in abundance: stonecutters and stonemasons and carpenters, and all men who are skillful in every kind of work. As for the gold, the silver, the bronze, and the iron, there is no limit. So arise and begin working, and may the Lord be with you.”
David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, “Is not the Lord your God with you? And has He not given you rest and peace on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the Lord and before His people. Now set your heart and your soul to seek (inquire of, require as your vital necessity) the Lord your God. Arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy articles and utensils of God into the house built for the Name (Presence) of the Lord.”
1 Chronicles 23
When David reached old age, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. And he assembled together all the leaders of Israel with the priests and Levites.
Offices of the Levites
The Levites thirty years old and upward were counted, and their number man by man was 38,000. Of these [a]24,000 were to oversee and inspect the work of the house of the Lord and 6,000 were to be administrators and judges, and 4,000 were gatekeepers, and 4,000 [musicians] were to praise the Lord with the instruments which David made for giving praise. And David organized them into divisions according to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Of the Gershonites: Ladan (Libni) and Shimei. The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the first and Zetham and Joel—three in all. The sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran—three in all. These were the heads of the fathers’ households of Ladan. The sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina (Zizah), Jeush, and Beriah. These were the four sons of Shimei. Jahath was the first and Zizah the second; but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons [not enough for a father’s house or clan], so they were [counted together] as one father’s household, one working group.
The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel—four in all. The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was set apart to consecrate him as most holy, he and his sons forever, to burn incense before the Lord, attend to His service, and to bless [worshipers] in His name forever. But as for Moses the man of God, his sons were counted among the tribe of Levi. The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. The son of Gershom: Shebuel the chief. The son of Eliezer was Rehabiah the chief. Eliezer had no other sons, but Rehabiah’s sons were very many [in number]. The son of Izhar: Shelomith the chief. The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. The sons of Uzziel: Micah the first and Isshiah the second.
The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish. Eleazar died and had no sons, but daughters only, and their relatives, the sons of Kish, took them as wives. The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Jeremoth—three in all.
These were the Levites by their fathers’ households, the heads of the fathers’ households of those registered, according to the number of names of the individuals who were the servants of the house of the Lord, from twenty years old and upward. For David said, “The Lord God of Israel, has given peace and rest to His people, and He dwells in Jerusalem forever. Also, the Levites will no longer need to carry the tabernacle and all its utensils for its service.” For by the last words of David, the Levites from twenty years old and above were counted. For their duty is to assist [the priests] the sons of Aaron in the service of the house of the Lord, in [caring for] the courtyards, the chambers, the purifying of all holy things, and any work of the service of the house of God, and with the showbread, and the fine flour for a grain offering, and unleavened wafers, or what is baked in the pan or what is well-mixed, and all measures of volume and size [as the Law of Moses required]. They are to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening, and to offer all burnt sacrifices to the Lord on the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the festivals by number according to the ordinance concerning them, continually before the Lord. So they shall be responsible for the Tent of Meeting, the Holy Place, and the sons of Aaron their relatives, for the service of the house of the Lord.
- 1 Chronicles 23:4 This number might seem high if the situation is not clarified. There are several important factors to consider: 1. The Levites were divided into 24 rotating divisions (1 Chr 24:6-19). 2. It is plausible that 1,000 Levites were on duty at any one time for Solomon’s temple, considering the many purposes and required maintenance of the building, its ornate ritual, and the scale of the work. 3. In the wilderness, the worshiper would kill the animal he brought for an offering, skin it, cut it in pieces, and wash the entrails and legs. But now all these tasks were the duty of the Levites or Nethinim (servants of the temple); in addition, the number of worshipers had greatly increased, requiring a large number of Levites.