The gatekeepers return (1 Chr 9:17-9:27)

“The gatekeepers were Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their kindred. Shallum was the chief, stationed previously at the king’s gate on the east side. These were the gatekeepers of the camp of the Levites. Shallum son of Kore, son of Ebiasaph, son of Korah, and his kindred of his ancestral house, the Korahites, were in charge of the work of the service. They were the guardians of the thresholds of the tent, as their ancestors had been in charge of the camp of Yahweh, guardians of the entrance. Phinehas son of Eleazar was chief over them in former times. Yahweh was with him. Zechariah son of Meshelemiah was gatekeeper at the entrance of the tent of meeting. All these, who were chosen as gatekeepers at the thresholds, were two hundred twelve. They were enrolled by genealogies in their villages. David and the seer Samuel had established them in their office of trust. So they and their descendents were in charge of the gates of the house of Yahweh, that is, the house of the tent, as guards. The gatekeepers were on the four sides, east, west, north, and south. Their kindred who were in their villages were obliged to come in every seven days, in turn, to be with them. The four chief gatekeepers, who were Levites, were in charge of the chambers and the treasures of the house of God. They would spend the night near the house of God. On them, lay the duty of watching. They had charge of opening it every morning.”

This is somewhat strange since there is an attempt to tie King David with the new inhabitants of Jerusalem. In actuality, King David did not build the temple, it was Solomon. Also, since the temple had not been restored, what treasures were they guarding? These are clearly ceremonial gatekeepers, since there was nothing to watch. They recall the time of their ancestors, since they were the descendents of them. This task belonged to the Korahites, who were both the singers and porters of the Kohathite branch of the Levites. This Shallum was clearly in charge, but he is not the King Shallum of Israel (743 BCE), since there were many people with this name. Kore was a Levite at the time of King David. His father was Ebiasaph, the son of Korah. Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, had been in charge of the gatekeepers who were on all 4 sides of the tent and the tabernacle, east, west, north, and south. Their job was to spend the night and open the temple in the morning. There were apparently 212 of these gatekeepers with nothing to guard. The 3 other gatekeepers Akkub, Talmon, and Ahiman were not as important as Shallum.

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