“When King Josiah heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes. Then the king consulted Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micaiah, the secretary Shaphan, and the king’s servant Asaiah. ‘Go! Inquire of Yahweh for me and for all who are left in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. The wrath of Yahweh that is poured out on us is great. Our ancestors did not keep the word of Yahweh, to act in accordance with all that is written in this book.’”
Once again, this is practically word for word from 2 Kings, with a few minor changes. After listening to the reading of this book, King Josiah tore his clothes, the sign of anguish, being upset, or mourning. He then called and consulted with a group of people to find out more about this book from Yahweh. This group included the priest Hilkiah, the king’s secretary Shaphan, his son Ahikam, who will later be governor of Judea and a friend of Jeremiah the prophet, as well as Abdon and Asaiah. He mentioned both Israel and Judah and not just Judah as in 2 Kings. The king felt that the wrath of Yahweh was upon them because they and their ancestors had not followed what was written in this book.
“Then King David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab. King David said to them. ‘You are the heads of families of the Levites. Sanctify yourselves, you and your kindred, so that you may bring up the ark of Yahweh, the God of Israel, to the place that I have prepared for it. Because you did not carry it the first time, Yahweh our God burst out against us, because we did not give it proper care.’ So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of Yahweh, the God of Israel. The Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles, as Moses had commanded according to the word of Yahweh.”
The high priests Zadok and Abiathar were also involved. King David summoned the heads of the Levite families just mentioned, except for Uriel. He wanted them to sanctify themselves and their clan. King David said that the problem last time was that the right people were not carrying the Ark of the Covenant. He wanted the Kohathite Levites to carry the Ark of the Covenant with poles on their shoulders as it was laid out in Numbers, chapter 7.
“King David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of Yahweh to the place that he had prepared for it. King David gathered together the descendents of Aaron and the Levites. There were the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, with one hundred twenty of his kindred. There were the sons of Merari, Asaiah the chief, with two hundred twenty of his kindred. There were the sons of Gershom, Joel the chief, with one hundred thirty of his kindred. There were the sons of Elizaphan, Shemaiah the chief, with two hundred of his kindred. There were the sons of Hebron, Eliel the chief, with eighty of his kindred. There were the sons of Uzziel, Amminadab the chief, with one hundred and twelve of his kindred.”
This biblical writer said that King David called everyone to Jerusalem, which would have been difficult. More particularly, he gathered the descendents of Aaron, the 3 groups of Levites, the Kohathites, Merarites, and Gershonites with their chiefs and family. However, 3 other groups of Levites, the descendents of Elizaphan, Hebron, and Uzziel were also named, but they were actually the sons of Kohath. Thus 4 of these groups were Kohathites. Each group had a leader and a number of their clan. Thus we have the following assigned to carry and care for the Ark of the Covenant. This has become a big deal with over 800 people directly involved.
“Uthai son of Ammihud, son of Omri, son of Imri, son of Bani, from the sons of Perez, son of Judah returned to Jerusalem. Of the Shilonites, Asaiah the first-born, and his sons returned. Of the sons of Zerah were Jeuel and their kin, six hundred ninety.”
The sons of Judah would certainly return to Jerusalem. There was one other Uthai and Imri. There were 5 people with the name of Ammihud. There were 3 other people beside the king of Israel (885-874 BCE) named Omri. There were 8 people with the name of Bani, half of them Levites. Perez was the son of Judah via Tamar. This is the only mention of the Shilonites. There were 4 people named Asaiah. Zerah was the twin brother of Perez. There were 3 people named Jeuel. The total was 690, a small but significant number of Judahites.
“The sons of Merari were Mahli, Libni his son, Shimei his son, Uzzah his son, Shimea his son, Haggiah his son, and Asaiah his son.”
This genealogy of (1) Merari only goes 8 deep, much shorter compared to the other 2 sons of Levi. This lineage follows (2) Mahli and not Mushi. (3) Libni is the same name as son of Gershom. There are 16 biblical persons named (4) Shimei. There 3 people with the name of (5) Uzzah. The most famous Uzzah is the one who died while transporting the Ark of the Covenant in 2 Samuel, chapter 6. There also was a garden in Jerusalem, where King Manasseh was buried in 2 Kings, chapter 21. There were 4 people with the name of (6) Shimea in the biblical literature and it is very close to Shimei. This is the only mention of (7) Haggiah, while 4 people have the name (8) Asaiah. There is less emphasis on this clan of Levites. Their official functional roles were laid out in Numbers, chapter 4.
“The leaders of the Simeon families were Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah the son of Amaziah, Joel, Jehu the son of Joshibiah, son of Seraiah, son of Asiel, Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, Ziza the son of Shiphi, son of Allon, son of Jedaiah, son of Shimri, son of Shemaiah. Their clans increased greatly.”
Some of the more successful families were only mentioned here and not elsewhere, like Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah, Joshibiah, Asiel, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Jesimiel, and Shiphi. Many of the other names appear elsewhere but they are the not the most well know people with this name. The most famous Amaziah was the king of Judah (796-781 BCE), although there are a couple of other Levites with this name. There were 14 people with the name of Joel, with the most famous being the minor prophet whose book is Joel. There were 5 people with the name of Jehu, the most famous being King Jehu of Israel (841-814 BCE). 11 people had the name Seraiah, some of them Levites. 6 people had the name of Elioenai, while only 4 people had the name of Asaiah or Jedaiah. 3 people had the name Adiel or Shimri, while 2 had the name of Ziza. Although 9 people had the name of Benaiah, the most famous was the son of the priest Jehoiada, who played a major role in the rule of David. Allon was both a person and the name of a town. However, the most prevalent name was Shemaiah, because there were 25 different biblical persons with that name.