The response of the Levites (2 Chr 29:12-29:15)

“Then the Levites arose. Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah, of the sons of the Kohathites arose. Of the sons of Merari, Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel arose. Of the Gershonites, Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah arose. The sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel also arose. Of the sons of Asaph, Zechariah and Mattaniah arose. Of the sons of Heman, Jehuel and Shimei arose. Of the sons of Jeduthun, Shemaiah and Uzziel arose. They gathered their brothers. They sanctified themselves. They went in as the king had commanded, by the words of Yahweh, to cleanse the house of Yahweh.”

The Levites responded positively. 2 people from each of the Levitical tribes arose from the Kohathites, the Merarites, and the Gershonites. The same was true for the 3 groups of singers or cantors, the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, all had 2 people stand up. On top of that, the sons of Elizaphan, Shimri and Jeuel also rose up. They gathered their brother Levites and sanctified themselves. Then they went in to cleanse the house of Yahweh. I wonder why they had not done more to sustain the house of Yahweh even in the face of indifference.

The Levites in charge of the treasury of the temple (1 Chr 26:20-26:24)

“Of the Levites, Ahijah had charge of the treasuries of the house of God and the treasuries of the dedicated gifts. The sons of Ladan, the sons of the Gershonites who belonged to Ladan, the heads of the families belonging to Ladan the Gershonite were in charge. The sons of Jehieli, Zetham and his brother Joel were in charge of the treasuries of the house of Yahweh. Among the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites, Shebuel the son of Gershom, son of Moses, was chief officer in charge of the treasuries.”

There seems to be a lot of Levites in charge of the treasuries of the house of Yahweh, the Temple. In fact, some commentators think that the Hebrew text is confusing. First, this biblical writer said that Ahijah was in charge of the treasury and the gifts. Ahijah was a common name that appeared with 6 different people. Perhaps this is a mistake for something like the brethren of Levites. Then the biblical author said that the sons of Ladan and the sons of Gershom were in charge of the treasury, in particular the sons of Jehieli, Zetham and his brother Joel. This is the only time that the names of Jehieli and Zetham ever appear in the biblical literature. Joel is, of course, a more common name, since 14 people have that name with the most famous being the prophet Joel. The Gershonites seem to be in charge. However, then there is a mention of the Kohathites and their 4 branches, the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites, with Shebuel, the grandson of Moses, in charge

 

The census of the Levites (1 Chr 23:2-23:6)

“King David assembled all the leaders of Israel together with the priests and the Levites. The Levites, thirty years old and upward, were counted. The total was thirty-eight thousand. ‘Twenty-four thousand of these,’ David said, ‘shall have charge of the work in the house of Yahweh.  Six thousand shall be officers and judges. Four thousand shall be gatekeepers. Four thousand shall offer praises to Yahweh with the instruments that I have made for praise. David organized them into three divisions, corresponding to the sons of Levi, Gershom, Kohath, and Merari.”

What seems strange here is that counting the Levites is not a bad thing when there was such chagrin in chapter 21 about the Davidic census that was Satan inspired. There were 38,000 Levite men over the age of 30. 24,000 were assigned to the house of Yahweh, the Temple. That small Temple would be teeming with Levites. 6,000 of the Levites would be officers and judges, which seems high but reasonable. 4,000 gatekeepers seems a little excessive. 4,000 Levites offering praise is high but not as bad as some of the other categories. King David once again used the 3 older categories of Levites, (1) Gershonites, (2) Kohathites, and (3) Merarites, the 3 sons that formed the Levi clans as in chapter 6 of this book.

The Levites prepare to transport the ark (1 Chr 15:3-15:10)

“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.

The complete census of the Levites (Num 4:34-4:49)

“Moses and Aaron and the leaders of the congregation enrolled the Kohathites. They did this by their clans and their ancestral houses, from thirty years old up to fifty years old, everyone who qualified for work relating to the tent of meeting.  Their enrollment by clans was two thousand seven hundred fifty. This was the enrollment of the clans of the Kohathites, all who served at the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron enrolled according to the commandment of Yahweh by Moses.”

The census of the Levites was now complete, as they did as Yahweh had commanded Moses.  They enrolled them by their clans and ancestral houses, from 30-50 years old.  These were qualified for work relating to the tent of meeting.  The Kohathites had 2,750 males 30-50 years old.

“The enrollment of the Gershonites, took place by their clans and their ancestral houses, from thirty years old up to fifty years old.  Everyone who qualified for work relating to the tent of meeting was enrolled.  Their enrollment by their clans and their ancestral houses was two thousand six hundred thirty.  This was the enrollment of the clans of the Gershonites, all who served at the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron enrolled according to the commandment of Yahweh.”

The Gershonites had 2,630 males 30-50 years old.

“The enrollment of the clans of the Merarites, by their clans and their ancestral houses, from thirty years old up to fifty years old was complete.  Everyone qualified for work relating to the tent of meeting.  Their enrollment by their clans was three thousand two hundred.  This is the enrollment of the clans of the Merarites, whom Moses and Aaron enrolled according to the commandment of Yahweh by Moses.”

The Merarites had 3,200 males 30-50 years old.

“All those who were enrolled of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the leaders of Israel enrolled, by their clans and their ancestral  houses, from thirty years old up to fifty years old.  Everyone qualified to do the work of service and the work of bearing burdens relating to the tent of meeting.   Their enrollment was eight thousand five hundred eighty.  According to the commandment of Yahweh through Moses they were appointed to their several tasks of serving or carrying.  Thus they were enrolled by him, as Yahweh commanded Moses.”

This total number of Levites, 30-50 years old was 8,580, which is different from the earlier total of 22,000 males, which included all those over a month old.  So there must have been a large number of younger than 30 years old males and older than 50 years old among the Levites males.