Home  |  Old Testament Studies  |  1 Chronicles Table of Contents  |  Previous Section   |  Next Section   |

1 Chronicles 24


(LXX versing)
Divisions of Levites The Divisions of the Priests David Organizes the Priests The Work Assigned to the Priests The Classification of Priests
24:1-19 24:1-19 24:1-6 24:1-6 24:1-6
24:7-19 24:7-18 24:7-18
24:19 24:19
Other Levites The List of the Levites
24:20-31 24:20-31 24:20-31 24:20a 24:20-30a
24:30b 24:30b-31

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


  1. It is obvious that the Chronicler had a special interest in the temple and the Levites (the biblical books of 1 and 2 Kings de-emphasize them).

  2. Why do the lists of Levites in the Chronicler's writings (i.e., 1, 2, Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah) not agree?
    1. he is using different lists which
      1. included different descendants
      2. had different names for the same person
    2. the list includes individual names and family names (i.e., differing connotations of "house" and "son")
    3. some manuscript errors have occurred
    4. often Jewish scribes felt free to add updated information (i.e., latest family members) to their texts (see John H. Walton and D. Brent Sandy, The Lost World of Scripture)

  3. These lists helped
    1. document family lines, especially those who could serve in the temple
    2. the Levites encouraged to serve because not many returned from exile
    3. the 24 divisions of the priests are paralleled in the 24 divisions of the Levites; Chronicles attributes this to David

  4. For an attempt to list the changes of the original 24 divisions of 1 Chronicles 24 through the lists of Ezra and Nehemiah, see the chart on p. 422 of The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 4.


1Now the divisions of the descendants of Aaron were these: the sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 2But Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no sons. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests. 3David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to their offices for their ministry. 4Since more chief men were found from the descendants of Eleazar than the descendants of Ithamar, they divided them thus: there were sixteen heads of fathers' households of the descendants of Eleazar and eight of the descendants of Ithamar, according to their fathers' households. 5Thus they were divided by lot, the one as the other; for they were officers of the sanctuary and officers of God, both from the descendants of Eleazar and the descendants of Ithamar. 6Shemaiah, the son of Nethanel the scribe, from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers' households of the priests and of the Levites; one father's household taken for Eleazar and one taken for Ithamar. 7Now the first lot came out for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah, 8the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim, 9the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin, 10the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah, 11the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah, 12the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim, 13the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Jeshebeab, 14the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, 15the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Happizzez, 16the nineteenth for Pethahiah, the twentieth for Jehezkel, 17the twenty-first for Jachin, the twenty-second for Gamul, 18the twenty-third for Delaiah, the twenty-fourth for Maaziah. 19These were their offices for their ministry when they came in to the house of the Lord according to the ordinance given to them through Aaron their father, just as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him.

24:1-2 "divisions" Aaron's family became the priests and Levites who served the temple.

Aaron had four sons. The oldest two were killed by God for disobedience concerning sacrificial procedures (cf. Leviticus 10). The remaining two became leading priestly families (i.e., Eleazer and Ithamar).

"Divisions" indicates when they would serve at the temple. ANE peoples also had their priests divided into shifts.


24:3 "Zadok" Zadok and Abiathar were both high priests during David's reign (i.e., 2 Samuel 8 ‒ 1 Kings 4). Zadok became the main priest of Solomon's day because Abiathar supported one of Solomon's brothers for the throne (cf. 1 Kings 1) and was exiled (cf. 1 Kgs. 2:27,35).

Zadok was loyal to David and Solomon. His ancestry is in the line of Eleazar (1 Chr. 2:3).

For the problems connected to Zadok's lineage see Roland deVaux, Ancient Israel, pp. 372-376 or NIDOTTE, vol. 4, pp. 1300-1302.

▣ "Ahimelech" There are several persons by this name in this priestly line, which causes confusion.

  1. father of one of David's High Priests, Abiathar (Ahimelech I)
  2. he was one of the priests in the line of Eli who served at Nob and was killed by Saul (1 Samuel 21-22)
  3. a son of Abiathar (Ahimelech, cf. 1 Chr. 18:16) or the genealogy is reversed in 2 Sam. 8:17 and 1 Chr. 24:6

Abiathar's support of one of David's older sons, Adonijah, for the kingship resulted in Solomon exiling him and his family from the temple service to live in their hometown of Anathoth. This fulfilled the earlier prophecy of Eli, the High Priest's, rejection (cf. 1 Sam. 3:12-14).

The prophet Jeremiah was of this line of priests. He could not have served in the temple.

24:4 The family of Eleazar was larger than the family of Ithamar, so it got twice as many divisions for ministry times.

▣ "heads of father's households" Throughout the lists, especially in Nehemiah, a name stands for a family, not an individual. This makes it difficult to compare the lists of priests and Levites, so common in the Chronicler's writings (i.e., 1 and 2 Chronicles and Ezra, Nehemiah).

24:5 "by lot" This would have been done by use of the Urim and Thummin (cf. 1 Chr. 24:31). However, one wonders if this post-exilic community had those items. Whatever the means, casting lots was a way to determine the will of God (cf. Pro. 16:33, i.e., casting lots for

  1. the tribal allocations in Num. 26:55-56; Joshua 14-19
  2. the two goats in Leviticus 16 (i.e., Day of Atonement)
  3. who would live in the rebuilt Jerusalem in Neh. 11:1
  4. replacing Judas Iscariot with Matthias in Acts 1:26)


▣ "officers of the sanctuary (holy) and officers of God (Elohim)" These titles are parallel. They do not represent different offices.

24:6 "the scribes" This would refer to a court or temple recorder (cf. 2 Chr. 34:13), not a teacher like Ezra and later Judaism's rabbis.


▣ "in the presence of the king" The monarchy of Israel was completely committed to the cultus of Israel. The king was only an earthly representative of YHWH's Kingship.

▣ "Ahimelech the son of Abiathar" These two names seem to be switched or we have a later descendant by the same name.

24:7 "Jehoiarib" This was the father of the priest of Modein, Mattathias, who later instigated the Maccabean/ Hasmonean revolt against the Syrian rulers (i.e., Antiochus IV Epiphanes) of Judah in 167 B.C.

24:10 "Abijah" In Luke 1:5 we learn that John the Baptist's father was of this division.

20Now for the rest of the sons of Levi: of the sons of Amram, Shubael; of the sons of Shubael, Jehdeiah. 21Of Rehabiah: of the sons of Rehabiah, Isshiah the first. 22Of the Izharites, Shelomoth; of the sons of Shelomoth, Jahath. 23The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth. 24Of the sons of Uzziel, Micah; of the sons of Micah, Shamir. 25The brother of Micah, Isshiah; of the sons of Isshiah, Zechariah. 26The sons of Merari, Mahli and Mushi; the sons of Jaaziah, Beno. 27The sons of Merari: by Jaaziah were Beno, Shoham, Zaccur and Ibri. 28By Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. 29By Kish: the sons of Kish, Jerahmeel. 30The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites according to their fathers' households. 31These also cast lots just as their relatives the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the heads of the fathers' households of the priests and of the Levites—the head of fathers' households as well as those of his younger brother.

24:20-31 This list may supplement the list of Levi's family found in 1 Chr. 23:6-23.

24:20 "Shubael" In 1 Chr. 23:16; 26:24, he is called "Shebuel."

24:22 "Shelmoth" In 1 Chr. 23:18 he is called "Shelomith."

24:31 This verse implies that the head of families cast the lots themselves before the king and High Priest.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. Why do 1 and 2 Chronicles emphasize the role of Levites and 1 and 2 Kings dismiss them (i.e., by mentioning them only once, 1 Kgs. 8:4)?
  2. Why were Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu rejected?
  3. How do you explain the origins of Zadok?
  4. Why is Ahimelech mentioned in 1 Chr. 24:3 as High Priest with David?
  5. How does one cast a lot?
  6. Why is the list of Levites expanded in Ezra ‒ Nehemiah?

Home  |  Old Testament Studies  |  2 Chronicles Table of Contents  |  Previous Section   |  Next Section  |