1 Chronicles Chapter 6 Continued
1 Chronicles 6:48 “Their brethren also the Levites [were] appointed unto all manner of service of the tabernacle of the house of God.”
Who were not skilled in singing, and employed in that service, even the rest of the Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites.
“Were appointed unto all manner of service of the tabernacle of the house of God;” Some were porters at the gates. Others had the care of the vessels; others slew the beasts for sacrifices, flayed them, and cut them up, and brought the pieces to the altar of burnt offerings, for the priests to offer.
We have just finished studying about the Levitical tribe, who had been called into the ministry of music and singing. Just as in a modern church, there are ministers called to do a specific thing, as there are those of the Levitical tribe called to do specific things. All are chosen of God for their specific ministry. The tabernacle was a very complicated operation. Every little thing had to be observed. There could be no changes made by the people ministering. They were to function in their roles exactly the way the LORD would have them to.
Verses 49-53: This is a repeat of the High-Priestly line enumerated (in 6:4-8 through Zadok). This repeated genealogy could possibly point to the Zadokian high-priesthood for the temple in the Millennium (Ezek. 40:46; 43:19; 44:15; 48:11).
1 Chronicles 6:49 “But Aaron and his sons offered upon the altar of the burnt offering, and on the altar of incense, [and were appointed] for all the work of the [place] most holy, and to make an atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.”
Those that descended from him, though of the same tribe of Levi were all priests.
“And they offered upon the altar of burnt offerings”: The daily sacrifice, and all the offerings of the people brought to them.
“And on the altar of incense”: They burnt incense night and morning: and were appointed:
“For all the work of the place most holy”: Such as were High Priests of the line of Eleazar, whose work it was to go into the most holy place once a year.
“To make atonement for all Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God commanded”: (In Leviticus 16:1), we see; and on mention of this, a list of the High Priests from Aaron. In the line of Eleazar, is given, to the times of Solomon, in the four following verses, just in the same order as in (1 Chron. 6:4).
Aaron, and his descendants were to be the priests and High Priest of the LORD. Their task was of a very serious nature. The High Priest was to represent the people to God, and represent God to the people. The great High Priest of all believers is the Lord Jesus Christ. He represents us to God, and He represents God to us. The office of High Priest was the most important calling. Jesus fulfills that for us. He is the head of the church. We read in Leviticus, the detailed instructions on how each of the functions of their ministry was to be carried out. The following Scripture is just one of many.
Leviticus 1:8 “And the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the wood that [is] on the fire which [is] upon the altar:”
We see that the High Priest in this case, Aaron, was the only one to enter the Most Holy Place. The priests could minister in other areas in the tabernacle.
1 Chronicles 6:50 “And these [are] the sons of Aaron; Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son,”
“These are the sons of Aaron”: Having mentioned the work of the High Priests, he here briefly rehearsed the names of the persons who successively performed it.
The two first sons of Aaron were killed by the LORD, when they offered strange fire. They are omitted in the verse above. Eleazar was the next High Priest after Aaron. Phinehas was the third High Priest. We spoke more of him in the previous lesson. Abishua became the fourth High Priest in Israel. “Abishua” means father of salvation.
1 Chronicles 6:51-53 “Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son,” “Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son,” “Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son.”
After Uzzi, Eli becomes High Priest. In Zadok, the high priesthood would come back to the lineage of Phinehas.
Verses 54-81; This section rehearses the 48 cities given to the Levites instead of a section of land (Num. 35:1-8; Joshua 21:1-42), which signals God’s intention for the Jewish nation to have a priesthood and future in the land first given to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3).
1 Chronicles 6:54 “Now these [are] their dwelling places throughout their castles in their coasts, of the sons of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites: for theirs was the lot.”
“Aaron” and his family, along with other Levites, did not possess a specific “territory” like the other tribes; rather, they lived on land throughout Israel to serve as priests for all the people (Joshua Chapter 21).
For the cities assigned to the Levites (see the note on Joshua 21:2-3).
The Levites’ inheritance was the LORD. They received cities to dwell in. They were called Levitical cities. (In Num. Chapter 35:1-8), we see this in detail. Turn there and read of their dwelling places. “Castles” is taken from a word that means fortress, habitation, or palace. Castle, then is not speaking of a place of luxury. It is speaking of a nice place to live. The Levites were well cared for by their people they ministered to.
1 Chronicles 6:55 “And they gave them Hebron in the land of Judah, and the suburbs thereof round about it.”
Closely answering to (Joshua 21:11-12).
“Hebron”: Joshua, “the city of Arba, the father of the Anak, that is, Hebron.”
“In the land of Judah”: Joshua, “hill-country” (har for ha’areç).
“Suburbs”: The Hebrew migrashîm, pastures or commons, as opposed to arable land (Authorized Version, “fields;” Heb., sadeh).
(Numbers 35:3-5), defines the extent of the Levitical domain round the cities where they dwelt.
Hebron is a town in the mountains of Judah. It was located between Beer-sheba and Jerusalem. The suburbs were for their gardens and their animals.
1 Chronicles 6:56 “But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh.”
“To Caleb the son of Jephunneh”: Joshua adds “as his possession.”
Caleb’s father, Jephunneh, was a Kenezite. This is the same Caleb who brought back the good report, when he searched out the Promised Land. Moses gave him this land for his faith in God, when ten of the spies doubted. This was a choice area.
1 Chronicles 6:57 “And to the sons of Aaron they gave the cities of Judah, [namely], Hebron, [the city] of refuge, and Libnah with her suburbs, and Jattir, and Eshtemoa, with their suburbs,”
God told His people to establish “cities of refuge,” where a person could go for safe haven after accidentally killing someone (Num. Chapter 35).
The tabernacle’s final resting place would be Jerusalem. It would be appropriate for those who would work directly in service in the tabernacle to live in and near Jerusalem. Hebron is located 20 miles out of Jerusalem. The city of refuge was a place for those who had accidentally killed someone, to go. Libnah is also located near Jerusalem. It became a Levitical city when it was taken by Joshua. Jattir was visited often by King David. Eshtemoa is located south of Hebron. Ishbah was said to be the father of Eshtemoa.
1 Chronicles 6:58 “And Hilen with her suburbs, Debir with her suburbs,”
“Hilen”: Holon, which twice occurs (in Joshua 15:51; 21:15), is a more natural form.
“Debir” Oracle, the inmost sanctuary; anciently, Kirjath-sepher (Book Town).
Hilen is probably the same as Holon. Debir was a highland city of Judah, 12 miles southwest of Hebron.
1 Chronicles 6:59 “And Ashan with her suburbs, and Beth-shemesh with her suburbs:”
“Ashan”: (smoke); in Joshua, Ain (fountain). The place may have had both names, from a fountain rising like a column of smoke. “Juttah and her pastures” has fallen out here (Joshua 21:16). At the end of the verse Joshua adds, “Nine cities out of these two tribes,” viz., Judah and Simeon.
Ashan is referred to by Ain as well. It probably lay north-west of Beer-sheba. Beth-shemesh was where the Ark was returned to Israel. It is also the place where thousands were killed for looking into the Ark. It was located in a valley on the north boundary of Judah.
1 Chronicles 6:60 “And out of the tribe of Benjamin; Geba with her suburbs, and Alemeth with her suburbs, and Anathoth with her suburbs. All their cities throughout their families [were] thirteen cities.”
“Gibeon and her pastures” is omitted; probably an oversight, due to the similarity of sound and form between Gibeon and Geba. Alemeth and Almôn are each valid formations, and perhaps represent an older and younger name of the place.
“Thirteen cities”: The list in its present shape contains eleven. This proves that Juttah and Gibeon should be restored to the text.
The cities in the verses prior to this one, were from Judah. Now we are dealing with the cities in the area of Benjamin. Geba is north of Jerusalem. Alemeth is not mentioned further. Anathoth was a city of refuge, as well as being a Levitical city. It is the birthplace of Jeremiah. It was overlooking the Jordan and the north part of the Dead Sea. It was 3 miles northeast of Jerusalem. The thirteen cities of the Levites were surrounding Jerusalem, where the priests and high priest served the LORD.
1 Chronicles 6:61 “And unto the sons of Kohath, [which were] left of the family of that tribe, [were cities given] out of the half tribe, [namely, out of] the half [tribe] of Manasseh, by lot, ten cities.”
See the note about “lots” (in 1 Chron. 24:5).
Not all of the family of Kohath were priests and High Priest. This is speaking of the rest of the family, who were not ministering on a daily basis as high priest or priests. It was not as necessary for them to be extremely close to Jerusalem. Ten cities out of the half tribe of Manasseh were given to the families of Kohath.
1 Chronicles 6:62 “And to the sons of Gershom throughout their families out of the tribe of Issachar, and out of the tribe of Asher, and out of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thirteen cities.”
Gershom (Joshua is Gershon).
“Throughout their families”: I.e., with regard to, after their clans (so 1 Chron. 6:63).
In (1 Chron. 6:60), “throughout their families” represents Hebrew in their clans.
“Tribe of Manasseh in Bashan”: Joshua, “half-tribe.”
These were still Levites and they did not get land inheritance. They served the LORD, but not in the same capacity as Aaron’s family. Gershom’s inheritance of 13 cities was located in the land allotted to Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and the other half tribe of Manasseh.
1 Chronicles 6:63 “Unto the sons of Merari [were given] by lot, throughout their families, out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.”
This verse is word for word the same as (Joshua 21:7), omitting the one term “by lot.”
There is a little addition in this verse. The city each family received to live in was chosen by lot. This is still speaking of Levites. We learned earlier, that many of these Levites were singers and musicians for the LORD. The cities in the land belonging to Reuben and Gad were east of the Jordan. Zebulun was west of the Jordan. The families of Merari received 12 cities.
1 Chronicles 6:64 “And the children of Israel gave to the Levites [these] cities with their suburbs.”
“So the sons of Israel gave to the Levites the cities and their pastures. And they gave by the lot, out of the tribe of the sons of Judah, and out of the tribe of the sons of Simeon, and out of the tribe of the sons of Benjamin, those cities which are called by names.” Named, that is, in the list of (1Chron. 6:55-60), above. This is clearly a summing up of the whole account so far. The eleven tribes have all been mentioned in (1 Chron. 6:61-65).
1 Chronicles 6:65 “And they gave by lot out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, and out of the tribe of the children of Benjamin, these cities, which are called by [their] names.”
They gave, to wit, to those Levites of the family of Kohath who were priests, as appears both by (1 Chron. 6:57), etc. Where the cities given to the Aaronites are said to be taken out of the tribes here named, even out of Judah, under which Simeon is comprehended, because his lot lay within that of Judah, and Benjamin; and by the next verse. Where the other Kohathites who were not priests are called the residue of the families of the sons of Kohath, by way of distinction from those of them to whom this (1 Chron. 6:65), relates.
“Which are called by their names”: Which are expressed by their names above, (1 Chron. 6:57).
1 Chronicles 6:66 “And [the residue] of the families of the sons of Kohath had cities of their coasts out of the tribe of Ephraim.”
“And the residue of the families”: The Hebrew text can hardly mean this; and (Joshua 21:20), shows that it is incorrect. The original text must have been, “And to the families of the sons of Kohath: and the cities of their border were of the tribe of Ephraim.” The construction breaks off, and a new start is made by the words “and the cities,” etc. The verse is abridged as compared with Joshua.
Those who had not been allotted a city in the other tribes’ land would have cities in Ephraim. This is speaking of the scattered remnant.
1 Chronicles 6:67 “And they gave unto them, [of] the cities of refuge, Shechem in mount Ephraim with her suburbs; [they gave] also Gezer with her suburbs,”
The correct version of the Hebrew text is, “And they gave unto them the cities of refuge, Shechem and her pastures, in the hill-country of Ephraim; and Gezer and her pastures.” Perhaps (both here and in 1 Chronicles 6:57 above) “city” (‘iyr), and not “cities” (‘arey), is the original reading. We have already noticed many indications of textual corruption in this and the former section. Gezer was not a city of refuge (see 1 Chron. 6:57). Joshua 21:21 has the singular.
1 Chronicles 6:68 “And Jokmeam with her suburbs, and Beth-horon with her suburbs,”
“Jokmeam”: Joshua has Kibzaim, a name omitted by the LXX. Jokmeam is probably right. The other might easily be a misreading of it, owing to confusion of similar letters. The site is unknown. The four cities of (1 Chron. 6:67-68), lay in Ephraim. Beth-horon, Gibeon, and Aijalon, the scenes of the great and providentially determined overthrow of the five kings of the Amorites, were appropriately assigned to the sacred tribe of Levi.
1 Chronicles 6:69 “And Aijalon with her suburbs, and Gath-rimmon with her suburbs:”
“Aijalon with her suburbs” (Joshua 21:23-24). “And out of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh and her pastures, Gibbethon and her pastures, Aijalon and her pastures, Gath-rimmon and her pastures; four cities.” Clearly there is a lacuna in our text between (1 Chron. 6:68-69). It has been supposed that the chronicler omits mention of the tribe of Dan, here and elsewhere, owing to a religious prejudice, because of the illicit form of worship of which the city Dan was the center. It is more likely that such omissions are not chargeable to the chronicler, but either to the imperfection of his sources, or to the carelessness, and perhaps malpractice, of his copyists and editors.
1 Chronicles 6:70 “And out of the half tribe of Manasseh; Aner with her suburbs, and Bileam with her suburbs, for the family of the remnant of the sons of Kohath.”
“Aner … Bileam” (Joshua 21:25 reads “Taa-nach; see Joshua 17:11), and Gath-rimmon.” The latter is a mere repetition from the preceding verse. Bileam is a man’s name, being the Hebrew spelling of Balaam. It should be Ibleam (Joshua 17:11). So the LXX. Aner (Gen. 14:13), is also a man, one of Abraham’s allies. Taanach is probably right, the last three letters of the Hebrew word closely resembling those of Aner.
“For the family”: Better, unto the family of the sons of Kohath who were left. This depends on the idea of giving (1 Chron. 6:67). The phrase is a sort of subscription to the whole list of (1 Chron. 6:67-70). For “family” the plural should be read, as in (Joshua 21:26).
The cities of refuge had to be scattered through the land of the 12 tribes, because they had to be in easy running distance for the manslayer. This was a place of safety for one who had accidentally killed someone to run, until they could have a trial. All of the cities listed above, were on the western side of the Jordan River.
1 Chronicles 6:71 “Unto the sons of Gershom [were given] out of the family of the half tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, and Ashtaroth with her suburbs:”
“To the sons of Gershom”: Supply, “they gave” (from 1 Chron. 6:67).
“Golan in Bashan”: (compare the classical Gaulanitis, a district east of the Sea of Galilee), was a city of refuge, like Hebron and Shechem.
“Ashtaroth”: Images of Ashtoreth (Astarte, queen of heaven); a name like Anathoth (1 Chron. 6:60), which means “images of Anath,” or Anatum, the consort of Anurn (the sky). The two cities must have been ancient seats of the worship of Ashtoreth and Anath. The names still survive in Tell-Ashtereh and Anâta. Joshua reads Be’eshterah, perhaps a popular pronunciation of Beth-Ashterah (house of Ashtoreth).
Golan, and Ashtaroth were both of the half tribe of Manasseh east of the Jordan. Bezer of the tribe of Reuben and Ramoth, a city of Gad, were also places of refuge on the eastern side of the Jordan. There was said to be but three, so perhaps two of the cities given are actually one city. It appears that other Scriptures do not mention Ashtaroth.
Deuteronomy 4:43 “[Namely], Bezer in the wilderness, in the plain country, of the Reubenites; and Ramoth in Gilead, of the Gadites; and Golan in Bashan, of the Manassites.”
1 Chronicles 6:72 “And out of the tribe of Issachar; Kedesh with her suburbs, Daberath with her suburbs,”
“Kedesh”: Read Kishon (Joshua 21:28).
“Daberath”: The modern Dabûriyeh at the foot of Mount Tabor.
This Kedesh is, possibly, the same as Kishon (in Joshua 21:28). Daberath was west of mount Tabor.
1 Chronicles 6:73 “And Ramoth with her suburbs, and Anem with her suburbs:”
“Ramoth”: Jarmuth (in Joshua 21:29).
“Anem”: Read En-gannim (with Joshua 21:29). Probably the modern large village of Jenîn on the edge of the plain of Esdrelon. Anem is probably the same as Engannim. They are all from the tribe of Issachar.
1 Chronicles 6:74 “And out of the tribe of Asher; Mashal with her suburbs, and Abdon with her suburbs,”
“Mashal”: Mishal (Joshua 21:30).
Mashal is the same as Mishal. Abdon is the same in Joshua.
1 Chronicles 6:75 “And Hukok with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs:”
“Hukok”: Read Helkath with (Joshua 21:31; compare Joshua 19:25).
Rehob is the same as Joshua.
1 Chronicles 6:76 “And out of the tribe of Naphtali; Kedesh in Galilee with her suburbs, and Hammon with her suburbs, and Kirjathaim with her suburbs.”
“Kedesh in Galilee”: Called Kedesh-naphtali (in Judges 4:6). It is the modern Kedes, situated on a lofty plateau overlooking the waters of Ḥûleh (Merom). It was a city of refuge (Joshua 21:32).
“Hammon … Kirjathaim”: In (Joshua 21:32), Hammoth-dor and Kartan.
1 Chronicles 6:77 “Unto the rest of the children of Merari [were given] out of the tribe of Zebulun, Rimmon with her suburbs, Tabor with her suburbs:”
Rather, “Unto the rest the children of Merari”, that is to say, “unto the remainder of the Levites, who were descendants of Merari”: The two other branches, the Kohathites and the Gershomites, having been treated of previously.
Joshua 21:34-35 “And unto the families of the children of Merari, the rest of the Levites, out of the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with her suburbs, and Kartah with her suburbs,” “Dimnah with her suburbs, Nahalal with her suburbs; four cities.”
1 Chronicles 6:78 “And on the other side Jordan by Jericho, on the east side of Jordan, [were given them] out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer in the wilderness with her suburbs, and Jahzah with her suburbs,”
“By Jericho”: The crossing-place of the Jordan nearest to Reuben was at Jericho. For the phrase, Jordan by Jericho (compare Joshua 16:1).
“In the wilderness”: Further defined by the addition in the table-land (Deut. 4:43, R.V. manuscripts). Bezer was among the high pasture lands of Reuben. It was a city of refuge.
“Jahzah”: Also called Jahaz (Compare Judges 11:20; Isa. 15:4).
Bezer, we mentioned earlier in this lesson. These other cities are in addition to the three cities mentioned in Deuteronomy. There was only one city of refuge from the tribe of Reuben mentioned in Deuteronomy.
1 Chronicles 6:79 “Kedemoth also with her suburbs, and Mephaath with her suburbs:”
The two names of this verse, with the two of the preceding, i.e. all the four names of the cities of Reuben, are absent from their proper place in the list (in Joshua 21). In the Hebrew Textus Receptus and the Vulgate, though found (in Joshua 13:18).
1 Chronicles 6:80 “And out of the tribe of Gad; Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, and Mahanaim with her suburbs,”
“Ramoth in Gilead”: A city of refuge (Joshua 21:38; see 1 Kings 22:3; 2 Kings 9:1). Ramoth is the only one of these cities mentioned in Deuteronomy.
“Mahanaim” (see Genesis 32:2).
1 Chronicles 6:81 “And Heshbon with her suburbs, and Jazer with her suburbs.”
“Heshbon” (Num. 21:25-26; Isa. 15:4).
“Jazer” (Num. 21:32 (Revised Version); Isa. 16:8).
1 Chronicles Chapter 6 Continued Questions
1. How does verse 1 relate to our modern churches?
2. What tribe were all who ministered in the tabernacle from?
3. What family was chosen out of the Levites to offer offerings upon the altar?
4. They were to be the ________ and _______ _________ in the tabernacle.
5. Who is the great High Priest?
6. Who were Aaron’s sons?
7. What happened to the first two sons of Aaron?
8. What does “Abishua mean?
9. After Uzzi, who became high priest?
10. What was the inheritance of the Levites?
11. Where can we find out more about the dwelling places of the Levites?
12. Hebron is a town in the mountains of _________.
13. Who was Caleb?
14. What was Hebron, besides a Levitical city?
15. Where would be the final resting place of the tabernacle?
16. Where is Hebron located?
17. A city of refuge was used for what?
18. What were the cities of Benjamin, which became Levitical cities?
19. Who is verse 61 speaking of?
20. How were the cities, they were to live in, decided?
21. Why was it necessary for the cities of refuge to be scattered among the tribes?
22. How many cities of refuge were to be on the east side of Jordan?