Open as PDF
The divisions of the porters, 1 Chronicles 26:1-12. The gates assigned to them, 1 Chronicles 26:13-19. Those who were over the treasures, 1 Chronicles 26:20-28. Different officers, 1 Chronicles 26:29-32.
The divisions of the porters - There were four classes of these, each of which belonged to one of the four gates of the temple, which opened to the four cardinal points of heaven. The eastern gate fell to Shelemiah; the northern, to Zechariah, 1 Chronicles 26:14; the southern, to Obed-edom, 1 Chronicles 26:15; the western, to Shuppim and Hosah, 1 Chronicles 26:16. These several persons were captains of these porter-bands or door-keepers at the different gates. There were probably a thousand men under each of these captains; as we find, from 1 Chronicles 23:5, that there were four thousand in all.
For God blessed him - “That is, Obed-edom; because of the ark of the Lord which was in his house; and to him was given the honor that he should see his children and grand-children, even fourscore and two, masters of the Levites.” - T. In 1 Chronicles 26:8, we have only sixty-two mentioned.
They were mighty men of valor - They were not only porters or door-keepers in the ordinary sense of the word, but they were a military guard for the gates: and perhaps in this sense alone we are to understand their office.
The rest of this chapter, with the whole of the 28th, is wanting both in the Syriac and Arabic.
They cast lots - for every gate - None of these captains or their companies were permitted to choose which gate they would guard, but each took his appointment by lot.
The house of Asuppim - The house of the collections; the place where either the supplies of the porters, or the offerings made for the use of the priests and Levites, were laid up.
The gate Shallecheth - The gate of the projections: probably that through which all the offal of the temple was carried out.
Eastward were six Levites - It is supposed that there were more guards set at this eastern gate, because it was more frequented than the others. At each of the other gates were only four; at this, six.
The treasures of the house of God - Where the money was kept, which was to be expended in oblations for the temple. - Jarchi.
Shebuel the son of Gershom - “Shebuel, that is, Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, who returned to God [שבואל (shebuel) ]. And David, seeing him expert in money matters, constituted him chief treasurer.” - T.
The spoils won in battles did they dedicate - It seems these were intended for its repairs. This custom prevailed amongst almost all the people of the earth. All who acknowledged any supreme Being, believed that victory could only come through him; and therefore thought it quite rational to give him a share of the spoils. Proofs of this exist in all ancient histories: thus Virgil: -
Irruimus ferro, et divos, ipsumque vocamus
In partem praedamque Jovem.
Aen. iii., ver. 222.
“With weapons we the welcome prey invade:
Then call the gods for partners of our feast,
And Jove himself, the chief invited guest.”
On this passage Servius observes:
Ipsum vocamus. Ipsum regem deorum, cui de praeda debetur aliquid: nam Romanis moris fuit, ut bella gessuri de parte praedae aliquid numinibus pollicerentur: adeo ut Romae fuerit unum templum Jovis Praedatoris: non quod praedae praeest, sed quod ei ex praeda aliquid debeatur.
“Jupiter himself, the king of the gods, to whom a portion of the prey was due: for it was a custom among the Romans, when entering on a war, to promise some part of the prey to their deities. And there was a temple at Rome dedicated to Jupiter Praedator, not because he presided over the prey, but because a part of the prey was due to him.”
Outward business - Work done without the city; cutting of timber, hewing stones, ploughing the fields belonging to the sanctuary. - Jarchi.
In all the business of the Lord - Every thing that concerned ecclesiastical matters.
In the service of the king - Every thing that concerned civil affairs: see also 1 Chronicles 26:32.
Thus courts of ecclesiastical and civil judicature were established in the land; and due care taken to preserve and insure the peace of the Church, and the safety of the state; without which the public welfare could neither be secured nor promoted. Whatever affects religion in any country, must affect the state or government of that country: true religion alone can dispose men to civil obedience. Therefore, it is the interest of every state to protect and encourage religion. It would certainly be ruinous to true religion, to make the state dependent on the Church; nor should the Church be dependent on the state. Let them mutually support each other; and let the state rule by the laws, and the Church live by the Bible.