1 Chronicles 6 (NLT)
About these genealogies:
One important study finds nine different functions that genealogies have in the Old Testament (M. D. Johnson, The Purpose of Biblical Genealogies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969). In general, they can: establish kinship between tribes or peoples; demonstrate the continuity of a people over long periods, supplementing historical narratives; confirm the legitimacy of a person in his office. The main function in Chronicles seems to be to show the continuity of the people of Israel from early times through to the period after the exile. In the case of Levi, they also support the legitimacy of the Levitical priests who served the second Jerusalem temple. They may also serve the theological purpose of asserting YHWH’s purposeful control of history.
It follows that biblical genealogies do not work like a visit to the Public Record Office. They have a range of purposes according to the needs of those who use them. They may be changed and developed in accordance with their purpose. They are not necessarily historical sources in the sense that they might at first appear.
–Philip E. Satterthwaite and J. Gordan McConville, Exploring the Old Testament, 2007.
The Priestly Line
1 The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
2 The descendants of Kohath included Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
3 The children of Amram were Aaron, Moses, and Miriam.
Quite a set of siblings! — Moses the leader (I believe he is the one in the center), Aaron the priest (in priestly garments), and Miriam the prophet.
The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
Nadab and Abihu were killed for disobeying God. Eleazar became the high priest after Aaron, and Ithamar was instrumental in organizing the worship services of the tabernacle.
4 Eleazar was the father of Phinehas.
Phinehas was the father of Abishua.
5 Abishua was the father of Bukki.
Bukki was the father of Uzzi.
6 Uzzi was the father of Zerahiah.
Zerahiah was the father of Meraioth.
7 Meraioth was the father of Amariah.
Amariah was the father of Ahitub.
8 Ahitub was the father of Zadok.
Zadok was the father of Ahimaaz.
9 Ahimaaz was the father of Azariah.
Azariah was the father of Johanan.
10 Johanan was the father of Azariah, the high priest at the Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem.
The first temple, built by Solomon around 957 BCE, was destroyed by the Babylonian army at the time that Judah was taken into exile, 586 BCE. Upon the return, Zerubbabel constructed a second (smaller) temple was built, about 516 BCE. Then during the time of Jesus, Herod embarked on a significant upgrade of the temple. That temple was destroyed when the Romans marched through in 70 CE. Now that spot is the location of the Dome of the Rock, built in 692. The picture above shows a closeup of the tile work on the mosque.
11 Azariah was the father of Amariah.
Amariah was the father of Ahitub.
12 Ahitub was the father of Zadok.
Zadok was the father of Shallum.
13 Shallum was the father of Hilkiah.
Hilkiah was the father of Azariah.
14 Azariah was the father of Seraiah.
Seraiah was the father of Jehozadak, 15who went into exile when the Lord sent the people of Judah and Jerusalem into captivity under Nebuchadnezzar.
According to pattern, the inspired historian saw the hand of God even in the great tragedy that still afflicted Judah at the time of writing Chronicles. It was not the Babylonian Empire that carried Judah and Jerusalem into captivity, but it was the LORD.
The genealogy of Levi shows the priority of Aaron, for his descendants were priests, whereas the rest of the tribe of Levi took lesser roles in attending the sanctuary (Num. 3:5-10). So all priests were Levites, but not all Levites were priests.
The Levite Clans
16 The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
17 The descendants of Gershon included Libni and Shimei.
18 The descendants of Kohath included Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
19The descendants of Merari included Mahli and Mushi.
The following were the Levite clans, listed according to their ancestral descent:
20 The descendants of Gershon included Libni, Jahath, Zimmah, 21 Joah, Iddo, Zerah, and Jeatherai.
22 The descendants of Kohath included Amminadab, Korah, Assir, 23 Elkanah, Abiasaph, Assir, 24 Tahath, Uriel, Uzziah, and Shaul.
25 The descendants of Elkanah included Amasai, Ahimoth, 26 Elkanah, Zophai, Nahath, 27 Eliab, Jeroham, Elkanah, and Samuel.
Samuel was the last judge of Israel and with the reigns of Saul and David, the first prophet.
28 The sons of Samuel were Joel (the older) and Abijah (the second).
29 The descendants of Merari included Mahli, Libni, Shimei, Uzzah, 30 Shimea, Haggiah, and Asaiah.
The Temple Musicians
31 David assigned the following men to lead the music at the house of the Lord after the Ark was placed there. 32 They ministered with music at the Tabernacle until Solomon built the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They carried out their work, following all the regulations handed down to them. 33These are the men who served, along with their sons:
Heman the musician was from the clan of Kohath.
This man is mentioned several times in connection with temple worship in the days of David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 15:17-19, 16:41-42, 25:1-7, 2 Chronicles 5:12-13). He was an important part of the ceremonies connected with bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem and the dedication of the temple.
Psalm 88 is attributed to Heman: A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. To the Chief Musician. Set to “Mahalath Leannoth.” A Contemplation [Maschil] of Heman the Ezrahite.
His genealogy was traced back through Joel, Samuel, 34 Elkanah, Jeroham, Eliel, Toah, 35 Zuph, Elkanah, Mahath, Amasai, 36 Elkanah, Joel, Azariah, Zephaniah, 37 Tahath, Assir, Abiasaph, Korah, 38 Izhar, Kohath, Levi, and Israel.
39 Heman’s first assistant was Asaph from the clan of Gershon. Asaph’s genealogy was traced back through Berekiah, Shimea, 40 Michael, Baaseiah, Malkijah, 41 Ethni, Zerah, Adaiah, 42 Ethan, Zimmah, Shimei, 43 Jahath, Gershon, and Levi.
44 Heman’s second assistant was Ethan from the clan of Merari. Ethan’s genealogy was traced back through Kishi, Abdi, Malluch, 45 Hashabiah, Amaziah, Hilkiah, 46 Amzi, Bani, Shemer, 47 Mahli, Mushi, Merari, and Levi.
48 Their fellow Levites were appointed to various other tasks in the Tabernacle, the house of God.
The Levites served God in almost every conceivable way, both practical and spiritual in appearance. Every kind of service is important and precious to God.
I have been a church musician for decades. And I love working with talented, dedicated people who want to give God glory and praise, with excellence, Sunday after Sunday! Thank you to all true-hearted church musicians out there! So in their honor — HERE is Psalm 147 sung as from the Scottish Psalter of 1620 — one of the famous metrical psalms. Sung by Jason Coghill. (How he got started: The church he attended, Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia, had a tradition of singing unaccompanied psalms in public worship.)
Who knows how this psalm was sung originally in the temple — but this is a beautiful rendition.
49Only Aaron and his descendants served as priests. They presented the offerings on the altar of burnt offering and the altar of incense, and they performed all the other duties related to the Most Holy Place. They made atonement for Israel by doing everything that Moses, the servant of God, had commanded them.
Jesus is a priest of a higher order, as Hebrews 7 clearly explains:
Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” . . .
There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.
He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.
(verses 16-17, 23-28)
50 The descendants of Aaron were Eleazar, Phinehas, Abishua, 51 Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, 52 Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, 53 Zadok, and Ahimaaz.
Territory for the Levites
The tribe of Levi was not granted a single province of the land, as the other tribes received. Rather, they lived in settlements allocated to them in the territories of the other tribes throughout the land—towns and pasturelands. This arrangement allowed them to lead and assist all the people in their worship of the Lord God.
54 This is a record of the towns and territory assigned by means of sacred lots to the descendants of Aaron, who were from the clan of Kohath. 55 This territory included Hebron and its surrounding pasturelands in Judah, 56 but the fields and outlying areas belonging to the city were given to Caleb son of Jephunneh. 57 So the descendants of Aaron were given the following towns, each with its pasturelands: Hebron (a city of refuge), Libnah, Jattir, Eshtemoa, 58 Holon, Debir, 59 Ain, Juttah, and Beth-shemesh. 60 And from the territory of Benjamin they were given Gibeon, Geba, Alemeth, and Anathoth, each with its pasturelands. So thirteen towns were given to the descendants of Aaron. 61The remaining descendants of Kohath received ten towns from the territory of the half-tribe of Manasseh by means of sacred lots.
62 The descendants of Gershon received by sacred lots thirteen towns from the territories of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and from the Bashan area of Manasseh, east of the Jordan.
63 The descendants of Merari received by sacred lots twelve towns from the territories of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.
64 So the people of Israel assigned all these towns and pasturelands to the Levites. 65 The towns in the territories of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, mentioned above, were assigned to them by means of sacred lots.
66 The descendants of Kohath were given the following towns from the territory of Ephraim, each with its pasturelands: 67 Shechem (a city of refuge in the hill country of Ephraim), Gezer, 68 Jokmeam, Beth-horon, 69 Aijalon, and Gath-rimmon. 70 The remaining descendants of Kohath were assigned the towns of Aner and Bileam from the territory of the half-tribe of Manasseh, each with its pasturelands.
71 The descendants of Gershon received the towns of Golan (in Bashan) and Ashtaroth from the territory of the half-tribe of Manasseh, each with its pasturelands. 72 From the territory of Issachar, they were given Kedesh, Daberath, 73 Ramoth, and Anem, each with its pasturelands. 74 From the territory of Asher, they received Mashal, Abdon, 75 Hukok, and Rehob, each with its pasturelands. 76 From the territory of Naphtali, they were given Kedesh in Galilee, Hammon, and Kiriathaim, each with its pasturelands.
77 The remaining descendants of Merari received the towns of Jokneam, Kartah, Rimmon, and Tabor from the territory of Zebulun, each with its pasturelands. 78 From the territory of Reuben, east of the Jordan River opposite Jericho, they received Bezer (a desert town), Jahaz, 79 Kedemoth, and Mephaath, each with its pasturelands. 80 And from the territory of Gad, they received Ramoth in Gilead, Mahanaim, 81 Heshbon, and Jazer, each with its pasturelands.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.