In the final chapters of 1 Chronicles, in obedience, David hands the reigns to his young son, Solomon, who’s only 14. He is called by God to build the Temple and it was a magnificent temple. But first, David gives the last orders for the staffing of the temple, the plans and the materials to build it. Let’s dig in…
1 Chronicles 23 – Preparing the People of the Temple
Duties of the Levites
When David was an old man, he appointed his son Solomon to be king over Israel. 2 David summoned all the leaders of Israel, together with the priests and Levites. 3 All the Levites who were thirty years old or older were counted, and the total came to 38,000. 4 Then David said, “From all the Levites, 24,000 will supervise the work at the Temple of the Lord. Another 6,000 will serve as officials and judges. 5 Another 4,000 will work as gatekeepers, and 4,000 will praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have made.” 6 Then David divided the Levites into divisions named after the clans descended from the three sons of Levi—Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
7 The Gershonite family units were defined by their lines of descent from Libni and Shimei, the sons of Gershon. 8 Three of the descendants of Libni were Jehiel (the family leader), Zetham, and Joel. 9 These were the leaders of the family of Libni.
Three of the descendants of Shimei were Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran. 10 Four other descendants of Shimei were Jahath, Ziza, Jeush, and Beriah. 11 Jahath was the family leader, and Ziza was next. Jeush and Beriah were counted as a single family because neither had many sons.
12 Four of the descendants of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
13 The sons of Amram were Aaron and Moses. Aaron and his descendants were set apart to dedicate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices in the Lord’s presence, to serve the Lord, and to pronounce blessings in his name forever.
14 As for Moses, the man of God, his sons were included with the tribe of Levi. 15 The sons of Moses were Gershom and Eliezer. 16 The descendants of Gershom included Shebuel, the family leader. 17 Eliezer had only one son, Rehabiah, the family leader. Rehabiah had numerous descendants.
18 The descendants of Izhar included Shelomith, the family leader.
19 The descendants of Hebron included Jeriah (the family leader), Amariah (the second), Jahaziel (the third), and Jekameam (the fourth).
20 The descendants of Uzziel included Micah (the family leader) and Isshiah (the second).
21 The descendants of Merari included Mahli and Mushi.
The sons of Mahli were Eleazar and Kish. 22 Eleazar died with no sons, only daughters. His daughters married their cousins, the sons of Kish.
23 Three of the descendants of Mushi were Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth.
24 These were the descendants of Levi by clans, the leaders of their family groups, registered carefully by name. Each had to be twenty years old or older to qualify for service in the house of the Lord. 25 For David said, “The Lord, the God of Israel, has given us peace, and he will always live in Jerusalem. 26 Now the Levites will no longer need to carry the Tabernacle and its furnishings from place to place.” 27 In accordance with David’s final instructions, all the Levites twenty years old or older were registered for service.
28 The work of the Levites was to assist the priests, the descendants of Aaron, as they served at the house of the Lord. They also took care of the courtyards and side rooms, helped perform the ceremonies of purification, and served in many other ways in the house of God. 29 They were in charge of the sacred bread that was set out on the table, the choice flour for the grain offerings, the wafers made without yeast, the cakes cooked in olive oil, and the other mixed breads. They were also responsible to check all the weights and measures. 30 And each morning and evening they stood before the Lord to sing songs of thanks and praise to him. 31 They assisted with the burnt offerings that were presented to the Lord on Sabbath days, at new moon celebrations, and at all the appointed festivals. The required number of Levites served in the Lord’s presence at all times, following all the procedures they had been given.
32 And so, under the supervision of the priests, the Levites watched over the Tabernacle and the Temple and faithfully carried out their duties of service at the house of the Lord.1 Chronicles 23 NLT
1 Chronicles 24
Duties of the Priests
This is how Aaron’s descendants, the priests, were divided into groups for service. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and they had no sons. So only Eleazar and Ithamar were left to carry on as priests.
3 With the help of Zadok, who was a descendant of Eleazar, and of Ahimelech, who was a descendant of Ithamar, David divided Aaron’s descendants into groups according to their various duties. 4 Eleazar’s descendants were divided into sixteen groups and Ithamar’s into eight, for there were more family leaders among the descendants of Eleazar.
5 All tasks were assigned to the various groups by means of sacred lots so that no preference would be shown, for there were many qualified officials serving God in the sanctuary from among the descendants of both Eleazar and Ithamar. 6 Shemaiah son of Nethanel, a Levite, acted as secretary and wrote down the names and assignments in the presence of the king, the officials, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech son of Abiathar, and the family leaders of the priests and Levites. The descendants of Eleazar and Ithamar took turns casting lots.10 …The eighth lot fell to Abijah…
19 Each group carried out its appointed duties in the house of the Lord according to the procedures established by their ancestor Aaron in obedience to the commands of the Lord, the God of Israel…
…These were the descendants of Levi in their various families. 31 Like the descendants of Aaron, they were assigned to their duties by means of sacred lots, without regard to age or rank. Lots were drawn in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the family leaders of the priests and the Levites.1 Chronicles 24 selected verses NLT
1 Chronicles 25
Duties of the Musicians
David and the army commanders then appointed men from the families of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun to proclaim God’s messages to the accompaniment of lyres, harps, and cymbals. Here is a list of their names and their work:
2 From the sons of Asaph, there were Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asarelah. They worked under the direction of their father, Asaph, who proclaimed God’s messages by the king’s orders.
3 From the sons of Jeduthun, there were Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six in all. They worked under the direction of their father, Jeduthun, who proclaimed God’s messages to the accompaniment of the lyre, offering thanks and praise to the Lord.
4 From the sons of Heman, there were Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shubael, Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, Romamti-ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth. 5 All these were the sons of Heman, the king’s seer, for God had honored him with fourteen sons and three daughters.
6 All these men were under the direction of their fathers as they made music at the house of the Lord. Their responsibilities included the playing of cymbals, harps, and lyres at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman reported directly to the king. 7 They and their families were all trained in making music before the Lord, and each of them—288 in all—was an accomplished musician. 8 The musicians were appointed to their term of service by means of sacred lots, without regard to whether they were young or old, teacher or student.1 Chronicles 25:1-8 NLT
1 Chronicles 26
12 These divisions of the gatekeepers were named for their family leaders, and like the other Levites, they served at the house of the Lord. 13 They were assigned by families for guard duty at the various gates, without regard to age or training, for it was all decided by means of sacred lots.
14 The responsibility for the east gate went to Meshelemiah and his group. The north gate was assigned to his son Zechariah, a man of unusual wisdom. 15 The south gate went to Obed-edom, and his sons were put in charge of the storehouse. 16 Shuppim and Hosah were assigned the west gate and the gateway leading up to the Temple. Guard duties were divided evenly. 17 Six Levites were assigned each day to the east gate, four to the north gate, four to the south gate, and two pairs at the storehouse. 18 Six were assigned each day to the west gate, four to the gateway leading up to the Temple, and two to the courtyard
19 These were the divisions of the gatekeepers from the clans of Korah and Merari.
Treasurers and Other Officials
20 Other Levites, led by Ahijah, were in charge of the treasuries of the house of God and the treasuries of the gifts dedicated to the Lord. 21 From the family of Libni in the clan of Gershon, Jehiel was the leader. 22 The sons of Jehiel, Zetham and his brother Joel, were in charge of the treasuries of the house of the Lord.
23 These are the leaders that descended from Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel:
24 From the clan of Amram, Shebuel was a descendant of Gershom son of Moses. He was the chief officer of the treasuries. 25 His relatives through Eliezer were Rehabiah, Jeshaiah, Joram, Zicri, and Shelomoth.
26 Shelomoth and his relatives were in charge of the treasuries containing the gifts that King David, the family leaders, and the generals and captains and other officers of the army had dedicated to the Lord. 27 These men dedicated some of the plunder they had gained in battle to maintain the house of the Lord. 28 Shelomoth and his relatives also cared for the gifts dedicated to the Lord by Samuel the seer, Saul son of Kish, Abner son of Ner, and Joab son of Zeruiah. All the other dedicated gifts were in their care, too.
29 From the clan of Izhar came Kenaniah. He and his sons were given administrative responsibilities over Israel as officials and judges.
30 From the clan of Hebron came Hashabiah. He and his relatives—1,700 capable men—were put in charge of the Israelite lands west of the Jordan River. They were responsible for all matters related to the things of the Lord and the service of the king in that area.
31 Also from the clan of Hebron came Jeriah, who was the leader of the Hebronites according to the genealogical records. (In the fortieth year of David’s reign, a search was made in the records, and capable men from the clan of Hebron were found at Jazer in the land of Gilead.) 32 There were 2,700 capable men among the relatives of Jeriah. King David sent them to the east side of the Jordan River and put them in charge of the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. They were responsible for all matters related to God and to the king.1 Chronicles 26 select verses NLT
1 Chronicles 27
Military Commanders and Divisions
23 When David took his census, he did not count those who were younger than twenty years of age, because the Lord had promised to make the Israelites as numerous as the stars in heaven. 24 Joab son of Zeruiah began the census but never finished it because the anger of God fell on Israel. The total number was never recorded in King David’s official records.
Officials of David’s Kingdom
25 Azmaveth son of Adiel was in charge of the palace treasuries.
Jonathan son of Uzziah was in charge of the regional treasuries throughout the towns, villages, and fortresses of Israel.
26 Ezri son of Kelub was in charge of the field workers who farmed the king’s lands.
27 Shimei from Ramah was in charge of the king’s vineyards.
Zabdi from Shepham was responsible for the grapes and the supplies of wine.
28 Baal-hanan from Geder was in charge of the king’s olive groves and sycamore-fig trees in the foothills of Judah.
Joash was responsible for the supplies of olive oil.
29 Shitrai from Sharon was in charge of the cattle on the Sharon Plain.
Shaphat son of Adlai was responsible for the cattle in the valleys.
30 Obil the Ishmaelite was in charge of the camels.
Jehdeiah from Meronoth was in charge of the donkeys.
31 Jaziz the Hagrite was in charge of the king’s flocks of sheep and goats.
All these officials were overseers of King David’s property.
32 Jonathan, David’s uncle, was a wise counselor to the king, a man of great insight, and a scribe. Jehiel the Hacmonite was responsible for teaching the king’s sons. 33 Ahithophel was the royal adviser. Hushai the Arkite was the king’s friend. 34 Ahithophel was succeeded by Jehoiada son of Benaiah and by Abiathar. Joab was commander of the king’s army.1 Chronicles 27 selected verses NLT
1 Chronicles 28 – David’s Instructions to Solomon on the Temple
David summoned all the officials of Israel to Jerusalem—the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of the army divisions, the other generals and captains, the overseers of the royal property and livestock, the palace officials, the mighty men, and all the other brave warriors in the kingdom. 2 David rose to his feet and said: “My brothers and my people! It was my desire to build a Temple where the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, God’s footstool, could rest permanently. I made the necessary preparations for building it, 3 but God said to me, ‘You must not build a Temple to honor my name, for you are a warrior and have shed much blood.’
4 “Yet the Lord, the God of Israel, has chosen me from among all my father’s family to be king over Israel forever. For he has chosen the tribe of Judah to rule, and from among the families of Judah he chose my father’s family. And from among my father’s sons the Lord was pleased to make me king over all Israel. 5 And from among my sons—for the Lord has given me many—he chose Solomon to succeed me on the throne of Israel and to rule over the Lord’s kingdom. 6 He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon will build my Temple and its courtyards, for I have chosen him as my son, and I will be his father. 7 And if he continues to obey my commands and regulations as he does now, I will make his kingdom last forever.’
8 “So now, with God as our witness, and in the sight of all Israel—the Lord’s assembly—I give you this charge. Be careful to obey all the commands of the Lord your God, so that you may continue to possess this good land and leave it to your children as a permanent inheritance.
9 “And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 So take this seriously. The Lord has chosen you to build a Temple as his sanctuary. Be strong, and do the work.”
11 Then David gave Solomon the plans for the Temple and its surroundings, including the entry room, the storerooms, the upstairs rooms, the inner rooms, and the inner sanctuary—which was the place of atonement. 12 David also gave Solomon all the plans he had in mind for the courtyards of the Lord’s Temple, the outside rooms, the treasuries, and the rooms for the gifts dedicated to the Lord. 13 The king also gave Solomon the instructions concerning the work of the various divisions of priests and Levites in the Temple of the Lord. And he gave specifications for the items in the Temple that were to be used for worship.
14 David gave instructions regarding how much gold and silver should be used to make the items needed for service. 15 He told Solomon the amount of gold needed for the gold lampstands and lamps, and the amount of silver for the silver lampstands and lamps, depending on how each would be used. 16 He designated the amount of gold for the table on which the Bread of the Presence would be placed and the amount of silver for other tables.
17 David also designated the amount of gold for the solid gold meat hooks used to handle the sacrificial meat and for the basins, pitchers, and dishes, as well as the amount of silver for every dish. 18 He designated the amount of refined gold for the altar of incense. Finally, he gave him a plan for the Lord’s “chariot”—the gold cherubim whose wings were stretched out over the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant. 19 “Every part of this plan,” David told Solomon, “was given to me in writing from the hand of the Lord.”
20 Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly. 21 The various divisions of priests and Levites will serve in the Temple of God. Others with skills of every kind will volunteer, and the officials and the entire nation are at your command.”1 Chronicles 28 NLT
1 Chronicles 29 – Gifts for Building the Temple
Then King David turned to the entire assembly and said, “My son Solomon, whom God has clearly chosen as the next king of Israel, is still young and inexperienced. The work ahead of him is enormous, for the Temple he will build is not for mere mortals—it is for the Lord God himself! 2 Using every resource at my command, I have gathered as much as I could for building the Temple of my God. Now there is enough gold, silver, bronze, iron, and wood, as well as great quantities of onyx, other precious stones, costly jewels, and all kinds of fine stone and marble.
3 “And now, because of my devotion to the Temple of my God, I am giving all of my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for his holy Temple. 4 I am donating more than 112 tons of gold from Ophir and 262 tons of refined silver to be used for overlaying the walls of the buildings 5 and for the other gold and silver work to be done by the craftsmen. Now then, who will follow my example and give offerings to the Lord today?”
6 Then the family leaders, the leaders of the tribes of Israel, the generals and captains of the army and the king’s administrative officers all gave willingly. 7 For the construction of the Temple of God, they gave about 188 tons of gold, 10,000 gold coins, 375 tons of silver, 675 tons of bronze, and 3,750 tons of iron. 8 They also contributed numerous precious stones, which were deposited in the treasury of the house of the Lord under the care of Jehiel, a descendant of Gershon. 9 The people rejoiced over the offerings, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord, and King David was filled with joy.
David’s Prayer of Praise
10 Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly:
“O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! 11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. 12 Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.
13 “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! 14 But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! 15 We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.
16 “O Lord our God, even this material we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name comes from you! It all belongs to you! 17 I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.
18 “O Lord, the God of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, make your people always want to obey you. See to it that their love for you never changes. 19 Give my son Solomon the wholehearted desire to obey all your commands, laws, and decrees, and to do everything necessary to build this Temple, for which I have made these preparations.”
20 Then David said to the whole assembly, “Give praise to the Lord your God!” And the entire assembly praised the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and they bowed low and knelt before the Lord and the king.
Solomon Named as King
21 The next day they brought 1,000 bulls, 1,000 rams, and 1,000 male lambs as burnt offerings to the Lord. They also brought liquid offerings and many other sacrifices on behalf of all Israel. 22 They feasted and drank in the Lord’s presence with great joy that day.
And again they crowned David’s son Solomon as their new king. They anointed him before the Lord as their leader, and they anointed Zadok as priest. 23 So Solomon took the throne of the Lord in place of his father, David, and he succeeded in everything, and all Israel obeyed him. 24 All the officials, the warriors, and the sons of King David pledged their loyalty to King Solomon. 25 And the Lord exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel, and he gave Solomon greater royal splendor than any king in Israel before him.
Summary of David’s Reign
26 So David son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. 27 He reigned over Israel for forty years, seven of them in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. 28 He died at a ripe old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth, and honor. Then his son Solomon ruled in his place.
29 All the events of King David’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in The Record of Samuel the Seer, The Record of Nathan the Prophet, and The Record of Gad the Seer. 30 These accounts include the mighty deeds of his reign and everything that happened to him and to Israel and to all the surrounding kingdoms.1 Chronicles 29 NLT
A Passion to Serve God
In my opinion, I think today’s Christians have lost the true passion to serve God. It’s the apostasy and apathy that Paul prophesied. David had a passionate heart to serve, he did everything he could to prepare Solomon — who was only 14 at the time — to build the temple. David was 30 years old when he became king.
Going back all the way to the mobile Tabernacle in the desert, God’s instructions for everything from the materials used to the duties of the priests and Levites were very specific and precise. By all this preparation, one can see that the dedication continued.
- Priests had to be 30 years old, Levites only 20.
- What was a duty of the Levites — to transport the tabernacle — was now obsolete. The portable tent was to become a permanent temple.
- The Levites were now servants of the priests.
- Zadok was the leader of the sons of Eleazar. The descendants of Zadok evolved to become the Saducees during the 400 years that God was silent between Malachi and Matthew.
- In v. 24:8, we have the division of Abijah. If that name sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because the father of John the Baptist, a priest named Zechariah, is one of his descendants.
- The musicians — or worship leaders — had special names…
- Heman — faithful
- Asaph — gatherer
- Jeduthan — praise man
- Worship leaders, singers and musicians are special people. I’ve had the privilege of of serving as all 3. In Chapter 25, it says that Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons should prophesy with music.
Pastor Sandy Adams explains…
Notice a second reason for musical instruments… prophecy, or conveying God’s message.
Guys, music has two primary purposes… to praise or to proclaim… to magnify or prophesy… All music should either speak about God or for God. God invented music and musical instruments to praise His wonders and proclaim His wisdom.Sandy Adams
- When David failed in his first attempt to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, he left it at the home of Obed-Edom. He was greatly blessed.
- David was a great organizer. Even down to the details of the gatekeepers — the security guards. It’s sad, but today, churches need men stationed at the doors, just in case some evil person decides to do harm.
- Finally, in chapter 28, David calls the nation together and presents his farewell speech and anoints Solomon as king.
- David also provides all the materials needed to build and decorate the temple.
- Specifically mentioned is the gold needed for the “chariot” (v28:18) — that’s the Ark of the Covenant. Remember Ezekiel’s vision of God’s fiery throne with wheels like a chariot? Also, the prophet Elijah was raptured in a chariot of fire.
- David ends with a passionate prayer.
So ends the first book of the Chronicles of Ezra.