I just found this quote from Clarke that I like that applies to the first nine chapters of 1Chronicles: “How barren to us is this register, both of incident and interest! And yet, as barren rocks and sandy deserts make integral and necessary parts of the globe; so do these genealogical tables make necessary parts of the history of providence and grace in the maintenance of truth, and the establishment of the church of Christ. Therefore, no one that fears God will either despise or lightly esteem them.”
1Chronicles 6:1 ¶ The sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
1Chronicles 6:2 And the sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel.
1Chronicles 6:3 And the children of Amram; Aaron, and Moses, and Miriam. The sons also of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
This chapter begins with a focus on the sons of Levi. Guzik makes a good observation: “The entire tribe of Levi had a special place in Israel, given over to the service of God generally. Within the tribe of Levi was a special priestly family descended from Aaron. All priests were therefore Levites, but not all Levites were priests.”
Gershon, Kohath and Merari were responsible for the transport of the tabernacle and its furnishings during the wilderness wanderings.
It is noted that Moses, Aaron and Miriam were descendants of Levi through Kohath.
The sons of Aaron were singled out to serve as priests before the LORD. Nadab and Abihu were both killed in judgment for offering strange fire before the LORD. They were replaced by Eleazar and Ithamar.
Numbers 3:4 “And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, when they offered strange fire before the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father.”
1Chronicles 6:4 Eleazar begat Phinehas, Phinehas begat Abishua,
1Chronicles 6:5 And Abishua begat Bukki, and Bukki begat Uzzi,
1Chronicles 6:6 And Uzzi begat Zerahiah, and Zerahiah begat Meraioth,
1Chronicles 6:7 Meraioth begat Amariah, and Amariah begat Ahitub,
1Chronicles 6:8 And Ahitub begat Zadok, and Zadok begat Ahimaaz,
1Chronicles 6:9 And Ahimaaz begat Azariah, and Azariah begat Johanan,
1Chronicles 6:10 And Johanan begat Azariah, (he it is that executed the priest’s office in the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem:)
1Chronicles 6:11 And Azariah begat Amariah, and Amariah begat Ahitub,
1Chronicles 6:12 And Ahitub begat Zadok, and Zadok begat Shallum,
1Chronicles 6:13 And Shallum begat Hilkiah, and Hilkiah begat Azariah,
1Chronicles 6:14 And Azariah begat Seraiah, and Seraiah begat Jehozadak,
1Chronicles 6:15 And Jehozadak went into captivity, when the LORD carried away Judah and Jerusalem by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.
This section lists the descendants of Eleazar. Of note is that Zadok (v8) served as high priest under David, and Azariah (v9), was high priest during the days of Solomon.
The NIV Commentary has this note regarding Azariah in v10: “Azariah II, ‘who served as priest in the temple Solomon built,’ would thus belong later and, allowing for gaps to include the long-lived Jehoiada (2Ch 24:15), could be the high priest who resisted Uzziah’s trespass against the temple and its priesthood in 751.”
2 Chronicles 26:17–18 “And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men: And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.”
The writer makes a point to distinguish between Solomon’s temple and the temple that was built after the Babylonian captivity.
V13 Hilkiah is the one that found the book of the law that led to the great reforms of King Josiah.
2 Kings 22:8 “And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD.”
V14 JFB has this note about Seraiah: “…he was executed by Nebuchadnezzar’s orders at Riblah. The line of high priests, under the first temple, which from Zadok amounted to twelve, terminated with him.”
2 Kings 25:18–21 “And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door…and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah: And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath.”
Verse 15 makes a point of that fact that it was the LORD that carried the Jewish people into captivity; Nebuchadnezzar was but His servant in the process.
Jeremiah 27:6 “And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant….”
1Chronicles 6:16 The sons of Levi; Gershom, Kohath, and Merari.
1Chronicles 6:17 And these be the names of the sons of Gershom; Libni, and Shimei.
1Chronicles 6:18 And the sons of Kohath were, Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel.
1Chronicles 6:19 The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. And these are the families of the Levites according to their fathers.
1Chronicles 6:20 Of Gershom; Libni his son, Jahath his son, Zimmah his son,
1Chronicles 6:21 Joah his son, Iddo his son, Zerah his son, Jeaterai his son.
1Chronicles 6:22 The sons of Kohath; Amminadab his son, Korah his son, Assir his son,
1Chronicles 6:23 Elkanah his son, and Ebiasaph his son, and Assir his son,
1Chronicles 6:24 Tahath his son, Uriel his son, Uzziah his son, and Shaul his son.
1Chronicles 6:25 And the sons of Elkanah; Amasai, and Ahimoth.
1Chronicles 6:26 As for Elkanah: the sons of Elkanah; Zophai his son, and Nahath his son,
1Chronicles 6:27 Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son.
1Chronicles 6:28 And the sons of Samuel; the firstborn Vashni, and Abiah.
1Chronicles 6:29 The sons of Merari; Mahli, Libni his son, Shimei his son, Uzza his son,
1Chronicles 6:30 Shimea his son, Haggiah his son, Asaiah his son.
This is a listing of the descendants of the sons of Gershom, Kohath and Merari.
Verse 28 references the prophet Samuel, a descendant of Kohath, who anointed both Saul and David as king.
1Chronicles 6:31 ¶ And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest.
1Chronicles 6:32 And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order.
It is noted that the following listing pertains to those that David appointed to serve in the music ministry once the ark was housed in the tabernacle of David until the temple was built.
They performed according to their job description. This should be true of every follower of Jesus.
1Chronicles 6:33 And these are they that waited with their children. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman a singer, the son of Joel, the son of Shemuel,
1Chronicles 6:34 The son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah,
1Chronicles 6:35 The son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah, the son of Mahath, the son of Amasai,
1Chronicles 6:36 The son of Elkanah, the son of Joel, the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah,
1Chronicles 6:37 The son of Tahath, the son of Assir, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah,
1Chronicles 6:38 The son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, the son of Israel.
1Chronicles 6:39 And his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand, even Asaph the son of Berachiah, the son of Shimea,
1Chronicles 6:40 The son of Michael, the son of Baaseiah, the son of Malchiah,
1Chronicles 6:41 The son of Ethni, the son of Zerah, the son of Adaiah,
1Chronicles 6:42 The son of Ethan, the son of Zimmah, the son of Shimei,
1Chronicles 6:43 The son of Jahath, the son of Gershom, the son of Levi.
1Chronicles 6:44 And their brethren the sons of Merari stood on the left hand: Ethan the son of Kishi, the son of Abdi, the son of Malluch,
1Chronicles 6:45 The son of Hashabiah, the son of Amaziah, the son of Hilkiah,
1Chronicles 6:46 The son of Amzi, the son of Bani, the son of Shamer,
1Chronicles 6:47 The son of Mahli, the son of Mushi, the son of Merari, the son of Levi.
The name Asaph (v39) stands out to me as a musician of note in the Psalms (Psalm 50 and 73-83). Heman (v33) is identified as the author of Psalm 88. These two great musicians were brothers.
1Chronicles 6:48 Their brethren also the Levites were appointed unto all manner of service of the tabernacle of the house of God.
1Chronicles 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.
The rest of the Levities were given specific responsibilities in taking care of the tabernacle. Gill summarizes their responsibilities as follows: “…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.”
Aaron and his sons were set apart to serve as priests. They made the sacrifices offered on the altar of burnt offering and attend the altar of incense in accordance with the LORD’s command. They were the only ones authorized to serve as high priest in the Holy of Holies.
1Chronicles 6:50 And these are the sons of Aaron; Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son,
1Chronicles 6:51 Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son,
1Chronicles 6:52 Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son,
1Chronicles 6:53 Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son.
1Chronicles 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.
1Chronicles 6:55 And they gave them Hebron in the land of Judah, and the suburbs thereof round about it.
1Chronicles 6:56 But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
1Chronicles 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,
1Chronicles 6:58 And Hilen with her suburbs, Debir with her suburbs,
1Chronicles 6:59 And Ashan with her suburbs, and Bethshemesh with her suburbs:
This section details the land in Judah that was set apart for the use of the sons of Aaron; they had no specific land inheritance. The rest of the chapter details the land allotments for the rest of the Levites in the remaining tribes.
1Chronicles 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.
1Chronicles 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.
1Chronicles 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.
1Chronicles 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.
1Chronicles 6:64 And the children of Israel gave to the Levites these cities with their suburbs.
1Chronicles 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.
1Chronicles 6:66 And the residue of the families of the sons of Kohath had cities of their coasts out of the tribe of Ephraim.
1Chronicles 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,
1Chronicles 6:68 And Jokmeam with her suburbs, and Bethhoron with her suburbs,
1Chronicles 6:69 And Aijalon with her suburbs, and Gathrimmon with her suburbs:
With this section, the historian begins to identify the cities of refuge. JFB provides this explanatory note: “The names of the cities given here are considerably different from those applied to them (Joshua 21:13-19). In the lapse of centuries, and from the revolutions of society, changes might have been expected to take place in the form or dialectic pronunciation of the names of those cities; and this will sufficiently account for the variations that are found in the lists as enumerated here and in an earlier book. As to these cities themselves that were assigned to the Levites, they were widely remote and separated — partly in fulfilment of Jacob’s prophecy (Genesis 49:7), and partly that the various districts of the country might obtain a competent supply of teachers who might instruct the people in the knowledge, and animate them to the observance, of a law which had so important a bearing on the promotion both of their private happiness and their national prosperity.”
1Chronicles 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.
1Chronicles 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:
1Chronicles 6:72 And out of the tribe of Issachar; Kedesh with her suburbs, Daberath with her suburbs,
1Chronicles 6:73 And Ramoth with her suburbs, and Anem with her suburbs:
1Chronicles 6:74 And out of the tribe of Asher; Mashal with her suburbs, and Abdon with her suburbs,
1Chronicles 6:75 And Hukok with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs:
1Chronicles 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.
1Chronicles 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:
1Chronicles 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,
1Chronicles 6:79 Kedemoth also with her suburbs, and Mephaath with her suburbs:
1Chronicles 6:80 And out of the tribe of Gad; Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, and Mahanaim with her suburbs,
1Chronicles 6:81 And Heshbon with her suburbs, and Jazer with her suburbs.