Daily Bible Study Tips –
1 and 2 Chronicles
Comments on 1 Chronicles Chapters 1 - 15
1 Chronicles 16:1-6, 37-43, The Ark arrives.
1 Chronicles 16:7-36, Celebrate and shout in praise!
1 Chronicles 23:1-6, 13-14, 24-32, Names and duties of the Levites.
1 Chronicles 24:1-8, 18-20, 30-31, Distributing the order of service.
1 Chronicles 25:1-8, Duties of the musicians.
Comments on 1 Chronicles 26 - 2 Chronicles 13
Comments on 2 Chronicles Chapters 22 - 35
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1 Chronicles 16:1-6, 36-43, The Ark arrives. (6/25/2010)
In 2 Samuel 6, David brings in the Ark, puts it in its place, hands out party favors of bread and raisin cakes, and blesses the people. That's that. Chronicles gives more detail. Guess what? All the extra details are about the priests and Levites.
I have been interested, especially today, to learn so much about Asaph in our reading of Chronicles. This name may be familiar to you if you regularly read Psalms. Twelve psalms, Pss. 50 and 73 through 83, are labeled as a "psalm of Asaph," probably indicating that he wrote them.
Fellow-readers Don and Edith speculate that all the unpronounceable names in Chronicles are to blame for its being lesser-read. I dunno; I haven't read Chronicles more than a few times, and I don't have that excuse. The Bible I got from my church in third grade is a "self-pronouncing Bible," which means that every proper name is divided into syllables and marked with diacritical marks. Since I read this Bible into my 30s, I can read all the funny names about as easily as I can read "John." An important point, however, is that even if I don't always pronounce every one correctly, I don't care, because it doesn't much matter. Just go for it! You can read or download a self-pronouncing Bible
1 Chronicles 16:7-36, Celebrate and shout in praise! (11/16/2009)
1 and 2 Chronicles covers the same period of history as 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. The Chronicles are much more interested in the history of the Temple and the Levites than the books of Samuel and Kings are, however. Today's reading is a psalm that David wrote to celebrate the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem.
1 Chronicles 23:1-6, 13-14, 24-32, Names and duties of the Levites. (6/28/2010)
Sandia National Laboratories/Albuquerque is a big place. They have about 9,700 employees and on-site contractors located in 5.8 million sq. ft. of buildings on a campus of 8,600 acres (mostly empty mesa for testing stuff). You can go to the Labs' website to see what kinds of jobs they do, but even the numbers I quote here show you that it's a big, busy place. Each employee has roughly 600 square feet of office and lab space to work in. (I personally had about 70 square feet, because I didn't have a lab.)
The Temple in Jerusalem was a small place. Although the exact size is unknown (because it's been razed and rebuilt so many times), the campus was roughly 12 acres, and the Temple was about 90 ft x 30 ft, with a porch 30 ft x 15 ft (I Kings 6:2-3), for a total of about 3,150 square feet. The total number of employees – priests and Levites – was in excess of 38,000, of whom about 24,000 were active. This is less than 1 square foot of "office space" per person. Even if you spread them out over the whole campus and run the place 24/7, each Levite had only about 60 square feet. All things considered, that doesn't seem to give anybody enough space to work. We'll see tomorrow how they solved the space problem. Meantime, you can read to see what kinds of jobs they did.
1 Chronicles 24:1-8, 18-20, 30-31, Distributing the order of service. (6/29/2010)
Have you ever drawn straws, flipped a coin, or played rock, paper, scissors to decide who goes first, does the dishes, or gets the last piece of chocolate? I suspect that when Og and Ug were in the cave deciding who had to get firewood, they used some similar method.
Let's think for a minute about Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Luke says, "In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. ... Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot
to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense" (Luke 1:5, 8-9). What's that all about, anyway?
It was an honor and a privilege to serve in the Temple, and all the priests and Levites wanted to do it, so they decided use an "everybody plays" system. There were many jobs, and the Temple had to be up and running 24/7. Presumably some of the jobs and times were more desirable than others: I suspect everybody wanted to burn incense at 2 p.m., and not many wanted to guard the gates at 2 a.m. So they had a simple and fair method for assigning jobs – they cast lots.
1 Chronicles 25:1-8, Duties of the musicians.
Some of the Levites were appointed to the special position of musicians in support of Temple worship. These talented families played musical instruments – lyres, harps, cymbals – and also sang. I was so surprised to read below that the choir included women that I went back and checked the Hebrew. It's even more clear in the original than in the ESV: "... 14 sons and 3 daughters. All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the LORD ..." There were 288 trained singers. What a choir!
Notice that the singers were assigned to services by lot, just like everyone else. The Chancel and Sonrise choirs at St. John's can be grateful that normally they sing at the same time every Sunday, and the worship services do not run 24/7.
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