23 When David reached old age, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. 2 And he assembled together all the leaders of Israel with the priests and Levites.
Offices of the Levites
3 The Levites thirty years old and upward were counted, and their number man by man was 38,000. 4 Of these [a]24,000 were to oversee and inspect the work of the house of the Lord and 6,000 were to be administrators and judges, 5 and 4,000 were gatekeepers, and 4,000 [musicians] were to praise the Lord with the instruments which David made for giving praise. 6 And David organized them into divisions according to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
7 Of the Gershonites: Ladan (Libni) and Shimei. 8 The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the first and Zetham and Joel—three in all. 9 The sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran—three in all. These were the heads of the fathers’ households of Ladan. 10 The sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina (Zizah), Jeush, and Beriah. These were the four sons of Shimei. 11 Jahath was the first and Zizah the second; but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons [not enough for a father’s house or clan], so they were [counted together] as one father’s household, one working group.
12 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel—four in all. 13 The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was set apart to consecrate him as most holy, he and his sons forever, to burn incense before the Lord, attend to His service, and to bless [worshipers] in His name forever. 14 But as for Moses the man of God, his sons were counted among the tribe of Levi. 15 The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. 16 The son of Gershom: Shebuel the chief. 17 The son of Eliezer was Rehabiah the chief. Eliezer had no other sons, but Rehabiah’s sons were very many [in number]. 18 The son of Izhar: Shelomith the chief. 19 The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. 20 The sons of Uzziel: Micah the first and Isshiah the second.
21 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish. 22 Eleazar died and had no sons, but daughters only, and their relatives, the sons of Kish, took them as wives. 23 The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Jeremoth—three in all.
24 These were the Levites by their fathers’ households, the heads of the fathers’ households of those registered, according to the number of names of the individuals who were the servants of the house of the Lord, from twenty years old and upward. 25 For David said, “The Lord God of Israel, has given peace and rest to His people, and He dwells in Jerusalem forever. 26 Also, the Levites will no longer need to carry the tabernacle and all its utensils for its service.” 27 For by the last words of David, the Levites from twenty years old and above were counted. 28 For their duty is to assist [the priests] the sons of Aaron in the service of the house of the Lord, in [caring for] the courtyards, the chambers, the purifying of all holy things, and any work of the service of the house of God, 29 and with the showbread, and the fine flour for a grain offering, and unleavened wafers, or what is baked in the pan or what is well-mixed, and all measures of volume and size [as the Law of Moses required]. 30 They are to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening, 31 and to offer all burnt sacrifices to the Lord on the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the festivals by number according to the ordinance concerning them, continually before the Lord. 32 So they shall be responsible for the Tent of Meeting, the Holy Place, and the sons of Aaron their relatives, for the service of the house of the Lord.
- 1 Chronicles 23:4 This number might seem high if the situation is not clarified. There are several important factors to consider: 1. The Levites were divided into 24 rotating divisions (1 Chr 24:6-19). 2. It is plausible that 1,000 Levites were on duty at any one time for Solomon’s temple, considering the many purposes and required maintenance of the building, its ornate ritual, and the scale of the work. 3. In the wilderness, the worshiper would kill the animal he brought for an offering, skin it, cut it in pieces, and wash the entrails and legs. But now all these tasks were the duty of the Levites or Nethinim (servants of the temple); in addition, the number of worshipers had greatly increased, requiring a large number of Levites.