1Chronicles 6

1Chronicles 6:1–81

The Descendants of Levi and their Allotments

Alternate Outline of Chapter 6:

I.     The Priestly Line of Kohath                                                  (1Chron. 6:1–15)

II.    The Three Lines of Descent                                                 (1Chron. 6:16–30)

       A.    Gershom                                                       (vv. 20–21)

       B.    Kohath                                                          (vv. 22–28)

       C.    Merari                                                            (vv. 29–30)

III.   The Three Lines of Ascent                                                (1Chron. 6:31–48)

       A.    Heman back to Kohath                               (vv. 33–38)

       B.    Asaph back to Gershom                               (vv. 39–43)

       C.    Ethan back to Merari                                     (vv. 44–48)

IV.   The Priestly Line of Aaron                                                    (1Chron. 6:49–60)

       A.    Aaron’s descendants                                  (vv. 50–53)

       B.    The cities given to Aaron’s descendants      (vv. 54–60)

V.    The Cities Given Over to the Other Sons of Levi          (1Chron. 6:61–81)

       A.    Gershom                                                       (vv. 66–70)

       B.    Kohath                                                       (vv.71–76)

       C.    Merari                                                         (vv. 77–81)

Outline of Chapter 6:

       v.      1           Introduction

       vv.    2–15      The line of the descendants of Kohath

       vv.   16–30      The basic genealogical lines of Levi

       vv.   31–48      The ancestors of Heman, Asaph and Ethan—those who headed the musicians guild

       vv.   49–53      The descendants of Aaron who made up the priests of Israel

       vv.   54–60      The cities given over to the descendants of Aaron

       vv.   61–65      A summary of the division of the Levitical cities

       vv.   66–70      The cities given over to the descendants of Kohath

       vv.   71–76      The cities given over to the descendants of Gershom

       vv.   77–81      The cities given over to the descendants of Merari


       v.      1           The Tribe of Levi

       v.      1           The Sons of Kohath

       v.      1           The Sons of Gershon

       v.      1           The Sons of Merari

       vv.    5–9        The Priestly Line

       vv.   11–14      The Kings, Prophets and Priests of Judah

       vv.   11–14      Priests Not Named in the Genealogies of 1Chronicles 6

       vv.   20–21      The Descendants of Gershom and the Ancestors of Asaph

       vv.   22–24      The Alternate View of the Sons of Kohath

       vv.   22–24      The Lines of Korah and the Ancestors of Heman

       vv.   22–24      The Line of Samuel the Prophet

       vv.   25–27      The Hebrew Comparison of the Names in the Line of Samuel

       v.     32           Hebrew Words for Dwelling Place

       v.     60           The Cities Given Over to the Descendants of Aaron

       v.     63           The Allotment of the Levites

       vv.   67–70      The Cities Given Over to the Descendants of Kohath

       vv.   71–76      The Cities Given Over to the Descendants of Gershom

       vv.   77–81      The Cities Given Over to the Descendants of Merari

Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To



Inspiration of Scripture

City of Ashtaroth




The Three Kedesh’s

I ntroduction: I must admit to putting off exegeting this chapter for some time. I spent over a month exegeting a couple of psalms first. I just kept thinking that this is one long chapter (81 verses!). However, its length might give us an idea as to how God looks at these things. This chapter spent on the tribe of Levi, at 81 verses, compares to that on the family of Judah (1Chron. 2:3–3:24—77 verses) and the tribe of Benjamin (from whence came King Saul; 1Chron. 7:6–12 8:1–40—47 verses). And, only the lines of David and Levi are followed out all the way to the dispersion. In the other genealogies, we simply get the most prominent families and clans.

Furthermore, on the face of it, this line of Levi struck me as being the least interesting of the genealogies. 1Chron. 6 is long and deals with the tribe of Levi. Unlike the tribe of Judah, from whom came the kings of Judah and our Savior, from Levi, there is promise, but they eventually fall into great degeneracy—however, it is religious degeneracy, which seems to me to be far less interesting than other types of degeneracy. What did surprise me is that many of those mentioned in this genealogy are found in other portions of Scripture. What further surprised me as that several of these were interesting men and that they were mentioned a lot. Being a theocracy, you cannot wholly separate the political from the religious Israel—they are inexorably linked. Therefore, the political intrigue which surrounded the life of David also bleeds into the lives of the priests—those who supported him and those who backed the wrong candidate. Therefore, I personally began to find the lives of these priests much more interesting that I had first anticipated. Furthermore, when I got to the end of this chapter, where a list of the cities transferred over to the Levites is given, I was able to clarify and sometimes even correct information which I had presented back in the second half of the book of Joshua.

Since completing this chapter (and several after it), I returned to exegeting narrative—specifically 1Samuel; and I have found myself going back to this chapter again and again as a reference book. It is this book which is sort of a road map. It is this book which straightens out many fine points and relationships. In fact, I cannot imagine exegeting 1Samuel apart from having already examined this chapter.

Now, early on in the examination of these genealogies, I made a presumption that we would not know the lines of those who were under slavery to Egypt, and I assumed that there would be holes in the lines of those who were deported. This is not necessarily the case with the line of Levi. In fact, the line of Aaron through Eleazar through Zadok appears to be the most complete line of all the genealogies. We should expect that, under slavery, most families would not keep a careful record of their genealogies—however, the operative word here is most. We might expect that a handful of families might have kept a careful genealogy—and they would need to have a reason to. The line of Aaron was, even prior to the establishment of nation Israel, designated as the line of the High Priests. Therefore, under any and all circumstances, that lineage would have been followed. What would be most logical, particularly given the curse that Jacob laid upon the tribe of Levi, is that a careful genealogy during the time of slavery, apart from the general divisions of the family would be lost; however, after the designation of the line of Aaron as the priestly line—at that point, we should expect a very carefully kept genealogical line. This is exactly what we find.

This chapter is more than just a genealogy. It would be helpful if you went back and looked at the Doctrine of the Levites (not done yet) in Deut. 27:14 and the Doctrines of the Priesthood (not done yet) and of the High Priest (not done yet) back in Ex. 30:21. In general, there has always been some sort of a priesthood who function is not quite as well-laid out as we would like to see in the Age of the Gentiles (this would be the epoch of time which preceded the Abraham becoming a Jew). Therefore, when God gave the Law to Israel, there appears to have been the function of a priesthood which was not completely defined to begin with. That is, the priesthood did not appear to be a new thing. Although the High Priest had clearly defined duties (entering into the Holy of Holies and sprinkling the blood upon the altar), the descent of the High Priest appears to be more implied than stated. It is fairly clear in Scripture that the priesthood would come from Aaron’s line. “Then you will bring Aaron, your brother, near to yourself, and his sons with him, from among the sons of Israel, and they will minister as priest to Me—Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.” (Ex. 28:1). “And they [the garments of the priesthood] will be on Aaron and on his descendants when they enter the Tent of Meeting, or when they approach the altar to minister in the holy place, so that they do not incur iniquity and die. It will be a statute forever to him and to his descendants after him.” (Ex. 28:43). “You will appoint Aaron and his descendants that they may keep their priesthood; but the layman who comes near will be executed.” (Num. 3:10). Aaron was the first High Priest and his third son, Eleazar, after the deaths of his first two sons, was the second; his son, Phinehas, was eventually the third High Priest. However, we also find some priests who come from the line of Ithamar, who is the fourth son of Aaron. Therefore, we do not find a hard and fast rule either in Scripture by example or by direct statement as to how the High Priest was chosen. By the time of our Lord, the High Priest was, sadly, one of the most corrupt, if not the most corrupt, of the priests in general. Understanding this will eliminate some of the supposed problems in this chapter. We will, in two places, follow a very specific line of Aaron; many High Priests came from this line. However, it is important to realize that (1) Not necessarily all of those named were High Priests (I put them in as High Priests in one of the charts, as there is no statement of which I am aware where so-and-so is specifically noted as not being a High Priest; and, (2) although all High Priests came from the line of Aaron, they did not all come through the line of Eleazar, which is followed out in this chapter. Several important, well-substantiated High Priests came through the line of Ithamar, the youngest of Aaron’s sons. There are a handful of other priests whose exact line is unknown.

Before I forget, there are two common and very incorrect notions that most Christians have with respect to the tribe of Levi: (1) that there is such a thing as a Levitical priesthood; i.e., the Levites are equivalent to the priests in Israel; and, (2) the book of Leviticus deals with the Levitical priesthood. Only one branch of the Levites were priests, and, quite obviously, only a small portion of that branch. The priests came from the line of Aaron, principally through his son Eleazar, although several came through his son Ithamar as well. By the time Aaron came along, the Levites were 22,000 in number (Num. 3:43) and their duties are outlined in Num. 4–6, 8, 18 (the word Levite barely occurs in the book of Leviticus). Footnote These 22,000 and their descendants were to assist in the worship of Jesus Christ at the Tent of Worship, but they were not the priests. A linear line which began with Aaron and went through Eleazar was the source of the priests over Israel (as well as some of those in the line of Ithamar, Eleazar’s brother). Now, you, in ignorance, might find these viewpoints quaint; however, the man who compiled 1Chronicles will confirm this in 1Chron. 6:48–49: And their relatives the Levites where appointed for all the service of the Tent of the House of God. But Aaron and his sons offered up in smoke upon the altar of burnt offering and upon the altar of incense, for the work of the most holy place, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses, the servant of God, had commanded. In other words, all of the Levites had responsibilities with respect to the Tent of God; however, only the sons of Aaron were associated with the actual priesthood, which were those men who offered up the animal sacrifices; and only specific men from Aaron’s line, the High Priests, could go into the Holy of Holies and offer up an atonement for Israel once a year Footnote .

There is a very specific purpose in this chapter—Levites had a particular place in Jewish society. They were involved with Tent (and Temple) worship. When the Israelites returned from captivity, it was important to distinguish the Levites, as they were supported by the public to participate in certain religious functions; and, for the reasons cited above, it was important to distinguish the priestly line of Eleazar from the Levites in general (compare the following: Ezra 2:40–41 Neh. 7:43–44 10:9–13, 28–29 11:15–19 12:23–47). In fact, even those who worked around the Temple—the Levites—were subject to an examination of their lineage. In this chapter, there are three men who are the heads of the music guild of Israel when the Temple was built, and their pedigrees are preserved in this chapter. This legitimized their function in the Temple.

This chapter can be broken down to two or three basic sections. In the first section (vv. 1–30, 54–60), we have genealogies of the sons of Levi. In section two (vv. 31–48), we have the ancestors of the musicians guild given (some may include this with the first section). Section three (vv. 54–81) tells what cities were given over to the Levites. These various sections can be subdivided, of course. In vv. 2–15, we have the line of Kohath, the line which included Aaron, and we follow out the linear progression of High Priests from Aaron’s son, Eleazar, through to the priest who was taken away in exile. Now, these were not the only High Priests; Aaron’s youngest son, Ithamar, also was the ancestor of several High Priests. Furthermore, it appears as though there was at least one other major line of priests not covered in this chapter, as there are a handful of priests found in Scripture who are not named in this book (we will certainly discuss them). From vv. 16–30, we will follow the three basic lines of Levi—his sons Gershom, Kohath and Merari. In vv. 31–48, we have somewhat of a change of pace, at least in regards for being a genealogy. There are three heads to the musicians guild during the time of David and their lines are traced backwards to show their legitimacy as servants in the House of Jehovah (those who assisted the Aaronic priesthood were supposed to be Levites). At the end of this second, we examine again the descendants of Aaron (I don’t know what that is; my guess is that the author found two lists and copied down both lists).

In the second portion of this chapter, we have an unusual breakdown of topics. First, the cities given to Aaron’s descendants from Judah and Benjamin are named. Then, in vv. 61–65, we have a summary of this distribution (i.e., what tribes gave which cities to which of the three branches of Levi). Then the specifics are given—in vv. 66–70, we have which cities Ephraim and West Manasseh gave over to the line of Kohath. In vv. 71–76, Gershom is given specific cities from East Manasseh, Issachar, Asher and Naphtali. Finally, in the final four verses of this chapter, we have the list of the cities which Zebulun and Gad gave over to the descendants of Merari. The reason we do not find the names of Simeon and Dan will be explained when we get to that portion of this chapter.

There is another way to break this chapter down, and that by outline form. I normally do not do that with any given chapter; however, this chapter is 81 verses long, and it would help to have a general idea as to what will transpire. I do this, as it is a good idea to have a picture of the forest before we begin looking at the trees.



Slavishly literal:


Moderately literal:

Sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.



The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath and Merari.

This is actually a continuation of 1Chron. 5 in the Hebrew; in the English, v. 16 marks the beginning of 1Chron. 6:1 in the Hebrew. That ranks with some of the worst chapter and verse divisions in the Bible.

Levi was one of the twelve sons of Jacob (Israel). He was the third son born and the third son born to Leah, after Reuben and Simeon (he was born prior to Judah—Gen. 29:32–35). You may recall that these twelve brothers had a sister, Dinah, who was raped by a Hivite named Shechem. This was not a random act of violence, but he had done so because he was very attracted to her. Her brothers were extremely angered over this, and taken aback when Shechem asked for Dinah’s hand in marriage after the rape. The sons of Jacob hid their anger, but simply told Shechem and his father that they would all have to be circumcised in order to intermarry with the family of Jacob. They went along with this, and every male of that group of Hivites was circumcised. Apparently, Dinah was given over to them to show good faith. On the third day, while these men were still in serious pain, Simeon and Levi went into the city stealthily and killed every male, looted the city, and took Dinah back. Jacob was upset with his boys, as this put his small family at odds with all of the heathen in the land; his boys felt justified, as Shechem had raped their sister. This is all found in Gen. 34.

After this incident, Levi is then found in three lists: a simple list of the sons of Jacob (Gen. 35:23) and in the two lists of those who moved to Egypt with their father Jacob (Gen. 46:11 Ex. 1:2). When Jacob gave his blessings to his sons, he recalled this incident involving Simeon and Reuben and said that they would be scattered among the tribes of Judah and Israel. Jacob’s words were: “Simeon and Levi are brothers. Their swords are implements of violence. Let my soul not enter into their counsel and let not my glory be united with their assembly, because in anger, they executed a man and in their self-will, they hamstrung an ox. Cursed is their anger, for it is fierce; and cursed is their wrath, for it is implacable. I will disperse them in Jacob and I will scatter them in Israel.” (Gen. 49:5–7). What happened was, Simeon never really was given a piece of land of their own, but was, instead, given cities originally designated as Judahite cities. The Levites were scattered throughout northern and southern Israel, which is what the last portion of this particular chapter deals with.

As we examine the sons of Levi, let’s bear in mind the hypothesis that we have formed earlier. It is unlikely that we will have a specific recording of the descendants of Levi who were born while in slavery to Egypt and it is unlikely that we will know exactly who was born in captivity. The line should stop with the last known freeman under the sojourn of the Jews in Egypt; there should be an impenetrable barrier between those who are free and those who exit Egypt (only their parents and grandparents and maybe great grandparents should be known). We will find a similar situation, yet not as pronounced, when the Israelites are removed from the land and taken into slavery.

In v. 16 and following, Gershon is written Gershom. In this verse, in the eastern Massoretic text, it is Gershom as well. In the western Massoretic text, it is Gershon. In any case, this does not appear to be the error of a copyist, as the ending letters, in the Hebrew, are quite different. Because the slightly different names are found throughout Scripture, it appears as though they are variants of the same name. Gershon was one of the three sons born to Levi who moved to Egypt with Levi (Gen. 46:8, 11). We know nothing of Gershon personally from Scripture. There were two families (or clans) which came from Gershom, Libni (or Ladan) (1Chron. 23:7) and Shemei (Num. 3:18, 21). In general, the Gershonites were assigned to the northern territories of Issachar, Asher and Naphtali, as well as to the east in the half tribe of Manasseh that occupied Trans-Jordan area. Therefore, they occupied the northernmost land on both sides of the Jordan Footnote .

Like Gershon above, we know nothing about Kohath personally, apart from him being born prior to moving to Egypt and living until age 133 (Ex. 6:18). Kohath had four sons—actually, four descendants of note—Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel (Ex. 6:18 Num. 3:19, 27 1Chron. 6:2). Kohath would have been an ancestor to Moses, Aaron and Miriam through Amram (no less than a great grandfather and probably further back than that). Because of this, Kohath is the most famous of the branches of Levi and the most famous of the ancestors. Those who know even the littlest information about the Levites associate Kohath and the name Cohen with the priesthood.

There has been a lot of confusion about the priesthood and it is often called the Levitical priesthood. Ask any Christian and they will incorrectly tell you that the book of Leviticus is about the Levitical priesthood. The priesthood actually began with Aaron, who was a descendant of Levi through Kohath and Amram and those who were descendants of Aaron were properly the priests to Israel. They should have been called the Aaronic priesthood, although I am hard-pressed to find anyone else who so properly refers to them. God gave the other sons of Levi to Aaron and to Aaron’s descendants to help out with the priestly duties. The Kohathites were to camp on the south side of the Tent of Worship while it was in transit to the Land of Promise (Num. 3:29), and they were responsible for the care and transport of the ark, table, lampstand, altars and vessels of the sanctuary (Num. 3:31). Before any of these things could actually be handled, Aaron and his sons were to place a goatskin over them (Num. 4:5–15). They were placed in the southern and south-central portion of Israel in the lands of Judah, Simeon, Ephraim, Benjamin, Dan and half the tribe of Manasseh.

Merari, like his brothers, was born outside of Egypt and moved to Egypt with the family of Jacob. We know nothing of him personally. They were in charge of carrying the frames, bars, pillars, bases and accessories of the tabernacle (Num. 3:36–37 4:31–33 7:8 10:17 Joshua 21:7, 34, 40). From Merari came two families, Mahli and Mushi (Ex. 6:20).

In the chart below, it is important to realize that when two or more men are listed as sons of Barney, that does not mean that they are all sons of Barney—they are simply descendants of Barney and one may be the son of another or the grandson of a person not listed).

The Tribe of Levi

His sons were Gershom, Kohath and Merari (Ex. 6:16 Num. 3:17 1Chron. 6:1, 16)

The Sons of Gershon (or, Gershom)

I.     Libni (or, Ladan) (Ex. 6:17 Num. 3:18 1Chron. 6:17, 20)

       A.    Jahath (1Chron. 6:20, 43)

               1.    Zimmah ➔ Joah ➔ Iddo ➔ Zerah ➔ Jeatherai (1Chron. 6:20–21) (This line may overlap the line which is listed directly below)

               2.    Shimei ➔ Zimmah ➔ Ethan ➔ Adaiah ➔ Zerah ➔ Ethni ➔ Malchijah ➔ Baaseiah ➔ Michael ➔ Shimea ➔ Berechiah ➔ Asaph (1Chron. 6:39–42)

II.    Shimei (Ex. 6:17 Num. 3:18 1Chron. 6:17) (he could be the same Shimei mentioned in the line above)

III.   Lael ➔ Eliasaph (Num. 3:24)

The Sons of KohathI.Amram (Ex. 6:18 Num. 3:19 1Chron. 6:2, 18 23:12); his wife was Jochebed, his father’s sister (which probably means relative—Ex. 6:20)

       A.    Miriam (1Chron. 6:3a 23:13). Miriam is the oldest, as she is old enough to watch Moses and what happens to him as a baby (Ex. 2:2–4). Since Aaron is three years older than Moses (Ex. 7:7), Miriam cannot be a two-year-old spying on her little brother and his fate.

       B.    Aaron (Ex. 6:20 1Chron. 6:3a 23:13); his wife was Elisheba (who was the daughter of Amminadab and the sister of Nahshon—Ex. 6:23).

               1.    Nadab (Ex. 6:23 1Chron. 6:3b)

               2.    Abihu (Ex. 6:23 1Chron. 6:3b)

               3.    Eleazar, who married a daughter of Putiel (Ex. 6:23, 25 1Chron. 6:3b)

                       a.    Phinehas (Ex. 6:25 1Chron. 6:4, 5, 50 Ezra 7:5) ➔ Abishua ➔ Bukki ➔ Uzzi ➔ Zerahiah ➔ Meraioth ➔ Amariah 1 ➔ Ahitub 1 ➔ Zadok 1 ➔ Ahimaaz (1Chron. 6:50–53) ➔ Azariah 1 ➔ Johanan (1Chron. 6:5–9) ➔ Azariah 2 (who was the first priest in Solomon’s Temple—1Chron. 6:10) ➔ Amariah 2 ➔ Ahitub 2 ➔ Zadok 2 ➔ Shallum ➔ Hilkiah ➔ Azariah 3 ➔ Seraiah (1Chron. 6:11–14)

                               (1)   Jehozadak (who was taken away captive by Nebuchadnezzar—1Chron. 6:15) ➔ Jeshua (Joshua) (clearly descended from Jehozadak and he returned to the Land of Promise with the exiles to build the temple—Ezra 3:2, 9 5:2; his exact relationship to Ezra below is not explained; Jeshua had several sons and nephews: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib, and Gedaliah—Ezra 10:18) ➔ Joiakim (Neh. 12:26) ➔ Eliashib ➔ Joiada ➔ Jonathan ➔ Jaddua (Neh. 12:10–11)

                               (2)   Ezra (by Ezra 7:1, Ezra is clearly descended from Seraiah; given that he returns with the exiles to rebuild the temple would indicate that he is probably one generation removed from Seraiah; it is not clear whether this is through Jehozadak or through another, if any, son of Seraiah’s; my first guess would be that he and Jehozadak are brothers)

                       b.    JehoiadaZechariahAzariah 2.5UrijahAzariah 2.5 (we do not know that we have this sort of progression, whether these men are definitely in the line of Eleazar, or who their ancestors were—they are mentioned in 2Kings 11–12 16:10–18 2Chron. 23–24 26:16–21 31:8–10).

               4.    Ithamar (Ex. 6:23 1Chron. 6:3b) ➔ EliPhinehas 2Ichabod and Ahitub (brother, half-brother or relative of Ichabod—compare 1Sam. 4:17, 19–21 14:3) ➔ Ahijah (➔ or =’s) Ahimelech 1 (it is possible that Ahijah = Ahimelech 1, as the line from Ahijah to Ahimelech 1 is not confirmed in Scripture); see discussion under 1Chron. 6:3b) ➔ Abiathar (1Sam. 22:20 1Kings 2:27) ➔ Ahimelech 2 (1Sam. 1:3, 19–22 14:3 22:20 2Sam. 8:17);

       C.    Moses (Ex. 6:20 1Chron. 6:3a 23:13)

               1.    Gershom (1Chron. 23:15)

                       a.    Shebuel (1Chron. 23:16)

               2.    Eliezer (1Chron. 23:15)

                       a.    Rehabiah (who was Eliezer’s only son; Rehabiah, however, had many sons) (1Chron. 23:17)

                               (1)   Isshiah

II.    Izhar (Ex. 6:18 Num. 3:19 16:1 1Chron. 6:2, 18, 38 23:12)

       A.    Amminadab (1Chron. 6:22) ➔ Korah (Ex. 6:24 Num. 16:1 1Chron. 6:22, 37; also, see the Lines of Korah Chart to view, side-by-side, the lines of Korah which are recorded in Scripture)

               1.    Assir ➔ Elkanah 1 ➔ Ebiasaph (probably equivalent to Abiasaph in Ex. 6:24) (1Chron. 6:22–24, 37) ➔ Assir ➔ Tahath (1Chron. 6:23b–24a, 37)

                       a.    Uriel ➔ Uzziah (he could be Azariah from below) ➔ Shaul (he could be Joel from below—1Chron. 6:24)

                       b.    Zephaniah ➔ Azariah ➔ Joel (1Chron. 6:36b–37a) ➔ Elkanah 2 (1Chron. 6:25, 36)

                               (1)   Amasai (1Chron. 6:25, 35) ➔ Mahath (1Chron. 6:35) ➔ Elkanah 3 (1Chron. 6:26, 35) ➔ Zophai (1Chron. 6:26) (who is possibly equivalent to Zuph in 1Chron. 6:35) ➔ Nahath (1Chron. 6:26) ➔ Toah (1Chron. 6:34) ➔ Eliab (1Chron. 6:27; who is possibly equivalent to Eliel from 1Chron. 6:34) ➔ Jeroham ➔ Elkanah 4 ➔ Samuel (1Chron. 6:2728a, 33b–34a)

                                      (a)   Joel (1Chron. 6:28, 33) ➔ Heman (1Chron. 6:33 25:5)

                                      (b)   Abijah (1Chron. 6:28)

                               (2)   Ahimoth (1Chron. 6:25)

       B.    Nepheg (Ex. 6:21)

       C.    Zickhri (Ex. 6:21)

       D.    Shelomith (1Chron. 23:18)

III.   Hebron (Ex. 6:18 Num. 3:19 1Chron. 6:2, 18 23:12)

       A.    Jeriah (1Chron. 23:19 24:23)

       B.    Amariah (1Chron. 23:19 24:23)

       C.    Jahaziel (1Chron. 23:19 24:23)

       D.    Jekameam (1Chron. 23:19 24:23)

IV.   Uzziel (Ex. 6:18 Num. 3:19 1Chron. 6:2, 18 23:12)

       A.    Mishael (Ex. 6:22)

       B.    Elzaphan (Ex. 6:22); possibly Elizaphan (Num. 3:30)

       C.    Sithri (Ex. 6:22)

       D.    Micah (1Chron. 23:20)

       E.    Isshiah (1Chron. 23:20)

The Sons of Merari

I.     Mahli (Ex. 6:19 Num. 3:20 1Chron. 6:19 23:21 24:26)

       A.    Eleazar (Eleazar had only daughters, so the sons of Kish, his brother, married his daughters to continue the line—1Chron. 23:21 24:28)

       B.    Kish (1Chron. 23:21)

               1.    Libni ➔ Shimei ➔ Uzzah ➔ Shimea ➔ Haggiah ➔ Asaiah (1Chron. 6:29–30)

               2.    Jerahmeel (he is a descendant way down the line of Kish) (1Chron. 24:29)

II.    Mushi (Ex. 6:19 Num. 3:20 1Chron. 6:19 23:21 24:26)

       A.    Mahli (1Chron. 6:47 23:23 24:30) ➔ Shemer ➔ Bani ➔ Amzi ➔ Hilkiah ➔ Amaziah ➔ Hashabiah ➔ Malluch ➔ Abdi ➔ Kishi (or, Kushaiah in 1Chron. 15:17) ➔ Ethan (1Chron. 6:44–47)

       B.    Edersheim (1Chron. 23:23) or Eder in 1Chron. 24:30

       C.    Jeremoth (1Chron. 23:23) or Jerimoth in 1Chron. 24:30

III.   Abihail ➔ Zuriel (it is unclear as to who Abihail is descended from, whether Mahli, Mushi or neither—Num. 3:35)

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The Line of the Descendants of Kohath

And sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, and Hebron and Uzziel.



And the descendants of Kohath are Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.

The first thing that we must understand is that these four are not necessarily brothers, but they are the heads of families in Israel and all four were descended from Kohath. At the time of the exodus, there were 8600 Kohathites (Num. 3:27–28); this would indicate that these four are not necessarily the actual sons of Kohath, but descendants of his (at least, there is no way that Amram is the actual son of Kohath). On the other hand, they may not have been separated by that many generations. Levi lived to the age of 137 (Ex. 6:16), Kohath to 133 (ex. 6:18) and Amram to 137 (Ex. 6:20), which pretty much takes us almost all the way through the 400 years of Jewish slavery to Egypt. Therefore, there may have been fewer intervening generations than one would suspect (contrast this with the line of Judah and near descendants like Caleb—not the Caleb of the Pentateuch).

The first time that Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel are mentioned is in Ex. 6:18, 20. It first appears that Amram married his aunt Jochebed, who was his father’s sister, and she bore to him Aaron, Moses and Miriam (Ex. 6:20); however, in Num. 26:59, she is simply a Levite, a descendant of Levi. Therefore, there is no way that Amram could have been the actual son of Kohath. He was, at closest, a great grandson and was, more than likely, several more generations removed. What appears to be the case is that Amram and Uzziel are both late descendants of Kohath (see Lev. 10:4) and Izhar and Hebron are very early descendants of Kohath—perhaps even sons.

Little is known about Izhar, apart from being a descendant of Levi through Kohath (Ex. 6:18, 21 Num. 3:19). One of his descendants is quite well known, however. Korah was a descendant of Izhar and Korah will organize a rebellion against Moses which will result in the deaths of nearly 15,000 Israelites (Num. 16 1Chron. 6:38).

Hebron was a descendant of Kohath and he is mentioned pretty much in the same passages as Amram and Izhar (Ex. 6:18 Num. 3:19 1Chron. 6:2, 18 23:12). Nothing much is known about Hebron apart from his genealogies (see also 1Chron. 23:19 24:23). His descendants, the Hebronites, are simply mentioned in two censuses (Num. 3:27 26:58).

Uzziel is not only found in the traditional genealogies, but he is also mentioned in Lev. 10:4 as the uncle of Aaron (which is why I would place him as a very late descendant of Kohath). His family was in charge of the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the screen and the vessels of the Tent of Meeting (Num. 3:31). Later, in the book of Chronicles, we will find that they were given several assignments under David.

And sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses and Miriam.



Amram’s sons and daughters were Aaron, Moses and Miriam.

The sons of Amram were an impressive family. Moses and Aaron both went to Pharaoh of Egypt and demanded that he let the Israelites go. The reason that Aaron was there was that Moses was unsure of himself and wanted Aaron to act as his mouthpiece. Moses led Israel out of Egypt. As we have seen, Aaron’s ability to lead was sorely lacking. When Moses went up Mount Sinai and left Aaron in charge, the first thing that the Israelites did was to construct a golden calf idol.

As you will recall, Miriam and Aaron both objected to a second wife which Moses took (it appears as though Miriam took the lead and Aaron fell into line behind her), and both died the sin unto death.

And sons of Aaron: Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.



The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

God did have a place for Aaron. Temporarily, he was the mouthpiece for Moses, until Moses could bear it no longer and took over. However, God made Aaron High Priest, and committed his sons to this office as well (some descendants, of course, would be merely priests). As we have studied in the books of Leviticus and Numbers, there is no reason to suppose that all of the Levites became candidates for the priesthood. Only Aaron’s descendants (who were obviously Levites) were given that privilege and the rest of the Levites were allowed to help with the Tent of Worship.

Aaron took his place in history based upon relationship to Moses, which is a picture of us. Moses is a picture of Christ, and Aaron is a picture of us who has a place in God’s plan based upon relationship to Moses (Christ). Apart from our relationship to God through Christ, we would have no standing. We could not represent ourselves as priests before God. We have nothing else to recommend us apart from our relationship through Christ. Aaron was the same way. Moses looked up to him as an older brother, so some degree; and leaned on him when it came to speaking to Pharaoh—however, the only reason that Aaron played a part—and, in fact, a big part—was due to his relationship to Moses. Aaron became High Priest and all of those who were his descendants became priests and High Priests as well. Because of his relationship to Moses, Aaron was with Moses on a couple of occasions when God spoke to Moses.

The priests concerned themselves with several areas of the ceremonial portions of the Law—actually, that which, in the Law, foretold of Christ. All of the animal sacrifices, the innocent dying for the guilty; the unblemished sacrifices making amends for the transgressions of the people—all of these things spoke of Christ. Then, when the High Priest, once a year, on the Day of Atonement, went into the Holy of Holies, deep inside the Tent, to the Ark of the Covenant, and sprinkled blood upon it, that again spoke of our Lord’s once for all sacrifice.

Aaron had a great character flaw, which we get to know as we examine his life in the Pentateuch. He went along with whatever—he did the expedient thing. When Moses was receiving the Law from Mount Sinai, Aaron went along with the manufacturing of the golden calf idol. In Num. 12, Moses married an Ethiopian woman, and Miriam thoroughly disapproved—and Aaron went along with that. During the second Meribah incident, when the people complained of no water, he and Moses were given very specific instructions Footnote as to how to produce water from the rock, Moses disobeyed God’s directions and Aaron went along with it. Moses was told that he would not lead the people into the land and Aaron was literally stripped of his office of High Priest, taken to a mountain and he died (Num. 20).

It is quite interesting what the JEPD theory did to Aaron. Aaron is mentioned 350 times in Scripture—300 in the Pentateuch. However, many of the proponents of that flawed theory claim that Aaron is simply a concoction of a fertile imagination. They claim that Aaron is missing from J (the author who used the name Jehovah a great deal); and that he is only incidental to E (the author who uses the name of Elohim the most often). Now, how do you have the mention of Aaron 300 times, and yet some theologian tells us that he does not appear at all in the J documents? Their explanation is that the phrase and Aaron was added by whoever wove these documents together. In the E documents, Aaron’s name occurs 21 times, and mostly in connection to rebellion against Moses (Ex. 32, the golden calf incident; and Num. 12, Moses’ marriage to the Ethiopian woman). The claim is that Aaron is mentioned primarily in the P documents, which are the documents written by a priest hundreds of years later (it is claimed the P documents are post-exilic). In order to make the Pentateuch fit their theory, the JEPD proponents delete and Aaron when it is convenient and fits their theory and leave it in when leaving his name in fits their theory. ZPEB: This handling of the text requires a remarkable disregard of consistency, to say the least, and is forthrightly rejected by conservative scholarship. Footnote Proponents of this theory simply change whatever they do not like in Scripture, so that it completely agrees with their theory. When you are first presented with this theory, it seems to be moderately convincing: “We have noticed that there are some passages in which the Tetragrammaton YHWH is found almost exclusively; and other passages where we find the name Elohim. When we separate these passages, we seem to find two different traditions which must have been later woven together.” The problem is, when other tests are put to these same groups of Scriptures, they fail. Therefore, “someone at one time added Aaron’s name dozens of times in order to hide the fact that these passages were woven together from separate traditions.” This reasoning begs the question. The considerable evidence against this theory is rationalized away; and the small amount of evidence which might support such a theory is made abnormally prominent (even though it is not consistent).

It appears pretty obvious to me: Aaron was the first High Priest, so we should expect to hear his name mentioned in connection with the function of the High Priest and with the function of the priests. As I have mentioned many times previously, this JEPD theory is a goofy theory which does nothing but detract from the inspiration of Scripture (which is what Satan designed it to do).

Aaron had married Elisheba, who was the sister of Nahshon, who may have been an ancestor of King David (Ex. 6:23 Ruth 4:20 1Chron. 2:10). He had several sons, who will be discussed in order.

Aaron’s first two sons were Nadab and Abihu (Ex. 6:23 Num. 3:2 26:60 1Chron. 24:1), who were next up to follow Aaron in his office as High Priest. Prior to this, they were priests to Jehovah. God had allowed Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and 70 elders to ascend Mt. Sinai together and they all witnessed the manifestation of Jehovah God, and Moses went more near to receive more of the Law. They saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself (Ex. 24:10). All four of Aaron’s sons were called by God to be priests unto Him in Ex. 28:1 and they were all so consecrated in Lev. 8:1–36. As you will recall, God gave very explicit instructions as to how everything was to be done. God deals in details and gave extremely detailed instructions as to how and what was to be done. Nadab and Abihu disobeyed these instructions and apparently offered incense in their fire before God. The idea is that, God had said several times that the fire from the sacrifices would be a sweet aroma to Him; so they threw in some incense so that the smoke would smell sweet. This was not under God’s instructions—this was them adding human works to the sacrifices, confusing the idea of salvation. Anytime human works are added to salvation, this issue is confused and the person involved is not saved. When you add baptism, sincere and earnest repentance from your sins, a personal vow not to commit some or all of these sins ever again, etc. etc., you muck up the water of salvation. We are saved completely and 100% by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. There is nothing that we can add to this to make this a sweeter savor to God. We are accepted in the Beloved because of what He did on the cross, not because of some little work that we do on this earth. Therefore, Nadab and Abihu immediately died the sin unto death (Lev. 10:1–3). They had no children (Num. 3:4 1Chron. 24:2). This left Aaron’s next two sons, Eleazar and Ithamar (Num. 3:3–4).

Ithamar was the youngest of the four brothers, and he did not inherit the office of the High Priest as did his older brother Eleazar. However, Ithamar was an important leader in Israel. He oversaw the inventory of the items collected for the Tent of Glory (Ex. 38:21). The Gershonites had certain duties with respect to the Tent of Meeting. Ithamar had authority over them (Num. 4:27–28). The Merarites also had specific duties with respect to the Tent of Meeting, and Ithamar oversaw these duties as well (Num. 4:33 7:8).

Of Aaron’s four sons, Eleazar stands out the most in Scripture. While Aaron was High Priest, Eleazar supervised the tribe of Levi with respect to their responsibilities to the Tent of Worship (Num. 3:31–32). He also was in charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the continual grain offering and the anointing oil, as well as being responsible for the Tent of Worship and all that was in it (Num. 4:16). In the ordinance of the red heifer, Eleazar played a prominent part. He slaughtered the red heifer and sprinkled the blood in front of the Tent of Meeting seven times (Num. 19:1–10).

When his father was stripped of his priesthood, Eleazar was there. The priestly garments went directly off the back of Aaron onto the back of Eleazar. There is no gap in the protection and the watch of our High Priest over us, and there is no gap here. Aaron died on the mountain top and Moses and Eleazar returned to the people (Num. 20:25–28 Deut. 10:6). Eleazar remained the High Priest during most of the time of Joshua’s political leadership over the people of Israel. He assisted Joshua with the division of the land to the sons of Israel (Num. 34:17 Joshua 14:1 17:4). He and Joshua appeared to die about the same time. Around that time, Eleazar passed on the of office of the High Priesthood to his son, Phinehas (it appears as though Eleazar retired rather than died while in this office—Joshua 22:13 Judges 20:28). It appears as though the line of Ithamar somehow became the line of the High Priest (Eli was from the house of Ithamar rather than of Eleazar), and then it went back to Eleazar’s branch (this will be discussed in further detail near the end of this chapter). What appears to be the descent in the line of Ithamar is Eli ➔ Phinehas 2 ➔ Ahitub I ➔ Ahijah ➔ Ahimelech I (who may be equivalent to Ahijah) ➔ Abiathar ➔ Ahimelech II (see 1Sam. 14:3 22:20 2Sam. 8:17). Footnote Most of these men would have served as priests or High Priest from the end of the era of the judges to early on in the kingdom era.

Eleazar fathered Phinehas; Phinehas fathered Abishua;



Eleazar fathered Phinehas; Phinehas sired Abishua;

Phinehas was the actual son of Eleazar and a force to be reckoned with early on. Near the end of Israel tenure in the desert wilderness, the Moabites became concerned of the Israelites camping so close to them. Balak called upon Balaam to curse Israel, in hopes that a curse would do them in. Although Balaam reluctantly agreed, he was unable to curse Israel (Num. 22–24). However, what did capture the hearts of the Israelites were the wild, Moabite women. There appeared to be some coalition of sorts, as the Midianite women were included in this seduction. Now, the problem was not the intermarriage, but the fact that the foreign women coaxed the Israelite men to worship their gods. One man boldly brought a Midianite woman into the camp of Israel and took her to his tent to have sexual relations with her. Phinehas followed the man and put a spear through the man and the woman, killing them both. Now, this is not something that we are today enjoined to do. Many of the religious groups that came to the United States originally were very confused as to what happened in the New and Old Testaments. However, this was valid for that day and time. The Israelites were in the midst of a plague put upon them by God for their relationships with the Moabite women and their gods. This checked the plague (24,000 died because of this plague). Phinehas then accompanied the army which went and took revenge upon the Midianites in Num. 31.

We don’t hear anything about Phinehas (or his father, Eleazar) in the crossing of the Jordan or the taking of the land. Eleazar participates in the distribution of the land; however, the next time we hear again of Phinehas is in Joshua 22 when the eastern tribes set up an altar east of the Jordan (see the exegesis of Joshua 22 to see the discussion of this), and this properly disturbs all of Israel. The land has been conquered and distributed; Joshua and Eleazar appear to have retired (or taken a low profile). Phinehas, a younger man, but not a young man, is the spiritual, and, apparently, somewhat of a political leader. He took ten men with him to discuss the erection by the eastern tribes of this altar. He finds their explanation satisfactory and reports this back to the sons of Israel.

One of the important aspects of that previous story is that this suggests that Phinehas may have been the author for (1) the end of the book of Joshua; (2) the first couple chapters of Judges; and/or (3) the last few chapters of Judges. No one is mentioned by name in the second two-thirds of Joshua 22 apart from Phinehas. He does not report this information back to Joshua directly (or, at least the text does not so suggest) but to the people of Israel. It is more reasonable to suppose that he recorded the contents of this chapter than Joshua. Joshua gives two messages in Joshua 23 and 24 (Joshua 23 appears to be his last message to the people); then his death, and the death of Eleazar are recorded at the end of Joshua 24. Given his age, we can reasonably suppose that Joshua did not record all of this, although he may have written his message out. It is more likely that Phinehas appended these things to the book bearing his name. Such a position does not detract from the inspiration of Scripture and is more logical. The last verse of the book of Joshua, which deals with the death of Eleazar, as well as mentioning Phinehas his son, gives even more credence to this theory.

Again, Phinehas is not mentioned for a long time—we don’t hear his name again until its final mention in Judges 20:28. The disjointed material found in the book of Judges (it would be reasonable to assume there were three or four different authors, the final author being an editor) would allow for Phinehas to have authored portions of this book. My thinking is that he may have recorded one or both of the final incidents in the book of the Judges. However, I do not believe that Phinehas recorded the first couple chapters of the book of the Judges. The vocabulary from the end of Joshua, particularly in Joshua 22, is rather complex; and the vocabulary of the beginning of the book of the Judges is rather simple by comparison. There is also a feeling of summary that runs through those first couple chapters—as if someone is looking back over this history and making some summary observations. Although Phinehas would have been qualified to do so, my feeling is that the history would have been too recent for him to make these observations, and that someone else, a few decades or centuries removed, made them (I see this person as the final editor of this book). The mention of Phinehas late in the book of Judges would allow for him to have authored those portions (as you recall, the last two sections of the book of Judges actually occurred very early in the history of the judges). And the fact that he is the only person of note mentioned in those final five chapters pretty much gives us the only name to choose from.

The son of Phinehas, Abishua, is mentioned only in genealogies (1Chron. 6:4–5, 50 Ezra 7:5).

And Abishua fathered Bukki and Bukki fathered Uzzi; and Uzzi fathered Zerahiah; and Zerahiah fathered Meraioth; Meraioth fathered Amariah; and Amariah fathered Ahitub; and Ahitub fathered Zadok; and Zadok fathered Ahimaaz; and Ahimaaz fathered Azariah; and Azariah fathered Johanan;



And Abishua sired Bukki and Bukki sired Uzzi; and Uzzi sired Zerahiah; and Zerahiah sired Meraioth; Meraioth sired Amariah; and Amariah sired Ahitub; and Ahitub sired Zadok; and Zadok sired Ahimaaz; and Ahimaaz sired Azariah; and Azariah sired Johanan;

When I first typed this verse, I thought to myself that this is simply going to be another long list of names of people who we will never know anything about, apart from running into some (or, all) of them in eternity. However, that is not the case with all of them.

What we first need is the concept of a time frame for these men. Phinehas was High Priest at the beginning of the period of the judges, which was nearly 400 years in length. These six men, from Abishua to Amariah, take us to the time of Eli; therefore, we are probably missing a few generations. The only way for them to have been the line of High Priests during the time of the judges is for each one of them to have occupied office for over 60 years. This is obviously unlikely; however, one of the postulates that we have made is that we would expect there to be specific periods of time where the names of men would be lost; during the period of Israel’s slavery to Egypt, we expected few family lines to be carefully preserved. During the period of the time of the judges, given the great degeneracy of Israel, we expect few lines to be preserved in their entirety.

Bukki’s primary claim to fame is that he had the most bitchin’ name for a priest in the history of Israel. Other than that, we find him only here and in Ezra 7. In fact, we might do well to simply compare the Ezra passage with this one, 1Chron. 6:50–53 and the Greek version of this passage. After which, we will only deal with those names as are found outside of these three passages.

The Priestly Line



I Chron






Neh. 11:10–11

1Chron. 6:5–15 (Septuagint)






Amariah 1 Footnote

Ahitub  1

Zadok 1


Azariah  1

































Azariah 2






(Azariah served as a priest in the Temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem)

Amariah 2

Ahitub 2

Zadok 2



Azariah 3





























(Jehozadak was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar)







Jachin (?)




*These three are not given in son of form in Chronicles. We are not going to cover these men until we get to 1Chron. 9.

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Now, prior to examining this chart, the first thing that would come to my mind is that, for whatever reason, some of the priests were named two or three times in this list. However, it simply appears as though several priests had the same names. In fact, for the first time in our examination of any chronology, we finally have 100% agreement in our passages. Not every passage follows out the priestly line as far as the others, nor are all those in the line included; however, it is remarkable that the Septuagint (composed approximately 200–100 b.c.) and the Massoretic text (ours go back to the 8th or 9th century a.d.). One of the things which we have noted with any genealogical line is that, often being the least interesting of the Scripture, it would remain unread for long periods of time; and, when finally unraveled to copy, would be in horrible condition, often barely readable. I know that you probably do not appreciate this, but there is nothing in ancient literature which shows this kind of agreement. However, this agreement will yield one minor problem with Hilkiah, which will be discussed below.

There are several notes that I would like to make as we cover this: (1) when a priest is mentioned in connection with a king, that does not mean that he was acting High Priest at the time (unless, of course, the passage calls him the Chief Priest or the High Priest); (2) Although this particular line appears to be the line of the High Priests, that does not mean that these were the only men who occupied that office—that is, there were other men of other lines who also occupied this office; (3) Like any other genealogical line, there are probably some gaps in this line. That all being said, I will try to place these various men into an historical context.

Uzzi is found listed only in this and the parallel passages. He is thought by some to be a contemporary of Eli’s, the priest who served during the time of Samuel the judge (this would have been the end of the times of the judges).

Meraioth, the meaning of whose name is unknown (it may be related to bitter) is mentioned several times in Scripture, but only in regards to being related to others in the priestly line and only in the passages listed above. In 1Chron. 9:11 and Neh. 11:11, his name appears to be slightly out of place. Therefore, it is possible that there is another Meraioth buried somewhere in the line of Phinehas (this will be covered in more detail below).

Amariah 1 on this list is not the same as the Levite Amariah named in 1Chron. 23:19 25:23; the lines are completely different. Amariah 2 is also only found in genealogies, but he is mentioned in I Esdras 8:2 and II Esdras 1:2, books of the Apocrypha.

Ahitub 1 and 2 will be mentioned below. There is another Ahitub, who is a priest, who is in the line of Aaron, but his line is through Ithamar and Eli (1Sam. 14:3 22:9, 11–12, 20).

Zadok 1 is called the son of Ahitub 1 in 2Sam. 8:17 and 1Chron. 18:16, and is mentioned in connection with the early administration of King David. In two passages, we have ...and Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, the chief officer of the house of God (1Chron. 9:11 Neh. 11:11). According to all of the other genealogies, it should be ...Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Meraioth. So, what’s the dealio? (1) It is possible that 1Chron. 9:11 and Neh. 11:11 are both corrupt. However, it would not matter if 1Chron. 9:11 was corrupt and Nehemiah copied from that, because that would contradict the Doctrine of the Inspiration of Scripture (something I have studied and written on at least 3 times). Now, one passage could have become corrupt and some scribe changed the other to match. However, these passages are all in agreement with the Greek as well. (2) This could be a list of the ancestors of Zadok, without a consideration given for order (I am not aware of this occurring elsewhere in Scripture). (3) There could be another Meraioth, Meraioth 2, not mentioned in our passage, 1Chron. 6 (or, any of the parallel passages). That I also find to be unsatisfactory because, why mention him in one place and not the other? And why mention him at all, when he is a virtual unknown? This, apart from its weaknesses, appears to be the best explanation. (4) The possible explanation given by ZPEB is also quite unsatisfactory: The best explanation of this phenomenon is to study the methods employed by the Scripture writers of genealogies whereby they selectively draw out names from a genealogy for their immediate contextual purposes and employ the word “son of” or “father of” to connect these links as is permissible in the range of meanings for these terms. Footnote What lends credence to this explanation is that the passages of 1Chron. 9 and Neh. 11 are not genealogies per se, as there are so many gaps; but more of a listing of bare qualifications (which would reasonably include names from before and after the Temple). When we get to 1Chron. 9, we’ll spend some more time on this, as it is a problem for that passage more than it is for this one.

Zadok 1 is probably the most well-known of the priests (okay, you haven’t heard of him, but he is first mentioned in 2Sam. 8:17, where we we read: And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, priests;... What we have are two High Priests, and the reason that they are both High Priests is that they come from different lines. Zadok comes from the line of Eleazar and Ahimelech comes from the line of Ithamar (this particular Ahimelech and this particular Abiathar are not mentioned in the genealogical lines of 1Chron. 6). I have placed them in some of the tables to help orient you to the two lines.

Zadok appears to have begun under David as a young man (2Sam. 8:17 1Chron. 12:23–28). He and his son, Ahimaaz, were priests during the time of Absalom’s rebellion (2Sam. 15:36). When he originally followed David (along with Abiathar, a priest in the line of Eli and Ithamar), he brought along the Ark of God. David told him to return the Ark to Jerusalem (2Sam. 15:24–29). All the gathered information during Absalom’s rebellion was to be filtered through them, as David’s trusted servants, and passed along to David (Ahimaaz and Jonathan would gather information and pass it along to David—2Sam. 17:17–20). Once Absalom’s rebellion had been quashed, David was not accepted immediately by Judah. David then sent messengers to Zadok to gain the acceptance of the Judæan people (2Sam. 19:11–14). Zadok is also mentioned in connection with David in about a dozen other passages.

Zadok more or less shared his position as priest with Abiathar (the priest in the line of Ithamar) throughout the reign of David. However, when David was ready to pass away, Abiathar aligned himself with Adonijah, David’s fourth son born to him by Haggith (2Sam. 3:4 1Chron. 3:1–2), and, while David was deathly ill, yet still alive, Adonijah assumed the position of king of all Israel. For those loyal to David, this was a serious problem, as David had promised Bathsheba that his son by her, Solomon, would succeed him. Zadok was one of the men who proclaimed Solomon king, by David’s orders, while David was still alive (1Kings 1). After assuming his position as king, Solomon removed Abiathar as priest and reinstated Zadok (1Kings 2:27, 35). Footnote Sometime previous, there had been a prophecy laid down that, because of the disobedience of Eli’s son, that his line would be cut off forever (1Sam. 2:27–36). This removal of Abiathar was the fulfillment of that prophecy.

The JEPD’s have a theory about Zadok—that he was purely the invention of the priests who were descended from Aaron. They get their foothold in with a phoney, but intelligent-sounding theory, and then do as much damage as possible to the inspiration of Scripture and to those who really took a part in Israel’s history (what the JEPD’s did not like is the prediction of the end of the priestly line of Eli being fulfilled). Essentially, the basis of this part of the JEPD theory is that there is no such thing as predictive prophecy.

Speaking of theories, Barnes had trouble with Zadok 1 and his great, great grandson son, Azariah 2, both serving under Solomon. In 1Chron. 4:4, we have Zadok 1 over all the priests, in somewhat of a supervisory position; perhaps as sort of a figurehead. His grandson, Azariah 1, was actually the High Priest at this time (1Chron. 4:2). It would not be unheard of for Zadok 1 to be 110 years old and his grandson, Azariah 1 could have been 70 and at the end of his service (Zadok’s son, and Azariah 1’s father, Ahimaaz, is only mentioned in connection with David). There was Azariah’s son, Johanan, who not mentioned apart from the genealogical line. Azariah 2, would (or, could) have been perhaps 40 when the Temple was completed. Barnes solution was that Azariah 1 was the High Priest at the Temple of Solomon. Footnote Although this is possible, it is less likely. It would have made little sense to misplace Azariah 1’s name like that.

The last we hear of Zadok is in the book of Ezekiel. Around Ezek. 40, Ezekiel records the future of the priesthood and the priests are called sons of Zadok (Ezek. 40:46 43:19 44:15 48:11). Footnote This clearly indicates the importance of Zadok.

Now, what might confuse you is the idea that it appears as though we have two High Priests under the reign of David. In fact, it appears as though we have this parallel priesthood for several decades. Furthermore, another confusing portion of Israel’s history is the location of the tent of God. You probably have no idea as to why there are two priesthoods and where exactly was the Tent of God. Let me explain: at the end of the time of the judges, the Philistines took from Israel the Ark of God (1Sam. 4pdf version), which Ark Israel brought into the battle for good luck. God cursed degenerate Israel and allowed the Philistines to not only be victorious, but to take the Ark as well. However, God also cursed the Philistines, and anywhere that they took the Ark, that city was placed under great divine judgement. The Philistines finally returned the Ark to Israel, and David later brought the Ark to Jerusalem where David constructed a separate tent for it on Zion. However, the Tent of God was actually located in Gibeon, which is where sacrifices were offered until the Temple was built. Footnote Therefore, there would need to be two sets of priests, as there were two places in Israel which required a priesthood. Zadok performed the duties of a High Priest in Gibeon (1Kings 3:4 1Chron. 16:39) and Abiathar’s antecedents originally acted as a priests in Jerusalem (actually, in Nob, which was just slightly northeast of Jerusalem). Nob was known as the city of priests (1Sam. 22:19). Saul, because of the kindness that showed to David, wiped out all of the priests in Nob, except for young Abiathar, who escaped to David (1Sam. 22PDF version). It is possible (although there is nothing to support this) that the Tent of God was moved to Gibeon because of this assault on the city of Nob (after killing the priests, Saul then assaulted the city itself). Footnote After this, Abiathar served directly under David, generally in Jerusalem. When Solomon built the Temple, which became the center of worship for Israel, and when he brought the Ark of God to the Temple, this roughly coincided in time with a return to a single line of priests (there was some intervening time between these events, which appears to be less than 20 years).

Please allow me to go off on a tangent and explain the purpose of this. We have the Tent of God which was void of the Ark of God in Gibeon as the central place where worship occurred. We have the Ark of God—the true essence of God—elsewhere. This is foreshadowing. Israel, at some point as a nation, would no longer be the true custodian of the purpose of God; they would not longer have the Presence of God. In the first century, they would be left with an empty tent of worship. The Ark of God—that is, God’s glory and essence, as well as purpose—would be with the Church. There was this great split. When the permanent Home of God is built—that is, Christ returns to rule over the earth (the Temple represents that), then these two, the Church and Israel, will be united; and both will have a part as true custodians of the Word and purpose of God.

The second Zadok in this line is found only in Chronicles. The first thing which would occur to those giving this a precursory glance is that perhaps the scribe made a mistake, since Zadok 2 has a father and a grandfather with the same names as Zadok 1’s father and grandfather. First of all, such an occurrence is not impossible or even completely out of the ordinary. Just as a person might give his son the same name, and his son give his own son the same name, it would not be out of the ordinary for a priest to be named after a well-known previous priest; for his son to be named after the son of the first priest, and onto the grandson. It may have been simply a symbolic gesture. Being that they are all descended from one another makes such a thing even more likely. The agreement between the Greek and the Hebrew further substantiates this view; the fact that the Ezra 7 passage would be thrown all out of whack if such a thing were true further supports this position. Furthermore, we need some generations in there to fill in the gap between the Temple and the dispersion. In fact, the only reason to doubt that there was a second Zadok (along with his father and grandfather) is that the names are the same. That simply isn’t reason enough to take that position. Apart from determining that Zadok 2 really existed, there is nothing else we know about him.

There are no fewer than a possible 27 different Azariah’s in Scripture. Several of these are identical; however, that still leaves us with at least twenty different Azariah’s. Azariah 1 on our list was a priest during the time of Solomon. In fact, he is the first-named of Solomon’s officials in 1Kings 4:2 (this was at the beginning of Solomon’s reign). He is called, in that passage, the son of Zadok; however, that means descendant of Zadok. In between was his father Ahimaaz (2Sam. 15:36). His grandson, Azariah 2, also served under Solomon, in Solomon’s Temple (2Chron. 6:10).

Abishua and Zerahiah are found only within these parallel passages (and some are mentioned in the genealogical lines found in I Esdras 1 & 8). It is supposed by Keil and Delitzsch that Zerahiah was not equal to the discharge of the duties of the office under the difficult circumstances of the time; and that Eli’s grandson, Ahitub, assumed the Eli’s High Priesthood Footnote .

and Johanan fathered Azariah—he served [as a priest] in the house that built Solomon in Jerusalem;



and Johanan fathered Azariah, who served in the Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem;


There are two verbs that I would like to touch on in this verse. The second verb in this verse is the Piel perfect of kâhan (ן-הָ) [pronounced kaw-HAHN], which means to act as a priest, to be a priest, to serve [as a priest], to minister as a priest. Strong’s #3547 BDB #464. The second verb is the Qal perfect of bânâh (ה ָנ ָ) [pronounced baw-NAWH], which means to build, to rebuild. Strong’s #1129 BDB #124.

Johanan is barely squeezed between Azariah 1 and 2, and is found only in the genealogies. Despite all of the information that we have on Zadok, on Azariah 1 and the mention of Azariah 2 serving in the Temple, we know nothing about Johanan. Now actually, we have a small uncertainty concerning Azariah 1 and 2; there are two Azariah’s who lived around the time of Solomon and there is an Azariah named in 1Kings 4:2 and both are named in this passage. They are both descendants of Zadok, and therefore could be called the son of Zadok (1Kings 4:2); therefore, both passages could refer to the same Azariah. The second Azariah is clearly connected to the Temple worship in this verse. However, we do not know if the first Azariah began as the High Priest of the new Temple under Solomon, only to be quickly replaced by his grandson. If the grandson, Azariah 2, was High Priest for, say, 30 years of Solomon’s 40 year reign, then he would be the one most closely associated with the Temple, even if his grandfather, Azariah 1, was the first priest of the Temple. Therefore, when we come to a chart which correlates the various priests to the kings over Judah, there will be some Scriptural references, e.g., this particular one, which may not be correctly correlated.

When Solomon dedicated the Temple, the focus was upon Jehovah, the God of Israel, Jesus Christ (2Chron. 2:1–3:1). Solomon basically was concerned about two things: (1) Jehovah, the God of Israel, should have a place of permanence in Israel. We recognize now why the Tent of Meeting represented the temporary residence of the Lord of Glory (this was Christ in His first incarnation); and the Temple represented Him in His permanent residence on this earth, in the Millennium.

and Azariah fathered Amariah and Amariah fathered Ahitub and Ahitub fathered Zadok and Zadok fathered Shallum and Shallum fathered Hilkiah and Hilkiah fathered Azariah and Azariah fathered Seraiah and Seraiah fathered Jehozadak.



and Azariah fathered Amariah and Amariah fathered Ahitub and Ahitub fathered Zadok and Zadok fathered Shallum and Shallum fathered Hilkiah and Hilkiah fathered Azariah and Azariah fathered Seraiah and Seraiah fathered Jehozadak.

First things first: Barnes claims that this particular line is flawed. There are 3–4 generations between Amariah and Hilkiah, which is apparently too few for the estimated 200 years of history that they cover. At worst, we have a few generations missing. If you examine the list of Priests and Kings below, you will see that we have more than enough priests for the time of the kings during this span. Some of the priests are of an unknown origin (not all of them have to come in one particular line), and they more than take up the slack for what is missing. They may even be the one’s who are missing. The way that I have set up the line of priests, I have a generation of priests for every generation of kings. So, I don’t think that we have a problem, other than the exact origin of those priests found in Scripture during this time. Barnes: [This genealogy]...is not a list of High-Priests, but the genealogy of Jozadak or Jehozadak, whose line of descent party coincided with the list of High-Priests, partly differed from it. Where it coincided, all the names are given; where it differed, some are omitted, in order (probably) to render the entire list from Phinehas a multiple of seven Footnote .

There was possibly an Azariah 2.5, not on this list or in this passage, who was the High Priest under King Uzziah and Hezekiah. King Uzziah had decided that he was going to offer incense up on the altar of incense, one of the many activities which was exclusive to the priests. Azariah 2.5, along with 80 other priests, expressed their dissatisfaction. King Uzziah was struck with leprosy and the priests helped him to get out of the Temple 2Chron. 26:16–21). Azariah was the High Priest (of the chief priest) when King Hezekiah ruled as well (2Chron. 31:8–10). Hezekiah began his rule in 716 b.c. and Judah was dispersed in 597 b.c. If this man is the same as Azariah 3 on the list above, then there are only two recorded priests during the last century (Seraiah and Jehozadak). Although this is possible, it would be an unusually long reign in both cases. It is possible that Azariah’s reign went a ways into that century as well. Because Azariah 2.5 (or 3) is said to be of the house of Zadok (2Chron. 31:10), if this is a fourth Azariah, then he would be either the father or grandfather of Azariah 3 and not listed in any of the genealogies. In the passages named, his genealogy is not mentioned, apart from being a priest in the line of Zadok. Now, one of our problems is that it seems unlikely that a person mentioned in two passages of Scripture should be left out of line of priests. This gives us several possibilities: (1) The line matches the reality of the line of priests and three of them averaged about 33 years each in this office; (2) there is another Azariah mentioned in Scripture, but not in this exact line and therefore not mentioned in this line (there are 20+ Azariah’s in Scripture—however, this Azariah is called a High Priest twice and said to be in the line of Zadok). (3) This is an Azariah from this particular line of Zadok, but he is not mentioned in this line (that is very unlikely). (4) That the Azariah found throughout Scripture, but not in this line is in the line of Zadok, but in a line which branched off. He was named a High Priest, but he is not in the exact same line as we have listed in 1Chron. 6. (5) There are one or more High Priests in the line of Phinehas between Azariah 3 and Jehozadak who are not listed in any of these genealogies.

Our discussion immediately above about there being possibly an Azariah 2.5 was only because there were only a few names to follow his until the dispersion of Judah. However, with Hilkiah, we have a real problem (Azariah was not a real problem; it just merited some discussion). The problem is this: the Azariah 2.5, whom we originally theorized could have existed, would have preceded Hilkiah in time (Hilkiah was High Priest during the time of Josiah and Azariah 2.5 was High Priest under Uzziah and Hezekiah (earlier kings). This could not have been Azariah 2, as he was the father of Amariah 2, who was the High Priest under Jehoshaphat. And this could not have been Azariah 3, as he is the son of Hilkiah, making him too late in time to have served under Uzziah and Hezekiah. This means that there must have been an Azariah 2.5. The actual several possibilities are: (1) there are either two Hilkiah’s (the second one not mentioned in any of the genealogical lines but mentioned in Scripture); (2) there is an extra Azariah, not mentioned in any of the lines, but mentioned in Scripture; (3) the names of Hilkiah and Azariah transposed in all of the lines. Whether we have an extra Hilkiah or Azariah, the problem is the same. Why would these men rate several mentions in Scripture but not in the chronological lines? The problem with their names being transposed in the genealogical lines are twofold (a) these are relatively well-known priests; and, (b) their names are transposed in two lines in two different passages as well as being transposed in the Septuagint. (4) A fourth possibility/explanation is that either Azariah 2.5 (or the Hilkiah mentioned in Scripture but not in this line) are not in this particular line of priests (which is primarily the High Priest line; Ithamar’s does find its way into the priests, but is cut off early on). Both men are called High Priests. I am interested whether anyone else in my four books dealing with contradictions caught this problem. Footnote Several of my sources do call out for an additional Azariah not named in this genealogical line. In any case, if you examine my comparison of the priestly line to line of Kings, you will see that I have inserted an Azariah 2.5, in the line of Zadok, who essentially fixes everything and squares away any Scriptural problems simply by being there. I need to add that this is not a contradiction of any sort; we have a specific line of High Priests given in this chapter which is, apparently, not the only line of High Priests. It appears as though the firstborn of the High Priest would be the next High Priest, and his firstborn after that—however, this was not always the case. The third-born son of Aaron, Eleazar, was the second High Priest. Eleazar’s son, Phinehas, was the next High Priest, and his authority appeared to eclipse Joshua’s as well. We know the circumstances there; but this would indicate that there existed no hard and fast rule that only the firstborn of the firstborn of the firstborn would be the High Priest.

Hilkiah, the High Priest, was sent by King Josiah to count the money brought into the Temple. The purpose was to use these funds to repair the Temple, which, apparently, had fallen into disrepair. Hilkiah found a copy of the Book of the Law in the Temple, which was recognized by all as being the Book of the Law (2Kings 22:4–14 2Chron. 34:9–30). Footnote Josiah had Hilkiah empty out the Temple of all of the idolatrous materials in 2Kings 23:4. I should mention that having a second Hilkiah would also clear up the chronology and lineage problems; however, most exegetes seem to call for an additional Azariah instead.

Seraiah was the High Priest when Nebuchadnezzar was moving against Judah. He took Seraiah (and a few others) and had them executed at Riblah (2Kings 25:18–21 Jer. 52:24–27). Ezra was descended from Seraiah (Ezra 7:1), meaning, obviously, that Seraiah had sired children prior to this execution. This Seraiah is also found in a genealogical line in Neh. 11:10–11.

Ahitub 2 and Shallum (Meshullam in 1Chron. 9:11) are found only within these parallel passages (and some are mentioned in the genealogical lines found in I Esdras 1 & 8).

In the table which will follow, I will have done the following things: (1) I will list every king over the United Kingdom and over Judah in order, giving one estimation of their reigns. (2) I will list 13 of the prophets of Scripture who wrote books next to these kings (Elijah, Elisha, Joel, Jonah and Amos will be missing, as they were properly prophets to the Northern Kingdom). (3) I will list all of the priests and High Priests from the various lines of Scripture and correlate them both in time and in their proper genealogical line. (4) I have listed every priest whose name does not occur in a genealogy, but occurs in narrative Scripture. In some cases, I was able to place them in a genealogy and in others I was not. And, (5) when a priest is spoken of in connection with any particular king, then I will note one or two passages that confirm that. This way, you should be able to look at any individual priest or any line of priests in Scripture, go to this chart, and find that particular priest listed.

The Kings, Prophets and Priests of Judah




Scripture on Priests and Kings







Saul            (1050–1011)

David            (1011–971)

Solomon         (971–931)

Rehoboam      (931–913)

Abijah             (913–911)

Asa                 (911–870)

Jehoshaphat   (870–848)


Jehoram         (848–841)


Ahaziah                  (841)

Athaliah          (841–835)

Joash              (835–796)

Amaziah         (796–767)

A man of God speaks to Eli, which begins the subtle handoff from the priest to the prophet (1Sam. 2:27).

It is likely that the city of Shiloh had been destroyed by this time and that, even though we have the continuing line of priests, their function did not conform precisely to that described in the Law of God. Although we have the Tabernacle of God mentioned during the reign of Solomon, it is not mentioned during the reigns of Saul and David (see the exegesis of 1Sam. 7:1–2 for more information on this).


Bukki *

Uzzi (or, Ozi)*


Meraioth* `

Amariah 1*


Hophni and Phinehas 2*


Ahitub 1 and Ichabod*

Eleazar ben Abinadab

Ahijah                (Saul)

Ahimelech 1      (Saul)

Ahitub 2           (Saul~)

Abiathar   (Saul, David

and Solomon)

Ahimelech 2    (David)

Zadok  1          (David)


Ahimaaz Endnote         (David)

Azariah  1   (Solomon)


Azariah 2 

Amariah 2


Ahitub 3*

Jehoiada      (Athaliah)


Zechariah        (Joash)

Zadok 2*


Keil and Delitzsch postulate that these three men were not High Priests Endnote

1Sam. 1–4

1Sam. 1:3 4:19

1Sam. 1–16 (Samuel is a priest, judge and prophet in the line of Levi, but probably not in Aaron’s line)

1Sam. 4:19–22 14:3 (probably not ever priests) 22:11

1Sam. 7:1

1Sam. 14:3 (possibly the

1Sam. 22:11 same person)

2Sam. 8:17 1Chron. 18:16

1Sam. 22:17–21 2Sam. 8:17

1Kings 2:26–27

2Sam. 8:17 1Chron. 18:16

2Sam. 8:17 15:24–29, 36 17:17–20 19:11–14 1Chron. 15:11 16:39 18:16 24:3, 6, 31

1Kings 2:35 4:44 1Chron. 29:22

2Sam. 15:36 17:17–20

1Kings 4:2 (see discussion in 1Chron. 6:5–9, 6:10)

1Chron. 6:10

2Chron. 19:1, 11

2Kings 11–12

2Chron. 23–24

2Chron. 24:20–22

Azariah           (767–740)


Jotham            (740–732)

Ahaz               (732–716)

Hezekiah        (716–687)

Manasseh       (687–642)

│ Amos

│ Micah           (740)

│ Hosea   (760–710)

├ Isaiah   (740–680)

Azariah 2.5    (Uzziah)

Urijah                (Ahaz)

Azariah 2.5(Hezekiah)

2Chron. 26:16–21

2Kings 16:10–18

2Chron. 31:8–10

Amon              (642–640)

Josiah             (640–608)

Jehoahaz                (608)

Jehoakim        (608–597)

Jehoiachin              (597)

Zedekiah         (597–586)

Nahum      (666–615)

Zephaniah (630–620)

Habakkuk  (627–586)

Jeremiah   (626–580)

Hilkiah            (Josiah)

Azariah 3*

Seraiah      (Zedekiah)

2Kings 22:4–14 23:4 2Chron. 34:9–22

2Kings 25:18–21 Jer. 52:24–27

The 70 year exile of Judah

Governors of Judah:

Daniel       (604–535)

Ezekiel      (593–570)

Obadiah            (585)

Ezra       (Zerubbabel)

Ezra 2:2 7:1–6

Zerubbabel     (535–515)

Nehemiah       (445–410)

Haggai              (520)

Zechariah  (520–518)

Malachi     (450–400)



Jeshua   (Zerubbabel)

Joiakim    (Nehemiah)

Eliashib    (Nehemiah)

Ezra 3:2, 8–9 5:2 10:18 Neh. 12:26 Haggai 1:1, 12, 14 2:2, 3 Zech. 6:11

Neh. 12:10, 12, 26

Neh. 3:1, 20–21 12:10 13:4–9

Ahitub = a priest in the line of Eleazar

Ahitub = a priest in the line of Ithamar

Ahitub = a priest whose exact lineage is unknown

The mention of each priest does not mean that he was the High Priest. The lines given in Scripture are simply followed, and these would be the men mostly likely to be the High Priests. According to Josephus, Ozi was in the line of Eleazar and the High Priest until Eli, from the line of Ithamar (Antiquities v. 11, 5). There is indication as to why the priesthood changed lines (if, in fact, it did—Scripture appears to be in agreement).

The Scripture given under the heading Scripture on Priests and Kings is not meant to be exhaustive, but simply enough to indicate a connection between that particular priest and that particular king.

*Not mentioned in connection with any particular king or historical incident.

`There is either another Meraioth who occurs between Ahitub 1 and Zadok 1, who is found only in 1Chron. 9 and Neh. 11, or those passages are more fluid in their genealogies, simply listing the first three men in those passages as sons of Ahitub 1 and of Meraioth.

~Not directly cited as the High Priest during the time of a particular king, but position can be inferred by context of passage cited.

Return to Outline

Return to the Chart Index

Priests Not Named in the Genealogies of 1Chronicles 6


Most of the priests of Israel came down through the line of Eleazar, a son of Aaron. However, Eli was descended through Ithamar, the youngest son of Aaron. Eli, like Samuel, was a cross-over judge-priest. He judged Israel for forty years and he also functioned as a priest at the Tent of God. When Samuel was born to Elkanah and Hannah, because of a vow that Hannah had made to God, Samuel was given over to Eli to raise and he was thereby dedicated to God. He became Eli’s protégé, if you will. Eli had sons himself who he had trained to take up after him—Hophni and Phinehas—but they had no personal character. They would take bribes and render judgments according to the bribes. Samuel, raised, by Eli, was called upon to pronounce judgment on the line of Eli, telling him that it would be cut off from the priesthood because of his sons. God finally took his sons in the sin unto death; when Eli heard, he fell over backwards on his chair and died (he was old and overweight). 1Sam. 1–4. His lineage is determined by comparing 1Sam. 22:20 1Kings 2:27 1Chron. 24:3. Because of the sins of his sons, the priesthood of Aaron is followed in this chapter only through Eleazar, even though there were several priests from the line of Ithamar who were High Priests.

Jehoiada and Zechariah

You will note that with this chart, we have introduced a problem: Jehoiada, the High Priest, who is not found in any of the two lines. First of all, the line of Ithamar (which went through Eli) was cut off due to Eli’s sons (it was cut off several generations later, as we have discussed) and this occurred during the time of David. Secondly, there is a leader in the house of Aaron whose name was Jehoiada who allied himself with David in 1Chron. 12:27—this is not the same Jehoiada, as we have nearly a 200 year gap between these men (and this earlier Jehoiada is not necessarily a priest and certainly not a High Priest).

As you will recall from our study of the line of David a couple chapters back, Ahaziah, the king of Judah, died, and his mother, Athaliah, had all of his sons killed, so that she could reign in his stead. Her sister, Jehosheba, hid one son of his (he was not a son of Athaliah, but of Zibiah—2Chron. 24:1), Joash, in the Temple of Jehovah for six years. He was, in fact, raised by Jehosheba and Jehoiada; and Jehoiada is called his father in 2Chron. 24:22 (essentially, Jehoiada was his adopted father). Then, Jehoiada, the High Priest, and the husband of Jehosheba, stood up, along with the captains of hundreds, with the spears that originally belonged to David (they had been stored in the Temple), and proclaimed Joash as king. When Athaliah heard all the noise and came out to investigate, she was taken by the royal guard, at the command of Jehoiada, and executed. Jehoiada made a pact with God that Judah would serve God and there was some spiritual reform which immediately took place (2Kings 11). What appears to be the case is that, although Joash was king, he was only seven years old, so that he would have received a great deal of guidance, probably from his aunt who saved him and from Jehoiada. It was very possible that, for a couple of years, Jehoiada was the true acting king, although it is clear, in 2Kings 12, that Joash imposed his authority over Jehoiada (additional details of this sordid event can be found in 2Chron. 23–24).

Now, we have the wife of Jehoiada named (Jehoshabeath—a.k.a., Jehosheba) and we know that she is the sister of Athaliah, indicating that both she and Jehoiada are relatively old at the beginning of the reign of Joash (he was probably nearly 100 years of age). Joash does that which is right during all the days of Jehoiada, and Joash reigns for 40 years and Jehoiada dies at age 130 (2Chron. 24:1, 15). However, nowhere do we have the ancestors of Jehoiada named. His son, Zechariah, Endnote is named in 2Chron. 24:20, and Joash and the people of Israel put him to death (don’t become confused here; after Jehoiada died, Joash went downhill, spiritually speaking). He might be the end of Jehoiada’s line. However, given Jehoiada’s advanced age, that would seem unlikely.

It is unusual that we would have a priest like Jehoiada, who played such a big part in the history of Judah, not to be found in the genealogies of Levi. He could have been either equivalent to Zadok 2 or to Ahitub 2—neither of whom is mentioned apart from the genealogies—or, he could have been, say, a younger brother to Ahitub 2 who assumed the priesthood after Ahitub’s death and that Zadok 2, the son or grandson of Ahitub 2, later took over the duties of priesthood. Since we know nothing about Zadok 2 or Ahitub 2, we can only speculate is to their relationship to Jehoiada. However, if Jehoiada is in the Eleazar priestly line, it would be reasonable to make him equivalent to Ahitub 2 and his son, Zechariah, to be equivalent to Zadok 2. Given that Jehoiada died at age 130 during the reign of Joash, then his priesthood would have lasted through the reigns of Jehoram, Azariah, Athaliah and Joash. In fact, given his age, he could have even become priest during the reign of Jehoshaphat. There is no evidence which undeniably disputes that Jehoiada equals Ahitub 2; and no evidence which undeniably confirms such an hypothesis. Endnote

Azariah 2.5 and Urijah (or, Uriah)

Now, you will recall that we just examined Azariah 2.5, who was a priest during the reigns of Uzziah and Hezekiah, who sandwiched the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz. It should be pointed out that, although it would have been possible for Azariah 2.5 to have been a very young man in the reign of Uzziah and then an old man in the reign of Hezekiah, we could even be dealing with different Azariah’s. Anyway, if this is just one Azariah, then our choices are that Azariah was (1) left off the line of Levi (either he or a second Hilkiah was left off), (2) he did not belong in the line of Eleazar which we followed, or, (3) he is, in all actuality, Azariah 3, and his name and Hilkiah’s name were transposed in 1Chron. 6 and Ezra 7 in the Greek and in the Hebrew (as well as 1Chron. 9:11). Although the last option is possible, it seems the least likely. It would not be out of the question to see Azariah 2.5 and Urijah as a continuation of Jehoiada’s line (they could both have been sons of Zechariah). Just as we did with Jehoiada and Zechariah, we could match these men up with known priests in the line of Eleazar, who are unknown apart from their mention in genealogies; our problem is that we have essentially run out of names—there is Shallum and that is it. It makes more sense that these priests all come from a different line of Eleazar (or, even outside the line of Eleazar, although that is much less likely). Where as Azariah 2.5 seems to be an okay guy, Urijah simply did that which was the king’s bidding. Ahaz went to meet with Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria in order to form an alliance and, when he returned, he had the blueprint for a heathen altar, so that, if such an alliance was formed, Tiglath-Pileser would see that Ahaz was sincere in adapting to his customs. Ahaz put Urijah in charge of building this altar and Urijah went along with it (2Kings 16:10–16). Although it is nowhere indicated, Ahaz probably set Urijah up as the High Priest because Urijah was a yes-man. This Urijah could be equivalent to the Uriah who was called upon by Isaiah to be a witness to one of his prophecies (Isa. 8:2). Don’t become confused by this. Just because Isaiah called upon Uriah to be a witness to a prophecy does not mean that he and this Uriah were buds. In fact, it is more likely that Isaiah called upon those who would have been antagonistic witnesses, thereby making their witness more reliable to critics of Isaiah.

Meraioth 2

Like Meraioth 1, Meraioth 2 is found only in a genealogical line, although it is in the line of Eleazar (1Chron. 9:11), he is not in the correct order. We can trace this line which is given (...and Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the chief officer of the House of God) through our given line (Meshullam = Shallum); our only problem is that the only named Meraioth comes before the first-named Ahitub. This means that there was an additional Meraioth in this line who is unnamed in the genealogy of this chapter of Chronicles.

The Line of Ithamar

In the table above, as well as in the table, The Tribe of Levi, we have mentioned those who are the descendants of Ithamar. Their line is not followed out in this particular chapter, but must be pieced together by examining several passages throughout Scripture. Their line is interspersed with the line of Eleazar in the descent of the High Priests. These men have already been properly located in the tables named and a brief biography has been given as well. These men would include Phinehas 2, Ahitub I, Ahiah, Ahimelech 1, Abiathar and Ahimelech 2, all named under Ithamar.

Phinehas 2 was one of the evil sons of Eli. He and his brother, Hophni, as their father, functioned as priests and as judges. As judges, they took bribes. As priests, they apparently introduced a temple prostitute into the worship of God (my guess is that they found a willing, heathen temple prostitute and had her hang out by the Tent of God for themselves). 1Sam. 2:12–36 4:17.

Phinehas 2 was married and his wife was pregnant at the time of his death. When the news of his death came to her, she went into labor and bore Ichabod, which means glory has departed from Israel. She was obviously very despondent over the events which led up to the birth of Ichabod—the death of her husband and the death of her father-in-law. 1Sam. 4:19–22.

Simply to confuse you, there are several Ahitub’s. One, whom we have identified as Ahitub 1, who is in the line of Eleazar and the other is in the line of Ithamar, whom I have designated as Ahitub, brother (or, relative) of Ichabod (who is the son of Phinehas 2, the son of Eli). It appears as though he and Ichabod are both sons of Phinehas 2; however, given the wording that he is simply the brother (or relative) of Ichabod could imply that Ichabod’s mother had another son by another husband (before marrying Phinehas 2), as she died giving birth to Ichabod). However, the fact that he was in the line of the priesthood implies that Phinehas 2 was his father. The problem is this: why not simply call Ahitub the son of Phinehas in 1Sam. 14:3, rather than call him the brother (or relative) of Ichabod? The answer is two-fold: the wording of 1Sam. 14:3 does not necessarily imply, from the Hebrew, that Ahitub is not the son of Phinehas. Since he has not been mentioned before, he is called both the brother of Ichabod and the son of Phinehas (the Hebrew allows for son of Phinehas to refer to either Ichabod or Phinehas or to both of them). In any case, Ahitub is only found in the chronological lines in 1Sam. 14:3 22:20.

Ahitub 1’s son was Ahijah. He is either the brother of or equivalent to Ahimelech 1 (he could be the father of Ahimelech, but that seems less likely—this is discussed in greater detail in 1Sam. 22:11). It is supposed that Ahi, Ahiah and Ahijah are all shortened forms of Ahimelech. Ahimelech 1 was apparently the head priest at Nob and the father of Abiathar (1Sam. 21). David went to Nob and asked for supplies for his men. Ahimelech and the other priests gave him food and provisions. When Doeg the Edomite told Saul about this, Saul was furious and he oversaw the execution of all of the priests at Nob, except for Ahimelech’s son, Abiathar, who escaped. 1Sam. 14:3 22:1–23.

The son of Ahimelech 1 was Abiathar, who, when Saul ordered the execution of the priests at Nob, escaped, catching up to David (1Sam. 14:3 22:20–23). My guess is that he was between 10 and 20 years of age at this time. David promised him personal protection. It appears as though Doeg the Edomite did not correctly relay the information to Saul, which resulted in the deaths of the priests at Nob (David wrote Psalm 52 concerning sins of the tongue in relation to this incident). Jesus also recalls this incident in Mark 2:26. Endnote When Abiathar escaped, he brought with him the Ephod of God, which David used to determine his strategy and movement (1Sam. 23:6–9 30:7–8). It appears that he shared the honors of the High Priesthood with Zadok 1 (actually, they could not both be High Priests; however, they could work closely together). When named together, Zadok is always mentioned first (2Sam. 15:35 19:11 20:25). When David was old and about to die, one of his sons, Adonijah, sought to gain control of his throne prematurely. Whereas David was never presumptuous about assuming the authority of Saul while Saul was alive, Adonijah, on the other hand, believed in carpe diem, and determined that the time was right to take the throne of David. Abiathar, for whatever reason, backed Adonijah in this political move. I don’t know if he still, in the back of his mind, blamed the murders of the members of his family partially on David, or whether, simply from human viewpoint, he thought that Adonijah was the man to back. Adonijah was strong and powerful, a son of David, and he took decisive action. For this reason, Abiathar got on the Adonijah train, which was the worst mistake of his life. Zadok, of the line of Eleazar, remained faithful to David and Solomon, David’s choice to assume the throne. However, when the rebellion of Adonijah was quashed, Solomon did not execute Abiathar, given his close association with David through the years, but banished him to Anathoth (1Kings 1–2).

Although there is some disagreement here, Abiathar had a son whom he named Ahimelech 2. Given the tragic death of Abiathar’s father, Ahimelech 1, this seems quite reasonable. Ahimelech’s name is misspelled Abimelech in 1Chron. 18:16 (the parallel passage, 2Sam. 8:17 confirms this). The other problem with this passage is that Zadok and Ahimelech 2 are said to be priests under David, whereas we would expect these to be Zadok and Abiathar. We don’t know if there was a reversal of the names (which I doubt, as the problem would then have occurred in both passages); if David simply placed Abiathar’s son, Ahimelech 2, as a priest over Abiathar (Abiathar would have been older, but not that old); or, if Abiathar had simply relinquished his position to his son (and then, possibly, regretted this later when he chose to back Adonijah). Again, there is no contradiction here—we simply do not have the entire story.

Footnote to the line of Ithamar: Josephus, in Antiquities viii. 1. 3, asserts that the line of Eleazar, during this time of Ithamar’s priesthood, lived as private citizens. Whereas Josephus is an excellent source of historical information, he is not always accurate. From the Scriptures which we have already examined, it is clear that the two families shared the priesthood. Furthermore, the fact of these shared responsibilities is stated outright in Scripture: And David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to their offices for the ministry...Thus they were divided by lot, the one as the other, for they were officers of the sanctuary and officers of God, both from the descendants of Eleazar and the descendants of Ithamar (1Chron. 24:3, 5).


In this chapter of Chronicles, the priestly line is followed all the way from Kohath through Aaron, through Eleazar, to Seraiah, who appears to be the last priest prior to the dispersion, and his son, Jehozadak, who is taken away into exile by Nebuchadnezzar. Israel was in exile for 70 years, and then a relative handful of men were allowed to return; among them was Ezra, a priest, who is only identified as the son of Seraiah (Ezra 7:1–5). His line is followed backwards in those few verses so that it is clear that he is in the line of the Aaronite priests. He is not named with Jehozadak, the High Priest taken into exile, who is also called a son of Seraiah (1Chron. 6:14). Although it is possible that they were brothers, my thinking is that Seraiah is the grandfather of Ezra. This is pure conjecture, as it is never stated in Scripture just exactly what the relationship between Ezra and Jehozadak, or Jehozadak’s son, Jeshua, actually is. ZPEB calls him the son of Jozadak, who is the son of Seraiah (as well as the father of the High Priest, Jeshua). Endnote However, this, again, is conjecture. Because Ezra is nowhere connected to Jehozadak nor to his son, Jeshua; I think that they are related, but not as closely as does ZPEB.

Ezra apparently was not a High Priest, but simply a priest and a scribe; meaning that it was his duty to copy Scripture, and, in his case, record Scripture. Since the final two verses of 2Chronicles are identical to the first three verses of Ezra, Ezra is made out to be the author of Chronicles (editor would be more accurate).

He was also an acknowledged leader who led 1750 Jews from Babylon back into the Palestine after their exile; and then went back and led 5000 more back into the land. The first return is estimated to have occurred in 457 b.c. Endnote What appears to be the case is that Ezra originally had permission to build the wall of Jerusalem, which permission appears to have been withdrawn or suspended at some point (this is by conjecture). When Nehemiah came into the land in 444 b.c. with a proper building permit, he finished building the walls in 52 days. What would make this feat possible was that they were mostly finished by Ezra prior to his beginning work on them.

Ezra’s position of leadership appears to have been primarily in the spiritual realm rather than in the political arena. Although he led exiled Israelites back from Babylon into Palestine, he is referred to primarily as a priest and scribe.

Jeshua (Joshua)

Jeshua was the son of Jehozadak, who was the High Priest at the time of the return of the exiles (Ezra 3:2). We have precious little personal information about Jeshua, except that some of his sons and nephews had married heathen women, which was not to be done—particularly by those in the priesthood (Ezra 10:18).

In the books of Haggai and Zechariah, he is usually called Joshua. He is exhorted, along with Zerubbabel, to continue the rebuilding of the Temple (Haggai 1:14 2:2, 4). Interestingly enough, Jeshua is a part of a prophecy of Zechariah’s. Jeshua is hanging out in filthy clothes and the Angel of God tells him to remove his filthy clothes and that God would clothe him in clean robes. Then the Angel of Jehovah says, “Now listen, Joshua, the High Priest, you and your friends [i.e., the other priests] who are sitting in front of you—indeed, they are men who are a symbol, for, observe, I am going to bring in My servant, the Branch.” (Zech. 3:8).

Other High Priests in the time of Nehemiah

Jeshua’s son, Joiakim, is mentioned in Neh. 12:10, 12, 26; although he is not called a High Priest in that passage, he is clearly in a line of High Priests.

Eliahshib was said to be the High Priest in Neh. 3:1, which would have been in approximately 444 b.c. His pedigree is not given, and it is not clear that he is the Eliashib who is the father of Jehohanan (Ezra 10:6). A full discussion of this should remain until we cover the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Endnote He is mentioned several times in the Bible (Ezra 10:6—this is the disputed passage; Neh. 3:1, 20–21 13:4–9); the final mention has Nehemiah chewing him out because he set up a room in the Temple for a friend of his (he turned the storeroom of the temple into an apartment for this dude, Tobiah).

Eliashib’s descendants, about whom we know little, are mentioned by name in the Line of Levi.

Interestingly enough, when I began the book of Chronicles, I could not imagine plowing through all of these names and wondered periodically, why are these here. Since then, I have found that I come back to this chart and to this chapter of Chronicles more often than I make reference to any other Old Testament chapter.

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And Jehozadak went into a removal of Yehowah of Judah and Jerusalem by a hand of Nebuchadnezzar.



And Jehozadak was removed by Jehovah from Judah and Jerusalem by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.


The only verb that I would like to examine here is the Hiphil infinitive construct of gâlâh (הָלָ) [pronounced gaw-LAW], which means, in the Qal, to uncover, to remove. In the Hiphil, it means to remove, to uncover; the subject causes the uncovering of or the removal of. Strong’s #1540 BDB #162. This indicates that Jehozadak was alive when Judah was removed from the Land of Promise. My guess is that he was a very young man, if not a child, at this time. He will be the High Priest when Israel returns to the land, but he apparently does not take a very active role (1Chron. 6:15 Haggai 1:1, 12, 14 2:2, 4 Zech. 6:11). Particularly in the passages in Haggai, it appears as though his son, Joshua, was more actively involved in political affairs. In fact, apart from the 1Chronicles passage, the other passages listed simply name Jehozadak as High Priest and the father of Joshua, who is the person actually spoken of. Ezra also mentioned these two, although Joshua is Jeshua and Jehozadak is Jozadak. This particular fact is probably the strongest argument against Ezra’s authorship of Chronicles (unless he simply copied the information almost word-for-word as it was listed elsewhere). Another factor is that Jozadak may simply be an abbreviated form of Jehozadak.

Jehozadak means Jehovah is righteous. Barnes: It has been noted as remarkable that the heads of both the priestly and the royal stock carried to Babylon should have had names (Zedekiah and Jehozadak) composed of the same elements, and assertive of the “justice of God,” which their sufferings showed forth so signally. Footnote Jehozadak is mentioned in several places in the Apocrypha (I Esdras 5:5, 48, 56 6:2 9:19 Ecclesiasticus 49:12). Bear in mind that the Apocrypha are not false writings; they just are not a part of Scripture. Some of them are simply historical accounts which may be relatively accurate (as accurate as any history book); and some purport to be something they are not (e.g., authored by a writer of Scripture when they were not).

Jehozadak’s son, Joshua, set up the altar to burn sacrifices to Jehovah God upon Judah’s return from their exile (Ezra 3:2). He helped to oversee the construction of the Temple (Ezra 3:8 5:2). He was one of the men who had married a foreign wife (Ezra 10:18).

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The Basic Genealogical Lines of Levi

Sons of Levi: Gershom, Kohath and Merari.



The sons of Levi were Gershom, Kohath and Merari.

This sentence means that we are finished with the priestly succession of the line of Levi ( the line of Kohath through Eleazar) and that we now begin a new line. We covered Levi and his sons in 1Chron. 6:1.

This is actually the beginning of chapter 6 in Chronicles in the Hebrew. Now you may wonder, what were they thinking? Isn’t this all the line of Levi? The reasoning behind splitting the chapters at this verse is that what will follow will be three lines of descent (Gershom, Kohath and Merari) and then what will follow are three lines of ascent (Heman, Asaph and Ethan). The latter three will trace their lines back to the former three. So, if anything, vv. 16–48 could stand on its own as a separate chapter, or as a separate subsection of this chapter in the English.

And these names of sons of Gershom: Libni and Shimei.



And these are the names of the sons of Gershom: Libni and Shimei.

Libni would have been born to Gershom while in Egypt. It is unknown whether he is Gershom’s son, grandson, or whatever. However, one of the large clans or families was named after him, the same is true of Shimei (see Ex. 6:17 Num. 3:18, 21 26:58 1Chron. 6:20 23:7—he is called Ladan in the last passage). Shimei was the ancestor of the well-known Asaph, known from the psalms and from 1Chron. 16:7. It is possible this is also the Shimei who is descended from Libni. The earliest mentions of Shimei and Libni are as families; therefore, they do not necessarily have to be brothers.

There is a minor problem with the line of Shimei in 1Chron. 6:42b–43, which reads: ...a son of Zimmah, a son of Shimei, a son of Jahath, a son of Gershom, a son of Levi. In 1Chron. 23:10, Jahath is said to be the son of Shimei. Either the line got transposed in the first passage or there were two Jahath’s—one the father and one the son of Shimei. There could be two different Shimei’s as well. I listed them separately in the Line of Levi.

And sons of Kohath: Amram and Izhar and Hebron and Uzziel.



And the sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.

These four sons were covered in 1Chron. 6:2. 1Chron. 6:16–19a appears to be almost a duplication of Ex. 6:16–19 Num. 3:17–20 26:57–61. The only difference is that Ex. 6:16–19 gives the ages of Levi and Kohath. Num. 3:17–20 appears to be word-for-word the same. Num. 26:57–61 is more wordy and has additional information, e.g., the name of Amram’s wife and the fact that Moses, Aaron and Miriam were all born to Amram.

Sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. And these [are the] families of the Levite to their fathers.



Finally, the sons of Merari are Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites, according to their fathers’ households.

Mahli and Mushi are the sons or descendants of Merari, mentioned in Ex. 6:19 Num. 3:20, 33 26:58 1Chron. 6:19, 29, 47 23:21, 23 24:26, 28, 30 Ezra 8:18. There is no personal information about Mahli or Mushi in any of those passages. They are all of a genealogical nature.

To Gershom, Libni his son, Jahath his son, Zimmah his son, Joah his son, Iddo his son, Zerah his son, Jeatherai his son.



The descendants of Gershom were Libni; his son Jahath, his son Zimmah, his son Joah, his son Iddo, his son Zerah and his son Jeatherai.

We begin this verse with a lâmed, which could be rendered As to Gershom...

Since Shimei is not mentioned, we can assume that we have a line of sons from Gershom through Libni. There is another line of Jahath mentioned in vv. 39–43; because some of the names are the same, the others are occasionally matched with the line found here. That is probably a mistake. Half of a column of notes in Scofield’s Reference Bible matches up names which should not be matched up. In the Hebrew and in the Septuagint, the names are different enough as to indicate that we are following a different line. If you take a look at the chart which covers the Line of Levi, you will see that these two lines are sufficiently different to be listed separately. Our other option is that they are the same line and each line left out a few people here and there; this is possible, but less likely. However, what appears to be the easiest way to examine this is via a chart of the line of Gershom:

The Descendants of Gershom and Ancestors of Asaph

Ex. 6:16–17 Num. 3:24

1Chron. 6:16–17, 20–21

1Chron. 6:39–43







Libni and Shimei





Libni and Shimei~









Lobeni and Semei





































Notes: The breaks in these lines are just done in order to most closely correspond with the other lines. We have several options. (1) Each line has missing generations; e.g., 1Chron. 6:20–21 is missing Ethan and the line in vv. 39–43 is missing Joah. If they are the same line, this is the simplest explanation. (2) These lines diverge after Zimmah to two difference descendants, Joah and Ethan. They could have been brothers who gave their sons similar, but not identical names. Their grandsons were given identical names and their great grandsons were given similar, but not identical names. (3) Some lines diverge and then converge later due to marriages of cousins and second cousins. (4) The lines in the original text may be corrupt. (5) Now let me give you a fifth, an interesting explanation. Various people in Scripture—most notably Abraham, Sarah, Paul and Peter—had different names given them at birth. I had a student in my class named Polina; I really thought that her name should be Pauli, so I began to call her Pauli instead. If her given nickname stays with her, her parents would know her as Polina, but her descendants might know here as Pauli. Peter, to his parents, was Cephas. When his parents looked forward as his line progressed, they would think Cephas when coming to him. However, Cephas became known as Peter and this is the name that he is historically known by. Those who look backwards through his line, would think of him as Peter. Therefore, a line which goes one way, e.g., ancestors to descendants, will list some names in a particular way; and when the line is listed from descendants to ancestors, there will be a couple names which are different, because, from the standpoint of history. For instance, I know my step-grandfather as Lundy. His parents gave him the name Carl. A line which began with his antecedents would list him as Carl; that is, if you opened the family Bible to the front where some people list the grandparents, parents and children, you would find his name listed as Carl. However, if I began listing my antecedents, I would refer to him as Lundy.

*Lael and Eliasaph have no direct connection to the lines of 1Chron. 6 except insofar as being descendants of Gershom.

~This Shimei could correspond to the Shimei in 1Chron. 6:42. What we have are two branches of the Gershonites, which could be made up of a son, Libni, and Libni’s grandson, Shimei. As has been discussed many times, although some branches of the patriarchs are formed from brothers, that is not absolutely required. For instance, my brothers all live in California, fairly close to one another. Therefore, someone might consider them and their families as a branch of our family, with my father at the head. I live quite a distance away, and my descendants would be considered another branch of my family. In this way, two branches of my family would consist of my father and myself. Let’s say that I had a son and he moved elsewhere, his descendants might be considered a difference branch of our family; thus, we would have three branches of the Kukis family, all defined by a father, a son, and a grandson.

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Jahath is mentioned only here and in 1Chron. 6:43 (he is not the same as the Jahath found in 1Chron. 23:10, who was a descendant of Shimei). Jahath is the only person, besides Libni and Gershom, who are definitely found in both passages.

Zimmah is actually mentioned here and in 2Chron. 29:12, but simply as a name. Joah is found only here and possibly in 2Chron. 29:12 (Eden, a Levite, is called a son of Joah in that passage). Iddo ( which means beloved favorite) is found only here. This particular Zerah, who has a very common name in Scripture, is found only here (and possibly in v. 41). Jeatherai is found only here.

Sons of Kohath: Amminadab his son, Korah his son, Assir his son, Elkanah his son and Ebiasaph his son, and Assir his son, Tahath his son, Uriel his son, Uzziah his son, and Shaul his son,



The descendants of Kohath were Amminadab, his son Korah, his son Assir, his son Elkanah his son and Ebiasaph, his son and Assir, his son Tahath, his son Uriel, his son Uzziah, his son Shaul,

The sons of Kohath are broken into three sections, and it is unclear, in this immediate context, whether there is a father son relationship between one section and the next. I treated them that way, as though, rather than three sections, there was simply a list of descendants. That did not cause any serious problems with the other lines of descent which are found throughout the Bible, and put this list into agreement with the ascent of Heman, which begins in v. 33b. So that you do not become confused, this is not the priestly descent of Kohath. This descent goes through Korah, rather than through Moses and Aaron. Selman presents these as parallel lines:

The Alternate View of the Sons of Kohath

Amminadab (= Izhar?) Footnote












Ahimoth (= Mahath)


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In the line of Levite, we began with a relatively easy line, where there was a lot of agreement and one main problem, either with a person who was left out or misplaced in two passages. In a genealogy, that’s nothing. However, we have Korah mentioned in this passage and in v. 38, and the lines are so similar as to almost demand that we assume that they are the same line. This will require some suppositions and insertions and mixing of the lines. I will attempt to put together in the chart, the Line of Levi, at the beginning of this chapter, a possible solution to these several passages which allows all of them to be true.

There is a supposition that we have been operating under, which does not appear to be true for the line of Kohath. We have assumed that, in general, we do not have the preservation of a linear line of descent through the periods of the judges and slavery to Egypt. We have so many names in this line which appear to extend to Samuel, the last judge, that we can no longer operate under that original hypothesis (well, actually, we could, but it would be stretching things—actually compressing them, so that we would have a new generation every 20 years or so—not unusual for us today, but unusual for the Israelites at that time). What has obviously occurred is that some person, early on in the line of Kohath—probably near the first few decades of slavery—began to carefully record his own family line and he passed this down. Since this apparently lasted throughout Israel’s bondage to Egypt, it would have been almost irreligious to discontinue the tradition.

Let me be careful to point out that we are not dealing in contradictions here, but with an hypothesis which seems to fit most of the time, but not here. The other option is that we have two or three separate Samuel’s whose lines are almost identical. Although such a thing is possible, it is unlikely.

The first person to deal with is Amminadab, who is named only here as the father of Korah. Bear in mind that Kohath was the immediate son of Levi and that Izhar was probably the actual son of Kohath; however, there were several generations between Izhar and Korah. Therefore, we should have no problem with a mention of Korah’s immediate father, Amminadab. Footnote The main problem that most people have is that he is not mentioned anywhere else with respect to Korah. Back in Exodus and Numbers, the actions of Korah were a disgrace to his family; therefore, Moses did not closely connect Korah with his living relatives or recently deceased relatives. However, Korah’s line did culminate in some wonderful believers; therefore, the writer of Chronicles would give Korah’s more recent relations. There is also an Amminadab who gave his daughter to be the wife of Aaron (Ex. 6:23). It is possible that this is the same man—this would, in part, give reason for Korah’s name to be listed in that same genealogical context. In other words, the period of time that this genealogy was recorded has an effect on who is listed. Moses, because of despicable behavior of Korah, did not list his immediate father; however, because the line of Korah is redeemed in Heman, the Chronicler includes Korah’s father in this genealogy, because he is not longer shamed by his family.

Korah is probably the most notorious of the Levites. He allied himself with Dathan and Abiram, two Reubenites, near the beginning of the desert wilderness wanderings of Moses and the Israelites. They stirred up 250 leaders of Israel, who apparently caused a large population to rebel against Moses and Aaron. Had Moses been on a mountain somewhere, then Aaron, of course, would have said, “Hey, I’m with you guys.” However, he and Moses were together, meaning that he would side with Moses. The rebels’ problem was that Moses and Aaron exalted themselves above the people, and, to these three leaders, all the sons of Israel were equal and all of them were sons of God, with a bit of the divine nature going on in all of them (Num. 16:1–3). What was going on here was, essentially, religious Communism. Korah, Dathan and Abiram declare that all of the people are equal to Moses and all of them have the same religious knowledge. Or, I chose Communism to portray this negatively. We could go to our own Bill of Rights, which states: All men are created equal. What you ought to understand is that an ideology, e.g. Communism, is what is sold to the masses to gather their support. The reality is a power struggle. The leader sells to the people whatever they can in order to gain leadership. When Korah tells Moses that all of the people are equal, does Korah mean himself included? Certainly not. Korah wants to take the place of Moses. He sells this phony equality to the people, spouts that before Moses, but what he wants is Moses’ power. Haven’t you ever noticed in a democracy that some candidates beat the drums for this or that, but end up doing almost entirely the opposite when in office. They beat the drums to get the ideological support of the people. Once they have it, they do what they want when in power (which is not necessarily bad). I recall two candidates who hopscotched ownership of the governor’s office in Texas for nearly a couple decades. Under the administration of the candidate supported by the teacher’s organizations, a man who continually spoke out in favor of teacher salary raises, my salary hardly ever moved. Under the candidate who, as far as I know, did not make a public issue of our salaries, my salary went up significantly. The democrats are thought of as a party who are fiscally irresponsible and the republicans are thought of as just the opposite. However, it was under a democratic administration that we began to balance the budget and to pay down the national debt. Don’t misunderstand you—I am not trying to influence you to vote in any way here. My point is that ideology is used to sell a product—nothing more than that. Here we have it done in the earliest of times—3500 years ago.

Korah’s family was mostly wiped out, but not entirely removed. He apparently left behind either children or grandchildren. My guess is that the first Assir and Elkanah (found in Ex. 6:16–24 and 1Chron. 6:22–28) were taken in God’s discipline of Korah’s rebellion. However, Elkanah’s son, Ebiasaph, carried on the line. He probably named his son and his son’s son after his father and grandfather who perished in Korah’s rebellion (this is purely conjecture on my part). We find his name as Abiasaph in Ex. 6:24, which is Ebiasaph in the Samaritan Pentateuch. Ebiasaph is also mentioned in 1Chron. 9:19 in a rather short genealogical line.

Tahath is the last matching name for a few generations in the two Korah lines in this chapter. Either he has two different sons (which is the way I presented it in the Tribe of Levi chart), or his son is listed in one line and his grandson in another. We don’t have a lot of reason to side one way or the other. However, the generation named afterwards is Uzziah in the first genealogy and Azariah in the second, two names given to the same king in the line of Judah (see The Kings, Prophets and Priests of Judah). Therefore, this could be the same person and it could be a continued divergence of the two lines of Tahath. Again, there are no strong arguments either way.

Shaul in the first line may be Joel in the second. If, in fact, that is the case, and Azariah is equivalent to Uzziah (somewhat like Bob and Robert), the only difficult names we have which would then match up are Uriel’s and Zephaniah’s. They could be father and son or a brother and brother with a Levirate marriage thing happening. They could be different names for the same person, although that seems to be the least likely. However, the lines, apart from this portion and some obvious exclusions, are almost exactly the same. They are presented without explanation in the same chapter, so, my guess is that the editor pretty much copied these from existing records.

In Scripture, Assir 1, Assir 2, Elkanah 1, Uriel Footnote are found only in genealogies and an examination of the two charts, The Tribe of Levi and The Lines of Korah, would be most beneficial in placing them genealogically.

The Lines of Korah and the Ancestors of Heman

Ex. 6:16–24

Num. 16:1

1Chron. 6:22–28

1Chron. 6:33–38





Assir 1*, Elkanah 1 and Abiasaph (probably Ebiasaph)








Assir 1

Elkanah 1


Assir 2





Elkanah 2

Amasai and Ahimoth

Elkanah 3





Elkanah 4


Joel 2 and Abijah







Assir 2




Joel 1 ➔

Elkanah 2



Elkanah 3





Elkanah 4


Joel 2


You will notice the breaks in the line of 1Chron. 6:22–28; the Hebrew text, in those breaks, does not clearly present a ancestor-descendant relationship.

As you can see, we appear to have the same Korah in all four lines; there are not enough differences in those who are his antecedents or in those who are his descendants to assume that we have a different Korah. In the line of 1Chron. 6:22–28, there are several breaks which may or may not be intentional. There are several Elkanah’s; the second line in 1Chron. 6 seems to verify that they are different men (there are times in the first line that it appears as though the line of Elkanah is being picked up again and explored in a different direction). The second line of 1Chron. 6 also appears to fill some of the holes of the first line of 1Chron. 6. In the chart, The Tribe of Levi, under the Sons of Kohath, I put together what would be a reasonable, but not necessarily definitive, line of Korah. I assumed, and perhaps wrongly so, that the two lines of Korah given in 1Chron. 6 were essentially linear and parallel. It is certainly possible that they diverged and later converged (i.e., second cousins marrying second cousins, which could have been the case with Jeroham who is listed in both lines).

In Ex. 6:24, the sons of Korah are named Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph; they are called the families of the Korahites. This does not mean that they are all literal sons of Korah; however, I don’t know that they are three generations either. It is possible that Assir is the son of Korah and the father to Elkanah 1 and to Abiasaph. All three of them could still be heads of the families of Korah. This would allow Ebiasaph to be different than Abiasaph. The NIV Study Bible suggests that Assir 1, Elkanah 1 and Abiasaph (Ebiasaph) are all sons of Korah, even though, in this passage, we have them being called sons of one another. Although this is possible, the occurrence of and his son in both the Hebrew and the Greek would suggest that this is a flawed theory. On the other hand, the missing Assir 1 and Elkanah 1 from the line in 1Chron. 6:33–38 would then make perfect sense.

It is important to point out that we do not have a clear and unqualified contradiction in any of these lines. Some might require some explanation, but there is nothing which would ever indicate that there is any line given in the Bible which is a complete line without a single missing generation.

* Quite obviously, these men are not so numbered in Scripture, but are numbered in this chart to better follow out and match up their lines.

~This is the only line where Amminadab can be found as the ancestor of Korah. This gives us several possibilities: (1) that Izhar (who is found in the other lists) is equivalent to Amminadab; (2) one is the father of the other; (3) Amminadab is a mistake in this passage; or, (4) Amminadab is a descendant of Izhar and the actual father of Korah, honored in the later line because of his descendant Heman, but left out of the early line because he was disgraced by Korah.. None of these possibilities, except for #4, is a killer explanation. The NIV Study Bible offers what I believe to be a possible explanation. Sometimes in these lines, we have cross-overs. That is, not every person who is a Levite marries another Levite; not every son of Judah marries another Judahite. Sometimes, the lines get mixed. It could be that Izhar (a Levite) married the daughter of Amminadab (a Judahite). Aaron married a daughter of Amminadab himself (Ex. 6:23 1Chron. 2:10). Or, Izhar, a woman, could have married Amminadab (not necessarily the father of the woman who married Aaron). Izhar would be properly included in the line, although Amminadab could be included as the son of Kohath. The NIV Study Bible refers to this as the fluidity of genealogical lines. Personally, I believe that to be one of the best explanations. Footnote I should point out that the line leading to Mary in Luke 3 sounds more like the line of Joseph. However, due to the woman’s place in the ancient world, they were not always given their due. Now, you may wonder about the women mentioned in the line of Joseph in Matt. 1—Matthew was a Jewish tax collector who, although he knew the Scriptures, was an outcast by his own brothers. So, whenever he had a chance to rub the noses of the scribes and pharisees in something that they would not find pleasing (e.g., female gentiles being in the line of Christ), he would point these things out with great personal satisfaction.

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The Line of Samuel the Prophet

1Sam. 1:1–2, 19–20 8:2 1Chron. 15:17

In order to properly place this line of Levi in time, we need to move ahead prematurely to the line of Samuel. Samuel is mentioned twice in this chapter and what we need to determine is whether this is Samuel the judge/prophet/priest. You will note that the line of Samuel is remarkably similar to in both cases, and that there is, at most, a slight problem with the spelling of two names. There are several implications of this: (1) the line of Kohath is a fairly complete line. We have 21 generations from Jacob (Israel) to Samuel, which would cover a period of roughly 800 years. Whereas, this is by no means

1Chron. 6:33–38





Elkanah (and wife Hannah)


Joel and Abijah






Elkanah 4




excessive, it makes the line of Kohath relatively complete. (2) Even though Samuel is called an Ephraimite, he is, in reality, a Levite. In this particular line, he is a Levite. However, because his family lived in Ephraim, there was very likely intermarriage among his ancestors with Ephraimites. Furthermore, in reading the first chapter of Samuel, you can see that his parents were not raising the other sons as Levites with religious responsibilities, but more as Ephraimites (or, better, as non-Levites). Therefore, it is reasonable to view Samuel as both a Levite and an Ephraimite. Given the mother’s prayer and behavior, it appears, at least on the surface, that she is the Levite, and that she realizes that her sons should be raised as Levites, with their Levitical duties. However, a reasonable argument could be made for both parents being Levites or even the father being a Levite (his wife realizes the consequences of his not pursuing his proper vocation). (3) Given the number of generations covered in this particular branch of the Kohathites, we should expect that the differences are more likely divergence as opposed to missing and supplied generations. (4) Given the importance of the man, Samuel, we should not be surprised to find two lines listed here where contain him.

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and sons of Elkanah: Amasai and Ahimoth, Elkanah; sons of Elkanah: Zophai his son and Nahath his son, Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son.



and the descendants of Elkanah 2 are Amasai and Ahimoth; his son [i.e., Amasai’s son], Elkanah 3; his son, Nahath; his son, Eliab; his son, Jeroham; and his son, Elkanah 4; and his son, Samuel.

There is a slight difference in the readings of 1Chron. 6:25–26, so let me list the two basic versions:


NASB                                    And the sons of Elkanah were Amasai and Ahimoth. As for Elkanah, the sons of Elkanah were Zophai his son and Nahath his son,...

NIV                                        The descendants of Elkanah: Amasai, Ahimoth, Elkanah his son, Zophai his son, Nahath his son,...

Owen's Translation                And sons of Elkanah: Amasai and Ahimoth; Elkanah. Sons of Elkanah: Zophai his son and Nahath his son,...

In the most literal version, on the left, I took this directly from the Massoretic text—this indicates that Elkanah 2 has three sons: Amasai, Ahimoth and Elkanah 3. However, in the Greek, Elkanah 3 is not a son of Elkanah 2, but of Ahimoth. This does make some difference, as, down in v. 35, Elkanah 3 is the son of Mahath, who is the son of Amasai. In fact, this reading is found in one early printed edition, in the Greek, in the Latin and in the Syriac codices. Since this is in agreement with so many texts, and also with v. 35, this is the way it should be.

There is another difference in the manuscripts. Some of the Septuagint manuscripts add to the end of v. 27, and Samuel, his son. In the Hebrew, this is implied, but not stated (v. 28 begins with naming the sons of Samuel). This addition is not absolutely necessary, as the link between Elkanah 4 and Samuel is established in both 1Sam. 1:19–20 and 1Chron. 6:33–34.


Zophai, in this first list, is probably equivalent to Zuph in the second, the primary difference between the two names being vowel points. In our passage, we have tsôwphay (י-פצ) [pronounced tzoh-PHAH-ee], which is taken to be the gentilic adjective of Zuph; however, that would seem unlikely, since we also have son of in this context. In any case, it is given the same Strong’s number as Zuph. Strong’s #6689 BDB #847. Zuph is tsûwph (ףצ) [pronounced tzoof], which means honeycomb. It is transliterated Zuph. Strong’s #6689 BDB #847. He is so named in 1Sam. 1:1 as an ancestor of Samuel; he is also called an Ephraimite in that verse. Since the Kohathites were stationed in the territory of the Ephraimites (1Chron. 6:66), we would expect there to be some intermarriage; furthermore, Zuph could be called an Ephraimite simply based upon his birthplace. We will spend a little more time with Zophai (or Zuph) when we get to 1Sam. 1:1.


It is with Nahath that we have a smidgeon of a problem. He is either left out of the lines of Samuel in 1Sam. 1:1 and 1Chron. 6:34, or he is equivalent to Tohu in the first passage and to Toah in the second. In the Hebrew, his name is nachath (ת-ח-נ) [pronounced NAH-khahth], which means descent. Strong’s #5184 BDB #639. In v. 34, we have tôwach (-ח) [pronounced TOH-ahkh], and transliterated Toah. It probably means pain, wound. Strong’s #8430 BDB #1063. These are obviously pretty different words. In 1Sam. 1:1, it is tôchûw (חֹ) [pronounced TOH-khoo]. Although Strong’s lists it separately, BDB considers it to be equivalent to Strong’s #8430 BDB #1063. Strong’s #8459 BDB #1063. Essentially, the different is in the transposition of the last two consonants.


Eliab is less of a problem, but his name does not match exactly those in the other two lines. We might do well to compare these names in the Hebrew: Eliab is ělîyâbv (בָאי.לֱא) [pronounced el-ee-AWBV], which means God is father. Strong’s #446 BDB #45. V. 34 differs primarily in the final consonant. It is ělîyêl (ל̤אי.לֱא) [pronounced el-ee-ĀL],which means God is my God. Strong’s #447 BDB #45. In 1Sam. 1:1, this is ělîyhûw (הי.לֱא) [pronounced el-ee-HOO], which means He is [my] God. Strong’s #453 BDB #45.


After these three, the final three names are in complete agreement. The first is yerôchâm (םָחֹרי) [pronounced ye-roh-KHAWM], which means may he be compassionate. It is transliterated Jeroham. Strong’s #3395 BDB #934. All of the contributors to ZPEB seem to agree that we are speaking of the same line and that Jeroham is a Levite by genealogy and an Ephraimite by locale. Undoubtedly, there was some intermarriage in here. One contributor suggests that he was a non-practicing Levite. Footnote Given the spiritual state of Israel during that time, that is not out of line. However, this does not have to be true in order for him to be called a Levite and an Ephraimite.


Samuel’s father was Elkanah. In the Hebrew, that is elqeqânâh (הָנָקל∵א) [pronounced ele-kaw-NAW], which means God has created or God has taken possession of. Strong’s #511 BDB #46. Elkanah, called Elkanah 4 in my chronological lines, had two wives. His favorite, Hannah, was barren. She, therefore, prayed to God for a son whom she would dedicate to God. That is, if God gave her a son, she would give God this son back. God agreed to her proposal and she bore Samuel. He was given to Eli the priest for care after he was weaned from his mother. As a priest, he might have begun his service to God in his mid-20’s. However, in keeping with her vow, Hannah brought Samuel to the temple as an infant. His parents did not completely abandon Samuel. They brought him clothes and supplies for the first several years of his life at the Tent (1Sam. 1:1–28 2:18–21). Hannah did, later on, bear Elkanah other children. Both of Samuel’s parents were believers who went annually to Shiloh to worship at the Tent of Worship. Obviously, for Eli to accept Samuel as a man for the priesthood, Samuel had to be a Levite in the line of Aaron.

Let me offer you one of many possible scenarios. Elkanah 4 was full or part Levite who lived in Ephraim in a city which was not specifically a city given over to the Levites. This would imply that he was not really a practicing Levite and that it would be proper to refer to him, in genealogies, as a Levite; and, as a citizen, an Ephraimite. His wife Hannah, also a believer, and possibly full or part Levite, cannot get pregnant by him, and she realizes that he is not doing what God requires of a Levite (even though they both appear to be believers with some reasonable modicum of devotion). Therefore, she dedicates her unborn, unconceived son to God, as a Levite. When Samuel is conceived and then born, she is able to deliver him to Eli and not have him rejected as a priest, because he has the proper pedigree. This particular scenario, which is an hypothesis, would easily explain all references to Elkanah as a Levite and as an Ephraimite, as well as how Samuel could be accepted in the Tent of Worship as a priest to God.

There are a few names in the line of Samuel which are very similar, but do not match exactly, as you will recall in the previous chart. That could means that we are dealing with lines that diverge and then converge a couple generations later. These could also be variations or even mistakes in one document or the other. One name could be a missing generation in another line.

The Hebrew Comparison of the Names in the Line of Samuel

1Sam. 1:1

1Chron. 6:26–28

1Chron. 6:33–35


tsûwph (ףצ) [pronounced tzoof]. Strong’s #6689 BDB #847.


tsôwphay (י-פצ) [pronounced tzoh-PHAH-ee] Strong’s #6689 BDB #847.


tsûwph (ףצ) [pronounced tzoof]. Strong’s #6689 BDB #847.

You will note that we have the same first three consonants in all three names. The vowel points were added hundreds and hundreds of years later. Here, the only real difference between the names is analogous to Bill and Billy.


tôchûw (חֹ) [pronounced TOH-khoo] Strong’s #8459 BDB #1063


nachath (ת-ח-נ) [pronounced NAH-khahth] Strong’s #5184 BDB #639.


tôwach (-ח) [pronounced TOH-ahkh] Strong’s #8430 BDB #1063.

The first and third names have the same consonants; however the second two are reversed. This is very likely a copyist error. In the middle name, two of the letters are the same as found in Tohu and Toah, but they are also in a reversed order. My thinking is the Nahath may be a nickname for Toah (or Tohu); this could also be an error and it could simply be a different generation or a divergence in the line.


 ělîyhûw (הי.לֱא) [pronounced el-ee-HOO] Strong’s #453 BDB #45.


ělîyâbv (בָאי.לֱא) [pronounced el-ee-AWBV] Strong’s #446 BDB #45.


ělîyêl (ל̤אי.לֱא) [pronounced el-ee-ĀL] Strong’s #447 BDB #45.

The first three consonants of these three names are the same. My thinking is that the pronunciation of the Hebrew letters aleph and the Hebrew hê are very similar, aleph being more of a guttural sound than hê. The endings are all different (recall that Hebrew reads from right to left), which could be (1) a copyist error (or errors); and/or, (2) a variation of the name. The first name listed and this third name listed are too close to presume that we are speaking of missing generations. The second name is the only one where the spelling is different. The next three names are identical.


 yerôchâm (םָחֹרי) [pronounced ye-roh-KHAWM]


Strong’s #3395 BDB #934


Transliterated Jeroham


elqeqânâh (הָנָקל∵א) [pronounced ele-kaw-NAW]


Strong’s #511 BDB #46


Transliterated Elkanah


shemûwêl (ל̤א ̣מש) [pronounced shemoo-ĀL]


Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028


Transliterated Samuel

The line of Samuel given in the works of Samuel compares almost exactly with the second line of Samuel given in this chapter of Chronicles. The middle line that we have just exegeted is so close as to indicate at most, a divergence and convergence of the line (or, a missing generation); and, at the least, a nickname or copyist error. Those who follow are also the same. Therefore, I believe that we can assume that we are dealing with the same lines and, probably, the same men all the way through.

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In Scripture, Elkanah 2, Amasai, Ahimoth, Elkanah 3, are found only in genealogies and an examination of the two charts, The Tribe of Levi and The Lines of Korah, would be most beneficial in placing them genealogically.

We find some of these men in the line of Samuel in 1Sam. 1:1. The similarities are too close to think that we are speaking of completely different lines.

And sons of Samuel: the firstborn, and second [Joel] and Abijah.



The sons of Samuel were Joel, his firstborn, and Abijah, his second.

We are not born a blank slate completely dependent upon environment; similarly, our psychological and physiological makeup at birth can certainly be modified by our environment. The Bible never seems to show a preference for one over the other, although, generally speaking, it requires full responsibility for our actions regardless of the circumstances. God, knowing the beginning from the end, knew full well what was going to happen when Hannah gave birth to Samuel and what would happen because Samuel was handed over to Eli, the priest, for care. There was a reason for God to have chosen Samuel to be raised by Eli—Eli’s own sons, who would have been in line to follow him in service, were worthless as priests, and a prophet told Eli that, on the same day, they would both die, Footnote and that this would be the sign that God had removed the priesthood from the house of Eli. In their place, God and Eli raised up Samuel, both as a priest over Israel, and as a prototype of Him Who was to come (1Sam. 2–4). Samuel grew to be an incredible man of God who commanded both the respect of Saul and David.


Samuel’s name is shemûwêl (ל̤א ̣מש) [pronounced shemoo-ĀL], which meaning is generally given as the name of El. However, given his background, this is really not correct. His name actually means heard of God, because his mother was barren. She prayed to God for a son and vowed to dedicate this son to God if God would give her this son. Therefore, when she became pregnant and bore a son, she named him, God has heard [me]. From the standpoint of the Hebrew, shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ] means to listen, to hear. Strong's #8085 BDB #1033. êl (ל ֵא) [pronounced ALE], means God. Strong’s #410 BDB #42. When these are put together, they mean God has heard, which makes a lot more sense than the name of God. Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028. Samuel functioned as the last judge, as a prophet, and as a priest to God. He was followed in authority by King Saul, the first king of Israel, whom he picked out (God knew that the people would not have a clue as to whom they should select and allowed them to choose a man who was terribly flawed). As has been said, Samuel’s line was Levitical in nature, although his father is called an Ephraimite in 1Sam. 1:1, which indicates intermarriage and/or location (the Kohathites were located in Ephraim—1Chron. 6:66).

God called Samuel when Eli was old. Apparently, Samuel did not recognize that he was being called, but Eli did and filled him in. Samuel began to serve while Israel was at a very low point, spiritually speaking. Israel was at war with the Philistines. The Israelites were losing badly, so that they prevailed upon Eli’s degenerate sons to bring the Ark out for good luck, thinking that having the Ark there would insure their victory. It never occurred to them that the Ark could be captured. The Philistines captured the Ark, killed Eli’s sons, defeated Israel, and Eli, when he heard the news of all this, died. This is what Samuel walked into at the beginning of his ministry. It was obvious that Israel needed a strong and dedicated spiritual leader.

Samuel prepared the people of Israel by teaching them doctrine and turning them away from idolatry. He prayed and he offered sacrifices. Roughly 20 years after the Ark’s capture, it was returned to Israel and the Philistines were defeated.

Samuel set up a roving judgeship, and covered a circuit where he presided over court decisions in Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah. Despite his outstanding leadership, the people of Israel petitioned Samuel for a king. They were unhappy with Samuel delegating authority to his two sons and they wanted a king so that they could be like other nations. A theocracy does not require having a king. God called up Samuel to select Saul as Israel’s king, an act which disappointed Samuel (who understood that Israel was a theocracy), but God told him, “They have not rejected you, they have rejected Me.” Saul was anointed twice by Samuel—once in a private ceremony which recognized that God had chosen him; and once in a public ceremony, to indicate to the people that Saul would rule over them.

Although Saul began as a strong and dedicated king, he eventually showed more and more that his feet were made of clay. Samuel reprimanded him several times, and eventually, at God’s behest, anointed David as king over Israel. David did not immediately assume his position as king over all Israel. God had him wait, which was predictory that the King Who was to come would also wait before assuming His place as ruler over the world. When Samuel finally died, Saul sunk to his lowest level yet, going to a heathen medium, resulting in his eventual death by the sin unto death Footnote .


Now that we have covered Samuel, you will note that in the Hebrew, the firstborn son has the name Vashni, which is probably not what you have in your Bible. In the Greek Septuagint, he is Sani (the second is Abia). Both the Tanakh and Young call the firstborn Vashni and the second son Abijah. The NASB inserts the name Joel, as do most other modern translations. The NRSV cites the Greek Syriac translation, as well as 1Chron. 6:33 and 1Sam. 8:2). Surprisingly enough, the NJB does not insert a name for the firstborn (and they follow the verse numbering of the Hebrew rather than of the Greek, which is quite rare for a modern language version). Here’s the deal: Vashni is the transliteration of the wâw conjunction and the Hebrew numerical adjective shenîy (י.נ∵ש) [pronounced sheh-NEE], which means second, the second, the other [one]. Strong’s #8145 BDB #1041. Together, the wâw conjunction and the word shenîy make Vashni, and is taken, in some circles, to be someone’s name. This would give us two options: ...the firstborn Vashni and Abijah or ...the firstborn and the second and Abijah. Taking this as a proper noun certainly allows the text to make more sense. 1Sam. 8:2 1Chron. 6:33, Lagarde’s Greek Old Testament and the Syriac codex for this verse, all have Joel as the firstborn of Samuel. This simply means that Joel probably was dropped out of the text due to homœoteleuton. Homoeoteleuton [pronounced ho-me-OP-to-ton] means that the copyist would look to a word that he was copying, and then go back to the text that he had copied, see a word which was similar or ended in a similar fashion, and more or less assume that he had just written that word down. The ending of Joel and Samuel are fairly close; this means, when he went to write down the word Joel, his eye traveled back to what he was copying, saw the end of the name Samuel, thought he copied it, and then went back to get the next word or words to copy. Footnote I placed the name Joel where it should reasonably be placed, considering the wâw conjunction which precedes the name of Samuel’s second son, Abijah. We know very little about Samuel’s children, except for the fact that they did some judging in Beersheba, but were willing to take bribes and set aside justice (1Sam. 8:1–3). It was their judicial conduct which seemed to precipitate the people of Israel to call for a king to rule over them.

Sons of Merari: Mahli, Libni his son, Shimei his son, Uzzah his son, Shimea his son, Haggiah his son, Asaiah his son.



The descendants of Merari were: Mahli, Footnote then his descendant Libni, his descendant Shimei, his descendant Uzzah, his descendant Shimea, his descendant Haggiah and his descendant Asaiah.

In 1Chron. 23:21, Merari is said to have two sons, Eleazar and Kish. Eleazar died, siring only daughters and no sons, so the sons of Kish married the daughters of Eleazar (i.e., the first cousins married). Therefore, Libni would have been descended from them. Libni, Shemei, Uzzah, Shimea and Haggiah are only found here. Asaiah apparently was a contemporary of David and he headed 220 Levites; David called upon him and several other Levite leaders to carry the Ark to a place that David had prepared for it (1Chron. 15:1–15).

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The Ancestors of Heman, Asaph and Ethan—those Who Headed the Musicians Guild

And these whom stationed David over hands of song of [the] house of Yehowah since a resting of the Ark.



And these are the ones whom David stationed over the leadership of the singing in the House of Jehovah since the Ark came to rest.

It is in verses like there where The Amplified Bible truly earns its name; here, it reads: These David put over the service of song in the house of the Lord, after the ark of the covenant rested there [after being taken by the Philistines and later places in the house of Abinadab, where it remained for nearly 100 years during the rest of Samuel’s judgeship, and Saul’s entire reign, and into David’s reign].

First of all, we have to properly place this verse into its correct context. Does it properly end the verses which came before or does it properly begin a new section? V. 31 begins with the word these—and it is important to determine whether these looks backwards to the men who have been already named or whether it looks forward to men who will be named. Of the previous people named, only two of them could be listed in connection with the Ark—and one of them incorrectly. And the one in the previous verse is named in connection with bringing the Ark back to Israel. That is not what this verse refers to—this verse refers to the service of the Ark after it had been brought back to Israel. Since the names of Heman and Asaph will follow this passage as those who are in charge of the music in the Tent of Jehovah, and since this is confirmed by 1Chron. 15:16–17, which reads: Then David conferenced with the heads of the Levites to appoint their relatives as the singers, with instruments of music, harps, lyres, loud cymbals, to raise the sounds of joy. Therefore, the Levites appointed Heman ben Joel, and from his relatives, Asaph ben Berechiah; and from the sons of Merari, their relatives, Ethan ben Kushaiah. These three men are mentioned in 1Chron. 6:33, 39,44. We can therefore determine that this verse is a break from that which has come before (contrary to the translation of the Complete Jewish Bible) and that it points toward Heman, Asaph and Ethan.


The first verb in this verse is the 3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect of ׳âmad (ד ַמ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-MAHD], which means to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand. In the Hiphil, it means to cause to stand, to station, to set, to place, to decree, to destine. Strong's #5975 BDB #763. What David set these men over the feminine plural construct of yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd], which means hands. This word is often used for leadership and guidance. Strong's #3027 BDB #388. In this case, the hands also refer to the use of the hands on musical instruments. It is the leadership of the masculine singular construct of shîyr (רי.ש) [pronounced sheer], which means song. Strong’s #7892 BDB #1010. This is followed by a house of Yehowah.


Then we have the prefixed preposition min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min], a preposition which usually denotes separation (away from, out from, out of from). Here we have a separation of time and it means after. Strong's #4480 BDB #577. Then we have the masculine singular construct of the noun mânôwach (-חנָמ) [pronounced maw-NOH-wahkh], which means rest, a condition or state of rest, a place of rest. Strong’s #4494 BDB #629. This is followed by the definite article and the noun for Ark.

And so they were ministering to faces of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Appointed Time in the song until built Solomon a House of Yehowah in Jerusalem. And so they stood as their custom concerning their service.



And they continually ministered before the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting in the realm of music even until Solomon built the House of Jehovah in Jerusalem. So they remained according to their custom in accordance with their service.

The gist of this verse is fairly easy to get. We will carefully exegete it, however, so that we know all that is here:


CEV                                       These musicians served at the sacred tent and later at the Lord’s temple that King Solomon build.

NASB                                    And the ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem; and they served in their office according to their order.

Young's Lit. Translation         ...and they are ministering before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, in song, till the building by Solomon of the house of Jehovah in Jerusalem; and they stand according to their ordinance over their service.


We begin with the 3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect of the verb to be, followed by the masculine plural, Piel participle of shârath (ת ַר ָש) [pronounced shaw-RAHTH], which means to serve, to minister. This verb is found only in the Piel. Strong’s #8334 BDB #1058. It is used in the participle with the verb to be to indicate continuous service. We completely take this for granted and don’t realize the fact that there was a continuous ministry at the Ark of God was both unusual and a blessing.


We then have two words for tent. The first is masculine singular construct of mîshekân (ן ָ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mishe-KAWN], which means a residence, a dwelling place, tent, tabernacle. This is the word translated tabernacle throughout the Pentateuch. Strong's #4908 BDB #1015. This is followed by the masculine singular construct of ohel (ל הֹא) [pronounced OH-hel] is translated tent, tabernacle, house; and it refers to the temporary dwelling of Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 18), the temporary dwellings of Jacob and his wives when on the road (Gen. 31), to the Tent or Tabernacle of God (Ex. 33). Strong's #168 BDB #13. The former word refers primarily to a residence; the latter word more to the action of the pitching of the tent. My feeling, after examining a few passages, is that ohel is the most temporary of the structures; mîshekân is semi-permanent; and bêyth (also found in this verse) is permanent.

Comment Hebrew Words for Dwelling Place







(ת.י ַ)

 (ן ָ  ׃ש  ̣מ)


 [pronounced OH-hel]

 [pronounced BAH-yith]

[pronounced mishe-KAWN]

Strong and BDB #’s

Strong's #168 BDB #13

Strong's #1004 BDB #108

Strong's #4908 BDB #1015



Structure, household

Act of pitching tent; materials used





Translation (KJV)

tent, tabernacle



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Tent is followed by the masculine singular noun môw׳êd (ד̤עמ) [pronounced moh-ĢADE], which means a specific time, a pre-determined time, an appointed time. This, with tent, is often rendered the Tent of Meeting. The problem with that rendering is that the concept of there being a specific time involved is lost. Strong's #4150 BDB #417. Literally, what we have so far, is And so they were ministering to faces of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Appointed Time...


This is followed by the bêyth preposition bêyth preposition be ( ׃) [pronounced b' ] which usually denotes proximity. It is translated in, among, into, against, with, at, through, by. In the second class of meanings for bêyth, it can refer to having respect to anything: in respect to, on account of, in that, about concerning. This is how it is used here. No Strong’s # BDB #88. This is followed by the masculine singular noun shîyr, again, (רי.ש) [pronounced sheer], which means song or, perhaps singing or music. Strong’s #7892 BDB #1010.


The continue the idea of the duration or their responsibilities, we have the preposition ׳ad (ד ַע) [pronounced ģad ] which means as far as, even to, up to, until. Strong’s #5704 BDB #723. This is followed by the Qal infinitive construct of to build, and then we have the proper noun, Solomon, the mark of a direct object, and a house of Yehowah in Jerusalem. This gives us: And so they were ministering before the Tabernacle of the Tent of the Appointed Time with respect to the music even until a building of the House of Yehowah by Solomon.


The second sentence begins with the wâw consecutive, the masculine plural, Qal imperfect of ׳âmad again. ד ַמ ָע, [pronounced ģaw-MAHD], means to take a stand, to stand, to remain, to endure, to withstand. Strong's #5975 BDB #763. Then we have the kaph preposition (which looks a lot like the bêyth preposition) and the 3rd person masculine singular noun mishepâţ (ט ָ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mish-PAWT], which means judgement, a verdict rendered by a judge, a judicial decision, a judicial sentence. It can also mean manner, custom, fashion. Strong's #4941 BDB #1048.


This is followed by the preposition ׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ], which means upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside. When ׳al is used in connection with something geographical, particularly water; it has the connotation of contiguity or proximity; so here, it means by or beside. When used with verse of covering or protecting, it means above, upon, even though the articles of clothing may be physically around the person. It can also mean on the ground of (or upon the basis) something is done (Deut. 17:11 Psalm 94:20) or, similarly, where the basis conveyed involves the ground; i.e., it involves the cause or the reason or the grounds for something (then, translated on account of, because of as in Gen. 20:2 21:12). It can therefore be variously rendered as on the ground of, according to, on account of, on behalf of, concerning, besides, in addition to, together with, beyond, above, over, by on to, towards, to, against, in the matter of, concerning, as regards to. This is perhaps one of the most versatile prepositions in the Hebrew language. Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752. This is followed by the feminine singular noun for service. Both of the final two nouns have a 3rd person masculine plural suffix. The final sentence is: And so they stood [or, remained] as their custom on account of their service.

I realize that I beat this verse half to death in the Hebrew; however, what is key is that the service of music continued uninterrupted at the return of the Ark until the time that Solomon build the Temple of God. The result of this was a multitude of psalms written by David and the men whose names will follow.

And these, the ones standing, and their sons from sons of the Kohathites: Heman the singer



And these are the ones who serve—along with their sons and other descendants of the Kohathites—Heman, the singer

The Hebrew here is fairly easy. We have mentioned Heman, who appeared to have fostered a musical dynasty. His only other mention in Scripture is 1Chron. 25:5, where he is said to have had fourteen sons and three daughters. Since he is listed first, and since his entire line is given, we might assume that he was the chief of the musicians in David’s and Solomon’s courts. What follows in the next several verses is his pedigree, scoped backwards from the previous lines.

The three men whose pedigrees will be confirmed are Asaph, Heman and Ethan (also known as Jeduthun). Although Asaph is generally listed first and is apparently the chief among them, Heman’s line ascent is given first, as he is a descendant of Kohath, the priestly line of Levi.

(a son of Joel, a son of Samuel, a son of Elkanah, a son of Jeroham, a son of Eliel, a son of Toah, a son of Zuph, a son of Elkanah, a son of Mahath, a son of Amasai, a son of Elkanah, a son of Joel, a son of Azariah, a son of Zephaniah, a son of Tahath, a son of Assir, a son of Ebiasaph, a son of Korah, a son of Izhar, a son of Kohath, a son of Levi, a son of Israel);



(the son of Joel, the son of Samuel, the son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah, the son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah, the son of Mahath, the son of Amasai, the son of Elkanah, the son of Joel, the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah, the son of Tahath, the son of Assir, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, the son of Israel);

We have covered pretty much all of these men in previous verses. Israel, of course, is Jacob’s God-given name. You will note that I placed this genealogy in parentheses; the second person in charge of music is now named:

and his brother Asaph, the standing one by his right hand—



and his relative, Asaph, who stands at his right hand


With have the masculine singular noun here, âch (חָא) [pronounced awhk], which means brother (Gen. 4:2 27:6); close relative (Gen. 14:14, 16—Lot was Abram's nephew, not his brother)—Lev. 10:4); and fellow-countrymen (Lev. 19:17 25:14, 46). Strong's #251 BDB #26. Here, it means relative, as they are both Levites. This word is also used because of their similar vocations.

Asaph is much more prominent in Scripture than is Heman. His name appears in the inscription of Psalms 50, 73–83. It has been suggested that there are two Asaph’s, as at least two of those psalms (74 and 79) sound as if they are psalms of the dispersion (they could be prophetic). Now, generally speaking, unless something is presented is prophetic, I do not like to call is prophetic. For instance, some people are so anal-retentive about remaining orthodox and determining authorship for Deuteronomy, for instance, that they often say, well, Moses could have written the last few lines prophetically (they say the same thing about the end of Joshua). That’s pure goofy. There is no reason why we would not expect to have a proper ending added after the deaths of Moses and Joshua and there is no reason why we should expect them to write their own obituaries, as it were. Such a view in no way minimizes the inspiration of Scripture. However, we do have the minor problem that there is never a distinction made in Scripture between the Asaph of David’s time and an Asaph who came on the scene after the dispersion of Israel. What is at stake here is the authorship of two psalms. In retrospect, Asaph is called a prophet (2Chron. 29:30). During the time of David, his music is associated with prophecy (1Chron. 25:1). Asaph’s four sons were connected both with the ministry of music and with prophecy in 1Chron. 25:2. Therefore, that he wrote two psalms which were prophetic should not be a problem to us Footnote .

Asaph’s appointment to help head the musicians guild, if you will, is found here and in 1Chron. 15:16–17 16:4–5, 37. Asaph and Heman also take part in the dedication of the newly-built Temple under Solomon in 2Chron. 5:1, 11–12. Asaph apparently led the singing, played the cymbals and perhaps even headed a school of music (1Chron. 15:19 Neh. 7:44). 128 of Asaph’s descendants returned from the dispersion with Ezra (Ezra 2:41) and served in Zerubbabel’s Temple (Ezra 3:10) Footnote .

(Asaph, son of Berechiah son of Shimea, son of Michael, son of Baaseiah, son of Malchijah, son of Ethni, son of Zerah, son of Adaiah, son of Ethan, son of Zimmah, son of Shimei, son of Jahath, son of Gershom Footnote , son of Levi);



(Asaph is the son of Berechiah, who is the son of Shimea, the son of Michael, the son of Baaseiah, the son of Malchijah, the son of Ethni, the son of Zerah, the son of Adaiah, the son of Ethan, the son of Zimmah, the son of Shimei, the son of Jahath, the son of Gershom, the son of Levi);

We follow Asaph’s line backwards, as we did with Heman. These men played important parts in the ministry of the Tent of Jehovah, as well as in regards to the Temple; therefore, we see their proper origins in this chapter. Whereas, we have pretty much a complete line for Heman, we obviously have only a partial line for Asaph.

We have studied several of these men already. We examined a Shimei back in 1Chron. 6:17. The Shimei’s are a bit difficult to keep track of, as there are as many as six of them who are Levites, all minor players in Scripture. This particular Shimei is said to be the son of Jahath, the son of Gershom who is the son of Levi. In 1Chron. 6:17, Gershom was said to have two sons: Libni and Shimei. Sons means descendants and the earliest mention of this Shimei is always in relationship to the families descended from Gershom (Ex. 6:17 Num. 3:18) This means that they do not have to be brothers and listed separately as I did in the Line of Levi. Shimei could have been descended from Libni and their families could have separated into two separate units (this has happened many times before). In other words, it is unclear whether the Shimei in this verse is the same or different from the Shimei in 1Chron. 6:17.

Zerah, Zimmah and Jahath were all possibly covered already in 1Chron. 6:20. Although Jahath is definitely the same in both passages, we are not 100% certain about Zerah and Zimmah (they are simply names in a genealogy, so there is not a problem either way). And, of course, we covered Gershom and Levi at the beginning of this chapter.

Malchijah, although mentioned only here, is interesting because of his name (several people in Scripture have this name). It means my king is Yah. It recognized that Israel is a theocracy and that God rules over Israel.

Adaiah may be Iddo of 1Chron. 6:21, although this is not necessary, since there are definitely gaps in both lines.

Now, as for the ancestors of Asaph: Berechiah is known only through being the father of Asaph (our passage and 1Chron. 15:17. It is possible that he was appointed by David as a gatekeeper in 1Chron. 15:23. Footnote Most of these men—Baaseiah, Shimea, Michael, Ethni and Ethan—are known only from this passage. Footnote In three early printed editions and in the Greek and Syriac codices, Baaseiah is Maaseiah (not that it makes any difference).

and sons of Merari, their brothers by the left hand: Ethan, son of Kishi, son of Abdi, son of Malluch, son of Hashabiah, son of Amaziah, son of Hilkiah, son of Amzi, son of Bani, son of Shemer, son of Mahli, son of Mushi, son of Merari, son of Levi;



and sons of Merari, their brothers by the left hand: Ethan, son of Kishi, son of Abdi, son of Malluch, son of Hashabiah, son of Amaziah, son of Hilkiah, son of Amzi, son of Bani, son of Shemer, son of Mahli, son of Mushi, son of Merari, son of Levi;

We have previously studied the ancestors of Asaph and Heman; and we have the genealogical lines going both ways. However, for Ethan, we only have the list of his ancestors. The very short line of Merari that we have already studied is simply not long enough to place side-by-side this line (see the Genealogy of Levi).

We have already examined Mahli, Mushi, Merari and Levi early on in this chapter. Although it appears as though Mahli and Mushi are brothers who are sons of Merari, one could, without a careful examination, content that the Mahli of this verse is the same person as the Mahli found elsewhere, which would indicate that Mahli was a son of Mushi who broke away to form his own family. However, we have the two different Mahli’s also listed in 1Chron. 23:21–23 24:26–30.

As we would expect, most of these people—Abdi, Malluch, Hashabiah, Amaziah, Hilkiah, Amzi, Bani, Shemer—are found only in this passage. In some cases, there are other men in Scripture with the same names.

Ethan is one of the three heads of music named in this passage and in 1Chron. 15:19. He appears to be uniformly called Ethan for awhile, and then, Jeduthun (see 1Chron. 9:16 25:1, 3, 6). This is not a scribal error nor, necessarily, a nickname. We have several specific cases where a new name superceded the given name of a character in Scripture: Abraham, Sarah, Joshua, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, Paul, Peter, etc. He is called a son of Kishi here and a son of Kushaiah in 1Chron. 15:17. Kish and Kushaiah are either the same person or in the same family line. He is occasionally incorrectly identified with the Ethan of 1Chron. 2:6 and 1Kings 4:31, because all three are mentioned along with Heman. You have to be careful in situations like this. We simply have two relatively common names; just because John and Paul who hung out together in the 1960’s and are two people that you might be familiar with, that does not mean they were the only John and Paul of their time period to hang out together. There is a Kish mentioned in 2Chron. 29:12, who is the son of an Abdi; however, the time period is too different for these to be the same set of men.

and their brothers, the Levites, were appointed to all service of a Tabernacle of a House of God.



along with their brothers, the Levites, who were appointed to all of the service of the Tabernacle of the House of God.

This very length passage named the three men who were heads over the music guild of the Tabernacle of God (and then over the Temple of God). The verb is the 3rd person masculine plural, Qal passive participle of


What they were placed over is the feminine singular construct of ׳ăbvôdâh (ה ָדֹב ֲע) [pronounced ģub-vo-DAWH] and it means labour, service. Strong’s #5656 & 5647 BDB #715.

The author or compiler of Chronicles spent a lot of time dealing with the musicians from the time of David. We have three lines telescoped from each head to their respective ancestors, who were the three sons of Levi. In 1Chron. 15:16–22, these three are mentioned again along with others who made up the Tabernacle Orchestra. Their accompaniment of the Ark being brought up by David is mentioned in 1Chron. 15:27–28. All of 1Chron. 25 deals with the musicians who carried over from the time of David to the time of Solomon. Hezekiah also organized (or, resurrected) the Levitical musicians guild in 2Chron. 29:25–29. These passages have prompted some to think that the author/editor of Chronicles was a musician himself. However, this person records several lists, such as the divisions of the Levites (1Chron. 24), the divisions of the gatekeepers (1Chron. 26), as well as the commanders of the army (1Chron. 27). He apparently was a man who was very fond of lists, and, undoubtedly the ancestor of David Wallechinsky, Amy Wallace and Irving Wallace (Jewish family members and author/editors of the Book of Lists series). God’s Word is eternal. There are a lot of names that we will come across which will mean nothing to us. However, those names are recorded for all eternity and those men named will spend eternity in the presence of Christ Jesus.

You will note that we have three heads of the musicians guild and all three come from the three branches of the Levite family: Heman’s ancestor is Kohath, Asaph’s ancestor is Gershom, and Ethan was the descendant of Merari. All three come from and represent the three sons of Levi.

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The Descendants of Aaron Who Made up the Priests of Israel

And Aaron and his sons burn incense upon an altar of burnt offering and upon an altar of incense for all work of the holy of the holies and to make atonement concerning Israel as all that commanded Moses, a servant of the God.



But Aaron and his sons burned incense on the altar of burnt offering as well as on the altar of incense, and all of the work in connection with the holy of holies, and they made atonement concerning Israel, according to all that God commanded Moses, the servant of God.

There were several articles of furniture in the Tent of Worship, two of them being altars. The first altar was the bronze altar, which was acacia wood overlaid with bronze. When someone approached the Tabernacle, the first thing that they saw was this bronze altar. It was upon this altar that the blood of the animals were shed, and then they were burned before God. It was this shedding of blood and sacrifice of this animal—an innocent animal without spot or blemish—which provide access and forgiveness for the sinner. According to the Law, almost all things are cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (Heb. 9:22). The other altar was the incense altar which was before the veil of the entrance to the Holy of Holies. It was on this altar of incense that incense was burned twice a day, which are related to the prayers of the believer, which would include rebound (one’s confession of sin directly to God). And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might offer it to the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar w, which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand (Rev. 8:3–4).

You may be surprised at one or two of the things found in this verse, so let me give you a couple translations first:


NASB                                    But Aaron and his sons offered [lit., offered up in smoke] on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense, for all the work of the most holy place, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.

Young's Lit. Translation         And Aaron and his sons are making perfume on the altar of the burnt-offering, and on the altar of the perfume, for all the work of the holy of holies, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses servant of God commanded.


What Aaron and his sons did is the Hiphil participle of qâţar (ר-טָק) [pronounced kaw-TAHR], which means to burn incense, to make sacrifices smoke. Strong’s #6999 BDB #882. The altar upon which they offered this incense is the masculine singular construct of altar and the feminine singular noun ׳ôlâh (ה ָלֹע) [pronounced ģo-LAW], which means burnt offering. It is a word which is related to the word for climb, ascend and it can be consistently rendered burnt offering. It is what ascends to God; physically, it is the smoke, but spiritually, it is man reaching to God through the means which God has provided. Strong #5930 BDB #750.


The second altar is the altar of qeţôreth (ת רֹט  ׃ק) [pronounced k'toe-RETH], which means incense (and not perfume). Strong's 7004 BDB #882. The idea behind the incense is efficacy. God finds the sacrifice efficacious. In other words, there is enough to the sacrifice to satisfy God’s righteousness. Now, when it comes to the sacrifice of bulls and rams, these merely point to the great sacrifice that is to come—the satisfaction by God concerning the sacrifice also points ahead to the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.

Surprisingly enough, these altars are rarely mentioned in the Old Testament. We have their descriptions and functions given in Ex. 30, and then they are mentioned only a handful of times in Exodus, Leviticus, and, surprisingly enough, I and 2Chronicles.

What this verse further does is it differentiates between the work of the Levites and the work of the sons of Aaron. Theologians have been sloppy and they refer to the Levitical priesthood and to the Levitical priests. This is incorrect. Only those who are descendants of Aaron qualify as priests to God—and only one of them is the High Priest. The Levites assisted the Aaronite priesthood, but they did not supplant them or replace them. This verse confirms this. The priests were those who offered sacrifices to God on behalf of the people on the altars. The Aaronites represented man to God, as it were (the prophet, on the other hand, represented God to man). The idea was simple—man sinned; the priest offered up an innocent animal, without spot or blemish on the altar on behalf of the man who sinned; and God, accepting temporarily the sacrifice of the animal as a substitute for the man, covered over the man’s sin. The priest offered up the animal to God rather than the man. This, of course, foretold of Christ going to the cross as our perfect substitute, a lamp without spot or blemish, who paid for our sins with His Own blood. He suffered the penalty that was due us, and by His death, we are forgiven.

And these sons of Aaron: Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son, Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son, Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son, Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son.



And these are the proper descendants of Aaron: Eleazar, then Phinehas, then Abishua, then Bukki, then Uzzi, then Zerahiah, then Meraioth, then Amariah, then Ahitub, then Zadok, then Ahimaaz.

We compared this line with three other lines in Scripture and found them to be remarkably identical (this line did not go forward in time as much as the others did). We covered these people in whatever depth that we could back in vv. 5–9.

Although this line is, for all intents and purposes, identical to genealogical lines which have already been listed, this past few verses actually serve a different function. They legitimize the line of Zadok, which is traced down to Solomon’s time, as the only Levitical division authorized to offer sacrifices. Footnote Barnes suggests that this line came from a source who belonged to the time period of David, of whom Ahimaaz was a contemporary; and suggests that the other genealogy came from a document which belonged to the period of the Captivity. Footnote

In this line of Aaron, there is a great deal going on that we really don’t know about apart from the study of God’s Word elsewhere. This gives us a bare-bones outline of this aspect of the priesthood. Aaron had four sons, two of which were fathers to the priestly lines to Israel—Eleazar and Ithamar. Somehow, the line of Ithamar began as the most prominent, culminating, more or less, in the person of Eli, who was a priest and a judge over Israel for 40 years. Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, both whom were priests to God, but unbelievers. Their main interest in the sacrifices to God was the resultant barbeque that they got to participate in. They finally began to require that uncooked and possibly even live meat be given them, so that they could barbeque at their own convenience. This was a blatant distortion of the priesthood and God spoke to Eli about it (1Sam. 2:27–36). In this, God told Eli that his line would be cut off from the priesthood (because of the behavior of Eli’s sons), and that his sons would eventually beg the priestly line for a few duties so that they might have a crust of bread to eat (this was in stark contrast to the behavior of Eli’s sons, who constantly feasted). God first brought in Samuel, who foreshadowed our Lord as the High Priest (discussion of this will be found at the end of our exegesis of 1Sam. 2). However, Samuel had no heirs which entered into the priesthood, so the priesthood fell back into the lap of Eli’s descendants (Ithamar’s line). When the priests (the descendants of Eli) later committed an act of support for David, King Saul murdered them all except for one, whom he allowed to send a message to David. However, here there is still one man in the line of Ithamar and Eli who remains, this escapee. When King David had died, the one man, Abiathar, backed the wrong horse. Therefore, King Solomon removed him from the priesthood, and replaced him with Zadok, a priest in the line of Eleazar, thus reverting the priestly line back to Eleazar. This will be covered in greater detail both in 1Sam. 2 and 1Kings 1–2.

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The Cities Given over to the Descendants of Aaron

Joshua 21:4, 9–19

With this chapter, we begin an examination of the cities which various tribes gave over to the descendants of Levi. You will notice that the cities throughout this second portion of 1Chron. 6 do not always match up with the parallel passage given back in Joshua 21. There are several reasons for this: (1) The author of Chronicles did not simply copy Joshua 21. (2) It is clear that between the pre-determined distribution of these cities and this chapter that there has been an interval of time. The tribe of Dan, which was given territory in south central Palestine, could not wrest this from the heathen who occupied it, so they went up north and took some land from a peaceful race of people. Their southern occupation of land is taken for granted in Joshua 21, although it had not yet occurred. Their northern occupation of a small portion of land is understood in this chapter, as no cities are given from Dan over to the Levites (they had no cities to give). Therefore, what we have in Joshua 21 was what was supposed to have happened after Israel spread out and took over her land. What we have in this chapter is what did actually happen when Israel spread out and took over her land. Therefore, for whatever reasons, known and unknown, there is a difference between that which was determined by a throwing of lots in the time of Joshua to what actually occurred. (3) Some cities may have changed names. It is possible that the names changed only slightly as they were now occupied by Israelites. Generally speaking, the Israelites kept the names of the cities they conquered; however, due to a difference in speech patterns and dialects, and even due to the meanings of the city names, they may have made slight changes in the names. (4) These two documents, Joshua 21 and 1Chron. 6, were compiled in their final form nearly 1000 years apart (although 1Chron. 6 was based upon documents written much earlier). In that time, some cities may have changed names, boundaries may have changed, etc. (5) Because of the gap in the time that these were written, we may want to impugn errors—however, under the verbal plenary view of inspiration, that was not the case. Most differences were simply between the theoretical and the actual. (6) One thing that the verbal plenary theory of inspiration does not cover is copy errors, and certainly some of those crept in. We have manuscripts of inspired Scripture which were neglected, forgotten, misplaced; and, given the medium upon which they were written, they decayed and fell apart. Therefore, when they were copied over, there were errors introduced because the original was almost unreadable or the copyist simply made a mistake. Therefore, as we examine the distribution of cities, bear in mind that there will be differences for these five reasons. We should have been surprised had there been no differences between these two chapters.

And these their settlements to their walls in their borders to sons of Aaron, to families of the Kohathite, for to them was the allotment [or, the first lot].



And these are the habitations of their enclosures within the borders given to the sons of Aaron, as well as to the families of Kohathites, for this is what was theirs as their recompense.

We may want to look at a couple of translations first:


CEV                                       Aaron’s descendants belonged to the Levite clan of Kohath, and they were the first group chosen to receive towns to live in.

NASB                                    Now these are their settlements according to their camps within their borders. To the sons of Aaron of the families of the Kohathites (for theirs was the first lot),...

Young's Lit. Translation And these are their dwellings, throughout their towers, to their borders, of the sons of Aaron, of the family of the Kohathite, for theirs was the lot;...


The first noun in this verse is môwshâbv (בָשמ) [pronounced moh-SHAWBV], which means settlement, habitation, seat, assembly, dwelling-place, dwelling, dwellers. It has three primary meanings: (1) a seat, a place for sitting; (2) a sitting down, an assembly [of persons] (Psalm 1:1 107:32); (3) a settlement, a habitation (Gen. 27:39 Lev. 25:29). In the latter case, it can also mean time of habitation (Ex. 12:40) or inhabitants, dwellers (2Sam. 9:12). It appears to be used in the plural when the subject of the verse is plural, and in the singular when the subject of the verse is singular. Strong’s #4186 BDB #444. This is followed by the lâmed preposition and the feminine plural noun ţîyrâh (הָרי.ט) [pronounced tee-RAW], which means walls, fences, hedges, enclosures. Strong’s #2918 BDB #377. We have the bêyth preposition and the masculine singular noun gebvûl (לב׃) [pronounced geb-VOOL], which means border, boundary, territory. Strong’s #1366 BDB #147. All three nouns have a 3rd person masculine plural suffix affixed to them.


At the end of this verse, we have the conjunction kîy (that, because, for), to them (or, for them), the 3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect of to be, the definite article and the masculine singular noun gôrâl (ל ָר) [pronounced goh-RAWL], which means allocation, lot (or, lots) (according to the KJV). BDB spends nearly a page on this word, allowing for such translations as lot, allotment, portion, recompense, retribution. Strong’s #1486 BDB #174. In this case, allotment is a good rendering; recompense is even better. The men of Aaron’s descent were given these territories as recompense or as payment for the work that they did. What is probably meant, however, is that they, along with Judah, received the first lot, or the first allotment.

And so they gave to them Hebron in a land of Judah and her pasture lands around her and open land of the city and her villages they gave to Caleb ben Jephunneh.



So they gave them Hebron, which is in the land of Judah, and its pasture lands that surround it; however, the fields of the city and the suburbs, they gave to Caleb ben Jephunneh.

The remainder of this chapter parallels Joshua 21; however, this is information given hundreds of years later. Joshua set out how it was supposed to be and this portion of 1Chronicles tells us how it finally played out.


After pasture lands, we have the preposition çâbbv (בי̣ב ָס) [pronounced sawb-VEEBV], which means around, surrounding, circuit, round about, encircle. Strong’s #5439 BDB #686. The feminine singular suffix refers back to Hebron. So this was given over to the Aaronic priesthood.


What was given over to Caleb ben Jephunneh was the masculine singular construct of sâdeh (ה∵דָ) [pronounced saw-DEH], which means field, land, open field, open country. Strong’s #7704 BDB #961. This is the open land of the feminine singular noun ׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer], which means encampment, city, town. This is used in the very widest sense of a group of people, from an encampment, to a village, to a city. Strong's #5892 BDB #746. God swore to Moses that only Caleb and Joshua would have land holdings in the Land of Promise (Num. 14:24, 30). Caleb asked Joshua for a specific portion of land—Hebron—back in Joshua 14. This simply confirms that Caleb and his family shared this city with the Levites.


Then we have the conjunction and the masculine plural noun châtsêr (ר̤צָח) [pronounced khaw-TZAHR], which means settled abode, settlement, village. This refers to the few settlements which are scattered around a city. Suburbs is a nice contemporary rendering. Strong’s #2691 & #2699 BDB #347. With this is the feminine singular suffix, referring back to city above.

Apparently, the pasture land for the sheep and other livestock was given to the Levites; the fields (for planting) and city areas were given to Caleb ben Jephunneh (this is the Caleb that you know about from the books of Joshua and Numbers).

And to sons of Aaron, they gave cities of the refuge: Hebron and Libnah (and her pasture lands) and Jattir and Eshtemoa (and her pasture lands) and Hilen (and her pasture lands) and Debir (and her pasture lands) and Ashan (and her pasture lands) and Beth-shemesh (and her pasture lands;



The sons of Aaron were given Hebron and Libnah, both cites of refuge, and Jattir, Eshtemoa, Hilen, Debir, Ashan, Juttah and Beth-shemesh, along with the pasture lands surrounding those cities;

Of these cities, only Jattir is named without adding and her pasture lands. In Joshua 21:14, the pasture lands are included. Leaving it out here was simply a scribal error. These cities have been covered elsewhere, and the references will be found after the next verse.

You will note the addition of the city Juttah on the right hand side. Juttah is also found in the Syriac, some versions of the Septuagint and in Joshua 21:16.

and from a tribe of Benjamin, Geba (and her pasture lands) and Alemeth (and her pasture lands) and Anathoth (and her pasture lands)—all their cities—thirteen cities in their families.



and from the tribe of Benjamin, the sons of Aaron were given Geba, Alemeth and Anathoth, along with their pasture lands as well.

The Cities Given Over to the Descendants of Aaron

Joshua 21:13–19

1Chron. 6:54–60

Original Owner




City Covered in...





























Joshua 14:15

Joshua 10:29

Joshua 15:48–49

Joshua 15:50–51

Joshua 15:50–51

Joshua 15:48–49

Joshua 15:32

Joshua 15:10





















1Sam. 5

Joshua 18:24

Joshua 18:24




It reads that there are thirteen cities and there are thirteen cities. Gibeon and Juttah are the additional two cities.

There are only eleven cities names, although the text reads that there are suppose to be thirteen. All except Jattir read and her pasture lands.

Obviously, Juttah is missing from the Hebrew and from my version of the Septuagint in 1Chron. 6:59; it is found in the Syriac and in some versions of the Septuagint. You will also note that Gibeon is missing from our passage (the NIV puts it in).

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Hilen, of our passage, is called Holon in the book of Joshua. Ashan is called Ain in the book of Joshua. Alemeth is called Almon in the book of Joshua. Since these cities have all been covered before in Joshua, we will not need to cover them further here.

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A Summary of the Division of the Levitical Cities

Joshua 21:5–8

And to sons of Kohath, the remaining ones from a family of the tribe [of Dan, and?] from half of a tribe [of Ephraim?], a half of Manasseh in the allotment: cities, ten.



And to those who remain out of the descendants of Kohath, from the half tribe of Manasseh, [as well as from the tribes of Dan and Ephraim], a recompense of ten cities was given.

There are obviously too many half’s in this verse; however, that is how it is found in the Hebrew. The bracketed words in my literal verse are not found in the original text; I have supplied them, suggesting what has, for whatever reason, dropped out of the text. There is no manuscript evidence for these being there apart from the fact that the verse itself is confusing without them. The Latin Vulgate simplifies it into one half. That, in no way, means that is how it should read—that may have been Jerome simply streamlining the translation, as most modern translations have done. Actually, the tribes of Dan, Ephraim and half of Manasseh all gave cities over to Kohath. Manasseh is just taken as representative of these tribes. And southern Dan, by this time, had probably been enveloped by the surrounding tribes of Judah, Ephraim and Manasseh (in the distribution of cities, in vv. 67–70, Dan is not mentioned).

It is interesting that Aaron’s family were just a very small part of the family of the Kohathites, and, during the time of Joshua, probably did not even number thirteen in total. However, thirteen cites were given over to them, and only ten cities were given over to the rest of the tribe of Kohath, which would have been more than a thousand times larger during the time of Joshua. The specific cities will be given in vv. 66–70.

I think that there was an error here and that this should have read ...from the family of the tribe of Ephraim and from half the tribe of Manasseh. Ephraim is named both in v. 66 and in Joshua 21:20–21. The tribe of Dan is mentioned in Joshua 21:23 as well but not in vv. 66–70. At this point in time, Dan had all but abandoned their land in the central west and it had been absorbed by Ephraim and possibly Judah. The two cities given to Kohath by Dan in Joshua and given to Kohath by Ephraim in this chapter.

And to sons of Gershon for their families from a tribe of Issachar and from a tribe of Asher and from a tribe of Naphtali and from a tribe of Manasseh in the Bashan: cities, thirteen.



And thirteen cities were given to the descendants of Gershon and their families from the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and Manasseh (from the area of Bashan).

The specific cites will be named in vv. 71–76.

And to sons of Merari for their families from a tribe of Reuben and from a tribe of Gad and from a tribe of Zebulun in the allotment: cities, twelve.



And twelve cities were given to the descendants of Merari and their families in the allotment from the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Zebulun.

The Allotment of the Levites

Given to....


Number of cities

General Area

The descendants of Aaron

Judah and Benjamin



The descendants of Kohath

West Manasseh and Ephraim


Central west

The descendants of Gershom

Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and east Manasseh



The descendants of Merari

Reuben, Gad and Zebulun


Central and central east

The number of cities given over to the various branches of the family of Levi are in exact agreement with the numbers given in Joshua 21:4–7.

The three tribes which are missing are Dan, Simeon (which occupies a portion of Judah) and Levi (the families receiving the distribution). Dan and Simeon are both mentioned in Joshua 21:4–5, they are not found here as: (1) Dan never really possessed the south western area given them by God; early on during the time of the judges, they took some land from a peaceful people in the far north. (2) The tribe of Simeon essentially received cities and land which belonged to Judah; so the giving over of certain cities from Simeon to Levi was essentially the same as Judah giving those cities over to Levi.

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And so give sons of Israel to the Levites the cities and their pasture lands.



So, the sons of Israel gave certain cities and their pasture lands to the Levites.

The organization of this portion of Chronicles is a bit hard to follow. I’m unsure whether this is properly grouped with the previous verses (as does Young), beginning the next section with v. 65; or whether this and v. 65 belong as a part of the previous passage. This particular verse would be a reasonable summary verse for the distribution from the tribes of Israel to the three afore-mentioned branches of Levi.

And so they gave in the allotment from a tribe of sons of Judah and from a tribe of sons of Simeon and from a tribe of sons of Benjamin the cities the these which are called to them by name.



So they gave in the allotment from the tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin these cities which were proclaimed by name to them.

This is the real problem verse. Why are we talking about the land given from Judah, Simeon and Benjamin? Keil and Delitzsch simply explain that vv. 64–65 are misplaced and belong back with v. vv. 54–60 (where these tribes give over cities to the sons of Aaron. Footnote Let’s understand the translation first, then I will explain.

The last portion of v. 65 is rather difficult, as is its transition to the next verse, so let’s look at a couple translations:


NASB                                    And they gave by lot from the tribe of the sons of Judah, the tribe of the sons of Simeon, and the tribe of the sons of Benjamin, these cities which are mentioned by name. Now some of the families of the sons of Kohath had cities of their territory from the tribe of Ephraim.

Young's Lit. Translation And they give by lot from the tribe of the sons of Judah, and from the tribe of the sons of Simeon, and from the tribe of the sons of Benjamin, these cities which they call by name; and some of the families of the sons of Kohath have cities of their border from the tribe of Ephraim;...


After the relative pronoun, we have the 3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect of qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW] which simply means call, proclaim, read, to call to, to assemble. Strong's #7121 BDB #894. This is followed by the direct object which has the 3rd person masculine plural suffix affixed to it, along with the bêyth preposition and the masculine plural noun shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame], which means name, reputation, character. Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027. This properly gives us: ...these cities which they proclaimed to them by name.

Here’s the dealio: in vv. 61–64, the chronicler summarizes the number of cities that were given from which tribes to which branch of Levites. He says, in v. 65, that these cities were given along with their pasture lands (or, suburbs). Then, in v. 65, he appends these statements by mentioning that there were other cities given from Judah, Simeon and Benjamin over to the sons of Aaron and that these had already been given in this chapter by name. He doesn’t use the name Aaron because, contextually, it was only a few verses back. In reading such a document, we are speaking of perhaps 20 seconds ago. This verse simply completes the summary.

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The Cities Given over to the Descendants of Kohath

Joshua 21:5, 20–26

Barnes suggests that the author originally came to the end of this chapter at v. 65, intending only to list those cities given over to the priests. Then, for whatever reason, decided to append this chapter with the cities which were given to the Levites in general. I don’t know that I entirely agree with this, but it would explain why these final verses appear to be slapped on the end Footnote .

It is clear that this text suffered a great deal of corruption. The cites given over to Aaron are said to be thirteen in number (v. 60); but only eleven are listed (Juttah and Gibeon appear to be the missing cities). There are two missing cities in the second list, those being Elteke and Gibbethon, both from the tribe of Dan, which would then put us, essentially, in agreement with Joshua 21, as well as give us the correct number of cities. In the third list, the cities given over to Gershom, the numbers are in agreement, but the names are different in some cases. This can be attributed first to a corrupted text, which is obvious; and secondly, to a change of name. In the final list of cities, those given over to the family of Merari, Jokneam and Kartah appear to be the missing cities. Footnote

And from families of sons of Kohath and so were cities of their territory from a tribe of Ephraim.



Also to the families of the sons of Kohath were given cities in their territory from the tribe of Ephraim.


What follows v. 65 is, literally: ...and from families of sons of Kohath and so were cities of their territory from a tribe of Ephraim. Prior to the word tribe, we have masculine singular noun gebvûl (לב׃) [pronounced geb-VOOL], which means border, boundary, territory. Strong’s #1366 BDB #147. With gebvûl we have the 3rd person masculine plural suffix. This would make more sense if families was preceded by a lâmed (to, for) rather than the mîn preposition. However, we also have the problem of the wâw consecutive prior to the verb to be; we would expect, instead, a wâw conjunction, which could be rendered also. This would give us: And to the families of the sons of Kohath were also [given] cities of the territory from the tribe of Ephraim.

Topically, I want to separate vv. 65 and 66; but they feel as they should be joined from a grammatical standpoint.

In this verse, it is noted that Simeon also donated some of their cities over to the Kohathites.

And so they gave to them cities of the refuge: Shechem (and her pasture lands) in the hill country of Ephraim and Gezer (and her pasture lands) and Jokmeam (and her pasture lands) and Beth-horon (and her pasture lands) and Aijalon (and her pasture lands) and Gath-rimmon (and her pasture lands) and from a half of a tribe of Manasseh, Aner (and her pasture lands) and Bileam (and her pasture lands) to families of sons of Kohath, the remaining ones.



And so the Israelites gave to the remaining descendants of Kohath the city of refuge, Shechem, in the hill country of Ephraim; Gezer, Jokmeam, Beth-horon, Aijalon, Gath-rimmon (along with their surrounding pasture lands); and from the Western tribe of Manasseh, Aner and Bileam, along with their pasture lands.

I don’t know why this reads cities of refuge, as only Shechem is a city of refuge in this passage. One explanation is that this is a very, very early slip of the pen by a scribe, leaving out the mêm which puts cities in the construct state; or, the last two letters of the word were transposed, which would change this from the singular construct to the plural construct. Another possibility, is the way the Hebrew would read this is, they would understand that there will be several cities to follow, although only one of them would be a city of refuge. The last explanation appears to be the correct one, as we have the same grammatical construction in v. 57.

The cities of refuge, by the way, are Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron, Golan, Ramoth and Bezer. What would happen is that if a man killed another man by accident (we call in involuntary manslaughter), then, in order to keep from being executed, he would have to flee to one of these cities. If it was determined that he was innocent of intentional murder, then he could remain in the city of refuge indefinitely. If he left this city, he would risk being killed by the blood-redeemer (i.e., the executioner). This topic is covered in greater detail in Num. 35 and Deut. 19.

The tribes of Ephraim and Dan are also missing between vv. 69 and 70. We would expect them to be there and they are not.


The Cities Given Over to the Descendants of Kohath

Original Owner

Joshua 21:20–25

1Chron. 6:67–70

of Cities



City Examined











Gen. 12:6 Joshua 20:7

Joshua 16:3

Joshua 21:22 Footnote

Joshua 16:3


















Joshua 19:44

Joshua 19:44

Joshua 19:42

Joshua 19:45





West Manasseh


Gath-rimmon Footnote



Joshua 17:11

Joshua 17:11





Ten in all

Ten in all

Additional Notes: As you compare these cities on this list and the next, bear in mind that the Hebrew has the letter h whereas the Greek does not (they do have a rough breathing at the beginning of a word, which approximates an h). Therefore, some of the differences in spelling are based upon that alone. Our vowel points in the Hebrew were introduced hundreds of years after the Septuagint, so the vowels will not always match up either. And despite what appears to be the case, neither language has a j.

From whom these cities came is not specified in Chronicles, although Ephraim is mentioned in connection with Shechem and West Manasseh is mentioned in connection with the last two cities. The number of cities is consistent with the text in the Greek and Hebrew of Joshua, but it is short two cities in both cases in Chronicles. However, some of the cities differ. In Joshua, in the Septuagint, although the text says that four cities were given to Kohath from Ephraim, only three cities are named in my version. This would indicate that either the Septuagint or the manuscripts upon which it was based for this portion of the chapter had some errors and that we probably do not have an accurate manuscript for 1Chron. 6:67–70.

The tribe of Dan is not mentioned here because they did apparently not occupy the southern central region originally awarded to them by lots in the book of Joshua.

*There are some sources Endnote which believe that Taanach is the incorrect reading back in Joshua and that it should be Aner. Aner is found only here and in the Greek. Taanach is properly found in Manasseh. If it were missing from Joshua 17 or from Joshua 21, then we would be more confused. First of all, we would have then ignored one of the most important cities of Manasseh; secondly, it is mentioned in the Hebrew and the Greek of Joshua 17:11 21:25. Thirdly, as has been explained, 1Chron. 6 does not have to line up fully with Joshua, as Joshua presents what the casting of the lots determined; 1Chron. 6 tells us what actually happened in this distribution of cities.

Whereas, it is clear in the book of Joshua as to who the original owner of any given city is, it is not quite as clear in this passage. As you will recall, Dan could not wrest the cities given him by God from the heathen who occupied them. Therefore, Dan moved to the far north and took a patch of land from a peaceful people, essentially abandoning his southern territory (this abandonment is never stated explicitly, but it is implied in passages like this). Certainly, some heathen held onto the former Danite cities, and the surrounding Israelite states, Manasseh, Ephraim and Judah, probably took chunks of land from southern Dan. In our passage, two of the cities which were to have been given to the Levites by Dan (actually, such cities appear to have been co-settled) are said here to be given to the Levites from Ephraim. This is not unlikely. Ephraim probably took some of the area left behind by Dan.

Now, there are two other cities which are missing: Elteke (or, Eltekeh) and Gibbethon. Keil and Delitzsch suggest that they were left out through a copyist error (which is the general explanation from most authors). Whereas, that is certainly a valid explanation, as well as the simplest explanation, it may not be correct. Elteke was given over to the tribe of Dan by Joshua; however, much of the land of Dan was overrun by Philistines and Dan was essentially confined to the cities Zorah and Eshtaol (Judges 18). The Philistines controlled the cities to the west, and Elteke and Gibbethon were in between. Now, if the tribe of Dan was unable to secure these cities for themselves, they certainly would have been unable to secure them for the tribe of Levi. The book of Joshua gave us what was supposed to be. This is how the land and the cities were to be distributed. This book looks back in retrospect. Ten cities were supposed to have been given over to the Kohath branch of the Levites, but only eight were actually delivered over to them. Elteke and Gibbethon were there if they wanted to go and take them themselves.

Until the time of David, the Philistines controlled the southwest coast of Palestine, with several serious skirmishes between Saul and David and the Philistines. By the time of David and Saul, the Philistines were still in control of their three coastal cities (Gaza, Ashkelon and Ashdod), they apparently lost control of Gath, which was further inland), and control of Gezer (which is close to Elteke and Gibbethon) remained under the control of the Philistines. Egypt took it from them, and gave it to Solomon (1Kings 9:16). Ekron was also originally a Philistine holding; ZPEB says that we can infer that its possession was transferred to Israel under David; Footnote we cannot state that for a fact. In other words, the larger cities around Elteke and Gibbethon were primarily in the hands of the Philistines from the time that Joshua entered the Land of Promise until at least the time of Solomon. The Levites, despite the disposition of their patriarch, were not military types. So, even though, on paper, the tribe of Dan was supposed to give these cities over to the Levites, there was no longer a tribe of Dan in that area and these cities were not under Israelite control. We do have one explicit statement that Gibbethon belonged to the Philistines in 1Kings 15:27 16:15 (this would be circa 910 and 885 b.c.), although there seemed to be a relationship between Israel and the Philistines which would occasionally allow Israelites to enter into the city. It appears that Israel might have taken the city of Gibbethon in 1Kings 16:15–20, although that is not entirely clear from the passage. At this time, Israel was a divided kingdom, and there was a civil war in the Northern Kingdom. Omri took his army up from Gibbethon to Tirzah, and they took Tirzah (which is in the central eastern portion of West Manasseh).

Briefly, we have a period of time during the 8th and 9th centuries b.c. when Israel may have controlled these cities in question. They would have still been in border cities where flare ups between Israel and the Philistines were possible. My thinking is that the Levites never moved into these two cities, and were, therefore, intentionally left off of this list, which is the what-is list, as opposed to the what-is-supposed-to-be list found in Joshua 21. So we have no copyist error here; we have no contradiction or mistake; what we have is the Bible being absolutely accurate.

As to the final disposition of Elteke, I quote from ZPEB: The Assyrian king Sennacherib destroyed the town [Elteke] in 701 b.c. on his way to Timnah and Ekron. In its environs, the decisive battle between the Assyrians and Egyptians was fought (2Kings 18:13ff.; 19:8ff.). On this occasion it is probably that the forces defeated by Sennacherib consisted of Jews along with Ekronites and Egyptians. Footnote Sennacherib lists Elteke and Timnah as two cities which he conquered during this time period (they are listed as Altakū and Timnā in his annals of conquests) Footnote .

The city of Aner is found only in this verse. It corresponds to Taanach in Joshua 17 and 21. Whether it is the same city and a different name for the same city or whether a different city was given over or whether this is simply a corruption of the Greek and Hebrew text is unclear.

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The Cities Given over to the Descendants of Gershom

Joshua 21:6, 27–33

To sons of Gershom from a family of half of a tribe of Manasseh: Golan in Bashan (and her pasture lands), and Ashtaroth (and her pasture lands); and out of the tribe of Issachar: Kedesh (and her pasture lands), Daberath (and her pasture lands), Ramoth (and her pasture lands), Anem (and her pasture lands); and from a tribe of Asher: Mashal (and her pasture lands) and Abdon (and her pasture lands), and Hukok (and her pasture lands), and Rehob (and her pasture lands), and from a tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in the Galilee (and her pasture lands), and Hammon (and her pasture lands), and Kiriathaim (and her pasture lands).



The following cities were distributed to the descendants of Gershom: from East Manasseh, they received Golan (in Bashan) and Ashtaroth, and their pasture lands; from Issachar, they received Kedesh, Daberath, Ramoth and Anem (along with their pasture lands); from Asher, they received Mashal, Abdon, Hukok and Rehob, and their pasture lands; and from the tribe of Naphtali, they received Kedesh in Galilee, Hammon and Kiriathaim, along with their respective pasture lands.

The Cities Given Over to the Descendants of Gershom

Original Owner

Joshua 21:27–33

1Chron. 6:71–76

of Cities



City Examined



East Manasseh





Joshua 20:8

Joshua 20:8













well of Letters

Joshua 19:20–21

Joshua 19:20–21

Joshua 19:20–21

Joshua 19:20–21


Daberath Footnote

















Joshua 19:26

Joshua 19:28

Joshua 19:25

Joshua 19:28
















Joshua 19:37

Joshua 19:35

Joshua 21:32







13 cities

13 cities

Additional notes: In the Hebrew of 1Chron. 6, there is one too few cities and in the Greek, there is one too many. The Hebrew of Joshua 21 matches up with the number of cities named. This is one of the few instances where the more ancient text is apparently the most accurate.

*Ashtaroth in this passage is probably equivalent to Be-eshterah in Joshua 21:27; however, it might be best if we simply examine the Doctrine of the City of Ashtaroth.

**Many assert that this ought to be Kishion. This appears to be a fairly obvious copyist error. And it would be easy to so state this and move on (which many authors have done). However, the Greek text is in agreement with the Hebrew here. Furthermore, throughout Scripture, we have references made to Kedesh in Naphtali (or, Kedesh in Galilee). This implies that there was another Kedesh. We have one mention of a Kedesh in Joshua 15:23, as a city of Judah. This particular city is also mentioned in Num. 20:1, and is probably equivalent to Kadesh–barnea.

In Joshua 12:22, there is a king of Kedesh mentioned in the list of defeated kings; the cities of the kings mentioned of both sides of him would imply that there was a Kedesh either in Manasseh or nearby (and Issachar borders Manasseh). The only problem with this identification is that Kedesh is not mentioned in Joshua 19 as a city given over the Issachar, which is what we would expect to find. What makes the most sense is that we are dealing with two names for the same city; Kedesh was most prominent prior to the invasion of Israel, then Kishion; and, later on, the name of Kedesh came back in style. Finally, the city of Kedesh mentioned in the narrative of Judges 4 is more in keeping with a city in Issachar as opposed to one in Naphtali. This is all covered in more detail in the Doctrine of the Three Kedesh’s (covered in Joshua 12:22). The upshot of all this is that this text is absolutely accurate and in complete agreement with its parallel text in Joshua 19:20 21:28.

***Jarmuth should probably be Remmath.

~Anem ought to be En-gannim. Anem may have become an abbreviated name for En-gannim.

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The Cities Given over to the Descendants of Merari

Joshua 21:7, 34–40

To sons of Merari, the remaining ones from a tribe of Zebulun: Rimmono (and her pasture lands), Tabor (and her pasture lands); and beyond [the] Jordan, Jericho to an east of Jordan from a tribe of Reuben: Bezer in the steppe (and her pasture lands) and Jahzah (and her pasture lands) and Kedemoth (and her pasture lands, and Mephaath (and her pasture lands); and from a tribe of Gad: Ramoth in the Gilead (and her pasture lands), and Mahanaim (and her pasture lands), and Heshbon (and her pasture lands) and Jazer (and her pasture lands).



To the remaining tribe, the descendants of Merari, the following cities were distributed: from the tribe of Zebulun, they received Rimmono and Tabor (and their pasture lands); from Reuben east of the Jordan, they received Bezer, Jahzah, Kedemoth and Mephaath (and their surrounding pasture lands); and from the tribe of Gad, they received Ramoth Gilead, Mahanaim, Heshbon and Jazer (along with their pasture lands) .

In the Hebrew, the first city either reads his Rimmon or Rimmono. The ending can also be a 3rd person masculine singular suffix. The Greek does not have that ending. You may wonder as to how we have Dimnah in Joshua 21 and Rimmono in this passage—the d (dâhleth) and the r (rêhsh) in Hebrew are almost identical.

The Cities Given Over to the Descendants of Merari

Original Owner

Joshua 21:34–39

1Chron. 6:77–81

of Cities



City Examined











Joshua 12:22

Joshua 19:13

Joshua 19:15

Joshua 19:13

Joshua 19:12















Joshua 20:8

Joshua 13:18

Joshua 13:18

Joshua 13:18


















Joshua 20:8

Joshua 13:26

Joshua 13:17

Joshua 13:25









12 cities (four from each)

12 cities

Additional notes: According to Joshua 21, there are supposed to be four cities from each tribe. Obviously, no passage has those four from Zebulun (it is suggested that Rimmon from Joshua 19:13 is the 4th city). Furthermore, on the Zebulun list, there appears to be no agreement whatsoever between the Joshua 21 and the 1Chron. 6 lists. However, because the d and the r in Hebrew are so much alike, Dimnah is probably Rimmono in 1Chron. 6 (it’s probably Rimmon). Apart from the excess city in the Septuagint’s Joshua 21:36, there is good agreement in the other two groups of cities.

The NIV Study Bible appears to imply that Kartah and Jokneam are both found in the Septuagint version of v. 77. They were not in my version of the Septuagint (I apparently have what is known as the beta version). You will note that all of the serious disagreements are found in the first couple verses, which would indicate that these verses were messtup sometime during the transmission of this passage. What may have been the case is that, in copying an old manuscript, the two missing cities were absolutely unreadable. Rather than take from the text of Joshua or make up two names, the copyist simply left the two cities out, but let the fact that there had been four cities here, remain. The last several verses appear to have remained in tact for these past 3000 years.

*Kartah only appears in this passage.

~There is a Chisloth-tabor in Zebulun mentioned in Joshua 19:12; this could be the Tabor from 1Chron. 6.

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