This chapter begins detailed information about the temple personnel. The Transition intro in the chronological bible explains that this author skips all of the palace intrigue found in I Kings and focuses, largely, on the temple personnel. That makes sense. This wasn't a history class, it was an instruction book. He was picking the things that were relevant to them restoring the temple and beginning life again as a nation.
The chapter opens with a simple sentence of David making Solomon king over Israel.
In verses 2-6, he calls together all of the leaders of Israel and the Levites; and then counts and organizes the Levites into groups by task and family groups.
- 24 thousand to be in charge of work in the temple
- 6 thousand to be officials and judges
- 4 thousand gatekeepers
- 4 thousand are to praise with musical instruments (made by David!)
He divided them into divisions by the sons of Levi:
Then the author details the lineage and assignments of each of the three sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Under Kohath, we find Amram, father of Moses and Aaron. Then a paragraph about Aaron and his role, being set apart to consecrate, minister, and bless in the the name of the Lord forever.
In verse 14, the sons of Moses were counted as part of the tribe of Levi. Then further ancestory information.
...the Lord, the God of Israel has granted rest to His people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever.I Chronicles 23:25
In verses 25-26, "...the Lord, the God of Israel has granted rest to His people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever." Because of that, the Levites no longer had the obligation to carry the tabernacle and its articles.
The chapter ends by listing the type of responsibilities the Levites now had. he also lowered the age of service to 20, as he knew there would be much more need for service to build and maintain God's Temple.
With the possible exception of the chapters on David's Mighty Men, you just don't see this kind of detail devoted to other aspects of life. The author (Ezra?) had all of the previous sacred texts to cover in this book he was writing and he stopped and spent the time here because it was that important. This was the part of their past he needed them to understand and be committed to rebuilding.
We also need to know which parts of our past is worth remembering and which to let go of.