“So when David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. And he gathered together all the leaders of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.” David is gathering the leaders to help Solomon build the temple for the Lord and govern the kingdom of Israel.
Then David numbers the Levites for their service to the Lord. The Levites are to look after the work of the house of the Lord, serve as officers and judges rendering justice per the Book of the Law, guard the gate of the temple, and play musical instruments “‘which I made,’ said David, ‘for giving praise.’” Did you notice the inconsistency in the age eligible for the work of the Levites? During the Exodus Era, in Numbers 4, the age assigned to the Levites eligible for work was thirty to fifty years old, specifically for the Kohath clan who had the stressful job of carrying the items within the tabernacle. This job required mature strong men, because if you even touched the holy items you would die. In Numbers 8:24-26, the age was twenty-five to fifty years old for all Levites to do the work within the tabernacle. Today when David numbers the Levites, he originally counts the men thirty and above, but then he lowers the age to twenty. David says, “They shall no longer carry the tabernacle, or any of the articles for its service.” So the new age is lower because they no longer have to transport the tabernacle, and this will also add more hands for the huge job of caring for the temple.
David divides the Levites into the same three clans the Lord did in the Exodus Era: the Gershonites who cared for the tabernacle coverings, the Kohathites who cared for the holiest of holy items in the tabernacle, and the Merarites who cared for the structural support of the tabernacle (Numbers 3 and 4) – “and Aaron was set apart, he and his sons forever, that he should sanctify the most holy things, to burn incense before the Lord, to minister to Him, and to give the blessing in His name forever.”
David further divides the descendants of Aaron, the priests, into twenty four divisions to serve according to a schedule of their service – “This was the schedule of their service for coming into the house of the Lord according to their ordinance by the hand of Aaron their father, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him.” Mentioned in Aaron’s genealogy are his sons Nadab and Abihu who died in the wilderness when they offered profane fire before the Lord (Leviticus 10).
We end the reading with David assigning duties for the musicians. Before now the only organized music for the tabernacle was the blowing of the trumpets described in Numbers 10. Since David, a musician and songwriter, loves music, he takes fellow song writers, Asaph, Jeduthun, and Herman and their sons, and arranges them in twenty four divisions, same as the priests, for handling the music for the temple. Did you notice how David arranged the worship team for their service? “And they cast lots for their duty, the small as well as the great, the teacher with the student.” David trusts the Lord to arrange those to serve, giving all an opportunity from the smallest to the greatest. We will later read how the Lord guided David in organizing the Levites when future king of Judah, Hezekiah, restores the worship of the Lord – “And he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king’s seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the Lord by His prophets” (2 Chronicles 29:25).
We will read psalms written by David’s lead song writers, as well as more psalms of David. But first, David must complete the prep work for the building of the temple, so keep reading. (1 Chronicles 23:1-25:31)