1 Chronicles 23

Rules for the Levites

1 David was old and his life had nearly finished. He chose his son Solomon to rule over Israel as king.

23:1David was about 70 years old.

2 He brought together all Israel's leaders, as well as the priests and the Levites. 3 His officers counted all the Levites who were 30 years old or older. There were 38,000 men. 4 David said, ‘24,000 of these Levite men must have authority for the work of the Lord's temple. 6,000 of them will be officers and judges. 5 4,000 of them will be guards at the gates of the temple. 4,000 of them will use music to praise the Lord. They will use the musical instruments that I have provided for them.’

6 David made the Levites into three separate groups. Each group had descendants from one of Levi's sons: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.

The group from Gershon's clan

7 From Gershon's clan there were Ladan and Shimei.

8 Ladan's three sons were: Jehiel, the firstborn, then Zetham and Joel.

9 Shimei's three sons were: Shelomoth, Haziel and Haran.

Those men were the leaders of Ladan's family.

10 Shimei had four more sons: Jahath, Ziza, Jeush and Beriah.

11 Jahath was the oldest son and Ziza was the second. But Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons. So the officers counted them together as one family.

The group from Kohath's clan

12 Kohath's four sons were: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.

13 Amram's sons were Aaron and Moses.

The Lord chose Aaron and his descendants for special work for all time. Their work was to offer special holy things to the Lord. They would offer sacrifices to the Lord. They would serve him in the temple. And they would use his name to bless the people.

14 The tribe of Levi included the sons of Moses, God's servant.

23:14Moses was a Levite but his wife was not an Israelite.

15 Moses' sons were Gershom and Eliezer.

16 Gershom's oldest son was Shebuel.

17 Eliezer's son was Rehabiah. He was the leader of the family. Eliezer had no other sons, but Rehabiah had many descendants.

18 From the family of Kohath's second son Izhar, Shelomith was the leader.

19 Hebron had four sons: Jeriah was the leader, Amariah was second, Jahaziel was third and Jekameam was fourth.

20 Uzziel had two sons: Micah was the leader and Isshiah was second.

The group from Merari's clan

21 Merari's sons were Mahli and Mushi.

Mahli's sons were Eleazar and Kish.

22 Eleazar died without any sons. He had only daughters. Kish's sons, who were their cousins, married them.

23 Mushi's three sons were: Mahli, Eder and Jeremoth.

24 Those were the leaders of the Levites' clans, family by family. The Israelites carefully recorded the names of all the men who were 20 years old or older. From that age, they each had their work to do in the Lord's temple.

25 David had said, ‘Now the Lord, Israel's God, has given rest to his people. He has his home in Jerusalem for all time. 26 So the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle to different places. They do not need to carry all the things that are used to serve God.’ 27 So David counted the Levites who were 20 years old or older and could work in the temple. Those were David's last words before he died.

The work of the Levites

28 The Levites' work was to help Aaron's descendants as they served the Lord in his temple. They took care of the temple's yards and its small rooms. They made the Lord's special things clean and holy. They did the work that was necessary to serve God in his temple. 29 They took care of the special bread for the table in the holy place. They kept the flour for the grain offerings, for the flat bread that they made without yeast and for the special cakes. They weighed and they measured all the things for the bread and the cakes. 30 Every morning they stood in their places to thank the Lord and to praise him. They did the same thing every evening. 31 They also did that when the priests offered burnt offerings to the Lord. That happened on Sabbath days, at New Moon festivals and on other special days. The correct number of Levites must be there to serve the Lord at all times, as the rules commanded. 32 In that way, the Levites had authority to take care of the special tent and the holy place. They helped their relatives, Aaron's descendants, as they served the Lord in his temple.

23:32Aaron and Moses both belonged to Levi's tribe. But God chose only Aaron and his descendants to be priests who offered sacrifices to him.