1 Chronicles Chapter 23

Solomon was the son of king David and his wife, Bathsheba. He was raised knowing that he was chosen to follow David. He was prepared from a young age, to build the temple of the Lord. He was taught to walk in the ways of God. David made it his purpose to prepared Solomon as much as possible before he, David, was too old or died. This chapter begins with the following:

1 So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.
2 And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.
3 Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand.
4 Of which, twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges:
5 Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.
6 And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, namely, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

When David was very old in age and he knew he would not live much longer, he made Solomon king of Israel. (see also 1 Kings 1) He gathered the princes, priests and Levites. Those levites who were of the age to serve in the work of the Lord, totaled 38,000. 24,000 of those men were appointed to work with the house of the Lord. This left 6,000 as officers and judges, 4,000 as porters, and 4,000 as musicians to praise the Lord with instruments commissioned by David. David divided the sons of Levi into the groups based on the patriarchs of the Levites, which were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The work of the Lord is best done, with order and purpose. Throughout the history of the gospel, those who served in the priesthood have been organized into groups to better serve the Lord, just as David divided the men at this time.

David had a history of making music an important part of his life and of worship. When he was young, he played for Saul. Several times in the description of his rule, music is mentioned as a part of praise to the Lord. Music is an amazing tool for expressing the feelings of the heart, and for inviting the spirit of the Lord. In Doctrine and Covenants 136:28 we read, “If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.” It should not be a surprise that many musicians were given the duty or calling of playing in the tabernacle and temple of the Lord.

7 Of the Gershonites were, Laadan, and Shimei.
8 The sons of Laadan; the chief was Jehiel, and Zetham, and Joel, three.
9 The sons of Shimei; Shelomith, and Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the chief of the fathers of Laadan.
10 And the sons of Shimei were, Jahath, Zina, and Jeush, and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei.
11 And Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second: but Jeush and Beriah had not many sons; therefore they were in one reckoning, according to their father’s house.

All those belonging to the Gershonites were the family of Ladan and Shimei. The sons of Ladan, were Jehiel, their leader, Zetham and Joel. The sons of Shimei, were Shelomith, Haziel, and Haran as leaders; and Jahath, who was chief, Zina (Zizah), Jeush, and Beriah.

12 The sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four.
13 The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the Lord, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever.
14 Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi.
15 The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer.
16 Of the sons of Gershom, Shebuel was the chief.
17 And the sons of Eliezer were, Rehabiah the chief. And Eliezer had none other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many.
18 Of the sons of Izhar; Shelomith the chief.
19 Of the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth.
20 Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah the first, and Jesiah the second.

The sons of Kohath, the second son of Levi, included Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Amram was the father of Aaron, the spokesman for his brother, Moses. Aaron was singled out, or rather set apart, to be over the most holy things in the house of the Lord, including burning incense and ministering to the Lord. The sons of Aaron, were those who served with the priesthood. The men of the family of the Levites, assisted the sons of Aaron. Moses was the father of Gershom and Eliezer. Gershom was the father of Shebuel, who was the leader. Eliezar was the father of Rehabiah only. Rehabiah had many sons. The second son of Kohath, Izhar, was the father of Shelomith. The third son, Hebron, was the father of Jeriah, Amariah, Jahaziel and Jekameon. Finally, the forth son, Uzziel, was the father of Michah and Jesiah.

21 The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. The sons of Mahli; Eleazar, and Kish.
22 And Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters: and their brethren the sons of Kish took them.
23 The sons of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jeremoth, three.

Finally, the sons of Merari, youngest son of Levi, were Mahli and Mushi. Mahli was he father of Eleazar and Kish. Eleazar died without having any sons, but did have daughters who married the sons of Kish. Mushi was the father of Mahli, Eder and Jeremoth.

24 These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of the Lord, from the age of twenty years and upward.
25 For David said, The Lord God of Israel hath given rest unto his people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever:
26 And also unto the Levites; they shall no more carry the tabernacle, nor any vessels of it for the service thereof.
27 For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above:
28 Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the Lord, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;
29 Both for the shewbread, and for the fine flour for meat offering, and for the unleavened cakes, and for that which is baked in the pan, and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure and size;
30 And to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at even;
31 And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the Lord in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the Lord:
32 And that they should keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the holy place, and the charge of the sons of Aaron their brethren, in the service of the house of the Lord.

This listing was those who were called to serve with the temple as soon as they came of age. David told the people that God had given rest to those who lived in Jerusalem and with the building of the temple, the Levites would not have to carry the tabernacle any longer. Some of the responsibilities of the Levites included serving in the courts and chambers of the temple, purifying the holy things, taking care of the shewbread, flour for the offerings, and all the unleavened cakes. They were tasked with expressing thanks to the Lord both morning and night, offering burnt sacrifices at all the times required by the Lord. They were also in charge of the tabernacle of the congregation and the holy place. They were to help the sons of Aaron with their duties of the priesthood, as they served the Lord.

The work of the temple is such an important duty, that an entire tribe of Israel was set apart for it. That duty continued from the tabernacle established by the Lord, to the temple that Solomon was to build during his reign. Temples have been important from ancient times, as designated places of worship and making covenants with the Lord. This work continues to be an important duty today in the temples that dot the earth. I am sure that all those who have served in the temples, in any capacity they were called to serve, have been greatly blessed for their service.

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