Posts Tagged 'Service'

2 Chronicles Chapter 2

During the reign of Solomon, the temple of the Lord was built in Jerusalem. This chapter is about the beginning of that work, which was a huge task in that day.

1 And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the Lord, and an house for his kingdom.
2 And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.

Solomon was obedient to the commands of his father, David, who had charged him with this great task. Not only did he plan to build the temple, but he prepared to build a palace as well. 70,000 men were tasked with bearing loads, 80,000 were tasked with cutting stones in the mountains, and 3,600 were assigned to oversee the work they did.

3 And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me.
4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.
5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.
6 But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?
7 Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide.
8 Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants,
9 Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.
10 And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.

Solomon sent a request to Huram, king of Tyre, to assist him as he had helped his father to build his house (see also 1 Kings 5 regarding Hiram). Huram was a friend to both Solomon and his father David. He told Huram, that he planned to build a house to the Lord, which would be dedicated to God for burning incense and making offerings according to the ordinances in Israel. He explained that this house was to be great, because God is great and above all other Gods. Solomon was not equal to the task he had been given and he needed help, so he asked Huram to send craftsmen who were skilled with working with gold, silver and other metals, as well as other materials they would need. These men would be needed to help those he had already in Judah and Jerusalem. He also asked Huram to provide trees of cedar, fir and algum from Lebanon, along with skilled me for doing the work of cutting the trees along with the servants of Solomon. Solomon was going to need a great amount of wood, in order to build the temple. In return for their work, Solomon was prepared to given the servants wheat, barley, wine and oil.

11 Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the Lord hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them.
12 Huram said moreover, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the Lord, and an house for his kingdom.
13 And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father’s,
14 The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father.
15 Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants:
16 And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem.

Huram sent a response, which said that the Lord made Solomon King of Israel, because He loved the people. He glorified the Lord for blessing David with a wise, prudent and understanding son. It seems that Huram knew David had wanted to build the temple and praised the Lord for allowing the son of David to do that work. He sent a very talented and skillful artisan and designer or architect along with the letter, just as Solomon had requested. He mentioned that this man was the son of both Tyre, by his father and Israel through Dan, by his mother. He also would be adding the help of cutting trees needed and sending it to Joppa, which Solomon could then have brought up to Jerusalem. Huram, or Hiram, is an example of the kindness of friendship. This was not a small thing for his kingdom to do, but was a great service and kindness extended to Solomon, his friend.

17 And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them; and they were found an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred.
18 And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work.

Solomon had a count done of all the strangers or foreigners found in Israel, which were in number 153,600. As mentioned above, he assigned 70,000 to carry loads, 80,000 to cut the materials needed from the mountain, and 3,600 as supervisors of the work. With this the preparations for building the temple had begun and Solomon could begin the task his father had given him.

Why would this information be included in the records of the Bible? To understand this, it seems there is a need to understand just how significant the temple was. The Lord commanded the people of Israel to have the tabernacle in their midst, so that there would be a sacred place the people could go to, and know that the presence of the Lord was in their midst. The tabernacle led them in the wilderness for over forty years and was the physical representation of the people coming unto God. This temple that Solomon was to build, would continue to represent that promise to Israel, so long as the people continued to be sanctified and bring sacrifices to the Lord. The temple was a place which was sacred, holy and dedicated to the Lord. Knowing the work and sacrifices it would take to build such a place, shows the dedication of the people of Israel, and of Solomon, to put the Lord first. It should be an example to us in modern times, of the efforts we should be willing to go to, to make a place for the Lord in our own lives.

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1 Chronicles Chapter 29

The book of 1 Chronicles records the history of the people of God from the creation through the rule of King David. As the last chapter in this book, the words of David to his successor and his people are wrapped up. David had been a great leader for the children of Israel, even with his personal flaws and transgressions. He had fought the enemies of the land valiantly. As a result, the land of Israel had finally been made ready for a permanent house of the Lord, which Solomon was to build during his reign. This final chapter begins with the following:

1 Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the Lord God.
2 Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.
3 Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house,
4 Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal:
5 The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?

David, speaking to all the Israelites, said that the work given to Solomon was a huge task for a leader who was still young. The Lord has often called those who are young, to perform great tasks for Him. David himself, who had fought Goliath in his youth, had been chosen by God at a young age to become the king of Israel. In youth, people are more humble and teachable, and less hardened by life experiences. In humility, the Lord can bless the weak to become strong, because they rely on Him and have greater faith and trust in the Lord.

David, in his own sincere desire to have the house of the Lord built, had done all that he could to prepare for it. Since he could not build it himself, he had saved all the treasures and supplies, that he could. He had a good amount of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stones, which he had gathered. He had even given a great deal of his own treasures, and dedicated them to the house of the Lord. The Lord had given instruction regarding specific materials to use for specific purposes in the construction of the temple as well as the design of all the tools and vessels. David told the people that the the things he had gathered were for their specific items within the temple, to be crafted by skilled workers. He then called for all who were willing, to consecrate their service to this great work.

6 Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly,
7 And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.
8 And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.
9 Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

The leaders of the tribes of Israel gave willingly to the construction of the temple. They gathered gold, silver, brass, iron, and precious stones. Jehiel, the Gershonite (possibly mentioned in 1 Chronicles 23:8 as leader of the sons of Laadan, who were Levites who served at the temple, though there were others by this name listed), worked to gather and give these treasures to house of the Lord.

The Israelites rejoiced because they willingly gave this offering to the Lord. David rejoiced also for their offerings to the Lord. God does not need men to give him their treasures in order to be able to have a House built to his name, because he could provide a way for these things to be handled without them. However, this is a sacrifice and a consecration of means and time, which God asks of men in order to show commitment to Him. This sacrifice of the Israelites, was much like the tithing that God asks of His people today. All things are His and when we contribute willingly to the building up of His kingdom on Earth, we show that we recognize that we are willing to do our part for Him. This commitment is worthy of rejoicing and having a grateful heart, as it was to the Israelites.

10 Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
11 Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.
12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
16 O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.
17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.
18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:
19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.

David publicly praised the Lord as he dedicated all that had been offered to the Lord. He acknowledged that all things belonged to God, both in heaven and in the earth, and that all things were and are part of the Lord’s kingdom. He also recognized that God rules over all, just as the Savior did in what is known as the Lord’s prayer. Matthew 6:9-10 and 13 record he Savior’s words, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. …For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” These thoughts of both David and Jesus the Christ, are absolute truths related to God, the Father. They are eternal truths that should continue to be recognized today. People today can and should acknowledge God publicly and privately for His divine majesty.

Continuing, David acknowledged the power and might of God, and that God gives to men the ability to be great and strong. David thanked and praised God, adding that they were only able to give so freely of things because they belonged to the Lord and He made it possible. Again, this is an absolute truth and can and should be recognized by people today. All things, both in the earth and made by man, come of God. He has created all of it and it all belongs to Him. We are only here on earth, for a short time, with the permission granted to us to use all that He has created. When we give to the Lord in ways such as tithes and offerings, as the Israelites did, we are returning to the Lord what He has made possible for us to use. In this, we should be continually grateful, as David was.

David humbly recognized that the children of Israel were strangers and travelers as their ancestors had been. This idea again applies to all men. We are all strangers to this life. We were spiritually created first, and lived in Heaven with God. We spend our time in this earthly life, as strangers, needing the prevailing guidance of our Father. That time is ever-changing, short and never standing still, as a shadow changes each moment with the movement of the sun.

As he went on, David spoke of the ways of God to test the hearts of his people, and of His pleasure in finding uprightness in them. David had willingly given his offering out of his own uprightness of heart, or honesty and goodness, and he found joy in seeing the people give willingly as well. He prayed to the Lord, that the people would remember this and prepare their hearts for the Lord. Moreover, he prayed that the Lord would bless his son, Solomon, with a perfect heart. That Solomon would keep the commandments and statutes of God, and do all in his power to build the temple for which David had prepared greatly.

20 And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord, and the king.
21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings unto the Lord, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel:
22 And did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the Lord to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest.
23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.
24 And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise of king David, submitted themselves unto Solomon the king.
25 And the Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

The gathered people were told to worship the Lord, which they did through prayer, sacrifices, and burnt offerings. Their worship continued as they feasted with great gladness. Solomon was anointed king by the people, with Zadok as the priest. Solomon took the throne and prospered. Israel became subject to him, including all the leaders who had served under David. Solomon was truly blessed by the Lord, in ways that had not been known to the Israelites before this time.

26 Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel.
27 And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.
28 And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.
29 Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,
30 With all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and over all the kingdoms of the countries.

David had been king in Hebron for 7 years and in Jerusalem for 33 years, making his total reign in Israel, 40 years. He died at a good age for his day, which was about 70 (his rule began when he was 30, according to 2 Samuel 5:4), having been blessed with wealth and honor. There are other accounts of David’s reign, which are not all had in the Bible and are lost writings, but his reign was great and established much for the nation of Israel.

David was a good example to the people of his time, as well as to all the world since that time, to praise God with gratitude. He had been a memorable leader for Israel, serving them and remembering God. He had his shortcomings and was not a perfect man, but he recognized this in himself and ended his days looking to God. As the successful king he was, he could have chosen to withhold his gratitude as many others do. However, David knew from his youth, that his successes and greatness came from the hand of the Lord. As we go through our lives today, it is important for us to remember this as well. We owe so much to God for all He does for us, and we will be blessed and become more, if we humbly look to God with a grateful heart and openly praise Him.

1 Chronicles Chapter 26

The Levites were give specific duties within the tribes of Israel, most of which pertained to service in the temple. Some were set apart as musicians. Some were the sons of Aaron and were set apart as priests who served with the sacred priesthood responsibilities of the temple. This chapter begins with those who were set apart as porters and goes on to explain those in charge of the treasures and other business in Israel.

1 Concerning the divisions of the porters: Of the Korhites was Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph.
2 And the sons of Meshelemiah were, Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth,
3 Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Elioenai the seventh.
4 Moreover the sons of Obed-edom were, Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, and Sacar the fourth, and Nethaneel the fifth,
5 Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth: for God blessed him.
6 Also unto Shemaiah his son were sons born, that ruled throughout the house of their father: for they were mighty men of valour.
7 The sons of Shemaiah; Othni, and Rephael, and Obed, Elzabad, whose brethren were strong men, Elihu, and Semachiah.
8 All these of the sons of Obed-edom: they and their sons and their brethren, able men for strength for the service, were threescore and two of Obed-edom.
9 And Meshelemiah had sons and brethren, strong men, eighteen.
10 Also Hosah, of the children of Merari, had sons; Simri the chief, (for though he was not the firstborn, yet his father made him the chief;)
11 Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth: all the sons and brethren of Hosah were thirteen.
12 Among these were the divisions of the porters, even among the chief men, having wards one against another, to minister in the house of the Lord.

Porters were doorkeepers in charge of the gates, or the entrances of the temple. There were divided in their duties of the temple. There were porters of the Korhites and children of Merari. In the family of Korhites, and the line of Asaph and Kore, there was Meshelemiah. He was the father of Zechariah, Jediael, Zebadiah, Jathniel, Elam, Jehohanan, and Elioenai. Of their family, there were 18 men for service. There was also Obed-edom, the father of Shemaiah, Jehozabad, Joah, Sacar, Nethaneel, Ammiel, Issachar, and Peulthai. (Obed-edom had been the man who housed the ark before it was returned to its proper place in Israel.) Shemaiah was the father of men of valour, including Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad, along with Elihu and Semachiah. The sons of Obed-edom were 62 in total and were capable men for the service they were given. Of the children of Merari, there was Hosah, the father of Simri, Hilkiah, Tebaliah, an Zechariah. The sons of Hosah were thirteen in number, with Simri as the leader. Simri was not the firstborn, but he was given the role as their leader.

13 And they cast lots, as well the small as the great, according to the house of their fathers, for every gate.
14 And the lot eastward fell to Shelemiah. Then for Zechariah his son, a wise counsellor, they cast lots; and his lot came out northward.
15 To Obed-edom southward; and to his sons the house of Asuppim.
16 To Shuppim and Hosah the lot came forth westward, with the gate Shallecheth, by the causeway of the going up, ward against ward.
17 Eastward were six Levites, northward four a day, southward four a day, and toward Asuppim two and two.
18 At Parbar westward, four at the causeway, and two at Parbar.
19 These are the divisions of the porters among the sons of Kore, and among the sons of Merari.

Lots were cast among the sons of Kore and Merari, to determine the gate responsibility each group would have. If this is understood correctly, the east gate was assigned to Shelemiah, and there was to be six men serving there at a time. The north gate was assigned to Zechariah, the wise cousellor and son of Shelemiah, and there was to be four men serving there each day. The south gate was assigned to Obed-edom and the house of Asuppim, and there were to be four men serving there each day as well. The west gate was assigned to Shuppim and Hosah, along with the gate Shallecheth, by the causeway (a separate raised path), and there were to be four serving there each day. Two served at Parbar, which may have been a suburb of the temple.

20 And of the Levites, Ahijah was over the treasures of the house of God, and over the treasures of the dedicated things.
21 As concerning the sons of Laadan; the sons of the Gershonite Laadan, chief fathers, even of Laadan the Gershonite, were Jehieli.
22 The sons of Jehieli; Zetham, and Joel his brother, which were over the treasures of the house of the Lord.
23 Of the Amramites, and the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites:
24 And Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was ruler of the treasures.
25 And his brethren by Eliezer; Rehabiah his son, and Jeshaiah his son, and Joram his son, and Zichri his son, and Shelomith his son.
26 Which Shelomith and his brethren were over all the treasures of the dedicated things, which David the king, and the chief fathers, the captains over thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the host, had dedicated.
27 Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the Lord.
28 And all that Samuel the seer, and Saul the son of Kish, and Abner the son of Ner, and Joab the son of Zeruiah, had dedicated; and whosoever had dedicated any thing, it was under the hand of Shelomith, and of his brethren.

Ahijah was assigned to be over the treasures of the temple, as well as those treasures that had been dedicated. Those serving with him included Zetham and Joel, who were sons of Jehieli of the sons of the Gershonite Laadan. Also over treasures was Shebuel, the son of Gershom, who was the son of Moses. The sons of Eliezer, including Rehabiah, Jeshaiah, Joram, Zichri, and Shelomith, were responsible for the dedicated treasures. These treasures were dedicated from the spoils of battles by King David, the chief fathers, and the captains of the host. They were also dedicated by Samuel the seer, King Saul, Abner the captain of Saul’s armies, and Joab, among others.

29 Of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were for the outward business over Israel, for officers and judges.
30 And of the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his brethren, men of valour, a thousand and seven hundred, were officers among them of Israel on this side Jordan westward in all the business of the Lord, and in the service of the king.
31 Among the Hebronites was Jerijah the chief, even among the Hebronites, according to the generations of his fathers. In the fortieth year of the reign of David they were sought for, and there were found among them mighty men of valour at Jazer of Gilead.
32 And his brethren, men of valour, were two thousand and seven hundred chief fathers, whom king David made rulers over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.

The outward business of the Israelites, of officers and judges, was the responsibility of the Izharites, the family of Chenaniah. Hashabiah and his family of the Hebronites, 1,700 men of valour, became officers in the business of the Lord and in service of the king, on the west side of the Jordan. Jerijah was their chief leader. During the fortieth year of David’s reign, there was a search for mighty men of valor, and they were found at Jazer and Gilead. 2,700 of his brethren were assigned to take care of the business of the Lord and service of the king, on the east side of the Jordan, among the Reubenites, Gadites and half of the tribe of Manasseh.

The responsibility of porters was important, though it may seem a bit strange. It can sound like they were a type of ancient-day bouncer, guarding the doors of the temple, but its not quite that. The holy house of the Lord should have been kept holy by allowing only those who were worthy to enter there. In modern temples, there are priesthood holders who are called and set apart to welcome patrons to the temple, as well as to verify that they are indeed worthy to enter the house of the Lord. Worthiness to worship in the temple is important for both the maintaining of a sacred edifice for the Lord, and for the patrons, who are to be held to a standard of worthiness for the covenants made there. I am grateful for the expectations of worthiness on my part as well as others who enter the temple, because it means that I can depend on the blessings of the spirit of the Lord in that space, when the world is becoming increasingly confusing and dark around me.

1 Chronicles Chapter 24

The book of Chronicles continues to list the men of Israel. In this chapter, the record relating to the tribe of Levi, continues as follows:

1 Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office.
3 And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service.
4 And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers.
5 Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God, were of the sons of Eleazar, and of the sons of Ithamar.
6 And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar.

The sons of Aaron, and men of the priesthood, were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Nadab and Abihu died without having any children, leaving Eleazar and Ithamar to perform the priesthood duties. (We learn from Leviticus 10, that they had offered “strange fire”, or fire not taken from the altar, and were destroyed by the Lord for going against his commandments regarding their service in the temple.) Eleazar was the patriarch of almost all the high priests that followed him. David set apart the men of their families in their specific responsibilities. Zadok, who was of the line of Eleazar, and Ahimelech, who was of the line of Ithamar, were made the priests. They were already the high priests of the tabernacle, so this was just a continuation of their duties. Zadok had served at the tabernacle in Gibeon while Ahimelech had served in the camp of David. The sons of Eleazar were many, so they were divided into 16 groups, while the sons of Ithamar were divided into 8 groups, which served in the sanctuary and the house of God. Shemaiah, a Levite, who was the son of Nethaneel the scribe, recorded these things in the presence of the king and leaders, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech and so on. One of the families of Eleazar was established as the leaders of their groups, and one of the families of Ithamar as the leaders of their groups.

7 Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah,
8 The third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim,
9 The fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin,
10 The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
11 The ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah,
12 The eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim,
13 The thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,
14 The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer,
15 The seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Aphses,
16 The nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel,
17 The one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul,
18 The three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah.
19 These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of the Lord, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him.

The lots of these families fell to Jehoiarib first, followed by Jedaiah, Harim, Seorim, Malchijah, Mijamin, Hakkoz, Abijah (Abia), Jeshua, Shecaniah, Eliashib, Jakim, Huppah, Jeshebeab, Bilgah, Immer, Hezir, Aphses, Pethahiah, Jehezekel, Jachin, Gamul, Delaiah, and Maaziah. They were assigned their service in the temple by these lots. This was how they were grouped for their service, and these were their called leaders. These groups were needed to give order to the time when each priest was expected to give their service in the temple. They took turns serving according to the commandments given to Aaron when the tabernacle was established. The Lord had established order in the organization of his priesthood on the earth, which continued to be followed at this time. In our day, the organization of the priesthood, continues to be done in order.

20 And the rest of the sons of Levi were these: Of the sons of Amram; Shubael: of the sons of Shubael; Jehdeiah.
21 Concerning Rehabiah: of the sons of Rehabiah, the first was Isshiah.
22 Of the Izharites; Shelomoth: of the sons of Shelomoth; Jahath.
23 And the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth.
24 Of the sons of Uzziel; Michah: of the sons of Michah; Shamir.
25 The brother of Michah was Isshiah: of the sons of Isshiah; Zechariah.
26 The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi: the sons of Jaaziah; Beno.

The remainder of the tribes of Levi were Jehediah, of the sons of Shubael of the sons of Amram, the patriarch of Moses and Aaron; Isshiah of the sons of Rehabiah; Jahath of the sons of Shelomoth of the Izharites; Jeriah (Jeriah), Amariah, Jahaziel, and Jekameam of the sons of Hebron; Shamir of the sons of Michah of the sons of Uzziel; Zechariah of the sons of Isshiah, the brother of Michah; Mahli and Mushi of the sons of Merari; and Beno of the sons of Jaaziah.

27 The sons of Merari by Jaaziah; Beno, and Shoham, and Zaccur, and Ibri.
28 Of Mahli came Eleazar, who had no sons.
29 Concerning Kish: the son of Kish was Jerahmeel.
30 The sons also of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites after the house of their fathers.
31 These likewise cast lots over against their brethren the sons of Aaron in the presence of David the king, and Zadok, and Ahimelech, and the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites, even the principal fathers over against their younger brethren.

Continuing, there was Beno, Shoham, Zaccur, and Ibri of the sons of Merari through Jaaziah. Mahli had a son named Eleazar, who had no sons. Jerahmeel was the son of Kish. Mushi was the father of Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth. All these sons of Levi, cast lots in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the leaders of the priests and Levites. Casting lots was a way to choose who would do something without any preferential treatment. These things were witnessed and recorded, and therefore there would be no contentions or confusion about their responsibilities.

One reason these lists and records may be in the scriptures for us today, is to see that the things of the Lord are to be done in wisdom and order. Records should be kept, witnesses should be present when needed, and so on. The scriptures teach us that things recorded on earth, may be recorded in heaven. Therefore, these records may eternal in nature. It is no different for our own family history records. It is a blessing to be able to be involved in gathering information about families for the purposes of eternity.

1 Chronicles Chapter 9

When the children of Israel entered the promised land under the direction of Joshua, Jerusalem was inhabited by the Jebusites. (One of the ancient names of the land was Jebus and those who lived there were Jebusites.) Because it was a stronghold in the land, they did not completely conquer it until David took it for his capital. Up to that that time, it remained an unclaimed area between Judah and Benjamin, though not without attempts from the Israelites to capture it. It became more than a stronghold and capital, when Solomon was instructed to build the temple there. The kings of Israel lived in Jerusalem until the kingdom divided, at which point it remained the capital of Judah. It was the last part of Israel that held strong in the days when the children of Israel were carried away captive into Babylon. This chapter includes some of those who lived in Jerusalem.

1 So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, who were carried away to Babylon for their transgression.
2 Now the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions in their cities were, the Israelites, the priests, Levites, and the Nethinims.
3 And in Jerusalem dwelt of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh;
4 Uthai the son of Ammihud, the son of Omri, the son of Imri, the son of Bani, of the children of Pharez the son of Judah.
5 And of the Shilonites; Asaiah the firstborn, and his sons.
6 And of the sons of Zerah; Jeuel, and their brethren, six hundred and ninety.
7 And of the sons of Benjamin; Sallu the son of Meshullam, the son of Hodaviah, the son of Hasenuah,
8 And Ibneiah the son of Jeroham, and Elah the son of Uzzi, the son of Michri, and Meshullam the son of Shephathiah, the son of Reuel, the son of Ibnijah;
9 And their brethren, according to their generations, nine hundred and fifty and six. All these men were chief of the fathers in the house of their fathers.

Genealogy records of the Israelites were kept in the books of the kings of Israel and Judah. Those who lived in the lands of Israel were the Israelites, the priests and Levites, and the Nethinims. The Nethinims were servants of the temple. In Jerusalem, there were those from different tribes. There were men from Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh. The list begins with a line of Judah, through his son Pharez, who was the father of Bani, who was the father of Imri, who was the father of Omri, who was the father of Ammihud. The son of Ammihud was Uthai, who lived in Jerusalem. Also in Jerusalem, was Asaiah if the Shilonites, and his family. Jeuel and 690 of his family, the sons of Zerah, lived there. From the tribe of Benjamin, Sallu, who was the son of Meshullam, the son of Hodaviah, theson of Hasenuah; Ibneiah, who was the son of Jeroham; Elah, who was the son of Uzzi, who was the son of Michri; and Meshullam, who was the son of Shephathiah, who was the son of Reuel, who was the son of Ibnijah. The men were 956 in number and were the leaders in their tribes.

10 And of the priests; Jedaiah, and Jehoiarib, and Jachin,
11 And Azariah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, the ruler of the house of God;
12 And Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchijah, and Maasiai the son of Adiel, the son of Jahzerah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Meshillemith, the son of Immer;
13 And their brethren, heads of the house of their fathers, a thousand and seven hundred and threescore; very able men for the work of the service of the house of God.

The priests were Jedaiah, Jehoiarib (Joiarib), Jachin, and Azariah, who was the son of Hilkiah, who was the son of Meshullam, who was the son of Zadok, who was the son of Meraioth, who was the son of Ahitub, the leader in the temple. Also, Adaiah who was of the line of Jeroham, Pashur, Malchijah (Malchiah), Maasiai, Adiel, Jahzerah, Meshullam, Meshillemith (Meshillemoth), and Immer. Along with these priests were their families and leaders of their tribe, including 1,760 men, who were capable of serving in the temple.

14 And of the Levites; Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, of the sons of Merari;
15 And Bakbakkar, Heresh, and Galal, and Mattaniah the son of Micah, the son of Zichri, the son of Asaph;
16 And Obadiah the son of Shemaiah, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun, and Berechiah the son of Asa, the son of Elkanah, that dwelt in the villages of the Netophathites.

Among the Levites, were Shemaiah, who was the son of Hasshub (Hashub), who was the son of Azrikam, who was the son of Hashabiah, the son of Merari; Bakbakkar; Heresh; Galal; Mattaniah, who was the son of Micah, who was the son of Zichri (Zabdi), who was the son of Asaph; and Obadiah, who was the son of Shemaiah (Shammua), the son of Galal, who was the son of Jeduthun, who was the son of Berechiah, who was the son of Asa, who was the son of Elkanah. These were those who lived in the villages of the Netophathites (possibly those who lived in Neophah, a town in Judah).

17 And the porters were, Shallum, and Akkub, and Talmon, and Ahiman, and their brethren: Shallum was the chief;
18 Who hitherto waited in the king’s gate eastward: they were porters in the companies of the children of Levi.
19 And Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, of the house of his father, the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle: and their fathers, being over the host of the Lord, were keepers of the entry.
20 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the ruler over them in time past, and the Lord was with him.

One of the responsibilites of the Levites, was to be porters (a keeper of the port, or a gate keeper). This job was held by Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their families. Shallum was the leader. These men served in the king’s gate to the east, which was the entraced used by the king. A man named Shallum (Meshelemiah, Shelemiah), who was the son of Kore, who was of the line of Ebiasaph and Korah; and his family of the Korahites (Korhites), were the leaders of those who served and keepers of the tabernacle gates. Their fathers were keepers of the entry, as they were responsible for the host of the Lord when they were encamped near the tabernacle. Phinehas, the son of Eleazar (son of Aaron, and high priest in his day), had been their leader and was guided by the Lord (Phinehas was the high priest, and the grandson of Aaron).

21 And Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
22 All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office.
23 So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the Lord, namely, the house of the tabernacle, by wards.
24 In four quarters were the porters, toward the east, west, north, and south.
25 And their brethren, which were in their villages, were to come after seven days from time to time with them.
26 For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.

Zechariah, who was the son of Meshelemiah, was the porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. He, along with the other porters who had been chosen to watch the gates, were 212 in number. David and Samuel, the seer, ordained them in their priesthood offices, and each were also counted in the genealogies of their villages. Their families held the offices which watched over the gates of the temple in four sections. These sections were the directional quarters of the house of the tabernacle, including east, west, north, and south. Each of their brethren from their villages, went to serve there for seven days on rotation. There were four chief porters, called to their office over the chambers and treasuries of the temple.

27 And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them.
28 And certain of them had the charge of the ministering vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale.
29 Some of them also were appointed to oversee the vessels, and all the instruments of the sanctuary, and the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices.
30 And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices.
31 And Mattithiah, one of the Levites, who was the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the set office over the things that were made in the pans.
32 And other of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, were over the shewbread, to prepare it every sabbath.
33 And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night.
34 These chief fathers of the Levites were chief throughout their generations; these dwelt at Jerusalem.

When serving, the Levites lived in the area around the temple, so that they could open the temple each morning. Some of them were in charge of the ministering vessels that were taken in and out in total. Some were placed in charge of the vessels, instruments of the sanctuary, flour, wine, oil, frankincense and spices. Some were given the responsibility to make the ointment of spices. Mattithiah, who was the firstborn son of Shallum (Meshelemiah or Shelemiah) the Korahite, was placed in charge of those things made in the pans. Men of the Kohathites were responsible for the preparation of the shewbread for the sabbath. There were also singers (those responsible for the service of song or the music of the Lord’s house), chief of the patriarchs, who stayed in the chambers and worked day and night. The long-time leaders of the Levites, lived in Jerusalem.

The duties of those responsible for the house of the Lord, were of great value to the children of Israel. Without those who served each day, the people would not have been able to continue with offerings and sacrifices that were acceptable to the Lord. They may not have done anything else of note for the children of Israel, but this was a service that is worthy of remembering.

35 And in Gibeon dwelt the father of Gibeon, Jehiel, whose wife’s name was Maachah:
36 And his firstborn son Abdon, then Zur, and Kish, and Baal, and Ner, and Nadab,
37 And Gedor, and Ahio, and Zechariah, and Mikloth.
38 And Mikloth begat Shimeam. And they also dwelt with their brethren at Jerusalem, over against their brethren.
39 And Ner begat Kish; and Kish begat Saul; and Saul begat Jonathan, and Malchi-shua, and Abinadab, and Esh-baal.
40 And the son of Jonathan was Merib-baal: and Merib-baal begat Micah.
41 And the sons of Micah were, Pithon, and Melech, and Tahrea, and Ahaz.
42 And Ahaz begat Jarah; and Jarah begat Alemeth, and Azmaveth, and Zimri; and Zimri begat Moza;
43 And Moza begat Binea; and Rephaiah his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son.
44 And Azel had six sons, whose names are these, Azrikam, Bocheru, and Ishmael, and Sheariah, and Obadiah, and Hanan: these were the sons of Azel.

Just north of Jerusalem, was a city named Gibeon. The father of Gibeon was Jehiel. His wife was Maachah, and their sons were Abdon, Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, Zechariah, and Mikloth. Mikloth was the father of Shimeam. They lived in Jerusalem next to their brethren. Ner was the father of Kish, who was the father of Saul, the first king of Israel. Saul was the father of Jonathan (the dear friend of David), Malchi-shua, Abinadab, and Esh-baal. Jonathan was the father of Merib-baal, who was the father of Micah. Micah was the father of Pithon, Melech, Tahrea, and Ahaz. Ahaz was the father of Jarah, who was the father of Alemeth, Azmaveth and Zimri. Zimri was the father of Moza, who was the father of Binea, Rephaiah, Eleasah, and Azel. Azel was the father of six sons named Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah and Hanan. This is the family of Saul.

It amazes me that we can have records of families from ancient times. The idea that some of these records were included as part of the book of kings, and that most of our scriptures include some portion of a genealogy, shows that a remembrance of those who have come before us has been important throughout the ages. I can only barely imagine what the full record of names would look like for the complete history of the earth, but I believe that record will exist and every person will be remembered for the role they played in this life. I know that keeping a record of our genealogies or doing our family history for this purpose is important, and on of the reasons is for remembering and having a love and gratitude for those who lived before us and gave us the life we have.

1 Chronicles Chapter 6

A Family Tree

Levi was the third son of Jacob after Reuben and Simeon. He was the son of Leah, Jacob’s first wife. He and his brother Simeon had killed the Shechemites for the actions of Shechem against their sister Dinah. Because of this they were cursed to be divided and scattered in Israel. The family of Levi are listed in this chapter, beginning with the following:

1 The sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
2 And the sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel.
3 And the children of Amram; Aaron, and Moses, and Miriam. The sons also of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

Levi had three sons named Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. (See also Genesis 46:11, Exodus 6:16, and Numbers 3:17) Levi’s son Kohath, was the father of Amram (Amramites), Izhar (Izeharites), Hebron (Hebronites) and Uzziel (Uzzielites). (See also Numbers 3:27) Amram, married Jochebed and became the father of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. (see also Exodus 6:20 and Numbers 26:59) Aaron was called to assist Moses and he became his spokesman. Moses was the prophet whom the Lord called to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt and lead them to the promised land. Miriam, their sister, was a prophetess who was humbled by the Lord when judged Moses for his choice in his wife. (see Exodus 3, 4, 15, and Numbers 12) Aaron was the father of Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. Nadab and Abihu died without sons, because they offered strange fire against the commandment of the Lord. (see Leviticus 10:1-2) The line of Aaron, was then continued on through Eleazar and Ithamar. Eleazar was given the duties of Aaron after he died. (See also Numbers 3:2, 26:60-61, Deuteronomy 10:6, and 1 Chronicles 24:2)

4 Eleazar begat Phinehas, Phinehas begat Abishua,
5 And Abishua begat Bukki, and Bukki begat Uzzi,
6 And Uzzi begat Zerahiah, and Zerahiah begat Meraioth,
7 Meraioth begat Amariah, and Amariah begat Ahitub,
8 And Ahitub begat Zadok, and Zadok begat Ahimaaz,
9 And Ahimaaz begat Azariah, and Azariah begat Johanan,
10 And Johanan begat Azariah, (he it is that executed the priest’s office in the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem:)
11 And Azariah begat Amariah, and Amariah begat Ahitub,
12 And Ahitub begat Zadok, and Zadok begat Shallum,
13 And Shallum begat Hilkiah, and Hilkiah begat Azariah,
14 And Azariah begat Seraiah, and Seraiah begat Jehozadak,
15 And Jehozadak went into captivity, when the Lord carried away Judah and Jerusalem by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.

Eleazar was the father of Phinehas. He saved Israel from the curse of a plague, and was blessed with a covenant of peace and the priesthood for his posterity. (see Numbers 25 and Psalm 106) He became the high priest. Phinehas was the father of Abishua, who was the father of Bukki. Bukki was the father of Uzzi, who was the father of Zerahiah. Zerahiah was the father of Meraioth, who was the father of Amariah, who was the father of Ahitub. Ahitub was the father of Zadok, who was one of the priests for King David and later Solomon. He remained faithful to David during rebellion in Jerusalem. Zadok was the father of Ahimaaz. Ahimaaz was assigned to deliver messages to David during the rebellion, and at one point was even hidden in a well. (see 2 Samuel 17 and 18) He was the father of Azariah. Azaraiah was a prince in Solomon’s court. Azariah was the father of Johanan, who was the father of Azariah. Azariah was the priest at the time when Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem. He was serving when king Uzziah trespassed against the Lord by burning incense in the temple, and was then cursed with leprosy.

Azariah (possibly the same as already mentioned) was the father of Amariah, who was the father of Ahitub, who was the father of Zadok. Zadok was the father of Shallum, who was the father of Hilkiah. He was the priest who found the book of the law, which was given to Josiah, who then restored the knowledge of the law to the people of Judah and made covenants with the Lord. Hikliah was the father of Azariah, who was the father of Seraiah. Seraiah was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar’s captain of the guard, and slain by the king. He had been the father of Jehozadak. When Judah and Jerusalem was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, Jehozadak went into captivity. (see also 2 Samuel 8, 1 Kings 1, 2, 4:2, 2 Kings 22, 25, and 2 Chronicles 26)

16 The sons of Levi; Gershom, Kohath, and Merari.
17 And these be the names of the sons of Gershom; Libni, and Shimei.
18 And the sons of Kohath were, Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel.
19 The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. And these are the families of the Levites according to their fathers.

Again, Levi had three sons. Gershom became the father of Libni and Shimei. Kohath became the father of Amram, Izhar, Hebrom, and Uzziel (mentioned above). Merari became the father of Mahli and Mushi. These were the patriarchs of the tribe of Levi.

20 Of Gershom; Libni his son, Jahath his son, Zimmah his son,
21 Joah his son, Iddo his son, Zerah his son, Jeaterai his son.

Libni was the father of Jahath, Zimmah, Joah, Iddo, Zerah, and Jeaterai.

22 The sons of Kohath; Amminadab his son, Korah his son, Assir his son,
23 Elkanah his son, and Ebiasaph his son, and Assir his son,
24 Tahath his son, Uriel his son, Uzziah his son, and Shaul his son.
25 And the sons of Elkanah; Amasai, and Ahimoth.

Kohath was the patriarch of Amminadab, Korah, Assir, Elkanah, Ebiasaph, Assir, Tahath, Uriel, Uzziah and Shaul. Korah rebelled against Moses and Aaron, believing they were not the leaders for them called by God, and he and his family were destroyed when the Lord opened up the ground beneath them. (see Numbers 16) Elkanah was the father of Amasai and Ahimoth by his wife Peninnah. Elkanah was also the husband of Hannah, who was barren and prayed to God for a child, while she was in the temple. Her prayers were answered and she bore Samuel, who was given to the Lord by Hannah. (See also 1 Samuel 1)

26 As for Elkanah: the sons of Elkanah; Zophai his son, and Nahath his son,
27 Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son.
28 And the sons of Samuel; the firstborn Vashni, and Abiah.

Elkanah was the patriarch of Zophai, Nahath, Eliab, Jeroham, and Elkanah. Samuel, the son of Elkanah mentioned above, was the father of Vashni (Joel) and Abiah. They became judges over Israel, but they were not righteous judges and so the people turned against the Lord, and asked for a king to be over them instead. (See also 1 Samuel 8)

29 The sons of Merari; Mahli, Libni his son, Shimei his son, Uzza his son,
30 Shimea his son, Haggiah his son, Asaiah his son.
31 And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the Lord, after that the ark had rest.
32 And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the Lord in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order.

Mahli, the grandson of Levi through Merari, became the patriarch of Libni, Shimei, Uzza, Shimea, Haggiah, and Asaiah. These were the men of the Levites, who were assigned to be over the service of song in the tabernacle, once the ark was placed there. They served in front of the tabernacle of the congregation by singing. They did this until Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, where they served according to the order of their office.

33 And these are they that waited with their children. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman a singer, the son of Joel, the son of Shemuel,
34 The son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah,
35 The son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah, the son of Mahath, the son of Amasai,
36 The son of Elkanah, the son of Joel, the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah,
37 The son of Tahath, the son of Assir, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah,
38 The son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, the son of Israel.
39 And his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand, even Asaph the son of Berachiah, the
son of Shimea,
40 The son of Michael, the son of Baaseiah, the son of Malchiah,
41 The son of Ethni, the son of Zerah, the son of Adaiah,
42 The son of Ethan, the son of Zimmah, the son of Shimei,
43 The son of Jahath, the son of Gershom, the son of Levi.
44 And their brethren the sons of Merari stood on the left hand: Ethan the son of Kishi, the son of Abdi, the son of Malluch,
45 The son of Hashabiah, the son of Amaziah, the son of Hilkiah,
46 The son of Amzi, the son of Bani, the son of Shamer,
47 The son of Mahli, the son of Mushi, the son of Merari, the son of Levi.
48 Their brethren also the Levites were appointed unto all manner of service of the tabernacle of the house of God.

Those that waited with their children, were Heman, a singer of the Kohathites, his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand, and the son of Merari, Ethan who stood on the left hand. They played the cymbals in David’s choir. (see 1 Chronicles 15) These were each descendants of Levi, the son of Israel. Heman’s descendancy included by parentage, Joel, Shemuel, Elkanah, Jeroham, Eliel, Toah, Zuph, Elkanah, Mahath, Amasai, Elkanah,Joel, Azariah, Zephaniah, Tahth, Assir, Ebiasaph, Korah (mentioned above), Izhar, Kohath (mentioned above), and then through Levi to Israel. Asaph’s descendancy included by parentage, Berachaih, Shimea, Michael, Baaseiah, Malchiah, Ethni, Zerah, Adaiah, Ethan, Zimmah, Shimei, Jahath, Gershom, Levi. Ethan’s descendancy included by parentage, Kishi, Abdi, Malluch, Hashabiah, Amaziah, Hilkiah, Amzi, Bani, Shamer,Mahli, Mushi, Merari (mentioned above), and also through Levi. The Levites were given all kinds of duties in and with the tabernacle.

49 But Aaron and his sons offered upon the altar of the burnt offering, and on the altar of incense, and were appointed for all the work of the place most holy, and to make an atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.
50 And these are the sons of Aaron; Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son,
51 Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son,
52 Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son,
53 Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son.

Aaron, who was ordained a priest by Moses, and his line, were annointed and specifically given the duty of performing offerings on the altar of burnt offerings and the altar of incense, and the responsibilities of the holy of holies, and the making of atonement for Israel, just as they were directed by Moses, under the direction of the Lord. As mentioned above, the line with these duites consisted of the Aaron, along with his sons and grandsons: Eleazar, who became chief over the chiefs of the Levites, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, and Ahimaaz. (There is more family to the line mentioned in verses 9-15 above. See also Exodus 28, Leviticus 8 and Numbers 3)

54 Now these are their dwelling places throughout their castles in their coasts, of the sons of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites: for theirs was the lot.

The sons of Aaron of the Kohathites lived in these designated areas of the different tribes of Israel, which were given to them by lot.

55 And they gave them Hebron in the land of Judah, and the suburbs thereof round about it.
56 But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
57 And to the sons of Aaron they gave the cities of Judah, namely, Hebron, the city of refuge, and Libnah with her suburbs, and Jattir, and Eshtemoa, with their suburbs,
58 And Hilen with her suburbs, Debir with her suburbs,
59 And Ashan with her suburbs, and Beth-shemesh with her suburbs:
60 And out of the tribe of Benjamin; Geba with her suburbs, and Alemeth with her suburbs, and Anathoth with her suburbs. All their cities throughout their families were thirteen cities.

From Judah, they were given the cities of Hebron (which was well-known because of Abraham and later became the location for David’s original reign over Judah), the city of refuge, Libnah, Jattir, Eshtemoa, Hilen, Debir, Ashan and Beth-shemesh (once the location of the ark) with all the land and suburbs, except for the fields and villages of Hebron, which were given to Caleb, the son of Jephunneh. Then, from Benjamin, they were given Geba, Alemeth, and Anathoth, which included thirteen cities. (see also 2 Samuel 5 and 1 Samuel 6)

61 And unto the sons of Kohath, which were left of the family of that tribe, were cities given out of the half tribe, namely, out of the half tribe of Manasseh, by lot, ten cities.

The rest of the family of Kohath, were given ten cities by lot, from half of the tribe of Manasseh.

62 And to the sons of Gershom throughout their families out of the tribe of Issachar, and out of the tribe of Asher, and out of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thirteen cities.

The family of Gershom, were given thirteen cities by lot, from Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and Manasseh.

63 Unto the sons of Merari were given by lot, throughout their families, out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.

The family of Merari, were given twelve cities by lot, from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.

64 And the children of Israel gave to the Levites these cities with their suburbs.
65 And they gave by lot out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, and out of the tribe of the children of Benjamin, these cities, which are called by their names.
66 And the residue of the families of the sons of Kohath had cities of their coasts out of the tribe of Ephraim.
67 And they gave unto them, of the cities of refuge, Shechem in mount Ephraim with her suburbs; they gave also Gezer with her suburbs,
68 And Jokmeam with her suburbs, and Beth-horon with her suburbs,
69 And Aijalon with her suburbs, and Gath-rimmon with her suburbs:
70 And out of the half tribe of Manasseh; Aner with her suburbs, and Bileam with her suburbs, for the family of the remnant of the sons of Kohath.

All these cities and suburbs were given to the Levites. The tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, gave cities by lot. The rest of the family of Kohath, was given cities in the border of Ephraim, including the cities of refuge and Shechem (a portion of mount Ephraim was given to Phinehas, the son of Eleazar). Shechem was an ancient town, mentioned when Abram (Abraham) first went to the promised land. (see Genesis 12) They also were given Gezer, Jokmean, Beth-horon (where the lord had brought a deadly hailstorm down upon the Amorites), Aijalon, and Gath-rimmon. Then from the half of Manasseh, they were given the city of Aner and Bileam. (see also Joshua 10)

71 Unto the sons of Gershom were given out of the family of the half tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, and Ashtaroth with her suburbs:
72 And out of the tribe of Issachar; Kedesh with her suburbs, Daberath with her suburbs,
73 And Ramoth with her suburbs, and Anem with her suburbs:
74 And out of the tribe of Asher; Mashal with her suburbs, and Abdon with her suburbs,
75 And Hukok with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs:
76 And out of the tribe of Naphtali; Kedesh in Galilee with her suburbs, and Hammon with her suburbs, and Kirjathaim with her suburbs.

The sons of Gershom were also given cities from half of the tribe of Manasseh. They were Golan and Ashtaroth. From Issachar, they were given Kedesh, Daberath, Ramoth, and Anem. From Asher, they were given Mashal, Abdon, Hukok and Rehob. From Naphtali, they were given Kedesh in Galilee, Hammon, and Kirjathaim.

77 Unto the rest of the children of Merari were given out of the tribe of Zebulun, Rimmon with her suburbs, Tabor with her suburbs:
78 And on the other side Jordan by Jericho, on the east side of Jordan, were given them out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer in the wilderness with her suburbs, and Jahzah with her suburbs,
79 Kedemoth also with her suburbs, and Mephaath with her suburbs:
80 And out of the tribe of Gad; Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, and Mahanaim with her suburbs,
81 And Heshbon with her suburbs, and Jazer with her suburbs.

The remainder of the family of Merari, were given the cities of Rimmon and Tabor from the tribe of Zebulon. From Rueben, on the Eastern side of the Jordan, they were given the cities of Bezer, Jahzah, Kedemoth, and Mephaath. From Gad, they were given Ramoth in Gilead (a very important Israelite city of refuge, where Ahab fought against Syria and died), Mahanaim, Heshbon and Jazer. (see also 1 Kings 22)

This chapter includes a record of the family who was responsible for the discharge of the duties relating to the tabernacle, and later to the temple of the Lord built by Solomon. Some did the work of the priesthood, while the remainder of the tribe of Levi, were called upon to serve the priests and care for the tabernacle. I think it would have been such a privilege to serve the Lord in this way. They were not perfect men, and they were not even all worthy to hold their office or do their duties, as seen in some of the stories of those who served the Israelites in the temple, but those who did their best to serve the Lord, would have had great opportunities in their work. I think that we can grow by leaps and bounds, when we are given ways or called to serve the Lord. (see more about the blessings of priesthood service in Doctrine and Covenants 84:18-34) Their lives were not the easiest of the tribes of Israel, especially seeing as they had no inheritance in the land, and were sustained by the tithes and some of the offerings given by the children of Israel. Additionally, because they were given cities out of all the other tribes, in which to live, they were spread out among all of Israel and never living gathered together the way each of the other tribes were gathered geographically. However, one of the significant blessings of the tribe of Levi, is that they had and continue to have an important role to play in the work of the Lord, all the way to the end the mortal world. In Doctrine and Covenants 13, the prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were ordained to the priesthood. The words of the ordination were, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.” It is an honor and privilege to be ordained to the priesthood of Aaron, and those of the children of Levi who honored their priesthood or even those related duties done by those who served the priests, were surely blessed.

2 Kings Chapter 4

Elisha was the prophet of the Lord, who followed after the prophet Elijah. As a prophet, He had performed miracles of parting the Jordan (see 2 Kings 2:13-14) and healing waters (see verses 21-22). He had prophesied of success to the host of Israel against the Moabites (2 Kings 3). He had been a witness that the Lord was the only true God, and many had seen that he had the power of God with him to do mighty things. Chapter four begins with the following:

1 Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
2 And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.
3 Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few.
4 And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.
5 So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.
6 And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And he said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed.
7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.

A widow came to Elisha and told him that her sons were going to be taken as bondmen, by the creditor to their family. Elisha asked her what he could do for her, followed by asking her what she already had in her house. She needed something that she could give for money to the creditor. She told him that the only thing she had was a pot of oil. Elisha told the woman to gather several empty vessels from her neighbors. When she came back, she was to close her door and then pour from her pot into each of the vessels, setting them aside as they were filled. The woman followed the instructions of Elisha and filled all the vessels brought to her. She went back to Elisha and told him what had happened. He told her to sell the oil to pay her debt, so that she and her children could live in peace.

8 And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread.
9 And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.
10 Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.
11 And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there.
12 And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him.
13 And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.
14 And he said, What then is to be done for her? And Gehazi answered, Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.
15 And he said, Call her. And when he had called her, she stood in the door.
16 And he said, About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son. And she said, Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.
17 And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.

There was also a woman whom Elisha would pass on his way. She would tell him to eat, so each time he passed her, he would eat. She told her husband that she thought Elisha was a holy man of God, and she wanted to make a room for him in their home, so that he would have a place to stay with a bed, table and chair. One day, Elisha went into the room to rest. He told his servant to bring the Shunammite woman to him. The servant was to ask her what could be done for her, since she had done so much to take care of Elisha. He asked if she wanted them to talk to the king about her, or the captain of the host, but she was fine where she was. Elisha asked his servant what he thought could be done for her and the response was that she did not have any children and her husband was old by this time. Elisha asked her to come to him. She came to the door and Elisha told her that in the time it takes to carry a child, she would have a son. The woman told Elisha not to fool her with lies, which seems like she could have been telling him that it was too good to be true. However, she had a son just as Elisha had said.

18 And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers.
19 And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother.
20 And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.
21 And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out.
22 And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again.
23 And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.
24 Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee.
25 So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite:
26 Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well.
27 And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.
28 Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?
29 Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child.
30 And the mother of the child said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.
31 And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked.
32 And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.
33 He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the Lord.
34 And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm.
35 Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
36 And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son.
37 Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

The child grew up and he went to his father as he worked in the fields. He started to complain about his head, so his father told him to be taken to his mother. The boy died while on his mother’s lap. The mother laid him on the bed of Elisha and left the room, closing the door behind her. She begged her husband for help to find Elisha. Her husband wondered how she would find him, but the woman had faith that all would be well. She left in a hurry to find him, telling her servant not to slow down unless she asked it of him. She found him in mount Carmel and Elisha sent his servant to talk to her. He went to her and asked her if everything was alright with herself and her family, to which she replied that all was well. When she got to Elisha, she fell at his feet and the servant of Elisha, Gehazi, pulled her away. Elisha told him to leave her alone, because he could see that she was distressed, but he did not know why. He recognized that only God was aware of the things on her mind that were causing her trouble. She said that she had desired a child and had told Elisha not to deceive her. Without telling him what had happened, Elisha quickly responded to her. Elisha told his servant to take Elisha’s staff and go place it on the child, without stopping to talk to anyone. He was been told to go without delay and to prepare the way for Elisha. Then, the woman vowed that she would not leave Elisha and Elisha left with her. The servant placed the staff on her son, but nothing happened. Elisha went to the house and found the child dead upon the bed. He went in and after closing the door, prayed to the Lord. After his prayer, he laid on the child, touching his hands to the child’s hands, his eyes to the child’s eyes, and so on. He made the skin of the child warm with his own warmth. He did this again, after walking around the house and the boy sneezed and opened his eyes. Elisha told his servant to tell the woman to come and take her son. She fell at the feet of Elisha and then left with her son.

I love that this story teaches us that Elisha prayed and then I am guessing his answer was to warm the child through touch. He followed the prompting of the spirit that was with him, and when he had faithfully done this, the boy was healed. We are able to have experiences like this in our own lives. We can pray for answers, and so long as we do this with real intent or the intention of doing whatever is expected of us, God will answer our prayers.

38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
39 And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.
40 So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.
41 But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.

Elisha went to Gilgal, where there was a lack of food, or a famine. He told his servant to put stew out for the prophets. The servants went out to gather food and one brought in wild fruit and vegetables, and put them in the food. The men began to eat and found the food was poisonous. Elisha told the servants to bring him meal, which he put in the pot and told them to serve it to the prophets again. The food was made harmless.

42 And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat.
43 And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof.
44 So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord.

On another occasion, a man brought Elisha bread, barley and corn for the people to eat. This was not uncommon, but it seems to have been a tradition in ancient times, to take a gift of things such as bread when going to see a man of God or a prophet. The gift he brought was not enough for then number of men they had, but Elisha told them to go ahead and give it to the people to eat, because the Lord said there would be enough for them to eat. The servant put the bread and grains in front of the people and they all were able to eat with food left over.

Why would it be important for us to have the stories of these miracles in our scriptures? They teach us things that can help us today. We can learn from Elisha, that God has the power to free us from bondage if we will humble ourselves and follow Him and his servants. It teaches us the importance of turning to our priesthood leaders and faithfully heeding the direction they give us. Who would imagine that being told to pour out the last of something you have, would been you would have more besides. It would have taken a lot of faith to follow through with that in a moment of being without. These stories teach us that we will be blessed for our service to those who serve us for the Lord. The woman was blessed with a child, even though it would have seemed that the time for bearing children had passed. There will be greater rewards after this life, for those who serve the servants of the Lord. These stories teach us of the healing power of the priesthood. If it is God’s will, we can see for these same blessings with our own trials and infirmities. We can ask for blessings upon ourselves or our loved ones, and God will bless us according to his will. God loves us and He will bless us according to our diligence and faith.

These miracles remind me of the stories of the Savior. The filling of the vessels reminds me of the story of the Savior turning water to wine. Both required the faith of those handling the vessels, in order to receive the miracle. The receivers had to gather the vessels together and believe that something would happen in doing so. Then, the raising of the child reminds me of the raising of Jairus’ daughter. In both, there was a parent who knew the power of the priesthood that could save their child. In both, that parent sought the man of God for help. Again, both required a great deal of faith in God, and belief in His servants on the earth and what they had the power to do. And finally, the story of multiplying the food reminds me of the story of the loaves and fishes. In both, all the food that was available, was placed before the people, and by the power of God, it was more than enough to provide for many. Both showed that the power of God can sustain people, even to the providing for physical needs. Those in the days of Elisha would not have realized that these stories made Elisha into a type of the Savior who was to come and save all mankind, but I am sure they recognized that the hand of God was in their lives. We can look at these stories and see that the power of God was made manifest. The miracles of Elisha point to the Savior and his power to make us more than we are, save us from all forms of death, and sustain us when it would seem that there is not enough in this world to do so.

2 Samuel Chapter 24

King David had specific duties as the leader of Israel, in particular, the Lord had given specific direction for how one was to rule His people. At times, the Lord would do something to remind his people of the duties they were not following. This chapter deals with one of those times. It begins:

1 And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
2 For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people.
3 And Joab said unto the king, Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?
4 Notwithstanding the king’s word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel.

At David’s command, the people of Israel were to be numbered. It reads here, that David was instructed by the Lord to number Israel and Judah, so he sent Joab out to number them. In the footnotes it references 1 Corinthians, which says instead, that Satan provoked David to number Israel (see 1 Cor. 21:1). Joab questioned the king’s command, however he took the captains and numbered the people. The idea that Satan influenced David, makes it so I can see why the Lord would have his anger kindled against Israel. I am not sure what was involved in the numbering of the people, but it reads as if it was hard on the people and should not have been performed simply in order to please the king.

5 And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lieth in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer:
6 Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtim-hodshi; and they came to Dan-jaan, and about to Zidon,
7 And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beer-sheba.
8 So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
9 And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men.

Several months later, they returned to Jerusalem and told him that the king had 800,000 men of war in Israel, and 500,000 in Judah.

10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,
12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.
13 So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days’ pestilence in thy land? now advise, and see what answer I shall return to him that sent me.
14 And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man.

David’s heart was smitten. I think that this is another way of saying that his conscience got to him, and he felt guilt in his heart over what he had chosen to do. He went to the Lord and confessed his sin in numbering the people of Israel and Judah. He asked for forgiveness. The prophet, Gad, received word from the Lord, that he was to go speak to David. Gad told David that the Lord offered a choice of three things to him. First, seven years of famine to the land, second, enemies who would pursue him for three months as he fled from them, or third, three days of pestilence in the land. David, pled with the prophet, that he and the people be at the mercy of God and not fall into the hands of other men.

It is interesting to me, that the Lord would offer David a choice in his punishment for sinning against him. The people of David would suffer for his choice, but I think that having to choose the punishment, was to be a reminder to David of what he, as their leader, had done wrong.

15 So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beer-sheba seventy thousand men.
16 And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.
17 And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house.

The Lord fulfilled his promise of pestilence for three days, and 70,000 men died. An angel was given the responsibility of bringing the destruction upon Israel. David saw the angel, near the farm of a man named Araunah, and pled with the Lord, that the plague would be stopped, and that he and his family would take the consequences instead of the people, because they had not been the ones who had done wrong in this thing.

The Joseph Smith Translation of verse 16 reads, “And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, [the Lord said unto him, Stay now thine hand, it is enough; for the people repented, and the Lord stayed the hand of the angel, that he destroyed not the people]. And the angel of the Lord was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.” The Lord stopped the plague, because the people had been humbled to repentance.

18 And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite.
19 And David, according to the saying of Gad, went up as the Lord commanded.
20 And Araunah looked, and saw the king and his servants coming on toward him: and Araunah went out, and bowed himself before the king on his face upon the ground.
21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.
22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.
23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee.
24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
25 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.

The prophet returned to David and told him to make an altar where he had seen the angel. David went to the place, as he had been commanded. When Araunah saw him coming, he greeted him and asked why he had come. David offered to buy his threshingfloor, so that he could build an altar and make sacrifice to stop the plague. Araunah offered his threshingfloor to the king, as well as anything he had that could be used for the offering, including oxen and tools. David would not take it without price. I think he did this because he knew his choice needed to be more of a sacrifice on his part. David bought the threshingfloor and other items from Araunah, built and altar, and offered sacrifice and peace offerings to the Lord. The plague against Israel, was then stopped by the Lord.

We all make mistakes in life. There are going to be those moments when we think of our own wants and desires before others. For a moment, David’s pride led him to make the decision to number the people, which he should not have done. After it was done, he felt the guilt that we so often feel when we have done something we know we should not have done. This guilt, when applied correctly can move us towards repentance and drawing closer to God. David and his people, suffered the consequence of his choice, and then from his guilt, he turned to repentance. Something I am learning more as I get older, is the importance of sacrifice and service in order to make the repentance process complete. David gives us a good example of this. He recognized that he had to personally sacrifice in order to really humble himself towards the Lord. Then, I believe, in more than an attempt to stop the plague, he served the Lord through giving sacrifices and offerings at the altar he had built. Likewise, in the repentance process in our own lives, we will have to sacrifice and serve to have the forgiveness needed for us to change and become better or more like our Father in Heaven. Sacrifice and service are two actions that humble the soul. When we are humble, we are willing to let the Lord help us with His infinite atonement. That is the only way that we will have a lasting change of any kind. I am grateful for the repentance process and for the knowledge that forgiveness is real. The atonement is real and it can free us of the plagues and guilt we bring upon ourselves. This is a blessing that I am eternally grateful for.

1 Samuel Chapter 2

Hannah, the barren wife of Elkanah, had prayed for a son with a promise to lend him to the Lord. She was blessed by the Lord to become the mother of Samuel, whom she gave to Eli, the priest. Eli gave Hannah and Elkanah a blessing. Their story continues as follows:

1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them.
9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.
11 And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest.

Hannah praised the Lord in song. In her praises, she told of the strength and greatness of God. God has the power to do what cannot be done, and undo what has already been done. God will bless the saints and destroy the wicked adversaries of His righteousness. I believe that these are true things about the nature of God. He is all-powerful. He blesses the lives of his saints in ways that seem impossible by our understanding. I believe that one day, we will all stand before him to be judged, and the saints will be blessed for their righteousness, while His adversaries will be destroyed for their wickedness.

Elkanah (and Hannah, I believe) returned to his home, while Samuel remained with Eli and served the Lord.

12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.
13 And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;
14 And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.
15 Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.
16 And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.
17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.

Eli had sons, but they had become men who followed after the ways of the world. His sons should have served faithfully with him in the temple, but they did not know the Lord. The custom of the priests’ servants in the temple, was that they would claim the portion of the sacrifices, which would go to the priest for his service. But by adapted custom, this servant would also ask the person giving sacrifice for a portion of the raw meat for the priest. If the individual refused to allow it to be taken raw, as they would to follow the pattern the Lord had set forward, the servant would say that it could be given to them or taken from them by force. This was a sin of the servant, because it was not how it should be done.

The servants in the temple had not been following the proper ways to serve, with regard to the sacrifices and portions which should have gone to the priest. Perhaps, they desired to take more than their share, to profit from those who went to the temple to make sacrifices. Whatever their reasons, the ways of men were going against the ways of the Lord, corrupting them for their own purposes.

18 But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.
19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

Samuel served the Lord in the temple, from his youth. The word but, causes me to think that because he was raised to serve the Lord in the temple, he was not out to gain from his service. I think that means, that Samuel did things according to the order that the Lord had established and not according to the customs of the men who had been serving there. He wore a temple garment, and Hannah would bring him a coat she made each year when she went to offer sacrifices with her husband.

20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The Lord give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the Lord. And they went unto their own home.
21 And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord.

Eli, with the authority of a priest, gave a blessing to Elkanah and Hannah, that they would be able to have more children, because they had lent Samuel to the Lord. Hannah was blessed to have three more sons and two daughters. Samuel remained and grew up serving the Lord in the temple.

All men who are called to serve as priests in the Lord’s kingdom, are given the authority to bless others. They have the power and authority to call down specific blessings from heaven. This power, which Eli had, has been restored in our modern days. My life has been blessed greatly by men who hold the priesthood and honor it. I know that the faith of Elkanah and Hannah, as well as Eli who gave the blessing, was the key to the priesthood blessing allowing them to have more children. This faith, is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they all served by the righteous work done in the temple.

22 Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.
24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.
25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.
26 And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men.

Eli, in his old age, heard of wicked things his sons did, even to women who had come to be at the temple. He told them that he had heard that they were causing people to stray with their wickedness. They were probably directly influences some by what they did, as well as indirectly influencing others who would have been watching their example. They could have been influencing some to do what they were doing, as well as influencing others to falter in their faith. Moreover, Eli told his sons that they were not simply sinning against other people, but that they were sinning against God. The Lord would destroy them if they did not listen to Eli’s words. Samuel, on the other hand, grew in favor with God, as well as men.

27 And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?
28 And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?
29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?
30 Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.
32 And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.
33 And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age.
34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.
35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.
36 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a piece of bread.

A man of God, an angel of the Lord, appeared to Eli with a message from the Lord. He reminded Eli that the house of his fathers had been chosen by the Lord, to serve as His priests in the tabernacle. They had been given the authority of His holy priesthood. All of the offerings made in the tabernacle (or temple) had been given to the priests. And yet, Eli was not taking these sacrifices seriously, and was allowing his sons to do what they wanted with them. Eli was profiting, or becoming fat off of, the choices which his sons were making. The Lord was no longer going to allow the family of Eli to dishonor the Him in this way. Eli was given a promise that his house would not continue to have the honor of serving in the house of the Lord. The Lord would no longer recognize the promises made to Eli’s ancestors, that his family would always serve there, but instead they would be cut off. The Lord, told Eli that He would give him a sign, that his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas would both die on a day. The Lord would raise up a priest who would serve Him faithfully. The family of that priest would be blessed for generations, while the house of Eli would not live to see old age, and would no longer have the Lord’s blessing. They would instead, become beggars of the worthy priest.

There is a cycle and pattern over time on this earth. The Lord establishes his people and gives them his laws and statutes. Then, the Lord takes a step back and allows men to use their agency to decide how they will live. At first, men remember the promised blessings, choose the right and prosper accordingly. Then as time passes, and men live in their prosperity, they begin to forget the strictness of the ways of the Lord. Sacred things become common place and pretty soon the Lord is mocked and forgotten. Each time this cycle comes to this point, the Lord steps in again to remind men that His ways are not to be treated lightly. Man has agency, and because so, they may choose if they will adhere to the commandments and directions given by the Lord, but they do not have the ability to choose what will happen as a result. The Lord will not allow men to continually disrespect Him. He will punish those who treat sacred things lightly. He will bless those who are faithful and righteous. We should remember this pattern, and determine if we are becoming casual with the sacred things in our lives. We need to take the Lord seriously and reverence those things that he has established to bless and exalt the righteous. If we choose righteousness, we will be blessed.

Moreover, this was the error of a father with regards to his sons. Parents have a duty to teach their children what is right. Parents are responsible for helping their children to know how to keep sacred things sacred, and how to treat the blessings of the Lord. If a parent knows how to live righteously, and fails to teach their child to follow those things, the sin is upon the parent. When a parent learns of the wickedness of a child, they are responsible for lovingly calling that child to repentance. When necessary, a parent should discipline a child who is willfully disobeying the Lord. Eli did not follow through with any discipline of his sons. As mentioned above, they have their agency, but they do not have the ability to choose the consequences of that agency. If a parent does not do all that they can, to help a child correct the wrong they do, the parent is as at much fault, if not more than the child. This places great responsibility upon us as parents. We should make it a point to understand and know what is right and true, and then we should do our best to teach these things to our children. Otherwise, ultimately, we will be judged accordingly and the outcome will be along the lines of Eli, whose posterity was no longer blessed with the priesthood and opportunities that go along with it.

Ruth Chapter 3

Ruth was a young Moabite widow, who had left her family and home, to care for her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi. In caring for her, she had gone out to glean from the harvest in the field of a man named Boaz. He had shown kindness to her as she worked in his fields. Boaz was family to Naomi and had the power to redeem them, and so Ruth had been encouraged by Naomi to continue working in his fields.

1 Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?
2 And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.
3 Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.
4 And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.
5 And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.

In an attempt to allow Ruth to have a better life than that of a poor widow, Naomi came up with a plan of marriage for Ruth. She told Ruth, that Boaz would work with the barley that evening. Naomi told her to prepare herself and secretly go to the threshing floor. When he had lied down for the night, she was to uncover his feet and lay at them, until he told her what she should do. Ruth agreed to do as Naomi had instructed her. Ruth honored her mother-in-law, by her service and her willingness to do all that Naomi asked of her.

6 And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.
7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.

Ruth did as she had been told. I think the reason for laying at his feet, was possibly to make a symbolic gesture of service. I’m not sure if this was an Israelite custom, but I believe that any time one placed themselves at the feet of another, it was a sign of their humility. A servant or even a follower, would place themselves at the feet of their master, to show they were willing to serve or follow them. Ruth, was in a humble position at this time. She was bound to her position in Israel, because of the death of her husband and father-in-law. This seems like a plea to Boaz, to care for her, as a master would care for those willing to serve him. Had she done it publicly, there may have been some other outcome, especially seeing as she was a foreigner. Instead, Naomi suggested to do it privately, and the only way to do this, was to do it secretly in the night.

8 And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.
9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.
10 And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.
11 And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
12 And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
13 Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the Lord liveth: lie down until the morning.

Boaz was startled by her, and when he saw that a woman was there, he asked who it was. She told him and asked that he provide for her as her near kinsman, meaning I think, that she asked him to offer her marriage. He called her blessed of the Lord, for her kindness. He told her that he would do all he could for her, because it was known that she was a virtuous woman. He was her near kinsman, but he knew of one who was closer in relation, and he wanted to allow that man the opportunity to do the service of a kinsman to her. If, in the morning, Boaz went to the man and he did not want the responsibility, then Boaz would take care of her as her husband.

14 And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.
15 Also he said, Bring the veil that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city.
16 And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.
17 And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.
18 Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.

Ruth remained with Boaz that night, and she woke early. Boaz asked that she keep her visit to him a secret. He gave her plenty of his harvest of barley and she left with it, to return to Naomi. Ruth told Naomi all that had happened. Naomi told her to patiently wait, because Boaz would not rest until he had done what he had promised her.

Boaz continued to show kindness to Ruth. He gave her a kind compliment, when he said that she was known as a virtuous woman. She was known for her standards or values, even being a foreigner in the Israelite land. I think that he was saying to her, that he would be honored to have her as his wife. Ruth and Boaz are examples of kindness, charity, selflessness, service and loyalty. I am grateful for examples such as these, because it shows that while Israel as a whole, may have been repeatedly turning from righteousness and living unworthy of the blessings of the Lord, there were good individuals among them, who were still striving to do good and live righteously. We may live in a time of great wickedness as well, but there is hope for continued blessings from the Lord, because there are still good, righteous people, who are striving to do what is right.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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