1 Chron. 9:1 looks back upon the foregoing genealogies, and tells us they were gathered out of the books of the kings of Israel and Judah, not that which we have in the canon of scripture, but another civil record, which was authentic, as the king’s books with us. Mentioning Israel and Judah, the historian takes notice of their being carried away to Babylon for their transgression. Let that judgment never be forgotten, but ever be remembered, for warning to posterity to take heed of those sins that brought it upon them. Whenever we speak of any calamity that has befallen us, it is good to add this, “it was for my transgression,” that God may be justified and clear when he judges. Then follows an account of the first inhabitants, after their return from captivity, that dwelt in their cities, especially in Jerusalem. 1. The Israelites. That general name is used (1 Chron. 9:2) because with those of Judah and Benjamin there were many of Ephraim and Manasseh, and the other ten tribes (1 Chron. 9:3), such as had escaped to Judah when the body of the ten tribes were carried captive or returned to Judah upon the revolutions in Assyria, and so went into captivity with them, or met them when they were in Babylon, associated with them, and so shared in the benefit of their enlargement. It was foretold that the children of Judah and of Israel should be gathered together and come up out of the land (Hos. 1:11), and that they should be one nation again, Ezek. 37:22. Trouble drives those together that have been at variance; and the pieces of metal that had been separated will run together again when melted in the same crucible. Many both of Judah and Israel staid behind in captivity; but some of both, whose spirit God stirred up, enquired the way to Zion again. Divers are here named, and many more numbered, who were chief of the fathers (1 Chron. 9:9), who ought to be remembered with honour, as Israelites indeed. 2. The priests, 1 Chron. 9:10. It was their praise that they came with the first. Who should lead in a good work if the priests, the Lord’s ministers, do not? It was the people’s praise that they would not come without them; for who but the priests should keep knowledge? Who but the priests should bless them in the name of the Lord? (1.) It is said of one of them that he was the ruler of the house of God (1 Chron. 9:11) not the chief ruler, for Joshua was then the high priest, but the sagan, and the next under him, his deputy, who perhaps applied more diligently to the business than the high priest himself. In the house of God it is requisite that there be rulers, not to make new laws, but to take care that the laws of God be duly observed by priests as well as people. (2.) It is said of many of them that they were very able men for the service of the house of God, 1 Chron. 9:13. In the house of God there is service to be done, constant service; and it is well for the church when those are employed in that service who are qualified for it, able ministers of the New Testament, 2 Cor. 3:6. The service of the temple was such as required at all times, especially in this critical juncture, when they had newly come out of Babylon, great courage and vigour of mind, as well as strength of body; and therefore they are praised as mighty men of valour.
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