Verses 1-19 (1 Chronicles 26:1-19)

Observe, I. There were porters appointed to attend the temple, who guarded all the avenues that let to it, opened and shut all the outer gates and attended at them, not only for the state, but for service, to direct and instruct those who were going to worship in the courts of the sanctuary in the decorum they were to observe, to encourage those that were timorous, to send back the strangers and unclean, and to guard against thieves and others that were enemies to the house of God. In allusion to this office, ministers are said to have the keys to the kingdom of heaven committed to them (Matt. 16:19), that they may admit, and exclude, according to the law of Christ.

II. Of several of those that were called to this service, it is taken notice of that they were mighty men of valour (1 Chron. 26:6), strong men (1 Chron. 26:7), able men (1 Chron. 26:8), and one of them that he was a wise counsellor (1 Chron. 26:14), who probably, when he had used this office of a deacon well and given proofs of more than ordinary wisdom, purchased to himself a good degree, and was preferred from the gate to the council-board, 1 Tim. 3:13. As for those that excelled in strength of body, and courage and resolution of mind, they were thereby qualified for the post assigned them; for whatever service God calls men to he either finds them fit or makes them so.

III. The sons of Obed-edom were employed in this office, sixty-two of that family. This was he that entertained the ark with reverence and cheerfulness; and see how he was rewarded for it. 1. He had eight sons (1 Chron. 26:5), for God blessed him. The increase and building up of families are owing to the divine blessing; and a great blessing it is to a family to have many children, when like these they are able for, and eminent in, the service of God. 2. His sons were preferred to places of trust in the sanctuary. They had faithfully attended the ark in their own house, and now were called to attend it in God?s house. He that is trusty in little shall be trusted with more. He that keeps God?s ordinances in his own tent is fit to have the custody of them in God?s tabernacle, 1 Tim. 3:4, 5. I have kept thy law, says David, and this I had because I kept thy precepts, Ps. 119:55, 56.

IV. It is said of one here that though he was not the first-born his father made him the chief (1 Chron. 26:10), either because he was very excellent, or because the elder son was very weak. He was made chief, perhaps not in inheriting the estate (for that was forbidden by the law, Deut. 21:16, 17), but in this service, which required personal qualifications.

V. The porters, as the singers, had their post assigned them by lot, so many at such a gate, and so many at such a one, that every one might know his post and make it good, 1 Chron. 26:13. It is not said that they were cast into twenty-four courses, as before; but here are the names of about twenty-four (1 Chron. 26:1-11), and the posts assigned are twenty-four, 1 Chron. 26:17, 18. We have therefore reason to think they were distributed into as many companies. Happy are those who dwell in God?s house: for, as they are well fed, well taught, and well employed, so they are well guarded. Men attended at the gates of the temple, but angels attend at the gates of the New Jerusalem, Rev. 21:12.

- Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary