Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
1 Chronicles 6:1
The genealogy of the high priestly stem to the captivity.
1 Chronicles 6:9
Ahimaaz begat Azariah - It must, apparently, be this Azariah, and not the son of Johanan Ch1 6:10, who was high priest at the dedication of Solomon's Temple. For Zadok, who lived into the reign of Solomon Kg1 4:4 cannot have been succeeded by a great-great-grandson. The notice in Ch1 6:10, which is attached to the second Azariah, must, beyond a doubt, belong properly to the first.
1 Chronicles 6:11
Ahitub - Between Amariah and Hilkiah Ch1 6:13 this genealogy is most certainly defective, as it gives three generations only for a period for which nine generations are furnished by the list of the kings of Judah, and which cannot be estimated as much short of 200 years. Further, no one of the names in this part of the list occurs among the High priests of the period, several of whom are mentioned both in the Second Book of Chronicles and in Kings; the explanation of which seems to be that the present is not a list of high priests, but the genealogy of Jozadak or Jehozadak, whose line of descent partly coincided with the list of High priests, partly differed from it. Where it coincided, all the names are given; where it differed, some are omitted, in order (probably) to render the entire list from Phinehas a multiple of seven. See the note at Ch1 6:20.
1 Chronicles 6:15
Jehozadak - The meaning of the name is "Jehovah is righteous." It has been noted as remarkable that the heads of both the priestly and the royal stock carried to Babylon should have had names (Zedekiah and Jehozadak) composed of the same elements, and assertive of the "justice of God," which their sufferings showed forth so signally.
1 Chronicles 6:16
A general account of the several branches of the tribe of Levi.
1 Chronicles 6:20
Of Gershom - The names in this list are curiously different from those in Ch1 6:41-43, which yet appear to represent the same line reversed. Probably both lists are more or less corrupted, and, as in many genealogies, omission is made, to reduce the number of the names to seven. Compare e. g. Ch1 6:22-28 with Ch1 6:33-38. Compare the other genealogy ties of this chapter; and see also Matt. 1:1-17.
1 Chronicles 6:28
Vashni - The true name of Samuel's first-born, which was "Joel" (see the margin and references), has here dropped out; and the word properly meaning "and his second (son)" has been taken as the name of the first.
1 Chronicles 6:31
The genealogies of David's three chief singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan or Jeduthun.
They waited on their office - On the establishment and continuance of the choral service in the temple, see Ch2 5:12, Ch2 29:27-30; Ch2 35:15.
Heman - In general Asaph takes precedence of Heman and Jeduthun, but here Heman is placed first, because his family, that of the Kohathites, had the highest priestly rank, being the family which furnished the high priests (see Ch1 6:2-15).
Shemuel - i. e. "Samuel." Our translators have here given the Hebrew, while elsewhere they give uniformlv the Greek, form of the name. We learn by this genealogy that Heman was Samuel's grandson.
His brother Asaph - Not "brother" in the ordinary sense of the term, since Asaph was the son of Berachiah, and a Gershonite, not a Kohathite. "Brother" here may mean "fellow-craftsman" (compare Ch1 25:7).
Ethan - Or Jeduthun (see the margin). Corruption will scarcely account for the two forms of the name, since Ethan is used persistently up to a certain point Ch1 15:19, after which we have uniformly "Jeduthun." The case seems to be rather one in which a new name was taken after a while, which thenceforth superseded the old. Compare Abraham, Sarah, Joshua, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, etc.
1 Chronicles 6:50
The sons of Aaron - This list, a mere repetition of that in Ch1 6:3-8, came, probably, from a different source - a source belonging to the time of David, with whom Ahimaaz (the last name on the list) was contemporary. The other list Ch1 6:4-15 came, no doubt, from a document belonging to the time of the captivity (see Ch1 6:15).
1 Chronicles 6:54
Their's was the lot - i. e. "the first lot." The Kohathites had the first lot among the Levitical families, as being the family whereto the high priesthood was attached (compare Jos 21:10).
1 Chronicles 6:56
The writer evidently had before him Josh. 21, which he followed, as to its matter, closely. In some cases he perhaps modernised the ancient names (Ch1 6:58, Ch1 6:60, Ch1 6:72, etc.); in a few he substituted for the old an entirely new name, the modern apellation, probably, of the ancient site Ch1 6:70, Ch1 6:77. At one time, it would seem, his intention was to give the cities of the priests only, and to content himself with stating the mere number of the rest. His account of the matter was then brought to a conclusion, and summed up, in Ch1 6:64. But, afterward, either he or a later writer thought it best to add to the list of the priestly cities the information contained in Judges as to those which were not priestly, but merely Levitical. The passage 1 Chr. 6:65-81 was then added.
The entire account has suffered much from corruption. In the first list two names, those of Juttah and Gideon, have dropped out. It is necessary to restore them in order to complete the number of thirteen cities Ch1 6:60. In the second list Ch1 6:67-70 there is likewise an omission of two cities, Eltekeh and Gibbethon, which are wanted to make up the number ten Ch1 6:61. The third list is complete, though some of the names are very different from these of Joshua. In the fourth, two names are again wanting, those of Jokneam and Kartah.
Unto the sons of Kohath which were left - i. e. to such of them as were not priests.
Out of the half tribe ... ten cities - The half tribe furnished two cities only (Ch1 6:70, and compare Jos 21:25). It is evident therefore that something has fallen out. We may supply from Joshua the words "out of Ephraim and out of Dan, and" before "out of the half tribe."
Unto the rest of the children of Merari - Rather, "Unto the rest the children of Merari" - that is to say, "unto the remainder of the Levites, who were descendants of Merari": - the two other branches, the Kohathites and the Gershomites, having been treated of previously.