David continues to set things in order before his death. First the Levites and now the priests themselves. The sons of Aaron being chief among them.
When God set up the Tabernacle He set apart Aaron and his sons to minister directly to Him for the people. Aaron’s sons would be the ones to offer the sacrifices, to carry the blood and place it on the altar, and to enter the Holy of Holies. No other line was permitted to do these tasks.
David wanted to make certain things were in order for the Temple yet to be built. I don’t know how things were working with regard to the Tabernacle at the time. Saul killed all the priests at Nob while he was king. Abiathar was the only one to escape. But the priests at Nob were not the totality of Aaron’s line. If they were, there would be no priesthood left. I’m going to assume that the priests at Nob were the priests who were serving at the time. The rest of Aaron’s descendants were not called for service at that time and were in their Levitical cities. We don’t know how Saul’s actions impacted their rotation of service. David reestablished it for them.
Aaron’s two remaining sons had large families. And as the time in generations was great, their numbers had continued to grow. We are not given an exact number for Aaron’s sons’ descendants but we are told they had 24 different divisions (father’s houses) at the time of David. I’m assuming these are like the clans mentioned in other passages; a specified head and all the descendants under him. This many divisions made it to where the clan would come up for service about once every two years. I say ‘about’ because the Jewish calendar adds in a 13 month (7 out of every 19 years). No one clan would be over taxed or hold the offices too long.
David did not appoint these divisions alone. He called on Zadok, his highest priest of the time, and God for this task. Lots were drawn for the order of service, AFTER the divisions were established by following the Law God had already set down for them. Imagine what a mess there would have been if God hadn’t already given them the framework!
Once the framework was established, God set it in order by showing His decisions through the lots. God instituted this with His people too. For starters, He had the priests carry the Urim and Thumin at all times. These stones were specifically used for the purpose of showing God’s instructions through the lot.
I have always found it interesting that God chose to reveal His mind through the casting of lots. He used it to narrow down the ‘suspects’ on several occasions with Israel. One of those instances was when Israel lost God’s favor because Achan carried away spoils from the battle of Jericho. God revealed the culprit through casting lots.
If I were the guilty person, I would have been MORE than tempted to give myself up by the time it filtered down a few times. I wouldn’t be able to hold it together until the final lot pointed me out. Did the people hold out thinking that maybe God would make a mistake? Did they think that this time it would fail? And how did the priests know so certainly that this was how God would speak to them?
Father God, thank You for making a way for me to come to You on my own. Thank You that Jesus is my High Priest. I need no other.
I wish I knew I was hearing Your voice as well as the Levites did. They trusted completely in the lot. I’m a bit more like Gideon who laid a fleece then laid another just to be sure. I KNOW You speak to me and I am MOST grateful for that. I just wish I had a heart without doubt in this area. Keep growing me in this area.