I kind of forgot we were reading “chronicles” after reading so many recaps of David’s history in story form. But it’s back to the listicles today. I couldn’t help but compare today’s order of events with modern-day Buddhism. Religions are soooooo interesting. Today, we read Ezra’s summary of the Levites, but more than that, he also gives us a summary of the duties of the Levites. Now, if you’ve ever spent anytime at a working Buddhist temple, you will know that monks – usually men, but there is an order of female monks – live, work, eat, sleep and breathe at the temple. I mean, they can and do go out in public, but when they do, they wear their traditional robes, and everyone who sees them knows they are monks. And their jobs are literally to serve at and take care of the temple. When you go to the temple, you’ll often see monks praying, but during different times of the day, you’ll also catch them chanting, attending classes, sweeping, cooking, cleaning and refreshing offerings, among a whole bunch of other things. These are the Levites, or at least a good example (sort of) of how life as a Levite might have been. It helps me to visualize it anyway. Another thing we should consider, and again I’m going to compare the Levites to modern-day monks, is that these servants work on the grounds of historical landmarks that often house gold-laden statues and showcase shimmering architecture worth millions of dollars, yet they live in humble quarters and rely on the charity of others to eat and go about their day-to-day personal business. Many monks have families, just like the Levites did. After the Temple was completed, they found themselves not caring for a tent but for an entire “palace,” if you will, with guardsmen and servants and all kinds of things to manage. Yet, the Levites were expected to maintain their humble way of life. Think about that for a minute.
Something I underlined in today’s reading is in verse 24, where it says “… the leaders of their family group registered carefully by name. I underlined “registered carefully” because that is important to understanding how the text of Chronicles may have been born. We know that 1 Chronicles, so far, is a compilation of stories we read not too long ago in the Samuels, so we know that the information we are reading now had to have come from something before it. Now, whether it was all written, we don’t know. Some things Ezra is writing about may have been passed down by word of mouth, but in this case, in verse 24, we can see that there is a source, an actual written source, from which Ezra is getting some of his information. While the passage doesn’t explicitly say, “Somebody wrote down the names,” we can assume that the registry wasn’t recorded in someone’s brain and then passed down by memory. I mean, I’m not saying that couldn’t have happened. I’m just saying it’s not likely.
Writing prompt: make a prediction
Did you think about the Levites and how their roles took on a whole, huge new meaning once the Temple was finished? Regardless of what you know about future Israel, write about a few things that might be considered as the Levites are commissioned to care for the newly built Temple.