Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Wednesday Bible Study: A radical departure

The story in Chronicles of the death of David and accession of Solomon is very different from the story that bridges the late chapters of Samuel with the first two chapters of Kings. In Kings, David's son Adonijah is recognized as his successor, but Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan talk David out of it and persuade him to name Solomon instead. All this, and other complications, are skipped in Chronicles. 


Most important, there is no hint in the Deuteronomistic history that the reason construction of the Temple is deferred from David to Solomon is that David has been a man of war and shed blood. All of David's battles, conquests and genocides, like all of those that preceded him, were not only approved by Yahweh but in most cases were Yahweh's idea. David was guilty of other acts of which Yahweh disapproved, most of which the Chronicler omits. However, here the Chronicler seems to signal that the nature of Israel* is changing. The kingdom is no longer imperialist and expansionist, but will now undertake to exist peacefully within established borders.


The specifications for the Temple are not found in Kings. Again, whether there is a lost source for this or the Chronicler invented it, we do not know.

* After the split between Judah and Israel/Samaria, the Chronicler pays little  attention to the northern kingdom. He is only interested in Judah. which is not surprising since at the time he wrote, in the 6th Century, the northern kingdom no longer existed. From his point of view, this is the chronicle of Judah.


28 David summoned all the officials of Israel to assemble at Jerusalem: the officers over the tribes, the commanders of the divisions in the service of the king, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of all the property and livestock belonging to the king and his sons, together with the palace officials, the warriors and all the brave fighting men.

King David rose to his feet and said: “Listen to me, my fellow Israelites, my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, for the footstool of our God, and I made plans to build it. But God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood.’

“Yet the Lord, the God of Israel, chose me from my whole family to be king over Israel forever. He chose Judah as leader, and from the tribe of Judah he chose my family, and from my father’s sons he was pleased to make me king over all Israel. Of all my sons—and the Lord has given me many—he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. He said to me: ‘Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. I will establish his kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws, as is being done at this time.’

“So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever.

“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.”

11 Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement. 12 He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the Lord and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things. 13 He gave him instructions for the divisions of the priests and Levites, and for all the work of serving in the temple of the Lord, as well as for all the articles to be used in its service. 14 He designated the weight of gold for all the gold articles to be used in various kinds of service, and the weight of silver for all the silver articles to be used in various kinds of service: 15 the weight of gold for the gold lampstands and their lamps, with the weight for each lampstand and its lamps; and the weight of silver for each silver lampstand and its lamps, according to the use of each lampstand; 16 the weight of gold for each table for consecrated bread; the weight of silver for the silver tables; 17 the weight of pure gold for the forks, sprinkling bowls and pitchers; the weight of gold for each gold dish; the weight of silver for each silver dish; 18 and the weight of the refined gold for the altar of incense. He also gave him the plan for the chariot, that is, the cherubim of gold that spread their wings and overshadow the ark of the covenant of the Lord.

19 “All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the Lord’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”

20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished. 21 The divisions of the priests and Levites are ready for all the work on the temple of God, and every willing person skilled in any craft will help you in all the work. The officials and all the people will obey your every command.”

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Xisssh

The protests in China against Xi's draconian "zero Covid" policies have inspired some loosely connected thoughts. The first is that, obviously, as with any public health intervention, we need to weight the costs and benefits. The cost of essentially totally shutting down city neighborhoods, factories, even whole cities, and not allowing people to leave their houses for days or weeks on end, is incalculable. Far less stringent policies proved unacceptable to many people elsewhere, though not necessarily based on good information. Nevertheless there were costs to people's social and emotional well-being, to children's learning, and to businesses. 

 

It's a complicated question, with no exact right answer, what measures were worth it, and I''m certainly in favor of retrospective assessment. Now that most of our population is vaccinated -- sadly, not all -- we've decided to pretend it's over. I'm don't think that's right either, we may be in for a rude surprise. We'll see.

 

In the case of China, however, Xi has obviously gone much too far. His attempt to essentially exterminate the virus in his vast realm by imprisoning millions of people in their homes was doomed to failure and, unacceptably costly, and even in the tightly controlled Chinese society inevitably going to cause social unrest. The folly is compounded by his refusal to import effective vaccines, even though the Chinese vaccines don't work very well. The problem is he doesn't get advice, or he doesn't listen to it, nobody will tell him that he's wrong, and the security forces blindly obey insane orders. 


There are people right here in the U.S. who seem to believe that democracy is inefficient or produces results they don't like, and that some form of autocratic rule will make a nation stronger or greater (whatever that means). I need only point to North Korea, Vladimir Putin's catastrophic rule, and the debacle in China. I believe I've already mentioned that I'm reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, so that should say enough. What puzzles me is how these men stay in power, when it must be obvious to all around them that their judgment is disastrous. 


Which brings us to the inexplicable inability of Republican politicians to repudiate their increasingly deranged and deluded former president. What is stopping the Republican congressional leadership from calling a press conference, standing together, and saying "This guy is nuts"? It is a great mystery. 


PS: If you think you have never met any white supremacists, you must be one.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Sunday Sermonette: Our long nightmare of boredom is almost over

Chapter 27 is the last of the seemingly eternal recitation of meaningless names. There's no point in saying anything about this, it's very existence is inexplicable. As always, the total number of soldiers is absurd.

 

So I'll just take this opportunity to say that mediation of the news by for profit corporations is just a fact of American society. I didn't take a position on it one way or another. There are not-for-profit news sources of course, e.g. NPR and PBS, but they depend on sponsorship just as much as for-profit companies. People just need to be skeptical and critical consumers of information. You need to learn how to discern the ways in which the news is selectively presented and framed; be skeptical of the motives of sources, especially if they're anonymous; separate the news sections from the opinion sections where greater license is given for sheer invention (e.g., the Wall Street Journal news pages are generally reliable but the opinion pages are raving insane); and take advantage of specialized, reliable primary sources in areas of strong interest to you. 


27 This is the list of the Israelites—heads of families, commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and their officers, who served the king in all that concerned the army divisions that were on duty month by month throughout the year. Each division consisted of 24,000 men.

In charge of the first division, for the first month, was Jashobeam son of Zabdiel. There were 24,000 men in his division. He was a descendant of Perez and chief of all the army officers for the first month.

In charge of the division for the second month was Dodai the Ahohite; Mikloth was the leader of his division. There were 24,000 men in his division.

The third army commander, for the third month, was Benaiah son of Jehoiada the priest. He was chief and there were 24,000 men in his division. This was the Benaiah who was a mighty warrior among the Thirty and was over the Thirty. His son Ammizabad was in charge of his division.

The fourth, for the fourth month, was Asahel the brother of Joab; his son Zebadiah was his successor. There were 24,000 men in his division.

The fifth, for the fifth month, was the commander Shamhuth the Izrahite. There were 24,000 men in his division.

The sixth, for the sixth month, was Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite. There were 24,000 men in his division.

10 The seventh, for the seventh month, was Helez the Pelonite, an Ephraimite. There were 24,000 men in his division.

11 The eighth, for the eighth month, was Sibbekai the Hushathite, a Zerahite. There were 24,000 men in his division.

12 The ninth, for the ninth month, was Abiezer the Anathothite, a Benjamite. There were 24,000 men in his division.

13 The tenth, for the tenth month, was Maharai the Netophathite, a Zerahite. There were 24,000 men in his division.

14 The eleventh, for the eleventh month, was Benaiah the Pirathonite, an Ephraimite. There were 24,000 men in his division.

15 The twelfth, for the twelfth month, was Heldai the Netophathite, from the family of Othniel. There were 24,000 men in his division.

Leaders of the Tribes

16 The leaders of the tribes of Israel:

over the Reubenites: Eliezer son of Zikri;

over the Simeonites: Shephatiah son of Maakah;

17 over Levi: Hashabiah son of Kemuel;

over Aaron: Zadok;

18 over Judah: Elihu, a brother of David;

over Issachar: Omri son of Michael;

19 over Zebulun: Ishmaiah son of Obadiah;

over Naphtali: Jerimoth son of Azriel;

20 over the Ephraimites: Hoshea son of Azaziah;

over half the tribe of Manasseh: Joel son of Pedaiah;

21 over the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead: Iddo son of Zechariah;

over Benjamin: Jaasiel son of Abner;

22 over Dan: Azarel son of Jeroham.

These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel.

23 David did not take the number of the men twenty years old or less, because the Lord had promised to make Israel as numerous as the stars in the sky. 24 Joab son of Zeruiah began to count the men but did not finish. God’s wrath came on Israel on account of this numbering, and the number was not entered in the book[a] of the annals of King David.

The King’s Overseers

25 Azmaveth son of Adiel was in charge of the royal storehouses.

Jonathan son of Uzziah was in charge of the storehouses in the outlying districts, in the towns, the villages and the watchtowers.

26 Ezri son of Kelub was in charge of the workers who farmed the land.

27 Shimei the Ramathite was in charge of the vineyards.

Zabdi the Shiphmite was in charge of the produce of the vineyards for the wine vats.

28 Baal-Hanan the Gederite was in charge of the olive and sycamore-fig trees in the western foothills.

Joash was in charge of the supplies of olive oil.

29 Shitrai the Sharonite was in charge of the herds grazing in Sharon.

Shaphat son of Adlai was in charge of the herds in the valleys.

30 Obil the Ishmaelite was in charge of the camels.

Jehdeiah the Meronothite was in charge of the donkeys.

31 Jaziz the Hagrite was in charge of the flocks.

All these were the officials in charge of King David’s property.

32 Jonathan, David’s uncle, was a counselor, a man of insight and a scribe. Jehiel son of Hakmoni took care of the king’s sons.

33 Ahithophel was the king’s counselor.

Hushai the Arkite was the king’s confidant. 34 Ahithophel was succeeded by Jehoiada son of Benaiah and by Abiathar.

Joab was the commander of the royal army.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Chronicles 27:24 Septuagint; Hebrew number

Saturday, December 03, 2022

Thawing out the peaches

I'll conclude my discussion of freedom of speech with this. I don't know who first said it, but it's oft repeated, that freedom of the press pertains only to people who own one. Yeah, Blogger is free but I suspect I have many fewer readers than there are Fox News viewers. The vast majority of discourse in the metaphorical public square is mediated by for-profit corporations. Their main purpose is to make money, which they mostly do by selling eyeballs to advertisers. (Paid subscriptions are not generally a significant source of revenue for mass media, although they do matter for some special interest magazines.)

Now,, you can certainly sell eyeballs to advertisers by appealing to an ideologically distinct market segment. That's what Fox News does, and to some extent MSNBC, although most TV news operations try to claim neutrality, which is in fact impossible but we won't go into that now. But those operations are all content producers. They completely control their content, which they also create. Granted, there's some latitude for non-employees who they interview, but they get to decide who those are and who to have back. The First Amendment matters to them only because it means the government can't tell them what to say. It doesn't give you any right whatsoever to appear on their shows or have your views represented.

So-called social media like Twitter, however, are a different animal. Until the recent change of ownership, the managers' job was to try to make a profit for the shareholders. They weren't actually able to do that, but they were trying. Nearly all of their revenue comes from advertising, and in order to sell eyeballs to advertisers they had to try to exclude, or at least minimize content that would scare off their real customers, the advertisers. Business corporations that buy advertising generally don't have a problem with actual conservative content -- they advertise on Fox News, for example, and Sinclair's local stations. But they don't like to be associated with content that's going to offend a lot of their customers, such as Nazism, white supremacy, QAnon insanity, or outrageous lies. They didn't ban the Dumpster because he's conservative, which he in fact is not, his only ideology is narcissism. They banned him because he is a habitual and remorseless racist, liar and general all around asshole.

Now, you can certainly argue but what a social media company's content moderation should be. I actually have no idea what Muskmelon thinks he's trying to accomplish, but by opening up the site to Nazis, racists and lunatics, he's scared off advertisers. Which means he's going to keep losing money and presumably go out of business. So that's your Free Market™ at work. In fact the left and liberals have much less access to the corporate media than the right and conservatives. The corporate media are owned and run by rich people and so that's naturally who they favor. The liberal media™ is a myth perpetrated by endless howling from the right, which obviously you wouldn't believe in if the liberal media™ wasn't channeling their claim, which they are deathly afraid of for some reason..


But if you don't believe me and you don't like what's in the New York Times or CNN, just keep in mind that they aren't in business for their health. They're looking for an audience and giving it what they think it wants, within the limits acceptable to their advertisers. The only constitutional right in this whole discussion is the right of plutocrats to do what they want with their money, protected by the First Amendment. If you aren't wealthy, you don't have the same rights.

Friday, December 02, 2022

Freeze Peach again

 As words inevitably have multiple and elastic meanings, a requirement of formal discourse is to define your terms: what do I mean by this word in the present context. It is not a valid response to an argument to say "I, or some dictionary or other authority, doesn't doesn't define the word the same way, so your argument is wrong." That is simply an inept, and cowardly, failure to engage with what your interlocutor is saying.


A very good example of a term that causes immense confusion is "free speech," or freedom of speech. This term is contested everywhere, but it's particularly problematic in the U.S. because, among other reasons, it's specifically mentioned in the Constitution:


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 

The courts have consistently interpreted this to mean that the executive can't do these things either, because if "Congress shall make no law . .. " and the executive is required to faithfully execute the laws, the executive can't possibly have any legal authority to abridge these rights.  (The 14th Amendment extended the guarantees of the Bill of Rights to the states, by the way, a fairly major point that many people don't seem to know.) Unfortunately, the Constitution does not define "freedom of speech," or any of those other terms, so lawmakers, the courts, and citizens have argued about their meaning from the beginning. (Note that all of this applies only to government: it is entirely silent on The New York Times, Facebook, Twitter, CNN or Blogger.)


Since speaking is also action, and we do things with words, freedom of speech is not freedom to conspire with others to violate the law, to commit fraud, or trick some one into being injured or causing injury. People who are injured by speech can sue for defamation and damages. (Hello Alex Jones.) However, these exceptions have fuzzy boundaries. Germany generally protects political speech, but:


The German penal code prohibits publicly denying the Holocaust and disseminating Nazi propaganda, both off- and online. This includes sharing images such as swastikas, wearing an SS uniform and making statements in support of Hitler.

It also places strict rules on how social media companies must moderate and report hate speech and threats. These hate-speech laws were tightened last year, after three far-right terror attacks in 2019 and early 2020 prompted German authorities to warn of increasing extremism.

 

You can read the linked article for a fuller description of these statutes. Now, here in the U.S., we're being asked by one of our former president's good friends to consider what may have been Hitler's good qualities. Well, he obviously must have had certain capabilities that enabled him to seize absolute autocratic control of a wealthy and powerful republic and use his powers to murder 12 million people. Not just anybody can do that! But when you're a genocidal psychopath, being less capable is probably better. 

 

That we're actually having this conversation in the U.S. today is beyond disturbing. But so are a lot of other conversations that shouldn't be happening. Joe Biden won the 2020 election by more than 7 million votes. Human activity, particularly burning fossil fuel, is changing the climate and causing horrific harm which is only going to get worse. There is not an international cabal of liberal politicians and Hollywood celebrities trafficking children for sex and drinking their blood. The mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school (and many others) actually happened. I could go on. There is a case to be made for considering the harm that can be done by outright falsehoods in evaluating the right of free speech. I agree, it isn't easy, but we probably should talk about it.


Thursday, December 01, 2022

Save The Nation!

The word "nation," like many words, has multiple meanings. This inspires some people to make what they think are logical arguments based on insisting that only one selected meaning is valid. I believe I have given the example before of a guy who claimed that the entire concept of organic food is meaningless because "organic" means "carbon compounds" and all food consists of carbon compounds. Always stop and check yourself if you start making an argument based on the definition of a word. We've had the same problem here with "socialism." Somebody finds one or another dictionary definition and claims it has to mean that, which makes it impossible to discuss what some person really means by it. That isn't clever, it's actually idiotic. It's also important to remember that dictionaries often give differing definitions of a word, that word meanings change over time, and that they are also affected by context.


Anyhow . . . A true fact about the planet today is that almost every square inch of land, with the exception of Antarctica, has to be within the boundaries of a particular nation. (Of course some boundaries are disputed at some small pieces of land are considered shared or neutral.) The "nation" in this sense is whatever political entity has, or claims, ownership of that land. (Dominion over nearby ocean comes with it.) Unfortunately, and much to their discredit in my view, Oxford gives the first definition of "nation" as "

a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory." This simply does not apply to most of the internationally recognized nations today, in fact it describes scarcely any of them, although such entities have existed. A better definition for most practical discussions today is "a territory where all the people are led by the same government." That's what it means to the UN. 

 

A third meaning of the word is "people united by common descent, history, culture or language" without reference to shared territory. Sometimes some people who constitute this definition of a nation, who don't have a shared territory, want one. They want to become the first definition of a nation. A paradigmatic example of this is Zionism, which led to the creation of the nation of Israel. There was an obvious problem in that people who are not Jewish already lived there. I don't intend to discuss the propriety of this situation today, but I do have to note that not only are there Moslem and Christian Arabs living in Israel, Haifa is also the location of the headquarters of Bahai Faith, so Israel doesn't even meet the first definition, although some people might want it to. 


Another example -- and again, I'm not raising this to draw a comparison, that's not the point of this discussion -- is Germany. For most of their history, German speaking people lived in many small principalities, and some of them were in parts of linguistically diverse nations or empires such as Austria, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. The Prussian leader Otto von Bismarck managed to unify those little principalities in 1871, creating the nation of Germany under a monarch called the Kaiser. 

 

Hitler, who came to power in 1933, had some very specific ideas about what it meant to be German and what the nation of Germany ought to be. He claimed that being German didn't just mean speaking the German language and living in Germany. He thought that Germans constituted a "race," people with a common descent, who were genetically superior to other people. He called this the Aryan race. He thought that all Germans should live in one domain, or reich, which led him to conquer Austria and Czechoslovakia, and then expel the non-German people from the conquered lands. He also wanted to eliminate non-German people who were already in Germany, specifically by exterminating the Jews and Roma. These were not good ideas, not any of them.

 

The United States, like almost all nations today, is of the second kind. People of a vast variety of descent live here, with cultural differences, different histories, and some linguistic diversity as well. But nations need unifying ideas, and if you don't have an ethno-nationalist state like Nazi Germany, those have to be principles of governance that incorporate respect for diversity. People who want to turn the U.S. into a nation of the first kind have a very bad idea, but arguing from the dictionary is not a valid defense.

 

 



Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Wednesday Bible Study: Boredom unto death

The lists of priests and musicians at least gave us a chance to talk about the priesthood, and music, which are interesting subjects. Here we get lists of gatekeepers, accountants, and administrators. I really don't have anything to say about this other than once again to question why the hell anybody would be interested in these disembodied monikers. Don't worry, the author is running out of professions. Next chapter he'll do the military officers, and then we'll be back to a narrative, such as it is.


26 The divisions of the gatekeepers:

From the Korahites: Meshelemiah son of Kore, one of the sons of Asaph.

Meshelemiah had sons:

Zechariah the firstborn,

Jediael the second,

Zebadiah the third,

Jathniel the fourth,

Elam the fifth,

Jehohanan the sixth

and Eliehoenai the seventh.

Obed-Edom also had sons:

Shemaiah the firstborn,

Jehozabad the second,

Joah the third,

Sakar the fourth,

Nethanel the fifth,

Ammiel the sixth,

Issachar the seventh

and Peullethai the eighth.

(For God had blessed Obed-Edom.)

Obed-Edom’s son Shemaiah also had sons, who were leaders in their father’s family because they were very capable men. The sons of Shemaiah: Othni, Rephael, Obed and Elzabad; his relatives Elihu and Semakiah were also able men. All these were descendants of Obed-Edom; they and their sons and their relatives were capable men with the strength to do the work—descendants of Obed-Edom, 62 in all.

Meshelemiah had sons and relatives, who were able men—18 in all.

10 Hosah the Merarite had sons: Shimri the first (although he was not the firstborn, his father had appointed him the first), 11 Hilkiah the second, Tabaliah the third and Zechariah the fourth. The sons and relatives of Hosah were 13 in all.

12 These divisions of the gatekeepers, through their leaders, had duties for ministering in the temple of the Lord, just as their relatives had. 13 Lots were cast for each gate, according to their families, young and old alike.

14 The lot for the East Gate fell to Shelemiah.[a] Then lots were cast for his son Zechariah, a wise counselor, and the lot for the North Gate fell to him. 15 The lot for the South Gate fell to Obed-Edom, and the lot for the storehouse fell to his sons. 16 The lots for the West Gate and the Shalleketh Gate on the upper road fell to Shuppim and Hosah.

Guard was alongside of guard: 17 There were six Levites a day on the east, four a day on the north, four a day on the south and two at a time at the storehouse. 18 As for the court[b] to the west, there were four at the road and two at the court[c] itself.

19 These were the divisions of the gatekeepers who were descendants of Korah and Merari.

The Treasurers and Other Officials

20 Their fellow Levites were[d] in charge of the treasuries of the house of God and the treasuries for the dedicated things.

21 The descendants of Ladan, who were Gershonites through Ladan and who were heads of families belonging to Ladan the Gershonite, were Jehieli, 22 the sons of Jehieli, Zetham and his brother Joel. They were in charge of the treasuries of the temple of the Lord.

23 From the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites and the Uzzielites:

24 Shubael, a descendant of Gershom son of Moses, was the official in charge of the treasuries. 25 His relatives through Eliezer: Rehabiah his son, Jeshaiah his son, Joram his son, Zikri his son and Shelomith his son. 26 Shelomith and his relatives were in charge of all the treasuries for the things dedicated by King David, by the heads of families who were the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and by the other army commanders. 27 Some of the plunder taken in battle they dedicated for the repair of the temple of the Lord. 28 And everything dedicated by Samuel the seer and by Saul son of Kish, Abner son of Ner and Joab son of Zeruiah, and all the other dedicated things were in the care of Shelomith and his relatives.

29 From the Izharites: Kenaniah and his sons were assigned duties away from the temple, as officials and judges over Israel.

30 From the Hebronites: Hashabiah and his relatives—seventeen hundred able men—were responsible in Israel west of the Jordan for all the work of the Lord and for the king’s service. 31 As for the Hebronites, Jeriah was their chief according to the genealogical records of their families. In the fortieth year of David’s reign a search was made in the records, and capable men among the Hebronites were found at Jazer in Gilead. 32 Jeriah had twenty-seven hundred relatives, who were able men and heads of families, and King David put them in charge of the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh for every matter pertaining to God and for the affairs of the king.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Chronicles 26:14 A variant of Meshelemiah
  2. 1 Chronicles 26:18 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. 1 Chronicles 26:18 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  4. 1 Chronicles 26:20 Septuagint; Hebrew As for the Levites, Ahijah was

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Republican Base

 Donald Trump knows that he can't win an election if he alienates his neo-Nazi constituents. From The Guardian

 

Donald Trump repeatedly refused to disavow the outspoken antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes after they spoke over dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort, rejecting the advice from advisers over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said. . . . Trump eschewed making outright disavowals of Fuentes, the people said, and none of the statements from the campaign or on his Truth Social account included criticism of Fuentes, despite efforts from advisers who reached Trump over the Thanksgiving holiday. . . .Trump has had a long history of delaying or muting criticism of white supremacy, drawing moral equivalency in 2017 between neo-Nazis and counter-protesters at the deadly unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, and refusing to denounce the far-right Proud Boys group at a 2020 presidential debate

Who is Nick Fuentes? First, just so we're clear, a snip from the NYT article I mentioned previously:

In recent years, Mr. Fuentes, 24, has developed a high profile on the far right and forged ties with such Republican lawmakers as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, largely through his leadership of an annual white-supremacist event called the America First Political Action Conference.

A Holocaust denier and unabashed racist, Mr. Fuentes openly uses hateful language on his podcast, in recent weeks calling for the military to be sent into Black neighborhoods and demanding that Jews leave the country.

 

Here's what the ADL has to say about him. He sometimes cloaks his ideology by positioning "himself as “Christian conservative” who opposes societal shifts – on immigration, abortion and more -- as nefarious efforts, led by the left, to fundamentally erode America’s Christian values. This cloaking of ideology is a ploy to attract mainstream support and distract from the group’s fundamentally white supremacist ideology." In reality:

Fuentes has made a number of racist and antisemitic comments under the guise of being provocative and ironic. For example, he has referred to Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh as “shabbos goy race traitor” because he works for Jews (Ben Shapiro, a Jewish conservative, runs the Daily Wire). On a livestream episode, Fuentes “jokingly” denied the Holocaust and compared Jews burnt in concentration camps to cookies in an oven. On May 24, 2021, Fuentes participated in a debate on right-wing conspiracist Alex Jones’ InfoWars with Robert Barnes, a man described as a “constitutional lawyer” who has legally defended both Jones and Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. During the debate, Fuentes made numerous antisemitic remarks, including, "I don’t see Jews as Europeans and I don’t see them as part of Western civilization, particularly because they are not Christians.” In April, Fuentes appeared to urge mainstream Republicans to champion an antisemitic focus on “Jewish control,” tweeting, “The next big frontier for populist and conservative inc [sic; this is the America First term for establishment GOPers] to coopt [sic] is discussing Jewish Power. Somehow I don’t think they’ll broach that one!”

 

And so on. And of course Trump knows perfectly well who he is. 


And I might add: Galvanized by his idol Ye's latest antisemitic outbursts, white nationalist Nick Fuentes unleashed his own rant last week telling Jews to "get out fuck out of America": "You serve the devil. You serve Satan. ... I piss on your Talmud."

 



Sunday, November 27, 2022

Sunday Sermonette: Droning on

 Side note: Saying that Jews should be expelled from the country is hate speech. I'm not gratuitously labeling what I don't agree with. Nick Fuentes is a Nazi.

Chapter 25 continues with the interminable recitation of meaningless names, in this case of musicians. While the names are pointless, we can divine a little bit about Judean music, but it really is just a little. We don't know when the Chroniclers source material for this was written, but when Chronicles was written, probably in the mid 6th Century BCE, the instruments named here were evidently still characteristic. We don't know what other role, if any, music may have played in the society, but these musicians are assigned to accompany "the ministry of prophesying," which I presume is what we would call a sermon, although perhaps the words were, at least sometimes. See verse 3, "Jeduthun, who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord." Of course, he could have used the harp to accompany spoken words.

 

It appears there was ensemble performance, as per verse 6: "All these men were under the supervision of their father for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps." (The KJV translates "psaltery" rather than "harp." A psaltery is essentially a fretless guitar, but it probably had not been invented at this time. Harp is more likely.)  Elsewhere in the Bible the tambour is mentioned, though not here. This chapter does not name any specialists in singing, though as I say perhaps the "prophesying" is supposed to be done in song. So we know there was rhythmic accompaniment with the cymbals. The harp and lyre are capable of producing chords, so there was likely some form of harmonic structure. But that's all we know. We don't know what scales were used, or harmonies; whether there may have been duet or ensemble singing; and when and where, other than for religious observances, music may have been played. All we have is this list of names.


We know from

25 David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service:

From the sons of Asaph:

Zakkur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. The sons of Asaph were under the supervision of Asaph, who prophesied under the king’s supervision.

As for Jeduthun, from his sons:

Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei,[a] Hashabiah and Mattithiah, six in all, under the supervision of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord.

As for Heman, from his sons:

Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shubael and Jerimoth; Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti and Romamti-Ezer; Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir and Mahazioth. (All these were sons of Heman the king’s seer. They were given him through the promises of God to exalt him. God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.)

All these men were under the supervision of their father for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God.

Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives—all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord—they numbered 288. Young and old alike, teacher as well as student, cast lots for their duties.

The first lot, which was for Asaph, fell to Joseph,
his sons and relatives[b]12[c]
the second to Gedaliah,
him and his relatives and sons12
10 the third to Zakkur,
his sons and relatives12
11 the fourth to Izri,[d]
his sons and relatives12
12 the fifth to Nethaniah,
his sons and relatives12
13 the sixth to Bukkiah,
his sons and relatives12
14 the seventh to Jesarelah,[e]
his sons and relatives12
15 the eighth to Jeshaiah,
his sons and relatives12
16 the ninth to Mattaniah,
his sons and relatives12
17 the tenth to Shimei,
his sons and relatives12
18 the eleventh to Azarel,[f]
his sons and relatives12
19 the twelfth to Hashabiah,
his sons and relatives12
20 the thirteenth to Shubael,
his sons and relatives12
21 the fourteenth to Mattithiah,
his sons and relatives12
22 the fifteenth to Jerimoth,
his sons and relatives12
23 the sixteenth to Hananiah,
his sons and relatives12
24 the seventeenth to Joshbekashah,
his sons and relatives12
25 the eighteenth to Hanani,
his sons and relatives12
26 the nineteenth to Mallothi,
his sons and relatives12
27 the twentieth to Eliathah,
his sons and relatives12
28 the twenty-first to Hothir,
his sons and relatives12
29 the twenty-second to Giddalti,
his sons and relatives12
30 the twenty-third to Mahazioth,
his sons and relatives12
31 the twenty-fourth to Romamti-Ezer,
his sons and relatives12.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Chronicles 25:3 One Hebrew manuscript and some Septuagint manuscripts (see also verse 17); most Hebrew manuscripts do not have Shimei.
  2. 1 Chronicles 25:9 See Septuagint; Hebrew does not have his sons and relatives.
  3. 1 Chronicles 25:9 See the total in verse 7; Hebrew does not have twelve.
  4. 1 Chronicles 25:11 A variant of Zeri
  5. 1 Chronicles 25:14 A variant of Asarelah
  6. 1 Chronicles 25:18 A variant of Uzziel

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Rise and Fall

As I believe I have mentioned, I am reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William Shirer. It's a cube of paper, and he spends a lot of pages on meticulous detail of large events, so it's a slog. I'm about 1/3 of the way through. At this point Neville Chamberlain, who has a more than fair bid to be history's greatest fool, has gifted Czechoslovakia to Hitler in exchange for Hitler's assurance that he has no further territorial designs. The persecution of Germany's Jews is well advanced, with Jews having been barred from all professions, synagogues burned, businesses smashed, and property looted. Many have been murdered, but so far on only a retail scale Chamberlain has had nothing to say about this at all. I presume you know what happened next, at least in broad outline.


Imagine my total lack of surprise on learning that the former Resident hosted a dinner at his Florida estate for the Asshole Formerly Known as Kanye West, and Nick Fuentes, an actual Nazi. The New York Times at least bothered to cover this, albeit briefly.


Former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday night had dinner with Nick Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite and racist who is one of the country’s most prominent young white supremacists, at Mr. Trump’s private club in Florida, advisers to Mr. Trump conceded on Friday. . . .

In recent years, Mr. Fuentes, 24, has developed a high profile on the far right and forged ties with such Republican lawmakers as Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, largely through his leadership of an annual white-supremacist event called the America First Political Action Conference.

A Holocaust denier and unabashed racist, Mr. Fuentes openly uses hateful language on his podcast, in recent weeks calling for the military to be sent into Black neighborhoods and demanding that Jews leave the country.

 

I should note that expelling the Jews from Germany was the Nazis first idea, and that's what they were discussing at the time referenced above. The extermination concept came a bit later.The dinner host will be the Republican presidential nominee in 2014, but that's perfectly okay with Kevin  McCarthy. Just so you understand what's actually happening.

 

 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Bayes Theorem: Let's do it

I was briefly conflicted thinking I should do something Thanksgiving-related, but nah, I've been there and done that. It can mean whatever it means to you today, the unpleasant truth about that Pilgrim feast can be considered at another time.


Anyway, Thomas Bayes was an English minister, mathematician and philosopher who died in 1761. A lot of educated Englishmen in those days trained for the clergy so it wasn't at all unusual for clergymen to make secular intellectual contributions. Anyway here's the theorem:

 

 

This means that the probability of some proposition or event called "A", given that we know that "B" is true -- aka the probability of A given B, which is what the leftmost term means -- equals the probability of B given A, times the probability of A before we knew about B -- the prior probability of A, divided by the prior probability of B.

 

It isn't important that you memorize this or go around applying it formally in real life, but it is important to at least have an intuitive understanding of it and reason in this way qualitatively, even if you can't usually plug in real numbers. The easiest way to explain this is with an example. Suppose you go to the doctor and learn that a test result for a rare disease came back positive. The doctor tells you that if somebody has the disease, the test will always be positive; but if they don't have the disease, it will be negative 99% of the time. If you're doctor is like most doctors, he or she will tell you the chance you have the disease is 99%. But that's because doctors don't understand this. True fact! It's been studied. If any physicians are reading this, read carefully!

 

Remember that this is a rare disease -- in fact only 1 out of 10,000 people actually has it. That's the prior probability of A. That means if you test 10,000 people, 9,999 won't have the disease; but 1 out of 100 of those people will test positive, so on average 99.99, or almost 100 people who don't have the disease, will test positive, while only one person who tests positive will in fact have the disease. Plugging this into the formula, to make it more exact and mathy and stuff, the probability of B given A is 1 but the prior probability of A is only 0.0001. That's the numerator. The denominator -- the prior probability of B - is that -- .0001, the one true positive) + 0.00999, almost 1 out of 100 false positives.  positives out of 10,000 people = just slightly more than .01. So your chance of actually having the disease is still only about 1%.


The lesson for life is that if something seems highly improbable to begin with, you should be skeptical even of what seems like pretty convincing evidence. Now, it would be a whole different story if you actually had symptoms of the disease, in other words this is a diagnostic test, not a screening test. If half the people who have the symptoms actually have the disease, the prior probability is .5. Running that through the Bayes mill, if you test positive, your chance of actually having the disease is now more than 95%. So everything depends on that prior probability.

To build up a picture of the world that is likely to be true. we need to put together evidence from various sources. We need to adjust our beliefs based on new evidence, but we need to look skeptically at evidence that doesn't fit at all with the picture that already seems highly likely, in other words we need to seriously consider the hypothesis that there is something wrong with that new evidence, that we have misinterpreted it, or that it's maybe just a coincidence. If I tested positive for a rare disease, I'd probably at least want to have another confirmatory test or diagnostic procedure, but I also wouldn't assume the worst. Be skeptical, look for confirmation, but be willing to be convinced.

 

 

 



Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Wednesday Bible Study: Hit the snooze button again

The Chronicler drones on with more meaningless drivel about the genealogy of the Levite priests, and how David assigned them to responsibilities regarding the future temple. Why anybody would be interested in these meaningless lists of names hundreds of years after this ostensibly happened I have no idea. But it does prompt me to reflect on the origins of the hereditary priesthood.

If you've been putting up with this for a while you know that Aaron was the brother of Moses, they were of the tribe of Levi, and in Exodus Yahweh gave responsibility for maintaining the tabernacle and the ark to the Levites and for the sacrifice to the descendants of Aaron specifically. However, we also know that this is fiction. The Egyptian captivity, the 40 years wandering in the desert, and Joshua's conquest of Canaan never happened. I must say, however, that as preposterous as the story is, it is also richly imaginative fiction. 

Because the priesthood obviously comes with privileges -- those being a major focus of Leviticus -- and emphasized at other  points in Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomist History -- priests would obviously want to pass them on to their sons. how the sustaining mythology developed we will never know, but keep in mind that everything we have read so far was written by Levite priests and is therefore polemic in their interest, also reflecting their alliance with the warrior kings. They needed each other.

The source of this is lost -- there is nothing of this in the Book of Kings -- but the Chronicler (who was also a priest) does refer to a specific scribe who recorded this information so, if he's being honest, he had a signed account. Other than that, as I say, it's just a meaningless list of names.

 

24 These were the divisions of the descendants of Aaron:

The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. But Nadab and Abihu died before their father did, and they had no sons; so Eleazar and Ithamar served as the priests. With the help of Zadok a descendant of Eleazar and Ahimelek a descendant of Ithamar, David separated them into divisions for their appointed order of ministering. A larger number of leaders were found among Eleazar’s descendants than among Ithamar’s, and they were divided accordingly: sixteen heads of families from Eleazar’s descendants and eight heads of families from Ithamar’s descendants. They divided them impartially by casting lots, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of God among the descendants of both Eleazar and Ithamar.

The scribe Shemaiah son of Nethanel, a Levite, recorded their names in the presence of the king and of the officials: Zadok the priest, Ahimelek son of Abiathar and the heads of families of the priests and of the Levites—one family being taken from Eleazar and then one from Ithamar.

The first lot fell to Jehoiarib,

the second to Jedaiah,

the third to Harim,

the fourth to Seorim,

the fifth to Malkijah,

the sixth to Mijamin,

10 the seventh to Hakkoz,

the eighth to Abijah,

11 the ninth to Jeshua,

the tenth to Shekaniah,

12 the eleventh to Eliashib,

the twelfth to Jakim,

13 the thirteenth to Huppah,

the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,

14 the fifteenth to Bilgah,

the sixteenth to Immer,

15 the seventeenth to Hezir,

the eighteenth to Happizzez,

16 the nineteenth to Pethahiah,

the twentieth to Jehezkel,

17 the twenty-first to Jakin,

the twenty-second to Gamul,

18 the twenty-third to Delaiah

and the twenty-fourth to Maaziah.

19 This was their appointed order of ministering when they entered the temple of the Lord, according to the regulations prescribed for them by their ancestor Aaron, as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded him.

The Rest of the Levites

20 As for the rest of the descendants of Levi:

from the sons of Amram: Shubael;

from the sons of Shubael: Jehdeiah.

21 As for Rehabiah, from his sons:

Ishiah was the first.

22 From the Izharites: Shelomoth;

from the sons of Shelomoth: Jahath.

23 The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the first,[a] Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth.

24 The son of Uzziel: Micah;

from the sons of Micah: Shamir.

25 The brother of Micah: Ishiah;

from the sons of Ishiah: Zechariah.

26 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi.

The son of Jaaziah: Beno.

27 The sons of Merari:

from Jaaziah: Beno, Shoham, Zakkur and Ibri.

28 From Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons.

29 From Kish: the son of Kish:

Jerahmeel.

30 And the sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth.

These were the Levites, according to their families. 31 They also cast lots, just as their relatives the descendants of Aaron did, in the presence of King David and of Zadok, Ahimelek, and the heads of families of the priests and of the Levites. The families of the oldest brother were treated the same as those of the youngest.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Chronicles 24:23 Two Hebrew manuscripts and some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 23:19); most Hebrew manuscripts The sons of Jeriah:

 



Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Wonking Out

I've just read Bernouill's Fallacy, by Aubrey Clayton. I couldn't put it down. I feel I need to discuss it here but it's very technical and not easy to summarize for people who haven't studied probability theory and statistics. I will at least try to get the implications across.


The fallacy in question is based in Bernouill's seminal thinking about sampling theory, but it is most easily explained in terms of 20th Century statistical innovations. Put succinctly, the p value is the probability of the observation given the hypothesis. It is not the probability of the hypothesis given the observation. 


Since the early 20th Century, the principle method of scientific inference has been computing a p value for what is called the null hypothesis, i.e. that there is not really any difference between two (or more) groups. These could be, for example, the intervention and control arms of an experiment, or men and women who respond to a survey. The p value is ostensibly the probability that any observed difference is due solely to chance in sampling process, and the convention is that if it is less than .05 (or 5%, same thing) you "reject the null hypothesis" and publish your finding.


There are many problems with this conventional procedure. Clayton wrote a whole book about them so I obviously can't do the subject justice in a blog post. Actually I have discussed a few of them recently. The procedure is only valid in its own terms if the experiment or survey was done in an exemplary manner, which is unfortunately often not the case. But even granted impeccable methodology, the inference rule is valid only in exceptional circumstances. Actually it's never entirely valid. What I should say is that it provides useful evidence about whatever your (non-null) hypothesis may be under exceptional circumstances.

The first problem is that there may be alternative hypotheses that explain the observation. The p value gives you no information about which is correct. Another problem is that there are an infinite number of possible hypotheses. If you go about testing them at random, at least 5% of them will give you p <.05, and possibly get published, but the vast majority of these findings will be false. Problem 3 is that if you have a large enough sample, you will just about always get p<.05, even for differences which are trivial and of no practical importance. Problem 4 is that p>.05 doesn't mean the null hypothesis is true.


A common mistake -- and I can't believe this gets published, but it does -- is to conclude that because for group A (say people under 60) p<.05, but for group B (people over 60) p=.08, let's say, the phenomenon affects young people but doesn't affect older people. This is totally nonsensical.


Clayton attributes what is called the "replicability crisis" largely to this flawed form of reasoning. It turns out that several systematic efforts to reproduce published results in various scientific fields have found that on repeating the original procedure, most of the findings don't hold up. Even when they do, the effect sizes are usually smaller. Unfortunately, journal editors are usually not very interested in replication studies, and tenure and promotion depend on getting innovative findings. 


That's not to say you shouldn't believe most scientific conclusions. The important ones do get retested and confirmed or overturned through various processes. But a lot of time and money are wasted going down false pathways, and some damage may be done to patients or the economy or other important interests until false findings are corrected. Clayton's solution is to stop doing the conventional forms of significance testing and to use what are called Bayesian methods in all circumstances. So I'll discuss Bayes in the next post, unless something really important comes up first.

Monday, November 21, 2022

What's in a name?

As regularly as the tide, some right-wing aspiring genius makes the amazing discovery that Nazi is short for National Socialism. Aha! The Nazis were actually socialists!


Did you know that the official name of the North Korean state is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea? Aha! North Korea is a democracy!

 

In fact, the major financial backers of the Nazi party during its rise to power were Germany's leading industrialist and bankers. (Who obviously were not Jewish.) The other two major parties in Germany throughout the period when the Nazis were contesting elections were the Communists and the Social Democrats. In other words, you had communists, socialists, and Nazis. When Hitler took power, he outlawed the Communist party and murdered its leaders. He imprisoned much of the Social Democratic leadership and eventually abolished the party, leaving only the Nazi party. He outlawed collective bargaining and eliminated meaningful labor unions. His political strategy, which he stated overtly, was to create an alliance with existing powerful institutions, specifically capitalists and the army. The Nazi government purchased its armaments, and the Zyklon B gas used to murder the Jews of Europe and other prisoners, from capitalist corporations. It also supplied its corporate partners with slave labor.


There were indeed some members of the party who took the word "socialist" in the name seriously, but Hitler would have none of it. He either persuaded them to change their views, or he purged them. And I must point out that 1927 was six years before the Nazis took power, and Hitler said all sorts of things he didn't mean for short term tactical purposes throughout his career. This is not a matter that historians dispute or even consider. The Nazi regime was not in any way socialist, it was in fact the exact opposite.


And while we're on the subject of what isn't true, no, Trump did not say, referring to the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi demonstration, "There were very fine people on both sides, & I'm not talking about the Neo-nazis and white supremacists because they should be condemned totally," and the fact check to which you referred me, which you evidently did not read, says precisely that he did not. He said, "There were very fine people on both sides," period, full stop. Only later, in a separate statement, after badgering from reporters, did he condemn Neo-nazis and white supremacists. However,  since 100% of the people on one side were Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, this doesn't seem very sincere. I don't publish comments that are factually untrue.



Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sunday Sermonette: Hit the snooze button again

Ch. 23 is just more of the Chronicler's obsession with lists of names, and religious orthodoxy. Specifically, he lists the Levites at the end of David's life, their ancestry and their duties. Why we should care about the names of these people who were long dead by the time Chronicles was compiled I have no idea.  

What is noteworthy,, however, is that the Chronicler completely omits the very bloody history of the succession recounted in Samuel and Kings. In addition to Solomon, there was another pretender to the throne who was actually briefly anointed king, and a deadly civil conflict before Solomon finally took the throne. All of this is unmentioned in Chronicles.


23 When David was old and full of years, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.

He also gathered together all the leaders of Israel, as well as the priests and Levites. The Levites thirty years old or more were counted, and the total number of men was thirty-eight thousand. David said, “Of these, twenty-four thousand are to be in charge of the work of the temple of the Lord and six thousand are to be officials and judges. Four thousand are to be gatekeepers and four thousand are to praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have provided for that purpose.”

David separated the Levites into divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.

Gershonites

Belonging to the Gershonites:

Ladan and Shimei.

The sons of Ladan:

Jehiel the first, Zetham and Joel—three in all.

The sons of Shimei:

Shelomoth, Haziel and Haran—three in all.

These were the heads of the families of Ladan.

10 And the sons of Shimei:

Jahath, Ziza,[a] Jeush and Beriah.

These were the sons of Shimei—four in all.

11 Jahath was the first and Ziza the second, but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons; so they were counted as one family with one assignment.

Kohathites

12 The sons of Kohath:

Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel—four in all.

13 The sons of Amram:

Aaron and Moses.

Aaron was set apart, he and his descendants forever, to consecrate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices before the Lord, to minister before him and to pronounce blessings in his name forever. 14 The sons of Moses the man of God were counted as part of the tribe of Levi.

15 The sons of Moses:

Gershom and Eliezer.

16 The descendants of Gershom:

Shubael was the first.

17 The descendants of Eliezer:

Rehabiah was the first.

Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous.

18 The sons of Izhar:

Shelomith was the first.

19 The sons of Hebron:

Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth.

20 The sons of Uzziel:

Micah the first and Ishiah the second.

Merarites

21 The sons of Merari:

Mahli and Mushi.

The sons of Mahli:

Eleazar and Kish.

22 Eleazar died without having sons: he had only daughters. Their cousins, the sons of Kish, married them.

23 The sons of Mushi:

Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth—three in all.

24 These were the descendants of Levi by their families—the heads of families as they were registered under their names and counted individually, that is, the workers twenty years old or more who served in the temple of the Lord. 25 For David had said, “Since the Lord, the God of Israel, has granted rest to his people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever, 26 the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the articles used in its service.” 27 According to the last instructions of David, the Levites were counted from those twenty years old or more.

28 The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. 29 They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size. 30 They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening 31 and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the Lord regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.

32 And so the Levites carried out their responsibilities for the tent of meeting, for the Holy Place and, under their relatives the descendants of Aaron, for the service of the temple of the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Chronicles 23:10 One Hebrew manuscript, Septuagint and Vulgate (see also verse 11); most Hebrew manuscripts Zina