Piet B. Dirksen, «1 Chronicles 9,26-33: Its Position in Chapter 9», Vol. 79 (1998) 91-96
This study deals with the problem of the inclusion of an isolated passage of 1 Chron 9,28-33 in that books literary context of the list of those returning from exile. The author of the study considers that this can be explained on the grounds of redactional and the reasons for, and the conclusions to be drawn from this view are given.
gatekeepers (cp. 23,28-29; 26,20-28). Illustrative of the problems is the approach of Rudolph in his great commentary. He thinks that v. 26b must be read either as he3m min halle0wiyyi=m or (gam) he3m le0wiyyi=m. Because "some of them" in vv. 28-29 cannot refer back to the gatekeepers, we have to assume that v. 26c begins a new passage which concerns the Levites in general. To judge from the contents of v. 27, the first group of Levites referred to must be the gatekeepers, which means that also v. 26c must deal with them. Therefore v. 26c does not speak of supervision, which is not the gatekeepers' task, but of guarding. This leads him to the translation "Und sie sind an [indicating place, instead of "over"] den Zellen und an den Schatzkammern". This is perhaps as far as one can get without making literary-critical decisions, but it is not altogether satisfactory. Somewhat forcedly v. 26c is made to accomodate the gatekeepers, but the text itself gives no hint that the gatekeepers are involved. Then, in vv. 28-29 "some of them" all of a sudden no longer refers to the gatekeepers, but to Levites in general.
The only solution which takes into account the problems of these verses seems to be a literary-critical one. After the long passage on the gatekeepers the redactor missed a mention of cultic functions, which he then added. To integrate this addition in the existing text (as he did elsewhere; see below) he made a transition from gatekeepers to the Levites in general in v. 26b. It is this "the Levites" that (u) me3hem in vv. 28-29 refers to. Also v. 26c is most probably from his hand. The most natural translation is "over"; cp. e.g. vv. 188.8.131.52; 28,22; this refers to supervision, which, as noted above, is simply not the task of the gatekeepers. If we consider 26b-c as redactional, then v. 27 connects perfectly with v. 26a. After having said that the gatekeepers from the villages are working in week-long shifts "with them" [viz., the four principal gatekeepers] the writer adds an explanation of this "with them": "For the four principal gatekeepers were on permanent duty and they lodged around the house of God, because they had to guard it and it was they who had to open it every morning".
In the emphatical "it was they who" a small emendation is presupposed. In the Masoretic text the waw in we]labbo3qer is strange. Rudolph proposes the emendation wa (a]le3hem mipta3h[o= labbo3qer labbo3qer, "and on them was the task to open it every morning". This provides a good translation, but at a cost: the mem must be doubled and the personal pronoun hem deleted, while mipta3h[ has to be translated in a very unusual way, with perhaps Prov 8,6 as the only comparable case. It is simpler to modify Rudolph's proposal and to read without changing the consonantal text we0he3m (a]le3hem pith[o= labbo3qer labbo3qer 7. For defective (a]le3hem compare, e.g., Gen 47,20; Exod 5,14. It is, moreover, tempting, but not necessary, to follow Rudolph in reading mis0marto= for mis0meret, the waw being dropped by haplography.