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.
permanente"; cp. HALAT "ständige Amtspflicht". The problem with this translation, however, is that, leaving aside these disputed verses, )e0mu=na= never carries the meaning "office". The usual meaning is "faithfulness", and, accordingly, be)e0mu=na= means "faithfully", and with suffix "in/because of my/your/his/their faithfulness". For be0 = "because of" in this expression compare Hab 2,4. This translation fits this verse well. It is given e.g. by Rudolph, Myers, REB. The verse then says that David installed the gatekeepers "because of their faithfulness". There had been gatekeepers since the desert period, but when David is making preparations for the (future) temple cult their assignment is not automatically continued, but reconfirmed on the basis of their proven faithfulness.
V. 26 is more difficult. Braun gives as an option "because of their faithfulness"; cp. REB with "chosen for their trustworthiness". Apart from hardly being meaningful here, this translation is virtually precluded by the lack of a suffix in the Hebrew. Most translators opt for "permanently", on the basis of the context, e.g. Curtis-Madsen ("in continual office"), Rudolph ("dauernd"), TOB ("en permanence"). This is indeed the only meaningful translation here: contrary to the gatekeepers who work in shifts and live outside Jerusalem, the four principal gatekeepers are on permanent duty. Only with this translation does the following verse makes sense as an elucidation (kî = "for") of "with them" in v. 26. The meaning "permanently", although unique, is not unrelated to the basic meaning of the root )mn. For such a derived meaning we may compare Exod 17,12, where Aaron and Hur are supporting Moses' hands so that these remain )e0mu=na=, "unmoved", "steady".
In v. 31 the meaning is still more problematic. Some translations are based on "office", e.g. Curtis-Madsen ("in the office of trust"); Galling ("beordert zum Dienst"), NRSV ("was in charge of"). A translation parallel to that in v. 26 is given, e.g., by Myers ("regularly"), and TOB ("en permanence"). Neither of these two meanings, however, applies. The only alternative is the usual meaning "in faithfulness, faithfully". This meaning makes good sense, but then some explanation is in order for the fact that one and the same expression occurs in two very different meanings only a few verses apart. If vv. 26 and 31 are thought to be from the same hand, this is a real difficulty, and it is understandable that translators try some way or another to harmonize the translation in the two verses. On the premise, however, that v. 31 is part of a later addition this difficulty no longer exists. The redactor overlooked the unique meaning of be)e0mu=na=, in v. 26, and understood it in its usual meaning, which certainly after v. 22 is hardly surprising. He then says in v. 31 that Mattithiah, no less than his father Shallum, did his work "faithfully".
V. 31 is remarkable in that all of a sudden it mentions a specific name, Mattithiah, in the midst of a list of Levitical functions. What led the writer to single out Mattithiah? It cannot have been the prominence of either this person or his office. The explanation must lie in the parenthesis "he was the first-born of Shallum the Korahite". The redactor apparently missed any indication of the Levitical descent of the head of the gatekeepers in v. 17 and felt a need to supply it. He could, however, not introduce Shallum