As David neared the end of his reign, he began to set in motion changes in the administering of the worship of God. You will remember that Levi had three sons: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. One of Kohath’s grandsons was Aaron. Aaron’s family was to constitute the priesthood. All of the other descendants of Levi constituted the “Levites,” who helped the priests and served in the tabernacle.
The descendants of Kohath were to carry the furnishings of the tabernacle when it was moved. The descendants of Gershon were to carry the curtains of the tabernacle and the tent of meeting. The descendants of Merari were to pack and carry the frames, posts, ropes and tent pegs of the tabernacle and tent of meeting (Numbers 4).
But David was preparing to build a permanent temple for the Lord, and with that temple, these ministries would cease to exist. How should they be reorganized?
These chapters tell us how David changed the functions of the Levites as Israel moved from a wandering nation to a settled people. There are two High Priests under David: Zadok, and Ithamar. Their two families provide twenty-four groups of priests who will take turns serving at the temple.