From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Morrish Bible Dictionary [1]

David divided the priests into 24 courses: 16 of them were of the house of Eleazar, and 8 of Ithamar. A list of them, under the name of each head, is given in  1 Chronicles 24:6-19 . The Levites were divided in a similar manner.  1 Chronicles 23 . David also instituted in the army a kind of militia, each course to serve a month.  1 Chronicles 27 .

The courses of the priests and Levites were restored by Ezra on the return from captivity,  Ezra 6:18 , and we find them still in operation in the N.T. Zacharias the father of John the Baptist was of the course of Abia, which doubtless refers to Abijah, the eighth name mentioned in  1 Chronicles 24:10 . At the end of his service he returned to his house.  Luke 1:5,23 . The length of service was a week, commencing from the Sabbath.  2 Chronicles 23:8 .

Twenty-four is a number seldom found in the scripture: there may therefore, as to number, be an allusion to the 24 courses of priests in the 24 elders seated on thrones in  Revelation 4:4 , etc. representing the complete heavenly priesthood.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [2]

  • The rest of the 38,000 Levites (23:4) were divided also into twenty-four courses, each to render some allotted service in public worship: 4,000 in twenty-four courses were set apart as singers and musicians under separate leaders (25); 4,000 as porters or keepers of the doors and gates of the sanctuary (26:1-19); and 6,000 as officers and judges to see to the administration of the law in all civil and ecclesiastical matters (20-32).

    This arrangement was re-established by Hezekiah ( 2 Chronicles 31:2 ); and afterwards the four sacerdotal courses which are said to have returned from the Captivity were re-divided into the original number of twenty-four by ( Ezra 6:18 ).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Courses'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • King James Dictionary [3]

    Courses n. plu.

    1. In a ship, the principal sails, as the main sail, fore sail, and mizen sometimes the name is given to the stay sails on the lower masts also to the main stay sails of all brigs and schooners. 2. Catamenia menstrual flux.

    American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [4]

    The order in which the priests were on duty at the temple. See Abia .