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Korahite [1]

(Hebrew Korchi', קָרְחַי ,  Exodus 6:24;  Numbers 26:58;  1 Chronicles 9:31;  1 Chronicles 26:19; plur. Korchim', קָרחַים ,  1 Chronicles 9:19;  1 Chronicles 12:6;  1 Chronicles 26:1;  2 Chronicles 20:19; Septuag. Κορίτης ,  1 Chronicles 9:31; Κορῖται ,  1 Chronicles 9:19;  1 Chronicles 12:6; elsewhere paraphrases Υἱοὶ , Δῆμος , or Γενέσεις Κορέ ; Auth.Vers. " Korahites,"  1 Chronicles 9:19; " Korahite,"  1 Chronicles 9:31; " Korathites,"  Numbers 26:58; " Kore,"  1 Chronicles 26:19; elsewhere " Korhites"), the patronymic designation of that portion of the Kohathites who were descended from Korah, and are frequently styled by the synonymous phrase Sons of Korah (q.v.). (See Asaph). It would appear at first sight, from  Exodus 6:24, that Korah had three sons -Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaphas Winer, Rosenmuller, etc., also understand it; but as we learn from  1 Chronicles 6:22-23;  1 Chronicles 6:37, that Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph were respectively the son, grandson, and great grandson of Korah, it seems obvious that  Exodus 6:24 gives us the chief houses sprung from Korah, and not his actual sons, and therefore that Elkanah and Abiasaph were not the sons, but later descendants of Korah. (See Samuel). The offices filled by the sons of Korah, as far as we are informed, are the following:

1. They were an important branch of the Singers in the Kohathite division, Heman himself being a Korahite ( 1 Chronicles 6:33), and the Korahites being among those who, in Jehoshaphat's reign, " stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high" ( 2 Chronicles 20:19). (See Heman). Hence we find eleven psalms (or twelve, if Psalms 43 is included under the same title as Psalms 42) dedicated or assigned to the sons of Korah, viz. Psalms 42, 44-49, 84, 85, 87, 88. Winer describes them as some of the most beautiful in the collection, from their high lyric tone. Origen says it was a remark of the old interpreters that all the psalms inscribed with the name of the sons of Korah are full of pleasant and cheerful subjects, and free from anything sad or harsh (Homil. On 1 Kings, I.E. 1 Samuel), and on  Matthew 18:20 he ascribes the authorship of these psalms to " the three sons of Korah," who, " because they agreed together, had the Word of God in the midst of them" (Homil. xiv). St. Augustine has a still more fanciful conceit, which he thinks it necessary to repeat in almost every homily on the eleven psalms inscribed to the sons of Kore. Adverting to the interpretation of Korah, Calvities, he finds in it a great mystery.

Under this term is set forth Christ, who is entitled Calvus because he was crucified on Calvary, and was mocked by the by-standers, as Elisha had been by the children who cried after him "Calve, calve!" and who, when they said " Go up, thou bald pate," had prefigured the crucifixion. The sons of Korah are therefore the children of Christ the bridegroom (Homil. on Psalm s). Of moderns, Rosenmiller thinks that the sons of Korah, especially Heman, were the authors of these psalms, which, he says, rise to greater sublimity and breathe more vehement feelings than the Psalm s of David, and quotes Hensler and Eichhorn as agreeing. De Wette also considers the sons of Korah as the authors of them (Einl. p. 335-339), and so does Just. Olshausen on the Psalm s (Exeg. Handb. Einl. p. 22). As, however, the language of several of these psalms, e.g. of 42, 84, etc., is most appropriate to the circumstances of David, it has seemed to other interpreters much simpler to explain the title "for the sons of Korah" to mean that they were given to them to sing in the Temple services. If their style of music, vocal and instrumental, was of a more sublime and lyric character than that of the sons of Merari or Gershon, and Heman had more fire in his execution than Asaph and Jeduthun, it is perfectly natural that David should have given his more poetic and elevated strains to Heman and his choir, and the simpler and quieter psalms to the other choirs. A serious objection, however, to this view is that the same titles contain another phrase dedicating the psalms in question "to the chief musician," so that the following expression must be rendered by ( לְ auctoris") the Korahites. (See Psalms). J. van Iperen (ap. Rosenmuller) assigns these psalms to the times of Jehoshaphat; others to those of the Maccabees; Ewald attributes the 42d Psalm to Jeremiah. The purpose of many of the German critics seems to be to reduce the antiquity of the Scriptures as low as possible.

2. Others, again, of the sons of Korah were "porters," i.e. doorkeepers, in the Temple, an office of considerable dignity. In  1 Chronicles 9:17-19, we learn that Shallim, a Korahite of the line of Ebiasaph, was chief of the doorkeepers, and that he and his brethren were over the works of the service, keepers of the gates of the tabernacle (compare  2 Kings 25:18) apparently about the time of the Babylonian captivity. See also  1 Chronicles 9:22-29;  Jeremiah 35:4; and  Ezra 2:42. But in 1 Chronicles 26 we find that this official station of the Korahites dated from the time of David, and that their chief was then Shelemiah or Meshelemiah, the son of (Abi)asaph, to whose custody the east gate fell by lot, being the principal entrance. Shelemiah is thought to have been the same as Shallum in  1 Chronicles 9:17, and perhaps Meshullam,  2 Chronicles 24:12;  Nehemiah 12:25, where, as in so many other places, a name may designate, not the individuals. but the house or family. In  2 Chronicles 21:14, Kore, the son of Imnah the Levite, the doorkeeper towards the east, who was over the free-will offerings of God to distribute the oblations of the Lord and the most holy things, was probably a Korahite, as we find the name Kore in the family of Korah in  1 Chronicles 9:19. In  1 Chronicles 9:31 we find that Maattithiah, the first-born of Shallum the Korahite, had the set office over the things that were made in the pans. (See Levite).