Sons of Korah

(qorchi), (beno qorach; in the King James Version appears also as Korhite, Kohathite, Kore): This phrase is used to denote Assir and Elkanah and Abiasaph, Korah’s 3 individual sons (Ex 6:24; compare Nu 26:11). But its more frequent use, and that to which interest attaches, is in the titles of some of the Psalms.



In these various passages the Korahites families are counted like the other Levitical families. In 1Ch 12:6 we have an account of 5 men who are designated as "the Korahites," who joined David when he was at Ziklag--Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, Jashobeam. They are described as expert warriors, especially with the bow and sling, and as being "of Saul’s brethren of Benjamin." Some of them may plausibly be identified with men of the same name mentioned elsewhere. These Korahites may have been cousins of the Samuel family, and they may have resided not very far apart.

The record speaks with some emphasis of a line of Korahites doorkeepers.


More interesting, however, than the fighting Korahites who claimed succession from Moses to Nehemiah, are the."sons of Korah" who were somehow connected with the service of song. One of the genealogies is introduced by the statement: "These are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of Yahweh, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of Yahweh in Jerus" (1Ch 6:31,32). Then the writer proceeds to mention first "Heman the singer, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel," and so on, carrying the genealogy back to Korah and Levi. After thus mentioning Heman, he speaks of "his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand," and traces Asaph’s descent back to Gershom the son of Levi; and then says, "and on the left hand their brethren the sons of Merari." Of these the principal leader is Ethan (otherwise called Jeduthun), and his descent is here traced back to Levi.

In this way we are introduced to David’s 3 great leaders in choral and orchestral music. Among them Heman the Korahite has at first the place of primacy, though Asaph, later, comes to the front. The events just referred to are mentioned again, more in detail, in the account of David’s bringing the ark to Jerusalem. There it is said that at the suggestion of David "the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel," and also Asaph and Ethan, "and with them" several others, "their brethren of the second degree" (1Ch 15:17,18). The record proceeds to speak of the services of "the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan," and their associates, in the pageantry of the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem. After that, it says, Asaph had charge of the services of thanksgiving and praise before the ark in Jerusalem, while Heman and Jeduthun served in the high place at Gibeon (1Ch 16:4 ff,37,39-42). Later, the record says (1Ch 25), David made an elaborate organization, under Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, for prophesying with song and instrumental music.



If a person holds that the mention of an event in Chronicles is to be regarded as proof that the event never occurred, that person will of course deny that the testimony thus cited is true to fact. He is likely to hold that the guilds of singers arose in the exile, and that, some generations after Nehemiah, they fabricated for themselves the ecclesiastical and physical pedigrees now found in the Books of Chronicles. If, however, we accord fair play to the Chronicler as a witness, we shall be slow to discredit the minute and interfitting testimony which he has placed before us.

Willis J. Beecher