The twenty-four elders mentioned in the Book of Revelation also reflected this new arrangement.
These twenty-four courses were ordered by Samuel and David (and later by Ezra the priest) to serve once a week in the temple services at two different times each year.
Originally in the time of Moses the priesthood was confined only to Aaron and his immediate sons.
But by the time of Samuel and David, that family had grown to such proportions that they could not all officiate together at one time in the temple.
The suggestion was made in the last chapter that the Magi presented their gifts to Jesus on December 25, 2 B. When the Magi arrived, Jesus was already walking and was able to speak a few words as most normal children would be able to do when several months old.
He was then being called a paidion (toddler) and no longer a brephos (infant).
The angel understood his reason for disbelief; so, Zechariah was struck dumb to prove the certainty of what was prophesied.
The Bible said they (2 Chronicles 23:8; 2 Kings 11:5).
Since it was not clear in astrological interpretation whether the appearance of a star or planet signified the conception or the birth of a baby, Herod decided to kill the children born within a two-year period in order to cover both possibilities.
When all these evidences are considered, it shows that Jesus was certainly a few months old when the Magi presented their gifts.
That is why Samuel and David divided the priests into twenty-four separate groups, which were called orders or courses. When the Jews returned to Palestine, they rebuilt the temple, but they discovered that representatives of only four courses of the original twenty-four were still accounted for (Ezra 39).
The course in which Zechariah served was the eighth, that of Abijah (1 Chronicles ). Something had to be done to restore the twenty-four courses to their ordained service in the temple as commanded by David.