1 Chronicles 29 – The End of David’s Reign
A. David’s offering for the temple.
1. (1-5) David’s gifts to build the temple.
Furthermore King David said to all the assembly: “My son Solomon, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced; and the work is great, because the temple is not for man but for the LORD God. Now for the house of my God I have prepared with all my might: gold for things to be made of gold, silver for things of silver, bronze for things of bronze, iron for things of iron, wood for things of wood, onyx stones, stones to be set, glistening stones of various colors, all kinds of precious stones, and marble slabs in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, my own special treasure of gold and silver: three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses; the gold for things of gold and the silver for things of silver, and for all kinds of work to be done by the hands of craftsmen. Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the LORD?”
a. The work is great, because the temple is not for man but for the LORD God: One reason David did so much to prepare for the building of the temple was because he knew that the work was great and required great resources – more than a young and inexperienced king like Solomon could be expected to gather on his own.
i. The work was great because it was for God. Before a great God there are no small works; everything should be done for the glory of God (Colossians 3:22).
b. Now for the house of my God I have prepared with all my might: This was certainly true. When we consider all that David did to provide security, a location, the land, money, materials, supervisory staff, workers, plans, and an organized team to run the temple, it is evident that David gave this work of preparation all of his might.
c. Moreover, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, I have given to the house of my God: David gave all he gave because he loved the house of God. We naturally give to and support that which we love. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).
i. David specifically used the phrase house of my God to emphasize the personal connection; this was more personal than saying merely the house of God. Because God was David’s God in a personal sense, David loved the house of God.
ii. Over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house: David loved the house of his God so much that he gave over and above what he gave before. David did an enormous amount of preparation and resource gathering to build the temple; but now he gave more, even giving over and above.
d. Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the LORD? David brought up his giving – especially the over and above giving – he used it as an occasion to challenge his fellow Israelites to also consecrate themselves to the LORD.
i. Given the massive amount that David gathered for the building of the temple, it might be argued that the gifts of the people were unnecessary. Yet David knew that it was important to give the people an opportunity to give, for their sake more than for the sake of the building project itself. Their giving was a legitimate and important way to consecrate themselves to God.
ii. “The king’s appeal for each giver to ‘consecrate himself’ reads literally ‘to fill his hand.’ This was a technical phrase used to describe ordination to the priesthood; and Scripture, significantly, places the act of giving on this same level of devotion.” (Payne)
2. (6-9) The giving of other Israelites.
Then the leaders of the fathers’ houses, leaders of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the officers over the king’s work, offered willingly. They gave for the work of the house of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the LORD, into the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the LORD; and King David also rejoiced greatly.
a. Then the leaders…offered willingly: The people found it easy to give when they saw the greatness and the value of the project and when they had good examples of over and above giving like King David.
b. Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the LORD: The people found that it was a joyful thing to give so generously to God. They fulfilled the later New Testament idea of the cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
B. David’s Psalm blesses God before the people.
1. (10-12) David exalts the LORD.
Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said:
“Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.
a. Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly: The generous giving made David rejoice and praise God. It wasn’t for the sake of the wealth itself, but because it demonstrated that the hearts of the people were really interested in God and in His house.
b. Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever: This is the first time in the Bible that God is addressed directly as a Father over His people.
i. Jesus taught His disciples to pray beginning with this phrase, our Father (Matthew 6:9-13). Jesus may have had this passage in mind when teaching His disciples about prayer because there are other similarities between the two passages.
ii. “This verse supplies the conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer: ‘For thine is the kingdom’ (Matthew 6:13, KJV).” (Payne)
c. Both riches and honor come from You: David could say this as a man who had a life full of both riches and honor. David knew that those things came from God and not from himself.
2. (13-15) David expresses thanks for the privilege of giving
“Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
But who am I, and who are my people,
That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You,
And of Your own we have given You.
For we are aliens and pilgrims before You,
As were all our fathers;
Our days on earth are as a shadow,
And without hope.
a. Who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? David knew that both the ability and the heart to give were themselves gifts from God. He was actually humbled by having such a heart to give, both in himself and in the people of Israel as a group.
i. David knew this was true because he knew that all things come from God, and whatever they gave to God was His own to begin with.
ii. “That thou shouldst give us both such riches out of which we should be able to make such an offering, and such a willing and free heart to offer them; both of which are thy gifts, and the fruits of thy good grace and mercy to us.” (Poole)
b. Our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope: By emphasizing the weakness of man, David recognizes the greatness of God. He can take hopeless, alien pilgrims and shadows and use them to build a great house to a great God.
i. “A shadow seemeth to be something, when indeed it is nothing; so is man’s life: and the longer this shadow seemeth to be, the nearer the sun is to setting.” (Trapp)
3. (16-19) David commits the offering received from the people to God.
“O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You. And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision.”
a. In the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things: David knew that it was important to emphasize that his offering had been made willingly. He gave because he wanted to, not merely as a demonstration to induce the people to give. David therefore also knew that the people made their offering willingly to God.
b. Keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You: David knew that the people of Israel were in a godly, wonderful place on this day of offering to the temple.
i. “Praise then merged into prayer that the state of mind in which they had given might be maintained; and for Solomon, that he might be kept with a perfect heart to complete the work of Temple building. It was a fitting and glorious ending to a great reign.” (Morgan)
c. And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments: David knew that this was the key to the lasting health of the kingdom of Israel and the security of his dynasty.
4. (20) David leads the congregation in praise to God.
Then David said to all the assembly, “Now bless the LORD your God.” So all the assembly blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the LORD and the king.
a. Now bless the LORD your God: When it came time to bless the LORD, it wasn’t enough for the people to have a feeling in their heart. They had to do something to demonstrate their heart towards God, and they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the LORD.
C. The end of David’s reign.
1. (21-25) The nation rejoices as Solomon is enthroned.
And they made sacrifices to the LORD and offered burnt offerings to the LORD on the next day: a thousand bulls, a thousand rams, a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel. So they ate and drank before the LORD with great gladness on that day. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him before the LORD to be the leader, and Zadok to be priest. Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him. All the leaders and the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David, submitted themselves to King Solomon. So the LORD exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.
a. A thousand bulls, a thousand rams, a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance: This was a special day, probably celebrated after the death of David when Solomon formally took the throne. These sacrifices were used to feed the people of Israel, and they ate and drank before the LORD in a great feast of communion with God and one another.
b. They made Solomon the son of David king the second time: This was undoubtedly the enthronement after the rebellion of Adonijah had been defeated (1 Kings 1-2).
i. “For the first time (1 Kings 1:38-39) it was done hastily, suddenly, and in [an irregular manner], by reason of Adonijah’s sedition; but this here was done with good respite and great solemnity, but whether before or after David’s death is questionable.” (Trapp)
ii. Submitted themselves to King Solomon: “After Adonijah’s death they all submitted themselves to Solomon the king. Hebrew, Gave the hand under Solomon the king; haply they laid their hand under his thigh – that ancient ceremony (Genesis 24:2, and 47:29), and sware to be faithful to him.” (Trapp)
c. Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king: “On the throne of the Lord, i.e. on the throne of Israel, which is called the throne of the Lord, either more generally, as all thrones are the Lord’s, by whom kings reign, Proverbs 8:15, and magistrates are ordained, Romans 13:1-2…signifies which the Lord gave him.” (Poole)
d. And bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel: This was true, but the wise reader understands that this was only because David had made this possible. The majesty of Solomon was really inherited from the work and wisdom and godliness and prayers of his father.
2. (26-30) The end of King David’s reign.
Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. And the period that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and thirty-three years he reigned in Jerusalem. So he died in a good old age, full of days and riches and honor; and Solomon his son reigned in his place. Now the acts of King David, first and last, indeed they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer, with all his reign and his might, and the events that happened to him, to Israel, and to all the kingdoms of the lands.
a. The period that he reigned over Israel was forty years: Other kings over Israel or Judah had reigns longer, more secure, or more prosperous than David’s reign – but none were more glorious or godly. David remains Israel’s model king, pointing us to Jesus the Messiah, Israel’s greatest king.
b. So he died in a good old age, full of days and riches and honor: David was a great king and his greatness is especially seen in his connection with the Messiah. One of the great titles of Jesus is, Son of David.
i. “Albeit he swam to the throne through a sea of sorrows; and so must all saints to the kingdom of heaven.” (Trapp)
ii. “By birth, a peasant; by merit, a prince; in youth, a hero; in manhood, a monarch; and in age, a saint. The matter of Uriah and Bath-sheba is his great but only blot! There he sinned deeply; and no man ever suffered more in his body, soul, and domestic affairs, than he did in consequence. His penitence was as deep and as extraordinary as his crime; and nothing could surpass both but that eternal mercy that took away the guilt, assuaged the sorrow, and restored this most humbled transgressor to character, holiness, and happiness. Let the God of David be exalted forever!” (Clarke)
1 Chronicles 28 – David’s Public Charge to Solomon
A. David’s public words to the assembly of Israel and to Solomon.
1. (1) The assembly of Israel gathers to hear King David.
Now David assembled at Jerusalem all the leaders of Israel: the officers of the tribes and the captains of the divisions who served the king, the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possessions of the king and of his sons, with the officials, the valiant men, and all the mighty men of valor.
a. Now David assembled at Jerusalem all the leaders of Israel: This was David’s public “passing of the torch” ceremony to Solomon, with an emphasis on the responsibility to build the temple. Despite this, another son of David (Adonijah, in 1 Kings 1-2) tried to take the throne when David died.
b. All the leaders of Israel: It may be that this was the group of people collectively mentioned in the previous chapters.
i. “The occasion for the final chapters of 1 Chronicles is a continuation of what was introduced in chapter 23: the assembling by the king of the leaders of Israel (23:2 = 28:1 and 29:1).” (Payne)
2. (2-8) David speaks to the assembly of Israel.
Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Hear me, my brethren and my people: I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made preparations to build it. But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.’ However the LORD God of Israel chose me above all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever, for He has chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father, and among the sons of my father, He was pleased with me to make me king over all Israel. And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons) He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. Now He said to me, ‘It is your son Solomon who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father. Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever, if he is steadfast to observe My commandments and My judgments, as it is this day.’ Now therefore, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God, be careful to seek out all the commandments of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land, and leave it as an inheritance for your children after you forever.”
a. Then King David rose to his feet: Since this happened towards the end of David’s life, he was in declining health (1 Kings 1:1-4). The Chronicler noted David’s standing posture because considering his age and the setting, it was a dramatic scene.
b. You shall not build a house for My name: Though David wanted to build God a house, God politely refused David’s offer and proposed to build him a house instead, in the sense of a lasting royal dynasty (2 Samuel 7).
i. Significantly, David calls the temple a house of rest. “As in the case of God’s sabbath rest at creation (Genesis 2:1-3), God’s rest represents the completion of his work. The idea of rest was so significant for the temple that even though David’s role as a ‘man of war’ was a vital part of the temple preparations in creating the necessary conditions for the work, it disqualified him from building the temple himself. Only Solomon, the ‘man of rest’ (22:9), was sufficiently fitted for the task.” (Selman)
c. He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne: This was a significant event because there had never been a hereditary monarchy in Israel before. Saul, the previous king of Israel, was not succeeded by any son of his.
d. Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever: God promised that if the royal descendants of David remained obedient, the LORD would protect their throne and the kingdom of Israel, and there would always be a descendant of David reigning over Israel.
e. Be careful to seek out all the commandments of the LORD: This was an important and well-chosen exhortation to the people of Israel.
· They were exhorted to be careful, in the sense that they had to regard this responsibility as important and worthy of attention.
· They were exhorted to seek out the commandments of God, searching the Scriptures diligently.
· They were exhorted to seek out all the commandments, and not compromise by focusing on a few favored commandments.
3. (9-10) David speaks to Solomon.
“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it.”
a. Know the God of your father: David’s exhortation to Solomon begins with the most important aspect – emphasizing a genuine commitment to a real relationship with the living God. David essentially told Solomon, “The secret of my success has been my relationship with God. You need to pursue the same relationship.”
b. Serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind: David also exhorted Solomon to serve God with both his heart and mind. Some people are all heart and no mind in their service to God; others are all mind and no heart. Both of these are important to truly serve Him.
i. We notice that the command to know came before the command to serve. “To know God is to serve Him. All failure in service is the result of loss of vision of God, misapprehension of Him, due to some distance from Him.” (Morgan)
ii. David gave Solomon a reason to commit his heart and mind to God: for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. When we properly understand God and His omniscience we will much more naturally serve Him as we should.
c. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever: Both of these proved true in the life of Solomon. When Solomon sought the LORD at Gibeon, he definitely found Him (1 Kings 3:1-15). When Solomon forsook God, he was in some sense cast…off (1 Kings 11:1-13).
i. “Solomon’s response, typical of humanity, was inconsistent. Though he did seek God (2 Chronicles 1:5), it was not with a ‘whole heart’ and his divided devotion led ultimately to a divided kingdom.” (Selman)
d. The LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong, and do it: David concluded his exhortation to Solomon with the single most urgent command – to build the temple. All of David’s exhaustive preparations would be for nothing if Solomon did not complete the job that David started.
B. The plans for the temple.
1. (11-13) David gives Solomon the plans for the temple.
Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the vestibule, its houses, its treasuries, its upper chambers, its inner chambers, and the place of the mercy seat; and the plans for all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, of all the chambers all around, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries for the dedicated things; also for the division of the priests and the Levites, for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the articles of service in the house of the LORD.
a. Then David gave his son Solomon the plans: Considered together, David did almost everything for the building of the temple except actually build it. He gave Solomon security, a location, the land, money, materials, supervisory staff, workers, and an organized team to run the temple. Here we also see that David also gave his son Solomon the plans.
b. The plans for all that he had by the Spirit: Even as with the organization of the temple servants (2 Chronicles 29:25), these practical details were inspired by the Holy Spirit, not by human ingenuity.
i. “Moreover, the temple was for God’s own dwelling. Should not the Most High have a house after his own mind? If he was to be the Tenant, should it not be built to suit him? And who knows what God requires in a habitation but God himself?” (Spurgeon)
2. (14-19) The ornate furnishings for the temple.
He gave gold by weight for things of gold, for all articles used in every kind of service; also silver for all articles of silver by weight, for all articles used in every kind of service; the weight for the lampstands of gold, and their lamps of gold, by weight for each lampstand and its lamps; for the lampstands of silver by weight, for the lampstand and its lamps, according to the use of each lampstand. And by weight he gave gold for the tables of the showbread, for each table, and silver for the tables of silver; also pure gold for the forks, the basins, the pitchers of pure gold, and the golden bowls; he gave gold by weight for every bowl; and for the silver bowls, silver by weight for every bowl; and refined gold by weight for the altar of incense, and for the construction of the chariot, that is, the gold cherubim that spread their wings and overshadowed the ark of the covenant of the LORD. “All this,” said David, “the LORD made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.”
a. He gave gold: These six verses mention gold 11 times. David amassed an amazing amount of gold for the furnishings of the temple.
b. For the construction of the chariot, that is, the gold cherubim: “So called, because God sat between them (Psalm 99:1), rode upon them (Psalm 18:10); the angels – represented by those cherubims – are called the chariots of God (Psalm 68:17); and the Hebrews have a saying, that such as saw God of old saw only Merchavah velo harocheb, the chariot in which God rode, but not the rider in it.” (Trapp)
i. “It is a good note also that is given here by some expositors – viz., that by this chariot of the cherubims God gave his people to understand that his presence in the ark was not so fixed among them, but that would leave them, and ride clean away from them, if they should thereunto provoke him by their sins.” (Trapp)
c. The LORD made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans: As with the organization of the servants and builders of the temple and the plans for the temple, God also spoke to David about these furnishings of the temple.
3. (20-21) David’s final charge to Solomon.
And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God; my God; will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. “Here are the divisions of the priests and the Levites for all the service of the house of God; and every willing craftsman will be with you for all manner of workmanship, for every kind of service; also the leaders and all the people will be completely at your command.”
a. Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed: David here echoes God’s exhortation to Joshua before he led the people of God into the Promised Land (Joshua 1:5-7). This was appropriate because Moses was a great leader who could only lead the people of Israel to a certain point – the rest was up to Joshua. The same pattern applied to David and his successor Solomon.
i. “In describing David’s plans for building the temple, Chronicles has paid special attention to portray David as a second Moses and Solomon as a second Joshua. ” (Payne)
b. And do it: It is easy to see how important this was for David. He had spent enormous effort to prepare the temple, but all David’s work would have been useless unless Solomon did in fact do it.
i. “Do not talk about it; do not sit down, and dream over the plans, and think how admirable they are, and then roll them up; but, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it.’” (Spurgeon)
c. Here are the divisions of the priests and the Levites: We can picture David handing Solomon the scrolls with the plans for building the temple and organizing its service. The job was now in the hands of David’s son Solomon.
1 Chronicles 27 – Tribal Leaders and Officials of State
A. Captains over the army of Israel.
1. (1) The military divisions of Israel.
And the children of Israel, according to their number, the heads of fathers’ houses, the captains of thousands and hundreds and their officers, served the king in every matter of the military divisions. These divisions came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, each division having twenty-four thousand.
a. And the children of Israel…served the king in every matter of the military divisions: Under David and most every other king of Israel or Judah, Israel never relied on mercenary soldiers. Israelites themselves served the king in every matter of the military.
b. These divisions came in and went out month by month: David’s army was also divided into units of twelve, with one group of the twelve on alert each month of the year. This was an effective way to keep troops always ready and the inactive troops regularly trained.
i. “All these men were prepared, disciplined, and ready at a call, without the smallest expense to the state or the king. These were, properly speaking, the militia of the Israelitish kingdom.” (Clarke)
2. (2-15) Captains over David’s army.
Over the first division for the first month was Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel, and in his division were twenty-four thousand; he was of the children of Perez, and the chief of all the captains of the army for the first month. Over the division of the second month was Dodai an Ahohite, and of his division Mikloth also was the leader; in his division were twenty-four thousand. The third captain of the army for the third month was Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada the priest, who was chief; in his division were twenty-four thousand. This was the Benaiah who was mighty among the thirty, and was over the thirty; in his division was Ammizabad his son. The fourth captain for the fourth month was Asahel the brother of Joab, and Zebadiah his son after him; in his division were twenty-four thousand. The fifth captain for the fifth month was Shamhuth the Izrahite; in his division were twenty-four thousand. The sixth captain for the sixth month was Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite; in his division were twenty-four thousand. The seventh captain for the seventh month was Helez the Pelonite, of the children of Ephraim; in his division were twenty-four thousand. The eighth captain for the eighth month was Sibbechai the Hushathite, of the Zarhites; in his division were twenty-four thousand. The ninth captain for the ninth month was Abiezer the Anathothite, of the Benjamites; in his division were twenty-four thousand. The tenth captain for the tenth month was Maharai the Netophathite, of the Zarhites; in his division were twenty-four thousand. The eleventh captain for the eleventh month was Benaiah the Pirathonite, of the children of Ephraim; in his division were twenty-four thousand. The twelfth captain for the twelfth month was Heldai the Netophathite, of Othniel; in his division were twenty-four thousand.
a. Of the first division: This section explains the twelve divisions mentioned in the previous verses.
b. Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada: 2 Samuel 23:20-21 describes this same Benaiah as a great hero in Israel, someone who killed two mighty Moabites, a lion in a pit on a snowy day, and a formidable Egyptian.
c. Asahel the brother of Joab: As recorded in 2 Samuel 2:18-23, Asahel was tragically killed in battle by Abner, who was the commander of Ishbosheth’s armies (this was the son of Saul who tried to follow him on the throne of Israel).
B. Tribal leaders over Israel and officials in King David’s government.
1. (16-22) Tribal leaders.
Furthermore, over the tribes of Israel: the officer over the Reubenites was Eliezer the son of Zichri; over the Simeonites, Shephatiah the son of Maachah; over the Levites, Hashabiah the son of Kemuel; over the Aaronites, Zadok; over Judah, Elihu, one of David’s brothers; over Issachar, Omri the son of Michael; over Zebulun, Ishmaiah the son of Obadiah; over Naphtali, Jerimoth the son of Azriel; over the children of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Azaziah; over the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joel the son of Pedaiah; over the half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead, Iddo the son of Zechariah; over Benjamin, Jaasiel the son of Abner; over Dan, Azarel the son of Jeroham. These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel.
a. The officer over the Reubenites was Eliezer the son of Zichri: This list describes tribal leaders who were not priests or military leaders, but administrators in the civil service of the kingdom of Israel.
i. “We have the account of the order of the civil service, that which related simply to the political state of the king and the kingdom.” (Clarke)
b. These were the leaders of the tribes of Israel: For some reason, the tribes of Asher and Gad are excluded from this list. “In this enumeration there is no mention of the tribes of Asher and Gad. Probably the account of these has been lost from this register. These rulers appear to have been all honorary men, like the lords lieutenants of our counties.” (Clarke)
2. (23-34) Officials in King David’s government.
But David did not take the number of those twenty years old and under, because the LORD had said He would multiply Israel like the stars of the heavens. Joab the son of Zeruiah began a census, but he did not finish, for wrath came upon Israel because of this census; nor was the number recorded in the account of the chronicles of King David. And Azmaveth the son of Adiel was over the king’s treasuries; and Jehonathan the son of Uzziah was over the storehouses in the field, in the cities, in the villages, and in the fortresses. Ezri the son of Chelub was over those who did the work of the field for tilling the ground. And Shimei the Ramathite was over the vineyards, and Zabdi the Shiphmite was over the produce of the vineyards for the supply of wine. Baal-Hanan the Gederite was over the olive trees and the sycamore trees that were in the lowlands, and Joash was over the store of oil. And Shitrai the Sharonite was over the herds that fed in Sharon, and Shaphat the son of Adlai was over the herds that were in the valleys. Obil the Ishmaelite was over the camels, Jehdeiah the Meronothite was over the donkeys, and Jaziz the Hagrite was over the flocks. All these were the officials over King David’s property. Also Jehonathan, David’s uncle, was a counselor, a wise man, and a scribe; and Jehiel the son of Hachmoni was with the king’s sons. Ahithophel was the king’s counselor, and Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion. After Ahithophel was Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, then Abiathar. And the general of the king’s army was Joab.
a. David did not take the number of those twenty years old and under, because the LORD had said He would multiply Israel like the stars of the heavens: David wisely refrained from completing an unwise census, trusting that God would increase the kingdom and make them great.
b. Treasuries…storehouses…. work of the field for tilling the ground … vineyards.… olive trees…. herds…. camels…donkeys…flocks: David had trusted men to oversee these areas, and they were just as important to the kingdom as the more obvious spiritual leaders.
i. “The greatness of David as a king was manifested in the acts of peaceful administration, as surely as in his victories on the fields of battle. The tilling of the ground, and its careful cultivation; the rearing of cattle; and all the things pertaining to the welfare of his people were arranged for, under duly qualified and appointed oversight.” (Morgan)
ii. “Each of these different men had his distinct sphere for which he was doubtless specially qualified; and it was his duty – not to be jealous of others, nor eager to imitate them, but – to be faithful in his own province.” (Meyer)
iii. The key was that all these were the officials over King David’s property. “How great an error it would have been had any of these begun to account the produce of cattle or ground as his own! He had nothing that he had not received, and whatever he controlled had been entrusted to his care for the emolument and advantage of his sovereign.” (Meyer)
iv. “It is worthy of remark, that Obil, an Ishmaelite or Arab, was put over the camels which is a creature of Arabia; and that Jaziz, a Hagarene, (the Hagarenes were shepherds by profession,) was put over the flocks: nothing went by favour; each was appointed to the office for which he was best qualified; and thus men of worth were encouraged, and the public service effectually promoted.” (Clarke)
c. Hushai the Archite was the king’s companion: “Hushai’s post of ‘king’s friend’ (cf. 2 Samuel 15:37) may have begun on an informal and personal basis; but it became an official advisory position (cf. 1 Kings 4:5).” (Payne)
d. The general of the king’s army was Joab: Joab is one of the more complex characters of the Old Testament. He was fiercely loyal to David, yet not strongly obedient. He disobeyed David when he thought it was in David’s best interest, and he was cunning and ruthless in furthering his own position.
1 Chronicles 26 – The Gatekeepers for the Temple
A. The divisions of the gatekeepers.
1. (1-5) The divisions of the gatekeepers.
Concerning the divisions of the gatekeepers: of the Korahites, Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph. And the sons of Meshelemiah were Zechariah the firstborn, Jediael the second, Zebadiah the third, Jathniel the fourth, Elam the fifth, Jehohanan the sixth, Eliehoenai the seventh. Moreover the sons of Obed-Edom were Shemaiah the firstborn, Jehozabad the second, Joah the third, Sacar the fourth, Nethanel the fifth, Ammiel the sixth, Issachar the seventh, Peulthai the eighth; for God blessed him.
a. Divisions of the gatekeepers: These had the responsibility for security, both in a practical and spiritual sense. They made sure that only those who were ready to serve and worship God could come to the temple and its associated building. Their work had to be organized and arranged just as much as the work of the priests who officiated at the sacrifices.
i. “Though less prominent than some of their Levitical colleagues, from time to time the gatekeepers made a vital contribution to national life, notably under the high priest Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 23:4-6, 19), and in the reigns of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 31:14-19) and Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:9-13).” (Selman)
ii. “Essentially their duty was to make ordinary people aware of the practical limits of holiness, for anyone entering the sanctuary unlawfully did so on penalty of death.” (Selman)
iii. Though some might see their work as humble, it was actually of great privilege. Remember the envy of the Psalmist: I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psalm 84:10)
b. Of the sons of Asaph: “Not that famous Asaph the singer, but another Asaph, called also Ebiasaph, 1 Chronicles 6:37.” (Trapp)
2. (6-8) Shemaiah and his sons, and the other sons of Obed-Edom.
Also to Shemaiah his son were sons born who governed their fathers’ houses, because they were men of great ability. The sons of Shemaiah were Othni, Rephael, Obed, and Elzabad, whose brothers Elihu and Semachiah were able men. All these were of the sons of Obed-Edom, they and their sons and their brethren, able men with strength for the work: sixty-two of Obed-Edom.
a. Who governed their fathers’ houses, because they were men of great ability: Shemaiah was of the family of gatekeepers, yet his sons rose to positions of high responsibility because they were men of great ability. They are also described as able men with strength for the work.
i. “Able men might be better translated, ‘strong men’. The job might entail removal of unwelcome people or objects (cf. 2 Chronicles 26:16-20).” (Selman)
3. (9-12) Other gatekeepers.
And Meshelemiah had sons and brethren, eighteen able men. Also Hosah, of the children of Merari, had sons: Shimri the first (for though he was not the firstborn, his father made him the first), Hilkiah the second, Tebaliah the third, Zechariah the fourth; all the sons and brethren of Hosah were thirteen. Among these were the divisions of the gatekeepers, among the chief men, having duties just like their brethren, to serve in the house of the LORD.
a. Having duties just like their brethren, to serve in the house of the LORD: Some would make a distinction between the spiritual work of the temple and the practical work of the temple and regard the spiritual work as more important. The Chronicler is careful to remind us that the work of these gatekeepers, whose service was more practical in nature, was esteemed by God as just as valuable.
i. “A very important point is made by the inclusion of these groups, even though they might seem to represent a diversion from Chronicles’ main theme. As God’s people pay proper attention to their status as a worshipping community, the distinction between the sacred and the secular disappears. All tasks, whether mundane or specialized, ‘religious’ or ‘lay’, have value in the eyes of God.” (Selman)
4. (13-19) The lot for each family of the gatekeepers.
And they cast lots for each gate, the small as well as the great, according to their father’s house. The lot for the East Gate fell to Shelemiah. Then they cast lots for his son Zechariah, a wise counselor, and his lot came out for the North Gate; to Obed-Edom the South Gate, and to his sons the storehouse. To Shuppim and Hosah the lot came out for the West Gate, with the Shallecheth Gate on the ascending highway; watchman opposite watchman. On the east were six Levites, on the north four each day, on the south four each day, and for the storehouse two by two. As for the Parbar on the west, there were four on the highway and two at the Parbar. These were the divisions of the gatekeepers among the sons of Korah and among the sons of Merari.
a. They cast lots for each gate: They determined the order and arrangement of the service for the gatekeepers the same way that they determined the order and arrangement for the priests in their service.
b. The small as well as the great: This means that David let the LORD decide when it came to organizing and ordering these offices, and he did not let prestige or position determine their appointments.
i. “Our method is not that of casting lots, but of seeking the direct guidance of the Spirit. But we need to remember that in our choice of men for office in the work of the Church of God, the things of privilege, which too often count in human affairs, must have no weight with us.” (Morgan)
ii. “But chiefly we are concerned with the temple of the heart. We surely need the doorkeeper there, for in the history of the inner life there is so much going and coming; such troops of thoughts pour into the shrine of the soul, and pour out. And often, in the crowd, disloyal and evil thoughts intrude, which, before we know it, introduce a sense of distance and alienation from God.” (Meyer)
B. Other Levitical servants to the temple.
1. (20-25) Overseers for the treasuries of the house of God.
Of the Levites, Ahijah was over the treasuries of the house of God and over the treasuries of the dedicated things. The sons of Laadan, the descendants of the Gershonites of Laadan, heads of their fathers’ houses, of Laadan the Gershonite: Jehieli. The sons of Jehieli, Zetham and Joel his brother, were over the treasuries of the house of the LORD. Of the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites: Shebuel the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, was overseer of the treasuries. And his brethren by Eliezer were Rehabiah his son, Jeshaiah his son, Joram his son, Zichri his son, and Shelomith his son.
a. Over the treasuries of the house of God and over the treasuries of the dedicated things: David set in order the financial organization necessary to administrate the building of the temple, including oversight of all the riches brought in by David’s conquest of neighboring peoples (the dedicated things).
2. (26-28) Shelomith, a notable overseer of the treasuries of the house of God.
This Shelomith and his brethren were over all the treasuries of the dedicated things which King David and the heads of fathers’ houses, the captains over thousands and hundreds, and the captains of the army, had dedicated. Some of the spoils won in battles they dedicated to maintain the house of the LORD. And all that Samuel the seer, Saul the son of Kish, Abner the son of Ner, and Joab the son of Zeruiah had dedicated, every dedicated thing, was under the hand of Shelomith and his brethren.
3. (29-32) Other servants for the kingdom of Israel.
Of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons performed duties as officials and judges over Israel outside Jerusalem. Of the Hebronites, Hashabiah and his brethren, one thousand seven hundred able men, had the oversight of Israel on the west side of the Jordan for all the business of the LORD, and in the service of the king. Among the Hebronites, Jerijah was head of the Hebronites according to his genealogy of the fathers. In the fortieth year of the reign of David they were sought, and there were found among them capable men at Jazer of Gilead. And his brethren were two thousand seven hundred able men, heads of fathers’ houses, whom King David made officials over the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, for every matter pertaining to God and the affairs of the king.
a. For every matter pertaining to God and the affairs of the king: “Expounding also of the law, and therehence answering cases, solving doubts; superintendents, some say they were, throughout the whole kingdom.” (Trapp)
i. “The statistic that 2,700 Levites maintained the laws of ‘God and…the king’ among the tribes west of the Jordan (v.30) seems strange…but contains a hint of the importance of the district of Gilead.” (Payne)
1 Chronicles 25 – Musicians for the Temple
A. The musicians for the temple.
1. (1) Musicians separated for service.
Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals. And the number of the skilled men performing their service was:
a. David and the captains of the army separated for the service: Interestingly, the captains of the army took part in the selection and organization of the musicians or “worship leaders” for Israel. David sensed a connection between the security of the kingdom and the worship and honoring of God.
i. “Chapter 25 concerns David’s organization of the four thousand Levitical musicians (23:5) into courses of service that correspond to those of the priests and temple Levites (chapter 24).” (Payne)
ii. “David did give high regard to the counsel of his military commanders (1 Chronicles 11:10; 12:32; 28:1), even in liturgical affairs (cf. 1 Chronicles 13:1; 15:25).” (Payne)
b. Who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals: Their service was connected with the dynamic of prophecy in the sense that it was inspired by God. Their ministry in music was not merely the product of good musicianship; it was a gift of the Holy Spirit being exercised through them.
i. “This work of praise is thrice described by a somewhat singular, and, in this connection, arresting word, ‘prophecy.’ The use of this word here is a revelation of the true value of the service of music in the sanctuary of God.” (Morgan)
ii. “Either they supplied messages direct from God in the manner of the classical prophets, for which the Levite Jahaziel (2 Chronicles 20:14-17) provides an obvious analogy, or their praise was itself seen as ‘prophecy’ in that it proclaimed God’s word with God’s authority.” (Selman)
2. (2-6) The sons of Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman.
Of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asharelah; the sons of Asaph were under the direction of Asaph, who prophesied according to the order of the king. Of Jeduthun, the sons of Jeduthun: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the direction of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp to give thanks and to praise the LORD. Of Heman, the sons of Heman: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, Romamti-Ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth. All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to exalt his horn. For God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. All these were under the direction of their father for the music in the house of the LORD, with cymbals, stringed instruments, and harps, for the service of the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the authority of the king.
a. Asaph, who prophesied according to the order of the king: 12 Psalms are attributed to Asaph (Psalm 50 and Psalms 73 through 83).
b. Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp to give thanks and to praise the LORD: Jeduthun’s music ministry was so inspired by the Spirit of God that it could be said that he prophesied with a harp.
c. Heman the king’s seer: “He is called the king’s seer, either because the king took special delight in him, or because he frequently attended upon the king in his palace, executing his sacred office there, while the rest were constantly employed in the tabernacle.” (Poole)
d. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the authority of the king: These enormously talented and Spirit-anointed men knew how to submit themselves under the leadership of David, under the authority of the king.
i. We note the prominent place of the sons of Heman, and that all these were under the direction of their father for the music in the house of the LORD. “How one would like to have seen Heman coming into the Temple with his children! It was largely owing to him and their mother that they were what they were.” (Meyer)
ii. Under the direction of their father: “Heman’s children were ‘under the hands of their father.’ Young people must not get the upper hand.” (Meyer)
iii. Yet we also see that Heman was among those under the authority of the king. “But if you would rule well, you must obey. Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, were under the king. The man who is himself under authority, can say, Go, come, do this or that, with the calm assurance of being obeyed.” (Meyer)
B. The result of the casting of lots for their duty.
1. (7-8) The number of skillful musicians.
So the number of them, with their brethren who were instructed in the songs of the LORD, all who were skillful, was two hundred and eighty-eight. And they cast lots for their duty, the small as well as the great, the teacher with the student.
a. They cast lots for their duty, the small as well as the great, the teacher with the student: David didn’t give the choice worship assignments only to the most talented and greatest. He let God do the choosing and it was both a prevention of pride for the great and the teacher, and a learning opportunity for the small and the student.
2. (9-31) The divisions of the musicians.
Now the first lot for Asaph came out for Joseph; the second for Gedaliah, him with his brethren and sons, twelve; the third for Zaccur, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the fourth for Jizri, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the fifth for Nethaniah, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the sixth for Bukkiah, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the seventh for Jesharelah, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the eighth for Jeshaiah, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the ninth for Mattaniah, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the tenth for Shimei, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the eleventh for Azarel, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the twelfth for Hashabiah, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the thirteenth for Shubael, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the fourteenth for Mattithiah, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the fifteenth for Jeremoth, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the sixteenth for Hananiah, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the seventeenth for Joshbekashah, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the eighteenth for Hanani, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the nineteenth for Mallothi, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the twentieth for Eliathah, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the twenty-first for Hothir, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the twenty-second for Giddalti, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the twenty-third for Mahazioth, his sons and his brethren, twelve; the twenty-fourth for Romamti-Ezer, his sons and his brethren, twelve.
1 Chronicles 24 – The Sections of the Priesthood
A. The twenty-four divisions of the priesthood.
1. (1-6) The sons of Aaron and what became of them.
Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. And Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children; therefore Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priests. Then David with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to the schedule of their service. There were more leaders found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar, and thus they were divided. Among the sons of Eleazar were sixteen heads of their fathers’ houses, and eight heads of their fathers’ houses among the sons of Ithamar. Thus they were divided by lot, one group as another, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of the house of God, from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar. And the scribe, Shemaiah the son of Nethanel, one of the Levites, wrote them down before the king, the leaders, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the priests and Levites, one father’s house taken for Eleazar and one for Ithamar.
a. Nadab and Abihu died before their father: God judged Nadab and Abihu because they dared to bring strange fire before the LORD, blaspheming God’s commandments for sacrifice (Leviticus 10:1-2).
b. Divided them according to the schedule of their service: David took the descendants of Aaron – the priestly family of Israel – and together with Zadok he divided them into 24 sections, to serve according to the schedule of their service.
i. “Two aspects of this service are emphasized – that it is to be regulated in an orderly system of twenty-four courses (vv. 1-19), and that it provides a pattern to be followed by the priests’ Levitical assistants (vv. 20-31).” (Selman)
2. (7-19) The priesthood is divided by lot into 24 sections.
Now the first lot fell to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, the fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin, the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, the ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah, the eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, the thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, the fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, the seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Happizzez, the nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel, the twenty-first to Jachin, the twenty-second to Gamul, the twenty-third to Delaiah, the twenty-fourth to Maaziah. This was the schedule of their service for coming into the house of the LORD according to their ordinance by the hand of Aaron their father, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.
a. This was the schedule of their service for coming into the house of the LORD: David knew that because there were so many descendants of Aaron by this time, the priests should be divided so they could be fairly assigned the privileged service of the temple.
i. “In later Jewish practice, the number of twenty-four courses was based on a lunar calendar of forty-eight weeks, with each course serving for a week at a time and thus twice in a year.” (Selman)
ii. “With the passage of time, some of the Davidic courses died out or had to be consolidated with others, and new ones were formed to take their places. At the first return from exile in 527 B.C., only four courses were registered…. By 520 twenty-two were again operative, (Nehemiah 12:1-7), but only half of them were the courses as originally organized by David.” (Payne)
B. The rest of the sons of Levi.
1. (20-30) A list of the remaining sons of Levi.
And the rest of the sons of Levi: of the sons of Amram, Shubael; of the sons of Shubael, Jehdeiah. Concerning Rehabiah, of the sons of Rehabiah, the first was Isshiah. Of the Izharites, Shelomoth; of the sons of Shelomoth, Jahath. Of the sons of Hebron, Jeriah was the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. Of the sons of Uzziel, Michah; of the sons of Michah, Shamir. The brother of Michah, Isshiah; of the sons of Isshiah, Zechariah. The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi; the son of Jaaziah, Beno. The sons of Merari by Jaaziah were Beno, Shoham, Zaccur, and Ibri. Of Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. Of Kish: the son of Kish, Jerahmeel. Also the sons of Mushi were Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites according to their fathers’ houses.
a. And the rest of the sons of Levi: These were the descendants of Kohath’s son Amram who were not of the family of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 6:18-27).
2. (31) How their lots were chosen.
These also cast lots just as their brothers the sons of Aaron did, in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the heads of the fathers’ houses of the priests and Levites. The chief fathers did just as their younger brethren.
a. These also cast lots just as their brothers the sons of Aaron did: These other descendants of the family of Kohath were divided according to the schedule for their service, along the same pattern as the priests.
b. The chief fathers did just as their younger brethren: “The lots of the elder and younger brethren were promiscuously put together, and the order was settled as the lots came forth, without any regard to the age, or dignity, or number of the persons or families, the youngest family having the first course if they had the first lot.” (Poole)
i. “There was a tactful mingling in the arrangement of the older and the younger men, so that in this highest and holiest national service the experience of age and the enthusiasm of youth were naturally inspiring.” (Morgan)
1 Chronicles 23 – New Duties for the Levites
A. The groupings of the Levites.
1. (1-2) David passes the kingdom to Solomon.
So when David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. And he gathered together all the leaders of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.
a. When David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel: David had other sons who might also claim the throne of Israel after his death (especially Adonijah). 1 Kings 1:31-40 describes in greater detail how David made sure that Solomon, and not Adonijah, took the throne after his death.
i. “Not that he did resign the kingdom to him, but that he declared his mind concerning his succession into the throne after his death.” (Poole)
b. He gathered together all the leaders of Israel: David gathered these for the purpose of organizing them to help Solomon with the work of building the temple and administering the affairs of the kingdom.
2. (3-6) The number and the main groupings of the Levites.
Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and above; and the number of individual males was thirty-eight thousand. Of these, twenty-four thousand were to look after the work of the house of the LORD, six thousand were officers and judges, four thousand were gatekeepers, and four thousand praised the LORD with musical instruments, “which I made,” said David, “for giving praise.” Also David separated them into divisions among the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
a. The Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and above: This was based on the ancient command found in Numbers 4:1-3, indicating that a Levite’s service began at 30 years of age.
b. The number of individual males was thirty-eight thousand: These 38,000 qualified Levites were divided into different duties.
i. To look after the work of the house of the LORD: The temple was a busy place constantly flowing with worshippers, sacrifice, and service to God. It took many skilled people to take care of all the practical matters behind this activity.
ii. Officers and judges: The Levites were also the civil servants for the kingdom of Israel. Governmental records, decisions, and administration were all in the hands of the Levites.
iii. Gatekeepers: These had the responsibility for security, both in a practical and spiritual sense. They made sure that only those who were ready to serve and worship God could come to the temple and its associated building.
iv. Four thousand praised the LORD: These Levites had the job of worshipping God both with their voices and musical instruments. They did this both to honor God directly and also to encourage others to worship God.
c. David separated them into divisions among the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari: These family groupings within the tribe of Levi were described hundreds of years before in Numbers 3 and 4.
i. Gershon: The Gershonites were to take care of the skins that covered the tabernacle itself.
ii. Kohath: The Kohathites were to take care of the furniture of the tabernacle including the ark of the covenant, the table of showbread, and so forth, under the direction of Eleazar the priest, son of Aaron.
iii. Merari: The family of Merari was to take care of the structural aspects of the tabernacle including the pillars, the boards, and so forth
3. (7-11) The Gershonites.
Of the Gershonites: Laadan and Shimei. The sons of Laadan: the first Jehiel, then Zetham and Joel; three in all. The sons of Shimei: Shelomith, Haziel, and Haran; three in all. These were the heads of the fathers’ houses of Laadan. And the sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, Jeush, and Beriah. These were the four sons of Shimei. Jahath was the first and Zizah the second. But Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons; therefore they were assigned as one father’s house.
4. (12-13) The Kohathites.
The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel; four in all. The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses; and Aaron was set apart, he and his sons forever, that he should sanctify the most holy things, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister to Him, and to give the blessing in His name forever.
a. And Aaron was set apart, he and his sons forever: Among the Levites, the descendants of Aaron were chosen for the priestly duties described in these verses. Being a member of the tribe of Levi was not enough to be a priest; one had to be a descendant of this particular family of Aaron.
b. That he should sanctify the most holy things, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister to Him, and to give the blessing in His name forever: This is a brief but powerful description of the duties of the priests of Israel.
· That he should sanctify the most holy things: The priest was to have an active concern for holiness, and to be able to discern between what was holy and what was not. This means that holiness had to touch the life of the priest; he had to represent God before the people.
· To burn incense before the LORD: Incense is a picture of intercessory prayer. The priest had to represent the people before the Lord. “The fragrant incense stealing heavenward is a beautiful emblem of intercessory prayer. Let us pray more, not for ourselves so much as for others. This is the sign of growth in grace, when our prayers are fragrant with the names of friend and foe, and mingled with the coals of the golden altar.” (Meyer)
· To minister to Him: The priest was busy with people and the work of ministry, but he must never forget his ministry to God Himself. He was to spend time in personal devotion, worship, and attention given to God in the secret place.
· To give the blessing in His name forever: The priest was blessed so that he could bless others. “It is not enough to linger in soft prayer within the vail, we must come forward to bless mankind. He who is nearest to God is closest to man.” (Meyer)
5. (14-20) The sons of Moses, of the family of Kohath.
Now the sons of Moses the man of God were reckoned to the tribe of Levi. The sons of Moses were Gershon and Eliezer. Of the sons of Gershon, Shebuel was the first. Of the descendants of Eliezer, Rehabiah was the first. And Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very many. Of the sons of Izhar, Shelomith was the first. Of the sons of Hebron, Jeriah was the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. Of the sons of Uzziel, Michah was the first and Jesshiah the second.
6. (21-23) The family of Merari.
The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli were Eleazar and Kish. And Eleazar died, and had no sons, but only daughters; and their brethren, the sons of Kish, took them as wives. The sons of Mushi were Mahli, Eder, and Jeremoth; three in all.
B. David changes the duties of the Levites.
1. (24-26) The reason for the change of duty.
These were the sons of Levi by their fathers’ houses; the heads of the fathers’ houses as they were counted individually by the number of their names, who did the work for the service of the house of the LORD, from the age of twenty years and above. For David said, “The LORD God of Israel has given rest to His people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem forever”; and also to the Levites, “They shall no longer carry the tabernacle, or any of the articles for its service.”
a. From the age of twenty years and above: David first changed the year when service began for the Levites from 30 to 20.
i. One reason he did this was because the new temple would require more workers, and he wanted to keep the Levites busy. “Temple service will certainly have brought increased work, even though the occasional duty of transporting the ark was now to be abolished. In fact, the Levites and their duties had suffered from long-standing neglect.” (Selman)
b. The LORD God of Israel has given rest to His people: Now that the tabernacle and its furnishings would rest permanently at the temple David planned and Solomon would build, there could and should be a change in the duties of the Levites.
2. (27-32) The new duties of the Levites.
For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above; because their duty was to help the sons of Aaron in the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts and in the chambers, in the purifying of all holy things and the work of the service of the house of God, both with the showbread and the fine flour for the grain offering, with the unleavened cakes and what is baked in the pan, with what is mixed and with all kinds of measures and sizes; to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at evening; and at every presentation of a burnt offering to the LORD on the Sabbaths and on the New Moons and on the set feasts, by number according to the ordinance governing them, regularly before the LORD; and that they should attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, the needs of the holy place, and the needs of the sons of Aaron their brethren in the work of the house of the LORD.
a. For by the last word of David the Levites were numbered: “Never was the true kingliness of David more manifest, than when he sought to make these arrangements for the consolidation around the Throne of God of that kingdom which he was so soon to leave.” (Morgan)
i. 2 Chronicles 29:25 tells us that David commanded these arrangements as he worked together with Gad the king’s seer and Nathan the prophet. It also tells us that these arrangements were the commandment of the LORD by his prophets. This was Holy Spirit guided organization and administration.
ii. “Guided by the prophets (2 Chronicles 29:25), the king exercised his administrative genius to establish a system of procedures that helped maintain legitimate worship under his successors.” (Payne)
b. Because their duty was to help the sons of Aaron in the service of the house of the LORD: Since the tabernacle and its service was now to come to a place of permanent rest, the Levites who once had the responsibility to manage and move the mobile structure could now become the helpers of the priests, the sons of Aaron.
c. To stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD: The Chronicler mentioned many specific duties of the Levites (purifying all holy things…with the showbread…what is baked in the pan). Yet he included among them this most important duty: to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. This was essential among the duties of the Levites and the priests, and could never be neglected.
i. “The specific work of the Levites is beautifully described by the chronicler in the closing verses of the chapter. They were the servants of the priest and of the house. They were also to stand at morning and evening to praise the Lord. High and holy calling, this.” (Morgan)
ii. “It was the priests’ business to kill, flay, and dress, as well as to offer, the victims; but being few, they were obliged to employ the Levites to flay those animals. The Levites were, properly speaking, servants to the priests, and were employed about the more servile part of divine worship.” (Clarke)
iii. “As assistants, they were active in side-rooms and courtyards rather than the main building, preparing food and offerings rather than actually offering sacrifices.” (Selman)
1 Chronicles 22 – David’s Charge to Solomon
A. David gathers men, material, and a vision.
1. (2-4) David gathers men and material for building the temple.
So David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel; and he appointed masons to cut hewn stones to build the house of God. And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails of the doors of the gates and for the joints, and bronze in abundance beyond measure, and cedar trees in abundance; for the Sidonians and those from Tyre brought much cedar wood to David.
a. David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel: 1 Kings 5:15-18 describes how these people were actually put to work in the building of the temple in Solomon’s day. There were some 70,000 slaves.
b. Cedar trees in abundance: The cedar trees of Lebanon were legendary for their excellent timber. This means David (and Solomon after him) wanted to build the temple out of the best materials possible.
i. It also means that they were willing to build this great temple to God with “Gentile” wood and using “Gentile” labor. This was a temple to the God of Israel, but it was not only for Israel. Only Jews built the tabernacle, “But the temple is not built without the aid of the Gentile Tyrians. They, together with us, make up the Church of God.” (Trapp)
ii. Payne on iron in abundance: “The king’s provision of ‘a large amount of iron’ reflects how conditions had changed during his time – known archaeologically as Iron I – due, no doubt, to the incorporation of iron-producing Philistines within the sphere of Hebrew control.”
2. (5) David’s vision for the preparation of the temple.
Now David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it.” So David made abundant preparations before his death.
a. Solomon my son is young and inexperienced: Even after David’s death, Solomon knew that he was young and inexperienced (1 Kings 3:7), so when offered a choice of anything he asked for wisdom to lead God’s people.
b. The house to be built for the LORD must be exceeding magnificent: Solomon had the same vision for the glory of the temple, and he indeed built it according to David’s vision of a magnificent, famous, and glorious building. Solomon had this vision breathed into him through his father’s influence.
i. We can almost picture the old David and the young Solomon pouring over the plans and ideas for the temple together with excitement. David knew that it was not his place to build it, but had the right vision for what the temple should be in general terms, and he passed that vision on to his son.
ii. So David made abundant preparations before his death: This indicates that David was at peace with the idea that he himself could not build the temple and was content to prepare the way for his son to build it successfully. “This is a picture of a man who through stress and storm had found his way into the quiet calm assurance of his place in the divine economy…. It is a condition of peace and power.” (Morgan)
iii. “The Chronicler was vitally concerned to ensure support for the Jerusalem temple in his day. No more fitting stimulus for dedication in this regard could then be found than in the example set by David when he made preparations for the construction of that temple in his day.” (Payne)
B. David’s exhortation to his son Solomon.
1. (6-10) David’s testimony of the call to build the temple.
Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel. And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God; but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’”
a. And charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel: This was not a suggestion or an idea offered to Solomon. It was a sacred charge for him to fulfill. David knew that he could not fulfill this last great work himself; he could only do it through Solomon after David went to his reward. There was a sense in which if Solomon failed, David failed also.
i. Specifically, David wanted to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. “That the temple was to be built ‘for the Name of the LORD’ means more than his reputation or honor but ultimately for his Person.” (Payne)
b. You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name: This explanation was not previously recorded, either in 2 Samuel or in 1 Chronicles. Here we find one of the reasons why God did not want David to build the temple, and why He chose Solomon instead. God wanted a man of rest and peace to build a house to Him.
i. It wasn’t that David’s wars were wrong or ungodly, or that he often acted unrighteously when he shed blood. It was that God wanted His house built from the context of peace and rest and victory; the LORD wanted it to be built after and from the victory, not from the midst of struggle.
ii. “Principally for mystical signification, to teach us that the church (whereof the temple was a manifest and illustrious type) should be built by Christ, the Prince of peace, Isaiah 9:6; and that it should be gathered and built up, not by might or power, or by force of arms, but by God’s Spirit, Zechariah 4:6, and by the preaching of the gospel of peace.” (Poole)
2. (11-13) David warns Solomon to stay faithful to God and His word.
“Now, my son, may the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God, as He has said to you. Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
a. May the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God: The Chronicler emphasized David’s legacy and Solomon’s mission to build the temple. This would become by far Solomon’s greatest accomplishment.
b. That you may keep the law of the LORD your God: David knew that Solomon could not be strong or courageous without obedient fellowship with God. In this place of obedient fellowship, Solomon would prosper inall that he did.
c. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed: Solomon could take courage and reject fear because God promised David that as long as his sons walked in obedience, they would keep the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:1-4).
i. This is an amazing promise. No matter what the Assyrians or the Egyptians or the Babylonians did, as long as David’s sons were obedient and followed God with all their heart and with all their soul, God would establish their kingdom. He would take care of the rest.
3. (14-16) What David did to prepare for the building of the temple.
“Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them. Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you.”
a. I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD: David took seriously his mission to prepare the way by bringing both security and treasure to Israel and his successor Solomon. With these two advantages he could build the house of the LORD.
i. The Bible tells us that Jesus – the greater Son of David – is also building a temple (Ephesians 2:19-22). He could only do this after security and treasure were won, but the greater Son of David made this peace and plundered the enemy Himself at the cross. Jesus could also say that He took much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD and that He has prepared the building materials (His people, according to Ephesians 2:19-22).
b. One hundred thousand talents of gold: This is an enormous amount of gold. Some Bible commentators believe this large number is accurate and some feel it is a scribal error. Even allowing for possible scribal error, David clearly amassed significant resources for a temple he would never build.
i. Even so, David also told Solomon to receive these enormous resources and add to them. “Save as I have saved, out of the revenues of the state, and thou mayest also add something for the erection and splendour of this house. This was a gentle though pointed hint, which was not lost on Solomon.” (Clarke)
ii. “Cannot I put my hand on some young man’s shoulder, and say to him, ‘Thou mayest add thereto; thou hast a good voice; thou hast an active brain; begin to speak for God; there are numbers of godly men in the gospel ministry; if thou art called of God, thou mayest add thereto’?” (Spurgeon)
c. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you: David made all the preparation, but it was in vain if Solomon did not begin working. He had to actually do the work, and do it with the confidence that the LORD was with him.
i. David is an example of someone who works in the background, who receives none or little credit for his work, but the job cannot be done without him.
· David gathered the materials for the temple.
· David prepared some of those materials.
· David won the peace with surrounding nations that Israel needed to build the temple.
· David found and purchased the site to build the temple.
· David established the plans for the temple.
· David organized and commanded the administration and servants of the temple.
ii. Yet no one calls it “David’s temple.” It seems that all the credit, all the name, all the glory goes to Solomon. It doesn’t seem to have bothered David, because he was a man after God’s heart.
iii. “So, if you go to a country town or village, and you preach the gospel to a few poor folk, you may never have seemed very successful; but you have been preparing the way for somebody else who is coming after you.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “But this is a terrible blow at self. Self says, ‘I like to begin something of my own, and I like to carry it out; I do not want any interference from other people.’ A friend proposed, the other day, to give you a little help in your service. You looked at him as if he had been a thief. You do not want any help; you are quite up to the mark; you are like a wagon and four horses, and a dog under the wagon as well! There is everything about you that is wanted; you need no help from anybody; you can do all things almost without the help of God! I am very sorry for you if that is your opinion.” (Spurgeon)
4. (17-19) David’s command to the leaders of Israel.
David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying,“Is not the LORD your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and before His people. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD.”
a. David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son: David knew that one leader – even a great leader – was not enough to get a great work done. When God calls a leader He also calls other leaders…to help.
b. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God: This command of David’s is interesting in its context. David gave this command in the context of work, not the context of leisurely repose before God. David knew that it was possible to keep one’s heart set on seeking God even in the midst of doing a great work before the LORD.
i. “They must seek the LORD (v. 19) as David had sought him (cf. 1 Chronicles 13:3; 14:10, 14). David explains how to seek (‘devote your heart and soul’; cf. REB, NEB, JB) and what it meant in practice (Build the sanctuary). As elsewhere, ‘seeking’ is an act of obedience rather than a search for guidance, and David will yet again underline its importance (1 Chronicles 28:8-9).” (Selman)
ii. “Thus Solomon came to the Jewish throne with every possible advantage. Had he made a proper use of his state and of his talents, he would have been the greatest as well as the wisest of sovereigns. But alas! How soon did this pure gold become dim! He began with an unlawful matrimonial connection; this led him to a commerce that was positively forbidden by the law of God: he then multiplied his matrimonial connections with pagan women; they turned his heart away from God, and the once wise and holy Solomon died a fool and an idolater.” (Clarke)
iii. “Did David live in vain? Can it be truly said that he failed in the grandest project of his life? Assuredly not; he did all that he was permitted to do, and by making those elaborate preparations, he was really the means of the building of the temple.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “God buries the workman, but the devil himself cannot bury the work. The work is everlasting, though the workmen die. We pass away, as star by star grows dim; but the eternal light is never-fading. God shall have the victory.” (Spurgeon)
1 Chronicles 21 – Where to Build the Temple
A. David commands a census to be taken.
1. (1-2) David is moved to take a census.
Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, “Go, number Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it.”
a. Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel: In 2 Samuel 24:1, it tells us that this was initially prompted because the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel. So we see that Satan moved David yet the LORD expressly allowed it as a chastisement against David.
i. There is quite a gap in the historical record that the Chronicler passes over, including many family problems and a civil war. “His reasons for a gap of this length are not difficult to surmise: little of what transpired during those two decades would encourage a postexilic Judah, before whom Ezra was seeking to portray a piety that characterized David at his best.” (Payne)
ii. “For the first time in Scripture, the word ‘Satan’ appears without the definite article as a proper noun.” (Payne)
iii. “When Satan incites, he is interested merely in his own ends. He neither cares for righteous punishment nor looks for possible repentance, since they are as foreign to his nature as temptation to sin is to God’s.” (Selman)
b. Go, number Israel: This was dangerous because of a principle stated in Exodus 30:12: When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.
i. The principle of Exodus 30:12 speaks to God’s ownership of His people. In the thinking of these ancient cultures, a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. Israel didn’t belong to David; Israel belonged to God. It was up to the LORD to command a counting, and if David counted he should only do it at God’s command and should receive ransom money to “atone” for the counting.
ii. “Numbering the hosts of Jehovah is not essentially or necessarily wrong; everything depends on the motive…. When it is born of pride, it is the subtlest of perils, inclining us to trust in the multitude of a host, and thus to cease to depend upon God.” (Morgan)
iii. “When we are moved to number the people, we may rest assured that the impulse is Divine or Satanic, and we may determine which by the motive. If the motive is service, it is God. If the motive is pride, it is Satanic.” (Morgan)
2. (3-4) Joab objects to the census.
And Joab answered, “May the LORD make His people a hundred times more than they are. But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then does my lord require this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt in Israel?” Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came to Jerusalem.
a. Why then does my lord require this thing? Joab wasn’t afraid to speak to David when he thought the king was wrong. With the best interest of both David and Israel in mind, Joab tactfully asked David to reconsider this foolish desire to count the nation.
i. Joab also hints at the motive behind the counting – pride in David. The this thing that David desired was the increase of the nation, and he perhaps wanted to measure the size of his army to know if he had enough force to conquer a neighboring nation. “He did it out of curiosity and creature-confidence.” (Trapp)
ii. We gather from 2 Samuel 24 that this took place late in his reign. So late in his reign, David was tempted to take some of the glory for himself. He looked at how Israel had grown and prospered during his reign – it was remarkable indeed. The count was a way to take credit for himself. “The spirit of vainglory in numbers had taken possession of the people and the king, and there was a tendency to trust in numbers and forget God.” (Morgan)
b. Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab: 2 Samuel 24:4 tells us that it wasn’t only Joab who tried to tell David not to do this – the captains of the army also warned David not to count the soldiers in Israel. But David did so anyway.
3. (5-8) The census is made, and David is immediately sorry.
Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. All Israel had one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and Judah had four hundred and seventy thousand men who drew the sword. But he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them, for the king’s word was abominable to Joab. And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel. So David said to God, “I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing; but now, I pray, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”
a. Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king: The results showed that there were 1,300,000 fighting men among the twelve tribes, reflecting an estimated total population of 6 million in Israel.
i. 2 Samuel 24:5-9 indicates that it took almost 10 months to complete the census. David should have called off this foolish census during the ten months, but he didn’t.
ii. The number given in 2 Samuel 24:5-9 is different than the sum arrived at here. “To attempt to reconcile them in every part is lost labour; better at once acknowledge what cannot be successfully denied, that although the original writers of the Old Testament wrote under the influence of the Divine Spirit, yet we are not told that the same influence descended on all copiers of their words, so as absolutely to prevent them from making mistakes.” (Clarke)
iii. But he did not count Levi and Benjamin: “The rabbis give the following reason for this: Joab, seeing that this would bring down destruction upon the people, purposed to save two tribes. Should David ask, Why have you not numbered the Levites? Joab purposed to say, Because the Levites are not reckoned among the children of Israel. Should he ask, Why have you not numbered Benjamin? he would answer, Benjamin has been already sufficiently punished, on account of the treatment of the woman at Gibeah: if, therefore, this tribe were to be again punished, who would remain?” (Clarke)
b. Therefore He struck Israel: God would strike Israel with a choice of judgments offered to David. Yet God had already struck Israel by deeply convicting the king of Israel with an acute sense of his sin.
c. I have sinned greatly: The man after God’s heart was not sinless, but he had a heart sensitive to sin when he did commit it. David kept a short account with God.
i. “The chief interest of this chapter for us lies in the revelation of the true character of David. His sins were the lapses and accidents of his life. This is not to condone them. It is, however, to emphasize that the habitual set of his life was far otherwise than these sins suggest, and the deepest truth concerning him is revealed, not by the failures, but by his action afterwards.” (Morgan)
d. Take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly: David now saw the pride and vainglory that prompted him to do such a foolish thing.
4. (9-12) David is allowed to choose the judgment.
Then the LORD spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, “Go and tell David, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.”‘” So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Choose for yourself, either three years of famine, or three months to be defeated by your foes with the sword of your enemies overtaking you, or else for three days the sword of the LORD; the plague in the land, with the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now consider what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”
a. I offer you three things: God used David’s sin and the resulting chastisement to reveal David’s heart and wisdom. His choice of the following three options would test David:
· Three years of famine: This would surely be the death of some in Israel, but the wealthy and resourceful would survive. Israel would have to depend on neighboring nations for food.
· Three months to be defeated by your foes: This would be the death of some in Israel, but mostly only of soldiers. Israel would have to contend with enemies among neighboring nations.
· For three days…the plague in the land: This would be the death of some in Israel, but anyone could be struck by this plague – rich or poor, influential or anonymous, royal or common.
i. “This was a great mercy: David must be whipped; but he may choose his own rod.” (Trapp)
b. Now consider what answer I should take back to Him who sent me: God wanted David to use the prophet as a mediator, and to answer to the prophet instead of directly to God.
5. (13) David chooses the three days of plague.
And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”
a. Please let me fall into the hand of the LORD: This meant that David chose the three days of plague. In the other two options, the king and his family could be insulated against the danger, but David knew that he had to expose himself to the chastisement of God.
i. “Had he chosen war, his own personal safety was in no danger, because there was already an ordinance preventing him from going to battle. Had he chosen famine, his own wealth would have secured his and his own family’s support. But he showed the greatness of his mind in choosing the pestilence, to the ravages of which himself and his household were exposed equally with the meanest of his subjects.” (Clarke)
b. Do not let me fall into the hand of man: This meant that David chose the three days of plague. In the other two options, Israel would either be at the mercy of neighbors (as in the famine) or attacked by enemies. David knew that God is far more merciful and gracious than man is.
B. The course of the plague
1. (14-15) The plague of destruction hits Israel severely.
So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell. And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. As he was destroying, the LORD looked and relented of the disaster, and said to the angel who was destroying, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
a. Seventy thousand men of Israel fell: This was a great calamity upon Israel – a devastating plague striking this many in such a short period of time.
b. The LORD looked and relented of the disaster: This justified David’s wisdom in leaving himself in God’s hands. He could not trust man to relent from destruction.
2. (16-19) David’s intercession; and God’s instruction.
Then David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the LORD standing between earth and heaven, having in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. So David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. And David said to God, “Was it not I who commanded the people to be numbered? I am the one who has sinned and done evil indeed; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, O LORD my God, be against me and my father’s house, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.” Therefore, the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David that David should go and erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. So David went up at the word of Gad, which he had spoken in the name of the LORD.
a. Having in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem: At this point, God had relented from the severity of judgment, yet the threat was still imminent. So David and the elders humbled themselves before God and David repented.
b. Let Your hand, I pray, O LORD my God, be against me and my father’s house: Like a true shepherd, David asked that the punishment be upon him and his own household. Having another purpose to accomplish, God did not accept David’s offer.
c. Erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite: This is where David met the Angel of the LORD, and where God relented from the plague before it came upon Jerusalem. Now God wanted David to meet Him there in worship.
i. “Threshing floors were usually on a height, in order to catch every breeze; some area to the north of David’s city is indicated” (Baldwin)
ii. The threshing floor of Ornan had both a rich history and a rich future. 2 Chronicles 3:1 tells us that the threshing floor of Ornan was on Mount Moriah; the same hill where Abraham offered Isaac (Genesis 22:2), and the same set of hills where Jesus died on the cross (Genesis 22:14).
iii. “In fact, David’s altar was the only one in pre-exilic times which God explicitly commanded to be built.” (Selman)
iv. “The decision of God to establish his altar and temple at Moriah in Jerusalem has affected all history (cf. Revelation 11:1); for this mountain became the focus of the Holy City, where His Son was crucified. And it will continue to affect history; for from this ‘city he loves’, he will some day rule the nations of the earth (Isaiah 2:2-4).” (Payne)
3. (20-25) David buys the threshing floor of Ornan.
Now Ornan turned and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves, but Ornan continued threshing wheat. So David came to Ornan, and Ornan looked and saw David. And he went out from the threshing floor, and bowed before David with his face to the ground. Then David said to Ornan, “Grant me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar on it to the LORD. You shall grant it to me at the full price, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.” But Ornan said to David, “Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.” Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.” So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place.
a. Now Ornan turned and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves: “Partly because of the glory and majesty in which the angel appeared, which men’s weak and sinful natures are not able to bear; and partly for the fear of God’s vengeance, which was at this time riding circuit in the land, and now seemed to be coming to their family.” (Poole)
b. Grant me the place of this threshing floor…at full price: David wanted to transform this place where chaff was separated from wheat into a place of sacrifice and worship. It would remain a place of sacrifice and worship because this land purchased by David became the site of Solomon’s temple (1 Chronicles 21:28-22:5).
i. “So David bought ‘the site’ – hammaqom, which may have included the whole area of Mount Moriah – for 240 ounces of gold. This was worth about one hundred thousand dollars. Second Samuel 24:24 notes a much smaller amount, 20 ounces of silver, for the threshing floor itself.” (Payne)
c. Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes: Ornan had a good, generous heart and wanted to give David anything he wanted.
i. “Had Araunah’s [Ornan’s] noble offer been accepted, it would have been Araunah’s sacrifice, not David’s; nor would it have answered the end of turning away the displeasure of the Most High.” (Clarke)
d. No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing: David knew that it would not be a gift nor a sacrifice to the LORD if it did not cost him something. He didn’t look for the cheapest way possible to please God.
i. “He who has a religion that costs him nothing, has a religion that is worth nothing: nor will any man esteem the ordinances of God, if those ordinances cost him nothing.” (Clarke)
ii. “Where there is true, strong love to Jesus, it will cost us something. Love is the costliest of all undertakings…. But what shall we mind if we gain Christ? You cannot give up for Him without regaining everything you have renounced, but purified and transfigured.” (Meyer)
4. (26-27) God is satisfied and relents of the judgment.
And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the LORD; and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering. So the LORD commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath.
a. And offered burnt offerings and peace offerings: This shows that David understood that the death of the 70,000 in Israel in the plague did not atone for his and Israel’s sin. Atonement could only be made through the blood of an approved substitute.
i. Burnt offerings were to atone for sin; peace offerings were to enjoy fellowship with God. This shows us from beginning to end, David’s life was marked by fellowship with God.
ii. “We finally see the man after God’s own heart turning the occasion of his sin and its punishment into an occasion of worship.” (Morgan)
iii. “Abraham taught the fact of the sacrifice, while to David the reason of that sacrifice of Christ was explained. He was sacrificed to stay the plague – the plague of sin, the punishment of our iniquities.” (Spurgeon)
b. He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar: God showed His acceptance of David’s sacrifice by consuming it with fire from heaven. The LORD honored David’s desire to be right with God and to fellowship with Him, by answering with Divine blessing from heaven. So it always is when God’s children draw near to their God and Father for cleansing and fellowship.
i. The sending of fire from heaven answered a question that had burned in the heart of David for a long time. For many years, he had wondered where God wanted the temple to be built, and he sought for that place, as shown in Psalm 132:1-5:
LORD, remember David
And all his afflictions;
How he swore to the LORD,
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house,
Or go up to the comfort of my bed;
I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the LORD,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
ii. The fire on the altar from heaven confirmed the previous word of the prophet Gad that this was the place to build the altar and the temple. We see that God simply used Satan’s provocation at the opening of this chapter to lead to the answer of this important question for David and for the nation of Israel. There were certainly other purposes of God at work, but this was one of them.
5. (28-22:1) David decides to build the temple at the place where God showed mercy to Israel.
At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. For the tabernacle of the LORD and the altar of the burnt offering, which Moses had made in the wilderness, were at that time at the high place in Gibeon. But David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the LORD. Then David said, “This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”
a. When David saw that the LORD had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there: David knew that there was something special about this threshing floor; he understood that God had sanctified the place Himself with fire from heaven.
i. “Having seen his prayers answered and his sacrifices accepted, the site had already become a ‘house of prayer’ and a ‘temple for sacrifices’ cf. 2 Chronicles 7:12; Isaiah 56:7).” (Selman)
ii. He sacrificed there: “Do not believe for a moment that visible grandeur is necessary to the place where God will meet with you. Go to your threshing floor and pray; aye, while the unmuzzled oxen take their rest, bow your knee and cry to the Lord of the harvest, and you shall meet with God there amongst the straw and the grain. Fear not to draw nigh to God in these streets, but consecrate all space to the Lord your God.” (Spurgeon)
b. This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel: David understood that the future temple should be built on this spot in Jerusalem. God had sanctified this humble threshing floor to Himself.
i. This is the house: “This is that very place foretold by Moses (Deuteronomy 12:11).” (Trapp)
ii. The character of Ornan’s threshing floor shows us something about where and how God wants to meet with men. Ornan’s threshing floor was:
· A simple, unadorned place – not like a fancy church at all.
· A place of ordinary work.
· A place bought with money.
· A place from where bread came from.
· A place where the justice of God was evident.
· A place where sin was confessed.
· A place where sacrifice was offered and accepted.
1 Chronicles 20 – Ammon is Defeated at Rabbah
A. The defeat of Ammon.
1. (1) Joab goes back out the next year to get Rabbah of Ammon.
It happened in the spring of the year, at the time kings go out to battle, that Joab led out the armed forces and ravaged the country of the people of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. And Joab defeated Rabbah and overthrew it.
a. In the spring of the year, at the time kings go out to battle: In that part of the world, wars were not normally fought during the winter months because rains and cold weather made travel and campaigning difficult. Fighting resumed in the spring.
b. Joab led out the armed forces…. But David remained at Jerusalem: David should have been out at the battle but he remained behind. In 1 Chronicles 19 Joab and the army of the mighty men were preserved against the Syrians and the Ammonites but they did not win a decisive victory. The decisive victory came when David led the battle at the end of 1 Chronicles 19. Both through custom and experience God told David, “You need to be at the battle.” But David remained at Jerusalem.
i. What happened when David remained at Jerusalem was so well known that the Chronicler did not need to record it. In his leisure he saw a woman bathing, acting upon his feelings of lust he committed adultery with her making her pregnant, and conspired with Joab to murder her husband (Uriah, one of David’s mighty men) to cover up his crime. A lot happened between David stayed at Jerusalem and Joab defeated Rabbah.
ii. “Beware of moments and hours of ease. It is in these that we most easily fall into the power of Satan. The sultriest summer days are most laden with blight…. If we cannot fill our days with our own matters, there is always plenty to be done for others…. Watch and pray in days of vacation and ease, even more than at other times.” (Meyer)
iii. “There is nothing more full of subtle danger in the life of any servant of God than that he should remain inactive when the enterprises of God demand that he be out on the fields of conflict.” (Morgan)
c. Joab defeated Rabbah: The account in 2 Samuel 12:26-31 tells us that Joab essentially conquered Rabbah, but called David to help with the final conquest of the city after David’s sin and subsequent repentance. Then, 2 Samuel 12:29 tells us, David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah. This was the final phase of David’s restoration. He went back to doing what he should have done all along – leading Israel out to battle, instead of remaining in Jerusalem. This means that David was in victory once again. His sin did not condemn him to a life of failure and defeat. There was chastisement for David’s sin, but it did not mean that his life was ruined.
i. “David’s fall should put those who have not fallen on their guard, and save from despair those who have.” (Augustine)
2. (2-3) David wears the crown of Ammon.
Then David took their king’s crown from his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it. And it was set on David’s head. Also he brought out the spoil of the city in great abundance. And he brought out the people who were in it, and put them to work with saws, with iron picks, and with axes. So David did to all the cities of the people of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
a. David took their king’s crown.… it was set on David’s head: David’s sin didn’t take away his crown. Had David refused the voice of Nathan the prophet it might have. Because David responded with confession and repentance, there was still a crown for David’s head.
i. “David’s rule over Ammon seems to be part of a complex four-stage system of administration of the empire outside the land of Israel…. Ammon was most restricted of all, apparently demoted to provincial status.” (Selman)
b. He brought out the spoil of the city in great abundance…. David and all the people returned to Jerusalem: David again increases in might and in wealth, bringing the riches back to Jerusalem for the sake of later building the temple.
i. This example of extending Israel’s security with its neighbors fits in with the Chronicler’s broader purpose of showing how David prepared the way for his son to build the temple.
B. Other Israeli victories over Philistine giants.
1. (4-7) Three victories over three giants.
Now it happened afterward that war broke out at Gezer with the Philistines, at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite killed Sippai, who was one of the sons of the giant. And they were subdued. Again there was war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. Yet again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, with twenty-four fingers and toes, six on each hand and six on each foot; and he also was born to the giant. So when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him.
a. Now it happened afterward: This description of victory over Philistine giants shows that Israel could slay giants without David. Sibbechai.… Elhanan.… Jonathan: These men accomplished heroic deeds when David was finished fighting giants. God will continue to raise up leaders when the leaders of the previous generation pass from the scene.
i. David’s legacy lay not only in what he accomplished but in what he left behind – a people prepared for victory. David’s triumphs were meaningful not only for himself but for others who learned victory through his teaching and example.
ii. “The compiler of these books passes by also the incest of Amnon with his sister Tamar, and the rebellion of Absalom, and the awful consequences of all these. These should have preceded the fourth verse. These facts could not be unknown to him, for they were notorious to all; but he saw that they were already amply detailed in books which were accredited among the people, and the relations were such as no friend to piety and humanity could delight to repeat. On these grounds the reader will give him credit for the omission.” (Clarke)
b. With twenty-four fingers and toes, six on each hand and six on each foot: This described an unnamed man of great stature from Gath. Commentators like Adam Clarke can’t resist reminding us that this is a known phenomenon. “This is not a solitary instance: Tavernier informs us that the eldest son of the emperor of Java, who reigned in 1649, had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot…. I once saw a young girl, in the county of Londonderry, in Ireland, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, but her stature had nothing gigantic in it.”
i. The shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam: This was true of Lahmi, a brother of Goliath. “Also has known parallels and is not the unhistorical creation which some have alleged. It was actually a javelin with a loop and cord round the shaft for greater distance and stability, and was known in the Aegean area from the twelfth century B.C. Even the Old Testament reports one in the possession of another non-Israelite (1 Chronicles 11:23).” (Selman)
2. (8) Summary of the victories over the Philistine giants.
These were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.
a. These were born to the giant in Gath: Since Goliath was from Gath (1 Samuel 17:4) these were Goliath’s sons or brothers.
i. “The Philistine warriors are also all called ‘Rephaites’ (RSV) or descendants of Rapha (‘giants’, NRSV), who were one of the pre-Israelite groups in Canaan (e.g. Genesis 15:20) and famous for their size.” (Selman)
b. Fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants: Part of the idea is that David is conquering enemies now so it will be better for Solomon in the future. Our present victory is not only good for us now but it passes something important on to the next generation.
i. The defeat of these four giants is rightly credited to the hand of Davidandthe hand of his servants. David had a role in this through his example, guidance, and influence.
ii. “Let those who after long service find themselves waning in strength, be content to abide with the people of God, still shining for them as a lamp, and thus enabling them to carry on the same Divine enterprises. Such action in the last days of life is also great and high service.” (Morgan)
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