By Arno Clement Gaebelein

The Book of 1 Chronicles


     The books of the Chronicles are called in the Hebrew "Dbri-Hayyomim" which means "words of the days," that is the events of the times. In the Greek translation they are known by the name "Paraleipomena," that is "things omitted." Our English title "Chronicles" is adopted from the Latin translation, the Vulgate, because the title there is "Liber Chronicorum."

     In the English Bible the Chronicles occupy a different place from that in the original Hebrew Bible. As stated before, the Hebrew Scriptures are divided into three main divisions; the law, the prophets and the writings. This last section of the Hebrew Scriptures contains the following books: Psalms, Proverbs, Job; the five books known as Megilloth, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther. These are followed by Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles. The Chronicles therefore stand at the close of the Hebrew Scriptures. That this arrangement is not without meaning in connection with the New Testament, has been pointed out by others. "The genealogies with which Chronicles begins lead up to the genealogy of Matthew 1 and the commencement of the New Testament. They end with the ending of the kingdom, and the question of Cyrus, 'who is there?' (2 Chron. 36:23) is followed by another 'Where is He?' (Matthew 2:2) and the proclamation of the kingdom by the true King and His forerunner. Chronicles begins with the first Adam and leads on to the last Adam."

Authorship and Date

     Ezra has been mentioned as the possible author of Chronicles, which, however, cannot be proven. Nothing whatever is known of the instrument who was used to write these historical books. From the prominence which is given to the history and organization of the Levitic priesthood and the deep interest shown in the minor officials of the temple, especially the singers, it has been surmised that the author may have been a Levite. Beyond this nothing definite can be said. The author used by the Spirit of God must remain unknown to man, but he is known to God. In the books are mentioned repeatedly other books and histories to which the author of Chronicles refers. These include the following: a book of the kings of Israel and Judah, (2 Chron. 27:7; 35:27; 36:8); a book of the kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chron. 16:11; 25:26; 28:26; 32:32); a book of the kings of Israel (2 Chron. 24:27); a commentary of the books of Kings (2 Chron. 24:27); a history of the prophets Samuel, Nathan and Gad (1 Chron. 29:29); a history of the prophets Nathan, Abijah, the Shilonite, and Iddo (2 Chron. 9:29); a history of the prophets, Shemaiah and Iddo (2 Chron. 12:15); a history of the prophet Jehu (2 Chron. 20:34); a commentary of the prophet Iddo (2 Chron. 13:22); Isaiah's history of Uzziah (2 Chron. 26:22); a history of the prophet Isaiah (2 Chron. 32:32) and a history of the prophet of Manasseh's day (2 Chron. 33:19). It will be seen that there are just twelve sources mentioned. It will be seen that the first four are historical and the remaining eight are prophetic. While some of these references must have been books and histories now unknown to us, the main references are to the preceding books of the kings and to the first part of the prophet Isaiah.

     The date of Chronicles is fixed by the first book. 1 Chron. 6:15 shows that the book was written after the captivity. We find also the names of the descendants of Zerubbabel given in 1 Chron. 3:19-24. Inasmuch as Zerubbabel was one of the leaders of the exile, who returned from the captivity, and his descendants are given, Chronicles must have been written some time after the return from Babylon. The diction of the books of Chronicles also bears witness to this. The Hebrew is substantially the same which is employed in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, which were written immediately after the captivity. It is mixed with Aramaeisms, which marks the corruption of the pure Hebrew by the Chaldaean language which the captives learned in Babylon. The pure Hebrew had been lost in Babylon. Even the orthography bears witness to it as every Hebrew scholar knows.

Rationalistic Objections

     Rationalists, the so-called higher critics, speak much of the discrepancies and contradictions contained in Chronicles. That there are variations from previous records cannot be denied, but variations are not contradictions. That there are certain corruptions in the text must be acknowledged, and some of them will be pointed out in the annotations. But the charge that the writer of Chronicles contradicts himself, is wholly unfounded. The following passages have been used to demonstrate this supposed contradiction: 2 Chron. 14:1 and 2 Chron. 15:19; 2 Chron. 14:2 and 2 Chron. 15:17; 2 Chron. 17:6 and 2 Chron. 20:33; 2 Chron. 30:26 and 35:18. A careful perusal will show that there is nothing contradictory between these passages. Higher criticism is often superficial and we fear just as often wilfully blind and even ready to cast doubt upon the inspired records.

The Marks of Inspiration

     The omissions and additions we find in the Chronicles in comparison with the books of Samuel and Kings are not the marks of an imperfect human hand. They are the marks of inspiration. We found that the books of Kings contained the history of God's government in Israel. Kings omits much of the history of the house of Judah and only touches upon that which relates to the connection of Judah with the house of Israel during that period.

     "The books of the Chronicles give us the history of the same period under another aspect, that is, that of blessing and of the grace of God: and, more particularly, they give us the history of the house of David with respect to which this grace was manifested. We shall see this verified in a multitude of instances.

     "These books preserve God's history of His people, recorded by the Holy Ghost, as He loved to remember it, exhibiting only such faults as require to be known in order to understand the instructions of His grace" (Synopsis of the Bible).

     It is in these distinctions we discover the supernatural guidance of the penman.

Parallel Passages

     A comparison with the books of Samuel, Kings and certain chapters in Isaiah is necessary in the study of Chronicles. To assist in this, we give a complete list of the parallel passages with which Chronicles should be studied.

      1 Sam. 27 - 1 Chron. 12:1-7
      1 Sam. 29:1-3 - 1 Chron. 12:19-22
      1 Sam. 31 - 1 Chron. 10
      2 Sam. 5:1-5 - 1 Chron. 11:1-3
      2 Sam. 5:6-10 - 1  Chron. 11:4-9
      2 Sam. 5:11-16 - 1 Chron. 14:1-7
      2 Sam. 5:17-25 - 1 Chron. 14:8-17
      2 Sam. 6:1-11 - 1 Chron. 13
      2 Sam. 6:12-23 - 1 Chron. 15 and 16
      2 Sam. 7 - 1 Chron. 17
      2 Sam. 8 - 1 Chron. 18
      2 Sam. 10 - 1 Chron. 19
      2 Sam. 11:1-27 - 1 Chron. 20:1
      2 Sam. 12:29-31- 1 Chron. 20:1-3
      2 Sam. 23:8-39 - 1 Chron. 11:10-47
      2 Sam. 24:1-9 - 1 Chron 21:1-6
      2 Sam. 24:1-9 - 1 Chron. 27:23, 24
      2 Sam. 24:10-17 - 1 Chron. 21:7-17
      2 Sam. 24:18-24 - 1 Chron. 21:18-22:1
      1 Kings 2:1 - 1 Chron. 23:1
      1 Kings 2:1- - 1 Chron. 28:20, 21
      1 Kings 2:10-12 - 1 Chron. 29:23-30
      1 Kings 2:46 - 2 Chron. 1:1
      1 Kings 3:4-15 - 2 Chron. 1:2-13
      1 Kings 5 - 2 Chron. 2
      1 Kings 6 - 2 Chron. 3:1-14; 4:9
      1 Kings 7:15-21 - 2 Chron. 3:15-17
      1 Kings 7:23-26 - 2 Chron. 4:2-5
      1 Kings 7:38-46 - 2 Chron. 4:6, 10, 17
      1 Kings 7:47-50 - 2 Chron. 4:18-22
      1 Kings 7:51 - 2 Chron. 5:1
      1 Kings 8 - 2 Chron. 5:2; 7:10
      1 Kings 9:1-9 - 2 Chron. 7:11-22
      1 Kings 9:10-28 - 2 Chron. 8
      1 Kings 10:1-13 - 2 Chron. 9:1-12
      1 Kings 10:14-25 - 2 Chron. 9:13-24
      1 Kings 10:26-29 - 2 Chron. 9:25-28; 1:14-17
      1 Kings 11:41-43 - 2 Chron. 9:29-31
      1 Kings 12:1-19 - 2 Chron. 10
      1 Kings 12:21-24 - 2 Chron. 11:1-4
      1 Kings 12:25 - 2 Chron. 11:5-12
      1 Kings 12:26-31 - 2 Chron. 11:13-17
      1 Kings 14:22-24 - 2 Chron. 12:1
      1 Kings 14:25-28 - 2 Chron. 12:2-12
      1 Kings 14:21, 29-31 - 2 Chron. 12:13-16
      1 Kings 15:1 - 2 Chron. 13:1, 2
      1 Kings 15:6 - 2 Chron. 13:2-31
      1 Kings 15:7, 8 - 2 Chron. 13:22; 14:1
      1 Kings 15:11, 12 - 2 Chron. 14:1-5
      1 Kings 15:13-15 - 2 Chron. 15:16-18
      1 Kings 15:16-22 - 2 Chron. 16:1-6
      1 Kings 15:23, 24 - 2 Chron. 16:11-14
      1 Kings 22:1-40, 44 - 2 Chron. 18
      1 Kings 22:41-43 - 2 Chron. 17:1; 20:31-33
      1 Kings 22:45 - 2 Chron. 20:34
      1 Kings 22:47-49 - 2 Chron. 20:35-37
      1 Kings 22:50 - 2 Chron. 21:1
      2 Kings 1:1; 3:4, 5 - 2 Chron. 20:1-3
      2 Kings 8:16-19 - 2 Chron. 21:2-7
      2 Kings 8:20-22 - 2 Chron. 21:8-15
      2 Kings 8:23, 24 - 2 Chron. 21:18-20
      2 Kings 8:25-27 - 2 Chron. 22:1-4
      2 Kings 8:28, 29; 9:1-28 - 2 Chron. 22:5-7, 9
      2 Kings 10:11-14 - 2 Chron. 22:8
      2 Kings 11:1-3 - 2 Chron. 22:10-12
      2 Kings 11:4-20 - 2 Chron. 23
      2 Kings 11:21; 12:1-3 - 2 Chron. 24:1-3
      2 Kings 12:6-16 - 2 Chron. 24:4-14
      2 Kings 12:17, 18 - 2 Chron. 24:23, 24
      2 Kings 12:19-21 - 2 Chron. 24:25-27
      2 Kings 14:1-6 - 2 Chron. 25:1-4
      2 Kings 14:7 - 2 Chron. 25:11-16
      2 Kings 14:8-14 - 2 Chron. 25:17-24
      2 Kings 14:17-20 - 2 Chron. 25:25-28
      2 Kings 14:21, 22; 15:1-4 - 2 Chron. 26:1-15
      2 Kings 15:6, 7, 27, 28 - 2 Chron. 26:22, 23
      2 Kings 15:32-35 - 2 Chron. 27:1-8
      2 Kings 15:38 - 2 Chron. 27:9
      2 Kings 16:1, 2 - 2 Chron. 28:1, 2
      2 Kings 16:3, 4, 6 - 2 Chron. 28:3-8
      2 Kings 16:7 - 2 Chron. 28:16-19
      2 Kings 15:29 - 2 Chron. 28:20
      2 Kings 16:8-18 - 2 Chron. 28:21-25
      2 Kings 16:19, 20 - 2 Chron. 28:26, 27
      2 Kings 18:1-3 - 2 Chron. 29:1, 2
      2 Kings 18:13 - Isa. 36:1
      2 Kings 18:14-16 - 2 Chron. 32:2-8
      2 Kings 20:1-11 - 2 Chron. 32:24; Isa. 38
      2 Kings 20:12-19 - Isa. 39:1-8
      2 Kings 18:17-37 - 2 Chron. 32:9-19; Isa. 36:2-22
      2 Kings 19:1-5 - 2 Chron. 32:20; Isa. 37:1-4
      2 Kings 19:6, 7 - Isa. 37:6, 7
      2 kings 19:8-19 - 2 Chron. 32:17; Isa. 37:8-20
      2 Kings 19:20-37 - 2 Chron. 32:21; Isa. 37:21-38
      2 Kings 20:20, 21 - 2 Chron. 32:32, 33
      2 Kings 21:1-16 - 2 Chron. 33:1-9
      2 Kings 21:17, 18 - 2 Chron. 33:18-20
      2 Kings 21:19-26 - 2 Chron. 33:21-25
      2 Kings 22:1, 2 - 2 Chron. 34:1-7
      2 Kings 22:3-20 - 2 Chron. 34:8-28
      2 Kings 23:1-3 - 2 Chron. 34:29-32
      2 Kings 23:21-23 - 2 Chron. 35:1-19
      2 Kings 23:24-26 - 2 Chron. 34:33
      2 Kings 23:28-30 - 2 Chron. 35:20-27
      2 Kings 23:30-33 - 2 Chron. 36:1-3
      2 Kings 23:34-37 - 2 Chron. 36:4, 5
      2 Kings 24:8, 9 - 2 Chron. 36:9
      2 Kings 24:15-17 - 2 Chron. 36:10
      2 Kings 24:18, 19 - 2 Chron. 36:11, 12
      2 Kings 24:20 - 2 Chron. 36:13-16
      2 Kings 25:8-21 - 2 Chron. 36:18-21

     The reader should look up these parallel passages. Especially should the previous annotations in Samuel and Kings be read in connection with Chronicles.

The Division of the First Book of the Chronicles

     The first book of the Chronicles begins with genealogies which start with Adam and lead up to the time of the restoration from the captivity and sometime after. The tables do not mention all the names; many are omitted. This makes clear at once the object of these long lists of names. Only those are recorded who were related to the accomplishment of the purpose of God and who were the divinely chosen channels through whom the Lord carried out His purpose. Many lessons may be gathered from these genealogies, so often considered unprofitable. Even to those opening chapters of Chronicles, applies the statement in 2 Timothy 3:16, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." The main part of the book begins with the miserable end of Saul, the crowning of David at Hebron and the establishment of his kingdom. Especially is that made prominent which is passed over in the books of the Kings, David's relation to the public worship of God and to the building of the temple, which his son Solomon built after him.

     We divide the first book of the Chronicles into four parts:


     1. From Adam to the Edomites (1: 1-54)      
     2. The Sons of Israel and the Tribe of Judah (2:1-4:23)      
     3. Simeon, Reuben, Gad and Manasseh (4:24-5:26)      
     4. Levi (6:1-81)      
     5. Issachar, Naphtali, half Manasseh, Ephraim and Asher (7:1-40)      
     6. Benjamin (8:1-40)      
     7. The Record of the Inhabitants of Jerusalem after the Return (9:1-44)



     1. David in Hebron (11:1-47)      
     2. David's Warriors and Friends (12:1-40)      
     3. The Ark removed from Kirjath-jearim (13:1-14)      
     4. David's Increase and Blessing (14:1-17)      
     5. The Ark Brought to Jerusalem (15:1-16:3)      
     6. The Great Celebration (16:4-43)      
     7. The Covenant and the Promise (17:1-27)      
     8. David's Wars and Successful Reign (18:1-17)      
     9. The Wars with Ammon, Syria and the Philistines (19-20)      
     10. The Numbering of the People and the Punishment (21:1-30)


     1. The Preparations and Charge to Solomon (22:1-19)      
     2. The Numbering and Arrangement of the Levites (23:1-32)      
     3. The Twenty-four Courses of the Priests (24:1-31)      
     4. The Singers and Musicians of the Temple (25:1-31)      
     5. The Porters and other Temple Officers (26:1-32)      
     6. The Captains, Princes, and Various Officers and Counsellors (27:1-34)      
     7. The Last Acts of David and His Death (28-29)

Analysis and Annotations


1. From Adam to the Edomites


     1. Adam to Noah (1:1-4)
     2. The sons of Japheth (1:5-7)
     3. The sons of Ham (1:8-16)
     4. The sons of Shem (1:17-23)
     5. From Shem to Abraham (1:24-27)
     6. Ishmael and his sons (1:28-31)
     7. Abraham's sons from Keturah (1:32-33)
     8. The sons of Isaac (1:34)
     9. The sons of Esau (1:35-42)
     10. The kings and dukes of Edom (1:43-54)

     The nine chapters of genealogical tables is the largest collection of Hebrew names in the Bible. These names are full of the deepest interest, as they often bear in their meaning a message. We have pointed out this fact many times in the annotations of the preceding books. Here is unquestionably a mine of great wealth for the diligent searcher: many lessons connected with these names have been but little understood. (A good concordance or dictionary of these names and their meaning is needed for such research.) The names given in this chapter are all found in the book of Genesis (chapters 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36.) The ten generations before the flood, ending with Noah begin the list. The descendants of Cain are not mentioned. Then follow the names of the offspring of Noah's sons, Japheth, Ham and Shem. Fourteen nations descended from Japheth; thirty-one from Ham and twenty-six from Shem. No person is able to trace all these races in history, but He who has recorded their names knows also their history and their wanderings. And so He knows all His creatures. But above all does He know His own people by name.

     Shem's line is followed to Abraham, the father of the nation. The sons of Abraham are mentioned first as Isaac and Ishmael, not in their right order, Ishmael preceding Isaac. The sons of Ishmael are therefore given first, as well as the sons which Abraham had from Keturah. Then follows the statement, "And Abraham begat Isaac. The sons of Isaac: Esau and Israel" (verse 34). Esau's sons and descendants are given before the sons of Israel; those we find in the second chapter. Then follows the list of the kings and dukes (or chiefs) of Edom. King Jobab (verse 44) is considered by some to be Job and that he ruled in Dinhabah (Genesis 36:32).

2. The Sons of Israel and the Descendants of Judah (2:1-4:23)

CHAPTER 2 From Israel to Caleb

     1. The sons of Israel (2:1-2)
     2. The sons of Judah (2:3-12)
     3. The offspring of Jesse (2:13-17)
     4. The descendants of Caleb (2:18-24)
     5. The descendants of Jerahmeel (2:25-41)
     6. Other descendants of Caleb (2:42-55)

     After the twelve sons of Israel (Jacob) are named, Judah and his sons are mentioned. The entire chapter is devoted to the descendants of Judah. Judah is given the prominent place, because from this tribe the promised Messiah was to come (Gen. 49:8-12). The sons of Jesse (verses 13-17) are given, seven in number. In 1 Sam. 16:5-11 and 17:12-14 eight are mentioned. This is not a discrepancy. one of these sons probably died childless and his name would therefore have no place in this genealogy. Prominent in this chapter are the sons of Hezron, Jerahmeel, Ram (the Aram of Matt. 1:3) and Chelubai. The latter is Caleb. Caleb is here given as a son of Hezron. Is this the same Caleb who was one of the spies, the son of Jephunneh (Num. 13:6, 30; 14:6, 24, etc)? Critics claim that he is the son of Jephunneh and pointed this out as one of the inaccuracies. However, it is impossible that Caleb the son of Hezron, could be identical with Caleb, the son of Jephunneh. Caleb the son of Hezron was the great-grandfather of Bezaleel (verses 19-20), who was selected with Aholiab to do the work in connection with the tabernacle (Exod. 31:2). He must therefore have been the ancestor of Caleb the son of Jephunneh. And furthermore, Caleb the son of Jephunneh is mentioned in Chapter 4:15. That in verse 49 a daughter of Caleb (Achsah) is mentioned is not sufficient proof that the son of Jephunneh is meant.

CHAPTER 3 From David to Zedekiah

     1. The sons of David (3:1-9)
     2. David's line to Zedekiah (3:10-15)
     3. The sons of Jeconiah (3:16-24)

     Six sons were born to David during his reign in Hebron. Four are mentioned as the offspring from Bath-shua, another name for Bath-sheba (2 Sam. 11:3). Then follow the names of other nine sons. As the name Elishama appears twice, it has been suggested that one is Elishua (2 Sam. 5:15). Eglah is called David's wife. Some claim that it is Michal, who became childless after her mockery when David danced before the ark. Then the line of Solomon is traced up to Zedekiah. The usurping Queen Athaliah (2 Kings 11:3) is omitted, for she was not of the house of David. Then follows the list of the sons of Jeconiah. The name "Assir" which follows Jeconiah in verse 17 means "the captive." "Jeconiah, the captive," is the proper rendering. His son Salathiel was therefore born in the captivity (Matt. 1:12). Jeconiah was written "childless," which does not mean that he was to have no sons, but that no son of his should sit upon the throne of David (Jer. 22:30). The son of Salathiel was Zerubbabel (Matt. 1:12; Ezra 3:2, 5:2; Hag. 1:1, 12). It seems that, in some way, the different names as they appear in the Hebrew text were dislocated. The following arrangement has been suggested to remove the difficulty.

     "And the sons of Jeconiah, the captive, Salathiel, his son. And the sons of Salathiel; Zerubbabel and Shimei; and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, Hananiah and Shelomith their sister. And Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, and Hasadiah, jushab-hezed. And Malchiram, and Rephaiah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah. The sons of Hananiah; Pelatiah and Jesiah; the sons of Rephaiah; his son Arnan, his son Obadiah, his son Shecaniah."

CHAPTER 4:1-23 Additional Genealogies of Judah

     1. The sons of Judah (4:1-8)
     2. Jabez more honorable (4:9-10)
     3. Further descendants of Judah (4:11-20)
     4. Descendants of Shelah (4:21-23)

     Hur and Shobal, mentioned in the first verse, were the sons of Caleb the son of Hezron. The families of the Zorathites sprang from Reaiah, the son of Shobal. Jabez is especially mentioned. Jabez means "He causes pain." "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested." The occasion when this prayer-vow was uttered is not given; probably it was made in connection with the expulsion of the Canaanites from the land and the acquisition of their territory. It was a simple prayer of childlike faith. For blessing, for increase, for companionship and for preservation Jabez cast himself upon the God of Israel, and He granted him his request. Blessing came to Jabez's soul; his coast was enlarged; the hand of the Lord was with him and kept him from evil. God never disappoints faith.

     Then we have mentioned in this chapter the craftsmen; Geharashim (verse 14) means "valley of the craftsmen"; the workers in fine linen (verse 21); and those who were potters (verse 23).

3. Simeon, Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh

CHAPTERS 4:24-5:26

     1. The sons of Simeon (4:24-43)
     2. The sons of Reuben (5:1-10)
     3. The children of Gad and half Manasseh (5:11-26)

     The account of the Simeonites is interesting. Some of their families had increased so much that they had no pasture for their flocks. Some went then to Gedor and found fat pasture and quietness. Others went to Mount Seir, and five hundred of them smote the Amalekites.

     Reuben was the firstborn, and the Chronicles state briefly why Reuben was not mentioned first in these genealogies. His birthright was given to the sons of Joseph. Judah, however, had the preeminence, "of him came the prince." This refers to David and to Him who came from him after the flesh, Messiah the Prince. The Syriac version makes this paraphrase, "of Judah is the King, the Messiah." In verse 6 Tiglath-pileser is mentioned. (Not Tiglath-pilneser; it is an erroneous spelling.) He carried away Beerah, the Prince of the Reubenites.

     The Hagarites, mentioned in verse 10, were no doubt the descendants of Hagar through Ishmael. They were nomads, who wandered over the desert lands of the trans-Jordan territory. The tribe of Gad occupied the lands north of Reuben and eastward from the Jordan to the desert. The genealogies of the chiefs mentioned here were compiled during the reign of Jotham of Judah and Jeroboam of Israel (verse 17). Another war with the Hagarites is recorded in verses 18-22. (Some take that this is the same war mentioned in verse 10.) Here prayer is mentioned again. "They cried to God in the battle, and He was entreated of them; because they put their trust in Him." The Lord delights to record those who trust in Him.

4. Levi


     1. The high-priestly line (6:1-15)
     2. Levitical genealogies (6:16-30)
     3. David's chief musicians (6:31-48)

     The high-priestly line is first given, starting with Levi, and followed down to the exile. From Eleazar the son of Aaron, twenty-two generations are named. Moses is not mentioned in this list. With Aaron his brother he is called a priest (Psalm 99:6), yet he was chosen as the great leader of the people before the consecration of the levitical priesthood. This is the reason why his name is not found here. The last priest named before the captivity is Jehozadak (also called Jozadak). He was carried into captivity and was the father of Joshua, the high-priest, who returned from Babylon (Ezra 3:2; 5:2; Neh. 12:26; Hag. 1:1, 12; Zech. 6).

     After the genealogies of the sons of Levi, who were not priests, the list of the names of David's singers and musicians is given. "These are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, and then they waited on their office according to their order." Heman stands first. He was Samuel's grandson. Psalm 88 is by Heman, the Ezralite. Asaph, the son of Berachiah (verse 39), was the poet-prophet. Psalms 50 and 73-88 bear his name. The sons of Asaph are later mentioned as choristers of the temple (1 Chron. 25:1-2; 2 Chron. 5:12; Ezra 2:41, etc.). Two other prominent persons bore the name of Asaph; Asaph, the recorder to King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:18; Isaiah 36:3), and Asaph, the forester under Artaxerxes (Neh. 2:8). Ethan or Jeduthun (1 Chron. 9:16, 16:41, 25:1; 2 Chron. 35:15) is the author of Psalm 89.

5. Issachar, Naphtali, half Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher


     1. Issachar (7:1-5)
     2. Of Benjamin (7:6-12)
     3. Naphtali (7:13)
     4. Half Manasseh (7:14-19)
     5. Ephraim (7:20-29)
     6. Asher (7:30-40)

     The other tribes are given except Dan and Zebulun, which are missing. Issachar's had the territory between the highlands and the Jordan valley. Their warriors numbered 87,000 taken most likely from David's census. Only three sons of Benjamin are mentioned in verse 6; five are given in chapter 8:1. What became of the other five? In Genesis 46:21 we find ten names. The others had most likely become extinct in the awful slaughter recorded in Judges (Judges 20). All these tables are more or less imperfect. This does not in any way affect the question of inspiration. No doubt there are deeper lessons connected with many of these names and arrangement of them, which we do not know.

     "These genealogies were imperfect. The condition of Israel bore the impress of the ruin which had befallen them; but also that of the goodness of God who had brought back a remnant, and who had preserved all that was needful to place those who formed it in the record of His people. If the needful proof to give them a title to this were wanting, such as were of the people ceased to enjoy their proper privileges, and the priests their sacerdotal position, until a priest stood up with Urim and with Thummim. For these genealogies served as a means to recognize the people. Happy he who had preserved his own, and who had so appreciated the heritage of Jehovah as to attach value to it! It was a proof of faith; for it might have been said, Of what use are these genealogies in Babylon?" (Synopsis of the Bible)

6. Benjamin


     1. The genealogies of Benjamin (8:1-28)
     2. The house of Saul (8:29-40)

     In comparing this list with Gen. 46:21 we find some differences. The names of Benjamites include many who were born in the captivity and who returned to the land and dwelt in Jerusalem. Twice we read "those dwelt in Jerusalem" (verses 28, 32). Some of the names are found in the list of restored exiles in Ezra (chapter 2). Benjamin being brought back from the exile, their loyalty to Judah and the temple was rewarded by God. The following passages will give further light on Benjamin's connection with Judah and sharing the blessing of the return from Babylon (Ezra 1:5; chapter 2; 4:1; Neh. 7; 11:4, 7, 31; 12:34).

     The genealogy of Saul stands last in this chapter. The overthrow of Saul in chapter 10 forms the beginning of the historical records in Chronicles. The son of Jonathan mentioned in verse 34 as Merib-baal is Mephibosheth (2 Sam. 4:4).

7. The Record of the Inhabitants of Jerusalem after the Return


     1. The restoration (9:1-2)
     2. Different residents in Jerusalem (9:3-9)
     3. The priests (9:10-13)
     4. The Levites (9:14-16)
     5. Porters and Levites; their duties (9:17-34)
     6. The house of Saul (9:35-44)

     All Israel was reckoned by genealogies, which means that from the beginning of the nation, public records were kept. The name of every individual and the family and tribe to which they belonged were carefully registered. This complete registry was contained in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, which does not mean the two books of Kings. The genealogies contained in the preceding chapters were condensed from the larger registry in the archives of Israel and Judah. Such genealogical registers were likewise kept during the captivity. The names registered in the rest of this chapter are the names of the inhabitants of Jerusalem after the exile. Almost all the names are also found in Nehemiah 11 with some marked differences. The genealogy of the house of Saul is repeated once more (see 8:29-38), evidently, as the connecting link with the next chapter.

     It is beyond the scope of our work to follow these genealogical registries at greater length, or to attempt the solution of many supposed difficulties.



     1. The overthrow and death of Saul (10:1-7)
     2. The burial of Saul and his sons (10:8-12)
     3. The cause of Saul's failure (10:13-14)

     1 Samuel 31 contains the same record of Saul's miserable end and trial. The writer of Chronicles uses the departure of Saul to introduce the history of the king after God's own heart, why God had dealt with Saul in judgment, and that the kingdom was turned unto David, the son of Jesse. The fatal battle between the Philistines and Israel took place in Mount Gilboa. Gilboa is south-east of the plain of Esdraelon which runs from Carmel to the Jordan valley. The cause of this war is unknown. Saul suffered a great defeat and many were the slain of Israel which fell in Gilboa. Among them were Saul's three sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, also called Ishui (1 Sam. 14:49), and Melchi-shua. Then Saul himself was hit by an archer and wounded. Fearing abuse and insults from the Philistines, he requested his armor bearer to draw his sword and to kill him, but he was afraid, because Saul was the Lord's anointed. Then the unhappy king took his own sword and fell upon it. The armor bearer also committed suicide. The reader will find in annotations on 2 Samuel 1 the story of the Amalekite explained.

     The victory of the Philistines was complete. The people forsook their cities and these were occupied by the Philistines. When the plunderers came searching for the slain, in order to strip them of their belongings, the bodies of Saul and his sons were found. Then the body of Saul was stripped and beheaded and the armor was brought into the house of their gods, (Ashtaroth, the Phoenician Venus) and the gory head fastened as a trophy in the house of Dagon. 1 Sam. 31:10 tells us that the body was fastened to the wall of Beth-shan, but here we read that only the head was fastened in the house of Dagon. Beth-shan was a mountain fortress, and here the bodies of Saul and his unfortunate sons were fastened.

     "And now night with her dark mantle once more covered these horrible trophies. Shall the eagles and vultures complete the work which, no doubt, they had already begun? The tidings had been carried across the Jordan, and wakened echoes in one of Israel's cities. It was to Jabesh-gilead that Saul, when only named but not yet acknowledged king, had by a forced night-march brought help, delivering it from utter destruction (1 Sam. 11). That had been the morning of Saul's life, bright, and promising as none other; his first glorious victory, which had made him king by acclamation, and drawn Israel's thousands to that gathering in Gilgal, when, amidst the jubilee of an exultant people, the new kingdom was inaugurated. And now it was night; and the headless bodies of Saul and his sons, deserted by all, swung in the wind on the walls of Beth-shan, amid the hoarse music of vultures and jackals.

     "But it must not be so; it cannot be so. There was still truth, gratitude, and courage in Israel. And the brave men of Jabesh-gilead marched all the weary night; they crossed Jordan; they climbed that steep brow, and silently detached the dead bodies from the walls. Reverently they bore them across the river, and ere the morning light were far out of reach of the Philistines. Though it had always been the custom in Israel to bury the dead, they would not do so to these mangled remains, that they might not, as it were, perpetuate their disgrace. They burned them just sufficiently to destroy all traces of insult, and the bones they reverently laid under their great tamarisk tree, themselves fasting for seven days in token of public mourning. All honor to the brave men of Jabesh-gilead, whose deed Holy Scripture has preserved to all generations!" (Bible History).

     Sad and solemn is the final record of King Saul in these historical books. "So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the Word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it" (1 Sam. 28:6-7). He had disobeyed God, rejected His Word and then turned to the agency of Satan, to a demon instrument for help and advice. This is the road of apostasy. The road of the apostasy in Christendom so prominent in the closing days of our age is the same. It is departure from the faith and giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1). It is a turning away from the truth, the Word of God, and turning to fables (2 Tim. 4:4).


1. David at Hebron


     1. David crowned king (11:1-3)
     2. Jerusalem becomes David's capital (11:4-9)
     3. The record of David's mighty men (11:10-47)

     From the second book of Samuel we learned that the crowning of David in Hebron occurred after the death of Ishbosheth (2 Sam. 5). The previous reign of David for seven and a half years and his failures are here omitted. We shall find that Chronicles does not record all the failures and sins of David and Solomon. The blessing and the grace of God toward the house of David are made prominent throughout. Acknowledged by all Israel as belonging to them, a great leader, Jehovah's choice to feed His people Israel and to be their prince, all the elders came to Hebron before the Lord and anointed David king.

     The conquest of Jerusalem (Jebus) followed. It was still in the hands of the Jebusites, but David took the stronghold of Zion. Joab distinguished himself and became chief. This is unmentioned in 2 Sam. 5. He built the city from Millo. Millo means "filling up" so that it may have been a big embankment which connected the city of David with the Temple mount. See 1 Kings 9:15 and 2 Chron. 32:5.

     The record of David's mighty men are mentioned here in the beginning of his reign. In Second Samuel we read of them at the end (2 Sam. 23:8-39), preceding Solomon's reign. When the true King begins His reign, typified by both David and Solomon, those who were loyal to the Lord and faithful to Him will be remembered. The first name mentioned is Jashobeam, a Hachmonite. In Samuel his name is given as Josheb-basshebeth, the Tachmonite. They were probably alternative names for the same person. Jashobeam means "the people shall return" and his other name in Samuel means "one who sits in a seat." Hachmonite means translated "the wise." According to Samuel he slew 800 and here in Chronicles he slew 300 at one time. Probably these are both correct; he slew 800 at one occasion and 300 at another. The second name is Eleazar (help of God) the son of Dodo (his beloved). His deed is more fully given in 2 Sam. 23:9. Shammah, the third one of the three mighties is omitted here (2 Sam. 23:11).

     Bethlehem shows the deepest devotion to David from the three who broke through the line in response to David's wish. It was not a command but only a desire expressed, yet they were ready to give their lives, for they were ambitious to please David. May we think here of Him who is greater than David. He, who sat on Sychar's well said to the woman "give me to drink." He longs for the refreshment from His own and we must be ambitious to please Him. It means to break through the hostile ranks of our enemies, as the three men did.

     Abishai (father of gift) the younger brother of Joab and nephew of David slew 300 men. Benaiah's deeds include the slaying of an Egyptian giant almost eight feet tall. In the list of the mighty men Uriah, the Hittite (verse 41) is included. He was a brave and devoted warrior which makes David's deed so much more abhorrent (2 Sam. 11).

2. David's Warriors and Friends


     1. The Benjamite warriors with David at Ziklag (12:1-7)
     2. The other warriors (12:8-22)
     3. Those who came to make him king (12:23-40)

     And now those are given by name who stood by David, when he was an outcast, rejected and persecuted by Saul. They were mighty men, his helpers in war. The leading company were of Benjamin, the tribe to which Saul belonged. These joined him when he was at Ziklag. In the wilderness of Judah certain of the Gadites separated themselves unto him, "whose faces were like the faces of lions and they were as swift as the roes upon the mountains." May we remember again that all this is written for our learning. Our Lord is rejected and we can stand by Him, as these mighty men stood by David. Men with faces like lions, bold and courageous, are needed, as well as those as swift as the roes upon the mountains, in doing His bidding in true service. They braved the floods of Jordan and swept all hindrances out of the way to reach David, and when David spoke to them to ascertain why they had come, the Spirit of God sent through Amasai a message which must have greatly cheered his heart. "Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse." May we say to Him whose we are and whom we serve, "Thine we are, O Lord, and on Thy side, Thou Son of God." Other valiant men of Manasseh also joined him and helped him greatly.

     Then a wonderful gathering took place. From everywhere they gathered to make David king. Even from the most northern parts of the land, from issachar, Zebulun and Naphtali they came for one of the greatest events which happened in Israel's history. If we tabulate the figures given in verses 23-37 we have the following results:


Of Judah 6,800 Men  
Of Simeon 7,100 Men  
Of Levi 4,600 Men  
With Jehoiada, the "prince" (not high-priest of Aaron) 3,700 Men  
Zadok and his father's house   22 chiefs.
Of Benjamin 3,000 Men  
Of Ephraim 20,800 Men  
Of half Manasseh 18,000 Men  
Of Issachar   200 leaders.
Of Zebulun 50,000 Men  
Of Naphtali 37,000 Men 1,000 chiefs.
Of Dan 28,600 Men  
Of Asher 40,000 Men  
Of the 2-1/2 tribes east of Jordan 120,000 Men  
      Total 339,600 Men 1,222 chiefs. etc.

     This immense company of people came and they had all one desire and one thought, "to make David king." They were not of a double heart. There was no dissenting voice; they were of one heart, they came with a perfect heart to make David king.

     A great feast was kept. They brought bread on asses and on camels and on mules and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine and oil and oxen and sheep abundantly. There was joy in Israel. But how much greater will be the joy, and what a feast will be made, when He is made King, not alone over Israel, but when He will be enthroned as King of kings and Lord of lords!

3. The Ark Removed from Kirjath-jearim


     1. The consultation about the ark (13:1-5)
     2. The attempt and the failure (13:6-14)

     The first thing after the coronation which concerned David was the ark. This reveals the fact that the king had the things of the Lord upon his heart. He at once consulted with the captains about bringing the ark from Kirjath-jearim. The ark is mentioned forty-six times in the two books of Chronicles. (The titles are the following: ark, 15 times; the ark of God, 12 times; the ark of the Covenant of the LORD, 11 times; the ark of the LORD, 4 times; the ark of the Covenant of God, of Thy Strength, of our God and Thy holy ark, each once.)

     In Chronicles David's gracious words are recorded, which he addressed to the assembly of Israel, "if it seem good unto you and that it be of the LORD our God ... let us bring again the ark of our God to us; for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul." The whole scene manifests a true religious enthusiasm and deep concern to follow the ways of Jehovah. David and all Israel went up to Kirjath-jearim and carried the ark upon a new cart. David and all Israel played before God with all their might, even with songs and with harps and with psalteries, with cymbals and trumpets. But in all this great and human rejoicing, David did not conform to Jehovah's ways. According to God's laws covering the handling of the ark, only the Levites were to touch it. They were to carry it on their shoulders and not to place it in a cart (Num. 4:5, 15). All this had been violated. The divine displeasure was fully manifested when Uzza put forth his hands to hold the ark, because the oxen had stumbled. Uzza was stricken with sudden death. He forgot that the ark was the emblem of Jehovah's presence in the midst of His people. See annotations on 2 Samuel 6.

4. David's Increase and Blessing


     1. Hiram (14:1-2)
     2. David's family (14:3-7)
     3. The Philistines defeated (14:8-17)

     The reader is referred to 2 Sam. 5:11-16 for the comment on verses 1-7. Beeliada is called in 2 Sam. 5:16 Eliada. Beeliada was probably changed to Eliada. David's great victory over the Philistines is also recorded in 2 Sam. 5:17- 25. He inquired of God and being permitted to go, he smote them at Baal-perazim, where also the idol images were burned with fire (in obedience to Deut. 7:5, 25). It was a great victory. Baal-perazim means "possessor of breaches." In Isaiah the victory over the Philistines is used as a prophecy of the coming future judgment of the earth. "For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work, and bring to pass His act, his strange act" (Isaiah 28:21). A second time the Philistines came, and David, obedient to the divine instructions, gained another great victory. His fame went into all lands and the fear of him was brought by the LORD upon all nations.

5. The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

CHAPTER 15:1-16:3

     1. The true preparation to fetch the ark (15:1-15)
     2. The great procession (15:16-24)
     3. The ark brought back (15:25-16:3)

     The ark rested in the house of Obed-edom for three months. During that time David prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent.  Warned by what had happened, his conscience aroused, David said, "None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto Him forever."

     It is to be observed, that, although the death of Uzza had its origin in the guilty forgetfulness of David, it nevertheless gave occasion through grace to his being set in his true position for the regulation and appointment of all that concerned the Levites' service. It is always thus with regard to faith, for the purposes of God are fulfilled in favor of it. Man in his zeal may depart from the will of God, and God will chasten him, but only to bring him into more honor, by setting him more completely in the position which God has purposed, and in the understanding of His ways, according to which He will magnify His servant (Synopsis of the Bible).

     All Israel and especially the Levites were gathered together. All is now done according to the divine directions. The former failure was owned and the priests and Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark. They carried the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves as God had commanded.

     A great procession was also requested by David and arranged by the Levites. David loved singing and music as the expression of praise unto the Lord. The instruments mentioned are the psaltery, which was like a long box with a convex sounding board, over which wire strings were stretched; the harp and the cymbal. The latter was a brass instrument with a ball attached. The great procession was headed by a choir of singers and musicians under the leadership of Heman, Asaph and Ethan. In the middle of the procession was the ark, preceded by Chenaniah (established by the LORD), the chief of the Levites. Then there were the two door-keepers of the ark, Berechiah (blessed of the LORD) and Elkanah (God has purchased) and seven priests, who sounded the trumpets before the ark, and two more door-keepers. "Alamoth" in verse 20 must have been a choir of virgins (Alamoth means virgins). Such is the meaning of the word in the inscription of Psalm 46. In Psalm 58, where a great procession is mentioned in connection with the removing of the ark (no doubt commemorating the return of the ark to Jerusalem) we read of women publishing the tidings (verse 11 marginal reading) and there we hear also of the damsels in the procession. (Read also Psalm 132 and notice its connection with the event of this chapter.) "The singers went before; the players of the instruments followed after, among them were the damsels playing with timbrels" (Psalm 68:25). But the sixty-eighth Psalm describes prophetically another great procession and celebration, when He comes in great power and glory. "Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord--to Him that rideth upon the heaven of heavens" (Psalm 68:32-33).

     And so the ark was brought to Jerusalem and set in the midst of the tent. It was a time of great rejoicing and feasting. But what will it be when not an ark, the symbol only of the divine presence, is in the midst of the people, but when the once rejected King appears in the midst and receives the homage and praise of Israel!

     (Comment on Michal and her mockery is made in the parallel passage in 2 Samuel. We omit in annotation in Chronicles all which has been previously mentioned in Samuel and Kings.)

6. The Great Thanksgiving Psalm

CHAPTER 16:4-43

     1. David's appointment (16:4-6)
     2. The Psalm of praise and thanksgiving (16:7-36)
     3. The Levites and the public worship (16:37-43)

     A great thanksgiving Psalm was then delivered by David into the hand of Asaph and his brethren. The view of modern critics, that this Psalm is post-exilic, does not call for any refutation, for the text declares that David himself delivered the hymn to Asaph. The Psalm is made up of portions of different Psalms. See Psalm 105:1-15; 96:1-13; 106:47-48; 107:1; 136. A careful study will show the far reaching meaning of this composite Psalm. It is a great prophecy. It begins with the celebration and praise of what Jehovah has done. Israel is called to remember His covenant. It is not the covenant at Sinai, with its conditional promises, but the unconditional, the grace-covenant, made with Abraham, an everlasting covenant that his seed is to have the land. But prophetically the Psalm points to the time when "His judgments are in all the earth"; it is at that time when the covenant made with Abraham will be remembered. Such a time will come according to the prophetic Word. Verse 22, "Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm," speaks of Israel's preservation; for Israel is His anointed, a kingdom of kings and priests. The day must come when the covenant made with Abraham will be realized and when Israel shall possess the land, after their wanderings from nation to nation (verse 20). Then there will be a throne in Zion and a King shall reign in righteousness, even Christ (Psalm 2).

     Then Psalm 96 is quoted. It is a Psalm which looks forward to the kingdom on earth, when the nations acknowledge Jehovah and bow in His presence. The blessed age of glory, of which the prophets have so much to say, the unreached goal of the glorious future of the earth, the millennium, is pictured in this Psalm.

          Fear before Him, all the earth
           The World is established, it cannot be moved,
           Let the heavens be glad,
           And let the earth rejoice.
           And let them say among the nations,
           The LORD reigneth.
           Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof,
           Let the fields rejoice and all there is therein;
           Then shall the trees of the wood sing out,
           At the Presence of the LORD,
           Because He cometh to judge the earth.

     The praise of Israel concludes the thanksgiving Psalm. We repeat, it is prophetic. It looks onward to the time when the Lord will deliver His people, when the promises made to the fathers will all be fulfilled, when the nations of the earth will know the Lord and when He will reign over all. Such is Israel's future. When He has been merciful to His land and to His people, the nations will rejoice (Deut. 32:43).

     At the close of this chapter we notice how King David regulates everything that was to be done before the ark.

     "The placing of the ark in the capital of Israel, thus making it 'the city of God,' was an event not only of deep national, but of such typical importance, that it is frequently referred to in the sacred songs of the sanctuary. No one will have any difficulty in recognizing Psalm 24 as the hymn composed for this occasion. But other Psalms also refer to it, amongst which, without entering on details that may be profitably studied by each reader, we may mention Psalms 15, 68, 78, and especially Psalm 101, as indicating, so to speak, the moral bearing of the nearness of God's ark upon the king and his kingdom."

     "Faith, apprehending the counsels and the work of God, could see in the establishment of the ark in Zion, the progress of God's power and intervention towards the peaceful and glorious reign of the Son of David. The sure mercies of David were as bright to the eye of faith as the dawn of day, in that the ark of the covenant had been set up by David in the mountain which God had chosen for His everlasting rest" (Synopsis of the Bible).

7. The Covenant and the Promise


     1. David's plan to build a house (17:1-6)
     2. The covenant and the promise (17:7-15)
     3. David's praise and prayer (17:16-27)

     After the ark had found its resting place in a tent the king became deeply concerned about the building of a house. He contrasted his own house of cedars with the humble dwelling place of the ark of the covenant. The desire to build a house for the Lord was expressed to Nathan, who told David, without having consulted the Lord, "Do all that is in thine heart, for God is with thee." That night the message came to Nathan, "Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build Me a house to dwell in, for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day, but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle unto another. Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people, saying, Why have ye not built Me a house of cedars?" What condescension and what identification with His people these words reveal!

     When Israel was a slave, God became his Redeemer; when he dwelt in tents, God abode in one also; when in conflict, God presented Himself as captain of Jehovah's host; when settled in peace, God establishes Himself in the house of His glory. The interval was the probation of His people on earth. God abode in the tent, and even His ark is taken. He interposes in grace for deliverance.

     "Christ also, since we were born of woman, is born of a woman; since His people were under the law, He is born under the law; now that He will have a heavenly people, He is on high for us; when He comes in glory, we shall come with Him, and reign when He reigns, but in these last we are with Him." (Synopsis of the Bible).

     As we have already considered the great Davidic covenant and its meaning (2 Sam. 7) as well as David's worship and prayer, we refer the reader to the annotations of that chapter. Solomon, David's son, is first in view, but he is only a type of Christ, David's greater Son and David's Lord as well. In Christ alone, this great covenant-promise is to be fulfilled. It is still all future, for the Son of David, rejected of His own, does not sit and rule upon the throne of His father David. He has gone to heaven, occupying the throne of God, sitting at His right hand up to the time when His enemies will be made His footstool. Then, when He appears the second time, the angelic announcement will come true, "and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David."

     And what words David spoke to Him, whose grace had made such promises! Humility, faith and confidence answered grace.

8. David's Wars and Successful Reign


     1. War with the Philistines (18:1)
     2. War with Moab (18:2)
     3. War with Zobah (18:3-4)
     4. War with Damascus (18:5-11)
     5. Wars with Edom (18:12-13)
     6. David's administration (18:14-17)

     After such glorious experiences David went forth as the victorious warrior-king to conquer the enemies of Israel. He first smote the Philistines, subdued them and took Gath and her towns. Gath, the chief city of the Philistines, is called in 2 Sam. 8:1 "Metheg-aminah," which means "the bridle of the mother city." Then he smote Moab and they became his servants and brought presents. Great are the conquests and victories of David recorded in this chapter. From Hadarezer, King of Zobah, he took 1,000 chariots, 7,000 horsemen and 20,000 footmen. (2 Sam. 8:4 has 700, which is a copyist's error.) Then the Syrians came to help the King of Zobah and lost 22,000 men. Then the Syrians also became his servants and brought presents. "And the LORD gave victory to David whithersoever he went." In all this we see foreshadowed the triumphs of our Lord Jesus Christ, when He comes as the victorious King and His enemies shall all be subdued.

     All the spoil taken, the shields of gold, were brought to Jerusalem. From Tibhath and from Chun, cities which belonged to Hadarezer, David took very much brass. The brazen sea, the pillars and the vessels of brass for the temple were made by Solomon out of this material. Silver and gold which he carried away from all the conquered nations were all dedicated unto the Lord. And in a future day shall the silver and the gold of the Gentiles be brought to Jerusalem (Isa. 60:6, 17; Psalm 72:10). So David reigned over all Israel, and executed judgment and justice among all his people.

9. The Wars with Ammon, Syria and the Philistines (19-20)


     1. Hanun's insult to David's servants (19:1-5)
     2. Joab's victory (19:6-16)
     3. David's victorious campaign (19:17-19)

     See annotations on 2 Samuel chapter 10. The occasion of the war with the Ammonites was the insult to the messengers of David whom he had sent to the son of King Nahash. Nahash had died and David sent the messengers to comfort Hanun concerning his father. It gives a little glimpse of the tenderness of David. "But the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun, Thinkest thou that David doth honor thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? Are not his servants come unto thee for to search and to overthrow and to spy out the land?" When the Ammonites realized the insult to David's messengers, they spent 1,000 talents of silver (about $375,000) to hire chariots and horsemen. Joab was victorious. Then the king himself took charge and gathered all Israel. A great victory was the result.

     In 2 Samuel the great sin of David follows the victory over the Syrians. In our comment on the fall of David, we have pointed out the connection between the victory of David and his sin. David's fall is omitted in Chronicles because the grace of God is the prominent feature and grace had completely covered David's great sin.

CHAPTER 20 Joab and David take Rabbah

     1. Rabbah destroyed (20:1-3)
     2. The Philistine giants slain (20:4-8)

     Rabbah was the capital of Ammon (Deut. 3:11; josh. 13:25) and was taken by Joab. David tarried in Jerusalem (so fatal to him, 2 Sam. 11:1) and Joab smote Rabbah and destroyed it. Then David appeared also upon the scene. Joab had summoned David to help in the overthrow of the city (2 Sam. 12:27, etc). The crown mentioned was probably the crown of Milcom, their idol-king. It was of solid gold set with precious stones. David received the crown and precious stones, even as our Lord Jesus receives the glory and will appear crowned with many crowns (Rev. 19:12). On verse 3 see annotations 2 Sam. 2:31. The overthrow of the giants followed. First Sibbechai slew Sippai of the children of the giants; in 2 Sam. 21 his name is given as Saph. Elhanan slew Lahmi of Goliath. (The words "the brother of" are in italics and must be omitted. It was another giant who had the same name as the giant of 1 Sam. 17.) Then David's nephew Jonathan, the son of Shimea, David's brother, slew the last of the giants. He had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot and was of great stature. These giants were the special instruments of the power of darkness. They have a typical significance.

     The notion of a giant in Scripture is always connected with evil, the lifting up of man against God, the symbol of pride and self-sufficiency, as well as of oppressive power. He is the opposite of the little and the lowly, the humble in heart, with whom God delights to dwell; but thus may stand for the tyranny of a lust, as in the case of Og, or of a Satanic delusion, as with Goliath himself. In those before us we must see, what we have seen in their kinsman, the monstrous delusions which abide in a system of error such as Philistinism depicts, the ecclesiastical "mystery of lawlessness" of Christian times (Numerical Bible).

     And in the last one overcome by Jonathan (gift of the LORD), we see a type of the final ecclesiastical leader of the apostasy, the man of sin. The number "six" points to this (Rev. 13:11-18).

10. The Numbering of the People and the Punishment


     1. David's failure in numbering the people (21:1-7)
     2. David's confession and the message of God (21:8-12)
     3. David's answer and the punishment (21:13-17)
     4. The altar in the threshing floor of Ornan (21:18-30)

     On the alleged discrepancy between the statement in 2 Sam. 24:1 "And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved (literal: He suffered him to be moved) David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah," and 1 Chron. 21:1 "And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel"; see annotations on 2 Sam. 24. Israel had committed some sin and deserved punishment. This is clear from the statement in 2 Sam. 24:1. The direct cause of the visitation, however, was David's pride, and may have been connected with the desire of constituting his kingdom as a great military power. He wanted to know the strength of the nation and glory in it, and the king forgot that the Lord had increased Israel and all he was and had was of God. What a difference between David here and David sitting in the presence of the Lord after hearing Nathan's message! (17:16). Nothing humbles so as being in the presence of the Lord. The lust of the flesh in self-indulgence had led to his awful sin with Bathsheba, and now the lust of the eyes and the pride of life had entangled him. Satan stood behind it all and the sin committed, pride and self-exaltation, was according to Satan's character. Then David confessed (verse 8) and the Lord sent the prophet Gad to him announcing the modes of punishment from which he was to make his choice. The recovery of David, his real knowledge of God and the working of His grace in his heart are manifested by the fact that he committed himself to God, choosing rather to fall into the hands of God than into the hands of his enemies. The Lord sent the pestilence. David saw the angel of the Lord. Then David and the elders clothed in sack cloth were on their faces. At the sight of the angel with his drawn sword stretched over Jerusalem, David confessed again, but his prayer becomes an intercession; he takes the sin upon himself and prays "let Thine hand, be on me, and on my father's house; but not on Thy people that they should be plagued." This prayer was speedily followed by mercy. The site of the future house of the Lord was then acquired. (See comment on 2 Sam. 24.) Ornan and his four sons had also seen the angel and they were afraid (verse 20). And the Jebusite was willing to give the threshing-floor and all within it. And when the site had been acquired by purchase and the altar was built, burnt-offerings and peace-offerings were brought. Heaven answered by fire. "And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof." All is blessedly typical of Him who is the true burnt-offering, as well as the peace-offering.

     It is interesting to see the order unfolded here in the establishment of the sovereign grace: first of all, the heart of God and His sovereign grace in election, suspending the execution of the deserved and pronounced judgment (verse 15); next, the revelation of this judgment, a revelation which produces humiliation before God and a full confession of sin before His face. David, and the elders of Israel, clothed in sackcloth, fall upon their faces, and David presents himself as the guilty one. Then, instruction comes from God, as to that which must be done to cause the pestilence judicially and definitively to cease, namely, the sacrifice in Ornan's threshing-floor. God accepts the sacrifice, sending fire to consume it, and then He commands the angel to sheathe his sword. And sovereign grace, thus carried out in righteousness through sacrifice, becomes the means of Israel's approach to their God, and establishes the place of their access to Him.


1. The Preparations and Charge to Solomon


     1. The material (22:1-5)
     2. The charge to Solomon (22:6-16)
     3. The charge to the princes (22:17-19)

     God had accepted the sacrifice. The judgment had passed. Prayer had been answered and David, therefore, could truthfully say "this is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt-offering for Israel." The place had therefore been pointed out on which the temple was to be reared. And from now on up to the twenty-eighth verse of chapter 26 all concerns the house which is to be built. The temple is from now on prominently in the foreground and that which the book of Kings does not mention, David's great interest in making preparations for it, is recorded in these chapters. And so we see David with great energy making vast preparations. It shows again how grace had worked in his heart. All else seems to have been forgotten by him. Only one desire controls the king, to make provision of everything necessary for the construction of the Temple. And the house, according to David's conception "must be exceeding magnificent, of fame and of glory throughout all countries." His heart burned with zeal to glorify Jehovah, whose mercy and grace he knew so well and who had kept and prospered him in all his ways. "I will therefore now make preparation for it," David said. Then he prepared abundantly before his death. David, making preparation for the temple his son was to put up, is not without a very striking typical meaning. Both David and Solomon are types of our Lord Jesus Christ. David typifies Him in His humiliation and suffering, Solomon in His exaltation and glory. What Christ has done in His grace results in the coming glory. This is foreshadowed in the preparations David made for the house and the glorious reign of his son. If this is kept in mind these historical statements will take on a blessed meaning.

     He gathered the strangers (the descendants of the Canaanites) and he set them at work. Stones, iron and timber all were prepared before hand on a large scale. Then he called for Solomon, young and tender in years, and addressed him. First he restated the reason why he had been barred from building the house. Then he recited the promise made to him that his son should have rest and build a house for His name. "For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name." David believed all the Lord had spoken through Nathan, and, believing the promise, he had made all preparations and was telling his son about it.

     Then he exhorted him to build the house, to keep the law of the Lord and to take heed. "Be strong, and of good courage and dread not nor be dismayed." Once more he speaks of all he had done in preparation of the house of the Lord. Even in the days of trouble and adversity he had prepared for the house and remembered the claims of Jehovah. Immense amounts of gold and silver, the spoils of wars, had been stored up by him. Many millions of dollars in gold and silver were in his possession and devoted for the one object. And Solomon was to add unto it. Then he told him to arise and to be doing. In the same way he commanded the princes of Israel to help his son Solomon.

     May this teach us who know the riches of the grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, to be as devoted to Him, as zealous to glorify Him, as David was in making these preparations for the building of the temple.

2. The Numbering and Arrangement of the Levites


     1. Solomon made king (23:1)
     2. The number of the Levites (23:2-6)
     3. The Gershonites (23:7-11)
     4. The sons of Kohath (23:12-20)
     5. The sons of Merari (23:21-23)
     6. The service of the Levites (23:24-32)

     David, in his seventieth year, made Solomon king. It is the first time, and afterwards (29:22) he was made king the second time.

     "The first time Solomon was made king, when grace was fully established in the altar built on the threshing-floor of Ornan, where the son of David, as the prince of peace, was to build the temple. Solomon is introduced as the head of all that was being established, and as holding the first and supreme place in the mind of God--the one on whom all the rest depended, which could not even exist now without him. The house, the whole order of the house, and its government, all referred to Solomon; and thus his identification with David, in that both were on the throne at the same time, makes it much easier to understand the type of Christ in this. It is one person, whom His sufferings and victories place on the throne of glory and of peace. For at this moment, although the result of the glory was not yet manifested, God had given rest unto His people, that they might dwell at Jerusalem" (Synopsis of the Bible).

     After he had made Solomon king, David devoted himself still more to the house of the Lord. He ordered and arranged everything. So when the temple was built, Solomon had only to carry out the plans his father in divine wisdom had made. All is typical of Him who has ordered all things in His infinite grace.

     The census of the Levites gave their number from thirty years and upwards, at 38,000. Of these 24,000 were appointed to attend, set forward the work of the house of the Lord; 6,000 were officers and judges; 4,000 were porters and 4,000 praised the Lord with the instruments David had made to praise therewith (Amos 6:5).

3. The Twenty-four Courses of the Priests


     1. The twenty-four courses (24:1-19)
     2. The organization of other Levites (24:20-31)

     In the previous chapter we read of 24,000 Levites set apart for the service. In the next chapter we find twenty-four leaders of song and music appointed, and here David instituted twenty-four courses of priests. Each of these ministered a full week, from one sabbath to the next. These courses were not only continued by Solomon, but also by Hezekiah and Josiah. From Luke 1:5, we learn the same order was still followed in the days our Lord was born. Zecharias belonged to the eighth course, that of Abijah.

     In the book of Revelation (chapter 4, etc.) we read of twenty-four elders clothed in white raiment, crowned and seated upon twenty-four thrones. They represent symbolically all the redeemed brought into glory. This number is obviously an allusion to the arrangement of the priesthood made by David for the service of the temple under the glorious reign of Solomon, the blessed type of the reign of Christ in glory. As these twenty-four courses of Priests were to minister during Solomon's glorious reign, they are typical of the redeemed, the holy and royal priesthood, associated with the Lord Jesus Christ when He occupies His throne of glory.

4. The Singers and Musicians of the Temple


     1. Sons of Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman (25:1-7)
     2. Their division by Lot into twenty-four (25:8-31)

     As we have seen before, Asaph, Jeduthun (Ethan) and Heman were the master leaders in song and music; their service was eminently spiritual, for we read "they should prophesy." Heman especially is called the king's seer in the words of God. This is a significant expression. How much there is in what is termed "worship", which has nothing whatever of the words of God in it. In most of the songs used in our times there is little of the words of God and many contain unscriptural and sentimental phrases. Israel's worship in song and music was to be spiritual, prophesying and in the words of God. Christian worship is not less. It is to be in spirit and in truth. "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Col. 3:16). Asaph had four sons, Jeduthun six, and Heman fourteen, equal to twenty-four. They were divided into twenty-four courses of twelve men each, equal to 288, who served a week in turn. The names of six of the sons of Heman form, in the Hebrew, a complete sentence. Giddalti, Romamti-ezer, joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir and Mahazioth (verse 4) may be rendered in English:

           I have magnified and I have raised up help;
           Sitting in trouble, I have spoken oracles plentiful.

     This fact has aroused the suspicion of the critics regarding the genuineness of this entire list of names. "Now this sentence," saith a critic, "is either an obscure and ancient prayer which hath been mistaken for a list of names by the compiler, or else the compiler has purposely strung together those significant names in such order as to form a sentence" (W.R. Harvey-Jellic). But it is not the mistake of the compiler or an invention. We read that God gave to Heman these sons and the pious Israelite named his sons so as to produce this meaning. There are many such messages in names throughout the Bible. (See annotations on Genesis 5.)

5. The Porters and other Temple Officers


     1. The porters (26:1-12)
     2. The keepers of the gates (26:13-19)
     3. The Levites over the treasures (26:20-28)
     4. Officers and judges (26:29-32)

     Ninety-three porters are mentioned, which held the position of chiefs. The whole number of porters was 4,000 (23:5). Asaph in verse 1 must be changed to Ebiasaph (9:19), for Asaph was not a Korahite, but a Gershonite. Obed-edom is especially mentioned. God blessed him (verse 5). He had sheltered the ark (8:14), "and the LORD blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that he had." And here the blessing is seen in a remarkable increase. "All these of the sons of Obed-edom; they and their sons and their brethren, able men for strength for the service, were three score and two of Obed-edom" (Psalm 127:3). How faithful the Lord is. He did not forget Obed-edom's service and rewarded him richly.

     Then there were the gate keepers. The temple was still unbuilt, no plans had been drawn by man, but the Lord had revealed the plan to David (28:11-13), and he ordered the keepers of the gates according to the divine plan. Then follows the appointment of the Levites who had charge over the treasures and the appointment of officers and judges. Their number was 6,000 (Chap. 23:4). They were divided into three classes: 1. For the outward business of Israel (verse 29). 2. Those who had the oversight of Israel beyond Jordan westward, 1,700 persons, for all the business of the Lord, and for service of the King (verse 30). 3. The third class consisted of 2,700 who were rulers for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king (verses 31-32). All was divinely planned and arranged through David in anticipation of the glorious reign of his son. And even so all is planned and appointed for the coming reign of the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace.

6. The Captains, Princes, and Various Officials


     1. The twelve captains (27:1-15)
     2. The princes of the twelve tribes (27-16-22)
     3. The unfinished numbering (27:23-24)
     4. Various officers (27:25-34)

     We have here the military organization of David's kingdom. The army comprised all males over twenty years of age. The host had twelve divisions each of 24,000. It is remarkable how the number twenty-four occurs again and again. Twelve is the governmental number and twice twelve, that is, twenty-four, would indicate a perfect and complete government such as will be established when Heaven's King of Glory is enthroned. In the list of the Princes of Israel the tribe of Dan is numbered last. There is something significant about this. Dan, as we have seen, is not mentioned in the chronological register, nor is this tribe mentioned in Rev. 7. Dan is called a serpent (Genesis 49:17); it may be that the coming false Messiah will come out of Dan. Gad and Asher are not mentioned in the list.

7. The Last Acts of David and His Death

CHAPTER 28 The Great Assembly

     1. The Address of David to the assembly (28:1-10)
     2. The patterns, the gold and the silver delivered to Solomon (28:11-19)
     3. His encouraging words to Solomon (28:20-21)

     The events in this chapter connect with Chapter 23:1. There we find the brief statement that David was old and full of years and that Solomon his son was made king over Israel. Then follow the chapters which acquaint us with the preparations David had made for the building of the temple and the arrangements of the Levites, etc., for the temple service. And now the threads of the narrative which were dropped are taken up again. A great and representative audience was called by David when he made Solomon king. All the princes of Israel and the captains and mighty men in Jerusalem came together. As we know from the book of Kings the aged monarch was weak in his body. But when the hour came to address the great assembly he arose and stood upon his feet. The three attitudes of David are suggestive. He was, on his face, a penitent, (2 Sam. 1:12; 1 Chron. 21:16); he sat in His presence as a worshipper (1 Chron. 17:16), and now he stood on his feet as a servant. The words he spoke before the assembly are similar to those he addressed to his son Solomon in private (1 Chron. 22). After he had spoken all these words, in which he once more traced the gracious dealings of the Lord with him, he admonished his son to know the God of his father, to serve Him with a perfect heart and a willing mind. "If thou, seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever." Then he exhorted him again to build the house. "Be strong and do it."

     After this David handed over the patterns of the porch, the temple houses, the treasuries, the upper chambers and the inner rooms and of the place of the mercy seat. How did the king obtain these patterns? He had them by the Spirit. The authorized version prints Spirit with a small "s." It was not his own spirit who planned it. A certain commentator says it means that these patterns had been "floating in his mind." The sentence "the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit" means that the Holy Spirit had revealed it all to him. It was given to him by inspiration as the pattern of the tabernacle and all belonging to it had been given to Moses also by revelation. Then he turned over to Solomon the immense quantities of gold and silver and other materials he had so faithfully collected for the construction of the Temple.

CHAPTER 29 The Final Words and Actions of David and His Death

     1. The exhortation (29:1-5)
     2. The response (29:6-9)
     3. David's praise and prayer (29:10-20)
     4. The sacrifices and enthronement of Solomon (29:21-25)
     5. The reign of David and his death (29:26-30)

     Then David spoke once more to the assembled princes and captains. What tenderness and concern as well as devotion his words reveal! "Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young, and tender, and the work is great, for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God." Once more the aged king speaks of the vast preparations he had made for the house of God. He would also contribute largely from his own treasures. The gold and silver, precious and glistening stones amounted in value to many million dollars. The gold of Ophir mentioned was the purest and finest known in that day (Job 22:24; 28:16; Isaiah 13:12). And all he had done was "because I have set my affection to the house of my God." He loved it so much and therefore he gave and consecrated such vast treasures. And here we may remember Him who was richer than David, who gave more than David ever could give. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor that ye through His poverty might be rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). After he had told of his own devotion he said, "And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?" The Hebrew is "to fill his hand today to Jehovah." It means that whosoever gave willingly, as he himself had done, would fill his hand with a free will offering unto the Lord. Christian giving should always be looked upon in this light. It is giving unto the Lord. And David's great liberality and example brought a great response. An immense offering was given.

     "Drams" is in Hebrew "daric," a Persian gold coin weighing about 130 grains. The word is found also in Ezra 8:27. It was probably called "daric" after Darius and therefore shows that Chronicles was written after the captivity.

     "Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD, and David, the King, also rejoiced with great joy." The joy of giving took hold of all. "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). How great must have been the joy of the king as he beheld the fruits of his own devotion in the willingness of his people! And here again we must think once more of our Lord. It is His gracious example in giving Himself for us, His people, which will lead us on to sacrifice, to give, to spend and be spent. And how great His joy if His people follow thus after Him.

     It is a great inspired outburst of David which follows. How He praises! Verses 10-13 are one of the greatest outbursts of praise and worship found in the Old Testament. Then what humility! "But who am I, and what is my people that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee ... all this store that we have prepared to build thee a house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own." A most beautiful sight is an aged saint whom God hath used and honored and who is humble. Alas! how many become lifted up and walk in pride. Then David prayed for the people and for his son Solomon. "And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the King" (verse 20). All foreshadows that day of which we read in Psalm 110:3, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." That will be when the King, the Prince of Peace, will take His glorious throne, when He begins to rule.

     After the large number of sacrifices had been brought and they had eaten before the Lord on that day with great gladness, Solomon was made king the second time, even as his father David passed through the same experience. This double event has no doubt a definite typical meaning in connection with our Lord in as much as both, David and Solomon, are types of the Lord Jesus Christ. When Solomon was made king the first time he was but anointed with oil (1 Kings 1:39) and acclaimed as king, but he did not occupy the kingly throne. But when he was made king the second time he sat upon the throne "and all Israel obeyed him." "The LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel." We see therefore (though no commentaries mention it) that these two occasions are typical of the first and the second coming of our Lord. Our Lord was anointed king when He came the first time, but He received not the throne. When He comes the second time He receives the throne and God will bestow upon Him "royal majesty" and "all Israel" will obey Him.

     Then follows the record of the reign and death of David. There is no clash between the account of David's last days in the closing chapters of the second book of Samuel and the opening chapters of First Kings. The record in Chronicles is in fullest keeping with the purpose and object of this book. Blessing and grace is manifested to the end, and David's failings are passed over.