Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible – 1 Chronicles – Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, and David Brown
THE FIRST BOOK OF THE CHRONICLES. Commentary by Robert Jamieson
1Ch 1:1-23. Adam’s Line to Noah.
1. Adam, &c.–“Begat” must be understood. Only that one member of the family is mentioned, who came in the direct order of succession.
4-23. Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth–The three sons of this patriarch are enumerated, partly because they were the founders of the new world, and partly because the fulfilment of Noah’s prophecy (Ge 9:25-27) could not otherwise appear to have been verified.
12. Casluhim (of whom came the Philistines), and Caphtorim–a better rendering is, “and Casluhim, of whom came the Philistim and Caphtorim.” They were brethren, the sons of Casluhim, and at first dwelt together, whence their names are used interchangeably. The Caphtorim are described as inhabiting Azzah, or Gaza, the seat of the Philistines.
14-17. the Jebusite, &c.–At 1Ch 1:14-17 the names are not those of individuals, but of people who all sprang from Canaan; and as several of them became extinct or were amalgamated with their brethren, their national appellations are given instead of the personal names of their ancestors.
17. Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Meshech–or, “Mash”; these were the children of Aram, and grandsons of Shem (Ge 10:23).
18. Arphaxad begat Shelah–Cainan, the father’s name, is omitted here. (See Lu 3:36).
19. Peleg–(See on Ge 10:25).
22. Ebal–or, “Obal” (Ge 10:28).
1Ch 1:24-28. Shem’s Line to Abraham.
24-27. Shem, &c.–This comprises a list of ten, inclusive of Abraham.
1Ch 1:29-31. Sons of Ishmael.
29. These are their generations–the heads of his twelve tribes. The great northern desert of Arabia, including the entire neck, was colonized by these tribes; and if we can recover, in the modern geography of this part of the country, Arab tribes bearing the names of those patriarchs, that is, names corresponding with those preserved in the original catalogue of Scripture, we obtain at once so many evidences, not of mere similarity, but of absolute identification [Forster].
Nebaioth–gave rise to the Nabathæans of the classic, and the Beni Nabat of Oriental writers.
Kedar–the Arab tribe, El Khedeyre, on the coast of Hedgar.
Abdeel–Abdilla, the name of a tribe in Yemen.
30. Dumah–Dumah and Tema, the great Arab tribes of Beni Teman. Thus this writer [Historical Geography of Arabia] traces the names of all the heads of the twelve tribes of Ishmael as perpetuated in the clans or tribes of the Arabs in the present day.
1Ch 1:32, 33. Sons of Keturah.
32. sons of Keturah–These became founders of nomadic tribes in the north of Arabia and Syria, as Midian of the Midianites (Ge 36:35; Jud 6:2).
and Shuah–from whom Bildad sprang (Job 2:11).
1Ch 1:34-42. Posterity of Abraham by Esau.
36. sons of Eliphaz–the tribe Adites, in the center country of the Saracens, so called from his mother, Adah (Ge 36:10).
Teman–gave rise to the land of Teman, near the head of the Red Sea.
Omar–the tribe Beni-Amma, settled at the northern point of Djebel Shera (Mount Seir).
Zephi–the tribe Dzaf.
Gatam–Katam, inhabited by the tribe Al Saruat, or “people of Sarah.”
Kenaz–the tribe Aenezes, a tribe whose settlement lies in the neighborhood of Syria.
Amalek–the Beni Malak of Zohran, and the Beni Maledj of the Shat el Arab.
37. Reuel–a powerful branch of the great Aeneze tribe, the Rowalla Arabs.
Shammah–the great tribe Beni Shammar. In the same way, the names of the other kings and dukes are traced in the modern tribes of Arabia. But it is unnecessary to mention any more of these obscure nomads, except to notice that Jobab (1Ch 1:44), one of the kings of Edom, is considered to be Job, and that his seat was in the royal city of Dinahab (Ge 36:32; 1Ch 1:43), identified with O’Daeb, a well-known town in the center of Al Dahna, a great northern desert in the direction of Chaldea and the Euphrates [Forster].
1Ch 2:1, 2. Sons of Israel.
1Ch 2:3-12. Posterity of Judah.
3. The sons of Judah–His descendants are enumerated first, because the right and privileges of the primogeniture had been transferred to him (Ge 49:8), and because from his tribe the Messiah was to spring.
6. Zimri, and Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara–These five are here stated to be the sons of Zerah, that is, of Ezra, whence they were called Ezrahites (1Ki 4:31). In that passage they are called “the sons of Mahol,” which, however, is to be taken not as a proper name, but appellatively for “sons of music, dancing,” &c. The traditional fame of their great sagacity and acquirements had descended to the time of Solomon and formed a standard of comparison for showing the superior wisdom of that monarch. Jewish writers say that they were looked up to as prophets by their countrymen during the abode in Egypt.
7. the sons of Carmi–He was the son of Zimri, or Zabdi, as he is called (Jos 7:1).
Achar–or Achan (Jos 7:1). This variety in the form of the name is with great propriety used here, since Achar means “troubler.”
1Ch 2:13-17. Children of Jesse.
15. David the seventh–As it appears (1Sa 16:10; 17:12) that Jesse had eight sons, the presumption is from David being mentioned here as the seventh son of his father, that one of them had died at an early age, without leaving issue.
17. Jether the Ishmaelite–(compare 2Sa 17:25). In that passage he is called Ithra an Israelite; and there seems no reason why, in the early days of David, anyone should be specially distinguished as an Israelite. The presumption is in favor of the reading followed by the Septuagint, which calls him “Jetra the Jezreelite.” The circumstance of his settling in another tribe, or of a woman marrying out of her own tribe, was sufficiently rare and singular to call for the statement that Abigail was married to a man of Jezreel.
1Ch 2:18-55. Posterity of Caleb.
18. Caleb the son of Hezron–The notices concerning this person appear confused in our version. In 1Ch 2:19 he is said to be the father of Hur, whereas in 1Ch 2:50 he is called “the son of Hur.” The words in this latter passage have been transposed in the copying, and should be read thus, “Hur the son of Caleb.”
begat children of Azubah his wife, and of Jerioth–The former was his spouse, while Jerioth seems to have been a secondary wife, and the mother of the children whose names are here given. On the death of his principal wife, he married Ephrath, and by her had Hur [1Ch 2:19].
21. Hezron … daughter of Machir the father of Gilead–that is, chief of that town, which with the lands adjacent was no doubt the property of Machir, who was so desirous of a male heir. He was grandson of Joseph. The wife of Machir was of the tribe of Manasseh (Nu 26:29).
22. Jair, who had three and twenty cities in the land of Gilead–As the son of Segub and the grandson of Hezron, he was of the tribe of Judah; but from his maternal descent he is called (Nu 32:41; De 3:14) “the son of Manasseh.” This designation implies that his inheritance lay in that tribe in right of his grandmother; in other words, his maternal and adopting great-grandfather was Machir the son of Manasseh. Jair, inheriting his property, was his lineal representative; and accordingly this is expressly stated to be the case; for the village group of “Havoth-Jair” was awarded to him in that tribe, in consequence of his valiant and patriotic exploits. This arrangement, however, took place previous to the law (Nu 36:1-13), by which it was enacted that heiresses were to marry in their own tribe. But this instance of Jair shows that in the case of a man obtaining an inheritance in another tribe it required him to become thoroughly incorporated with it as a representative of the family through which the inheritance was received. He had been adopted into Manasseh, and it would never have been imagined that he was other than “a son of Manasseh” naturally, had not this passage given information supplementary to that of the passage in Numbers.
23. he took–rather “he had taken.” This statement is accounting for his acquisition of so large a territory; he got it by right of conquest from the former possessors.
Kenath–This place, along with its group of surrounding villages, was gained by Nobah, one of Jair’s officers sent by him to capture it (Nu 32:1, 2).
All these belonged to the sons of Machir–In their number Jair is included as having completely identified himself by his marriage and residence in Gilead with the tribe of Manasseh.
24. Caleb-ephratah–so called from uniting the names of husband and wife (1Ch 2:19), and supposed to be the same as was afterwards called Beth-lehem-ephratah.
Ashur, the father of Tekoa–(2Sa 14:2-4). He is called the father, either from his being the first founder, or perhaps the ruler, of the city.
34. Sheshan had no sons, but daughters–either he had no sons alive at his death, or his family consisted wholly of daughters, of whom Ahlai (1Ch 2:31) was one, she being specially mentioned on account of the domestic relations about to be noted.
35. Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant to wife–The adoption and marriage of a foreign slave in the family where he is serving, is far from being a rare or extraordinary occurrence in Eastern countries. It is thought, however, by some to have been a connection not sanctioned by the law of Moses [Michaelis]. But this is not a well-founded objection, as the history of the Jews furnishes not a few examples of foreign proselytes in the same manner obtaining an inheritance in Israel; and doubtless Jarha had previously embraced the Jewish faith in place of the grovelling idolatries of his native Egypt. In such a case, therefore, there could be no legal difficulty. Being a foreign slave, he had no inheritance in a different tribe to injure by this connection; while his marriage with Sheshan’s daughter led to his adoption into the tribe of Judah, as well as his becoming heir of the family property.
42. the sons of Caleb–(compare 1Ch 2:18, 25). The sons here noticed were the fruit of his union with a third wife.
55. the families of the scribes–either civil or ecclesiastical officers of the Kenite origin, who are here classed with the tribe of Judah, not as being descended from it, but as dwelling within its territory, and in a measure incorporated with its people.
Jabez–a place in Judah (1Ch 4:9).
Kenites that came of Hemath–who settled in Judah, and were thus distinguished from another division of the Kenite clan which dwelt in Manasseh (Jud 4:11).
1Ch 3:1-9. Sons of David.
1-3. Now these were the sons of David, which were born unto him in Hebron–It is of consequence for the proper understanding of events in the domestic history of David, to bear in mind the place and time of his sons’ birth. The oldest son, born after his father’s accession to the sovereign authority, is according to Eastern notions, the proper heir to the throne. And hence the natural aspirations of ambition in Ammon, who was long unaware of the alienation of the crown, and could not be easily reconciled to the claims of a younger brother being placed above his own (see on 2Sa 3:1-5).
3. Eglah his wife–supposed to be another name of Michal, who, though she had no son after her mockery of David for dancing before the ark [2Sa 6:16, 20], might have had one previous to that time. She has the title of wife appended to her name because she was his proper wife; and the mention of her name last probably arose from the circumstance that, having been withdrawn from David and married to another husband but afterwards restored, she had in reality become the last of his wives.
5. four, of Bath-shua the daughter of Ammiel–or, “Bath-sheba” (2Sa 11:3), and there her father is called “Eliam.” Of course Solomon was not her “only son,” but he is called so (Pr 4:3) from the distinguished affection of which he was the object; and though the oldest, he is named the last of Bath-sheba’s children.
6. Elishama and Eliphelet–Two sons of the same name are twice mentioned (1Ch 3:8). They were the children of different mothers, and had probably some title or epithet appended by which the one was distinguished from the other. Or, it might be, that the former two were dead, and their names had been given to sons afterwards born to preserve their memories.
8. nine–The number of David’s sons born after his removal to Jerusalem, was eleven (2Sa 5:14), but only nine are mentioned here: two of them being omitted, either in consequence of their early deaths or because they left no issue.
1Ch 3:10-16. His Line to Zedekiah.
10. Solomon’s son was Rehoboam, &c.–David’s line is here drawn down to the captivity, through a succession of good and bad, but still influential and celebrated, monarchs. It has rarely happened that a crown has been transmitted from father to son, in lineal descent, for seventeen reigns. But this was the promised reward of David’s piety. There is, indeed, observable some vacillation towards the close of this period–the crown passing from one brother to another, an even from uncle to nephew–a sure sign of disorderly times and a disjointed government.
15. Zedekiah–called the son of Josiah (compare Jer 1:3; 37:1), but in 2Ch 36:19 he is described as the brother of Jehoiachin, who was the son of Jehoiakim, and consequently the grandson of Josiah. Words expressive of affinity or relationship are used with great latitude in the Hebrew.
Shallum–No king of this name is mentioned in the history of Josiah’s sons (2Ki 14:1-29; 23:1-37), but there is a notice of Shallum the son of Josiah (Jer 22:11), who reigned in the stead of his father, and who is generally supposed to be Jehoahaz, a younger son, here called the fourth, of Josiah.
1Ch 3:17-24. Successors of Jeconiah.
17. the sons of Jeconiah; Assir–rather, “Jeconiah the prisoner,” or “captive.” This record of his condition was added to show that Salathiel was born during the captivity in Babylon (compare Mt 1:12). Jeconiah was written childless (Jer 22:30), a prediction which (as the words that follow explain) meant that this unfortunate monarch should have no son succeeding him on the throne.
18. Malchiram also–As far as Jeconiah, everything is plain; but there is reason to suspect that the text in the subsequent verses has been dislocated and disarranged. The object of the sacred historian is to trace the royal line through Zerubbabel; yet, according to the present reading, the genealogical stem cannot be drawn from Jeconiah downwards. The following arrangement of the text is given as removing all difficulties [Davidson, Hermeneutics]:–1Ch 3:17. And the sons of Jeconiah the the captive, Salathiel (Shealtiel, Ezr 3:2; Ne 12:1; Hag 1:12, 14; 2:2) his son. 1Ch 3:18. And the sons of Salathiel; Zerubbabel and Shimei; and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister. 1Ch 3:19. And Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, and Hasadiah, Jushab-hezed. 1Ch 3:20. And Malchiram, and Rephaiah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah. 1Ch 3:21. The sons of Hananiah; Pelatiah and Jesaiah; the sons of Rephaiah; his son Arnan, his son Obadiah, his son Shecaniah.
1Ch 4:1-8. Posterity of Judah by Caleb the Son of Hur.
1. the sons of Judah–that is, “the descendants,” for with the exception of Pharez, none of those here mentioned were his immediate sons. Indeed, the others are mentioned solely to introduce the name of Shobal, whose genealogy the historian intended to trace (1Ch 2:52).
1Ch 4:9-20. Of Jabez, and His Prayer.
9, 10. Jabez–was, as many think, the son of Coz, or Kenaz, and is here eulogized for his sincere and fervent piety, as well, perhaps, as for some public and patriotic works which he performed. The Jewish writers affirm that he was an eminent doctor in the law, whose reputation drew so many scribes around him that a town was called by his name (1Ch 2:55); and to the piety of his character this passage bears ample testimony. The memory of the critical circumstances which marked his birth was perpetuated in his name (compare Ge 35:15); and yet, in the development of his high talents or distinguished worth in later life, his mother must have found a satisfaction and delight that amply compensated for all her early trials. His prayer which is here recorded, and which, like Jacob’s, is in the form of a vow (Ge 28:20), seems to have been uttered when he was entering on an important or critical service, for the successful execution of which he placed confidence neither on his own nor his people’s prowess, but looked anxiously for the aid and blessing of God. The enterprise was in all probability the expulsion of the Canaanites from the territory he occupied; and as this was a war of extermination, which God Himself had commanded, His blessing could be the more reasonably asked and expected in preserving them from all the evils to which the undertaking might expose him. In these words, “that it may not grieve me,” and which might be more literally rendered, “that I may have no more sorrow,” there is an allusion to the meaning of his name, Jabez, signifying “grief”; and the import of this petition is, Let me not experience the grief which my name implies, and which my sins may well produce.
10. God granted him that which he requested–Whatever was the kind of undertaking which roused his anxieties, Jabez enjoyed a remarkable degree of prosperity, and God, in this instance, proved that He was not only the hearer, but the answerer of prayer.
13. the sons of Kenaz–the grandfather of Caleb, who from that relationship is called a Kenezite (Nu 32:12).
14. Joab, the father of the valley of Carashim–literally, “the father of the inhabitants of the valley”–“the valley of craftsmen,” as the word denotes. They dwelt together, according to a custom which, independently of any law, extensively prevails in Eastern countries for persons of the same trade to inhabit the same street or the same quarter, and to follow the same occupation from father to son, through many generations. Their occupation was probably that of carpenters, and the valley where they lived seems to have been in the neighborhood of Jerusalem (Ne 11:35).
17, 18. she bare Miriam–It is difficult, as the verses stand at present, to see who is meant. The following readjustment of the text clears away the obscurity: “These are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took, and she bare Miriam, and his wife Jehudijah bare Jezreel,” &c.
18. Jehudijah–“the Jewess,” to distinguish her from his other wife, who was an Egyptian. This passage records a very interesting fact–the marriage of an Egyptian princess to a descendant of Caleb. The marriage must have taken place in the wilderness. The barriers of a different national language and national religion kept the Hebrews separate from the Egyptians; but they did not wholly prevent intimacies, and even occasional intermarriages between private individuals of the two nations. Before such unions, however, could be sanctioned, the Egyptian party must have renounced idolatry, and this daughter of Pharaoh, as appears from her name, had become a convert to the worship of the God of Israel.
1Ch 4:21-23. Posterity of Shelah.
21. Laadah … the father … of the house of them that wrought fine linen–Here, again, is another incidental evidence that in very early times certain trades were followed by particular families among the Hebrews, apparently in hereditary succession. Their knowledge of the art of linen manufacture had been, most probably, acquired in Egypt, where the duty of bringing up families to the occupations of their forefathers was a compulsory obligation, whereas in Israel, as in many parts of Asia to this day, it was optional, though common.
22, 23. had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubi-lehem–“And these are ancient things” seems a strange rendering of a proper name; and, besides, it conveys a meaning that has no bearing on the record. The following improved translation has been suggested: “Sojourned in Moab, but returned to Beth-lehem and Adaberim-athekim. These and the inhabitants of Netaim and Gedera were potters employed by the king in his own work.” Gedera or Gederoth, and Netaim, belonged to the tribe of Judah, and lay on the southeast border of the Philistines’ territory (Jos 15:36; 2Ch 28:18).
1Ch 4:24-43. Of Simeon.
24. The sons of Simeon–They are classed along with those of Judah, as their possession was partly taken out of the extensive territory of the latter (Jos 19:1). The difference in several particulars of the genealogy given here from that given in other passages is occasioned by some of the persons mentioned having more than one name [compare Ge 46:10; Ex 6:15; Nu 26:12].
27. his brethren had not many children–(see Nu 1:22; 26:14).
31-43. These were their cities unto the reign of David–In consequence of the sloth or cowardice of the Simeonites, some of the cities within their allotted territory were only nominally theirs. They were never taken from the Philistines until David’s time, when, the Simeonites having forfeited all claim to them, he assigned them to his own tribe of Judah (1Sa 27:6).
38, 39. increased greatly, and they went to the entrance of Gedor–Simeon having only a part of the land of Judah, they were forced to seek accommodation elsewhere; but their establishment in the new and fertile pastures of Gederah was soon broken up; for, being attacked by a band of nomad plunderers, they were driven from place to place till some of them effected by force a settlement on Mount Seir.
1Ch 5:1-10. The Line of Reuben.
1. Now the sons of Reuben–In proceeding to give this genealogy, the sacred historian states, in a parenthesis (1Ch 5:1, 2), the reason why it was not placed first, as Reuben was the oldest son of Jacob. The birthright, which by a foul crime he had forfeited, implied not only dominion, but a double portion (De 21:17); and both of these were transferred to Joseph, whose two sons having been adopted as the children of Jacob (Ge 48:5), received each an allotted portion, as forming two distinct tribes in Israel. Joseph then was entitled to the precedency; and yet, as his posterity was not mentioned first, the sacred historian judged it necessary to explain that “the genealogy was not to be reckoned after the birthright,” but with a reference to a superior honor and privilege that had been conferred on Judah–not the man, but the tribe, whereby it was invested with the pre-eminence over all the other tribes, and out of it was to spring David with his royal lineage, and especially the great Messiah (Heb 7:14). These were the two reasons why, in the order of enumeration, the genealogy of Judah is introduced before that of Reuben.
9. Eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates–The settlement was on the east of Jordan, and the history of this tribe, which never took any part in the public affairs or movements of the nation, is comprised in “the multiplication of their cattle in the land of Gilead,” in their wars with the Bedouin sons of Hagar, and in the simple labors of pastoral life. They had the right of pasture over an extensive mountain range–the great wilderness of Kedemoth (De 2:26) and the Euphrates being a security against their enemies.
1Ch 5:11-26. The Line of Gad.
11-15. the children of Gad dwelt over against them–The genealogy of the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh (1Ch 5:24) is given along with that of the Reubenites, as these three were associated in a separate colony.
16. Sharon–The term “Sharon” was applied as descriptive of any place of extraordinary beauty and productiveness. There were three places in Palestine so called. This Sharon lay east of the Jordan.
upon their borders–that is, of Gilead and Bashan: Gilead proper, or at least the largest part, belonged to the Reubenites; and Bashan, the greatest portion of it, belonged to the Manassites. The Gadites occupied an intermediate settlement on the land which lay upon their borders.
17. All these were reckoned … in the days of Jotham–His long reign and freedom from foreign wars as well as intestine troubles were favorable for taking a census of the people.
and in the days of Jeroboam–the second of that name.
18-22. Hagarites–or, “Hagarenes,” originally synonymous with “Ishmaelites,” but afterwards applied to a particular tribe of the Arabs (compare Ps 83:6).
Jetur–His descendants were called Itureans, and the country Auranitis, from Hauran, its chief city. These, who were skilled in archery, were invaded in the time of Joshua by a confederate army of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh, who, probably incensed by the frequent raids of those marauding neighbors, took reprisals in men and cattle, dispossessed almost all of the original inhabitants, and colonized the district themselves. Divine Providence favoured, in a remarkable manner, the Hebrew army in this just war.
26. the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul–the Phalluka of the Ninevite monuments (see on 2Ki 15:19).
and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser–the son of the former. By them the trans-jordanic tribes, including the other half of Manasseh, settled in Galilee, were removed to Upper Media. This was the first captivity (2Ki 15:29).
1Ch 6:1-48. Line of the Priests.
5. Uzzi–It is supposed that, in his days, the high priesthood was, for unrecorded reasons, transferred from Eleazar’s family to Ithamar’s, in which it continued for several generations.
10. he it is that executed the priest’s office in the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem–It is doubtful whether the person in favor of whom this testimony is borne be Johanan or Azariah. If the former, he is the same as Jehoiada, who rendered important public services (2Ki 11:1-20); if the latter, it refers to the worthy and independent part he acted in resisting the unwarrantable encroachments of Uzziah (2Ch 26:17).
in the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem–described in this particular manner to distinguish it from the second temple, which was in existence at the time when this history was written.
14. Azariah begat Seraiah–He filled the supreme pontifical office at the destruction of Jerusalem, and, along with his deputy and others, he was executed by Nebuchadnezzar’s orders at Riblah (2Ki 25:18, 21). The line of high priests, under the first temple, which from Zadok amounted to twelve, terminated with him.
16-48. The sons of Levi; Gershom, &c.–This repetition (see 1Ch 6:1) is made, as the historian here begins to trace the genealogy of the Levitical families who were not priests. The list is a long one, comprising the chiefs or heads of their several families until David’s reign, who made a new and different classification of them by courses.
20. Zimmah his son–his grandson (1Ch 6:42).
24. Uriel–or Zephaniah (1Ch 6:36).
27. Elkanah–the father of the prophet Samuel (1Sa 1:1).
28. the sons of Samuel–The sons of Samuel are here named Vashni and Abiah. The first-born is called Joel (1Sa 8:2); and this name is given to him in 1Ch 6:33. It is now generally thought by the best critics that, through an error of the copyists, an omission has been made of the oldest son’s name, and that Vashni, which is not the name of a person, merely signifies “and the second.” This critical emendation of the text makes all clear, as well as consistent with other passages relating to the family of Samuel.
32. before the dwelling-place, &c.–that is, in the tent which David had erected for receiving the ark after it was removed from the house of Obed-edom [2Sa 6:17]. This was a considerable time before the temple was built.
they waited on their office according to their order–which David, doubtless by the direction of the Holy Spirit, had instituted for the better regulation of divine worship.
33. Shemuel–that is, Samuel. This is the exact representation of the Hebrew name.
39. his brother Asaph–They were brothers naturally, both being descended from Levi, as well as officially, both being of the Levitical order.
42. Ethan–or Jeduthun (1Ch 9:16; 2Ch 35:15).
48. Their brethren also the Levites were appointed unto all manner of service–Those of them who were endowed with musical tastes and talents were employed in various other departments of the temple service.
1Ch 6:49-81. Office of Aaron and His Sons.
49. But Aaron and his sons offered, &c.–The office and duties of the high priests having been already described, the names of those who successively filled that important office are recorded.
60. thirteen cities–No more than eleven are named here; but two additional ones are mentioned (Jos 21:16, 17), which makes up the thirteen.
61. unto the sons of Kohath, which were left–that is, in addition to the priests belonging to the same family and tribe of Levi.
by lot, ten cities–(Jos 21:26). The sacred historian gives an explanation (1Ch 6:66). Eight of these are mentioned, but only two of them are taken out of the half tribe of Manasseh (1Ch 6:70). The names of the other two are given (Jos 21:21), where full and detailed notices of these arrangements may be found.
62. to the sons of Gershom–Supply “the children of Israel gave.”
67-81. they gave unto them of the cities of refuge–The names of the cities given here are considerably different from those applied to them (Jos 21:13-19). In the lapse of centuries, and from the revolutions of society, changes might have been expected to take place in the form or dialectic pronunciation of the names of those cities; and this will sufficiently account for the variations that are found in the lists as enumerated here and in an earlier book. As to these cities themselves that were assigned to the Levites, they were widely remote and separated–partly in fulfilment of Jacob’s prophecy (Ge 49:7), and partly that the various districts of the country might obtain a competent supply of teachers who might instruct the people in the knowledge, and animate them to the observance, of a law which had so important a bearing on the promotion both of their private happiness and their national prosperity.
1Ch 7:1-5. Sons of Issachar.
1. Jashub–or Job (Ge 46:13).
2. whose number was in the days of David two and twenty thousand and six hundred–Although a census was taken in the reign of David by order of that monarch, it is not certain that the sacred historian had it in mind, since we find here the tribe of Benjamin enumerated [1Ch 7:6-12], which was not taken in David’s time; and there are other points of dissimilarity.
3. five: all of them chief men–Four only are mentioned; so that as they are stated to be five, in this number the father, Izrahiah, must be considered as included; otherwise one of the names must have dropped out of the text. They were each at the head of a numerous and influential division of their tribe.
5. fourscore and seven thousand–exclusive of the 58,600 men which the Tola branch had produced (1Ch 7:24), so that in the days of David the tribe would have contained a population of 45,600. This large increase was owing to the practice of polygamy, as well as the fruitfulness of the women. A plurality of wives, though tolerated among the Hebrews, was confined chiefly to the great and wealthy; but it seems to have been generally esteemed a privilege by the tribe of Issachar, “for they had many wives and sons” [1Ch 7:4].
1Ch 7:6-12. Of Benjamin.
6. The sons of Benjamin–Ten are named in Ge 46:21, but only five later (1Ch 8:1; Nu 26:38). Perhaps five of them were distinguished as chiefs of illustrious families, but two having fallen in the bloody wars waged against Benjamin (Jud 20:46), there remained only three branches of this tribe, and these only are enumerated.
Jediael–Or Asbel (Genesis 46. 21).
7. the sons of Bela–Each of them was chief or leader of the family to which he belonged. In an earlier period seven great families of Benjamin are mentioned (Nu 26:38), five of them being headed by these five sons of Benjamin, and two descended from Bela. Here five families of Bela are specified, whence we are led to conclude that time or the ravages of war had greatly changed the condition of Benjamin, or that the five families of Bela were subordinate to the other great divisions that sprang directly from the five sons of the patriarch.
12. Shuppim also, and Huppim–They are called Muppim and Huppim (Ge 46:21) and Hupham and Shupham (Nu 26:39). They were the children of Ir, or Iri (1Ch 7:7).
and Hushim, the sons–“son.”
of Aher–“Aher” signifies “another,” and some eminent critics, taking “Aher” as a common noun, render the passage thus, “and Hushim, another son.” Shuppim, Muppim, and Hushim are plural words, and therefore denote not individuals, but the heads of their respective families; and as they were not comprised in the above enumeration (1Ch 7:7, 9) they are inserted here in the form of an appendix. Some render the passage, “Hushim, the son of another,” that is, tribe or family. The name occurs among the sons of Dan (Ge 46:23), and it is a presumption in favor of this being the true rendering, that after having recorded the genealogy of Naphtali (1Ch 7:13) the sacred historian adds, “the sons of Bilhah, the handmaid, who was the mother of Dan and Naphtali.” We naturally expect, therefore, that these two will be noticed together, but Dan is not mentioned at all, if not in this passage.
1Ch 7:13. Of Naphtali.
13. Shallum–or Shillem (Ge 46:24).
sons of Bilhah–As Dan and Naphtali were her sons, Hushim, as well as these enumerated in 1Ch 7:13, were her grandsons.
1Ch 7:14-40. Of Manasseh.
14, 15. The sons of Manasseh–or descendants; for Ashriel was a grandson, and Zelophehad was a generation farther removed in descent (Nu 26:33). The text, as it stands, is so confused and complicated that it is exceedingly difficult to trace the genealogical thread, and a great variety of conjectures have been made with a view to clear away the obscurity. The passage [1Ch 7:14, 15] should probably be rendered thus: “The sons of Manasseh were Ashriel, whom his Syrian concubine bare to him, and Machir, the father of Gilead (whom his wife bare to him). Machir took for a wife Maachah, sister to Huppim and Shuppim.”
21. whom the men of Gath … slew, &c.–This interesting little episode gives us a glimpse of the state of Hebrew society in Egypt; for the occurrence narrated seems to have taken place before the Israelites left that country. The patriarch Ephraim was then alive, though he must have arrived at a very advanced age; and the Hebrew people, at all events those of them who were his descendants, still retained their pastoral character. It was in perfect consistency with the ideas and habits of Oriental shepherds that they should have made a raid on the neighboring tribe of the Philistines for the purpose of plundering their flocks. For nothing is more common among them than hostile incursions on the inhabitants of towns, or on other nomad tribes with whom they have no league of amity. But a different view of the incident is brought out, if, instead of “because,” we render the Hebrew particle “when” they came down to take their cattle, for the tenor of the context leads rather to the conclusion that “the men of Gath” were the aggressors, who, making a sudden foray on the Ephraimite flocks, killed the shepherds including several of the sons of Ephraim. The calamity spread a deep gloom around the tent of their aged father, and was the occasion of his receiving visits of condolence from his distant relatives, according to the custom of the East, which is remarkably exemplified in the history of Job (Job 2:11; compare Joh 11:19).
1Ch 8:1-32. Sons and Chief Men of Benjamin.
1. Now Benjamin begat, &c.–This chapter contains some supplementary particulars in addition to what has been already said regarding the tribe of Benjamin (see on 1Ch 7:6). The names of many of the persons mentioned are different from those given by Moses–a diversity which may be accounted for in part on grounds formerly stated, namely, either that the persons had more than one name, or that the word “sons” is used in a loose sense for grandsons or descendants. But there are other circumstances to be taken into account in considering the details of this chapter; namely, first, that the genealogies of the Benjamites were disordered or destroyed by the almost total extermination of this tribe (Jud 20:11-48); secondly, that a great number of Benjamites, born in Assyria, are mentioned here, who returned from the long captivity in Babylon, and established themselves–some in Jerusalem, others in different parts of Judea. There were more returned from Babylon of the families belonging to this tribe than to any other except Judah; and hence many strange names are here introduced; some of which will be found in the list of the restored exiles (compare Ezr 2:1-70).
6. these are the sons of Ehud–most probably the judge of Israel (Jud 3:15). His descendants, who had at first been established in Geba in Benjamin, emigrated in a body under the direction of Gera (1Ch 8:7) to Manahath, where their increased numbers would find more ample accommodation. Manahath was within the territory of Judah.
8. Shaharaim begat children in the country of Moab–He had probably been driven to take refuge in that foreign land on the same calamitous occasion that forced Elimelech to emigrate thither (Ru 1:1). But, destitute of natural affection, he forsook or divorced his two wives, and in the land of his sojourn married a third, by whom he had several sons. But there is another explanation given of the conduct of this Benjamite polygamist. His children by Hushim are mentioned (1Ch 8:11), while his other wife is unnoticed. Hence it has been thought probable that it is Baara who is mentioned under the name of Hodesh, so called because her husband, after long desertion, returned and cohabited with her as before.
28. These dwelt in Jerusalem–The ordinary and stated inhabitants of Jerusalem were Judahites, Benjamites, and Levites. But at the time referred to here, the chiefs or heads of the principal families who are enumerated (1Ch 8:14-27) established themselves in the city after their return from the captivity.
1Ch 8:33-40. Stock of Saul and Jonathan.
33. Ner begat Kish–The father of Ner, though not mentioned here, is stated (1Ch 9:35) to have been Jehiel. Moreover, the father of Kish is said (1Sa 9:1) to have been Abiel, the son of Zeror, whence it would seem that Abiel and Ner were names of the same person.
Abinadab–the same as Ishui (1Sa 14:49).
Esh-baal–that is, Ish-bosheth.
34. Merib-baal–that is, Mephibosheth.
36. Jehoadah–or, Jara (1Ch 9:42).
40. mighty men of valour, archers–(see on Jud 20:16). Great strength as well as skill was requisite in ancient archery, as the bow, which was of steel, was bent by treading with the feet, and pulling the string with both hands.
1Ch 9:1-26. Original Registers of Israel and Judah’s Genealogies.
1. all Israel were reckoned by genealogies–From the beginning of the Hebrew nation, public records were kept, containing a registration of the name of every individual, as well as the tribe and family to which he belonged. “The book of the kings of Israel and Judah” does not refer to the two canonical books that are known in Scripture by that name, but to authenticated copies of those registers, placed under the official care of the sovereigns; and as a great number of the Israelites (1Ch 9:3) took refuge in Judah during the invasion of Shalmaneser, they carried the public records along with them. The genealogies given in the preceding chapters were drawn from the public records in the archives both of Israel and Judah; and those given in this chapter relate to the period subsequent to the restoration; whence it appears (compare 1Ch 3:17-24) that the genealogical registers were kept during the captivity in Babylon. These genealogical tables, then, are of the highest authority for truth and correctness, the earlier portion being extracted from the authenticated records of the nation; and as to those which belong to the time of the captivity, they were drawn up by a contemporary writer, who, besides enjoying the best sources of information, and being of the strictest integrity, was guided and preserved from all error by divine inspiration.
2. the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions–This chapter relates wholly to the first returned exiles. Almost all the names recur in Nehemiah (Ne 11:1-36), although there are differences which will be explained there. The same division of the people into four classes was continued after, as before the captivity; namely, the priests, Levites, natives, who now were called by the common name of Israelites, and the Nethinims (Jos 9:27; Ezr 2:43; 8:20). When the historian speaks of “the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions,” he implies that there were others who afterwards returned and settled in possessions not occupied by the first. Accordingly, we read of a great number returning successively under Ezra, Nehemiah, and at a later period. And some of those who returned to the ancient inheritance of their fathers, had lived before the time of the captivity (Ezr 3:12; Hag 2:4, 10).
18. the king’s gate–The king had a gate from his palace into the temple (2Ki 16:18), which doubtless was kept constantly closed except for the monarch’s use; and although there was no king in Israel on the return from the captivity, yet the old ceremonial was kept up, probably in the hope that the scepter would, ere long, be restored to the house of David. It is an honor by which Eastern kings are distinguished, to have a gate exclusively devoted to their own special use, and which is kept constantly closed, except when he goes out or returns (Eze 44:2). There being no king then in Israel, this gate would be always shut.
1Ch 10:1-7. Saul’s Overthrow and Death.
1. Now the Philistines fought against Israel–The details of this chapter have no relation to the preceding genealogies and seem to be inserted solely to introduce the narrative of David’s elevation to the throne of the whole kingdom. The parallel between the books of Samuel and Chronicles commences with this chapter, which relates the issue of the fatal battle of Gilboa almost in the very same words as 1Sa 31:1-13.
3. the battle went sore against Saul; and the archers hit him, and he was wounded–The Hebrew words may be thus rendered: “The archers found (attacked) him, and he feared the archers.” He was not wounded, at least not dangerously, when he resolved on committing suicide. The deed was the effect of sudden terror and overwhelming depression of spirits [Calmet].
4. his armour-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid–He was, of course, placed in the same perilous condition as Saul. But it is probable that the feelings that restrained him from complying with Saul’s wish were a profound respect for royalty, mingled with apprehension of the shock which such a catastrophe would give to the national feelings and interests.
6. Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house–his sons and courtiers who were there engaged in the battle. But it appears that Ish-bosheth and Mephibosheth were kept at Gibeah on account of their youth.
1Ch 10:8-14. The Philistines Triumph over Him.
10. put his armour in the house of their gods–It was common among the heathen to vow to a national or favorite deity, that, in the event of a victory, the armor of the enemy’s king, or of some eminent leader, should be dedicated to him as an offering of gratitude. Such trophies were usually suspended on the pillars of the temple.
fastened his head in the temple of Dagon–while the trunk or headless corpse was affixed to the wall of Beth-shan (1Sa 31:10).
13. Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord–in having spared the king of the Amalekites and taken the flocks of the people as spoils [1Sa 15:9], as well as in having consulted a pythoness [1Sa 28:7]. Both of these acts were great sins–the first as a violation of God’s express and positive command [1Sa 15:3], and the second as contrary to a well-known statute of the kingdom (Le 19:31).
14. And inquired not of the Lord–He had done so in form (1Sa 28:6), but not in the spirit of a humble penitent, nor with the believing confidence of a sincere worshipper. His enquiry was, in fact, a mere mockery, and his total want of all right religious impressions was manifested by his rushing from God to a wretched impostor in the service of the devil [1Sa 28:7].
1Ch 11:1-3. David Made King.
1. Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron–This event happened on the death of Ish-bosheth (see on 2Sa 5:1). The convention of the estates of the kingdom, the public and solemn homage of the representatives of the people, and the repeated anointing of the new king in their presence and by their direction, seem to have been necessary to the general acknowledgment of the sovereign on the part of the nation (compare 1Sa 11:15).
1Ch 11:4-9. He Wins the Castle of Zion from the Jebusites by Joab’s Valor.
4. David and all Israel went to … Jebus–(See on 2Sa 5:6).
8. Joab repaired the rest of the city–David built a new town to the north of the old one on Mount Zion; but Joab was charged with a commission to restore the part that had been occupied by the ancient Jebus, to repair the breaches made during the siege, to rebuild the houses which had been demolished or burned in the sacking of the town, and to preserve all that had escaped the violence of the soldiery. This work of reconstruction is not noticed elsewhere [Calmet].
1Ch 11:10-47. A Catalogue of His Worthies.
10. These … are the chief of the mighty men–(See on 2Sa 23:8). They are here described as those who held strongly with him (Margin) to make him king, &c. In these words the sacred historian assigns a reason for introducing the list of their names, immediately after his account of the election of David as king, and the conquest of Jerusalem; namely, that they assisted in making David king. In the original form of the list, and the connection in which it occurs in Samuel, there is no reference to the choice of a king; and even in this passage it is only in the clause introduced into the superscription that such a reference occurs [Keil].
11-13. Jashobeam, an Hachmonite–or, “son of Hachmoni.” He is called also son of Zabdiel (1Ch 27:2), so that, strictly speaking, he was the grandson of Hachmoni (compare 1Ch 27:32).
lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time–The feat is said (2Sa 23:8) to have been a slaughter of eight hundred in one day. Some endeavor to reconcile the statements in that passage and in this by supposing that he slew eight hundred on one occasion and three hundred on another; while others conjecture that he attacked a body of eight hundred, and, having slain three hundred of them, the rest fled [Lightfoot].
12. the three mighties–Only two are mentioned; namely, Jashobeam and Eleazar–the third, Shammah (2Sa 23:11), is not named in this passage.
13. He was with David at Pas-dammim–It was at the time when he was a fugitive in the wilderness, and, parched with thirst under the burning heat of noonday, he wistfully thought of the cool fountain of his native village [2Sa 23:15; 1Ch 11:17]. This is a notice of the achievement, to which Eleazar owed his fame, but the details are found only in 2Sa 23:9-11, where it is further said that he was aided by the valor of Shammah, a fact corroborated in the passage before us (1Ch 11:14), where it is recorded of the heroes, that “they set themselves in the midst of that parcel.” As the singular number is used in speaking of Shammah (2Sa 23:12), the true view seems to be that when Eleazar had given up from exhaustion, Shammah succeeded, and by his fresh and extraordinary prowess preserved the field.
barley–or lentils (2Sa 23:11). Ephes-dammim was situated between Shocoh and Azekah, in the west of the Judahite territory. These feats were performed when David acted as Saul’s general against the Philistines.
15-19. David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink … of the well of Beth-lehem–(See on 2Sa 23:15). This chivalrous act evinces the enthusiastic devotion of David’s men, that they were ready to gratify his smallest wish at the risk of their lives. It is probable that, when uttering the wish, David had no recollection of the military posted at Beth-lehem. It is generally taken for granted that those who fought a way to the well of Beth-lehem were the three champions just mentioned [see on 1Ch 11:13]. But this is far from being clear. On the contrary, it would seem that three different heroes are referred to, for Abishai (1Ch 11:20) was one of them. The camp of the Philistines was in the valley of Rephaim (1Ch 11:15), which lay on the west of Jerusalem, but an outpost was stationed at Beth-lehem (1Ch 11:16), and through this garrison they had to force a passage.
21. howbeit he attained not to the first three–(See on 2Sa 23:19).
22. Benaiah … of Kabzeel–a town in the south of Judah (Jos 15:21; Ne 11:25). It is said that “he had done many acts,” though three only are mentioned as specimens of his daring energy and fearless courage.
slew two lionlike men of Moab–literally, “lions of God,” that is, great lions or champions. This gallant feat was probably achieved in David’s hostile invasion of Moab (2Sa 8:2).
also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day–probably a cave into which Benaiah had taken refuge from the snowstorm, and in which he encountered a savage lion which had its lair there. In a spacious cave the achievement would be far greater than if the monster had been previously snared or cabined in a pit.
23. he went down–the ordinary phraseology for expressing an engagement in battle. The encounter of Benaiah with this gigantic Egyptian reminds us, in some respects, of David’s combat with Goliath. At least, the height of this giant, which was about eight feet, and his armor, resembled his of Gath.
with a staff–that is, having no other weapon in his hand than his walking stick.
25. David set him over his guard–the Cherethites and Pelethites that composed the small bodyguard in immediate attendance on the king.
26. Also the valiant men of the armies–This was the third degree of military rank, and Asahel was their chief; the names of few of those mentioned are historically known.
27. Shammoth–Between this name and Hebez, that of Elikah has evidently fallen out, as we may see (2Sa 23:25, 26) [Bertheau].
30. Maharai–chief of the detachment of the guards who attended on the king in the tenth month, January (1Ch 27:13; 2Sa 23:28).
39. Naharai–armorbearer to Joab (2Sa 23:37). The non-occurrence of Joab’s name in any of the three catalogues is most probably to be accounted for by the circumstance that his office as commander-in-chief raised him to a position superior to all these orders of military knighthood.
41. Uriah the Hittite–The enrolment of this name in such a list, attesting, as it does, his distinguished merits as a brave and devoted officer, aggravates the criminality of David’s outrage on his life and honor. The number of the names at 1Ch 11:26-41 (exclusive of Asahel and Uriah, who were dead) is thirty, and at 1Ch 11:41-47 is sixteen–making together forty-eight (see on 1Ch 27:1-34). Of those mentioned (1Ch 11:26-41), the greater part belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin; the sixteen names (1Ch 11:41-47) are all associated with places unknown, or with cities and districts on the east of the Jordan. The northern tribes do not appear to have furnished any leaders [Bertheau].
1Ch 12:1-22. The Companies That Came to David at Ziklag.
1-7. Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag–There are three lists given in this chapter, arranged, apparently, according to the order of time when the parties joined the standard of David.
while he yet kept himself close because of Saul–that is, when the king’s jealousy had driven him into exile from the court and the country.
Ziklag–(See on 1Sa 27:6). It was during his retirement in that Philistine town that he was joined in rapid succession by the heroes who afterwards contributed so much to the glory of his reign.
2. of Saul’s brethren of Benjamin–that is, of the tribe of Benjamin (compare 1Ch 12:29), but some of them might be relatives of the king. This movement to which the parties were led, doubtless by the secret impulse of the Spirit, was of vast importance to the cause of David, as it must have been founded on their observation of the evident withdrawal of God’s blessing from Saul, and His favoring presence with David, to whom it was universally known the Divine King of Israel had given the crown in reversion. The accession of the Benjamites who came first and their resolution to share his fortunes must have been particularly grateful to David. It was a public and emphatic testimony by those who had enjoyed the best means of information to the unblemished excellence of his character, as well as a decided protest against the grievous wrong inflicted by causelessly outlawing a man who had rendered such eminent services to his country.
4. Ismaiah the Gibeonite–It appears that not only the Canaanites who were admitted into the congregation (Jos 9:1-27), but people of the tribe of Benjamin, were among the inhabitants of Gibeon. The mention of “the Gederathite,” probably from Gederah (Jos 15:36), in the lowlands of Judah; of the Korhites (1Ch 12:6), from Korah (1Ch 2:43), and of Gedor (1Ch 12:7), a town in Judah, to the southwest of Beth-lehem (compare 1Ch 4:4), shows that this first list contains men of Judah as well as Benjamin [Bertheau].
8-13. of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David–that is, from the service of Saul and from the rest of the Gadites who remained steadfast adherents of his cause.
into the hold–or fortress, that is, of Ziklag, which was in the wilderness of Judah.
whose faces were like the faces of lions, &c.–A fierce, lion-like countenance (2Sa 1:23), and great agility in pursuit (2Sa 2:18), were qualities of the highest estimation in ancient warfare.
14. one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand–David, while at Ziklag, had not so large an amount of forces as to give to each of these the command of so many men. Another meaning, therefore, must obviously be sought, and excluding was, which is a supplement by our translators, the import of the passage is, that one of the least could discomfit a hundred, and the greatest was worth a thousand ordinary men; a strong hyperbole to express their uncommon valor.
15. These are they that went over Jordan in the first month–that is, in spring, when the swollen river generally fills up the banks of its channel (see on Jos 3:14; Jos 4:19; Jos 5:10).
they put to flight all them of the valleys–This was probably done at the time of their separating themselves and their purpose being discovered, they had to cut their passage through the opposing adherents of Saul, both on the eastern and western banks. The impossibility of taking the fords at such a time, and the violent rapidity of the current, make this crossing of the Jordan–in whatever way these Gadites accomplished it–a remarkable feat.
16. the children of Benjamin and Judah–It is probable that the Benjamites invited the Judahites to accompany them, in order to prevent David being suspicious of them. Their anticipations, as the result showed, were well founded. He did suspect them, but the doubts of David as to their object in repairing to him, were promptly dispelled by Amasai or Amasa, who, by the secret impulse of the Spirit, assured him of their strong attachment and their zealous service from a unanimous conviction that his cause was owned and blessed of God (1Sa 18:12-14).
19-22. there fell some of Manasseh–The period of their accession is fixed as the time when David came with the Philistines against Saul to battle.
but they helped them not–(See on 1Sa 29:4).
20. As he went to Ziklag–If those Manassites joined him on his return to Ziklag, after his dismissal from the Philistine army, then their arrival took place before the battle of Gilboa could have been fought (compare 1Sa 29:11). Convinced of the desperate state of Saul’s affairs, they abandoned him, and resolved to transfer their allegiance to David. But some learned men think that they came as fugitives from that disastrous field [Calmet and Ewald].
captains of the thousands … of Manasseh–Those seven were commanders of the large military divisions of their tribe.
21, 22. they helped David against the band–that is, the Amalekites who had pillaged Ziklag in David’s absence. This military expedition was made by all his men (1Sa 30:9), who, as David’s early helpers, are specially distinguished from those who are mentioned in the latter portion of the chapter.
22. the host of God–that is, a great and powerful army.
1Ch 12:23-40. The Armies That Came to Him at Hebron.
23. these are the numbers of the bands … that came to David to Hebron–after the death of Ish-bosheth (see on 2Sa 5:1).
to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord–(1Ch 10:14; 11:3, 10). The account commences with the southern tribes, Levi being associated with Judah and Simeon, as the great majority of the leading men in this tribe resided in Judah; and, after recounting the representatives of the northern tribes, it concludes with those on the east of Jordan.
27. Jehoiada, the leader of the Aaronites–not the high priest, for that was Abiathar (1Sa 23:9), but the leader of the Aaronite warriors, supposed to be the father of Benaiah (1Ch 11:22).
29. Benjamin … three thousand–This small number shows the unpopularity of the movement in this tribe; and, indeed, it is expressly stated that the mass of the population had, even after Ish-bosheth’s death, anxiously endeavored to secure the crown in the family of Saul.
32. children of Issachar, … that had understanding of the times, &c.–Jewish writers say that the people of this tribe were eminent for their acquirements in astronomical and physical science; and the object of the remark was probably to show that the intelligent and learned classes were united with the military, and had declared for David.
33. Zebulun … could keep rank–that is, were more disciplined soldiers than the rest.
not of double heart–Though their numbers were large, all were in a high degree well affected to David.
38. all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king–that is, entertained a unanimous desire for his elevation.
39, 40. there they were with David three days, eating and drinking–According to the statements made in the preceding verses, the number of armed warriors assembled in Hebron on this occasion amounted to three hundred thousand. Supplies of provisions were abundantly furnished, not only by the people of the neighborhood, but from distant parts of the country, for all wished the festivities to be on a scale of liberality and magnificence suitable to the auspicious occasion.
1Ch 13:1-8. David Fetches the Ark from Kirjath-jearim.
1-3. David consulted … And let us bring again the ark of our God–Gratitude for the high and splendid dignity to which he had been elevated would naturally, at this period, impart a fresh animation and impulse to the habitually fervent piety of David; but, at the same time, he was animated by other motives. He fully understood his position as ruler under the theocracy, and, entering on his duties, he was resolved to fulfil his mission as a constitutional king of Israel. Accordingly, his first act as a sovereign related to the interests of religion. The ark being then the grand instrument and ornament of it, he takes the opportunity of the official representatives of the nation being with him, to consult them about the propriety of establishing it in a more public and accessible locality. The assembly at which he spoke of this consisted of the Sheloshim, princes of thousands (2Sa 6:1). During the reign of the late king, the ark had been left in culpable neglect. Consequently the people had, to a great extent, been careless about the ordinances of divine worship, or had contented themselves with offering sacrifices at Gibeon, without any thought of the ark, though it was the chief and most vital part of the tabernacle. The duty and advantages of this religious movement suggested by the king were apparent, and the proposal met with universal approval.
2. If it seem good unto you, and … it be of the Lord–that is, I shall conclude that this favorite measure of mine is agreeable to the mind of God, if it receive your hearty concurrence.
let us send abroad to our brethren everywhere–He wished to make it known throughout the country, in order that there might be a general assembly of the nation, and that preparations might be made on a scale and of a kind suitable to the inauguration of the august ceremonial.
with them also to the priests and Levites … in their cities and suburbs–(See on Nu 35:2). The original terms, “Let us send,” imply immediate execution; and, doubtless, the publication of the royal edict would have been followed by the appointment of an early day for the contemplated solemnity, had it not been retarded by a sudden invasion of the Philistines, who were twice repulsed with great loss (2Sa 5:17), by the capture of Jerusalem, and the transference of the seat of government to that city. Finding, however, soon after, peace restored and his throne established, he resumed his preparations for removing the ark to the metropolis.
5. from Shihor of Egypt–(Jos 15:4, 47; Nu 34:5; 1Ki 8:65; 2Ki 24:7; 2Ch 7:8); a small brook flowing into the Mediterranean, near the modern El-arish, which forms the southern boundary of Palestine.
unto the entering of Hemath–the defile between the mountain ranges of Syria and the extreme limit of Palestine on the north.
6-14. David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah–(See on 2Sa 6:1-11).
whose name is called on it–rather, “who is worshipped there” (2Sa 6:2).
1Ch 14:1, 2. Hiram’s Kindness to David; David’s Felicity.
1. Now Hiram king of Tyre–[See on 2Sa 5:11]. The alliance with this neighboring king, and the important advantages derived from it, were among the most fortunate circumstances in David’s reign. The providence of God appeared concurrent with His promise in smoothing the early course of his reign. Having conquered the Jebusites and made Zion the royal residence, he had now, along with internal prosperity, established an advantageous treaty with a neighboring prince; and hence, in immediate connection with the mention of this friendly league, it is said, “David perceived that the Lord had confirmed him king over Israel.”
2. his kingdom was lifted up on high, because of his people Israel–This is an important truth, that sovereigns are invested with royal honor and authority, not for their own sakes so much as for that of their people. But while it is true of all kings, it was especially applicable to the monarchs of Israel, and even David was made to know that all his glory and greatness were given only to fit him, as the minister of God, to execute the divine purposes towards the chosen people.
1Ch 14:3-7. His Wives.
3. David took more wives at Jerusalem–(See on 2Sa 3:5). His concubines are mentioned (1Ch 3:9), where also is given a list of his children (1Ch 14:5-8), and those born in Jerusalem (2Sa 5:14-16). In that, however, the names of Eliphalet and Nogah do not occur, and Beeliada appears to be the same as Eliada.
1Ch 14:8-17. His Victories over the Philistines.
8. all the Philistines went up to seek David–in the hope of accomplishing his ruin (for so the phrase is used, 1Sa 23:15; 24:2, 3) before his throne was consolidated. Their hostility arose, both from a belief that his patriotism would lead him, ere long, to wipe out the national dishonor at Gilboa, and by fear, that in any invasion of their country, his thorough knowledge of their weak points would give him superior advantages. They resolved, therefore, to surprise and crush him before he was fairly seated on his throne.
11. they came up to Baal-perazim; and David smote them there–In an engagement fought at Mount Perazim (Isa 28:21), in the valley of Rephaim, a few miles west of Jerusalem, the Philistines were defeated and put to flight.
12. when they had left their gods–(See on 2Sa 5:21).
13. the Philistines yet again spread themselves–They renewed the campaign the next season, taking the same route. David, according to divine directions, did not confront them.
14. Go not up after them–The text in 2Sa 5:23, more correctly has, “Go not up.”
turn away from them–that is, by stealing round a baca-grove, come upon their rear.
15. for God is gone forth before thee–“a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees,” that is, the rustling of the leaves by a strong breeze suddenly rising, was the sign by which David was divinely apprised of the precise moment for the attack. The impetuosity of his onset was like the gush of a pent-up torrent, which sweeps away all in its course; and in allusion to this incident the place got its name.
16. from Gibeon … to Gazer–Geba or Gibea (2Sa 5:25), now Yefa, in the province of Judah. The line from this to Gazer was intersected by the roads which led from Judah to the cities of the Philistines. To recover possession of it, therefore, as was effected by this decisive battle, was equivalent to setting free the whole mountain region of Judah as far as their most westerly slope [Bertheau].
1Ch 15:1-24. David Brings the Ark from Obededom.
1. David made him houses in the city of David–Through the liberality of his Tyrian ally (1Ch 14:1), David was enabled to erect not only a palace for himself, but to furnish suitable accommodation for his numerous family. Where polygamy prevails, each wife has a separate house or suite of apartments for herself and children.
prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent–that is, made an entirely new one upon the model of the former. The old tabernacle, which Moses had constructed in the wilderness and which had hitherto served the purpose of a sacred covering, was to be left at Gibeon, either because of the unwillingness of the inhabitants to part with such a venerable relic, or because there was no use for it in Jerusalem, where a more solid and sumptuous edifice was contemplated. If it appear surprising that David “made him houses” before he prepared this new tabernacle, it should be remembered that he had received no divine intimation respecting such a work.
2. Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites–After the lapse of three months (1Ch 13:14) the purpose of transporting the ark to Jerusalem was resumed. Time and reflection had led to a discovery of the cause of the painful catastrophe that marred the first attempt. In preparing for the solemn procession that was now to usher the sacred symbol into its resting-place, David took special care that the carriage should be regulated in strict conformity to the law (Nu 4:5, 15; 7:9; 10:17).
3. David gathered all Israel together–Some are of opinion that this was done on one of the three great festivals, but at whatever time the ceremonial took place, it was of great importance to summon a general convocation of the people, many of whom, from the long-continued disorders of the kingdom, might have had little or no opportunity of knowing anything of the ark, which had been allowed to remain so long in obscurity and neglect.
4. David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites–The children of Aaron were the two priests (1Ch 15:11), Zadok and Abiathar, heads of the two priestly houses of Eleazar and Ithamar, and colleagues in the high priesthood (2Sa 20:25). The Levites were the chiefs of their father’s house (1Ch 15:12); four belonging to the Kohathite branch, on whose shoulders the ark was to be borne; namely, Uriel, Shemaiah–descended from Elizaphan or Elzaphan–(Ex 6:22), Hebron (Ex 6:18; 1Ch 6:2), and Amminadab from Uzziel (Ex 6:22).
12. sanctify yourselves–This special sanctification, which was required on all grave and important occasions, consisted in observing the strictest abstinence, as well as cleanliness, both in person and dress (see on Ge 35:2; Ex 19:10, 15); and in the neglect of these rules no step could have been taken (2Ch 30:3).
16-24. David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint … the singers with instruments–These eminent Levites were instructed to train the musicians and singers who were under them, for the solemn procession. The performers were ranged in three choirs or bands, and the names of the principal leaders are given (1Ch 15:17, 18, 21), with the instruments respectively used by each. “Ben” (1Ch 15:18) is omitted (1Ch 15:20). Either it was used merely as a common noun, to intimate that Zechariah was the son of Jaaziel or Aziel, or Ben is the same as Azaziah [1Ch 15:21].
22. Chenaniah, chief of the Levites–He was not of the six heads of the Levitical families, but a chief in consequence of his office, which required learning, without regard to birth or family.
instructed about the song–He directed all these bands as to the proper time when each was to strike in or change their notes; or, as some render the passage, “He led the burdens, for he was skilled,” that is, in the custom which it was necessary to observe in the carriage of the holy things [Bertheau].
23. Berechiah and Elkanah were doorkeepers–who marched immediately in front, while Obed-edom and Jeiel went in the rear, of the ark.
25. So David, and the elders … and captains … went–The pious design of David in ordering all his principal ministers and officers to take part in this solemn work and imparting so much pomp and imposing ceremony to the procession, was evidently to inspire the popular mind with a profound veneration for the ark and to give the young especially salutary impressions of religion, which would be renewed by the remembrance that they had been witnesses of the august solemnity in which the king and the highest aristocracy of the land participated, vying with all other classes to do honor to the God of Israel.
26. it came to pass, &c.–(See on 2Sa 6:13-23).
they offered seven bullocks and seven rams–The Levites seem to have entered on this duty with fear and trembling; and finding that they might advance without any such indications of divine wrath as Uzza had experienced (1Ch 13:10), they offered an ox and a fatted sheep immediately after starting (2Sa 6:13), and seven bullocks and seven rams–a perfect sacrifice, at the close of the procession (1Ch 16:1). It is probable that preparations had been made for the offering of similar sacrifices at regular intervals along the way.
27. a robe of fine linen–Hebrew, Butz–is rather supposed in the later books to denote cotton.
an ephod–a shoulder-garment, a cincture or cape over his dress. It was worn by the priests, but was not so peculiar to them as to be forbidden others (1Sa 2:18; 22:18).
29. Michal … saw … David dancing and playing–His movements would be slow and solemn, suitable to the grave and solemn character of the music. Though his royal robes were laid aside, he was attired like the other officials, showing a becoming humility in the immediate presence of God. The feelings manifested by Michal were only an ebullition of spleen from a proud and passionate woman.
1Ch 16:1-6. David’s Festival Sacrifice and Liberality to the People.
2. he blessed the people in the name of the Lord–The king commended their zeal, supplicated the divine blessing upon them, and ordered the remains of the thank offerings which had been profusely sacrificed during the procession, to be distributed in certain proportions to every individual, that the ceremonial might terminate with appropriate festivities (De 12:7).
3. flagon of wine–The two latter words are a supplement by our translators, and the former is, in other versions, rendered not a “flagon,” but a “cake,” a confection, as the Septuagint renders it, made of flour and honey.
4-6. he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord–No sooner was the ark deposited in its tent than the Levites, who were to officiate in the choirs before it, entered upon their duties. A select number of the musicians were chosen for the service from the list (1Ch 15:19-21) of those who had taken a prominent part in the recent procession. The same arrangement was to be observed in their duties, now that the ark again was stationary; Asaph, with his associates, composing the first or principal company, played with cymbals; Zechariah and his colleagues, with whom were conjoined Jeiel and Obed-edom, forming the second company, used harps and similar instruments.
5. Jeiel–the same as Aziel (1Ch 15:20).
6. Benaiah also and Jahaziel–The name of the former is mentioned among the priests (1Ch 15:24), but not the latter. The office assigned to them was that of blowing trumpets at regular intervals before the ark and in the tabernacle.
1Ch 16:7-43. His Psalm of Thanksgiving.
7. Then on that day David delivered first this psalm–Among the other preparations for this solemn inauguration, the royal bard had composed a special hymn for the occasion. Doubtless it had been previously in the hands of Asaph and his assistants, but it was now publicly committed to them as they entered for the first time on the performance of their sacred duties. It occupies the greater part of this chapter (1Ch 16:8-36), and seems to have been compiled from other psalms of David, previously known to the Israelites, as the whole of it will be found, with very slight variations, in Ps 96:1-13; 105:1-15; 106:47, 48. In the form, however, in which it is given by the sacred historian, it seems to have been the first psalm given for use in the tabernacle service. Abounding, as it does, with the liveliest ascriptions of praise to God for the revelation of His glorious character and the display of His marvellous works and containing, as it does, so many pointed allusions to the origin, privileges, and peculiar destiny of the chosen people, it was admirably calculated to animate the devotions and call forth the gratitude of the assembled multitude.
36. all the people said, Amen–(Compare Ps 72:19, 20; 106:48). In the former, the author of the doxology utters the “amen” himself, while in the latter the people are exhorted to say “amen.” This may arise from the fact that the latter psalm originally concluded with the injunction to say “amen.” But in this historical account of the festival, it was necessary to relate that the people obeyed this injunction on the occasion referred to, and therefore the words “let them praise,” were altered into “and they praised” [Bertheau].
37-42. So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the Lord Asaph and his brethren, &c.–The sequel of the chapter describes the appointment of the sacred musicians and their respective duties.
38. Obed-edom with their brethren–Hosah, mentioned at the close of the verse, and a great number besides (see on 1Ch 26:1).
to be porters–doorkeepers.
39, 40. And Zadok … before the tabernacle … at Gibeon–While the above-mentioned officers under the superintendence of Abiathar, were appointed to officiate in Jerusalem, whither the ark had been brought, Zadok and the priests subordinate to him were stationed at Gibeon to perform the sacred service before the ancient tabernacle which still remained there.
40. continually morning and evening–as the law enjoined (Ex 29:38; Nu 28:3, 6).
and do according to all that is written in the law–(See Nu 28:1-31). Thus, in the time of David, the worship was performed at two places, where the sacred things that had been transmitted from the age of Moses were preserved. Before the Ark in Jerusalem, Asaph and his brethren officiated as singers, Obed-edom and Hosah served as doorkeepers, and Benaiah and Jahaziel blew the trumpets. While at the tabernacle and burnt offering in Gibeon, Heman and Jeduthun presided over the sacred music, the sons of Jeduthun were door keepers, and Zadok, with his suite of attendant priests, offered the sacrifices.
1Ch 17:1-10. David Forbidden to Build God a House.
1. as David sat in his house–The details of this chapter were given in nearly similar terms (2Sa 7:1-29). The date was towards the latter end of David’s reign, for it is expressly said in the former book to have been at the cessation of all his wars. But as to narrate the preparations for the removal of the ark and the erection of the temple was the principal object of the historian, the exact chronology is not followed.
5. I … have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another–The literal rendering is, “I was walking in a tent and in a dwelling.” The evident intention (as we may see from 1Ch 17:6) was to lay stress upon the fact that God was a Mithhatlek (a travelling God) and went from one place to another with His tent and His entire dwelling (the dwelling included not merely the tent, but the fore-courts with the altar of burnt offerings, &c.) [Bertheau].
6. spake I a word to any of the judges–In 2Sa 7:7 it is “any of the tribes” of Israel. Both are included. But the judges “who were commanded to feed the people,” form the more suitable antithesis to David.
Why have ye not built me an house of cedars?–that is, a solid and magnificent temple.
7. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote–a round tower of rude construction, high walled, but open at the top, in which sheep are often enclosed at night to protect them from wild beasts. The meaning is, I elevated you to the throne from a humble condition solely by an act of divine grace, and not from any antecedent merits of your own (see on 1Sa 16:11), and I enabled you to acquire renown, equal or superior to any other monarch. Your reign will ever be afterwards regarded as the best and brightest era in the history of Israel, for it will secure to the nation a settled inheritance of prosperity and peace, without any of the oppressions or disorders that afflicted them in early times.
9, 10. at the beginning, and since the time that I commanded judges–that is, including the whole period from Joshua to Saul.
I tell thee that the Lord will build thee an house–This was the language of Nathan himself, who was specially directed to assure David, not only of personal blessing and prosperity, but of a continuous line of royal descendants.
11. I will raise up thy seed–(See on 2Sa 7:12).
13. I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee–My procedure in dealing with him will be different from My disposal of Saul. Should his misconduct call for personal chastisement, I shall spare his family. If I see it necessary to withdraw My favor and help for a time, it will be a corrective discipline only to reform and restore, not to destroy. (On this passage some have founded an argument for Solomon’s repentance and return to God).
14. I will settle him in my house–over My people Israel.
and in my kingdom for ever–God here asserts His right of supreme sovereignty in Israel. David and Solomon, with their successors, were only the vicegerents whom He nominated, or, in His providence, permitted.
his throne shall be established for evermore–The posterity of David inherited the throne in a long succession–but not always. In such a connection as this, the phrase “for evermore” is employed in a restricted sense (see on La 3:31). We naturally expect the prophet to revert to David before concluding, after having spoken (1Ch 17:12) of the building of Solomon’s temple. The promise that his house should be blessed was intended as a compensation for the disappointment of his wish to build the temple, and hence this assurance is appropriately repeated at the conclusion of the prophet’s address [Bertheau].
15. According to all … this vision–The revelation of the divine will was made to the prophet in a dream.
16. David the king … sat before the Lord, and said–(See on 2Sa 7:18).
1Ch 18:1, 2. David Subdues the Philistines and Moabites.
1. David … took Gath and her towns–The full extent of David’s conquests in the Philistine territory is here distinctly stated, whereas in the parallel passage (2Sa 8:1) it was only described in a general way. Gath was the “Metheg-ammah,” or “arm-bridle,” as it is there called–either from its supremacy as the capital over the other Philistine towns, or because, in the capture of that important place and its dependencies, he obtained the complete control of his restless neighbors.
2. he smote Moab–The terrible severities by which David’s conquest of that people was marked, and the probable reason of their being subjected to such a dreadful retribution, are narrated (2Sa 8:2).
the Moabites … brought gifts–that is, became tributary to Israel.
1Ch 18:3-17. David Smites Hadadezer and the Syrians.
3. Hadarezer–or, “Hadadezer” (2Sa 8:3), which was probably the original form of the name, was derived from Hadad, a Syrian deity. It seems to have become the official and hereditary title of the rulers of that kingdom.
Zobah–Its situation is determined by the words “unto” or “towards Hamath,” a little to the northeast of Damascus, and is supposed by some to be the same place as in earlier times was called Hobah (Ge 14:15). Previous to the rise of Damascus, Zobah was the capital of the kingdom which held supremacy among the petty states of Syria.
as he went to stablish his dominion by the river Euphrates–Some refer this to David, who was seeking to extend his possessions in one direction towards a point bordering on the Euphrates, in accordance with the promise (Ge 15:18; Nu 24:17). But others are of opinion that, as David’s name is mentioned (1Ch 18:4), this reference is most applicable to Hadadezer.
4-8. And David took from him a thousand chariots–(See on 2Sa 8:3-14). In 2Sa 8:4 David is said to have taken seven hundred horsemen, whereas here it is said that he took seven thousand. This great discrepancy in the text of the two narratives seems to have originated with a transcriber in confounding the two Hebrew letters which indicate the numbers, and in neglecting to mark or obscure the points over one of them. We have no means of ascertaining whether seven hundred or seven thousand be the more correct. Probably the former should be adopted [Davidson’s HERMENUTICS].
but reserved of them an hundred chariots–probably to grace a triumphal procession on his return to Jerusalem, and after using them in that way, destroy them like the rest.
8. from Tibhath and from Chun–These places are called Betah and Berothai (2Sa 8:8). Perhaps the one might be the Jewish, the other the Syrian, name of these towns. Neither their situation nor the connection between them is known. The Arabic version makes them to be Emesa (now Hems) and Baal-bek, both of which agree very well with the relative position of Zobah.
9-13. Tou–or Toi–whose dominions border on those of Hadadezer. (See on 2Sa 8:9-12; 1Ki 11:15).
17. the Cherethites and the Pelethites–who formed the royal bodyguard. The Cherethites were, most probably, those brave men who all along accompanied David while among the Philistines, and from that people derived their name (1Sa 30:14; Eze 25:16; Zep 2:5) as well as their skill in archery–while the Pelethites were those who joined him at Ziklag, took their name from Pelet, the chief man in the company (1Ch 12:3), and, being Benjamites, were expert in the use of the sling.
1Ch 19:1-5. David’s Messengers, Sent to Comfort Hanun, Are Disgracefully Treated.
1. after this–This phrase seems to indicate that the incident now to be related took place immediately, or soon after the wars described in the preceding chapter. But the chronological order is loosely observed, and the only just inference that can be drawn from the use of this phrase is, that some farther account is to be given of the wars against the Syrians.
Nahash the king of the children of Ammon died–There had subsisted a very friendly relation between David and him, begun during the exile of the former, and cemented, doubtless, by their common hostility to Saul.
3. are not his servants come unto thee for to search?–that is, thy capital, Rabbah (2Sa 10:3).
4, 5. shaved them–not completely, but only the half of their face. This disrespect to the beard, and indecent exposure of their persons by their clothes being cut off from the girdle downwards, was the grossest indignity to which Jews, in common with all Orientals, could be subjected. No wonder that the men were ashamed to appear in public–that the king recommended them to remain in seclusion on the border till the mark of their disgrace had disappeared–and then they might, with propriety, return to the court.
1Ch 19:6-15. Joab and Abishai Overcome the Ammonites.
6. when the children of Ammon saw that they had made themselves odious to David–One universal feeling of indignation was roused throughout Israel, and all classes supported the king in his determination to avenge this unprovoked insult on the Hebrew nation.
Hanun … sent a thousand talents of silver–a sum equal to £342,100, to procure the services of foreign mercenaries.
chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia … Syria-maachah, and … Zobah–The Mesopotamian troops did not arrive during this campaign (1Ch 19:16). Syria-maachah lay on the north of the possessions of the trans-jordanic Israelites, near Gilead.
Zobah–(see on 1Ch 18:3).
7. So they hired thirty and two thousand chariots–Hebrew, “riders,” or “cavalry,” accustomed to fight either on horseback or in chariots, and occasionally on foot. Accepting this as the true rendering, the number of hired auxiliaries mentioned in this passage agrees exactly with the statement in 2Sa 10:6: twenty thousand (from Syria), twelve thousand (from Tob), equal to thirty-two thousand, and one thousand with the king of Maachah.
8. David … sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men–All the forces of Israel, including the great military orders, were engaged in this war.
9-15. children of Ammon … put the battle in array before the gate of the city–that is, outside the walls of Medeba, a frontier town on the Arnon.
the kings that were come were by themselves in the field–The Israelitish army being thus beset by the Ammonites in front, and by the Syrian auxiliaries behind, Joab resolved to attack the latter (the more numerous and formidable host), while he directed his brother Abishai, with a suitable detachment, to attack the Ammonites. Joab’s address before the engagement displays the faith and piety that became a commander of the Hebrew people. The mercenaries being defeated, the courage of the Ammonites failed; so that, taking flight, they entrenched themselves within the fortified walls.
1Ch 19:16-19. Shophach Slain by David.
16. And when the Syrians saw that they were put to the worse before Israel–(See on 2Sa 10:15-19).
18. David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men–(Compare 2Sa 10:18, which has seven hundred chariots). Either the text in one of the books is corrupt [Keil, Davidson], or the accounts must be combined, giving this result–seven thousand horsemen, seven thousand chariots, and forty thousand footmen [Kennicott, Houbigant, Calmet].
1Ch 20:1-3. Rabbah Besieged by Joab, Spoiled by David, and the People Tortured.
1. at the time when kings go out to battle–in spring, the usual season in ancient times for entering on a campaign; that is, a year subsequent to the Syrian war.
Joab led forth the power of the army, and wasted the country … of Ammon–The former campaign had been disastrous, owing chiefly to the hired auxiliaries of the Ammonites; and as it was necessary, as well as just, that they should be severely chastised for their wanton outrage on the Hebrew ambassadors, Joab ravaged their country and invested their capital, Rabbah. After a protracted siege, Joab took one part of it, the lower town or “city of waters,” insulated by the winding course of the Jabbok. Knowing that the fort called “the royal city” would soon fall, he invited the king to come in person, and have the honor of storming it. The knowledge of this fact (mentioned in 2Sa 12:26) enables us to reconcile the two statements–“David tarried at Jerusalem” (1Ch 20:1), and “David and all the people returned to Jerusalem” (1Ch 20:3).
2. David took the crown of their king …, and found it to weigh a talent of gold–equal to one hundred twenty-five pounds. Some think that Malcom, rendered in our version “their king,” should be taken as a proper name, Milcom or Molech, the Ammonite idol, which, of course, might bear a heavy weight. But, like many other state crowns of Eastern kings, the crown got at Rabbah was not worn on the head, but suspended by chains of gold above the throne.
precious stones–Hebrew, a “stone,” or cluster of precious stones, which was set on David’s head.
3. cut them with saws, &c.–The Hebrew word, “cut them,” is, with the difference of the final letter, the same as that rendered “put them,” in the parallel passage of Samuel [2Sa 12:31]; and many consider that putting them to saws, axes, and so forth, means nothing more than that David condemned the inhabitants of Rabbah to hard and penal servitude.
1Ch 20:4-8. Three Overthrows of the Philistines and Three Giants Slain.
4. war at Gezer–or Gob (see 2Sa 21:18-22).
1Ch 21:1-13. David Sins in Numbering the People.
1. Satan stood up against Israel–God, by withdrawing His grace at this time from David (see on 2Sa 24:1), permitted the tempter to prevail over him. As the result of this successful temptation was the entail of a heavy calamity as a punishment from God upon the people, it might be said that “Satan stood up against Israel.”
number Israel–In the act of taking the census of a people, there is not only no evil, but much utility. But numbering Israel–that people who were to become as the stars for multitude, implying a distrust of the divine promise, was a sin; and though it had been done with impunity in the time of Moses, at that enumeration each of the people had contributed “half a shekel towards the building of the tabernacle,” that there might be no plague among them when he numbered them (Ex 30:12). Hence the numbering of that people was in itself regarded as an undertaking by which the anger of God could be easily aroused; but when the arrangements were made by Moses for the taking of the census, God was not angry because the people were numbered for the express purpose of the tax for the sanctuary, and the money which was thus collected (“the atonement money,” Ex 30:16) appeased Him. Everything depended, therefore, upon the design of the census [Bertheau]. The sin of David numbering the people consisted in its being either to gratify his pride to ascertain the number of warriors he could muster for some meditated plan of conquest; or, perhaps, more likely still, to institute a regular and permanent system of taxation, which he deemed necessary to provide an adequate establishment for the monarchy, but which was regarded as a tyrannical and oppressive exaction–an innovation on the liberty of the people–a departure from ancient usage unbecoming a king of Israel.
3. why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel?–or bring an occasion of punishment on Israel. In Hebrew, the word “sin” is often used synonymously with the punishment of sin. In the course of Providence, the people frequently suffer for the misconduct of their rulers.
5. Joab gave the sum of the number of the children of Israel–It amounted to one million one hundred thousand men in Israel, capable of bearing arms, inclusive of the three hundred thousand military (1Ch 27:1-9), which, being already enlisted in the royal service, were not reckoned (2Sa 24:9), and to four hundred seventy thousand men in Judah, omitting thirty thousand which formed an army of observation stationed on the Philistine frontier (2Sa 6:1). So large a population at this early period, considering the limited extent of the country and comparing it with the earlier census (Nu 26:1-65), is a striking proof of the fulfilment of the promise (Ge 15:5).
6. Levi and Benjamin counted he not–If this census was ordered with a view to the imposition of taxes, this alone would account for Levi, who were not warriors (1Ch 21:5), not being numbered (see on Nu 1:47-54). The population of Benjamin had been taken (see on 1Ch 7:6-11), and the register preserved in the archives of that tribe. This, however, was taken on another occasion, and by other agency than that of Joab. The non-numbering of these two tribes might have originated in the special and gracious providence of God, partly because Levi was devoted to His service, and Benjamin had become the least of all the tribes (Jud 21:1-25); and partly because God foresaw that they would remain faithful to the house of David in the division of the tribes, and therefore He would not have them diminished [Poole]. From the course followed in this survey (see on 2Sa 24:4-8), it would appear that Judah and Benjamin were the last tribes that were to be visited; and that, after the census in Judah had been finished, Joab, before entering on that of Benjamin, had to return to Jerusalem, where the king, now sensible of his great error, gave orders to stop all further proceedings in the business. Not only the remonstrance of Joab at the first, but his slow progress in the survey (2Sa 24:8) showed the strong repugnance and even horror of the old general at this unconstitutional measure.
9. the Lord spake unto Gad, David’s seer–Although David was himself endowed with a prophetic gift, yet, in matters relating to himself or his kingdom, he was in the habit of consulting the Lord through the medium of the priests; and when he failed to do so, a prophet was sent on extraordinary occasions to admonish or chastise him. Gad, a private friend, was occasionally employed as the bearer of these prophetic messages.
11, 12. Choose thee, &c.–To the three evils these correspond in beautiful agreement: three years, three months, three days [Bertheau]. (See on 2Sa 24:13).
13. let me fall now into the hand of the Lord … let me not fall into the hand of man–Experience had taught him that human passion and vengeance had no bounds, whereas our wise and gracious Father in heaven knows the kind, and regulates the extent, of chastisement which every one needs.
14, 15. So the Lord … sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it–The infliction only of the pestilence is here noticed, without any account of its duration or its ravages, while a minute description is given of the visible appearance and menacing attitude of the destroying angel.
15. stood by the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite–Ornan was probably his Hebrew or Jewish, Araunah his Jebusite or Canaanitish, name. Whether he was the old king of Jebus, as that title is given to him (2Sa 24:23), or not, he had been converted to the worship of the true God, and was possessed both of property and influence.
16. David and the elders … clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces–They appeared in the garb and assumed the attitude of humble penitents, confessing their sins, and deprecating the wrath of God.
1Ch 21:18-30. He Builds an Altar.
18. the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say–The order about the erection of an altar, as well as the indication of its site, is described (2Sa 24:18) as brought directly by Gad. Here we are informed of the quarter whence the prophet got his commission. It is only in the later stages of Israel’s history that we find angels employed in communicating the divine will to the prophets.
20, 21. Ornan was threshing wheat–If the census was entered upon in autumn, the beginning of the civil year, the nine and a half months it occupied would end at wheat harvest. The common way of threshing corn is by spreading it out on a high level area, and driving backwards and forwards upon it two oxen harnessed to a clumsy sledge with three rollers and some sharp spikes. The driver sits on his knees on the box, while another person is employed in drawing back the straw and separating it from the grain underneath. By this operation the chaff is very much chopped, and the grain threshed out.
23. I give thee … the threshing instruments for wood–that is, to burn the sacrifice of the oxen. Very little real import–the haste and the value of the present offered–can be understood in this country. The offering was made for instant use. Ornan, hereby hoping to terminate the pestilence without a moment’s delay, “gave all,” oxen, the large threshing machine, and the wheat.
25. David gave … for the place six hundred shekels of gold–At first he bought only the cattle and the threshing instruments, for which he paid fifty shekels of silver (2Sa 24:24); afterwards he purchased the whole property, Mount Moriah, on which the future temple stood. High in the center of the mountain platform rises a remarkable rock, now covered by the dome of “the Sakrah.” It is irregular in its form, and measures about sixty feet in one direction and fifty feet in the other. It is the natural surface of Mount Moriah and is thought by many to be the rock of the threshing-floor of Araunah, selected by David, and continued by Solomon and Zerubbabel as “the unhewn stone” on which to build the altar [BARTLETT, Walks about Jerusalem; Stanley].
26. David built there an altar–He went in procession with his leading men from the royal palace, down Mount Zion, and through the intervening city. Although he had plenty of space on his own property, he was commanded, under peremptory direction, to go a considerable distance from his home, up Mount Moriah, to erect an altar on premises which he had to buy. It was on or close to the spot where Abraham had offered up Isaac.
answered him by fire from heaven–(See Le 9:24; 1Ki 18:21-23; 2Ki 1:12; 2Ch 7:1).
28. when David saw that the Lord had answered him …, he sacrificed there–or, “he continued to sacrifice there.” Perceiving his sacrifice was acceptable, he proceeded to make additional offerings there, and seek favor by prayer and expiatory rites; for the dread of the menacing angel destroying Jerusalem while he was absent in the center of worship at Gibeon, especially reverence for the Divine Being, led him to continue his adorations in that place which God (2Ch 3:1) had hallowed by the tokens of His presence and gracious acceptance.
1Ch 22:1-5. David Prepares for Building the Temple.
1. David said, This is the home of the Lord God–By the miraculous sign of fire from heaven, and perhaps other intimations, David understood it to be the will of God that the national place of worship should be fixed there, and he forthwith proceeded to make preparations for the erection of the temple on that spot.
2. David commanded to gather together the strangers–partly the descendants of the old Canaanites (2Ch 8:7-10), from whom was exacted a tribute of bond service, and partly war captives (2Ch 2:7), reserved for the great work he contemplated.
1Ch 22:6-19. He Instructs Solomon.
6. Then he called for Solomon … and charged him–The earnestness and solemnity of this address creates an impression that it was given a little before the old king’s decease. He unfolded his great and long cherished plan, enjoined the building of God’s house as a sacred duty on him as his son and successor, and described the resources that were at command for carrying on the work. The vast amount of personal property he had accumulated in the precious metals [1Ch 22:14] must have been spoil taken from the people he had conquered, and the cities he had sacked.
1Ch 23:1. David Makes Solomon King.
1. when David was old … he made Solomon … king–This brief statement, which comprises the substance of 1Ki 1:32-48, is made here solely to introduce an account of the preparations carried on by David during the latter years of his life for providing a national place of worship.
1Ch 23:2-6. Number and Distribution of the Levites.
2. he gathered together all the princes of Israel–All important measures relating to the public interest were submitted for consideration to a general assembly of the representatives of the tribes (1Ch 13:1; 15:25; 22:17; 26:1-32).
3. the Levites were numbered … thirty and eight thousand–Four times their number at the early census taken by Moses (see on Nu 4:1-49; 26:1-51). It was, in all likelihood, this vast increase that suggested and rendered expedient that classification, made in the last year of David’s reign, which the present and three subsequent chapters describe.
by their polls, man by man–Women and children were not included.
4. twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the Lord–They were not to preside over all the services of the temple. The Levites were subject to the priests, and they were superior to the Nethinim and other servants, who were not of the race of Levi. But they had certain departments of duty assigned, some of which are here specified.
5. praised the Lord with the instruments which I made–David seems to have been an inventor of many of the musical instruments used in the temple (Am 6:5).
6. David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi–These are enumerated according to their fathers’ houses, but no more of these are mentioned here than the twenty-four thousand who were engaged in the work connected with the Lord’s house. The fathers’ houses of those Levites corresponded with the classes into which they [Josephus, Antiquities] as well as the priests were divided (see on 1Ch 24:20-31; 1Ch 26:20-28).
1Ch 23:7-11. Sons of Gershon.
7-11. the Gershonites–They had nine fathers’ houses, six descended from Laadan, and three from Shimei.
1Ch 23:12-20. Of Kohath.
12. The sons of Kohath–He was the founder of nine Levitical fathers’ houses.
13. Aaron was separated–as high priest (see on 1Ch 25:1-19).
14. concerning Moses–His sons were ranked with the Levites generally, but not introduced into the distinctive portion of the descendants of Levi, who were appointed to the special functions of the priesthood.
1Ch 23:21-23. Of Merari.
21-23. The sons of Merari–They comprised six fathers’ houses. Summing them together, Gershon founded nine fathers houses, Kohath nine, and Merari six: total, twenty-four.
1Ch 23:24-32. Office of the Levites.
24-27. These were the sons of Levi … that did the work … from the age of twenty years and upward–The enumeration of the Levites was made by David (1Ch 23:3) on the same rule as that followed by Moses (Nu 4:3), namely, from thirty years. But he saw afterwards that this rule might be beneficially relaxed, and that the enrolment of Levites for their proper duties might be made from twenty years of age. The ark and tabernacle being now stationary at Jerusalem, the labor of the Levites was greatly diminished, as they were no longer obliged to transport its heavy furniture from place to place. The number of thirty-eight thousand Levites, exclusive of priests, was doubtless more than sufficient for the ordinary service of the tabernacle. But this pious king thought that it would contribute to the glory of the Lord to employ as many officers in his divine service as possible. These first rules, however, which David instituted, were temporary, as very different arrangements were made after the ark had been deposited in the tabernacle of Zion.
1Ch 24:1-19. Division of the Sons of Aaron into Four and Twenty Orders.
1. Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron–(See on 1Ch 23:6).
2. Nadab and Abihu died before their father–that is, not in his presence, but during his lifetime (see Nu 3:4; 26:61).
therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office–In consequence of the death of his two oldest sons without issue, the descendants of Aaron were comprised in the families of Eleazar and Ithamar. Both of these sons discharged the priestly functions as assistants to their father. Eleazar succeeded him, and in his line the high priesthood continued until it was transferred to the family of Ithamar, in the person of Eli.
3. Zadok … and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar–This statement, taken in connection with 1Ch 24:6, is not a little perplexing, since (2Sa 15:24, 35; 20:25) Abiathar is mentioned as the person conjoined in David’s time with Zadok, in the collegiate exercise of the high priesthood. Some think that the words have been transposed, reading Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech. But there is no ground for regarding the text as faulty. The high priests of the line of Ithamar were the following: Ahiah or Ahimelech, his son Abiathar, his son Ahimelech. We frequently find the grandfather and grandson called by the same name (see list of high priests of the line of Eleazar, 1Ch 6:30-41). Hence the author of the Chronicles was acquainted with Ahimelech, son of Abiathar, who, for some reason, discharged the duties of high priest in David’s reign, and during the lifetime of his father (for Abiathar was living in the time of Solomon, 1Ki 2:27) [Keil].
4. there were more chief men found–The Hebrew may be translated, “There were more men as to heads of the sons of Eleazar.” It is true, in point of fact, that by the census the number of individuals belonging to the family of Eleazar was found greater than in that of Ithamar. And this, of necessity, led to there being more fathers’ houses, and consequently more chiefs or presidents in the former.
5. Thus were they divided by lot–This method of allocation was adopted manifestly to remove all cause of jealousy as to precedence and the right of performing particular duties.
6. one principal household–The marginal reading is preferable, “one house of the father.” The lot was cast in a deliberate and solemn manner in presence of the king, the princes, the two high priests, and the chiefs of the priestly and Levitical families. The heads of families belonging to Eleazar and Ithamar were alternately brought forward to draw, and the name of each individual, as called, registered by an attendant secretary. To accommodate the casting of the lots to the inequality of the number, there being sixteen fathers’ houses of Eleazar, and only eight of Ithamar, it was arranged that every house of Ithamar should be followed by two of Eleazar, or, what is the same thing, that every two houses of Eleazar should be followed by one of Ithamar. If, then, we suppose a commencement to have been made by Eleazar, the order would be as follows: one and two, Eleazar; three, Ithamar; four and five, Eleazar; six, Ithamar; seven and eight, Eleazar; nine, Ithamar; and so forth [Bertheau]. The lot determined also the order of the priests’ service. That of the Levites was afterwards distributed by the same arrangement (1Ch 24:31).
1Ch 25:1-7. Number and Office of the Singers.
1. David and the captains of the host–that is, the princes (1Ch 23:2; 24:6). It is probable that the king was attended on the occasion of arranging the singers by the same parties that are mentioned as having assisted him in regulating the order of the priests and Levites.
2. according to the order of the king–Hebrew, “by the hands of the king,” that is, “according to the king’s order,” under the personal superintendence of Asaph and his colleagues.
which prophesied–that is, in this connection, played with instruments. This metaphorical application of the term “prophecy” most probably originated in the practice of the prophets, who endeavored to rouse their prophetic spirit by the animating influence of music (see on 2Ki 3:15). It is said that Asaph did this “according to David’s order,” because by royal appointment he officiated in the tabernacle on Zion (1Ch 16:37-41), while other leaders of the sacred music were stationed at Gibeon.
5. Heman the king’s seer–The title of “seer” or “prophet of David” is also given to Gad (1Ch 21:9), and to Jeduthun (2Ch 29:14, 15), in the words (Margin, “matters”) of God.
to lift up the horn–that is, to blow loudly in the worship of God; or perhaps it means nothing more than that he presided over the wind instruments, as Jeduthun over the harp. Heman had been appointed at first to serve at Gibeon (1Ch 16:41). But his destination seems to have been changed at a subsequent period.
God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters–The daughters are mentioned, solely because from their musical taste and talents they formed part of the choir (Ps 68:25).
6, 7. All these were under the hands of their father–Asaph had four sons, Jeduthun six, and Heman fourteen, equal to twenty-four; making the musicians with their brethren the singers, an amount of two hundred eighty-eight. For, like the priests and Levites, they were divided into twenty-four courses of twelve men each, equal to two hundred eighty-eight, who served a week in rotation; and these, half of whom officiated every week with a proportionate number of assistants, were skilful and experienced musicians, capable of leading and instructing the general musical corps, which comprised no less than four thousand (1Ch 23:5).
1Ch 25:8-31. Their Division by Lot into Four and Twenty Orders.
8. they cast lots, ward against ward–“Ward” is an old English word for “division” or “company.” The lot was cast to determine the precedence of the classes or divisions over which the musical leaders presided; and, in order to secure an impartial arrangement of their order, the master and his assistants, the teacher and his scholars, in each class or company took part in this solemn casting of lots. In the first catalogue given in this chapter the courses are classed according to their employment as musicians. In the second, they are arranged in the order of their service.
1Ch 26:1-12. Divisions of the Porters.
1, 2. Concerning the divisions of the porters–There were four thousand (1Ch 23:6), all taken from the families of the Kohathites and Merarites (1Ch 26:14), divided into twenty-four courses–as the priests and musicians.
Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph–Seven sons of Meshelemiah are mentioned (1Ch 26:2), whereas eighteen are given (1Ch 26:9), but in this latter number his relatives are included.
5. God blessed him–that is, Obed-edom. The occasion of the blessing was his faithful custody of the ark (2Sa 6:11, 12). The nature of the blessing (Ps 127:5) consisted in the great increase of progeny by which his house was distinguished; seventy-two descendants are reckoned.
6. mighty men of valour–The circumstance of physical strength is prominently noticed in this chapter, as the office of the porters required them not only to act as sentinels of the sacred edifice and its precious furniture against attacks of plunderers or popular insurrection–to be, in fact, a military guard–but, after the temple was built, to open and shut the gates, which were extraordinarily large and ponderous.
10. Simri the chief … though … not the first-born–probably because the family entitled to the right of primogeniture had died out, or because there were none of the existing families which could claim that right.
12. Among these were the divisions of the porters, even among the chief men–These were charged with the duty of superintending the watches, being heads of the twenty-four courses of porters.
1Ch 26:13-19. The Gates Assigned by Lot.
13. they cast lots–Their departments of duty, such as the gates they should attend to, were allotted in the same manner as those of the other Levitical bodies, and the names of the chiefs or captains are given, with the respective gates assigned them.
15. the house of Asuppim–or, “collections,” probably a storehouse, where were kept the grain, wine, and other offerings for the sustenance of the priests.
16. the gate Shallecheth–probably the rubbish gate, through which all the accumulated filth and sweepings of the temple and its courts were poured out.
by the causeway of the going up–probably the ascending road which was cast up or raised from the deep valley between Mount Zion and Moriah, for the royal egress to the place of worship (2Ch 9:4).
ward against ward–Some refer these words to Shuppim and Hosah, whose duty it was to watch both the western gate and the gate Shallecheth, which was opposite, while others take it as a general statement applicable to all the guards, and intended to intimate that they were posted at regular distances from each other, or that they all mounted and relieved guard at the same time in uniform order.
17-19. Eastward were six Levites–because the gate there was the most frequented. There were four at the north gate; four at the south, at the storehouse which was adjoining the south, and which had two entrance gates, one leading in a southwesterly direction to the city, and the other direct west, two porters each. At the Parbar towards the west, there were six men posted–four at the causeway or ascent (1Ch 26:16), and two at Parbar, amounting to twenty-four in all, who were kept daily on guard.
18. Parbar–is, perhaps, the same as Parvar (“suburbs,” 2Ki 23:11), and if so, this gate might be so called as leading to the suburbs [Calmet].
1Ch 26:20-28. Levites That Had Charge of the Treasures.
20. of the Levites, Ahijah–The heading of this section is altogether strange as it stands, for it looks as if the sacred historian were going to commence a new subject different from the preceding. Besides, “Ahijah, whose name occurs after” the Levites, is not mentioned in the previous lists. It is totally unknown and is introduced abruptly without further information; and lastly, Ahijah must have united in his own person those very offices of which the occupants are named in the verses that follow. The reading is incorrect. The Septuagint has this very suitable heading, “And their Levitical brethren over the treasures,” &c. [Bertheau]. The names of those who had charge of the treasure chambers at their respective wards are given, with a general description of the precious things committed to their trust. Those treasures were immense, consisting of the accumulated spoils of Israelitish victories, as well as of voluntary contributions made by David and the representatives of the people.
1Ch 26:29-32. Officers and Judges.
29. officers and judges–The word rendered “officers” is the term which signifies scribes or secretaries, so that the Levitical class here described were magistrates, who, attended by their clerks, exercised judicial functions; there were six thousand of them (1Ch 23:4), who probably acted like their brethren on the principle of rotation, and these were divided into three classes–one (1Ch 26:29) for the outward business over Israel; one (1Ch 26:30), consisting of seventeen hundred, for the west of Jordan “in all business of the Lord, and in the service of the king”; and the third (1Ch 26:31, 32), consisting of twenty-seven hundred, “rulers for every matter pertaining to God, and affairs of the king.”
1Ch 27:1-15. Twelve Captains for Every Month.
1. came in and went out month by month–Here is an account of the standing military force of Israel. A militia formed, it would seem, at the beginning of David’s reign (see 1Ch 27:7) was raised in the following order: Twelve legions, corresponding to the number of tribes, were enlisted in the king’s service. Each legion comprised a body of twenty-four thousand men, whose term of service was a month in rotation, and who were stationed either at Jerusalem or in any other place where they might be required. There was thus always a force sufficient for the ordinary purposes of state, as well as for resisting sudden attacks or popular tumults; and when extraordinary emergencies demanded a larger force, the whole standing army could easily be called to arms, amounting to two hundred eighty-eight thousand, or to three hundred thousand, including the twelve thousand officers that naturally attended on the twelve princes (1Ch 27:16-24). Such a military establishment would be burdensome neither to the country nor to the royal treasury; for attendance on this duty being a mark of honor and distinction, the expense of maintenance would be borne probably by the militiaman himself, or furnished out of the common fund of his tribe. Nor would the brief period of actual service produce any derangement of the usual course of affairs; for, on the expiry of the term, every soldier returned to the pursuits and duties of private life during the other eleven months of the year. Whether the same individuals were always enrolled, cannot be determined. The probability is, that provided the requisite number was furnished, no stricter scrutiny would be made. A change of men might, to a certain degree, be encouraged, as it was a part of David’s policy to train all his subjects to skill in arms; and to have made the enlistment fall always on the same individuals would have defeated that purpose. To have confined each month’s levy rigidly within the limits of one tribe might have fallen hard upon those tribes which were weak and small. The rotation system being established, each division knew its own month, as well as the name of the commander under whom it was to serve. These commanders are styled, “the chief fathers,” that is, the hereditary heads of tribes who, like chieftains of clans, possessed great power and influence.
captains of thousands and hundreds–The legions of twenty-four thousand were divided into regiments of one thousand, and these again into companies of a hundred men, under the direction of their respective subalterns, there being, of course, twenty-four captains of thousands, and two hundred forty centurions.
and their officers–the Shoterim, who in the army performed the duty of the commissariat, keeping the muster-roll, &c.
2, 3. Jashobeam the son of Zabdiel–(See on 1Ch 11:11; 2Sa 23:8). Hachmoni was his father, Zabdiel probably one of his ancestors; or there might be different names of the same individual. In the rotation of the military courses, the dignity of precedence, not of authority, was given to the hero.
4. second month was Dodai–or, “Dodo.” Here the text seems to require the supplement of “Eleazar the son of Dodo” (2Sa 23:9).
7. Asahel–This officer having been slain at the very beginning of David’s reign [2Sa 2:23], his name was probably given to this division in honor of his memory, and his son was invested with the command.
1Ch 27:16-24. Princes of the Twelve Tribes.
16. over the tribes of Israel: the ruler–This is a list of the hereditary chiefs or rulers of tribes at the time of David’s numbering the people. Gad and Asher are not included; for what reason is unknown. The tribe of Levi had a prince (1Ch 27:17), as well as the other tribes; and although it was ecclesiastically subject to the high priest, yet in all civil matters it had a chief or head, possessed of the same authority and power as in the other tribes, only his jurisdiction did not extend to the priests.
18. Elihu–probably the same as Eliab (1Sa 16:6).
23. But David took not the number of them from twenty years old and under–The census which David ordered did not extend to all the Israelites; for to contemplate such an enumeration would have been to attempt an impossibility (Ge 28:14), and besides would have been a daring offense to God. The limitation to a certain age was what had probably quieted David’s conscience as to the lawfulness of the measure, while its expediency was strongly pressed upon his mind by the army arrangements he had in view.
24. neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of King David–either because the undertaking was not completed, Levi and Benjamin not having been numbered (1Ch 21:6), or the full details in the hands of the enumerating officers were not reported to David, and, consequently, not registered in the public archives.
the chronicles–were the daily records or annals of the king’s reign. No notice was taken of this census in the historical register, as from the public calamity with which it was associated it would have stood as a painful record of the divine judgment against the king and the nation.
25. over the king’s treasures–Those treasures consisted of gold, silver, precious stones, cedar-wood, &c.; those which he had in Jerusalem as distinguished from others without the city.
the storehouses in the fields–Grain covered over with layers of straw is frequently preserved in the fields under little earthen mounds, like our potato pits.
27. the vineyards–These seem to have been in the vine growing districts of Judah, and were committed to two men of that quarter.
wine-cellars–The wine is deposited in jars sunk in the court of the house.
28. olive trees and the sycamore trees … in the low plains–that is, the Shephela, the rich, low-lying ground between the Mediterranean and the mountains of Judah.
29. herds that fed in Sharon–a fertile plain between Cæsarea and Joppa.
30. camels–These were probably in the countries east of the Jordan, and hence an Ishmaelite and Nazarite were appointed to take charge of them.
31. rulers of the substance that was king David’s–How and when the king acquired these demesnes and this variety of property–whether it was partly by conquests, or partly by confiscation, or by his own active cultivation of waste lands–is not said. It was probably in all these ways. The management of the king’s private possessions was divided into twelve parts, like his public affairs and the revenue derived from all these sources mentioned must have been very large.
1Ch 28:1-8. David Exhorts the People to Fear God.
1. David assembled all the princes of Israel–that is, the representatives of the people, the leading men of the kingdom, who are enumerated in this verse according to their respective rank or degree of authority.
princes of the tribes–(1Ch 27:16-22). Those patriarchal chiefs are mentioned first as being the highest in rank–a sort of hereditary noblesse.
the captains of the companies–the twelve generals mentioned (1Ch 27:1-15).
the stewards, &c.–(1Ch 27:25-31).
the officers–Hebrew, “eunuchs,” or attendants on the court (1Sa 8:15; 1Ki 22:9; 2Ki 22:18); and besides Joab, the commander-in-chief of the army, the heroes who had no particular office (1Ch 11:10-12:40; 2Sa 23:8-39). This assembly, a very mixed and general one, as appears from the parties invited, was more numerous and entirely different from that mentioned (1Ch 23:2).
2. Hear me, my brethren, and my people–This was the style of address becoming a constitutional king of Israel (De 17:20; 1Sa 30:23; 2Sa 5:1).
I had in mine heart–I proposed, or designed.
to build an house of rest–a solid and permanent temple.
for the footstool of our God–God seated between the cherubim, at the two extremities of the ark, might be said to be enthroned in His glory, and the coverlet of the ark to be His footstool.
and had made ready for the building–The immense treasures which David had amassed and the elaborate preparations he had made, would have been amply sufficient for the erection of the temple of which he presented the model to Solomon.
3. thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood–The church or spiritual state of the world, of which the temple at Jerusalem was to be a type, would be presided over by One who was to be pre-eminently the Prince of Peace, and therefore would be represented not so fitly by David, whose mission had been a preparatory one of battle and conquest, as by his son, who should reign in unbroken peace.
4, 5. he hath chosen Solomon–The spirit of David’s statement is this:–It was not my ambition, my valor, or my merit that led to the enthronement of myself and family; it was the grace of God which chose the tribe, the family, the person–myself in the first instance, and now Solomon, to whom, as the Lord’s anointed, you are all bound to submit. Like that of Christ, of whom he was a type, the appointment of Solomon to the kingdom above all his brethren was frequently pre-intimated (1Ch 17:12; 22:9; 2Sa 7:12-14; 12:24, 25; 1Ki 1:13).
7. I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments–The same condition is set before Solomon by God (1Ki 3:14; 9:4).
8. Now … in the sight of all Israel, … keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord, &c.–This solemn and earnest exhortation to those present, and to all Israel through their representatives, to continue faithful in observing the divine law as essential to their national prosperity and permanence, is similar to that of Moses (De 30:15-20).
1Ch 28:9-20. He Encourages Solomon to Build the Temple.
9, 10. And thou, Solomon my son–The royal speaker now turns to Solomon, and in a most impressive manner presses upon him the importance of sincere and practical piety.
know thou–He did not mean head knowledge, for Solomon possessed that already, but that experimental acquaintance with God which is only to be obtained by loving and serving Him.
11. Then David gave to Solomon … the pattern–He now put into the hands of his son and successor the plan or model of the temple, with the elevations, measurements, apartments, and chief articles of furniture, all of which were designed according to the pattern given him by divine revelation (1Ch 28:19).
12. the pattern of all that he had by the spirit–rather, “with him in spirit”; that is, was floating in his mind.
15, 16. the candlesticks of silver–Solomon made them all of gold–in this and a few minor particulars departing from the letter of his father’s instructions, where he had the means of executing them in a more splendid style. There was only one candlestick and one table in the tabernacle, but ten in the temple.
18, 19. the chariot of the cherubim–The expanded wings of the cherubim formed what was figuratively styled the throne of God, and as they were emblematical of rapid motion, the throne or seat was spoken of as a chariot (Ps 18:10; 99:1). It is quite clear that in all these directions David was not guided by his own taste, or by a desire for taking any existing model of architecture, but solely by a regard to the express revelation of the divine will. In a vision, or trance, the whole edifice, with its appurtenances, had been placed before his eyes so vividly and permanently, that he had been able to take a sketch of them in the models delivered to Solomon.
20. Be strong and of good courage–The address begun in 1Ch 28:9 is resumed and concluded in the same strain.
21. behold, the courses of the priests and Levites–They were, most probably, represented in this assembly though they are not named.
also the princes and all the people–that is, as well the skilful, expert, and zealous artisan, as the workman who needs to be directed in all his labors.
1Ch 29:1-9. David Causes the Princes and People to Offer for the House of God.
1, 2. Solomon … is yet young and tender–Though Solomon was very young when he was raised to the sovereign power, his kingdom escaped the woe pronounced (Ec 10:16). Mere childhood in a prince is not always a misfortune to a nation, as there are instances of the government being wisely administered during a minority. Solomon himself is a most illustrious proof that a young prince may prove a great blessing; for when he was but a mere child, with respect to his age, no nation was happier. His father, however, made this address before Solomon was endowed with the divine gift of wisdom, and David’s reference to his son’s extreme youth, in connection with the great national undertaking he had been divinely appointed to execute, was to apologize to this assembly of the estates–or, rather, to assign the reason of his elaborate preparations for the work.
3, 4. Moreover … I have of mine own proper good, &c.–In addition to the immense amount of gold and silver treasure which David had already bequeathed for various uses in the service of the temple, he now made an additional contribution destined to a specific purpose–that of overlaying the walls of the house. This voluntary gift was from the private fortune of the royal donor, and had been selected with the greatest care. The gold was “the gold of Ophir,” then esteemed the purest and finest in the world (Job 22:24; 28:16; Isa 13:12). The amount was three thousand talents of gold and seven thousand talents of refined silver.
5. who then is willing to consecrate his service–Hebrew, “fill his hand”; that is, make an offering (Ex 32:29; Le 8:33; 1Ki 13:33). The meaning is, that whoever would contribute voluntarily, as he had done, would be offering a freewill offering to the Lord. It was a sacrifice which every one of them could make, and in presenting which the offerer himself would be the priest. David, in asking freewill offerings for the temple, imitated the conduct of Moses in reference to the tabernacle (Ex 25:1-8).
6-8. Then the chief of the fathers–or heads of the fathers (1Ch 24:31; 27:1).
princes of the tribes–(1Ch 27:16-22).
rulers of the king’s work–those who had charge of the royal demesnes and other possessions (1Ch 27:25-31).
offered willingly–Influenced by the persuasive address and example of the king, they acted according to their several abilities, and their united contributions amounted to the gross sum–of gold 5,000 talents and 10,000 drams; and of silver, 10,000 talents, besides brass and iron.
7. drams–rather, darics, a Persian coin, with which the Jews from the time of the captivity became familiar, and which was afterwards extensively circulated in the countries of Western Asia. It is estimated as equal in value to 25s. of British currency.
of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron–In Scripture, iron is always referred to as an article of comparatively low value, and of greater abundance and cheaper than bronze [Napier].
8. and they with whom precious stones were found–rather, “whatever was found along with it of precious stones they gave” [Bertheau]. These gifts were deposited in the hands of Jehiel, whose family was charged with the treasures of the house of the Lord (1Ch 26:21).
1Ch 29:10-25. His Thanksgiving.
10-19. Wherefore David blessed the Lord–This beautiful thanksgiving prayer was the effusion overflowing with gratitude and delight at seeing the warm and widespread interest that was now taken in forwarding the favorite project of his life. Its piety is displayed in the fervor of devotional feeling–in the ascription of all worldly wealth and greatness to God as the giver, in tracing the general readiness in contributing to the influence of His grace, in praying for the continuance of this happy disposition among the people, and in solemnly and earnestly commending the young king and his kingdom to the care and blessing of God.
16. all this store that we have prepared–It may be useful to exhibit a tabular view of the treasure laid up and contributions stated by the historian as already made towards the erection of the proposed temple. Omitting the brass and iron, and precious stones, which, though specified partly (1Ch 29:7), are represented in other portions as “without weight” (1Ch 22:3, 14), we shall give in this table only the amount of gold and silver; and taking the talent of gold as worth £5475 (the talent being 125 pounds in weight), the value of the gold will be about 73s. per ounce. The talent of silver is given at £342 3s. 9d., or 4s. 4½d. per ounce. The total amount of the contributions will be: Sum accumulated, and in public treasury (1Ch 22:14): Gold £547,500,000 Silver 342,187,500 Contributed by David from his private resources [1Ch 29:4]: Gold 16,425,000 Silver 2,395,312 Contributed by the assembled rulers [1Ch 29:7]: Gold 28,000,000 Silver 3,421,875 A grand total of approximately £939,929,687
Though it has been the common practice of Eastern monarchs to hoard vast sums for the accomplishment of any contemplated project, this amount so far exceeds not only every Oriental collection on record, but even the bounds of probability, that it is very generally allowed that either there is a corruption of the text in 1Ch 22:14, or that the reckoning of the historian was by the Babylonian, which was only a half, or the Syrian, which was only a fifth part, of the Hebrew talent. This would bring the Scripture account more into accordance with the statements of Josephus, as well as within the range of credibility.
20. all the congregation … worshipped the Lord, and the king–Though the external attitude might be the same, the sentiments of which it was expressive were very different in the two cases–of divine worship in the one, of civil homage in the other.
21, 22. they sacrificed … And did eat and drink–After the business of the assembly was over, the people, under the exciting influence of the occasion, still remained, and next day engaged in the performance of solemn rites, and afterwards feasted on the remainder of the sacrifices.
22. before the Lord–either in the immediate vicinity of the ark, or, perhaps, rather in a religious and devout spirit, as partaking of a sacrificial meal.
made Solomon … king the second time–in reference to the first time, which was done precipitately on Adonijah’s conspiracy (1Ki 1:35).
they … anointed … Zadok–The statement implies that his appointment met the popular approval. His elevation as sole high priest was on the disgrace of Abiathar, one of Adonijah’s accomplices.
23. Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord–As king of Israel, he was the Lord’s vicegerent.
24. submitted themselves–Hebrew, “put their hands under Solomon,” according to the custom still practised in the East of putting a hand under the king’s extended hand and kissing the back of it (2Ki 10:15).
1Ch 29:26-30. His Reign and Death.
26. Thus David … reigned–(See 1Ki 2:11).