The Holy Bible
Old and New Testament
by Duncan Heaster
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It seems the genealogies of 1 Chron. 1-9 were completed at the time of the restoration, when there was a problem in finding a High Priest and priesthood because it was hard to prove who was descended from Aaron, presumably because the genealogies were destroyed when the temple was burnt. The genealogies give much emphasis to the descendants of Aaron, far more than to the other tribes. There are a number of references to faithless men being punished by invasions (e.g. 5:6). Ezra 8 contains a genealogy recorded in similar style and language to these in Chronicles. Nehemiah made a special study of the genealogies in order to find an acceptable priesthood (Neh. 7:5,64). So there were Israel returning from captivity, led by a faithful remnant of the priests, looking back through their history, right back to Abraham and beyond, and seeing that their history was shot through with failure. Such self-examination extended even to considering the names parents gave their children, which frequently included the names of false gods like Baal. Marriage out of the faith was a problem at the time of the restoration (Ezra 9:1,2), and therefore the records of the genealogies stress how this had been a problem in the past- and had still not been forgotten by God. The prophets foretold that Israel's restoration would only come once they achieved a suitable recognition of their sinfulness. The priests who wrote those records in Chronicles were writing down the result of their national self-examination. This was the record of their lessons from Chronicles. Ezra 2:62 records Judah being ‘reckoned by genealogies’, using the same Hebrew word which is the hallmark of 1 Chronicles (4:33; 5:1,7,17; 7:5,7,9,40; 9:1,22). And in this context, Is. 40:26 compares God’s ‘bringing out’ of Judah from Babylon with His ‘bringing out’ the stars by their individual names, all wonderfully known to Him. Ps. 87:6 had prophesied something similar about the restoration of Zion’s fortunes: “Yahweh shall count, when He writes up the people, that this man was born there”. Each individual was and is significant to God.
1:19 The land was divided- This doesn’t refer to any movement of the earth’s plates. Rather is it a reference to the division of languages at the time of Babel, as recorded in Gen. 11. It seems that any revival of God’s Truth has given way to apostacy within two or three generations. Gen.11:11-16 shows that from the time Shem (living after the flood) to Peleg was three generations. Thus in the three generations from the time of the flood to Babel, the revival of God’s people had faded away again.
1:43 The point is being made that Israel's desire for a king was influenced by the fact the surrounding peoples had them. The world is always trying to conform us into its mould, whereas we are to be transformed by the Spirit (Rom. 12:1,2).
1:44,45 The Septuagint states that Job was the "Jobab" of :44,45, who lived five generations after Abraham. Job lived in the land of Uz (1:1) mentioned in :17,42. The books of the Bible aren’t always in chronological order, and it’s likely that the book of Job is set quite early on in Biblical history.
2:4 Israel's sinfulness seems to be emphasized in the various 'interruptions' in the flowing list of names. Thus it is sometimes stressed that a man did not have many children (e.g. :4,6,16), as if to indicate that God's blessing was not with him (there seems an undoubted connection in Old Testament times between blessing and number of sons). Thus information such as that Jether died without children, Sheshan had no sons but daughters, Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brothers had few children… (2:32,34; 4:27) all this would have been read as highly significant in spiritual terms. Some outstanding weaknesses amongst the patriarchs are recorded (e.g. 5:1), and the fact that the duty of the priests was to make an atonement for Israel (6:49) appears to be an obvious detail added in passing- until it is appreciated that these records are highlighting the weakness of Israel. This is one of the major lessons from Chronicles.
2:12 Boaz's marriage to a Gentile is not highlighted; simply "Boaz begat Obed", whereas others' marriage out of the faith is recorded in the same chapter (2:3,34). The same action- in this case, marriage to a Gentile- can be done by different people with different motives. For one it may be an act of righteousness, for another- a sin. Thus when Uzziah acted as a priest he was condemned for it (2 Chron. 26:17-21), but when David (as a non-Levite also) did the same, it was a reflection of his spirituality. Seeing the inner motives and spirituality of others are hidden to us, we must be very careful not to judge by outward appearances; and we must resign all ultimate judgment to God, not least because of our total inability to make it.
2:16 Zeruiah was a sister of David, and David laments how her sons were very “hard” (2 Sam. 3:39; 16:10; 19:22). The fact that the hardness of those three men seems to be associated with their mother would lead us to conclude that David's sister Zeruiah was an extremely hard woman. Inevitably there must have been strands of hardness in David too (consider his treatment of Uriah, his intended massacre of Nabal's encampment, torturing the Ammonites etc.); and yet more often than not, we get the impression that David was a real softy. His experience of life made him progressively more soft, whilst his sister and nephews went the other way. Truly could he comment towards the end of it all that God’s gentleness had made him great (2 Sam. 22:36).
2:18 It’s unusual for the name of the wives or mothers to be recorded as we have here and in :24; perhaps the idea is to show the significance of women in Caleb’s family.
2:22 Some Jews reject our belief that Jesus is the promised seed of Abraham and David by claiming that Hebrew genealogy wasn’t reckoned through women in Biblical times. But that isn’t the case. We see here that Jair's father was of the tribe of Judah, yet in Num.32:41 he is described as "the son of Manasseh", showing that his mother must have been of the tribe of Manasseh. His descent was reckoned through his mother rather than his father. Likewise :34 records that Sheshan "had no sons, but daughters". According to the objection that genealogy cannot be reckoned through the woman, Sheshan would have no subsequent genealogy. However, he is described in :31 as having a son, presumably from the fact that he gave his daughter in marriage to his Egyptian servant (:34). Thus his seed was still reckoned through a woman. Note that Hiram is described as "the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan" (2 Chron.2:14).
2:46 Some of the names given to children seem to hint at a weakness in the parents. One wonders why Caleb called his illegitimate son "Haran”, after the city which Abraham left behind in order to attain God's promises.
2:48 Caleb’s concubine- The genealogies seem to stress the weakness and occasional strength of the people of God. Occasionally the list of names is interrupted by a piece of information which indicates God's awareness of their spirituality. For example, the fact some men had more than one wife or a wife from a nation other than Israel is often recorded (as here and also in 1:32; 2:3,26,35; 4:18; 5:1; 7:14; 8:8). The way these interruptions occur in the lists of names stands out. This is surely to indicate two things: that many faithful men made mistakes in this area of life, and secondly that all down the centuries God has not forgotten that they married out of the faith, or that they allowed the pressures of their surrounding world to influence them to break away from the ideal one man: one woman standard of Eden. These two facts provide us with both warning and comfort, in that although God is sensitive to failure, He is still able to justify men, to count them as if they are righteous for the sake of their covenant relationship with Him, even though (e.g.) their married life was not completely in order.
2:54 Bethlehem clearly refers to the city rather than a person of that name. Chronicling which Israelite families came from which towns in Judah confirms the suggestion made on 1:1 that these records were written up in the context of the return from exile clarifying who came from which town (see too 4:28-34).
3:3 Solomon wished to imitate his father David in every sense; his own real personality only came out in the Ecclesiastes years, when he took to alcohol, materialism, women and idolatry. It took the influence of his parents many years to wear off. David had weaknesses for horses (2 Sam. 8:4) and many wives; and Solomon followed in these steps too. Note here that David had six sons in seven years by six different women, including Gentiles. And in addition to these, David had children by “the concubines” (:9). Doubtless Solomon reasoned, albeit deep within his psyche, that such behaviour was legitimate because David his father had done it.
3:9 The repeated reference to the possession of concubines can be read as an indication of Israel's weakness in abandoning the ideal standards of God regarding marriage. Yet we read that even David had concubines (3:9)- as if to show the extent of Israel's weakness in the area of marriage.
4:10 This is an example of spiritual ambition, requesting that their border be enlarged, at the expense of driving out neighbouring Canaanite tribes. Jesus uses Jabez’s phrase “Keep me from evil” and inserts it into His model prayer, "deliver us from evil” (Mt. 6:13).
4:24 The sons of Simeon were Nemuel, Jamin... and Shaul- But Gen. 46:10 shows that Shaul was Simeon's son by a wrong, casual relationship. Yet this is not recorded in Chronicles, even though so many other weaknesses are. Perhaps this is to demonstrate how if God imputes righteousness for a repented of sin, there really is no record of this kept by Him.
4:32 See on 6:61.
5:4 Gog is mentioned in Ez. 38 as leading a latter day invasion of Israel. The background to 'Gog' given here is that he was an apostate Jew who went away from the God of Israel, attracted by the grazing grounds to the north east of Israel, and who eventually ended up living permanently in the land of Israel's enemies, the land of the Hagarenes (sons of Hagar) and Assyria. The Gog of Ez. 38 may well be an apostate Jew (after the pattern of Rabshakeh) who leads an invasion of his ancient homeland. He attacks because he loves cattle (Ez. 38:11,12)- which was a characteristic of the Gog of 1 Chron. 5.
5:26 God… stirred up the spirit of Pul- God is able to work directly on the mind or spirit of people, even of unbelievers. What we are desperate for is spiritual mindedness, strength of mind / spirit against the flesh; and surely God is willing to give this to us if we ask Him.
To this day- This implies the Chronicles were written whilst Judah were in captivity; the genealogical records therefore had primary relevance to the exiles returning to Judah.
6:57,58 The cities of refuge represented Christ as the ultimate place of refuge for those like us who have sinned, deserve to die, and yet didn’t wilfully sin (Heb. 6:18). It should be noted that these cities were generally in areas which required some effort to get to- in the wilderness, in the mountains (:67) etc. This teaches that there must be some conscious effort on our side in fleeing to Christ; repentance and entry into Christ aren’t momentary actions, they are highly deliberate and conscious acts from us.
6:61 Ten cities- The parable of the pounds describes the reward of the faithful in terms of being given ten or five cities (Lk. 19:17). This idea of dividing up groups of cities was surely meant to send the mind back to the way Israel in their wilderness years were each promised their own individual cities and villages, which they later inherited. The idea of inheriting "ten cities" occurs here and in Josh. 15:57; 21:5,26, all in the context of the priests receiving their cities, and "five cities" in 4:32. As each Israelite was promised some personal inheritance in the land, rather than some blanket reward which the while nation received, so we too have a personal reward prepared. The language of inheritance (e.g. 1 Pet. 1:4) and preparation of reward (Mt. 25:34; Jn. 14:1) in the New Testament is alluding to this Old Testament background of the land being prepared by the Angels for each person amongst God’s people to specifically inherit (Ex. 15:17; 23:20; Ps. 68:9,10). Our promised inheritance is not only eternal life; it is something being personally prepared for each of us. The language of preparation seems inappropriate if our reward is simply eternal life; it is the nature of that life which is of the essence.
7:14 His concubine the Aramitess- Here and so often in the genealogies we have evidence that from earliest times, the Jews weren’t ethnically pure. And intermarriage with Gentiles has continued to be a feature of the community throughout the millennia. Jewishness is therefore cultural more than genetic; which provides another perspective on Paul’s argument that fleshly descent from Abraham counts for nothing. There has been so much intermarriage over the generations that the Jews are in no way a purebred race.
7:15 Zelophehad had only daughters; usually, in his context, a man would have taken concubines in order to produce sons. The record of his only having daughters is presented in the context of genealogies which show that many Israelite men had more than one wife. But Zelophehad wasn’t dragged down by this; God inspired him to maintain the higher level which he had chosen to live by. We too must seek to do what is ultimately right before God and not be influenced by the standards of our brethren who surround us in the body of believers.
7:24 One feature of these genealogies is that they mention the significance of women as mothers and wives by naming them; and the achievements of women like Sherah, who built Beth-Horon. This sharply contrasts with contemporary king lists of the time, which mention only the males and their exploits. This indicates that the Bible isn’t as it were anti-women, as has been ignorantly claimed, but rather God’s perception of the value and meaning of the human person is such that His word is very positive about women.
8:8 It would seem that the genealogies of the books of Chronicles, with all their emphasis on the priesthood and temple service under Solomon, were produced at the time of the restoration- in order to encourage the people to restore the Kingdom of God as it had been, and thereby bring in the Kingdom. References to “Jeconiah the captive” (3:17) make sense in the context of the records being written up in the captivity. And we can understand why the story of Shaharaim is mentioned here- a Jewish refugee in Moab, who sent away his two Gentile wives [cp. what was done in Ezra 10:44] but ended up being blessed with more children. “Seven sons” would’ve been understood as a completeness of blessing. Note that God still recognized his later wife as just that- his wife, even though he had been married previously. No sin or failure leads to a position whereby someone is intrinsically unable to be accepted by God.
8:30-34 When a passage is repeated twice, surely God wishes us to perceive something. 1 Chron. 8:30-34 is repeated in 9:36-40. The reason may be that the name 'Baal' was used by the leaders of Israel. Gibeon's children included Kish and Baal, Kish's son was king Saul, Saul had a son called Eshbaal as well as Jonathan, David's beloved friend; and Jonathan had a son called Merib Baal. These are not the names as recorded elsewhere; evidently the Chronicles record is highlighting the fact that there was a strand of weakness for idols in the family of Saul, including in faithful Jonathan. We note that his love of God, of David, his appreciation of David's righteousness, his belief that David would have the future Kingdom, struggled against the fact that the worldly influence of his father and great-grandfather still rubbed off upon him. We find ourselves so often in similar situations.
8:33 In all close friendships there are some aspects which just could not have been contrived by human arrangement, and which add to the closeness and sense of specialness which those relationships have. There were such aspects with David and Jonathan, intensifying the love of David for Jonathan. For example, it was a beautiful coincidence that they both happened to have a brother called Abinadab (1 Sam. 16:8).
9:17-19 The genealogy of the sons of Korah is significant in that Korah was the ringleader of the rebellion against Moses which led to his destruction. His children however obeyed the command to leave the tents of their father Korah when he was consumed in the earthquake. Num. 16:27 mentions Dathan and Abiram's children standing outside their tents at this time, but there is the pointed omission of Korah's children; they had left the tents, in recognition of Korah’s sin and dissociation from it. The descendants of Korah wrote at least 11 of the Psalms and protected the purity of temple worship. Conscious dissociation from sin is required of us; and it’s often very hard, especially when it concerns family members. We also learn from this family that the spiritual failure of a father figure doesn’t have to mean that the rest of the family likewise fail; in fact, they can learn from the tragedy and become strengthened spiritually by responding to God’s judgment of sin as He intends.
9:22 Their office of trust- As any employer soon learns, delegation is a risk. We have been “entrusted with the Gospel” (Tit. 1:3), the world God so wants to love, the world God is appealing to, do not directly see Him; for He makes His appeal through us. We are all that many people will ever see of Christ; for we are His body. God has trusted us with representing Him, and put His work into our hands. Those who did God’s work in the Old Testament temple were similarly given a “trust”, they were entrusted with God’s work. -
9:40 There are clear connections between Jonathan and Gideon; compare 1 Sam.14:10-20 with Jud.7:3,10,11,14,22. Jonathan's son was called Merib Baal , meaning 'rebellion against Baal', an epithet for 'Gideon'. It’s not wrong to have Biblical heroes, and to be inspired by their examples in the life decisions we make, even to the naming of our children.
10:4 Although the armour bearer was one of Saul’s men, in the anti-David camp, yet David’s example of not killing Saul must have deeply influenced him. We do make a difference. We have more influence upon others than we may think. It can be that an illiterate sister in a male dominated society can think that her attendance at church meetings cannot encourage anyone. It can be that the Christian stockbroker feels that it is impossible for him to influence those he works with. But we do have influence. We have become so humiliated by a shame based society that we can underestimate the value and power of our own personhood.
10:13 Against Yahweh, against the word of Yahweh- God and His word are here paralleled; for “the word was [and is] God” (Jn. 1:1). Our attitude to God’s word is our attitude to Him.
10:13,14 Just before his final fight with the Philistines, "Saul enquired of Yahweh (but) Yahweh answered him not" (1 Sam. 28:6), and therefore he went to a witch. But in God's final analysis of Saul, Yahweh says that He smote Saul because Saul sinned against God's word by not enquiring of God, but of a witch. But Saul did enquire of God (see 1 Sam. 14:27 s.w.; 28:6), but God didn't answer him (note how often in the records it is stated by contrast that David enquired successfully of Yahweh). The point is that although Saul prayed to God and enquired of His word on the surface, in his heart, he did nothing of the sort; and therefore his prayer and enquiry was reckoned never to have happened. And we must ask how much of our prayer and Bible study is seen by God as being only spoken and read on a surface level. This was exactly the problem of natural Israel. "They have not cried unto Me with their heart, when they howled (in prayer) upon their beds" (Hos. 7:14). "Though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt Him" (Hos. 11:7).
11:1 We are your bone and your flesh- An idiom meaning that they were in every sense his brethren. Here and in 2 Sam. 19:12 the phrase is used in the context of human beings wanting to have someone exactly like them, of their ‘bone and flesh’, as their leader. We find the same term used in Eph. 5:30, where we are told that those who are baptized into the body of Christ have in Him someone of their own bone and flesh; He urges His disciples to physically touch His bones and flesh after His resurrection to make the same point, that despite His changed nature, we can totally identify with Him and He with us because He too was totally human (Lk. 24:39). Hence Hebrews 2 labours the point that because Jesus was of our nature, therefore and thereby is He our inspiration and spiritual leader. In this we see the importance of understanding the nature of Christ properly, and the practical spiritual advantage of rejecting the Trinitarian view of Jesus.
11:18 David is a type of Christ; the loyalty he inspired amongst his men was a foretaste of the effect Christ should have upon us. See on :23.
11:19 That water came to represent the lives or blood of those men. We see here a basis for understanding the wine at the communion service; it represents life, the life of Christ; the water here was just water, and the wine we drink is just wine, but it represents the life of another.
11:22 Benaiah killed a lion in order to prepare him for killing two lionlike men. God often works like this, using one experience in life to prepare us for another one.
11:23 This act of bravery was clearly inspired by how David had killed Goliath, which speaks of Christ’s victory over sin on the cross. This should be repeated in essence by us in our spiritual battles. See on :18.
12:1 Those who followed David in his wilderness years were remembered by God by name for millennia afterwards. They became leaders in David’s Kingdom after the death of Saul. We who follow Christ now, even though at times it may seem we are supporting a humanly hopeless case, will finally be rewarded in the future Kingdom.
12:14 This alludes to how one faithful man would chase one thousand unbelievers (Dt. 32:30). We could infer that those who followed David in the wilderness years came to faith in God although perhaps they initially came to him more because of their own dissatisfaction with life (1 Sam. 22:2; Ps. 57:4). Some start their spiritual journey with one motivation and yet become more spiritual over time, influenced by Godly examples like David.
12:17 There is no wrong in my hands- Saul had falsely accused David of many things, but he refused to take false guilt because of them. When we are under false accusation, we tend to become very self-justificatory and refuse to accept true guilt before God (as opposed to before men) for our real sins, for which we should feel guilty. David sets a great example to us here and in his Psalms about these matters; he refuses to accept he had done anything wrong to Saul, and yet openly confesses his real sins to God.
12:22 David’s army increased, until it became “a great army, like the army of God”. The parallel between David’s men and the Angelic hosts is clear. Significantly, the Angelic armies that destroyed the Syrians are called ‘a great army’ in 2 Kings 7:6. Asa and his army defeated the Ethiopians- and it’s described as them being “destroyed before Yahweh and before His army” (2 Chron. 14:13). Again, the hosts of Israel become the hosts of God. Significantly in this context, 11:9 speaks of David’s God as Yahweh of Armies. As the cherubim visualized, we on earth are to be reflective of God’s heavenly armies, and if we walk in step with them, victory is assured. See on 14:15.
12:23 Those who supported David at this time were very significant to God, and their numbers have been recorded for millennia in His word. Our support for Christ’s cause in this world is highly significant to God, and He likewise remembers all the moments when we have in one way or another stood up for His cause in an unbelieving and spiritually hostile world.
13:2 If it seems good to you, and if it is of Yahweh our God- Alluded to in Acts 15:25,28, where the elders of the new Israel, the church, said that it ‘seemed good unto them and to the Holy Spirit’ to bring Gentiles into the church. We see that in both cases, decisions weren’t taken just because it seemed right to a majority; they weren’t pure democrats. They recognized another, Divine, element in decision making which was over and above the simple will of men, even if they were believers.
13:10 Uzza was a Levite but not a priest; and the Law clearly emphasized that the sons of Kohath were to carry the ark on staves on their shoulders, not on a cart as David was doing (Num. 4:15). David almost boasted in Ps. 119 that he studied God’s law day and night, but he obviously didn’t see the obvious; he blanked off those commands in his mind, assuming the spirit of serving God would make the details of God’s requirements superfluous. Because of our inattention to God’s word, others may die; and we also see that God’s holiness is never to be simply disregarded because we in one sense love Him and are joyful before Him. See on 15:2.
14:2 Any exaltation we may receive in life is ultimately for the benefit of God’s people, and not to be selfishly enjoyed just by ourselves.
14:14 God varied the pattern here as a test to David’s obedience, rather like He did to Moses in asking Him to speak to the rock rather than striking it. And He does the same in our lives too. Often God’s battle plans involved an initial turning away from the face of enemies, and then giving victory. To turn away from enemies was an indication of unworthiness and suffering for sin (Dt. 28:25). God wished to teach that victory can only come if we accept our unworthiness of that victory, and how as sinners we deserve only defeat.
14:15 The “sound of marching” was of the Angel cherubim. David was being taught that victory only comes through walking in step with the armies of Heaven which are above; see on 12:22.
15:2 It took some time for David to repent over his failure in transporting the ark of God in disobedience to God’s commands (see on 13:10). The lag time between sin and repentance ought to be as short as possible; we see a similar lag time in the gap between David’s sin with Bathsheba and his repentance for it. God will work in our lives to bring us to repentance, but this often involves much suffering to ourselves and others; that can all be avoided if we have a sensitive conscience to God’s word and the humility to repent immediately. Yet even here, David appears to shift the blame from himself onto others (:13). Repentance has various shades and degrees, and God seeks totality of repentance and acceptance of the fact we personally have sinned.
15:12 The place that I have prepared for it- David’s bringing the ark to the place which he had prepared is the basis of Christ’s words in Jn. 14:1-3. Clearly Christ saw David as Himself, and us as the ark. The ‘bringing up’ or ‘lifting up’ of the ark (Heb.) to a permanent dwelling place has evident reference to the resurrection. And when the ark was finally brought or lifted up to Zion, David / Jesus dealt bread and wine to the people (16:3). One practical encouragement from this typology is that the memorial feast is a celebration that in fact we, the ark, have in prospect already been brought or lifted up into the eternal place prepared for us in the Kingdom.
15:13 David’s commission of good didn't outweigh his omission; we must take sins of omission seriously.
15:21 Obed-Edom- He was the one who had faithfully looked after the ark when others feared to have anything to do with it (13:14). He may have expected some great recognition for that, but he is listed along with many others as simply having a relatively small role in looking after it. If we are genuinely motivated by wishing to simply serve God’s people and maintain His presence amongst His people, we will not seek for recognition or status for it.
15:29 Despised him in her heart- The feelings we have about our brethren and their service of God are recorded indelibly by God.
16:2,3 Here and in 15:27 David acts as a priest, even though he was from the tribe of Judah and not Levi. On one hand, our understanding of the spirit and essence of God frees us from the need for literalistic obedience; but as David experienced at the time of the breach upon Uzza (13:10) and his sin with Bathsheba, this can lead us to disregard His principles to a point where it is counted as sin. On the other hand, when Uzziah acted as a priest he was condemned for it (2 Chron. 26:19-21). The same actions can be righteousness for one person and sin for another. In this lies the impossibility of our ultimately judging the outward actions of others; we simply must leave it to God.
16:3 Raisins were made from grapes, so we have here a prefigurement of the bread and wine of the communion service. It is a celebration of the blessing we have received from our high priest, the Lord Jesus.
16:21 He reproved kings for their sakes- This is a reference to the rebuking of Abimelech in Gen. 20; yet in this case Abimelech was in the right and is portrayed as the honourable one, and Abraham and Sarah as less than honourable and in need of reproof (Gen. 20:16). David is therefore asking Israel to glory in God’s undeserved kindness, His grace, towards them (:34,41).
16:26 The Truth of the Gospel is the only way to come to salvation. All other religions apart from true Christianity will not give salvation nor a relationship with God. Realising this, David pleads with his people to be a missionary nation (:8,25,26). The more we realise the pathetic fallacy of human religion, indeed the whole and utter vanity of life under this sun, the more we will preach Yahweh’s Truth to a tragically wandering, aimless world.
16:33 The prospect of God ‘coming’ to judge the earth should be a source of joy to us rather than of endless fear.
17:2 Nathan replied too quickly, assuming that he knew God’s will and what God’s word ought to say in response to such a desire. But he was wrong. We see here a lesson in our need to base our response to situations strictly upon God’s revealed word rather than our assumption of what He probably meant.
17:10 I tell you that Yahweh will build you a house- God’s grace is reflected in all this; David wanted to build God a physical house, and God responds by saying He doesn’t need that but rather He will build David an eternal house in the sense of a family, based around David’s descendant who would be Yahweh’s own Son (Lk. 1:31-35). God loves to do for us above all we can ask or imagine of asking (Eph. 3:20); He delights to lavish grace upon us and we should delight to do the same to others, thinking what we could do for them that would make them say “Wow!” to God’s grace.
17:11 Set up your seed- The Greek LXX version of the Old Testament uses the word elsewhere translated ‘resurrect’ for “set up”.
17:13 I will be his father, and he shall be My son- The only way for this to be fully fulfilled would be that a woman who was a direct descendant of David would have a child whose father was God. And the account of the virgin birth shows how it all came to pass. It’s impossible therefore that Christ physically pre-existed before His birth. Notice the future tenses here. We note too that Jesus was therefore the direct descendant of David and the rightful king of Israel. Yet He lived as a poor, despised working man and died the death of a rejected criminal. We who are in Him by baptism into Him will likewise not be discerned for who we really are by the unbelieving society in which we live.
Sure mercies- “The sure mercies of David” result in the wicked man forsaking his way (Is. 55:3); they therefore inspire us in forsaking sinful thoughts and wicked ways (Is. 55:7).
17:16 Who am I- This should be our response also, for the covenants of promise have been made with us too in that we are in Christ and they therefore concern us (Gal. 3:27-29). It was because David was truly humble that he could immediately respond in genuine humility to God's promises to him; whereas Solomon became proud because of them. Note how "David the king… sat before Yahweh, and said, Who am I...?". Grace produces quite different responses in different people; some it humbles, others misinterpret it to justify continuing in sin.
17:17 Respected me according to the estate of a man of high degree- This could be rendered: “You have seen me as a type of the man on high”. David understood himself as a type of Christ.
18:1-3 After David received the promises about the future Messianic Kingdom, he went out and established his Kingdom, attacking Israel's enemies and driving them out of the land. Our response to the future Hope of the Kingdom, which we too have through the very same promises, should also be to try to live the Kingdom life now, as far as we can.
18:4 But reserved of them for one hundred chariots- The king of Israel was not supposed to multiply horses and chariots but rather trust in God (Dt. 17:16). David allowed himself a little weakness in this matter; and his son Solomon used it as an excuse to multiply so many horses and chariots that he had to build cities to store them in. The problem with allowing ourselves a ‘little’ sin is that sin by its nature spreads and multiplies, and is repeated in others for whom we are an example (like our children) to a far greater extent.
19:2 I will show kindness to Hanun… because his father showed kindness to me- Jesus in Lk. 6:32-34 may have this incident in mind when He taught that kindness to those who love us isn’t at all the radical love and grace which He taught. Loving those who love us doesn’t always work out well, as David’s experience here shows.
19:4 Earlier in his life, David had had a similar experience with Nabal; he sent messengers to him, who were abused. But David at that time over-reacted, and was only saved from destruction by the wisdom of Nabal’s wife Abigail (1 Sam. 25). There are times when God arranges for circumstances to repeat in our lives to test whether we have learnt a lesson, or to reinforce the lesson we learnt.
20:1 But David stayed at Jerusalem- 2 Sam. 11 fills in the significant detail that during this period, David had an affair with Bathsheba and arranged for her husband Uriah to be killed. Simple lesson: to properly understand the Bible we must read it all and compare it against itself in order to get the fill picture.
20:3 This seems an unnecessarily cruel way of punishing enemies. This is the period in between David’s sin with Bathsheba and his repentance. His own bad conscience with God led him to such excessive punishment of God’s enemies. Psychologically, it’s understandable; he realized he had sinned and deserved to be punished. But instead of confessing his sin and accepting the consequences as rightful and just, he psychologically transferred the sin onto others, and punished them instead of seeing himself punished. Judgmentalism and aggressive attitudes toward others often arise from a bad conscience within a person; the answer is to confess our sins to God, repent before Him and accept any consequences. We are thereby made free from the need to transfer sin and guilt onto others and judge them for our own sin.
20:5-8 These battles with giant Philistines have many similarities with David’s victory over Goliath in 1 Sam. 17. His victory there inspired his men, just as Christ’s victory on the cross [‘Golgotha’ = ‘skull of Goliath’] should inspire us and be replicated by us in our spiritual struggles.
21:1 ‘Satan’ is a Hebrew word meaning ‘adversary’. It has no evil connotation of itself. The parallel 2 Sam. 24:1 says that God provoked David to number Israel. God therefore worked as a satan, an adversary, to David. Good people like Peter can be termed ‘satan’ (Mt. 16:21-23); the greatest adversary to us is our own internal tendency to sin. There’s no sinful cosmic being called ‘Satan’.
21:3 It wasn’t a sin to take a census of the people, but each time they were numbered, they had to pay a tax to the tabernacle; if they refused, they would be plagued (Ex. 30:12-15). David’s desire to know how many soldiers he had was a trusting in human strength. But it was also wrong in that Joab knew that the people likely wouldn’t pay the tax, and therefore they would be plagued. David could’ve argued that this would be Israel’s problem, not his, if they chose to be disobedient. But we ought to be sensitive to the likely spiritual failures of others and not lead them into sin by forcing them into positions where they have to take choices which they will probably fail in. God was angry with Israel and therefore He punished them (:7)- because they failed to pay the temple tax.
21:13 God is more merciful than people. This thought is a great encouragement when we at times worry as to whether God will be merciful to us at the last day. One factor in such fears is that we have only visibly known human mercy, but this is far inferior in quality and extent to God’s grace.
21:15 He relented- God can change His planned judgments upon His people for the sake of the intercession of one faithful person who is willing to take their sin upon him; which is what David did in :16-:27. David pointed forward to Christ at this time.
21:17 David sinned only in the matter of Uriah and Bathsheba (1 Kings 15:5); the people were punished by plague because they hadn’t paid the tax required of them whenever a census was taken (Ex. 30:12-15). There are times when our conscience can smite us for things of which we are not fully guilt; but see on :3.
21:24 We shouldn’t appear to make a sacrifice when actually it costs us nothing; e.g. to serve God in a way which naturally reinforces our natural interests and personality type. Sacrifice is to be after the pattern of Christ on the cross, and therefore has to involve real cost and pain for us; otherwise the concept of sacrifice loses any real meaning.
22:8 Solomon slightly spins this when he tells Hiram that his father David hadn’t himself had the time to get around to the job of building the temple because of being busy fighting wars (1 Kings 5:3). He says nothing about David shedding blood; the moral aspect of it all is nicely ignored by Solomon. But David in his turn appears to be twisting the promises to him given in 1 Chron. 17 and 2 Sam. 7. The house referred to was God’s Kingdom, God’s family of people; and the great son referred to was prophetic of Christ (Lk. 1:31-35). Indeed, God clarified that He didn’t want man to build Him a temple, instead He wanted to build us up to he His house in Christ. One wonders therefore if God really did tell David that he couldn’t build the temple because he had killed many people; and whether the building plans David claimed to have received from God were really from Him. All we have here is the record of David claiming God had told him that He did want a house built, but not by David because of his bloodshed. There are other Biblical examples of men assuming they know what God wants to the point of claiming that their word is in fact God’s word (2 Sam. 7:3,4; 1 Kings 22:15-17).
23:4 To oversee the work of the house of Yahweh- This system of arrangements in God’s house would’ve been practically experienced by Solomon. He twice uses the Hebrew word translated “oversee” in Proverbs. He says that ants are self-motivated; they need no “guide, overseer or ruler” (Prov. 6:6,7). This seems a critique of the complex system of overseers which Solomon had to place over Israel in order to build the temple and build up the Kingdom. Ideally, he seems to be saying, every Israelite ought to be a zealous worker. Prov. 12:24 says the same: “The hand of the diligent [whoever he / she is] shall bear rule [in practice]” [s.w. Prov. 6:7 “ruler”]. And we must ask ourselves, whether for whatever reason the new Israel hasn’t slumped into the same problem, of lack of self-motivation, waiting to be asked to do something before we do it, over-relying upon our “overseers”. The ants aren’t like this. They see the job to be done, and naturally get on with it.
Sanctified, that he should sanctify- This is alluded to in Jn. 17:17-19 where Jesus says that He sanctified Himself on the cross in order to sanctify us. Our sanctification is ultimately in order to do the same for others; because we are a Kingdom of priests (1 Pet. 2:5,6), the Levites are our pattern. Salvation and acceptance by God aren’t given to us simply to personally enjoy, but so that we may serve others with them.
24:19 The 24 orders of priests are alluded to in the vision of the Heavenly court in Rev. 4:4; 5:8; 11:16; 19:4, where again there are 24 elders. God’s people on earth are to reflect the system of their representative Angels in Heaven. But Israel tragically perverted this; in Ez. 8:16-18 we read of how the High Priest and the 24 elders worshipped idols within the temple. We on earth are not alone as we do God’s work; we are part of a reflection on earth of the situation which is now in Heaven.
24:31 These likewise- Notice the stress on the equality of the priests and the irrelevance of their personal status (25:8; 26:12). We are the new priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5,6). The greatness, urgency and very nature of the work before us as a community of believers ought to make worldly differences of status and age irrelevant.
25:2 The “sons” mentioned in these lists could include those who were taught by, e.g., Asaph; the students were understood as “sons” of the teacher (:8).
25:6 The service of God’s house- The temple project became an obsession with Solomon; after his death, his people complained at the “grievous servitude” which Solomon had subjected them to (2 Chron. 10:4). But the Hebrew word “servitude” is that repeatedly used to describe the “service” of the temple by the people (here and 26:8,30; 27:26; 28:13-15,20,21; 29:7; 2 Chron. 8:14). Solomon became obsessed with making others ‘serve God’ when it was effectively serving him; he came to be abusive to God’s people, when the initial idea of the temple was that it was to be built in order to help God’s people serve Him. And such obsession, turning well motivated projects into means of personal ego tripping, with all the resultant abuse, has sadly not been unknown amongst the believers of our generation.
26:4 Obed-Edom… God blessed him- Obed-Edom bravely had the ark stay in his home, when at the time all others thought that it would lead to the death of his family (2 Sam. 6:11,12). God blessed him for this- by giving him many children and grandchildren, 62 in all (:8). And yet Obed-Edom wasn’t highly rewarded for this in human terms; his many children were doorkeepers in the temple, which Ps. 84:10 implies was seen as the lowest and least honourable work. There are times when we have to do what is right and disregard the fears of others in the ecclesia, even those of the leaders [cp. David]. Reward and honour for such faithfulness will not necessarily come in this life, nor should we expect it now, if our focus is upon the future Kingdom of God on earth as the time and arena for our reward.
26:26 David… had dedicated- God swore to David “by My holiness” (Ps. 89:35). The Hebrew for “holiness” is the same word translated “dedication”. David’s response to God’s dedication to him was to dedicate [s.w.] all the silver and gold which he had won from this world, to the service of God’s house (see too 1 Kings 7:51; 2 Chron. 5:1). Our response to God’s dedication to us should be a like dedication of what we have to Him. Covenant relationship with God requires much of both Him and us. The case of David is a nice illustration of the meaning of grace. David wanted to do something for God- build Him a house, spending his wealth to do so. God replied that no, He wanted to build David a house. And He started to, in the promises He gave David. And David’s response to that grace is to still do something- to dedicate his wealth to God’s house, as God had dedicated Himself to David’s house. This is just how grace and works should be related in our experience.
27:23 There would’ve been nothing morally wrong with taking a census of Israel’s young people, the next generation; but David believed in the promise that Abraham’s seed would be many, and so he didn’t. We can count every penny of our resources if we wish, but the higher level is to live in faith that God will fulfil His promise to provide for His people on their journey towards His Kingdom.
28:3-6 These words of David appear to be his claims as to what God had told him; but what he says here appears to be a mixture of God’s actual words with some wishful thinking on his own part. The reasons God gave for not wanting David to build a temple are different to what David here claims God said, and clearly David was obsessed with justifying Solomon as his heir, even claiming that God had commanded Solomon to be king and to build the temple. David had lost his Christ-centeredness in his zeal to see his son become the major fulfilment of the promises to him in 2 Sam. 7. This desire to declare Solomon right and as God’s man at all costs was very damaging for Solomon, for it led him to a loss of conscience, chronic selfishness and loss of faith in the end. See on :19.
28:8 Seek out all the commandments of Yahweh- If we love God, we will not have a minimalistic attitude to serving Him, doing as little as we can get away with. We will eagerly seek out how to please Him, what principles we should live by, what we should and should not do or be in order to please Him.
28:19 This, said David, I have been made to understand in writing from the hand of Yahweh- The implication could be that David was only claiming to have been given the temple plans from Yahweh (see on 28:3-6). David like many today mixed God’s word with his own wishes and speculations, and ended up assuming that what he wished to be true was in fact God’s word.
29:1 Whom alone God has chosen- God hadn’t said this, but David made his personal wishes and preferences to sound as if they were God’s word; see on 28:3-6,19.
29:5 To be made by the hands of artisans- Solomon's temple is described as being made with hands. The word "made" is stressed in the record of Solomon's building the temple (2 Chron. 3:8,10,14-16; 4:1,2,6-9,14,18,19,21). The work of the temple was very much produced by men's hands (2 Chron. 2:7,8). ‘Things made with hands’ is a phrase referring to idols in several passages (e.g. Is. 2:8; 17:8; 31:7). And it may be significant that the words of Is. 66:1,2 concerning God not living in temples are quoted by Paul with reference to pagan temples in Acts 17:24, and concerning the temple in Jerusalem by Stephen. The building of the temple became an idol to Solomon, just as the service of God can be twisted by us into a form of self-worship.
29:6 David’s generosity inspired his brethren to do the same; generosity to God’s work is contagious.
29:14 Of Your own have we given You- We are not our own: how much less is 'our' money or time our own! Like David, we need to realize that all our giving is only a giving back to God of what we have been given by Him. The myth of materialism is the assumption that we are ultimate owners of what we 'have'. Connected to this is David’s argument that we ought to be generous to God’s work because of our mortality (:15)- seeing we can take nothing with us, we should give it all to God. This is one outcome of believing that man is mortal and that we have no immortal soul which consciously survives death.
29:19 David earnestly prayed in Psalm 72 for Solomon to be the Messianic King, and therefore David asked for Solomon to be given a truly wise heart. These prayers were answered in a very limited sense- in that Solomon was given great wisdom, and his Kingdom was one of the greatest types of Christ's future Kingdom. Thus our prayers for others really can have an effect upon them, otherwise there would be no point in the concept of praying for others. But each individual has an element of spiritual freewill; we can't force others to be spiritual by our prayers; yet on the other hand, our prayers can influence their spirituality. David's prayers for Solomon is an example of this. Those prayers were heard, in that God helped Solomon marvellously, giving him every opportunity to develop a superb spirituality; but he failed to have the genuine personal desire to be like this in his heart, in his heart he was back in Egypt, and therefore ultimately David's desire for Solomon to be the wondrous Messianic King of his dreams had to go unfulfilled.
29:23 Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh as king- Note that the Kingdom of Israel was in fact God’s Kingdom; the re-establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth (Ez. 21:27; Acts 1:6) therefore requires that the arena of that Kingdom will likewise be here on earth- not in Heaven.