1st Chronicles: David's Kingdom

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1st Chronicles
David's Kingdom

Genealogy from Creation to the Exile, Kingship of David

Background: Written after the Exile and Return, around 400 BC
Theme: The establishment of the Davidic (eternal) Kingship
Outline: Genealogy from Creation to Exile and the Kingship of David
Key Verse: "When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever." (1st Chron 17:11-14, NIV)

1st Chronicles Chapter Index


The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Vol I, Old Testament) is an excellent resource and is referred to as the BKC.

This book (originally a combined 1st and 2nd Chronicles) is written to instruct the people returning from exile, possibly written by Ezra. Of particular importance are the geneologies of the returning people and the priests.

I. Genealogies (1-9)

1. From Adam to Jacob, this first chapter summarizes the Genesis geneologies. They trace the line of Israel from the beginning of all nations, but eventually emphasize the line of King David and the coming Messiah.

2. Tribes receiving special attention are the southern part of Simeon, Banjamin, Judah and Levi. These parts of Israel lived in the southern kingdom of Judah, and are the people returning from exile in the time of Ezra when Chronicles is being written (using historical records). In modern Israel, the tribes of Judah and Levi are still recognized, with special attention to the line of priests. Of course, there was a further exile after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Roman government.

3. The focus here is the kingly line leading to the Messiah. This chapter goes to about 500 BC.

4:1-23 These geneologies are only recorded here, nowhere else in Scripture.

4:9-10 Jabez sounds like the Hebrew for he causes pain, referring to the mother's painful childbirth. But Jabez was kept from pain because the Lord answered his prayer.

4:20 Note that the Hebrew name Ben-Zoheth may be transliterated as Ben-Zoheth or translated as Son of Zoheth. Ben-Zoheth is preferred, but it retains its meaning, which indicates not that he was Ishi's son, but his grandson or descendant through Zoheth.

5:20 This is an instance of a crisis prayer: 'they cried out to him during the battle.' In a crisis we cannot always go to a still, quiet place to meditate and talk to God. We call on him rapidly, a quick plea for help or guidance. God answered because they trusted. Trust, on the other hand, is developed over time by walking with the Lord and maintaining a close relationship with Him. We cannot anticipate and be prepared for every crisis. We build our relationship and learn to trust God before a crisis comes.

5:26 This indicates that the eastern 2 tribes were also taken into exile by the Assyrians prior to the fall of Samaria in 722 BC.

6. The listing of Levites is important, for the family responsibilities will be re-established under Ezra.

7-8 Short lists of the other tribes acnowledge that some survivors of these tribes also return from exile. They will eventually lose their identity as they merge with Judah.

9. This chapter gves an account of the families in Jerusalem at the time of the exile of 586. Verse 2 should be taken as referring to the former (pre-exile) settlers. The NIV translation confuses this.

II. The Reign of David (10-29)

A. Death of Saul (10)

10 Having given the geneologies from creation to the present (about 500 BC), the history of the Theocracy will be given beginning with Saul's fall as an introduction to the Messianic line of King David.

10:10 The mighty men play a significant role in David's rise to power.

B. David's Heroes (11-12)

12:18 A chief of warriors is overpowered by the Holy Spirit and prophesies success. The Hebrew Shalom (peace) is used three times, translated in the NIV by success. It may be translated:

Peace, perfect peace attend you
and peace unto him who fights for you.
for your God helps you.

C. Transporting the Ark (13)

13:4 Not only David, but the whole assembly agreed to bring the ark.

13:8 This was a great celebration of all the Israelites.

13:10-11 It was clearly (Numbers 4:15) specified that the ark must be carried on poles, and only by Kohathites. David was ignorant of the Law, and either the priests were also ignorant or just didn't think that it mattered. Either way, the agreement of all Israel and the great celebration did not outweigh doing God's work in God's way. Perhaps because he did not understand 'Why?', David was angry with the Lord.

D. David in Jerusalem (14-16)

14:3 According to Deuteronomy 17:17, David as the King was not to gather many wives. This lead to much turmoil in his family, in politics, and as a sin carried on by his son Solomon.

15:13 David acknowledged that he had acted in ignorance the first time, and that his ignorance was no excuse as he had not bothered to even ask the Lord. How often this is the case! Sometimes the Lord's will is difficult to discern -- but at other times a simple prayer will clarify things. Even when we know the Lord's will, how can we expect His blessing if we do not ask for it?

15:25 Once confessed, the earlier failure and sin did not prevent this later movement of the Ark from being a joyous celebration.

15:28 As all Israel brought the ark into Jerusalem, the city became the center for religious worship. It's religious importance has remained for almost 3000 years, although its political importance largely ended with the exile of 586 BC. At this time the tabernacle remained in Gibeon (verse 39).

16:2 David's sacrifice was accomplished by the hands of the priests. According to the Law (Leviticus 1:2-5, 3:2) each Israelite could bring and slay the animal, but only priests (of the line of Aaron) could offer the blood or portions on the altar (Leviticus 1:5, 3:2,5).

16:4 This marks the establishment of a continuing ministry of music.

16:8 Note the missions statement here, to "make known among the nations." Israel as descendant of Abraham was to be a blessing to all nations, and part of that was to be a testimony to the LORD. We as the church are to proclaim the gospel to all nations.

16:33 Some see that as the first specific reference to the Second Coming of our Lord.

E. Desire for a Temple (17)

17:1 About 995 BC.

17:1-15 Note the double use of the word 'house'. This play on words works out the same for the Hebrew word as it does in the English —David wants to build a house (temple) for the Lord, but instead the Lord will build a house (dynasty) for David. Some would consider this a pun. This is a central point in this book, the establishment of David's line for eternity with the Messiah as the ultimate Son of David.

17:11-14 The immediate context is Solomon, and the house it the physical temple. The throne established forever refers to his line, culminating in the Messiah. Question: When has or will the throne be established forever? Each of these verses must be read carefully for application to Solomon adn his ultimate successor, the Messiah. These verses form the central point of the Chronicles.

F. Foreign Affairs (18-20)

18. A simple summary of David's military success is given, without much detail.

19:13 Joab was a shrewd commander, but depended upon the LORD to win the battle. This is a proper balance of man's responsibility to act and also to trust in the LORD for the results.

20:1 This statement that David remained in Jerusalem suggests, without stating, the great sins of David concerning Bathsheba and Uriah.

G. Census and Punishment (21-22:1)

21:12 In many places, the Angel of the LORD is taken as a preincarnate appearance of Christ. Many interpreters do not apply that to this verse, but take it as an ordinary angel. Question: Does the Angel of the LORD always refer to a preincarnate Christ? If so, this section referring to an angel that slays 70,000 Israelites must be included. If not, then we evaluate each passage concerning the Angel of the LORD to see if the immediate context implies a divine being or if the angel acts the way we expect Christ to act. Here we see David fall facedown before this angel and then address God. And the words of the angel to Gad are spoken by Gad in the name of the LORD.

Personally, I am not convinced of the preincarnate appearances of Christ as the Angel of the LORD, but for those that see them in other sections of the Bible must also consider the same arguments here.

22:1 The census and punishment are the setting for determining the location of the future temple. Traditionally, this threshing floor is also where Abraham was tested with Isaac. This appears to be the time when David composed Psalm 30.

H. Plans for a Temple (22:2-19)

I. Theocratic Organization (23-27)

23:1 David was still alive when Solomon became king, which indicates a co-regency of at least a few months.

25:1 Apparently the prophesying of the sons of Asaph was a form or singing praise and worship (see verses 6 and 7).

J. Farewell Address (28-29:22a)

28:7 An important word, if, makes this a conditional promise which was not fulfilled in Solomon because he swerved from serving the LORD.

28:11 The Spirit is listed as the architect, as David gave Solomon the plans that the Spirit had put in his mind.

K. Succession (29:22b-30)

29:10-13 This poem is similar to the conclusion of the Lord's prayer, For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. (Matthew 6:13)

29:14 In our offerings, we must also admit that we have given you only what comes from your hand.

Please send comments or suggestions to ron@iStudyBible.com
Updated March 2012

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