1 Chronicles 20 - Ammon is Defeated at Rabbah
A. The defeat of Ammon.
1. (1) Joab goes back out the next year to get Rabbah of Ammon.
It happened in the spring of the year, at the time kings go out to battle, that Joab led out the armed forces and ravaged the country of the people of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. And Joab defeated Rabbah and overthrew it.
a. In the spring of the year, at the time kings go out to battle: In that part of the world, wars were not normally fought during the winter months because rains and cold weather made travel and campaigning difficult. Fighting resumed in the spring.
b. Joab led out the armed forces . . . But David remained at Jerusalem: David should have been out at the battle but he remained behind. In 1 Chronicles 19 Joab and the army of the mighty men were preserved against the Syrians and the Ammonites but they did not win a decisive victory. The decisive victory came when David led the battle at the end of 1 Chronicles 19. Both through custom and experience God told David, “You need to be at the battle.” But David remained at Jerusalem.
i. What happened when David remained at Jerusalem was so well known that the Chronicler did not need to record it. In his leisure he saw a woman bathing, acting upon his feelings of lust, committed adultery with her making her pregnant, and conspired with Joab to murder her husband (Uriah, one of David’s mighty men) to cover up his crime. A lot happened between David stayed at Jerusalem and Joab defeated Rabbah.
ii. “Beware of moments and hours of ease. It is in these that we most easily fall into the power of Satan. The sultriest summer days are most laden with blight. . . . If we cannot fill our days with our own matters, there is always plenty to be done for others. . . . Watch and pray in days of vacation and ease, even more than at other times.” (Meyer)
iii. “There is nothing more full of subtle danger in the life of any servant of God than that he should remain inactive when the enterprises of God demand that he be out on the fields of conflict.” (Morgan)
c. Joab defeated Rabbah: In fact, the account in 2 Samuel 12:26-31 tells us that Joab himself did not win this battle over Rabbah. He fought the Ammonites to a stalement and then called for David to help, after his sin and subsequent repentance. Then, 2 Samuel 12:29 tells us, David gathered all the people together and went to Rabbah. This was the final phase of David’s restoration. He went back to doing what he should have done all along - leading Israel out to battle, instead of remaining in Jerusalem. This means that David was in victory once again. His sin did not condemn him to a life of failure and defeat. There was chastisement for David’s sin, but it did not mean that his life was ruined.
i. “David’s fall should put those who have not fallen on their guard, and save from despair those who have.” (Augustine)
2. (2-3) David wears the crown of Ammon.
Then David took their king's crown from his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it. And it was set on David's head. Also he brought out the spoil of the city in great abundance. And he brought out the people who were in it, and put them to work with saws, with iron picks, and with axes. So David did to all the cities of the people of Ammon. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
a. David took their king’s crown . . . it was set on David’s head: David’s sin didn’t take away his crown. Had David refused the voice of Nathan the Prophet it might have. Because David responded with confession and repentance, there was sill a crown for David’s head.
i. “David’s rule over Ammon seems to be part of a complex four-stage system of administration of the empire outside the land of Israel. . . . Ammon was most restricted of all, apparently demoted to provincial status.” (Selman)
b. He brought out the spoil of the city in great abundance . . . David and all the people returned to Jerusalem: David again increases in might and in wealth, bringing the riches back to Jerusalem for the sake of later building the temple.
i. This example of extending Israel’s security with its neighbors fits in with the Chronicler’s broader purpose of showing how David prepared the way for his son to build the temple.
B. Other Israeli victories over Philistine giants.
1. (4-7) Three victories over three giants.
Now it happened afterward that war broke out at Gezer with the Philistines, at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite killed Sippai, who was one of the sons of the giant. And they were subdued. Again there was war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. Yet again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, with twenty-four fingers and toes, six on each hand and six on each foot; and he also was born to the giant. So when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David's brother, killed him.
a. Now it happened afterward: This description of victory over Philistine giants shows that Israel could slay giants without David. Sibbechai . . . Elhanan . . . Jonathan: These men accomplished heroic deeds when David was finished fighting giants. God will continue to raise up leaders when the leaders of the previous generation pass from the scene.
i. David’s legacy lay not only in what he accomplished, but in what he left behind - a people prepared for victory. David’s triumphs were meaningful not only for himself but for others who learned victory through his teaching and example.
ii. “The compiler of these books passes by also the incest of Amnon with his sister Tamar, and the rebellion of Absalom, and the awful consequences of all these. These should have preceded the fourth verse. These facts could not be unknown to him, for they were notorious to all; but he saw that they were already amply detailed in books which were accredited among the people, and the relations were such as no friend to piety and humanity could delight to repeat. On these grounds the reader will give him credit for the omission.” (Clarke)
b. With tewenty-four fingers and toes, six on each hand and six on each foot: Commentators like Adam Clarke can’t resist reminding us that this is a known phenomenon. “This is not a solitary instance: Tavernier informs us that the eldest son of the emperor of Java, who reigned in 1649, had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot . . . I once saw a young girl, in the county of Londonderry, in Ireland, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, but her stature had nothing gigantic in it.”
i. The shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam: “Also has known parallels and is not the unhistorical creation which some have alleged. It was actually a javelin with a loop and cord round the shaft for greater distance and stability, and was known in the Aegean area from the twelfth century B.C. Even the Old Testament reports one in the possession of another non-Israelite (1 Chronicles 11:23).” (Selman)
2. (8) Summary of the victories over the Philistine giants.
These were born to the giant in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.
a. These were born to the giant in Gath: Since Goliath was from Gath (1 Samuel 17:4) these were Goliath’s sons or brothers.
i. “The Philistine warriors are also all called ‘Rephaites’ (RSV) or descendants of Rapha (‘giants’, NRSV), who were one of the pre-Israelite groups in Canaan (e.g. Genesis 15:20) and famous for their size.” (Selman)
b. Fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants: Part of the idea is that David is conquering enemies now so it will be better for Solomon in the future. Our present victory is not only good for us now but it passes something important on to the next generation.
i. The defeat of these four giants is rightly credited to the hand of David and the hand of his servants. David had a role in this through his example, guidance, and influence.
ii. “Let those who after long service find themselves waning in strength, be content to abide with the people of god, still shining for them as a lamp, and thus enabling them to carry on the same Divine enterprises. Such action in the last days of life is also great and high service.” (Morgan)
1 Chronicles 21 – Where to Build the Temple
A. David commands a census to be taken.
1. (1-2) David is moved to take a census.
Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, “Go, number Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it.”
a. Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel: In 2 Samuel 24:1, it tells us that this was initially prompted because the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel. So we see that Satan moved David yet the LORD expressly allowed it as a chastisement against David.
i. There is quite a gap in the historical record that the Chronicler passes over, including many family problems and a civil war. “His reasons for a gap of this length are not difficult to surmise: little of what transpired during those two decades would encourage a postexilic Judah, before whom Ezra was seeking to portray a piety that characterized David as his best.” (Payne)
ii. “For the first time in Scripture, the word ‘Satan’ appears without the definite article as a proper noun.” (Payne)
iii. “When Satan incites, he is interested merely in his own ends. He neither cares for righteous punishment nor looks for possible repentance, since they are as foreign to his nature as temptation to sin is to God’s.” (Selman)
b. Go, number Israel: This was dangerous because of a principle stated in Exodus 30:12: When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.
i. The principle of Exodus 30:12 speaks to God’s ownership of His people. In the thinking of these ancient cultures, a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. Israel didn’t belong to David; Israel belonged to God. It was up to the LORD to command a counting, and if David counted he should only do it at God’s command and receiving ransom money to “atone” for the counting.
ii. “Numbering the hosts of Jehovah is not essentially or necessarily wrong; everything depends on the motive. . . . When it is born of pride, it is the subtlest of perils, inclining us to trust in the multitude of a host, and thus to cease to depend upon God.” (Morgan)
iii. “When we are moved to number the people, we may rest assured that the impulse is Divine or Satanic, and we may determine which by the motive. If the motive is service, it is God. If the motive is pride, it is Satanic.” (Morgan)
2. (3-4) Joab objects to the census.
And Joab answered, “May the LORD make His people a hundred times more than they are. But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then does my lord require this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt in Israel?” Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came to Jerusalem.
a. Why then does my lord desire this thing? Joab wasn’t afraid to speak to David when he thought the king was wrong. With the best interest of both David and Israel in mind, Joab tactfully asked David to reconsider this foolish desire to count the nation.
i. Joab also hints at the motive behind the counting - pride in David. The this thing that David desired was the increase of the nation, and he perhaps wanted to measure the size of his army to know if he had enough force to conquer a neighboring nation. “He did it out of curiosity and creature-confidence.” (Trapp)
ii. We gather from 2 Samuel 24 that this took place late in his reign. So late in his reign, David was tempted to take some of the glory in himself. He looked at how Israel had grown and prospered during his reign - it was remarkable indeed. The count was a way to take credit to himself. “The spirit of vainglory in numbers had taken possession of the people and the king, and there was a tendency to trust in numbers and forget God.” (Morgan)
b. Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab: 2 Samuel 24:4 tells us that it wasn’t only Joab who tried to tell David not to do this - the captains of the army also warned David not to count the soldiers in Israel. But David did so anyway.
3. (5-8) The census is made and David is immediately sorry.
Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. All Israel had one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and Judah had four hundred and seventy thousand men who drew the sword. But he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them, for the king’s word was abominable to Joab. And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel. So David said to God, “I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing; but now, I pray, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.”
a. Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to the king: he results showed that there were 1,300,000 fighting men among the twelve tribes, reflecting an estimated total population of about 6 million in Israel.
i. 2 Samuel 24:5-9 indicates that it took almost 10 months to complete the census. David should have called off this foolish census during the ten months, but he didn’t.
ii. The number given in 2 Samuel 24:5-9 is different than the sum arrived at here. “To attempt to reconcile them in every part is lost labour; better at once acknowledge what cannot be successfully denied, that although the original writers of the Old Testament wrote under the influence of the Divine Spirit, yet we are not told that the same influence descended on all copiers of their words, so as absolutely to prevent them from making mistakes.” (Clarke)
iii. But he did not count Levi and Benjamin: “The rabbis give the following reason for this: Joab, seeing that this would bring down destruction upon the people, purposed to save two tribes. Should David ask, Why have you not numbered the Levites? Joab purposed to say, Because the Levites are not reckoned among the children of Israel. Should he ask, Why have you not numbered Benjamin? he would answer, Benjamin has been already sufficiently punished, on account of the treatment of the woman at Gibeah: if, therefore, this tribe were to be again punished, who would remain?” (Clarke)
b. Therefore He struck Israel: God would strike Israel with a choice of judgments offered to David. Yet God had already struck Israel by deeply convicting the King of Israel with an acute sense of his sin.
c. I have sinned greatly: The man after God’s heart was not sinless, but had a heart sensitive to sin when it was committed. David kept a short account with God.
i. “The chief interest of this chapter for us lies in the revelation of the true character of David. His sins were the lapses and accidents of his life. This is not to condone them. It is, however, to emphasize that the habitual set of his life was far otherwise than these sins suggest, and the deepest truth concerning him is revealed, not by the failures, but by his action afterwards.” (Morgan)
d. Take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly: David now saw the pride and vainglory that prompted him to do such a foolish thing.
4. (9-12) David is allowed to choose the judgment.
And the LORD spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, “Go and tell David, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.”’” So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Choose for yourself, either three years of famine, or three months to be defeated by your foes with the sword of your enemies overtaking you, or else for three days the sword of the LORD; the plague in the land, with the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now consider what answer I should take back to Him who sent me.”
a. I offer you three things: God used David’s sin and the resulting chastisement to reveal David’s heart and wisdom. His choice of the following three options would test David:
· Three years of famine: This would surely be the death of some in Israel, but the wealthy and resourceful would survive. Israel would have to depend on neighboring nations for food
· Three months to be defeated by your foes: This would be the death of some in Israel, but mostly only of soldiers. Israel would have to contend with enemies among neighboring nations
· For three days . . . the plague in the land: This would be the death of some in Israel, but anyone could be struck by this plague - rich or poor, influential or anonymous, royalty or common
i. “This was a great mercy: David must be whipped; but he may choose his own rod.” (Trapp)
b. Now consider what answer I should take back to Him who sent me: God wanted David to use the prophet as a mediator, and to answer to the prophet instead of directly to God.
5. (13) David chooses the three days of plague.
And David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”
a. Please let me fall into the hand of the LORD: This meant that David chose the three days of plague. In the other two options the king and his family could be insulated against the danger, but David knew that he had to expose himself to the chastisement of God.
i. “Had he chosen war, his own personal safety was in no danger, because there was already an ordinance preventing him from going to battle. Had he chosen famine, his own wealth would have secured his and his own family’s support. But he showed the greatness of his mind in choosing the pestilence, to the ravages of which himself and his household were exposed equally with the meanest of his subjects.” (Clarke)
b. Do not let me fall into the hand of man: This meant that David chose the three days of plague. In the other two options, Israel would either be at the mercy of neighbors (as in the famine) or attacked by enemies. David knew that God is far more merciful and gracious than man is.
B. The course of the plague
1. (14-15) The plague of destruction hits Israel severely.
So the LORD sent a plague upon Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell. And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it. As he was destroying, the LORD looked and relented of the disaster, and said to the angel who was destroying, “It is enough; now restrain your hand.” And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
a. Seventy thousand men of Israel fell: This was a great calamity upon Israel - a devastating plague striking this many in such a short period of time.
b. The LORD looked and relented of the disaster: This justified David’s wisdom in leaving himself in God’s hands. He could not trust man to relent from destruction.
2. (16-19) David’s intercession; and God’s instruction.
Then David lifted his eyes and saw the angel of the LORD standing between earth and heaven, having in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. So David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. And David said to God, “Was it not I who commanded the people to be numbered? I am the one who has sinned and done evil indeed; but these sheep, what have they done? Let Your hand, I pray, O LORD my God, be against me and my father’s house, but not against Your people that they should be plagued.” Therefore, the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David that David should go and erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. So David went up at the word of Gad, which he had spoken in the name of the LORD.
a. Having in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem: At this point God had relented from the severity of judgment, yet the threat was still imminent. So David and the elders humbled themselves before God and David repented.
b. Let Your hand, I pray, O LORD my God, be against me and my father’s house: Like a true shepherd, David asked that the punishment be upon him and his own household. Having another purpose to accomplish, God did not accept David’s offer.
c. Erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite: This is where David met the Angel of the LORD, and where God relented from the plague before it came upon Jerusalem. Now God wanted David to meet Him there in worship.
i. “Threshing floors were usually on a height, in order to catch every breeze; some area to the north of David’s city is indicated” (Baldwin)
ii. The threshing floor of Ornan had both rich history and a rich future. 2 Chronicles 3:1 tells us that the threshing floor of Ornan was on Mount Moriah; the same hill where Abraham offered Isaac (Genesis 22:2), and the same set of hills where Jesus died on the cross (Genesis 22:14).
iii. “In fact, David’s altar was the only one in pre-exilic times which God explicitly commanded to be built.” (Selman)
iv. “The decision of God to establish his altar and temple at Moriah in Jerusalem has affected all history (cf. Revelation 11:1); for this mountain became the focus of the Holy City, where His Son was crucified. And it will continue to affect history; for from this ‘city he loves’, he will some day rule the nations of the earth (Isaiah 2:2-4).” (Payne)
3. (20-25) David buys the threshing floor or Ornan.
Now Ornan turned and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves, but Ornan continued threshing wheat. Then David came to Ornan, and Ornan looked and saw David. And he went out from the threshing floor, and bowed before David with his face to the ground. Then David said to Ornan, “Grant me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar on it to the LORD. You shall grant it to me at the full price, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.” And Ornan said to David, “Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.” Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.” So David gave Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the place.
a. Now Ornan turned and saw the angel; and his four sons who were with him hid themselves: “Partly because of the glory and majesty in which the angel appeared, which men’s weak and sinful natures are not able to bear; and partly for the fear of God’s vengeance, which was at this time riding circuit in the land, and now seemed to be coming to their family.” (Poole)
b. Grant me the place of this threshing floor . . . at full price: David wanted to transform this place where chaff was separated from wheat into a place of sacrifice and worship. It would remain a place of sacrifice and worship, because this land purchased by David became the site of Solomon’s temple (1 Chronicles 21:28-22:5).
i. “So David bought ‘the site’ – hammaqom, which may have included the whole area of Mount Moriah – for 240 ounces of gold. This was worth about one hundred thousand dollars. Second Samuel 24:24 notes a much smaller amount, 20 ounces of silver, for the threshing floor itself.” (Payne)
c. Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes: Ornan had a good, generous heart and wanted to give David anything he wanted.
i. “Had Araunah’s noble offer been accepted, it would have been Araunah’s sacrifice, not David’s; nor would it have answered the end of turning away the displeasure of the Most High.” (Clarke)
d. No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing: David knew that it would not be a gift nor a sacrifice unto the LORD if it did not cost him something. He didn’t look for the cheapest way possible to please God.
i. “He who has a religion that costs him nothing, has a religion that is worth nothing: nor will any man esteem the ordinances of God, if those ordinances cost him nothing.” (Clarke)
ii. “Where there is true, strong love to Jesus, it will cost us something. Love is the costliest of all undertakings . . . But what shall we mind if we gain Christ? You cannot give up for Him without regaining everything you have renounced, but purified and transfigured.” (Meyer)
4. (26-27) God is satisfied and the judgment relents.
And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called on the LORD; and He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar of burnt offering. So the LORD commanded the angel, and he returned his sword to its sheath.
a. And offered burnt offerings and peace offerings: This shows that David understood that the death of the 70,000 in Israel in the plague did not atone for his and Israel’s sin. Atonement could only be made through the blood of an approved substitute.
i. Burnt offerings were to atone for sin; peace offerings were to enjoy fellowship with God. This shows us from beginning to end, David’s life was marked by fellowship with God.
ii. “We finally see the man after God’s own heart turning the occasion of his sin and its punishment into an occasion of worship.” (Morgan)
b. He answered him from heaven by fire on the altar: God showed His acceptance of David’s sacrifice by consuming it with fire from heaven. God honored David’s desire to be right and to fellowship with God by answering with Divine blessing from heaven. So it always is when God’s children draw near to their God and Father for cleansing and fellowship.
i. The sending of fire from heaven answered a question that had burned in the heart of David for a long time. For many years, he had wondered where God wanted the temple to be built, and he sought for that place, as shown in Psalm 132:1-5:
LORD, remember David
And all his afflictions;
How he swore to the LORD,
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house,
Or go up to the comfort of my bed;
I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
Until I find a place for the LORD,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
ii. The fire on the altar from heaven confirmed the previous word of the Prophet Gad that this was the place to build the altar and the temple. We see that God simply use Satan’s provocation at the opening of this chapter to lead to the answer of this important question for David and for the nation of Israel. There were certainly other purposes of God at work, but this was one of them.
iii. The character of Ornan’s threshing floor shows us something about where and how God wants to meet with men. Ornan’s threshing floor was . . .
· A simple, unadorned place – not like a fancy church at all.
· A place of ordinary work.
· A place bought with money.
· A place where bread was brought forth from.
· A place where the justice of God was evident.
· A place where sin was confessed.
· A place where sacrifice was offered and accepted.
iv. “Do not believe for a moment that visible grandeur is necessary to the place where God will meet with you. Go to your threshing floor and pray; aye, while the unmuzzled oxen take their rest, bow your knee and cry to the Lord of the harvest, and you shall meet with God there amongst the straw and the grain. Fear not to draw nigh to God in these streets, but consecrate all space to the Lord your God.” (Spurgeon)
5. (28-22:1) David decides to build the temple at the place where God showed mercy to Israel.
At that time, when David saw that the LORD had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. For the tabernacle of the LORD and the altar of the burnt offering, which Moses had made in the wilderness, were at that time at the high place in Gibeon. But David could not go before it to inquire of God, for he was afraid of the sword of the angel of the LORD. Then David said, “This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”
a. When David saw that the LORD had answered him on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there: David knew that there was something special about this threshing floor; he understood that God had sanctified the place Himself with fire from heaven.
i. “Having seen his prayers answered and his sacrifices accepted, the site had already become a ‘house of prayer’ and a ‘temple for sacrifices’ cf. 2 Chronicles 7:12; Isaiah 56:7).” (Selman)
ii. “Abraham taught the fact of the sacrifice, while to David the reason of that sacrifice of Christ was explained. He was sacrificed to stay the plague — the plague of sin, the punishment of our iniquities.” (Spurgeon)
b. This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of burnt offering for Israel: David understood that the future temple should be built on this spot in Jerusalem. God had sanctified this humble threshing floor to Himself.
i. This is the house: “This is that very place foretold by Moses (Deuteronomy 12:11).” (Trapp)
1 Chronicles 22 - David’s Charge to Solomon
A. David gathers men, material, and a vision.
1. (2-4) David gathers men and material for building the temple.
So David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel; and he appointed masons to cut hewn stones to build the house of God. And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails of the doors of the gates and for the joints, and bronze in abundance beyond measure, and cedar trees in abundance; for the Sidonians and those from Tyre brought much cedar wood to David.
a. David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel: 1 Kings 5:15-18 describes how these were actually put to work in the building of the temple in Solomon’s day, some 70,000 slaves.
b. Cedar trees in abundance: The cedar trees of Lebanon were legendary for their excellent timber. This means David (and Solomon after him) wanted to build the temple out of the best materials possible.
i. It also means that they were willing to build this great temple to God with “Gentile” wood and using “Gentile” labor. This was a temple to the God of Israel, but it was not only for Israel. Only Jews built the tabernacle, “But the temple is not built without the aid of the Gentile Tyrians. They, together with us, make up the Church of God.” (Trapp)
ii. Payne on iron in abundance: “The king’s provision of ‘a large amount of iron’ reflects how conditions had changed during his time – known archaeologically as Iron I – due, no doubt, to the incorporation of iron-producing Philistines within the sphere of Hebrew control.”
2. (5) David’s vision for the preparation of the temple.
Now David said, "Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it." So David made abundant preparations before his death.
a. Solomon my son is young and inexperienced: Even after David’s death, Solomon knew that he was young and inexperienced (1 Kings 3:7), so when offered anything he wanted wisdom to lead God’s people.
b. The house to be built for the LORD must be exceeding magnificent: Solomon had the same vision for the glory of the temple, and he indeed built it according to David’s vision of a magnificent, famous, and glorious building. Solomon had this vision breathed into him through his father’s influence.
i. We can almost picture the old David and the young Solomon pouring over the plans and ideas for the temple together with excitement. David knew that it was not his place to build it, but had the right vision for what the temple should be in general terms, and he passed that vision on to his son.
ii. So David made abundant preparations before his death: This indicates that David was a peace with the idea that he himself could not build the temple and was content to prepare the way for his son to build it successfully. “This is a picture of a man who through stress and storm had found his way into the quiet calm assurance of his place in the divine economy. . . . It is a condition of peace and power.” (Morgan)
iii. “The Chronicler was vitally concerned to insure support for the Jerusalem temple in his day. No more fitting stimulus for dedication in this regard could then be found than in the example set by David when he made preparations for the construction of that temple in his day.” (Payne)
B. David’s exhortation to his son Solomon.
1. (6-10) David’s testimony of the call to build the temple.
Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel. And David said to Solomon: "My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God; but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.'”
a. And charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel: This was not a suggestion or an idea offered to Solomon. It was a sacred charge for him to fulfill. David knew that he could not fulfill this last great work of his life himself; he could only do it through Solomon after David went to his reward. There was a sense in which if Solomon failed, David failed also.
i. Specifically, David wanted to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. “That the temple was to be built ‘for the Name of the LORD’ means more than his reputation or honor but ultimately for his Person.” (Payne)
b. You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name: This explaination was not previously recorded, either in 2 Samuel or in 1 Chronicles. Here we find one of the reasons why God did not want David to build the temple, and why He chose Solomon instead. God wanted a man of rest and peace to build a house unto Him.
i. It wasn’t that David’s wars were wrong or ungodly, or that the blood he shed was unrighteous. It was that God wanted His house built from the context of peace and rest and victory; He wanted it to be built after and from the victory, not from the midst of struggle.
ii. “Principally for mystical signification, to teach us that the church (whereof the temple was a manifest and a illustrious type) should be built by Christ, the Prince of peace, Isaiah 9:6; and that it should be gathered and built up, not by might or power, or by force of arms, but by God’s Spirit, Zechariah 4:6, and by the preaching of the gospel of peace.” (Poole)
2. (11-13) David warns Solomon to stay faithful to God and His word.
"Now, my son, may the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God, as He has said to you. Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
a. May the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God: The Chronicler emphasized David’s legacy and Solomon’s mission to build the temple. This would become by far Solomon’s greatest accomplishment.
b. That you may keep the law of the LORD your God: David knew that Solomon could not be strong or courageous without obedient fellowship with God. In this place of obedient fellowship, Solomon would prosper in all that he did.
c. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed: Solomon could take courage and reject fear because God promised David that as long as his sons walked in obedience, they would keep the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:1-4).
i. This is an amazing promise. No matter what the Assyrians or the Egyptians or the Babylonians did, as long as David’s sons were obedient and followed God with their heart and with all their soul, God would establish their kingdom. He would take care of the rest.
3. (14-16) What David did to prepare for the building of the temple.
"Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them. Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you."
a. I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD: David took seriously his mission to prepare the way by bringing both security and treasure to Israel and his successor Solomon. With these two resources he could build the house of the LORD.
i. The Bible tells us that Jesus – the greater Son of David – is also building a temple (Ephesians 2:19-22). He could only do this after security and treasure were won; but the greater Son of David made this peace and plundered the enemy Himself at the cross. Jesus could also say that He took much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD and that He has prepared the building materials (his people, according to Ephesians 2:19-22).
b. One hundred thousand talents of gold: This is an enormous amount of gold. Some Bible commentators believe this large number is accurate and some feel it is a scribal error. Even allowing for possible scribal error, David clearly amassed significant resources for a temple he would never build.
i. Even so, David also told Solomon to receive these enormous resources and add to them. “Save as I have saved, out of the revenues of the state, and thou mayest also add something for the erection and splendour of his this house. This was a gentle though pointed hint, which was not lost on Solomon.” (Clarke)
ii. “Cannot I put my hand on some young man’s shoulder, and say to him, ‘Thou mayest add thereto; thou hast a good voice; thou hast an active brain; begin to speak for God; there are numbers of godly men in the gospel ministry; if thou art called of God, thou mayest add thereto’?” (Spurgeon)
c. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you: David made all the preparation, but it was in vain if Solomon did not begin working. He had to actually do the work, and do it with the confidence that the LORD was with him.
i. David is an example of someone who works in the background, who receives none or little credit for his work, but the job cannot be done without him.
· David gathered the materials for the temple
· David prepared some of those materials
· David won the peace with surrounding nations that Israel needed to build the temple
· David found and purchased the site to build the temple
· David established the plans for the temple
· David organized and commanded the administration and servants of the temple
ii. Yet no one calls it “David’s temple.” It seems that all the credit, all the name, all the glory goes to Solomon. It doesn’t seem to have bothered David, because he was a man after God’s heart.
iii. “So, if you go to a country town or village, and you preach the gospel to a few poor folk, you may never have seemed very successful; but you have been preparing the way for somebody else who is coming after you.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “But this is a terrible blow at self. Self says, ‘I like to begin something of my own, and I like to carry it out; I do not want any interference from other people.’ A friend proposed, the other day, to give you a little help in your service. You looked at him as if he had been a thief. You do not want any help; you are quite up to the mark; you are like a wagon and four horses, and a dog under the wagon as well! There is everything about you that is wanted; you need no help from anybody; you can do all things almost without the help of God! I am very sorry for you if that is your opinion.” (Spurgeon)
4. (17-19) David’s command to the leaders of Israel.
David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, "Is not the LORD your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and before His people. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD."
a. David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son: David knew that one leader – even a great leader – was not enough to get a great work done. When God calls a leader He also calls other leaders . . . to help.
b. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God: This command of David’s is interesting in its context. David gave this command in the context of work, not the context of leisurely repose before God. David knew that it was possible to keep one’s heart set on seeking God even in the midst of doing a great work before the LORD.
i. “They must seek the LORD (v. 19) as David had sought him (cf. 13:3; 14:10, 14). David explains how to seek (‘devote your heart and soul’; cf. REB, NEB, JB) and what it meant in practice (Build the sanctuary). As elsewhere, ‘seeking’ is an act of obedience rather than a search for guidance, and David will yet again underline its importance (1 Chronicles 28:8-9).” (Selman)
ii. “Thus Solomon came to the Jewish throne with every possible advantage. Had he made a proper use of his state and of his talents, he would have been the greatest as well as the wisest of sovereigns. But alas! How soon did this pure gold become dim! He began with an unlawful matrimonial connection; this led him to a commerce that was positively forbidden by the law of God: he then multiplied his matrimonial connections with pagan women; they turned his heart away from God, and the once wise and holy Solomon died a fool and an idolater.” (Clarke)
iii. “Did David live in vain? Can it be truly said that he failed in the grandest project of his life? Assuredly not; he did all that he was permitted to do, and by making those elaborate preparations, he was really the means of the building of the temple.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “God buries the workman, but the devil himself cannot bury the work. The work is everlasting, though the workmen die. We pass away, as star by star grows dim; but the eternal light is never-fading. God shall have the victory.” (Spurgeon)
1 Chronicles 23 – New Duties for the Levites
A. The groupings of the Levites.
1. (1-2) David passes the kingdom to Solomon.
So when David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel. And he gathered together all the leaders of Israel, with the priests and the Levites.
a. When David was old and full of days, he made his son Solomon king over Israel: David had other sons who might also claim the throne of Israel after his death (especially Adonijah). 1 Kings 1:31-40 describes in greater detail how David made sure that Solomon and not Adonijah took the throne after his death.
i. “Not that he did resign the kingdom to him, but that he declared his mind concerning his succession into the throne after his death.” (Poole)
b. He gathered together all the leaders of Israel: David gathered these for the purpose of organizing them to help Solomon with the work of building the temple and administering the affairs of the kingdom.
2. (3-6) The number and the main groupings of the Levites.
Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and above; and the number of individual males was thirty-eight thousand. Of these, twenty-four thousand were to look after the work of the house of the LORD, six thousand were officers and judges, four thousand were gatekeepers, and four thousand praised the LORD with musical instruments, "which I made," said David, "for giving praise." Also David separated them into divisions among the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
a. The Levites were numbered for the age of thirty years and above: This was based on the ancient command found in Numbers 4:1-3, indicating that a Levite’s service began at 30 years of age.
b. The number of individuals was thirty-eight thousand: These 38,000 qualified Levites were divided into different duties.
i. To look after the work of the house of the LORD: The temple was a busy place constantly flowing with worshippers, sacrifice, and service unto God. It took many skilled people to take care of all the practical matters behind this activity.
ii. Officers and judges: The Levites were also the civil servants for the Kingdom of Israel. Governmental records, decisions, and administration were all in the hands of the Levites.
iii. Gatekeepers: These had the responsibility for security, both in a practical and spiritual sense. They made sure that only those who were ready to serve and worship God could come to the temple and its associated building.
iv. Four thousand praised the LORD: These Levites had the job of worshipping God both with their voices and musical instruments. They did this both to honor God directly and also to encourage others to worship God.
c. David separated them into divisions among the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari: These family groupings within the tribe of Levi were described hundreds of years before in Numbers 3 and 4.
i. Gershon: The Gershonites were to take care of the skins that covered the tabernacle itself.
ii. Kohath: The Kohathites were to take care of the furniture of the tabernacle including the ark of the covenant, the table of showbread, and so forth, under the direction of Eleazar the priest, son of Aaron.
iii. Merari: The family of Merari was to take care of the structural aspects of the tabernacle including the pillars, the boards, and so forth
3. (7-11) The Gershonites.
Of the Gershonites: Laadan and Shimei. The sons of Laadan: the first Jehiel, then Zetham and Joel; three in all. The sons of Shimei: Shelomith, Haziel, and Haran; three in all. These were the heads of the fathers' houses of Laadan. And the sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, Jeush, and Beriah. These were the four sons of Shimei. Jahath was the first and Zizah the second. But Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons; therefore they were assigned as one father's house.
4. (12-13) The Kohathites.
The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel; four in all. The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses; and Aaron was set apart, he and his sons forever, that he should sanctify the most holy things, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister to Him, and to give the blessing in His name forever.
a. And Aaron was set apart, he and his sons forever: Among the Levites, the descendants of Aaron were chosen for the priestly duties described in these verses. Being a member of the tribe of Levi was not enough to be a priest; one had to be a descendant of this particular family of Aaron.
b. That he should sanctify the most holy things, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister to Him, and to give the blessing in His name forever: This is a brief but powerful description of the duties of the priests of Israel.
· That he should sanctify the most holy things: The priest was have an active concern for holiness, and to be able to discern between what was holy and what was not. This means that holiness had to touch the life of the priest; he had to represent God before the people.
· To burn incense before the LORD: Incense is a picture of intercessory prayer. The priest had to represent the people before the Lord. “The fragrant incense stealing heavenward is a beautiful emblem of intercessory prayer. Let us pray more, not for ourselves so much as for others. This is the sign of grown in grace, when our prayers are fragrant with the names of friend and foe, and mingled with the coals of the golden altar.” (Meyer)
· To minister to Him: The priest was busy with people and the work of ministry, but he must never forget his ministry to God Himself. He was to spend time in personal devotion, worship, and attention given to God in the secret place.
· To give the blessing in His name forever: The priest was blessed so that he could bless others. “It is not enough to linger in soft prayer within the vail, we must come forward to bless mankind. He who is nearest to God is closest to man.” (Meyer)
5. (14-20) The sons of Moses, of the family of Kohath.
Now the sons of Moses the man of God were reckoned to the tribe of Levi. The sons of Moses were Gershon and Eliezer. Of the sons of Gershon, Shebuel was the first. Of the descendants of Eliezer, Rehabiah was the first. And Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very many. Of the sons of Izhar, Shelomith was the first. Of the sons of Hebron, Jeriah was the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. Of the sons of Uzziel, Michah was the first and Jesshiah the second.
6. (21-23) The family of Merari.
The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli were Eleazar and Kish. And Eleazar died, and had no sons, but only daughters; and their brethren, the sons of Kish, took them as wives. The sons of Mushi were Mahli, Eder, and Jeremoth; three in all.
B. David changes the duties of the Levites.
1. (24-26) The reason for the change of duty.
These were the sons of Levi by their fathers' houses; the heads of the fathers' houses as they were counted individually by the number of their names, who did the work for the service of the house of the LORD, from the age of twenty years and above. For David said, "The LORD God of Israel has given rest to His people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem forever"; and also to the Levites, "They shall no longer carry the tabernacle, or any of the articles for its service."
a. From the age of twenty years and above: David first changed the year when service began for the Levites from 30 to 20.
i. One reason he did this was because the new temple would require more workers, and he wanted to keep the Levites busy. “Temple service will certainly have brought increased work, even though the occasional duty of transporting the ark was now to be abolished. In fact, the Levites and their duties had suffered from long-standing neglect.” (Selman)
b. The LORD God of Israel has given rest to His people: Now that the tabernacle and its furnishings would rest permanently at the temple David planned and Solomon would build, there could and should be a change in the duties of the Levites.
2. (27-32) The new duties of the Levites.
For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above; because their duty was to help the sons of Aaron in the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts and in the chambers, in the purifying of all holy things and the work of the service of the house of God, both with the showbread and the fine flour for the grain offering, with the unleavened cakes and what is baked in the pan, with what is mixed and with all kinds of measures and sizes; to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at evening; and at every presentation of a burnt offering to the LORD on the Sabbaths and on the New Moons and on the set feasts, by number according to the ordinance governing them, regularly before the LORD; and that they should attend to the needs of the tabernacle of meeting, the needs of the holy place, and the needs of the sons of Aaron their brethren in the work of the house of the LORD.
a. For by the last word of David the Levites were numbered: “Never was the true kingliness of David more manifest, than when he sought to make these arrangements for the consolidation around the Throne of God of that kingdom which he was so soon to leave.” (Morgan)
i. 2 Chronicles 29:25 tells us that David commanded this arrangements as he worked together with Gad the king’s seer and Nathan the prophet. It also tells us that these arrangements were the commandment of the LORD by his prophets. This was Holy Spirit guided organization and administration.
ii. “Guided by the prophets (2 Chronicles 29:25), the king exercised his administrative genius to establish a system of procedures that helped maintain legitimate worship under his successors.” (Payne)
b. Because their duty was to help the sons of Aaron in the service of the house of the LORD: Since the tabernacle and its service was now to come to a place of permanent rest, the Levites who once had the responsibility to manage and move the mobile structure could now become the helpers of the priests, the sons of Aaron.
c. To stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD: The Chronicler mentioned many specific duties of the Levites (purifying all holy things . . . with the showbread . . . what is baked in the pan). Yet he included among them this most important duty: to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. This was essential among the duties of the Levites and the priests, and could never be neglected.
i. “The specific work of the Levites is beautifully described by the chronicler in the closing verses of the chapter. They were the servants of the priest and of the house. They were also to stand at morning and evening to praise the Lord. High and holy calling, this.” (Morgan)
ii. “It was the priests' business to kill, flay, and dress, as well as to offer, the victims; but being few, they were obliged to employ the Levites to flay those animals. The Levites were, properly speaking, servants to the priests, and were employed about the more servile part of divine worship.” (Clarke)
iii. “As assistants, they were active in side-rooms and courtyards rather than the main building, preparing food and offerings rather than actually offering sacrifices.” (Selman)
1 Chronicles 24 – The Sections of the Priesthood
A. The twenty-four divisions of the priesthood.
1. (1-6) The sons of Aaron and what became of them.
Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. And Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children; therefore Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priests. Then David with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to the schedule of their service. There were more leaders found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar, and thus they were divided. Among the sons of Eleazar were sixteen heads of their fathers' houses, and eight heads of their fathers' houses among the sons of Ithamar. Thus they were divided by lot, one group as another, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of the house of God, from the sons of Eleazar and from the sons of Ithamar. And the scribe, Shemaiah the son of Nethanel, one of the Levites, wrote them down before the king, the leaders, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers' houses of the priests and Levites, one father's house taken for Eleazar and one for Ithamar.
a. Nadab and Abihu died before their father: God judged Nadab and Abihu because they dared to bring strange fire before the LORD, blaspheming God’s commandments for sacrifice (Numbers 10:1-2).
b. Divided them according to the schedule of their service: David took the descendants of Aaron – the priestly family of Israel – and together with Zadok he divided them into 24 sections, to serve according to the schedule of their service.
i. “Two aspects of this service are emphasized – that it is to be regulated in an orderly system of twenty-four courses (vv. 1-19), and that it provides a pattern to be followed by the priests’ Levitical assistants (vv. 20-31).” (Selman)
2. (7-19) The priesthood is divided by lot into 24 sections.
Now the first lot fell to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, the fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin, the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, the ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah, the eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, the thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, the fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, the seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Happizzez, the nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel, the twenty-first to Jachin, the twenty-second to Gamul, the twenty-third to Delaiah, the twenty-fourth to Maaziah. This was the schedule of their service for coming into the house of the LORD according to their ordinance by the hand of Aaron their father, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.
a. This was the schedule of their service for coming into the house of the LORD: David knew that because there were so many descendants of Aaron by this time, the priests should be divided so they could fairly be assigned the privildged service of the temple.
i. “In later Jewish practice, the number of twenty-four courses was based on a lunar calendar of forty-eight weeks, with each course serving for a week at a time and thus twice in a year.” (Selman)
ii. “With the passage of time, some of the Davidic courses died out or had to be consolidated with others, and new ones were formed to take their places. At the first return from exile in 527 B.C., only four courses were registered. . . . By 520 twenty-two were again operative, (Nehemiah 12:1-7), but only half of them were the courses as originally organized by David.” (Payne)
B. The rest of the sons of Levi.
1. (20-30) A list of the remaining sons of Levi.
And the rest of the sons of Levi: of the sons of Amram, Shubael; of the sons of Shubael, Jehdeiah. Concerning Rehabiah, of the sons of Rehabiah, the first was Isshiah. Of the Izharites, Shelomoth; of the sons of Shelomoth, Jahath. Of the sons of Hebron, Jeriah was the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. Of the sons of Uzziel, Michah; of the sons of Michah, Shamir. The brother of Michah, Isshiah; of the sons of Isshiah, Zechariah. The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi; the son of Jaaziah, Beno. The sons of Merari by Jaaziah were Beno, Shoham, Zaccur, and Ibri. Of Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. Of Kish: the son of Kish, Jerahmeel. Also the sons of Mushi were Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites according to their fathers' houses.
a. And the rest of the sons of Levi: These were the descendants of Kohath’s son Amram who were not of the family of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 6:18-27).
2. (31) How their lots were chosen.
These also cast lots just as their brothers the sons of Aaron did, in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the heads of the fathers' houses of the priests and Levites. The chief fathers did just as their younger brethren.
a. These also cast lots just as their brothers the sons of Aaron did: These other descendants of the family of Kohath were divided according to the schedule for their service, along the same pattern as the priests.
b. The chief fathers did just as their younger brethren: “The lots of the elder and younger brethren were promiscuously put together, and the order was settled as the lots came forth, without any regard to the age, or dignity, or number of the persons or families, the youngest family having the first course if they had the first lot.” (Poole)
i. “There was a tactful mingling in the arrangement of the older and the younger men, so that in this highest and holiest national service the experience of age and the enthusiasm of youth were naturally inspiring.” (Morgan)
1 Chronicles 25 – Musicians for the Temple
A. The musicians for the temple.
1. (1) Musicians separated for service.
Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals. And the number of the skilled men performing their service was:
a. David and the captains of the army separated for the service: Interestingly, the captains of the army took part in the selection and organization of the musicians or “worship leaders” for Israel. David sensed a connection between the security of the kingdom and the worship and honoring of God.
i. “Chapter 25 concerns David’s organization of the four thousand Levitical musicians (23:5) into courses of service that correspond to those of the priests and temple Levites (chapter 24).” (Payne)
ii. “David did give high regard to the counsel of his military commanders (1 Chronicles 11:10; 12:32; 28:1), even in liturgical affairs (cf. 1 Chronicles 13:1; 15:25).” (Payne)
b. Who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals: Their service was connected with the dynamic of prophesy in the sense that it was inspired by God. Their ministry in music was not merely the product of good musicianship; it was a gift of the Holy Spirit being exercised through them.
i. “This work of praise is thrice described by a somewhat singular, and, in this connection, arresting word, ‘prophecy.’ The use of this word here is a revelation of the true value of the service of music in the sanctuary of God.” (Morgan)
ii. “Either they supplied messages direct from God in the manner of the classical prophets, for which the Levite Jahaziel (2 Chronicles 20:14-17) provides an obvious analogy, or their praise was itself seen as ‘prophecy’ in that it proclaimed God’s word with God’s authority.” (Selman)
2. (2-6) The sons of Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman.
Of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asharelah; the sons of Asaph were under the direction of Asaph, who prophesied according to the order of the king. Of Jeduthun, the sons of Jeduthun: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the direction of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp to give thanks and to praise the LORD. Of Heman, the sons of Heman: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, Romamti-Ezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth. All these were the sons of Heman the king's seer in the words of God, to exalt his horn. For God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. All these were under the direction of their father for the music in the house of the LORD, with cymbals, stringed instruments, and harps, for the service of the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the authority of the king.
a. Asaph, who prophesied according to the order of the king: 12 Psalms are attributed to Asaph (Psalm 50 and Psalms 73 through 83).
b. Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp to give thanks and to praise the LORD: Jeduthun’s music ministry was so inspired by the Spirit of God that it could be said that he prophesied with a harp.
c. Heman the king’s seer: “He is called the king’s seer, either because the king took special delight in him, or because he frequently attended upon the king in his palace, executing his sacred office there, while the rest were constantly employed in the tabernacle.” (Poole)
d. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the authority of the king: These enormously talented and Spirit-anointed men knew how to submit themselves under the leadership of David, under the authority of the king.
i. We note the prominent place of the sons of Heman, and that all these were under the direction of their father for the music in the house of the LORD. “How one would like to have seen Heman coming into the Temple with his children! It was largely owing to h
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