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1 Chronicles 19-23

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

1 Chronicles Chapter 19

An ambassador can be defined as "a diplomat of the highest rank; accredited as representative from one country to another." Ambassadors represent the nation and the nation's head of state; to insult or abuse an ambassador is a very serious matter, practically an act of war. When King David sent ambassadors to Ammon, a nation across The Jordan River to express David's condolence, the new king treated David's representatives in a shameful manner.


"Now after this Nahash the king of the Ammonites died, and his son reigned in his stead. And David said, "I will deal loyally with Hanun the son of Nahash, for his father dealt loyally with me." So David sent messengers to console him concerning his father. And David's servants came to Hanun in the land of the Ammonites, to console him.

But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun, "Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Have not his servants come to you to search and to overthrow and to spy out the land?" So Hanun took David's servants, and shaved them, and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away; and they departed.

When David was told concerning the men, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, "Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown, and then return." (1 Chronicles 19:1-5 RSV)

When the Ammonites realized what they had done, they compounded their belligerence by assembling an allied mercenary army against Israel.

"When the Ammonites saw that they had made themselves odious to David, Hanun and the Ammonites sent a thousand talents of silver to hire chariots and horsemen from Mesopotamia, from Aram-maacah, and from Zobah. They hired thirty-two thousand chariots and the king of Maacah with his army, who came and encamped before Medeba. And the Ammonites were mustered from their cities and came to battle." (1 Chronicles 19:6-7 RSV)

The first battle was against Syria; Israel, under Joab (David's nephew, a son of David's sister Zeruiah), defeated them.

"So Joab and the people who were with him drew near before the Syrians for battle; and they fled before him. And when the Ammonites saw that the Syrians fled, they likewise fled before Abishai, Joab's brother, and entered the city. Then Joab came to Jerusalem. But when the Syrians saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they sent messengers and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the Euphrates, with Shophach the commander of the army of Hadadezer at their head." (1 Chronicles 19:14-16 RSV)

David then led his main battle group across the Jordan; the enemy lost again.

"And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and crossed the Jordan, and came to them, and drew up his forces against them. And when David set the battle in array against the Syrians, they fought with him. And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians the men of seven thousand chariots, and forty thousand foot soldiers, and killed also Shophach the commander of their army." (1 Chronicles 19:17-18 RSV)

The Ammonite hired army surrendered to David's terms of peace; the Ammonites were left alone to fight the war that they started.

"And when the servants of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with David, and became subject to him. So the Syrians were not willing to help the Ammonites any more." (1 Chronicles 19:19 RSV)

1 Chronicles Chapter 20

The war against the Ammonites concluded in the spring with total victory for Israel. Rabbah was a major city of Ammon, located about 20 miles east of the Jordan


"In the spring of the year, the time when kings go forth to battle, Joab led out the army, and ravaged the country of the Ammonites, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. And Joab smote Rabbah, and overthrew it. And David took the crown of their king from his head; he found that it weighed a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone; and it was placed on David's head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city, a very great amount. And he brought forth the people who were in it, and set them to labor with saws and iron picks and axes; and thus David did to all the cities of the Ammonites. Then David and all the people returned to Jerusalem." (1 Chronicles 20:1-3 RSV)

Israel's perennial wars with the Philistines continued, to Israel's advantage.

"And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer; then Sibbecai the Hushathite slew Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants; and the Philistines were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite [see David And Goliath], the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.

And there was again war at Gath [see Gath of the Philistines], where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David's brother, slew him." (1 Chronicles 20:4-7 RSV)

1 Chronicles Chapter 21

Non-defensive wars are often caused by lust and covetousness: "What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask." (James 4:1-2 RSV)

The Sword David fought many wars for Israel and Judah, but (almost) always in the service of The Lord and the people of Israel - never for his own desire to conquer, which is Satanic. I say "almost" because David did attempt to deviate from the righteous use of military force on one occasion.

"Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, "Go, number Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number."

But Joab said, "May The Lord add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord's servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should he bring guilt upon Israel?"

But the king's word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel, and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and in Judah four hundred and seventy thousand who drew the sword. But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king's command was abhorrent to Joab." (1 Chronicles 21:1-6 RSV)

David then realized his grievous error, but too late - The Lord's wrath was coming to stop David from misusing the great army that The Lord had given Israel.

"And David said to God, "I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, I pray thee, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly."

And The Lord spoke to Gad, David's seer, saying, "Go and say to David, 'Thus says The Lord, Three things I offer you; choose one of them, that I may do it to you.'" So Gad came to David and said to him, "Thus says The Lord, 'Take which you will: either three years of famine; or three months of devastation by your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or else three days of the sword of The Lord, pestilence upon the land, and the angel of The Lord destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.' Now decide what answer I shall return to him who sent me." (1 Chronicles 21:8-12 RSV)

The Lord lifted His wrath as it entered Jerusalem, as "the angel of The Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite."

"So The Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel; and there fell seventy thousand men of Israel. And God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but when he was about to destroy it, The Lord saw, and he repented of the evil; and he said to the destroying angel, "It is enough; now stay your hand." And the angel of The Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite." (1 Chronicles 21:14-15 RSV)

The place where the plague stopped was to become one of the most famous of Bible Places - the Temple Mount. David purchased the property from Ornan the Jebusite (see the Fact Finder question below).

"So David paid Ornan six hundred shekels of gold by weight for the site. And David built there an altar to The Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon The Lord, and he answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering.

Then The Lord commanded the angel; and he put his sword back into its sheath. At that time, when David saw that The Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he made his sacrifices there. For the tabernacle of The Lord, which Moses had made in the wilderness [see The Tabernacle In The Wilderness], and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at 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." (1 Chronicles 21:25-30 RSV)

1 Chronicles Chapter 22

David had the foresight to see that The Lord's Temple would be built there in Zion (see Who, What or Where Is Zion?), so he began to make preparations for it.

The Temple

"Then David said, "Here shall be the house of The Lord God [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel."

David commanded to gather together the aliens who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God. David also provided great stores of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for clamps, as well as bronze in quantities beyond weighing, and cedar timbers without number; for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought great quantities of cedar to David.

For David said, "Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for The Lord must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands; I will therefore make preparation for it." So David provided materials in great quantity before his death." (1 Chronicles 22:1-5 RSV)

David's donation to the building of the Temple was immense e.g. "a hundred thousand talents" (approximately 3,500 tons) of gold

"With great pains I have provided for the house of The Lord a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone too I have provided. To these you must add. You have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of craftsmen without number, skilled in working gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Arise and be doing! The Lord be with you!" (1 Chronicles 22:14-16 RSV)

1 Chronicles Chapter 23

David also made preparations for the service at the Temple, according to the classifications of Levites (see also The Lines Of Eleazar and Ithamar).


"When David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.

David assembled all the leaders of Israel and the priests and the Levites. The Levites, thirty years old and upward, were numbered, and the total was thirty-eight thousand men. "Twenty-four thousand of these," David said, "shall have charge of the work in the house of The Lord, six thousand shall be officers and judges, four thousand gatekeepers, and four thousand shall offer praises to The Lord with the instruments which I have made for praise."

And David organized them in divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershom, Kohath, and Merari." (1 Chronicles 23:1-6 RSV)

When The Ark Of The Covenant came to Jerusalem, the specific Levites who were permitted by The Lord to touch it would no longer be needed; The Ark would remain in Jerusalem because the Levites would have no authorization to move it, and no one else could even touch The Ark and live (see Raiders Of The Lost Ark).

"And so the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the things for its service" - for by the last words of David these were the number of the Levites from twenty years old and upward - "but their duty shall be to assist the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of The Lord, having the care of the courts and the chambers, the cleansing of all that is holy, and any work for the service of the house of God; to assist also with the showbread, the flour for the cereal offering, the wafers of unleavened bread, the baked offering, the offering mixed with oil, and all measures of quantity or size And they shall stand every morning, thanking and praising The Lord, and likewise at evening, and whenever burnt offerings are offered to The Lord on sabbaths, new moons, and feast days, according to the number required of them, continually before The Lord. Thus they shall keep charge of the tent of meeting and the sanctuary, and shall attend the sons of Aaron, their brethren, for the service of the house of The Lord." (1 Chronicles 23:26-32 RSV)

Fact Finder: Who was Ornan the Jebusite?
See Ornan the Jebusite

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Copyright © Wayne Blank