Sunday, August 11, 2013

CLXIII - I Chronicles 17-20

These chapters we will look at today deal with events we have studied earlier in II Samuel.  As stated earlier, we will go through Chronicles at a much faster pace that we did the previous three books.

In the last post we finished with the 16th chapter of I Chronicles.  David had successfully brought the Ark of the Covenant to its new home in Jerusalem, and will reside in a tent David had prepared for it, which resembles the original tabernacle in which the Ark resided when Israel wandered in the wilderness with Moses.  The Ark will remain in this tent until David's son Solomon builds the holy temple.  In the 16th chapter, David led all of the nation Israel in a worship service to commemorate the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant.  It was elaborate and even more festive that David had hoped.

Chapter 17:1-15  -  David is not to build a house for God

David was now settled comfortably in his new home in Jerusalem, free from war, at least for the time being.  In the second part of the first verse we see Nathan mentioned.  As a reminder, Nathan was a prophet during David's reign.  You might remember Nathan as the prophet who confronted and scolded David when he sinned with Bathsheba.  Nathan was the Levite priest who helped David organize the Levites for the organization and the transportation of the Ark of the Covenant.  Nathan was the prophet (back in II Samuel) that was instrumental in making certain Solomon was crowned king of Israel after David's death.  So Nathan was not only respected by David as a man of God, but also as a close confidant.

Here in this passage we see that David was bothered by the fact that the Ark was in a tent while David lived in the comfort of a "house of cedar".  At first (verse 2) Nathan was in favor of whatever David had in mind.  {Nathan was not a "yes man".  But he knew that David had a pure heart and whatever David wanted was probably very good and wholesome.  But in verse 3 we see that God intercedes His own will by speaking with Nathan.  God tells Nathan that David is not to build a house for God.  God promises David (through Nathan) that He will continue to bless David with military victory and success in whatever he endeavors.  But (Verse 12) it will be Solomon who builds God's house.  {God has plans for each of His children, including you and me.  He is perfect in His selections of people for the tasks He has assigned them.  David was not finished doing that which he was assigned to accomplish, which was mostly military, and the organization of this fledgling nation.}

Verses 17:16  -  David is always thankful

Upon hearing the words that God gave Nathan, David was awestruck.  Awestruck with gratitude for what God promised him.  Remember, he was turned down in his desire to build a house for God.  But instead he was promised success in whatever he decided to do, mostly military.  So instead of sulking about not building the temple, David went right to God in a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.  Note in verse 16 where it says he "went in and sat before the Lord".  That tells me he went to the tent where the Ark was to pray to God.  And the first words out to David's mouth were "Who am I, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far"?  David's prayers so often began with his own humility.  He honestly did not feel good  enough to have audience with God Almighty.  He didn't feel like he deserved it.  {And he was correct.  He didn't deserve it any more that we do.}

Chapter 18  -  More military victories for David

Chapter 18 starts out with the phrase "In the course of time".  This is the writer's way of saying that what he is about to write is not necessarily in chronological order, but the events mentioned are of a particular subject or theme.  This one is military victories.  The Philistines have always been a threat to Israel, but in this instance, David and his army are the aggressors, not because they want to fight, but rather to get back what the Philistines had taken from them earlier.  In this case, Gath:  A city to the southwest that is within the promised land, but had been captured by the Philistines before David had become king.  In the second verse we see that David also defeated the Moabites, and made them subject to Israel, requiring them to pay taxes annually. {This was not an uncommon practice in those days.}  David also defeated Zobah on the Euphrates River.  It goes on to detail the size of Zobah's military.

Verse 5-6 might be confusing, especially just having finished our study in II Kings.  The mighty Assyrians were headquartered in Damascus at time of II Kings.  They were the ones who destroyed Israel and took all of its citizens captive into slavery.  But  that would be 280 years forward in time from this writing in I Chronicles.  During David's reign, Damascus was the headquarters of the Arameans.  {The Arameans would later become victims of the aggressive Assyrians.}  This chapter continues on about military victories for David, making special note of his defeat of the Edomites, placing them into subjection, as he did the Moabites.

Chapter 19  -  The Ammonites

We've studied this story before and it's a good one.  Ammon was a country on the east side of the Jordan River.  Not a particularly powerful country, but one friendly to Israel.  Ammon was not occupying a part of the promised land and David was on good terms with their leaders.  This chapter opens with king Nahash of the Ammonites being ill and died, leaving his son Hanun to succeed him as king.  When David heard of the death of Nahash, he sent an envoy to pay their respects.  But the new king Hanun considered the Israelite
envoy as a play of aggression.  Hanun wanted to send David a message he would not soon forget.  He captured all of the members of the envoy, cut off their hair and beards, and cut their robes so short that their bare buttocks would show.  This was the ultimate in humiliation.  {Hanun was not wise like his father Nahash.  Surely he had no idea who he was dealing with.}  Evidently Hanun's advisors were able to make him understand that David's army was far superior to that of the Ammonites.  They also made Hanun understand that Israel would not allow the act of humiliation to go unpunished.  So Hanun hired the Arameans to assist him.  The remainder of this chapter tells of David's great victory over the Ammonites and
the Arameans.  Noteworthy is the fact that David did not lead his army in his attack of the Ammonites.  He entrusted the battle to his commander Joab.

Chapter 20  -  More problems with the Philistines

Chater 20 finishes the account of the punishment for the Ammonites, then in verse 4 tells in more detail the problems with the Philistines when David took back the city of Gath.  The Philistines always had fierce and huge soldiers that Israel had to contend with.  Remember David's first encounter with the Philistines was with Goliath when David was just a young boy.  In verse 5 it speaks of Goliath's brother Lahmi.  But in verse 6 it moves to the battle for Gath.  It speaks of a particular Philistine who was extremely large.  He had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot.  This Philistine giant taunted Israel, much like Goliath did decades earlier.  This time it was David's nephew Jonathan who revenged the name of Israel and killed him.  All of these giant Philistines were descendants of the Philistine Rapha.  Verse 8 tells us that  the army of Israel killed all of these descendants.

Next Post  -  The Census

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