Monday, August 19, 2013

CLXVI - I Chronicles 27-29 - David's Final Days

We have been studying David's activity after his military campaigns which gave Israel a period of peace and rest.  If you allow your mind to follow those years you will realize the turmoil and fear that gripped all of Israel's citizens, as there was constant death caused by war from Canaanite clans within the Promised Land, plus invasions from foreign countries.  David proceeded to set up a government that could serve as a model for every country from that day forward.  Bear in mind there were no government structures that existed at this time, with the possible exception of Egypt, but David's model is far superior.  As we'll see in this post, he also set up the perfect military draft system:  Super strong, but fair to all able-bodied men in Israel who wanted to raise a family as well as serve his country.

Chapter 27:1-24

David's army consisted of 288,000 men, all age 24 or older.  The very first verse in this chapter explains his military draft and service policy.  There were twelve months of the year and twelve tribes of Israel.  Each tribe had a group of 24,000 active duty soldiers.  A different group of soldiers served the king each month.  To lead the group, there were officers over 1000 men. Then there were officers over 100 men.  (The Roman Empire centuries later had a very similar military hierarchy)   Also, family leaders and the king’s officials had some control over the army.  The king always had 24 000 men ready for war. There was always a group ready to guard the king. If an enemy attacked, the king could call all 12 groups of soldiers to fight. This would be the whole army of 288 000 men.  The men served in the army for one month in the year. During the rest of the year, they lived and worked as normal citizens.  During these eleven month, older soldiers could be replaced by those men having turned 24 years of age.  But each tribe was obligated to have 24,000 trained, ready to serve soldiers at all times.  {To me, this system is flawless.  Much superior to anything that exists today, and I include an all-volunteer military.}

While we are at this point, I want to list the Jewish months as listed in this passage:

1st -  Nisan (often called Abib)
2nd -  Iyar (often called Zif)
3rd -  Sivan
4th -  Tammuz
5th -  Ab
6th -  Elul
7th -  Tishri
8th -  Marcheshvan
9th -  Chisleu
10th - Tebeth
11th - Chebat
12th - Adar

Verses 16-22 contains a list of the leaders of the tribes at the time when David took the census.  The tribes of Gad and Asher are not included in this list, and I'm not certain why.  There are many possibilities, but I don't think it is serious enough for a lot of comment.  Verses 23-24 comment a bit further on the census.  The remainder of this chapter lists some more of David's officials, some of which you might recognize.

Chapter 28 - 29:20

I believe all of this as written in the last eight chapters of I Chronicles, was done in the last year of David's life.  David was old and full of days and he knew his time was getting short.  In the first verse of this chapter, David gathered together what one would consider the entire nation of Israel:  All leaders of tribes; clans; military; all Levites with priestly duties; council members from each tribe; etc.  There was the air of finality to this.  David wanted to have a "last word" as their king.  But notice the main subject:  The Temple.  The subject of the Temple consumed 90% of his entire speech.  This was soooo important to David, and he was sad that he was not permitted to build it, but he understood.  He repeated in verse 2 that he "had it on his heart to build .........".  And he shared what God had told him that "his hands had shed too much blood", therefore his son Solomon was the Lord's choice to build the Temple.  In verse 8 David addressed his son in the presence of Israel.  He continues and gives good advice to his son Solomon.  Solomon needed to hear all of these words David had for him.  Note the following passage in verses 11-19:  God actually gave David the plans for the building of the Temple and beyond.  The detail God gave him was tremendous.  {God's
instructions were always extremely detailed, ie Noah's Ark; the Ark of the Covenant; the Mosaic Law; invasion of Jericho, just to name a few.}   Verse 19 reconfirms that the Lord showed to David the plan of the Temple.  David did not design any part of it. God gave him all the details and David wrote them down.  In vss 11--> David presented the plans God gave him to Solomon.  He starting with the portico, then all of the structures to follow,  All of these plans made up the Temple and all of its support buildings, the royal palace which would include housing for the queen and all of the king's concubines, all government  administration buildings, and all buildings necessary to store supplies and provender for the Temple and the king.  In verses 20-21 were David's final words of advice for Solomon.  He told him to "be strong and of good courage".  {God gave this advice to Joshua a number of times.}  David encouraged Solomon that the  Lord would not fail him, but he must do his part and work hard to complete the project.

Chapter 29:1-9 - Gifts for the Temple

 Verses 1-5 tell us that David was worried because Solomon was young and did not have the experience necessary for the task ahead of him.  David had done all that he could to prepare for the work. Now he was appealing to the people to support Solomon.  He goes on to list some of the many things that he had provided for the project.  David's listing of his gifts to the Temple led the leaders and officers who were present to commit not only to help Solomon, but also contribute gifts for the building of the Temple.  Note in verse nine that the people "rejoiced" in all of the giving toward the Lord's Temple.

Verses 10-20  -  Prayer of Thnaksgiving

This prayer in vss 10-13 is vintage David.  Take a moment to read it.  He cannot thank God enough for bestowing blessings upon blessings on David and Israel.  Then, as is also very David, he expresses his humility, amazed that God chose him to be the recipient of so much.  Then in verse 20 he gives the whole  assembly permission to burst out into praise, as they bowed and lay prostrate before the Lord.

Verses 21-25  -  Solomon Pronounced King of Israel

During this assembly, many sacrifices were made.  The atmosphere was festive to say the least.  Nearing the end of this, while all the elders and leaders were together in Jerusalem, they officially acknowledged Solomon as the king of Israel.  He would not take the throne until his father's death, but now while he was still alive, David would know that his wishes will be honored, and Solomon would succeed him as king.  Very few kings have had such luxury.

Verses 26-30  -  David's Death

David's life was full, from the time he was a small boy up to the time of his death.  David reigned as king for 40 years.  Seven years as the king of Judah, and 33 years as king of all Israel.  The Scripture tells us that all of David's activities were recorded by Samuel, Gad, and Nathan.  We do not yet have the scrolls recorded by Gad and Nathan, but we do have I & II Samuel and I Chronicles that give us generous insight to this wonderful man that holds a special place in the History of civilization.

Next Post  -  The Second Book of Chronicles

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