In Chapter 1, verse 10, mention is made that Nimrod “began to be mighty upon the earth,” And in verse 19, we are told that one of the sons of Eber, Peleg by name, was so named “because in his days the earth was divided.” Then, from verse 43 through the remainder of the chapter we are given the names of the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before there were any kings in Israel.
This chapter gives the genealogy of some of the descendants of Israel (or Jacob) the son of Isaac, who was the son the LORD chose as heir of Abraham. Very little is given concerning any important deeds any of them may have done. Only their lineage is given, and that is sometimes a little hard to follow.
This chapter starts with David as he dwelt in Hebron, and is completely taken up with the listing of some of his descendants, with no account of any of their achievements.
This chapter gives a list of some of the descendants of Judah in the first 23 verses. The remainder of the chapter is devoted to the descendants of Simeon. One interesting segment is found in verses 9 and 10. “And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bare him with sorrow.’ And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!’ And God granted him that which he requested.” Surely this seems a worthwhile prayer for all of us.
From verse 39 through the remainder of this chapter we find a record of the activity of some of the descendants of Simeon.
(Verses 39 through 41) And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks, And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was quiet, and peaceable; for they of Ham had dwelt there of old. And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the habitations that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their rooms: because there was pasture there for their flocks. And some of them, even the sons of Simeon, five hundred men, went to mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi. And they smote the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.
This is a somewhat isolated event. The fact that it took place in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, identifies these descendants of Simeon as some that, probably, escaped the captivity when the king of Assyria was taking all Israel captive to move them to another land. These are said to have “dwelt there unto this day.”
(Verses 1 through 3) Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:) the sons, I say, of Reuben the firstborn of Israel were, Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
This does away with any confusion that might accrue from the history of the descendants of Israel. Although, because of Reuben’s sin in committing adultery with his father’s wife caused the birthright to be taken from him, and given to Joseph; and because that from the tribe of Judah came the chief ruler, David, (and the supreme ruler, Christ Jesus) the lineage is still counted by Reuben as the firstborn.
(Verses 4 through 10) The sons of Joel; Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son, Micah his son, Reaia his son, Baal his son, Beerah his son, whom Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria carried away captive: he was prince of the Reubenites. And his brethren by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned, were the chief, Jeiel, and Zechariah, and Bela the son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel, who dwelt in Aroer, even unto Nebo and Baal-meon: And eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates: because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead. And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, who fell into their hand: and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead.
This takes up a segment of the descendants of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, and tells where they dwelt, but beyond that it seems to add nothing of any consequence.
Verses 11 through 17 give a listing of the children of Gad, and tell where they dwelt.
Verses 18 through 22 tell of “the sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh.” Among them there were four hundred forty thousand, seven hundred, and threescore that were valiant men trained in war. There may be a little confusion concerning this, in that in verse 17, it is said that “all these were reckoned by genealogies in the days of Jotham king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel.” Yet the wars of which it speaks in verse 19 through 22, seem to have been in the days when they were originally fighting the heathen from whom they took the land when they first came into the area. And the last statement of verse 22 says, “And they dwelt in their steads until the captivity.” Verses 23 and 24 tell us in what part of the country the half tribe of Manasseh lived, and give the names of some of the heads of their families.
(Verses 25 and 26) And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a-whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them. And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.
This gives the summation of the cause of the captivity of Israel by the kings of Assyria. It seems that Tiglath-pileser and Tilgath-pilneser are only two different ways of spelling the same words, and refer to the same man.
This chapter is entirely given to the listing of the descendants of Levi and the cities which were given to them in the dividing up of the land of Canaan when the children of Israel entered thereon. All of this has been covered in earlier writings, and seems to be of little value in any study other than the genealogy of Israel.
The first five verses of this chapter give a listing and the number of the children of Issachar, then the next seven tell us about the Benjamites, while verses 13 through 19 give the descendants of Naphtali. Then in verses 20 through 29 we are told the names of the families of the tribe of Joseph (Ephraim) and where they lived. The remainder of the chapter is taken up by the names and locations of the tribe of Asher, closing with the number of them who “were apt to the war and to battle.” There were of them twenty-six thousand men.
This entire chapter is primarily a listing of the names of the descendants of Benjamin, the youngest son of Israel.
The greater part of this chapter is given to the listing of various ones of the Israelites, with little, or nothing, said about what they may have accomplished, and the listing of the Levites, in particular, together with what was the office of each group. Some of the Levites were appointed porters in the temple, and others were singers, etc. If one is interested in setting up the order of the law service in the temple, this would prove interesting. But from the viewpoint of a theological discussion, it seems to have little value to us of the present day.
(Verses 1 through 7) Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa. And the Philistines followed hard after Saul, and after his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, the sons of Saul. And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him, and he was wounded of the archers. Then said Saul to his armour-bearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and abuse me. But his armour-bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. So Saul took a sword, and fell upon it. And when his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on the sword, and died. So Saul died, and his three sons, and all his house died together. And when all the men of Israel that were in the valley saw that they fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, then they forsook their cities, and fled: and the Philistines came and dwelt in them.
This is almost the same wording of the beginning of ! Samuel, Chapter 31. This all took place while David was in exile because of Saul’s attempts to kill him. But there was a war going on between the army of Saul and the Philistines. And the Israelites were simply overwhelmed by the Philistines. Saul and his sons were all great warriors, but things had gone against them in this battle. Saul thought that he had a fatal wound; and rather than have the Philistines find him in this condition, and possibly torture him, he asked his armor-bearer to finish the job on him. But the armor-bearer was afraid to do such an act to a king. So Saul attempted suicide himself. There are two accounts of the last moments of Saul. In Chapter 31 of I Samuel the story is as here given, but in Chapter 1 of II Samuel, a young Amalekite is said to have confessed to David that Saul was still alive when he found him, and at Saul’s request, he killed him.
(Verses 8 through 10) And it came to pass on the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, that they found Saul and his sons fallen in mount Gilboa. And when they had stripped him, they took his head, and his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to carry tidings unto their idols, and to the people. And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.
It was very common in those days to go upon the battlefield after a battle, and rob the dead of whatever valuables they might have upon them. And it was also a fairly common practice to take the head of an enemy, and place it before their idol god, as a sacrifice in his honor.
(Verses 11 and 12) And when all Jabesh-gilead heard all that the Philistines had done to Saul, they arose, all the valiant men, and took away the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, and brought them to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the oak of Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
The valiant men of Jabesh-gilead went out and rescued the bodies of Saul and his sons, and brought them back to Jabesh, and buried their bones under the oak of Jabesh, and held a seven day fast, in mourning for them.
(Verses 13 and 14) So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it; and inquired not of the LORD: therefore He slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.
Not only does this tell us that Saul was slain by the LORD, (he died by his own sword, but the whole matter was brought to pass by the LORD,) but it also tells us that he was slain for his sins; and it names the particular sin that was the cause of the penalty. After the death of Saul, the LORD gave the kingdom to David the son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite.
(Verses 1 through 3) Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. And moreover in time past, even when Saul was king, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD thy God said unto thee, Thou shalt feed My people Israel, and thou shalt be ruler over My people Israel. Therefore came all the elders of Israel to the king to Hebron; and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the LORD; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel.
Since Saul’s sons were killed in the same battle as was Saul, he had no heir to succeed to his throne. And since all Israel knew that formerly, even wile Saul was king, it was David who had led the people in battle, and also the LORD had declared that David would be ruler over Israel. So after the death of Saul, the people came together at Hebron, where David was, and anointed him king over Israel, as the LORD had spoken by Samuel several years before.
(Verses 4 through 9) And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; where the Jebusites were the inhabitants of the land. And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David. And David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be my chief captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went first up, and was chief. And David dwelt in the castle; therefore they call it the city of David. And he built the city round about, even from Millo round about: and Joab repaired the rest of the city. So David waxed greater and greater: for the LORD of hosts was with him.
The first five chapters of II Samuel give a much more detailed picture of events from the death of Saul to the battle against Jerusalem. There were many more events that took place during this time than one would think from what is here said. There was war over who would be finally acknowledged as king over Israel. All of this is more clearly detailed in the selection mentioned above. However David was established king over Israel while at Hebron; and after the conquest of Jerusalem, he moved to Jerusalem, or, more accurately to Zion, which he called “the city of David.” And, indeed, the whole of Jerusalem is often referred to by that name.
(Verses 10 through 19) These also are the chief of the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, and with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel. And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had: Jashobeam, an Hachmonite, the chief of the captains: he lifted up his spear against three hundred slain by him at one time. And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties. He was with David at Pasdamim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where was a parcel of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines. And they set themselves in the midst of that parcel, and delivered it, and slew the Philistines, and the LORD saved them by a great deliverance. Now three of the thirty captains went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the host of the Philistines encamped in the valley of Rephaim. And David was with them in the hold, and the Philistines’ garrison was then at Beth-lehem. And David longed and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water that is in the well of Beth-lehem, that is at the gate. And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Beth-lehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: but David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD, and said, My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy? for with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it. Therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mightiest.
These are a few of the mighty warriors whom David had in his army, and as captains therein. They are listed, beginning with the mightiest of all, and going downward in power as we continue the list. However, to accomplish the deeds which they did, the LORD must have given them superhuman power in times of crisis.
The list of the mighty continues to the end of the chapter. Through verse 25 are listed, not only the names, but also the mighty deeds that brought special fame to the men. From that point, only the names are given, all the way to the end of the chapter.
Chapter 12 takes up some items that seem to have been passed over in the account given in Chapter 11 concerning David’s rise to power. It goes back to the situation before the death of Saul, when David was in exile because of Saul’s efforts to kill him. Verses 1 through 13 give the names, and the qualifications of some who came to David, even from the tribes of Benjamin and Gad. Saul was himself of the tribe of Benjamin; but that did not keep many Benjamites from coming to David, instead of supporting Saul.
(Verses 14 through 22) These were of the sons of Gad, captains of the host: one of the least was over a hundred, and the greatest over a thousand. These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflown all his banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east and toward the west. And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David. And David went out to meet them, and answered and said, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it. Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace be unto thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captains of the band. And there fell some of Manasseh to David, when he came with the Philistines against Saul to battle: but they helped them not: for the lords of the Philistines upon advisement sent him away, saying, He will fall to his master Saul to the jeopardy of our heads. As he went to Ziklag, there fell to him of Manasseh, Adnah, and Jozabad, and Jediael, and Michael, and Jozabad, and Elihu, and Zilthai, captains of the thousands that were of Manasseh. And they helped David against the band of rovers: for they were all mighty men of valour, and were captains of the host. For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God.
Here we see how these Israelites, and mighty men of war came to David when he was hiding out from Saul. Many of them had been captains of the hosts of Saul, and were well acquainted with waging war. They were men from the tribes of Gad, Manasseh, Judah and even Saul’s own native tribe, Benjamin. So David’s army steadily increased. Finally it became a great army.
The remainder of this chapter is the list of the numbers who came to David from all the tribes of Israel , to establish him as king over all Israel. The number who came from each tribe is given; and the total seems to be about 340,100 men. For any nation of that day, this seems an immense army. It is no wonder the recorder says, “it was a great host, like the host of God”. When these were gathered together, there was a three-day time of great rejoicing, “for there was joy in Israel.”
(Verses 1 through 8) And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the LORD our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites, which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us. And let us bring again the ark of God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul. And all the congregation said that they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people. And David gathered all Israel together, from Sihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hemath, to bring the ark of God from Kirjath-jearim. And David went up, and all Israel to Baalah, that is, Kirjath-jearim, which belongeth to Judah, to bring up thence the ark of God the LORD, that dwelleth between the cherubims, Whose name is called on it. And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart. And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets.
When the LORD gave Moses instructions for making the ark, He also gave him instructions for moving it from place to place. It was provided with rings, through which to put special bars that were also specified. The bars were to be carried on the shoulders of four of the Levites. The first record we have of its being carried in any other manner is recorded in I Samuel 6:7-12. The Philistines made a new cart, and placed it thereon to send it back to the Israelites. Many say the use of this Philistine idea at this time was the reason for the death of Uzza; but nothing of that sort is ever mentioned in the scriptures. We shall see in the next text, what the scriptures say is the reason for his death.
(Verses 9 through 14) And when they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and He smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. And David was displeased because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perez-uzza to this day. And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark home to me? So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And it remained with the family of Obed-edom in his house for three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that he had.
Notice that, the scripture says, “And the anger of the LORD was kindled against uzza, and He smote him , because he had put his hand to the ark.” Obviously the reason for his being struck was that he reached forth his hand, and touched the ark. Nothing is said about the cause being that they were hauling the ark on a cart. Of course, it can be said that if it had been being carried in the manner ordered by the LORD when He had Moses build it, there would have been no oxen to stumble, and therefore no reason for uzza to reach out his hand to steady the ark. But men have also been known to stumble when carrying very fragile things. Without question, the ark was not being transported in the prescribed manner, and we are making no effort to justify that. But, on the other hand, we should never ascribe a different cause to an event from that that is plainly stated in the word of the LORD. When Uzza was killed, David became afraid of the LORD, and decided that he did not want the ark carried to his place. So it was left in the house of Obed-edom, where it brought the blessing of God upon the family and all that they had.
(Verses 1 through 7) Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and timber of cedars, with masons and carpenters, to build him an house. And David perceived that the LORD had confirmed him king over Israel, for his kingdom was lifted up on high, because of his people Israel. And David took more wives at Jerusalem: and David begat more sons and daughters. Now these are the names of his children which he had in Jerusalem; Shammua, and Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon, and Ibhar, and Elishua, and Elpalet, and Nogah, and Nepheg, and Japhia, and Elishama, and Beeliada, and Eliphalet.
King Hiram of Tyre sent messengers with congratulations to David, and he also sent him a present, the materials and the workmen to build him a house. This was, no doubt, part of what made David feel that the LORD had confirmed him as king over Israel. And, apparently, because of his elevated status, he took more wives, and set forth to see how large a family he could have born to him. This is not said facetiously, but in his day there was great emphasis placed upon having as large a family as possible. And the wealthier a man was, the larger family he wanted. Several of his children are listed here. Most of them will be given little attention in the record. However, Solomon will receive much attention; because he it was whom David made king a little while before his own death.
(Verses 8 through 13) And when the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David. And David heard of it, and went out against them. And the Philistines came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David inquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt Thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand. So they came up to Baal-perazim, and David smote them there. Then David said, God hath broken in upon mine enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters: therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim. And when they had left their gods there, David gave a commandment, and they were burned with fire. And the Philistines yet again spread themselves abroad in the valley.
Just as soon as the Philistines knew that David was confirmed as king of Israel, they thought they had to test him, and see just how far they could go with him. So they went up and took over the whole valley of Rephaim. So David went out against them, and the LORD delivered them into his hand, and he overcame them. But the Philistines were not satisfied with this, and thought they had to make another effort. So again they came up, and spread themselves over the valley.
(Verses 14 through 17) Therefore David inquired again of God; and God said unto him, Go not up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt go out to battle; for God is gone forth before thee to smite the host of the Philistines. David therefore did as God commanded him: and they smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer. And the fame of David went out into all the lands; and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations.
In this second battle the LORD not only told David that He would deliver the Philistines into his hand, but He even told him just how to order the battle. When David followed His command He gave David’s army such a victory that the fear of him was upon all the nations around Israel.
(Verses 1 through 3) And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto Him for ever. And David gathered all Israel together at Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD unto his place, which he had prepared for it.
After the ark of God had remained at the house of Obed-edom for three months, David decided that it was time to bring it on up to the city of David, where he had prepared for it a place. He decided that, since the LORD had made choice of the Levites to carry the ark, no one else should even attempt to do so. So he gathered all Israel together again to bring the ark up to the place he had prepared for it.
(Verses 4 through 13) And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites: of the sons of Kohath, Uriel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twenty: of the sons of Merari; Asaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred and twenty: of the sons of Gershom; Joel the chief, and his brethren an hundred and thirty: of the sons of Elizaphan; Shemaiah the chief, and his brethren two hundred: and the sons of Hebron; Eliel the chief, and his brethren fourscore: of the sons of Uzziel; Amminadab the chief, and his brethren an hundred and twelve. And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, and Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, and he said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not after the due order.
David called together all the priests and the Levites. We are given the names of those who were considered the chief men of each family, together with the number of those in that family. Then David called for two of the priests, and six of the chiefs of the Levites, and charged them to sanctify themselves and their brethren that they might bring up the Ark from the house of Obed-edom to the place he had prepared for it. And he thought that the reason for Uzza’s death was that they had not had the Levites carry the ark instead of putting it on the cart to transport it. And, no doubt, that may have been a major underlying cause of it; but at the time of the incident, the recorder said that it was brought about by Uzza’s reaching out, and laying his hand upon the ark.
(Verses 14 through 18) So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. And the children of Israel bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD. And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy. So the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel; and of his brethren, Asaph the son of Berechiah, and the sons of Merari their brethren, Ethan the son of Kushaiah; and with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, the porters.
The priests and Levites sanctified themselves so that they might minister in the project of moving the ark of the LORD up to the place David had prepared for it, and David appointed those who would be overseers of the various duties of this work. Then the overseers appointed those under them to their respective offices. The names of some of these are given.
(Verses 19 through 23) So the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, were appointed to sound with cymbals of brass; and Zechariah, and Aziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, and Eliab, and Maaseiah, and Benaiah, with psalteries on Alamoth; and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obed-edom, and Jeiel, and Azaziah, with harps on the Sheminith to excel. And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites was for song: he instructed about song, because he was skilful. And Berechiah and Elkanah were doorkeepers for the ark. And Shebaniah, and Jehoshaphat, and Nethaneel, and Amasai, and Zechariah, and Benaiah, and Eliezer, the priests did blow with the trumpets before the ark of God: and Obed-edom and Jehiah were doorkeepers for the ark.
This concludes the assignments of the various ones who were in the procession that brought the ark of the LORD up from the house of Obed-edom to the place David had prepared for it in the city of David..
(Verses 25 through 29) So David and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the house of Obed-edom with joy. And it came to pass, when the LORD helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams. And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen. Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps. And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.
Thus, with great joy, both David and all the people, brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD up from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David. There was much music, singing, and dancing, as they moved along with this procession. David had laid aside his royal robes, and was dressed in a robe of fine linen, and he was also wearing a linen ephod. As they moved along, David engaged with the people in playing and dancing. As his wife Michal looked out from a window and saw him so doing, she despised him in her heart. She did not think that he was behaving with the dignity she thought proper for a king.
(Verses 1 through 6) So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God. And when David had made an end of offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD. And he dealt to every one of Israel, both man and woman, to every one a loaf of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. And he appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record, and to thank and praise the LORD God of Israel: Asaph the chief, and next to him Zechariah, Jeiel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Mattithiah, and Eliab, and Benaiah, and Obed-edom: and Jeiel with psalteries and with harps; but Asaph made a sound with cymbals; Benaiah also and Jahaziel the priests with trumpets continually before the ark of the covenant of God.
In connection with this, and the preceding chapter, one should also read Chapter 6 of II Samuel, which gives a little more detail of this incident. After the ark of the LORD was settled in the place David had prepared for it, David blessed the whole congregation in the name of the LORD, gave to each the gift here mentioned, thus bringing this matter to completion. Then David also appointed special duties to others among the priests and Levites.
(Verses 7 through 14) Then on that day David delivered first this psalm to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren. Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon His name, make known His deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him, talk ye of all His wondrous works. Glory ye in His holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek ye the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually. Remember His marvelous works that He hath done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth: O ye seed of Israel His servant, ye children of Jacob, His chosen ones. He is the LORD our God; His judgments are in all the earth.
This psalm is one that contains many things that appear in other psalms of David. In fact, most of what is found in verses 8 through 22 is found in Psalm 105. David calls upon those he addresses to give thanks to the LORD, call upon Him, and make known His works among His people. He exhorts us to glory in His holy name, and to seek His strength and His face continually. We are to remember His marvelous works and the judgments He has declared. He is the LORD our God, and His judgments are not just in some little hidden away place, but in all the earth.
(Verses 15 through 22) Be ye mindful always of His covenant; the word which He commanded to a thousand generations; even of the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac; and hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; when ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it. And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, He reproved kings for their sakes, saying, Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.
That great covenant which the LORD made between Himself and Abraham and his seed after him, is the foundation of all our hopes today, just as it was of all the hopes of Israel in David’s day. The Apostle Paul makes that very clear when he insists that the promise was not “unto seeds” as unto many, but “seed” as unto one, and that One was none other than our Lord Jesus. Notice that here David makes no reference to the covenant which the LORD made with Israel at Sinai, as recorded in Exodus 19:5-9. His reference is to that made with Abraham, and to the oath He swore to Isaac. Notice how that, in Genesis 12, and Genesis 26, the LORD would not let kings hurt His prophets. Even when the nation of Israel was few, even a single family, and going from one kingdom to another, the LORD took care of them, and reminded them of His promise that He would give them the land of Canaan. He it is Who has protected them all the way.
(Verses 23 through 27) Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day His salvation. Declare His glory among the heathen; His marvelous works among all nations. For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: He also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. Glory and honour are in His presence; strength and gladness are in His place.
David continues exhorting all the earth to sing unto the LORD and show forth His salvation from day to day. It is not enough to declare His mighty works to Israel. His glory and His marvelous works are to be declared among all nations. He is to be greatly praised and feared above all gods. He alone is real, and He alone made the heavens; they are nothing but idols. All glory and honor are His, and strength and gladness are to be found with Him alone.
(Verses 28 through 36) Give unto the LORD, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name: bring an offering, come before Him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Fear before Him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth. Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein. Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because He cometh to judge the earth. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever. And say ye, Save us O God of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to Thy holy name, and glory in Thy praise. Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD.
This concludes David’s psalm. As is readily seen the entire psalm is praise to the great God of Heaven and earth. And it should be noticed that David, throughout this psalm calls upon not just Israel, but all the earth, to praise and glorify the LORD. And he calls upon all to say, “Save us, O God of our salvation , and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen. He is the God of our salvation as much as He is the God of the salvation of Israel. As has been pointed out, He is the God of all the earth. So, let us praise Him for ever and ever. At the end of this psalm, all the people said, “Amen.”
(Verses 37 through 43) So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the LORD continually, as every day’s work required: and Obed-edom with their brethren, threescore and eight; Obed-edom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters: and Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the LORD in the high place that was at Gibeon, to offer burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the LORD, which He commanded Israel; and with Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, who were expressed by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because His mercy endureth for ever; and with them Heman and Jeduthun with trumpets and cymbals for those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments of God. And the sons of Jeduthun were porters. And all the people departed every man to his house: and David returned to bless his house.
With these appointments, the priests and the Levites were all assigned their duties, which would be their continual employment in the service of the LORD. Only the overseers of these workmen are given by name. For as we read everything from verse 1 through verse 38, it is the record of the moving of the ark from the house of Obed-edom the Gittite up to Zion the city of David. And we might think that all the sanctuary of the LORD is being, or has been, moved up to Jerusalem. But verses 37 through 39 tell us: “So he left there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day’s work required: and Obed-edom with their brethren threescore and eight; Obed-edom also the son of Jeduthun and Hosah to be porters: and Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the LORD in the high place that was at Gibeon. Thus we see that, although the ark is being moved, the tabernacle of the LORD, together with its altars have been left at Gibeon. After this was all done, the people departed to their houses, and David also went to his own house.
(Verses 1 and 2) Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD remaineth under curtains. Then Nathan said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee.
After the ark of the covenant of the LORD had been brought up, and installed where David had prepared for it, David was sitting in his house, evidently accompanied by Nathan the prophet. And David mentioned to Nathan the fact that he was dwelling in a fine house, even one made of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD still remained enclosed with curtains. Evidently David did not think this was showing the proper respect for the LORD. Nathan, probably rejoicing that David was concerned about this matter, and feeling that the LORD’S blessing would rest upon anyone who wanted to so honor Him as to build Him a special house, told David to go ahead, and do whatever was in his heart concerning this matter; and he declared that the LORD was with him in the matter. As we shall see, this is one of those times when one should not be encouraged to do a thing that might appear to be honoring to the LORD, without first consulting Him about it.
(Verses 3 through 10) And it came to pass the same night, that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, Go and tell David My servant, Thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not build Me an house to dwell in: for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another. Wheresoever I have walked with Israel, spake I a word to any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people, saying, Why have ye not built Me a house of cedars? Now therefore thus shalt thou say unto My servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be ruler over My people Israel: and I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth. Also I will ordain a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more, as at the beginning. And since the time that I have commanded judges to be over My people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house.
As we here see, Nathan spoke unadvisedly to David concerning his purpose to build a house for the LORD. The LORD was not angered by this, but He was not ready for a house to be built for Him; and neither did he purpose that David be the one to build the house when He was ready for it to be built. The LORD has both a time and a purpose concerning all things that He will have done. He never works on the spur of the moment. He reminded Nathan that He had never requested anyone to build Him a house, but had dwelt in a tent throughout all the wanderings of Israel. He also promised that He would subdue all David’s enemies, and build him a house.
(Verses 11 through 15) And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. And he shall build Me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be My son: and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee. But I will settle him in Mine house and in My kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore. According to all these words, and according to this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
On the surface, this seems to be only the confirmation of the natural kingdom of Israel to Solomon the son of David. But there are things said here that would not apply if that were its principal focus. It is true that the LORD did establish the kingdom to Solomon, that Solomon built the great temple unto the LORD, and that the kings of Judah continued of the lineage of David through Zedekiah, who was carried away to Babylon in the captivity. But that succession was then broken; and there is no king in Judah today. So the promise does not mean a continued line of kings from the lineage of David in that manner. But, since Jesus the Christ is the son of (descendant of) David, and is sometimes spoken of as David, and he will, at the re-gathering of Israel, be the king in Jerusalem, as well as being the High Priest, the King, and Saviour, of His people throughout the world forever, as spiritually He is even today, it is a promise of the establishing of this same kingdom. This “Seed of David” shall be King for evermore. It is He Who has built The House of the LORD, in all of its fullness. So Nathan passed all this information on to David.
(Verses 16 through 22) And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house , that Thou hast brought me hitherto? And yet this was a small thing in Thine eyes, O God; for Thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O LORD God. What can David speak more to Thee for the honour of Thy servant? for Thou knowest Thy servant. O LORD, for Thy servant’s sake, and according to Thine own heart, hast Thou done all this greatness in making known all these great things. O LORD, there is none like Thee, neither is there any God beside Thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And what nation in the earth is like Thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be His own people, to make Thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before Thy people, whom Thou hast redeemed out of Egypt? For Thy people Israel didst Thou make Thine own people for ever; and Thou, LORD, becamest their God.
When David heard the word from Nathan, he went immediately, and sat before the LORD to praise Him for His wonderful blessings to him and to Israel. He declares that there is not only no other God like the LORD, but also there just is no God beside Him. There has never been a case even heard of in which a people has been brought out by the power of their god, from bondage to another nation, and led to another country already inhabited by nations greater than they, given the land of these nations, and made to possess that land, and grow into such a nation as Israel was at this time. And all this by no other power than by that of their GOD.
(Verses 23 through 27) Therefore now, LORD, let the thing that Thou hast spoken concerning Thy servant and concerning his house be established for ever, and do as Thou hast said. Let it even be established, that Thy name may be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel: and let the house of David Thy servant be established before Thee. For Thou, O my God, hast told Thy servant that Thou wilt build him an house: therefore Thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before Thee. And now, LORD, Thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto Thy servant:. Now therefore let it please Thee to bless the house of Thy servant, that it may be before Thee for ever: for Thou blessest, O LORD, and it shall be blessed for ever.
David continued his prayer unto the LORD. He prayed that the LORD would, indeed do as He had declared, and confessed his unworthiness of such blessings. He declared that what the LORD blesses is blessed for ever. And, indeed, this is the kind of blessing the LORD had promised.
(Verses 1 through 8) Now after this it came to pass, that David smote the Philistines, and subdued them, and took Gath and her towns out of the hand of the Philistines. And he smote Moab; and the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts. And David smote Hadarezer king of Zobah unto Hamath, as he went to establish his dominion by the river Euphrates, And David took from him a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen: David also hocked all the chariot horses, but reserved of them an hundred chariots. And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadarezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men. Then David put garrisons in Syria-damascus, and the Syrians became David’s servants, and brought gifts. Thus the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went. And David took the shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadarezer, and brought them to Jerusalem. Likewise from Tibbath, and from Chun, cities of Hadarezer, brought David very much brass, wherewith Solomon made the brasen sea, and the pillars, and the vessels of brass.
We are told that David subdued the Philistines and the Moabites, but the report has little detail in it. But when it begins to speak of the overthrow of Hadarezer, and the Syrians, we get somewhat more information. Hadarezer was king of Zobah, and when he was fighting against David and his troops, the Syrians joined in to help him. But the LORD blessed Israel, and they were victorious over both of these enemies, And from, them Israel took much spoil, including some golden shields carried by Hadarezer’s servants. And from two cities of Hadarezer David received much brass which Solomon later used in making certain items for the temple.
(Verses 9 through 13) Now when Tou king of Hamath heard how David had smitten all the host of Hadarezer king of Zobah; he sent Hadoram his son to king David, to inquire of his welfare, and to congratulate him because he had fought against Hadarezer, and smitten him; (for Hadarezer had war with Tou;) and with him all manner of vessels of gold and silver and brass. Them also king David dedicated unto the LORD, with the silver and the gold that he brought from all the nations; from Edom, and from Moab, and from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines, and from Amalek. Moreover Abishai the son of Zeruiah slew of the Edomites in the valley of salt eighteen thousand. And he put garrisons in Edom; and all the Edomites became David’s servants. Thus the LORD preserved David whithersoever he went.
David’s victory over Hadarezer gained him another friend, Tou king of Hamath, as well as a very nice gift from Tou. So David put this present with all the spoils of war that were of gold, silver, and brass, into safe-keeping by dedicating all of it to the LORD. He had great success in his wars against his enemies. The LORD was his protection wherever he went, and none of his enemies could stand against him.
(Verses 14 through 17) So David reigned over all Israel, and executed judgment and justice among all his people. And Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the host; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud, recorder. And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Abimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests; and Shavsha was scribe; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and the sons of David were chief about the king.
This is simply a declaration that David reigned with judgment and justice to all his people. Then we are given the names of a few more of his officers. It seems that the Cherethites and the Pelethites must have been his execution squad, since the word “Cherethite” means “exterminator.”
(Verses 1 through 5) Now it came to pass after this, that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon died, and his son reigned in his stead. And David said, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, because his father shewed kindness to me. And David sent messengers to comfort him concerning his father. So the servants of David came into the land of the children of Ammon to Hanun, to comfort him. But the princes of the children of Ammon said to Hanun, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? are not his servants come for to search, and to overthrow, and to spy out the land? Wherefore Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved them, and cut off their garments in the midst hard by their buttocks, and sent them away. Then there went certain, and told David how the men were served. And he sent to meet them: for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and return.
It is not known whether or not David and Nahash king of the children of Ammon were really friends. But Nahash had at some time shown kindness to David. So when Nahash died, David sent messengers of condolence to Hanun the son of Nahash. But upon the advice of his counselors, Hanun badly mistreated the messengers David had sent. The account given here is slightly different from that given in II Samuel 10:4. The account given here is clear enough without repeating it. However the account given in II Samuel says that they only cut off half the beard of each of these messengers instead of giving them a full shave, as seems to be the meaning in this account. Otherwise the two records are the same. When David heard of the ill treatment given these men, he ordered them to remain at Jericho until their beards had grown out before returning home.
(Verses 6 through 9) And when the children of Ammon saw that they had made themselves odious to David, Hanun and the children of Ammon sent a thousand talents of silver to hire them chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, and out of Syria-maachah, and out of Zobah. So they hired thirty and two thousand chariots and the king of Maachah and his people; who came and pitched before Medeba. And the children of Ammon gathered themselves together from their cities, and came to battle. And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men. And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array before the gate of the city: and the kings that were come were by themselves in the field.
As soon as Hanun and his people took stock of what they had done, and realized that it had greatly angered David, they raised a thousand talents of silver, and began hiring chariots and horsemen from some of the other countries around, to help them fight against Israel. So David sent Joab, and all the mighty men of his army to do battle with them.
(Verses 10 through 15) Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose out of all the choice of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians. And the rest of the people he delivered unto the hand of Abishai his brother, and they set themselves in array against the children of Ammon. And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will help thee. Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in His sight. So Joab and the people that were with him drew nigh before the Syrians unto battle; and they fled before him. And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, they likewise fled before Abishai his brother, and entered into the city. Then Joab came to Jerusalem.
In spite of all the wealth Hanun raised and spent to hire help in the battle, he got little for his money. The Syrians fled before Joab, and his own forces fled before Abishai. So that battle was soon over; and Joab went back to Jerusalem.
(Verses 16 through 19) And when the Syrians saw that they were put to the worse before Israel, they sent messengers, and drew forth the Syrians that were beyond the river; and Shophach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them. And it was told David; and he gathered all Israel, and passed over Jordan, and came upon them, and put the battle in array against them. So when David had put the battle in array against the Syrians, they fought with him. But the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen, and killed Shophach the captain of the host. And when the servants of Hadarezer saw that they were put to the worse before Israel. they made peace with David, and became his servants: neither would the Syrians help the children of Ammon any more.
The Syrians decided that they had to try once more to fight against Israel. So they gathered together all the Syrians they could, even those that were beyond the river. In this battle David was personally commanding Israel. And when the battle was begun the Syrians again fled from before Israel, losing seven thousand charioteers, and forty thousand footmen, as well as Shophach the captain of their host. After this battle, the Syrians made peace with David, became his servants, and would no more help the Ammonites.
(Verses 1 through 3) And it came to pass, that after the year was expired, at the time when kings go out to battle, Joab led forth the power of the army, and wasted the country of the children of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah, But David tarried at Jerusalem. And Joab smote Rabbah, and destroyed it. And David took the crown of their king from off his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it; and it was set upon David’s head: and he brought exceeding much spoil out of the city. And he brought out the people that were in it, and cut them with saws, and with harrows of iron, and with axes. Even so dealt David with all the cities of the children of Ammon. And David and all the people returned to Jerusalem.
This certainly is clearly enough recorded that none should misunderstand it. However it may be somewhat offensive to those who have a weak stomach concerning some of the horrors of war. War has never been a pleasant thing to contemplate. And that certainly applies to wars fought in the days here described, just as it does today. Not only so, but in many cases the LORD commanded Israel to commit genocide, which is today considered totally unacceptable to those who hold up the Geneva Convention as the arbiter of all the rules of warfare. But in the days of these activities, there were no rules recognized by man, except, “Destroy your enemy.”
(Verses 4 through 8) And it came to pass after this, that there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Sippai, that was of the children of the giant: and they were subdued. And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahani the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear’s staff was like a weaver’s beam. And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each hand, and six on each foot; and he was also the son of a giant. But when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David’s brother slew him . These were born unto the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.
Here we have the mention of three wars against the Philistines, all of which were so unimportant that no detail is given of any of them, except the mention of three of the Philistines who were killed, and the Israelite soldier, in each case, who killed them. Perhaps they were mentioned only because they were descendants of the giants. One of these Philistines was not even mentioned by name, but by a slight peculiarity he had: he had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot. Apparently these battles quieted the Philistines down for quite a while.
(Verses 1 through 4)) And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. and David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me., that I may know it. And Joab answered, The LORD make this people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem.
II Samuel 24:1 says, “And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah’,” while here we are told, “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” This may cause some to get into some great arguments concerning this matter. Solomon has said, “The LORD hath made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (Proverbs 16:4) So, while it may well be that Satan was the one who put the idea in David’s mind, it could also that it was the LORD’S manner of moving David to doing this. Joab objected to this, but inasmuch as the king’s word carried more weight than did his, he followed orders, to a certain extent.
(Verses 5 through 8) And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword. But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king’s word was abominable to Joab. And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He smote Israel. And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech Thee, do away the iniquity of Thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
As we mentioned above, Joab followed orders to a certain extent. However this task was so distasteful to him that he omitted the tribes of Levi and Benjamin. The LORD was also displeased with the numbering of the people. (Remember; do not try to judge the LORD by your rules of fairness. He can do whatsoever He will; and He is still righteous and holy. He created the world and its fullness. So it is His right to do as He will with it. See Romans 9: 19-23, and indeed the whole discussion from Romans 9:1 through Romans 11:36.) The LORD smote Israel because of this sin: and David was brought to repentance for it, and prayed that the LORD would take away the iniquity of it. Nevertheless, as we shall see, the LORD gave him another lesson to the effect that although He may forgive sin, He does not always remove the consequences of it.
(Verses 9 through 13) And the LORD spake unto Gad, David’s seer, saying, Go and tell David, saying, I offer thee three things: choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee. So Gad came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee either three years famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee: or else three days the sword of the LORD, even the pestilence in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now therefore advise thyself what word I shall bring to Him that sent me. And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are His mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man.
Notice should be taken that David made no choice of exactly which penalty should be laid upon him. There were three choices, they were famine, war, and pestilence. Since the hand of man is not in either famine or pestilence, David was willing to leave the choice of these in the hand of the LORD. The only choice he made was that the LORD deliver him from the hand of man. And thus he relied upon the mercy of the LORD, which he knew to be great, because he had often experienced it. So His choice was, “Let me not fall into the hand of man.” Even in his times of greatest trouble David still trusted in the mercy of the LORD. In His psalms, He often said, “His mercy endureth for ever,” and indeed it does
(Verses 14 through 17) So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and He repented Him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the LORD stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces. And David said unto God, Is it not that I commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let Thine hand, I pray Thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on Thy people, that they should be plagued.
This is essentially the same record as is found in II Samuel, Chapter 24, except that there the name of the man at whose threshingfloor the plague was stopped, was called, “Araunah,” which should cause no problem, since many men, even today, are called by two different names: but they are still the same man. When David and the elders of Israel saw the angel of the LORD, standing over Jerusalem, with his sword outstretched, They fell before him on their faces, and David confessed to the LORD that the sin was all his own, and he prayed that all punishment be taken off the people because the sin was his, and not theirs. He asked that all punishment for it be put upon him and his father’s house. From this we should receive a very important lesson. That lesson is, that to whatever degree we have authority over others, they will be affected by the choices we make. David committed the sin: but the punishment fell also upon his people, because he was their king.
(Verses 18 through 22) Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spake in the name of the LORD. And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with his face to the ground. Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it to me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people.
So the word of the LORD came to David by Gad the seer, that he should build an altar to the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan. And accordingly he approached Ornan to buy the place. Ornan had also seen the angel of the LORD as he was standing over Jerusalem. No doubt this was a time of great excitement to all who were present. When David approached the threshingfloor, Ornan went out to meet him, and greeted him according to the custom of the day. And David told Ornan that he wanted to buy the threshing floor in order that he might build an altar there to the LORD, that the plague might be permanently stopped.
(Verses 23 through 27) And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and He answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof.
Ornan offered to give his threshingfloor to David, and not it only, but also the oxen for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood wherewith to burn the offerings. But David declared that he would not receive it thus. He insisted that he would not take what belonged to another to offer unto the LORD, and neither would he offer any sacrifice that cost him nothing. So he bought all of this for six hundred shekels of silver, built the altar, and offered upon it burnt offerings and peace offerings. The LORD sent down fire from heaven upon the offering, showing thereby His approval of what David had done. He also commanded the angel to put away his sword, a sure sign that the pestilence was ended.
(Verses 28 through 30) At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. For the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place in Gibeon. But David could not go before it to inquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel of the LORD.
So, since David received a favorable answer from the LORD at this altar, he made it his regular place for offering his offerings because the tabernacle of the LORD was still at Gibeah, and because of the sword of the angel of the LORD he was afraid to go there.
(Verses 1 through 5) Then David said, This is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel. And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel, And he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God. And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight; also cedar trees in abundance: for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought much cedar wood to David. And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and glory throughout all countries. I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.
After having received the answer he did from God at the altar he had built in the threshingfloor of Ornan, David declared the threshingfloor, the house of God, and the altar he had built there, the altar of the burnt offering for Israel. Then he set to work providing the necessary materials for the building of the temple. He knew that he would not be permitted to build the temple, but he felt that he could supply the materials before hand and leave them for Solomon to assemble. His friends of Tyre and Zidon sent him much of the materials needed.
(Verses 6 through 11) Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the LORD God of Israel. And David said to Solomon, My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God: but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto My name because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in My sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who will be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an 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 for ever. Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as He hath said of thee.
After preparing materials for the building of the house of the LORD, David called his son Solomon, and charged him to build the house as the LORD had said that he would. He told him about his own desire to build the house, and how the LORD had denied him this privilege because of all the blood he had shed upon the earth. He had been plagued with fighting and wars all his life. But the LORD had even called Solomon by name, and declared that he would build the house of the LORD. So it was now time for this to began to be brought into reality. The material was already provided.
(Verses 12 through 16) Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God. Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfill the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not nor be dismayed. Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto. Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all manner of cunning men for every manner of work. Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee.
The first charge of this text is the one of the greatest importance of all. “Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God. Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfill the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor dismayed.” This is excellent advice for all of us even today. David then told Solomon of the materials and the workmen he had provided. He finished up this conference with another important piece of advice. “Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee.” The time had come for work. So it was time to arise, and be about business.
(Verses 17 through 19) David also commanded all the princes of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, Is not the LORD your God with you? hath He not given you rest on every side? for He hath given the inhabitants of the land into mine 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; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of the LORD.
Having finished his conference with Solomon, David turned to all the princes of Israel, and commanded them to began the great work that was laid before them, that they might build the house to the name of the LORD.
(Verses 1 through 6) So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel. And he gathered together all the princes of Israel, with the priests and the Levites. Now the Levites were numbered from the age of thirty years and upward: and their number by their polls, man by man was thirty and eight thousand. Of which twenty and four thousand were to set forward the work of the house of the LORD; and six thousand were officers and judges: moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith. And David divided them into courses among the sons of Levi, namely, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
This is the beginning of the assignments David appointed to the Levites in the house of God, and as judges in the kingdom. Since Levi had four sons, the Levites were divided into four courses according to the tribe of their fathers.
(Verses 7 through 11) Of the Gershonites were, Laadan, and Shemei. The sons of Laadan; the chief was Jehiel, and Zetham, and Joel, three. The sons of Shimei; Shelomith and Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the chief of the fathers of Laadan. And the sons of Shimei were Jahath, Zina, and Jeush, and Beriah. These four are the sons of Shimei. And Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second: but Jeush and Beriah had not many sons; therefore they were in one reckoning, according to their father’s house.
This just shows the breakdown of the Gershonites according to their fathers’ houses. Attention should be given to the fact that Zina, in verse 10 must be the same person as Zizah in verse 11. Why the difference in the spelling we do not know.
(Verses 12 through 23) The sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four. The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister unto Him, and bless in His name for ever. Now concerning Moses the man of God, his sons were named of the tribe of Levi. The sons of Moses were, Gershom, and Eliezer. Of the sons of Gershom, Shebuel was the chief. And the sons of Eliezer were, Rehabiah the chief. And Eliezer had none other sons; but the sons of Rehabiah were very many. Of the sons of Izhar; Shelomith the chief. Of the sons of Hebron; Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. Of the sons of Uzziel; Micah the first, and Jesiah the second. The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. The sons of Mahli; Eleazar, and Kish. And Eleazar died, and had no sons, but daughters: and their brethren the sons of Kish took them. The sons of Mushi; Mahli, and Eder, and Jeremoth, three.
Kohath had four sons, one of whom was Amram the father of Aaron and Moses. The family of Aaron was separated from the others, and counted only in the lineage of the priests, while the remainder of the family of Amram was counted through Moses, and included with the remainder of the sons of Kohath. Then is taken up the listing of the sons of Merari. He had three sons; and since one of them, Eleazar, had only daughters, and no sons, his daughters married their first cousins, the sons of Kish, thus joining the two families into one.
(Verses 24 through 32) These were the sons of Levi after the house of their fathers; even the chief of the fathers, as they were counted by number of names by their polls, that did the work for the service of the house of the LORD, from the age of twenty years and upward. For David said, The LORD God of Israel hath given rest unto His people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever: and also unto the Levites; they shall no more carry the tabernacle, nor any vessel of it for the service thereof. For by the last words of David the Levites were numbered from twenty years old and above: because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God; both for the shewbread, and for the fine flour for meat offering, and for the unleavened cakes, and for that which is baked in the pan, and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure and size; and to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even; and to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on set feast days, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD. And that they should keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation , and charge of the holy place, and charge of the sons of Aaron their brethren, in the service of the house of the LORD.
This tells us what the duties of the Levites are since they will no longer be needed for transporting the tabernacle of the congregation of the LORD from place to place. The temple is to remain the house of the LORD, and to remain where built, and not to be carried from place to place. Therefore there was to be some change in the duties of the Levites.
(Verses 1 through 6) Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office. And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service. And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus they were divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers. Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God, were of the sons of Eleazar, and the sons of Ithamar. And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, one of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the princes, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and before the chief of the fathers of the priests and Levites: one principal household being taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar.
Thus the work of the Priests was all assigned to them by courses, according to their families. There were but two families of the priests, the descendants of Eleazar, and those of Ithamar. However, the family of Eleazar had sixteen men who were considered chief men of their families, and the family of Ithamar had only eight. So lots were taken for the assignment of duties to the descendants of these chief men.
Verses 7 through 19 give the drawing of these lots. These verses contain only the numbers of the lots, and the names of the men to whom they were assigned. The remainder of this chapter gives only the names of the heads of the remaining families of the Levites, and a declaration that they also cast lots before the priests and the king for the assignment of their duties. So they should require no further commentary.
(Verses 1 through 7) Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was: of the sons of Asaph; Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah, the sons of Asaph under the hands of Asaph, which prophesied according to the order of the king. Of Jeduthun: the sons of Jeduthun; Gedaliah, and Zeri, and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the hands 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, and Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, and Romamtiezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth: all these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer in the words of God, to lift up the horn. And God gave to Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the LORD, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king’s order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman. So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight.
This establishes the orders of those who were to sing and play music in the service of the house of the LORD. They are Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, together with their children. In all there were two hundred, eighty-eight of them.
The remainder of this chapter is only the casting of lots for the exact order of their service. And there were twenty four separate lots for them. As each lot is given, we are told the number of those in that lot. And that is about all the information in the remainder of this chapter.