Study Guide

1 Chronicles Admiration

Admiration

The next day when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. They stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to carry the good news to their idols and to the people. They put his armor in the temple of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon. (1 Chronicles 10:8-10, NRSV)

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. (1 Chronicles 10:8-10, KJV)

Right off the bat we hear about a king who was definitely not admired. Saul not only was defeated in battle but his body was stripped and decapitated as one final insult. The Chronicler makes Saul the anti-David.

David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him. (1 Chronicles 11:9, NRSV)

David waxed greater and greater: for the Lord of hosts was with him. (1 Chronicles 11:9, KJV)

Admiration of David has to be tempered by showing who was behind his success. Still, David makes the most of God's approval and shows himself worthy of it.

David said longingly, "O that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!" Then [three soldiers] broke through the camp of the Philistines, and drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and they brought it to David. But David would not drink of it; he poured it out to the Lord, and said, "My God forbid that I should do this. Can I drink the blood of these men? For at the risk of their lives they brought it." (1 Chronicles 11:17-19, NRSV)

David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate! And the three brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, 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. (1 Chronicles 11:17-19, KJV)

David's own men actually risked their lives just to get him a glass of water from a well. That's some serious respect right there. (Though, of course, David's too good of a guy to even drink and encourage more risky behavior like that. Can he do anything wrong?)

The fame of David went out into all lands, and the Lord brought the fear of him on all nations. (1 Chronicles 14:17, NRSV)

The fame of David went out into all lands; and the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations. (1 Chronicles 14:17, KJV)

Admiration or fear? Regardless, it did the trick. David's reputation as a warrior kept other nations in check most of the time.

Now when David settled in his house, David said to the prophet Nathan, "I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent." (1 Chronicles 17:1, NRSV)

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. (1 Chronicles 17:1, KJV)

Here the Chronicler is admiring David's famous humility. Seems he never forgot his humble origins as a shepherd.

David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and equity to all his people. (1 Chronicles 18:14, NRSV)

David reigned over all Israel, and executed judgment and justice among all his people. (1 Chronicles 18:14, KJV)

The Chronicler, writing in the post-exilic period, was undoubtedly aware of the many kings of Israel who were either incompetent, corrupt, or even idolatrous. This makes David look even better by comparison. Those corrupt kings were held responsible for the eventual destruction of Jerusalem, so the Chronicler emphasizes the just and peaceful state of things during David's reign.

When King Tou of Hamath heard that David had defeated the whole army of King Hadadezer of Zobah, he sent his son Hadoram to King David, to greet him and to congratulate him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him. Now Hadadezer had often been at war with Tou. He sent all sorts of articles of gold, of silver, and of bronze. (1 Chronicles 18:9-10, NRSV)

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 enquire 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. (1 Chronicles 18:9-10, KJV)

Here's more about David's reputation. Obviously, he wasn't just feared, but admired by other rulers. In this case, it's "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell on their faces. And David said to God, "Was it not I who gave the command to count the people? It is I who have sinned and done very wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Let your hand, I pray, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father's house; but do not let your people be plagued!" (1 Chronicles 21:16-17, NRSV)

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 I that 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. (1 Chronicles 21:16-17, KJV)

Even when David does wrong (which is literally once) he makes it right. Here, he begs God not to punish the people of Israel for his bad choices. Not everyone in a position of power would say this, so the Chronicler includes it as more evidence of David's righteousness.

David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly; David said: "Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all. And now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your glorious name." (1 Chronicles 29:10-13, NRSV)

Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:10-13, KJV)

One last shout out to the Almighty. David never misses a chance to praise God. He's the only character in this story greater than the king.

Thus David son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. The period that he reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. He died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honor; and his son Solomon succeeded him. (1 Chronicles 29:26-28, NRSV)

Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead. (1 Chronicles 29:26-28, KJV)

Here's a summary of David's life and why he should be respected. David ruled for 40 years (that's as long as the Israelites wandered in the desert. Way to get symbolic, Chronicler). He also had a full and awesome life until he passed the reins to his son. Again, the Chronicler was aware of kings who ruled for just short periods during times of corruption and internal dissent.

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