Thursday, August 28, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 17

 1 Chronicles 17(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Soon after David moved into his new palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, "Look around! I live in a palace made of cedar, but the sacred chest is kept in a tent."
  2. Nathan replied, "The LORD is with you--do what you want."
  3. That night, the LORD told Nathan
  4. to go to David and tell him: David, you are my servant, so listen carefully: You are not the one to build a temple for me.
  5. I didn't live in a temple when I brought my people out of Egypt, and I don't live in one now. A tent has always been my home wherever I have gone with them.
  6. I chose special leaders and told them to be like shepherds for my people Israel. But did I ever say anything to even one of them about building a cedar temple for me?
  7. David, this is what I, the LORD All-Powerful, say to you. I brought you in from the fields where you took care of sheep, and I made you the leader of my people.
  8. Wherever you went, I helped you and destroyed your enemies right in front of your eyes. I have made you one of the most famous people in the world.
  9. I have given my people Israel a land of their own where they can live in peace. They will no longer have to tremble with fear--evil nations won't bother them, as they did
  10. when I let judges rule my people, and I will keep your enemies from attacking you. Now I promise that like you, your descendants will be kings.
  11. I'll choose one of your sons to be king when you reach the end of your life and are buried beside your ancestors. I'll make him a strong ruler,
  12. and no one will be able to take his kingdom away from him. He will be the one to build a temple for me.
  13. I will be like a father to him, and he will be like a son to me. I will never put an end to my agreement with him, as I put an end to my agreement with Saul, who was king before you.
  14. I will make sure that your son and his descendants will rule my people and my kingdom forever.
  15. Nathan told David exactly what the LORD had said.
  16. David went into the tent he had set up for the sacred chest. He sat there and prayed: LORD God, my family and I don't deserve what you have already done for us,
  17. and yet you have promised to do even more for my descendants. You are treating me as if I am a very important person.
  18. I am your servant, and you know my thoughts. What else can I say, except that you have honored me?
  19. It was your choice to do these wonderful things for me and to make these promises.
  20. No other god is like you, LORD--you alone are God. Everything we have heard about you is true.
  21. And there is no other nation on earth like Israel, the nation you rescued from slavery in Egypt to be your own. You became famous by using great and wonderful miracles to force other nations and their gods out of your land, so that your people could live here.
  22. You have chosen Israel to be your people forever, and you have become their God.
  23. LORD God, please do what you promised me and my descendants.
  24. Then you will be famous forever, and everyone will say, "The LORD All-Powerful rules Israel and is their God." My kingdom will be strong,
  25. because you are my God, and you have promised that my descendants will be kings. That's why I have the courage to pray to you like this, even though I am only your servant.
  26. You are the LORD God, and you have made this good promise to me.
  27. Now please bless my descendants forever, and let them always be your chosen kings. You have already blessed my family, and I know you will bless us forever.

In chapter 17 we continue to see the strength of David's character and his love for the Lord. David now had a nice palace while the ark of the Lord was under a tent. It just didn't seem right to David. God had blessed him beyond his imagination, how could he be satisfied to not do something about a house for the Lord? We see further into David's character when he took his concern to the prophet Nathan to inquire of the Lord rather than taking it into his own hands, assuming it was the right thing to do.

We might wonder if Nathan didn't have a knee jerk reaction to David's concern to build a house for the Lord: It seems the only right thing to do, so why not just do it? Without inquiring of the Lord, Nathan told David to "Do all that is on your heart, for God is with you." (17:2) But that night Nathan had a visit from the Lord, who told him he was to change his counsel to David. The message Nathan was to convey to David said that God had always resided in a tent and had never required that the leaders of Israel build Him a house. This had not changed. Instead of David building a house (temple) for the Lord, the Lord would build a house (dynasty) for David. Then the Lord established an unconditional covenant with David known as the Davidic covenant. In it He promised five things:
  1. God would give David a son through whom He would establish David's kingdom.
  2. This son, Solomon, would be the one to build a temple for the Lord.
  3. The throne of his kingdom would be established forever.
  4. Despite Solomon's sins, his throne would not be taken away from him.
  5. David's house and kingdom would be established forever.
When Nathan told David all that the Lord had told him, David went and set before the Lord and poured out his heart. "Who am I, LORD God," he said, "and what is my house that You have brought me this far?" (17:16) Because God had revealed to David His desire to build him a house, David had courage to pray in God's presence, evidently before the ark, as He was doing. Otherwise, he would have spoken to God through the mediation of a priest/prophet such as Nathan.

What an amazing way for David to begin his reign as king.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 16

 1 Chronicles 16(Contemporary English Version)
  1. They put the sacred chest inside the tent that David had set up for it, then they offered sacrifices to please the LORD and sacrifices to ask his blessing.
  2. After David had finished, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD
  3. and gave every person in the crowd a small loaf of bread, some meat, and a handful of raisins.
  4. David appointed some of the Levites to serve at the sacred chest; they were to play music and sing praises to the LORD God of Israel.
  5. Asaph was their leader, and Zechariah was his assistant. Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-Edom, and another man named Jeiel were appointed to play small harps and stringed instruments. Asaph himself played the cymbals,
  6. and the two priests Benaiah and Jahaziel were to blow trumpets every day in front of the sacred chest.
  7. That same day, David instructed Asaph and his relatives for the first time to sing these praises to the LORD:
  8. Praise the LORD and pray in his name! Tell everyone what he has done.
  9. Sing praises to the LORD! Tell about his miracles.
  10. Celebrate and worship his holy name with all your heart.
  11. Trust the LORD and his mighty power. Worship him always.
  12. Remember his miracles and all his wonders and his fair decisions.
  13. You belong to the family of Israel, his servant; you are his chosen ones, the descendants of Jacob.
  14. The LORD is our God, bringing justice everywhere on earth.
  15. We must never forget his agreement and his promises, not in thousands of years. *
  16. God made an eternal promise
  17. to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
  18. when he said, "I'll give you the land of Canaan."
  19. At the time there were only a few of us, and we were homeless.
  20. We wandered from nation to nation, from one country to another.
  21. God did not let anyone mistreat our people. Instead he protected us by punishing rulers
  22. and telling them, "Don't touch my chosen leaders or harm my prophets!"
  23. Everyone on this earth, sing praises to the LORD. Day after day announce, "The LORD has saved us!"
  24. Tell every nation on earth, "The LORD is wonderful and does marvelous things!
  25. The LORD is great and deserves our greatest praise! He is the only God worthy of our worship.
  26. Other nations worship idols, but the LORD created the heavens.
  27. Give honor and praise to the LORD, whose power and beauty fill his holy temple."
  28. Tell everyone of every nation, "Praise the glorious power of the LORD.
  29. He is wonderful! Praise him and bring an offering into his temple. Worship the LORD, majestic and holy.
  30. Everyone on earth, now tremble!" The world stands firm, never to be shaken.
  31. Tell the heavens and the earth to be glad and celebrate! And announce to the nations, "The LORD is King!"
  32. Command the ocean to roar with all of its creatures and the fields to rejoice with all of their crops.
  33. Then every tree in the forest will sing joyful songs to the LORD. He is coming to judge all people on earth.
  34. Praise the LORD because he is good to us, and his love never fails.
  35. Say to him, "Save us, LORD God! Bring us back from among the nations. Let us celebrate and shout in praise of your holy name.
  36. LORD God of Israel, you deserve to be praised forever and ever." After David finished, the people shouted, "Amen! Praise the LORD!"
  37. David chose Asaph and the Levites in his clan to be in charge of the daily worship at the place where the sacred chest was kept.
  38. Obed-Edom and sixty-eight of his relatives were their assistants, and Hosah and Obed-Edom the son of Jeduthun were the guards.
  39. David also chose Zadok the priest and his relatives who were priests to serve at the LORD's sacred tent at Gibeon.
  40. They were to offer sacrifices on the altar every morning and evening, just as the LORD had commanded in the Law he gave Israel.
  41. Heman and Jeduthun were their assistants, as well as the other men who had been chosen to praise the LORD for his never-ending love.
  42. Heman and Jeduthun were also responsible for blowing the trumpets, and for playing the cymbals and other instruments during worship at the tent. The Levites in Jeduthun's clan were the guards at Gibeon.
  43. After that, everyone went home, and David went home to his family.

Once the Ark of the Lord arrived in Jerusalem and was placed in the tent David had pitched to house it, burnt offerings and fellowship offerings were made "in God's presence," which was presumably before the ark which represented His presence. Then David blessed the people and gave each person, both men and women, "a loaf of bread, a date cake, and a raisin cake." (16:3)

The next part of the ceremonies was the appointment of Levites to carry on worship of God before the ark. These appointments were followed by the singing of a psalm which was a compilation of psalms written by David.

Before sending everyone home, David took care of a few more "housekeeping" assignments to assure maintenance of the two places of worship that were now established in Israel. Verse 39 brings to our attention for the first time the existence of the tabernacle of the Lord which was residing in Gibeon. No mention in scripture is made of it being moved there from Shiloh, but it likely was moved shortly after the ark was lost to the Philistines.

So, besides assigning a High Priest to officiate before the ark in Jerusalem, he assigned a High Priest to the tabernacle in Gibeon. He also appointed Levites to carry on worship in both places.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 15

 1 Chronicles 15(Contemporary English Version)
  1. David had several buildings built in Jerusalem, and he had a tent set up where the sacred chest would be kept.
  2. He said, "Only Levites will be allowed to carry the chest, because the LORD has chosen them to do that work and to serve him forever."
  3. Next, David invited everyone to come to Jerusalem and watch the sacred chest being carried to the place he had set up for it.
  4. He also sent for Aaron's descendants and for the Levites. The Levites that came were:
  5. Uriel, the leader of the Kohath clan, and one hundred twenty of his relatives;
  6. Asaiah, the leader of the Merari clan, and two hundred twenty of his relatives;
  7. Joel, the leader of the Gershon clan, and one hundred thirty of his relatives;
  8. Shemaiah, the leader of the Elizaphan clan, and two hundred of his relatives;
  9. Eliel, the leader of the Hebron clan, and eighty of his relatives; and
  10. Amminadab, the leader of the Uzziel clan, with one hundred twelve of his relatives.
  11. David called together these six Levites and the two priests, Zadok and Abiathar.
  12. He said to them, "You are the leaders of the clans in the Levi tribe. You and your relatives must first go through the ceremony to make yourselves clean and acceptable to the LORD. Then you may carry the sacred chest that belongs to the LORD God of Israel and bring it to the place I have prepared for it.
  13. The first time we tried to bring the chest to Jerusalem, we didn't ask the LORD what he wanted us to do. He was angry at us, because you Levites weren't there to carry the chest."
  14. The priests and the Levites made themselves clean. They were now ready to carry the sacred chest
  15. on poles that rested on their shoulders, just as the LORD had told Moses to do.
  16. David then told the leaders to choose some Levites to sing and play music on small harps, other stringed instruments, and cymbals.
  17. The men chosen to play the cymbals were Heman the son of Joel, his relative Asaph the son of Berechiah, and Ethan the son of Kushaiah from the Merari clan. Some of their assistants played the smaller harps: they were Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maaseiah, and Benaiah. Others played the larger harps: they were Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Azaziah, and two of the temple guards, Obed-Edom and Jeiel.
  18. (SEE 15:17)
  19. (SEE 15:17)
  20. (SEE 15:17)
  21. (SEE 15:17)
  22. Chenaniah was chosen to be the music director, because he was a skilled musician.
  23. Four Levites were then appointed to guard the sacred chest. They were Berechiah, Elkanah, Obed-Edom, and Jehiah. Finally, David chose priests to walk in front of the sacred chest and blow trumpets. They were Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer.
  24. (SEE 15:23)
  25. David, the leaders of Israel, and the army commanders were very happy as they went to Obed-Edom's house to get the sacred chest.
  26. God gave the Levites the strength they needed to carry the chest, and so they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams.
  27. David, the Levites, Chenaniah the music director, and all the musicians were wearing linen robes, and David was also wearing a linen cloth.
  28. While the sacred chest was being carried into Jerusalem, everyone was celebrating by shouting and playing music on horns, trumpets, cymbals, harps, and other stringed instruments.
  29. Saul's daughter Michal looked out her window and watched the chest being brought into David's City. But when she saw David jumping and dancing in honor of the LORD, she was disgusted.

Three months after his failed attempt to move the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem, David again made preparation to move the ark. Admitting that it had not been done properly the first time, David was careful this time to inquire of the Lord about the proper procedures. (15:13) Proper procedure called for the Levites to carry the ark "on their shoulders with the poles." (15:15)

In preparation for this big event, David gathered over 800 descendants of Aaron and the Levites to plan for moving the ark and the celebration that would accompany it. This was not merely a utilitarian event of moving the ark, but a worship event in which they praised and worshiped the Lord who the ark represented. In addition to the Levites and their assistants who had responsibility for physically moving the ark, David had them appoint from among their number musicians who would sing and play musical instruments. There were also gatekeepers assigned to the procession. It is not clear what their role was, but some suggest they went before and after the ark to prevent the crowd from getting too close to the ark. Others think maybe they guarded the openings to the tent in which the ark was placed once it arrived in Jerusalem.

It was a great event for Israel. This account of the event in 1 Chronicles, however, concludes on a negative note in its mention of Michal, David's wife and daughter of Saul, who observed the procession into Jerusalem from a palace window. Seeing David dancing in his linen robe, "she despised him in her heart." It is curious that this sight prompted such a reaction from her, causing one to wonder at its motivation. It would seem evident that she did not share David's enthusiasm for the Lord, otherwise why was she not in the crowd celebrating the event or at least celebrating in her heart from her position at the window as she watched the procession with the ark into the city?

One wonders also if she did not already have some resentment in her heart toward David for some reason. Might the account in the previous chapter of David taking more wives be a clue to her reaction to David as she watched him dancing? Whatever the reason for Michal's reaction, it seems that the Lord considered it to be unwarranted, for 2 Samuel 6:23 suggests that because of her reaction to David's dancing before the Lord she never had children.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 14

1 Chronicles 14(Contemporary English Version)
  1. King Hiram of Tyre sent some officials to David. They brought along carpenters and stone workers, and enough cedar logs to build David a palace.
  2. David now knew that the LORD had made him a powerful king of Israel for the good of his people.
  3. After David moved to Jerusalem, he married more women and had more sons and daughters.
  4. His children born there were Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Ibhar, Elishua, Elpelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Beeliada, and Eliphelet.
  5. (SEE 14:4)
  6. (SEE 14:4)
  7. (SEE 14:4)
  8. When the Philistines heard that David had become king of Israel, they came to capture him. But David heard about their plan and marched out to meet them in battle.
  9. The Philistines had already camped in Rephaim Valley and were raiding the nearby villages.
  10. David asked God, "Should I attack the Philistines? Will you help me win?" The LORD told David, "Yes, attack them! I will give you victory."
  11. David and his army marched to Baal-Perazim, where they attacked and defeated the Philistines. He said, "I defeated my enemies because God broke through them like a mighty flood." So he named the place "The Lord Broke Through."
  12. Then David ordered his troops to burn the idols that the Philistines had left behind.
  13. Some time later, the Philistines came back into the hill country and camped in Rephaim Valley.
  14. David asked God what he should do, and God answered, "Don't attack them from the front. Circle around behind them where the balsam trees are.
  15. Wait there until you hear the treetops making the sound of marching troops. That sound will mean I have marched out ahead of you to fight the Philistine army. So you must then attack quickly!"
  16. David obeyed God and he defeated the Philistines. He even chased them all the way from Gibeon to the entrance to Gezer.
  17. From then on, David became even more famous, and the LORD made all the nations afraid of him.

God was blessing David as king making it evident that he was God's chosen and that this was what He had planned for Israel. From the time God led Israel out of Egypt, this was what God envisioned for her. But Israel too often made choices that diverted her away from this plan. Finally, it was happening.

When David set out to build a palace, soon after becoming king, King Hiram of Tyre proved to be a friend and sent envoys to provide materials and skilled workmen to help build the palace. This gesture was an indication to David that "the Lord had established him as king over Israel and that his kingdom had been exalted for the sake of His people Israel." (14:2)

David was a godly king and we see this in his seeking counsel from God. When the Philistines came up against David (v. 8ff), he did not go out to fight them before first inquiring of God. He again sought God's counsel when the Philistines returned later to do battle once again. Though David might have been inclined to assume that God's leading to go up against the Philistines on the first occasion also applied to going up against them when they returned, he made no such assumption.

Though David loved the Lord and had a close relationship with Him, he was not perfect. Verse 3 tells us that, for whatever reason, "David took more wives in Jerusalem." Israel's king was expressly forbidden in Deuteronomy 17:17 not to "acquire many wives for himself so that his heart won't go astray." The writer of Chronicles was not critical of David taking on more wives nor did God stop blessing him. Instead, God allowed David's choice in this to bring about its natural consequences. We can be rather shorsighted in such matters. We make choices such as this and when the consequences come we become upset with God for allowing them to happen, forgetting our part in bringing them about.

With David's sound defeat of the Philistines in their second encounter, his fame "spread throughout the lands." This spreading of David's fame was helped along by God, for He "caused all the nations to be terrified of him." (14:17)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 13

 1 Chronicles 13(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Some time later, David talked with his army commanders,
  2. and then announced to the people of Israel: While Saul was king, the sacred chest was ignored. But now it's time to bring the chest to Jerusalem. We will invite everyone in Israel to come here, including the priests and the Levites in the towns surrounded by pastureland. But we will do these things only if you agree, and if the LORD our God wants us to.
  3. (SEE 13:2)
  4. The people agreed this was the right thing to do.
  5. David gathered everyone from the Shihor River in Egypt to Lebo-Hamath in the north.
  6. Then he led them to Baalah in Judah, which was also called Kiriath-Jearim. They went there to get the sacred chest and bring it to Jerusalem, because it belonged to the LORD God, whose throne is above the winged creatures on the lid of the chest.
  7. The sacred chest was still at Abinadab's house, and when David and the crowd arrived there, they brought the chest outside and placed it on a new ox cart. Abinadab's sons Uzzah and Ahio guided the cart,
  8. while David and the crowd danced and sang praises to the LORD with all their might. They played music on small harps and other stringed instruments, and on tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets.
  9. But when they came to Chidon's threshing place, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out and took hold of the chest to stop it from falling.
  10. The LORD God was very angry at Uzzah for doing this, and he killed Uzzah right there beside the chest.
  11. David then got angry at God for killing Uzzah. So he named that place "Attack on Uzzah," and it's been called that ever since.
  12. David was afraid what the LORD might do to him, and he asked himself, "Should I really be the one to take care of the sacred chest?"
  13. So instead of taking it to Jerusalem, David decided to take it to the home of Obed-Edom, who lived in the town of Gath.
  14. The chest stayed there for three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-Edom, his family, and everything he owned.

The previous chapter recounted the military strength God had built up for David, much of which happened before he was even king. So with this military strength in place what was one of the first things David did as king? Chapter 13 tells us that rather than acting militarily, David acted spiritually. He was intent on establishing Jerusalem as the religious center for Israel. As he said to the assembly of Israel, "we did not inquire of Him (the Lord) in Saul's days." For many years Israel had drifted away from the Lord and David wanted to correct this.

The first step in making Jerusalem the religious center was to bring the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem from Kiriath-jearim where it had resided for the past 100 years. All Israel was invited to participate and a great celebration took place as they set the ark on a new cart pulled by oxen. But the celebration came to a halt when the ark arrived at "Chidon's threshing floor" where the oxen stumbled, the ark teetered, and Uzzah reached out to steady the ark and was struck dead by the Lord.

While this act of God may be difficult to understand, our treatment of it will depend on our perspective of God. Do we trust that He is a loving God who acts for our good and therefore accept that while we may not understand, God had a good reason for what He does? Or, are we driven by our need for understanding to conclude that if it makes no sense to me, it must be a senseless act by God?

I do not claim to know all of the reasons God has for doing what He does, but I do trust that He is good and His reasons are always good. What we can know about this occasion is that while David had good intent for moving the ark, He did not inquire about the proper procedures for doing so. When the ark was built, God established that it must be moved by the priests carrying it on their shoulders with poles. No hands were to touch the ark. David's method was more like that of the Philistines who had stolen it some 100 years earlier. They had built a new cart which was pulled by two cows that had never been yoked. Had David moved the ark using the prescribed method, the mishap resulting in the death of Uzzah would never have occurred.

While this event angered David because of Uzzah's death, it also caused him to revere the Lord more, taking more seriously the importance of obedience and the need to inquire of the Lord and and assure that he was acting in accordance to the Lord's desires. We sometimes excuse ourselves when we do something improperly by saying, "Well, my heart was in the right place anyway." But our heart is not truly in the right place unless we seek the Lord's guidance and act accordingly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 12

 1 Chronicles 12(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Some time earlier, David had gone to live in the town of Ziklag to escape from King Saul. While David was there, several brave warriors joined him to help fight his battles.
  2. Several of these warriors were from King Saul's own tribe of Benjamin. They were experts at using a bow and arrows, and they could shoot an arrow or sling a stone with either hand.
  3. Their leaders were Ahiezer and Joash, the sons of Shemaah from Gibeah. Here is a list of those men from Benjamin: Jeziel and Pelet the sons of Azmaveth; Beracah and Jehu from Anathoth; Ishmaiah from Gibeon, who was the leader of the Thirty Warriors; Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, and Jozabad from Gederah; Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, and Shephatiah from Haruph; Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, and Jashobeam from the Korah clan; Joelah and Zebadiah the sons of Jeroham from Gedor.
  4. (SEE 12:3)
  5. (SEE 12:3)
  6. (SEE 12:3)
  7. (SEE 12:3)
  8. Men from the tribe of Gad also joined David at his fortress in the desert and served as his warriors. They were also brave soldiers--fierce as lions and quick as gazelles. They were always prepared to fight with shields and spears.
  9. There were eleven of them, ranked in the following order: Ezer the leader, then Obadiah, Eliab, Mishmannah, Jeremiah, Attai, Eliel, Johanan, Elzabad, Jeremiah, and Machbannai.
  10. (SEE 12:9)
  11. (SEE 12:9)
  12. (SEE 12:9)
  13. (SEE 12:9)
  14. All these men were army officers; some were high-ranking officers over a thousand troops, and others were officers over a hundred troops.
  15. Earlier, they had crossed the Jordan River when it flooded, and they chased out the people who lived in the valleys on each side of the river.
  16. One time a group of men from the tribes of Benjamin and Judah went to the fortress where David was staying.
  17. David met them outside and said, "If you are coming as friends to fight on my side, then stay and join us. But if you try to turn me over to my enemies, the God our ancestors worshiped will punish you, because I have done nothing wrong."
  18. Amasai, who later became the leader of the Thirty Warriors, was one of these men who went to David. God's Spirit took control of him, and he said, "We will join you, David son of Jesse! You and your followers will always be successful, because God fights on your side." So David agreed to let them stay, and he even put them in charge of his soldiers who raided enemy villages.
  19. Some of the warriors who joined David were from the tribe of Manasseh. They had earlier gone with David when he agreed to fight on the side of the Philistines against King Saul. But as soon as the Philistine rulers realized that David might turn against them and rejoin Saul, they sent David away to the town of Ziklag.
  20. That's when the following men from Manasseh joined him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu, and Zillethai. They had all been commanders in Saul's army
  21. and brave soldiers, and so David made them officers in his army. They fought on his side when enemy troops attacked.
  22. Day after day, new men came to join David, and soon he had a large, powerful army.
  23. The kingdom of Israel had been taken away from Saul, and it now belonged to David. He was ruling from Hebron, and thousands of well-trained soldiers from each tribe went there to crown David king of all Israel, just as the LORD had promised. These soldiers, who were always prepared for battle, included: 6,800 from Judah, who were armed with shields and spears; 7,100 from Simeon; 4,600 from Levi, including Jehoiada, who was a leader from Aaron's descendants, and his 3,700 men, as well as Zadok, who was a brave soldier, and 22 of his relatives, who were also officers; 3,000 from Benjamin, because this was Saul's own tribe and most of the men had remained loyal to him; 20,800 from Ephraim, who were not only brave, but also famous in their clans; 18,000 from West Manasseh, who had been chosen to help make David king; 200 leaders from Issachar, along with troops under their command--these leaders knew the right time to do what needed to be done; 50,000 from Zebulun, who were not only loyal, but also trained to use any weapon; 1,000 officers from Naphtali and 37,000 soldiers armed with shields and spears; 28,600 from Dan; 40,000 from Asher; and 120,000 from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh, who were armed with all kinds of weapons.
  24. (SEE 12:23)
  25. (SEE 12:23)
  26. (SEE 12:23)
  27. (SEE 12:23)
  28. (SEE 12:23)
  29. (SEE 12:23)
  30. (SEE 12:23)
  31. (SEE 12:23)
  32. (SEE 12:23)
  33. (SEE 12:23)
  34. (SEE 12:23)
  35. (SEE 12:23)
  36. (SEE 12:23)
  37. (SEE 12:23)
  38. All of these soldiers voluntarily came to Hebron because they wanted David to become king of Israel. In fact, everyone in Israel wanted the same thing.
  39. The soldiers stayed in Hebron three days, eating and drinking what their relatives had prepared for them.
  40. Other Israelites from as far away as the territories of Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali brought cattle and sheep to slaughter for food. They also brought donkeys, camels, mules, and oxen that were loaded down with flour, dried figs, wine, and olive oil. Everyone in Israel was very happy.

Chapter 12 gives a more detailed account of the fighting men who joined David from the time he was in hiding from Saul to the day he was made king. We are not given the numbers of those who joined him during his exile from Saul, but all combined it would have been a sizable army, and all were amazing warriors. Though Saul was king during this period he had become a dysfunctional leader once he turned from God and God departed from him. Capable and astute followers are not prone to follow dysfunctional leaders, and so some of the best fighters defected from Saul to David. That is a possible pragmatic explanation. But however we might want to explain these defections from a human standpoint, the truth is that God was preparing David to be king. He was God's anointed and intended king for Israel, and many of these defectors, if not all, recognized God's anointing on David.

In my reflections of the previous chapter I pointed out in regard to the references of fighting men joining David that "when God gives any of us a mission. It is never a solo effort, but a team effort that God has orchestrated." This point is made even more apparent in chapter 12. By the time David became king, he had a sizable army of top-flight warriors. It may well have been the best army Israel had ever had at any point prior to this, including during Saul's reign. God's plan for Israel was coming together. Though God permitted Israel to follow her own plan in the crowning of Saul as king, her plan didn't turn out so well. But He let her learn for herself rather than blocking her plan. The purposes God has for His people, though, are always the best purposes and will only come to fruition by following His plan. When we do, what He makes happen goes beyond our own capabilities. We are blessed to watch what God makes possible.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 11

 1 Chronicles 11(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Israel's leaders met with David at Hebron and said, "We are your relatives,
  2. and we know that you have led our army into battle, even when Saul was still our king. The LORD God has promised that you would rule our country and take care of us like a shepherd.
  3. So we have come to crown you king of Israel." David made an agreement with the leaders and asked the LORD to be their witness. Then the leaders poured olive oil on David's head to show that he was now king of Israel. This happened just as the LORD's prophet Samuel had said.
  4. Jerusalem was called Jebus at the time, and David led Israel's army to attack the town.
  5. The Jebusites said, "You won't be able to get in here!" But David captured the fortress of Mount Zion, which is now called the City of David.
  6. David had told his troops, "The first soldier to kill a Jebusite will become my army commander." And since Joab son of Zeruiah attacked first, he became commander.
  7. Later, David moved to the fortress--that's why it's called the City of David.
  8. He had the city rebuilt, starting at the landfill on the east side. Meanwhile, Joab supervised the repairs to the rest of the city.
  9. David became a great and strong ruler, because the LORD All-Powerful was on his side.
  10. The LORD had promised that David would become king, and so everyone in Israel gave David their support. Certain warriors also helped keep his kingdom strong.
  11. The first of these warriors was Jashobeam the son of Hachmoni, the leader of the Three Warriors. In one battle he killed three hundred men with his spear.
  12. Another one of the Three Warriors was Eleazar son of Dodo the Ahohite.
  13. During a battle against the Philistines at Pas-Dammim, all the Israelite soldiers ran away,
  14. except Eleazar, who stayed with David. They took their positions in a nearby barley field and defeated the Philistines! The LORD gave Israel a great victory that day.
  15. One time the Three Warriors went to meet David among the rocks at Adullam Cave. The Philistine army had set up camp in Rephaim Valley
  16. and had taken over Bethlehem. David was in a fortress,
  17. and he said, "I'm very thirsty. I wish I had a drink of water from the well by the gate to Bethlehem."
  18. The Three Warriors sneaked through the Philistine camp and got some water from the well near Bethlehem's gate. They took it back to David, but he refused to drink it. Instead, he poured out the water as a sacrifice to the LORD
  19. and said, "Drinking this water would be like drinking the blood of these men who risked their lives to get it for me." The Three Warriors did these brave deeds.
  20. Joab's brother Abishai was the leader of the Thirty Warriors, and in one battle he killed three hundred men with his spear. He was just as famous as the Three Warriors
  21. and was more famous than the rest of the Thirty Warriors. He was their commander, but he never became one of the Three Warriors.
  22. Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a brave man from Kabzeel who did some amazing things. One time he killed two of Moab's best fighters, and one snowy day he went into a pit and killed a lion.
  23. Another time he killed an Egyptian who was seven and a half feet tall and was armed with a spear. Benaiah only had a club, so he grabbed the spear from the Egyptian and killed him with it.
  24. Benaiah did things like that; he was just as brave as the Three Warriors,
  25. even though he never became one of them. And he was certainly as famous as the rest of the Thirty Warriors. So David made him the leader of his own bodyguard.
  26. Here is a list of the other famous warriors: Asahel the brother of Joab; Elhanan the son of Dodo from Bethlehem; Shammoth from Haror; Helez from Pelon; Ira the son of Ikkesh from Tekoa; Abiezer from Anathoth; Sibbecai the Hushathite; Ilai the Ahohite; Maharai from Netophah; Heled the son of Baanah from Netophah; Ithai the son of Ribai from Gibeah in Benjamin; Benaiah from Pirathon; Hurai from near the streams on Mount Gaash; Abiel from Arbah; Azmaveth from Baharum; Eliahba from Shaalbon; Hashem the Gizonite; Jonathan the son of Shagee from Harar; Ahiam the son of Sachar the Hararite; Eliphal the son of Ur; Hepher from Mecherah; Ahijah from Pelon; Hezro from Carmel; Naarai the son of Ezbai; Joel the brother of Nathan; Mibhar the son of Hagri; Zelek from Ammon; Naharai from Beeroth who carried Joab's weapons; Ira the Ithrite; Gareb the Ithrite; Uriah the Hittite; Zabad the son of Ahlai; Adina the son of Shiza, a leader in the Reuben tribe, and thirty of his soldiers; Hanan the son of Maacah; Joshaphat from Mithan; Uzzia from Ashterah; Shama and Jeiel the sons of Hotham from Aroer; Jediael and Joha the sons of Shimri from Tiz; Eliel from Mahavah; Jeribai and Joshaviah the sons of Elnaam; Ithmah from Moab; Eliel, Obed, and Jaasiel from Mezobah.
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Finally the people of Israel recognized what God had intended all along, and made David king following Saul's death. David had already been anointed by the prophet Samuel to become king soon after God withdrew His Spirit from Saul, and while David was still a youth. Meanwhile, David had repeatedly led Saul's army to victory before Saul became jealous and wanted to kill him. Through David's exile, while Saul chased him, he was refined by fire, further developing his character and his leadership abilities. When this day arrived and Israel came to David at Hebron and made him king, he had been uniquely prepared by God to rule Israel.

Not long after he became king, David took his army up against the city of Jerusalem, which was still in the hands of Canaanites, and took control of it, making it the "city of David," the royal city. Jerusalem was supposedly impenetrable, but David broke through with his army and seized the city. It was in this battle that Joab was first made commander-in-chief of David's army because he was the first to break through and kill a Jebusite.

Following the account of David seizing Jerusalem and building it up, a listing of his mighty men is given. Though this list is given at the beginning of David's reign, these men to came to him at various times throughout his career. Some were with him while he ran from Saul, others when he was made king in Hebron, and still others even later. This listing, along with the exploits of these men, gives a further sense of God's hand on David. The exploits of some of these men were superhuman, made possible only by God. God surrounded David by these great men to enable his success as king. And so it is when God gives any of us a mission. It is never a solo effort, but a team effort that God has put orchestrated.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 10

 1 Chronicles 10(Contemporary English Version)
  1. The Philistines fought against Israel in a battle at Mount Gilboa. Israel's soldiers ran from the Philistines, and many of them were killed.
  2. The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons and killed three of them: Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua.
  3. The fighting was fierce around Saul, and he was badly wounded by enemy arrows.
  4. Saul told the soldier who carried his weapons, "Kill me with your sword! I don't want those godless Philistines to torture and make fun of me." But the soldier was afraid to kill him. Then Saul stuck himself in the stomach with his own sword and fell on the blade.
  5. When the soldier realized that Saul was dead, he killed himself in the same way.
  6. Saul, three of his sons, and all his male relatives were dead.
  7. The Israelites who lived in Jezreel Valley learned that their army had run away and that Saul and his sons were dead. They ran away too, and the Philistines moved into the towns the Israelites left behind.
  8. The next day the Philistines came back to the battlefield to carry away the weapons of the dead Israelite soldiers. When they found the bodies of Saul and his sons on Mount Gilboa,
  9. they took Saul's weapons, pulled off his armor, and cut off his head. Then they sent messengers everywhere in Philistia to spread the news among their people and to thank the idols of their gods.
  10. They put Saul's armor in the temple of their gods and hung his head in the temple of their god Dagon.
  11. When the people who lived in Jabesh in Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul,
  12. some brave men went to get his body and the bodies of his three sons. The men brought the bodies back to Jabesh, where they buried them under an oak tree. Then for seven days, they went without eating to show their sorrow.
  13. Saul died because he was unfaithful and disobeyed the LORD. He even asked advice from a woman who talked to spirits of the dead,
  14. instead of asking the LORD. So the LORD had Saul killed and gave his kingdom to David, the son of Jesse.

Chapter 10 gives a brief summary of Saul's death, but no account of his life. This account of Saul's death provides a contrast between Saul, who was prematurely chosen as king at the insistence of the people, and David, who was God's intended king for Israel all along. Though Saul had a humble beginning as king, hiding in the baggage at the time of his anointing (1Samuel 10:22), he did not have the strength of character to handle the position and demands of a king. In the end, he abandoned God and turned to a medium for spiritual counsel rather than to the Lord.

When the people had insisted on a king, against God's counsel, it was God who anointed Saul to be king and whose Spirit empowered him to be king (1 Samuel10:9-10). But when the pressure became too great, he did not trust God but turned to sources he could physically see and hear. Since God had placed Saul in the position as king, He also removed him. Unfortunately, Saul was not the only one who suffered as a result of his bad choices. As only one example of this, his sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua died with him in battle on the same day that Saul died.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 9

 1 Chronicles 09(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Everyone in Israel was listed in the official family records that were included in the history of Israel's kings. The people of Judah were taken to Babylonia as prisoners because they sinned against the LORD.
  2. And the first people to return to their towns included priests, Levites, temple workers, and other Israelites.
  3. People from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh settled in Jerusalem.
  4. There were six hundred ninety people from the Judah tribe who settled in Jerusalem. They were all descendants of Judah's three sons: Perez, Shelah, and Zerah. Their leaders were Uthai, Asaiah, and Jeuel. Uthai was the son of Ammihud and a descendant of Omri, Imri, Bani, and Perez. Asaiah was a descendant of Shelah; Jeuel was a descendant of Zerah.
  5. (SEE 9:4)
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  7. There were also nine hundred fifty-six family leaders from the Benjamin tribe who settled in Jerusalem. They included: Sallu son of Meshullam, grandson of Hodaviah, and great-grandson of Hassenuah; Ibneiah son of Jeroham; Elah son of Uzzi and grandson of Michri; Meshullam son of Shephatiah, grandson of Reuel, and great-grandson of Ibnijah.
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  10. Here is a list of priests who settled in Jerusalem: Jedaiah; Jehoiarib; Jachin; Azariah, who was a temple official, and whose ancestors included Hilkiah, Meshullam, Zadok, Meraioth, and Ahitub; Adaiah son of Jeroham, whose ancestors included Pashhur and Malchijah; Maasai son of Adiel, whose ancestors included Jahzerah, Meshullam, Meshillemith, and Immer.
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  13. There was a total of 1,760 priests, all of them family leaders in their clan and trained in the work at the temple.
  14. Here is a list of Levites who settled in Jerusalem: Shemaiah from the Merari clan, whose ancestors included Hasshub, Azrikam, and Hashabiah; Bakbakkar; Heresh; Galal; Mattaniah son of Mica, whose ancestors included Zichri and Asaph; Obadiah son of Shemaiah, whose ancestors included Galal and Jeduthun; Berechiah son of Asa and grandson of Elkanah, who had lived in the villages near the town of Netophah.
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  17. Shallum, Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their relatives were the guards at the temple gates. Shallum was the leader of this clan,
  18. and for a long time they had been the guards at the King's Gate on the east side of the city. Before that, their ancestors guarded the entrance to the Levite camp.
  19. Shallum son of Kore, as well as the other men in the Korahite clan, guarded the entrance to the temple, just as their ancestors had guarded the entrance to the sacred tent.
  20. Phinehas son of Eleazar had supervised their work because the LORD was with him.
  21. Zechariah son of Meshelemiah was also one of the guards at the temple.
  22. There was a total of two hundred twelve guards, all of them listed in the family records in their towns. Their ancestors had been chosen by King David and by Samuel the prophet to be responsible for this work,
  23. and now they guarded the temple gates.
  24. There was one full-time guard appointed to each of the four sides of the temple.
  25. Their assistants lived in the villages outside the city, and every seven days a group of them would come into the city and take their turn at guard duty.
  26. The four full-time guards were Levites, and they supervised the other guards and were responsible for the rooms in the temple and the supplies kept there.
  27. They guarded the temple day and night and opened its doors every morning.
  28. Some of the Levites were responsible for the equipment used in worship at the temple, and they had to count everything before and after it was used.
  29. Others were responsible for the temple furnishings and its sacred objects, as well as the flour, wine, olive oil, incense, and spices.
  30. But only the priests could mix the spices.
  31. Mattithiah, Shallum's oldest son, was a member of the Levite clan of Korah, and he was in charge of baking the bread used for offerings.
  32. The Levites from the Kohath clan were in charge of baking the sacred loaves of bread for each Sabbath.
  33. The Levite family leaders who were the musicians also lived at the temple. They had no other responsibilities, because they were on duty day and night.
  34. All of these men were family leaders in the Levi tribe and were listed that way in their family records. They lived in Jerusalem.
  35. Jeiel had settled the town of Gibeon, where he and his wife Maacah lived.
  36. They had ten sons, who were born in the following order: Abdon, Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab,
  37. Gedor, Ahio, Zechariah, and Mikloth
  38. the father of Shimeam. Some of them went to live in Jerusalem near their relatives.
  39. Ner was the father of Kish and the grandfather of King Saul. Saul had four sons: Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Eshbaal.
  40. Jonathan was the father of Meribbaal, the grandfather of Micah, and the great-grandfather of Pithon, Melech, Tahrea, and Ahaz.
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  42. The descendants of Ahaz included Jarah, Alemeth, Azmaveth, Zimri, Moza, Binea, Rephaiah, Eleasah, and Azel and his six sons: Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan.
  43. (SEE 9:42)
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Chapter 8 concluded the genealogies of the families that first inhabited the land of Canaan. Chapter 9 now gives a genealogy of those who returned from Babylonian captivity. They were all people who had been residents of the southern kingdom of Judah. All were descendants of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh.

Those listed in the first nine verses all settled in Jerusalem upon their return and were heads of their ancestral houses, making them the political leaders of Judah. Verses 10-13 name those who were priests, "employed in the ministry of God's temple." Next, in verses 14-16, the Levites are named followed in verses 17-34 by those who were gatekeepers and others who had various responsibilities in the temple.

The closing verses, 35-44, give another genealogy of Saul's family in preparation for a recounting of Saul's death and the succession of David as king.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 8

 1 Chronicles 08(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Benjamin had five sons, who were born in the following order: Bela, Ashbel, Aharah,
  2. Nohah, and Rapha.
  3. Bela was the father of Addar, Gera, Abihud,
  4. Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah,
  5. Gera, Shephuphan, and Huram.
  6. Ehud was the father of Naaman, Ahijah, and Gera. They were clan leaders in the town of Geba, but were later forced to move to the town of Manahath, and Gera led the way. He had two sons: Uzza and Ahihud.
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  8. Shaharaim and his wife Hushim had two sons: Abitub and Elpaal. But Shaharaim later divorced her and his other wife, Baara. Then he moved to the country of Moab and married Hodesh, and they had seven sons: Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcam, Jeuz, Sachia, and Mirmah. They were all family leaders in his clan.
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  12. Elpaal was the father of Eber, Misham, and Shemed, who settled the towns of Ono and Lod, as well as the nearby villages.
  13. Beriah and Shema were family leaders in the clan that lived in the town of Aijalon and that forced out the people of Gath.
  14. Beriah's descendants included Ahio, Shashak, Jeremoth, Zebadiah, Arad, Eder, Michael, Ishpah, and Joha.
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  17. Elpaal's descendants included Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber, Ishmerai, Izliah, and Jobab.
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  19. Shimei's descendants included Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, Elienai, Zillethai, Eliel, Adaiah, Beraiah, and Shimrath.
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  22. Shashak's descendants included Ishpan, Eber, Eliel, Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, Hananiah, Elam, Anthothijah, Iphdeiah, and Penuel.
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  26. Jeroham's descendants included Shamsherai, Shehariah, Athaliah, Jaareshiah, Elijah, and Zichri.
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  28. These were the family leaders in their ancestor's clan, and they and their descendants lived in Jerusalem.
  29. Jeiel settled the town of Gibeon. He and his wife Maacah lived there
  30. along with their sons, who were born in the following order: Abdon, Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab,
  31. Gedor, Ahio, Zecher,
  32. and Mikloth the father of Shimeah. Some of them went to live in Jerusalem near their relatives.
  33. Ner was the father of Kish and the grandfather of King Saul. Saul had four sons: Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Eshbaal.
  34. Jonathan was the father of Meribbaal, the grandfather of Micah,
  35. and the great-grandfather of Pithon, Melech, Tarea, and Ahaz.
  36. Saul's other descendants were Jehoaddah, Alemeth, Azmaveth, Zimri, Moza,
  37. Binea, Raphah, Eleasah, Azel,
  38. as well as Azel's six sons: Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan.
  39. Azel's brother Eshek was the father of Ulam, Jeush, and Eliphelet.
  40. Ulam's sons were brave soldiers who were experts at using a bow and arrows. They had a total of one hundred fifty children and grandchildren. All of these belonged to the tribe of Benjamin.

A brief genealogy was given in chapter 7 of the tribe of Benjamin, but now in chapter 8 a more detailed listing is given. The presumed purpose being to trace the lineage of Saul who was Israel's first king. As mentioned previously, the purpose of Chronicles was to give a political and priestly history of Israel. So greatest attention has been given in the genealogies to the families of Judah, Levi, and now Benjamin.

David and his descendants were from the family of Judah which accounts for most of the kings of the combined Israel and of Judah, the southern kingdom. The family of Benjamin provides the genealogy for Saul, the first king of the combined Israel, and the family of Levi for the priests and Levites. Chapter 8 concludes the genealogies and chapter 9 will begin the historical accounts.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 7

 1 Chronicles 07(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Issachar was the father of four sons: Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron.
  2. Tola was the father of Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam, and Shemuel, who were all brave soldiers and family leaders in their clan. There were 22,600 people in Tola's family by the time David became king.
  3. Uzzi was the father of Izrahiah and the grandfather of Michael, Obadiah, Joel, and Isshiah, who were also family leaders.
  4. Their families were so large that they had 36,000 soldiers in their clans.
  5. In fact, according to family records, the tribe of Issachar had a total of 87,000 warriors.
  6. Benjamin was the father of three sons: Bela, Becher, and Jediael.
  7. Bela was the father of Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth, and Iri. They were all brave soldiers and family leaders in their father's clan. The number of soldiers in their clan was 22,034.
  8. Becher was the father of Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth, and Alemeth.
  9. The official family records listed 20,200 soldiers in the families of this clan, as well as their family leaders.
  10. Jediael was the father of Bilhan and the grandfather of Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish, and Ahishahar.
  11. They were family leaders in their clan, which had 17,200 soldiers prepared to fight in battle.
  12. Ir was the father of Shuppim and Huppim, who also belonged to this clan. Dan was the father of Hushim.
  13. Naphtali's mother was Bilhah, and he was the father of Jahziel, Guni, Jezer, and Shallum.
  14. Manasseh and his Syrian wife were the parents of Asriel and Machir the father of Gilead.
  15. Machir found a wife for Huppim and one for Shuppim. Machir had a sister named Maacah. Zelophehad was also a descendant of Manasseh, and he had five daughters.
  16. Machir and his wife Maacah were the parents of Peresh and Sheresh. Peresh was the father of Ulam and Rekem.
  17. Ulam was the father of Bedan. These were all descendants of Gilead, the son of Machir and the grandson of Manasseh.
  18. Gilead's sister Hammolecheth was the mother of Ishhod, Abiezer, and Mahlah.
  19. Shemida, another descendant of Manasseh, was the father of Ahian, Shechem, Likhi, and Aniam.
  20. Ephraim was the father of Shuthelah and the ancestor of Bered, Tahath, Eleadah, Tahath,
  21. Zabad, and Shuthelah. Ephraim had two other sons, Ezer and Elead. But they were killed when they tried to steal livestock from the people who lived in the territory of Gath.
  22. Ephraim mourned for his sons a long time, and his relatives came to comfort him.
  23. Some time later his wife gave birth to another son, and Ephraim named him Beriah, because he was born during a time of misery.
  24. Ephraim's daughter was Sheerah. She built the towns of Lower Beth-Horon, Upper Beth-Horon, and Uzzen-Sheerah.
  25. Ephraim also had a son named Rephah, and his descendants included Resheph, Telah, Tahan,
  26. Ladan, Ammihud, Elishama,
  27. Nun, and Joshua.
  28. The descendants of Ephraim took over the territory as far south as Bethel, as far east as Naaran, and as far west as Gezer. Their territory included all the villages around these towns, as well as Shechem, Ayyah, and the nearby villages.
  29. The descendants of Manasseh settled in the territory that included Beth-Shan, Taanach, Megiddo, Dor, and the nearby villages. The descendants of Joseph lived in these towns and villages.
  30. Asher had four sons, Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah, and one daughter, Serah.
  31. Beriah was the father of Heber and Malchiel the father of Birzaith.
  32. Heber was the father of three sons, Japhlet, Shomer, and Hotham, and one daughter, Shua.
  33. Japhlet was the father of Pasach, Bimhal, and Ashvath.
  34. Shomer was the father of Ahi, Rohgah, Hubbah, and Aram.
  35. And Japhlet's brother Hotham was the father of Zophah, Imna, Shelesh, and Amal.
  36. Zophah was the father of Suah, Harnepher, Shual, Beri, Imrah,
  37. Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran, and Beera.
  38. Jether was the father of Jephunneh, Pispa, and Ara.
  39. Ulla was the father of Arah, Hanniel, and Rizia.
  40. These were the descendants of Asher, and they were all respected family leaders and brave soldiers. The tribe of Asher had a total of 26,000 soldiers.

Chapter 7 of 1 Chronicles gives the genealogies of the six northern tribes of Israel, though the tribes of Dan and Zebulun are omitted. The six that are listed here are given in much less detail than were the tribes of Judah and Levi. The chronicler no doubt determined his listing of tribes according to his purpose in writing and that purpose was a political history of Israel along with a history of the priestly and Levitical religious institutions. This purpose helps us understand why the genealogies of the six tribes listed in this chapter is more brief than that of Judah and Levi, since there were no kings or priests from these tribes.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 6

 1 Chronicles 06(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Levi was the father of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
  2. Kohath was the father of Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
  3. Amram was the father of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. Aaron had four sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
  4. Eleazar's descendants included Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, Ahimaaz, Azariah, Johanan, Azariah the priest who served in the temple built by King Solomon, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, Shallum, Hilkiah, Azariah, Seraiah, and Jehozadak.
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  13. (SEE 6:4)
  14. (SEE 6:4)
  15. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia took Jehozadak to Babylon as prisoner when the LORD let the people of Judah and Jerusalem be dragged from their land.
  16. Levi's three sons had sons of their own.
  17. Gershon was the father of Libni and Shimei.
  18. Kohath was the father of Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
  19. Merari was the father of Mahli and Mushi. These descendants of Levi each became leaders of their own clans.
  20. Gershon's descendants included Libni, Jahath, Zimmah, Joah, Iddo, Zerah, and Jeatherai.
  21. (SEE 6:20)
  22. Kohath's descendants included Amminadab, Korah, Assir, Elkanah, Ebiasaph, Assir, Tahath, Uriel, Uzziah, and Shaul.
  23. (SEE 6:22)
  24. (SEE 6:22)
  25. Elkanah was the father of Amasai and Ahimoth.
  26. Ahimoth's descendants included Elkanah, Zophai, Nahath, Eliab, Jeroham, and Elkanah.
  27. (SEE 6:26)
  28. Samuel was the father of Joel and Abijah, born in that order.
  29. Merari's descendants included Mahli, Libni, Shimei, Uzzah, Shimea, Haggiah, and Asaiah.
  30. (SEE 6:29)
  31. After King David had the sacred chest moved to Jerusalem, he appointed musicians from the Levi tribe to be in charge of the music at the place of worship.
  32. These musicians served at the sacred tent and later at the LORD's temple that King Solomon built.
  33. Here is a list of these musicians and their family lines: Heman from the Kohathite clan was the director. His ancestors went all the way back to Jacob and included Joel, Samuel, Elkanah, Jeroham, Eliel, Toah, Zuph, Elkanah, Mahath, Amasai, Elkanah, Joel, Azariah, Zephaniah, Tahath, Assir, Ebiasaph, Korah, Izhar, Kohath, Levi.
  34. (SEE 6:33)
  35. (SEE 6:33)
  36. (SEE 6:33)
  37. (SEE 6:33)
  38. (SEE 6:33)
  39. Asaph was Heman's relative and served as his assistant. Asaph's ancestors included Berechiah, Shimea, Michael, Baaseiah, Malchijah, Ethni, Zerah, Adaiah, Ethan, Zimmah, Shimei, Jahath, Gershon, and Levi.
  40. (SEE 6:39)
  41. (SEE 6:39)
  42. (SEE 6:39)
  43. (SEE 6:39)
  44. Ethan was also Heman's relative and served as his assistant. Ethan belonged to the Merari clan, and his ancestors included Kishi, Abdi, Malluch, Hashabiah, Amaziah, Hilkiah, Amzi, Bani, Shemer, Mahli, Mushi, Merari, and Levi.
  45. (SEE 6:44)
  46. (SEE 6:44)
  47. (SEE 6:44)
  48. The rest of the Levites were appointed to work at the sacred tent.
  49. Only Aaron and his descendants were allowed to offer sacrifices and incense on the two altars at the sacred tent. They were in charge of the most holy place and the ceremonies to forgive sins, just as God's servant Moses had commanded.
  50. Aaron's descendants included his son Eleazar, Phinehas, Abishua, Bukki, Uzzi, Zerahiah, Meraioth, Amariah, Ahitub, Zadok, and Ahimaaz.
  51. (SEE 6:50)
  52. (SEE 6:50)
  53. (SEE 6:50)
  54. Aaron's descendants belonged to the Levite clan of Kohath, and they were the first group chosen to receive towns to live in.
  55. They received the town of Hebron in the territory of Judah and the pastureland around it.
  56. But the farmland and villages around Hebron were given to Caleb son of Jephunneh.
  57. So Aaron's descendants received the following Safe Towns and the pastureland around them: Hebron, Libnah, Jattir, Eshtemoa, Hilen, Debir, Ashan, and Beth-Shemesh.
  58. (SEE 6:57)
  59. (SEE 6:57)
  60. From the Benjamin tribe they were given the towns of Geba, Alemeth, and Anathoth and the pastureland around them. Thirteen towns were given to Aaron's descendants.
  61. The rest of the Levite clan of Kohath received ten towns from West Manasseh.
  62. The Levite clan of Gershon received thirteen towns from the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and East Manasseh in Bashan.
  63. The Levite clan of Merari received twelve towns from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.
  64. So the people of Israel gave the Levites towns to live in and the pastureland around them.
  65. All the towns were chosen with the LORD's help, including those towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin.
  66. Some of the families of the Kohath clan received their towns from the tribe of Ephraim.
  67. These families received the following Safe Towns and the pastureland around them: Shechem in the hill country, Gezer, Jokmeam, Beth-Horon, Aijalon, and Gath-Rimmon.
  68. (SEE 6:67)
  69. (SEE 6:67)
  70. And from West Manasseh they received Aner and Bileam, together with their pastureland.
  71. The Gershonite clan received two towns from the tribe of East Manasseh: Golan in Bashan and Ashtaroth, including the pastureland around them.
  72. The Gershonites also received four towns from the tribe of Issachar: Kedesh, Daberath, Ramoth, and Anem, including the pastureland around them.
  73. (SEE 6:72)
  74. The Gershonites received four towns from the tribe of Asher: Mashal, Abdon, Hukok, and Rehob, including the pastureland around them.
  75. (SEE 6:74)
  76. Finally, the Gershonites received three towns from the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee, Hammon, and Kiriathaim, including the pastureland around them.
  77. The rest of the Merari clan received the towns of Rimmono and Tabor and their pastureland from the tribe of Zebulun.
  78. They also received four towns east of the Jordan River from the tribe of Reuben: Bezer in the flatlands, Jahzah, Kedemoth, and Mephaath, including the pastures around them.
  79. (SEE 6:78)
  80. And from the tribe of Gad the Merarites received the towns of Ramoth in Gilead, Mahanaim, Heshbon, and Jazer, including the pastureland around them.
  81. (SEE 6:80)

Chapter 6 of 1 Chronicles lists the genealogy of the tribe of Levi, Jacob's (Israel's) third-born son. This genealogy is given in more detail possibly because it is the tribe from which came the priests of Israel. Since the priests had to come from the tribe of Levi, beginning with Aaron, it was important to keep a careful lineage.

The first 15 verses trace the descendants of Levi down through Aaron all the way to the Babylonian exile. Therefore, this list begins with Levi and then follows the line of his second son, Kohath, down through Aaron and his descendants.

Verses 16-30 go back to Levi and his three sons and again traces the lineage of his son, Kohath, this time tracing it to Samuel who was both a priest and a significant prophet in Israel.

Verses 31-48 give a third listing of the tribe of Levi, this time listing the musicians David put in charge of the music in the temple. A final listing of levites is given in verses 49-81 in which is given the places assigned the sons of Aaron as their inheritance in the new land given them in Canaan.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 5

 1 Chronicles 05(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Reuben was the oldest son of Jacob, but he lost his rights as the first-born son because he slept with one of his father's wives. The honor of the first-born son was then given to Joseph,
  2. even though it was the Judah tribe that became the most powerful and produced a leader.
  3. Reuben had four sons: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
  4. The descendants of Joel included Shemaiah, Gog, Shimei, Micah, Reaiah, Baal, and Beerah, a leader of the Reuben tribe. Later, King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria took Beerah away as prisoner.
  5. (SEE 5:4)
  6. (SEE 5:4)
  7. The family records also include Jeiel, who was a clan leader, Zechariah, and Bela son of Azaz and grandson of Shema of the Joel clan. They lived in the territory around the town of Aroer, as far north as Nebo and Baal-Meon,
  8. (SEE 5:7)
  9. and as far east as the desert just west of the Euphrates River. They needed this much land because they owned too many cattle to keep them all in Gilead.
  10. When Saul was king, the Reuben tribe attacked and defeated the Hagrites, then took over their land east of Gilead.
  11. The tribe of Gad lived in the region of Bashan, north of the Reuben tribe. Gad's territory extended all the way to the town of Salecah.
  12. Some of the clan leaders were Joel, Shapham, Janai, and Shaphat.
  13. Their relatives included Michael, Meshullam, Sheba, Jorai, Jacan, Zia, and Eber.
  14. They were all descendants of Abihail, whose family line went back through Huri, Jaroah, Gilead, Michael, Jeshishai, Jahdo, and Buz.
  15. Ahi, the son of Abdiel and the grandson of Guni, was the leader of their clan.
  16. The people of Gad lived in the towns in the regions of Bashan and Gilead, as well as in the pastureland of Sharon.
  17. Their family records were written when Jotham was king of Judah and Jeroboam was king of Israel.
  18. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh had 44,760 soldiers trained to fight in battle with shields, swords, bows, and arrows.
  19. They fought against the Hagrites and the tribes of Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab.
  20. Whenever these soldiers went to war against their enemies, they prayed to God and trusted him to help. That's why the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh defeated the Hagrites and their allies.
  21. These Israelite tribes captured fifty thousand camels, two hundred fifty thousand sheep, two thousand donkeys, and one hundred thousand people.
  22. Many of the Hagrites died in battle, because God was fighting this battle against them. The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh lived in that territory until they were taken as prisoners to Assyria.
  23. East Manasseh was a large tribe, so its people settled in the northern region of Bashan, as far north as Baal-Hermon, Senir, and Mount Hermon.
  24. Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah, and Jahdiel were their clan leaders; they were well-known leaders and brave soldiers.
  25. The people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh were unfaithful to the God their ancestors had worshiped, and they started worshiping the gods of the nations that God had forced out of Canaan.
  26. So God sent King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria to attack these Israelite tribes. The king led them away as prisoners to Assyria, and from then on, he forced them to live in Halah, Habor, Hara, and near the Gozan River.

The writer of 1 Chronicles is in the process of tracing the genealogies of the 12 sons of Israel (Jacob), and has thus far listed those of Judah and Simeon. Chapter 5 deals with the tribes that inherited land east of the Jordan - Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. These were not prominent tribes and little space is given them in the genealogy. While Reuben, as Israel's firstborn son, should have received the birthright and a double inheritance, he slept with his father's concubine and forfeited his birthright.

Since the inheritance of land for these tribes fell east of the Jordan, they were surrounded more by the heathen nations of the area than by their Israelite brothers. Exposed as they were to the idolatry of their heathen neighbors, they eventually embraced the idolatry. This, along with the fact they were more vulnerable to attack from other nations, caused them to be the first of the Israelite tribes to be taken into captivity by Assyria.

One of their good exploits is mentioned. In keeping with God's command to rid the land of the previous heathen inhabitants, they attacked the Hagrites living in the land and God handed the Hagrites over to them. The Hagarites are thought to be descendants of Hagar and a branch of the Ishmaelites.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 4

 1 Chronicles 04(Contemporary English Version)
  1. Judah was the father of five sons: Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal.
  2. Shobal was the father of Reaiah, the grandfather of Jahath, and the great-grandfather of Ahumai and Lahad. These men all belonged to the Zorathite clan.
  3. Hur was the oldest son of Caleb and Ephrath. Some of his descendants settled the town of Bethlehem. Hur's other descendants included Etam, Penuel, and Ezer. Etam's sons were Jezreel, Ishma, and Idbash, and his daughter was Hazzelelponi. Penuel settled the town of Gedor, and Ezer settled the town of Hushah.
  4. (SEE 4:3)
  5. Ashhur, who settled the town of Tekoa, had two wives: Helah and Naarah.
  6. Ashhur and Naarah were the parents of Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni, and Haahashtari.
  7. Ashhur and Helah were the parents of Zereth, Izhar, and Ethnan.
  8. Koz, the father of Anub and Zobebah, was also the ancestor of the clans of Aharhel, the son of Harum.
  9. Jabez was a man who got his name because of the pain he caused his mother during birth. But he was still the most respected son in his family.
  10. One day he prayed to Israel's God, "Please bless me and give me a lot of land. Be with me so I will be safe from harm." And God did just what Jabez had asked.
  11. Chelub was the brother of Shuhah and the father of Mehir. Later, Mehir had a son, Eshton,
  12. whose three sons were Bethrapha, Paseah, and Tehinnah. It was Tehinnah who settled the town of Nahash. These men and their families lived in the town of Recah.
  13. Kenaz was the father of Othniel and Seraiah. Othniel had two sons: Hathath and Meonothai,
  14. who was the father of Ophrah. Seraiah was the father of Joab, who settled a place called "Valley of Crafts" because the people who lived there were experts in making things.
  15. Caleb son of Jephunneh had three sons: Iru, Elah, and Naam. Elah was the father of Kenaz.
  16. Jehallelel was the father of Ziph, Ziphah, Tiria, and Asarel.
  17. Ezrah was the father of Jether, Mered, Epher, and Jalon. Mered was married to Bithiah the daughter of the king of Egypt. They had a daughter named Miriam and two sons: Shammai and Ishbah. It was Ishbah who settled the town of Eshtemoa. Mered was also married to a woman from the tribe of Judah, and their sons were Jered, Heber, and Jekuthiel. Jered settled the town of Gedor; Heber settled the town of Soco; and Jekuthiel settled the town of Zanoah.
  18. (SEE 4:17)
  19. A man named Hodiah was married to the sister of Naham. Hodiah's descendants included Keilah of the Garmite clan and Eshtemoa of the Maacathite clan.
  20. Shimon was the father of Amnon, Rinnah, Benhanan, and Tilon. Ishi was the father of Zoheth and Benzoheth.
  21. Judah also had a son named Shelah, whose descendants included Jokim and the people of the town of Cozeba, as well as Er who settled the town of Lecah and Laadah who settled the town of Mareshah. The people who lived in Beth-Ashbea were also descendants of Shelah, and they were experts in weaving cloth. Shelah was the ancestor of Joash and Saraph, two men who married Moabite women and then settled near Bethlehem --but these family records are very old.
  22. (SEE 4:21)
  23. The members of these clans were the potters who lived in the towns of Netaim and Gederah and worked for the king.
  24. Simeon had five sons: Nemuel, Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul.
  25. The descendants of Shaul included his son Shallum, his grandson Mibsam, and his great-grandson Mishma.
  26. The descendants of Mishma included his son Hammuel, his grandson Zaccur, and his great-grandson Shimei.
  27. Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters. But his brothers did not have as many children, so the Simeon tribe was smaller than the Judah tribe.
  28. Before David became king, the people of the Simeon tribe lived in the following towns: Beersheba, Moladah, Hazar-Shual, Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth-Marcaboth, Hazarsusim, Bethbiri, and Shaaraim.
  29. (SEE 4:28)
  30. (SEE 4:28)
  31. (SEE 4:28)
  32. They also lived in the five villages of Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen, and Ashan,
  33. as well as in the nearby villages as far as the town of Baal. These are the places where Simeon's descendants had settled, according to their own family records.
  34. As their families and clans became larger, the people of Simeon had the following leaders: Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah son of Amaziah, Joel, Jehu, Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, and Ziza.
  35. (SEE 4:34)
  36. (SEE 4:34)
  37. (SEE 4:34)
  38. (SEE 4:34)
  39. When the people needed more pastureland for their flocks and herds, they looked as far as the eastern side of the valley where the town of Gerar is located,
  40. and they found a lot of good pastureland that was quiet and undisturbed. This had once belonged to the Hamites,
  41. but when Hezekiah was king of Judah, the descendants of Simeon attacked and forced the Hamites and Meunites off the land, then settled there.
  42. Some time later, five hundred men from the Simeon tribe went into Edom under the command of Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah, and Uzziel the sons of Ishi.
  43. They killed the last of the Amalekites and lived there from then on.

After showing how the geneology of Judah led to king David, the chronicler returned in chapter 4 to list the other sons of Judah. The tribe of Judah was the largest and most prominent tribe of Israel. After tracing this tribe he moves on in verses 24-43 to pick up the geneology of the tribe of Simeon.

A couple of notes of interest are mentioned in regard to Judah's family, but none with Simeon's. For instance, one of Judah's sons, Mered, married the daughter of an Egyptian Pharoah, Bethiah, who is the only woman mentioned by name in the geneology. Also a note of interest is made in regard to Jabez who is said to have been "more honorable than his brothers." (4:9) We are not told in what ways he was more honorable, but it no doubt had to do with his dedication to the Lord. His prayer is mentioned in which he asked God to bless him, to extend his territory, and to keep him from harm. His motivation, at least in part, was that he would not "cause any pain." (4:10) We are told that God granted his request.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Reflections on 1 Chronicles 3

 1 Chronicles 03(Contemporary English Version)
  1. King David ruled from Hebron for seven years and six months, and during that time he had six sons, who were born in the following order: Amnon, Daniel, Absalom, Adonijah, Shephatiah, and Ithream. Ahinoam from Jezreel was the mother of Amnon; Abigail from Carmel was the mother of Daniel; Maacah daughter of King Talmai of Geshur was the mother of Absalom; Haggith was the mother of Adonijah; Abital was the mother of Shephatiah; and Eglah was the mother of Ithream. David then ruled from Jerusalem for thirty-three years,
  2. (SEE 3:1)
  3. (SEE 3:1)
  4. (SEE 3:1)
  5. and during that time, he had thirteen more sons. His wife Bathsheba daughter of Ammiel gave birth to Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon.
  6. David's other sons included Ibhar, Elishua, Eliphelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet.
  7. (SEE 3:6)
  8. (SEE 3:6)
  9. David's other wives also gave birth to sons. Tamar was his daughter.
  10. Solomon's descendants included the following kings: Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, Azariah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, and Josiah and his four sons, Johanan, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, and Jehoahaz.
  11. (SEE 3:10)
  12. (SEE 3:10)
  13. (SEE 3:10)
  14. (SEE 3:10)
  15. (SEE 3:10)
  16. Jehoiakim was the father of Jehoiachin and Zedekiah.
  17. Jehoiachin, who was taken to Babylon as a prisoner, had seven sons: Shealtiel,
  18. Malchiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah.
  19. Pedaiah had two sons: Zerubbabel and Shimei. Zerubbabel was the father of Meshullam, Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister.
  20. He also had five other sons: Hashubah, Ohel, Berechiah, Hasadiah, and Jushabhesed.
  21. Hananiah's descendants were Pelatiah, Jeshaiah, Rephaiah, Arnan, Obadiah, and Shecaniah,
  22. the father of Shemaiah and the grandfather of Hattush, Igal, Bariah, Neariah, and Shaphat.
  23. Neariah was the father of Elioenai, Hizkiah, and Azrikam.
  24. Elioenai was the father of Hodaviah, Eliashib, Pelaiah, Akkub, Johanan, Delaiah, and Anani.

Finally the genealogy comes to David and his descendants. His sons and their sons are listed down through the last of Judah's kings. Having traced the genealogy from Adam to David, and from David to the end of line of Judah's kings, the chronicler returns, in the next chapter, to Judah.