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Bible: What Does 1 Chronicles 12-17 Teach Us About the Reign of David?

Updated on September 15, 2016



Warriors Join David's Army

Ambidextrous Benjamite warriors join David as he still flees from Saul (vv. 1-7).

In addition, Gadites, brave and swift men of battle, defend the wilderness stronghold with the king (vv. 8-15).

When David encounters men of Benjamin and Judah, not knowing their intentions, he announces his position toward them up front (vv. 16-17).

Amasai, Spirit-directed, declares for his men their peaceful desires (v. 18), and the king welcomes them all into his growing army.

Others from Manasseh defect to David at Ziklag, and help him greatly against raiders (vv. 20-22).

Earlier, however, when the king joined with the Philistines to fight Saul, these men did not help him (v. 21).

The chronicler then lists the number of warriors from each tribe (and certain individual family groups) which came to David at Hebron:

(1) Judah [6,800];

(2) Simeon [7,100];

(3) Levi [4,600];

(4) Jehoiada (Aaronites) [3,700];

(5) Zadok (22 captains);

(6) Benjamin [3,000];

(7) Ephraim [20,800];

(8) half-tribe of Manasseh [18,000];

(9) Issachar [200 chiefs, wise of heart];

(10) Zebulun [50,000 strong];

(11) Naphtali [1,000 captains, 37,000 men];

(12) Dan [28,600];

(13) Asher [40,000];

(14) Reuben, Gad, and half-tribe of Manasseh [120,000].

Three days these loyal men spend partying joyfully with David; Israelites from many areas keep bringing provisions for them all (vv. 38-40).

The Ark of the Covenant


1 Chronicles 13

Very similar to 2 Samuel 6:1-11, this passage (vv. 1-14) includes an additional command from David to leaders and congregation alike to bring back the ark (vv. 1-4; cf. 6:1).

The chronicler also provides the extent of David's reach in that day (v. 5).

In fact, his language throughout the record differs only slightly from that of the author of 2 Samuel, but tells essentially the same story.

[The details are too numerous to mention, but one especially requires explanation.

The author of 2 Samuel writes that the Israelites took the ark to Nachon's threshing floor (v. 6), while the chronicler records the site as Chidon's floor (v. 9).

Does this person have alternate spellings for his name, or did the floor have multiple owners?]

1 Chronicles 14

Appearing also in 2 Samuel 5:11-25 in essentially the same form, the account here reviews Hiram's offer to build David a house (v. 1), records the names of David's new wives and children (vv. 3-7), and reports his defeat of the Philistines at Baal Perazim (vv. 8-12) and on another occasion (vv. 13-17).

At both times of battle the king inquires of the LORD, and He makes him victorious.

Michal and David


Responsible to Carry the Ark

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1 Chronicles 15

After building houses for himself in Jerusalem and pitching a tent for the ark, David commands that only the divinely designated Levites should carry God's "home" (vv. 1-2).

Then all Israel assembles to bring it up to its new resting place (v. 3).

"Aaronites" and various Levites gather themselves to David (vv. 4-11), and the king instructs their heads that only they may bring up the ark.

He also tells them that they must perform their duty the right way, not as they did it the first time (vv.12-15; cf. 2 Sam. 6:6-8).

David instructs the Levites to appoint musicians and other helpers--singers, cymbalists, stringed instrumentalists, and gatekeepers-- to do the work of the ministry (vv. 16-24).

Once organized, everyone present joyfully proceeds with the ark from Obed-Edom's house.

At the proper time the Levites, having carried the ark so far, pause to offer sacrifices (vv. 25-26).

A grand celebration ensues, complete with song and dance.

Watching her husband David "carry on" causes Michal to despise him in her heart (vv. 27-29; cf. 2 Sam. 6:16).

[The more complete, personal story of Michal appears in Samuel's account].

The Tabernacle


1 Chronicles 16

After placing the ark in the tabernacle and joining the people in sacrifice, David gives a present to every man and woman (vv. 1-3; cf. 2 Sam. 6:17-19).

Then the musicians begin their service before the LORD (vv. 4-6), playing and singing four separate sections from three of David's psalms: vv. 8-22 [cf. Ps. 105:1-15]; vv. 23-33 [cf. Ps. 96:1-13]; v. 34 [cf. Ps. 106:1]; vv. 35, 36 [Ps. 106:47, 48].

The king allows these men to minister regularly before the Ark of the Covenant, sacrificing burnt offerings, giving thanks, and playing music (vv. 37-43).

Textual Divergences: Proof of Error?

Do differences in the text prove the inaccuracy of Scripture?

See results

1 Chronicles 17

Again, a comparison of a chapter in Chronicles with one in 2 Samuel yields virtual identity, except for a few added words and changes in tense.

Some of the differences follow:

(1) 2 Samuel 7:1 reads that God had given David rest from all his enemies; Chronicles does not even mention that fact.

(2) One verse appears in a question form which implies negation (7:5), whereas the other records a simple negation (17:4).

(3) The account in 2 Samuel 7:7 does not specify the "anyone'' whom God commanded to shepherd Israel; the chronicler, however, points out that that "anyone" was the judges (17:6).

(4) Samuel mentions that God will chasten David's son with the rod of men (7:14), but the Chronicles deletes this detail.

(5) The earlier book states the name of the one from whom God took away mercy (Saul) [v. 15]; the word is missing from the text of Chronicles (17:13).

(6) Samuel contains an enigmatic phrase at the end of verse nineteen; Chronicles clarifies what David meant (17:17).

© 2014 glynch1


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