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Bible: What Does 1 Chronicles 18-22 Teach Us About Events in David's Reign?
Additions and Differences
Close scrutiny of the texts in both 2 Samuel 8 and here reveals several interesting additions and differences.
Some differences involve a simple change of name: Metheg Ammah (8:1) and Gath (18:1); Toi and Joram (8:9, 10), and Tou and Hadoram (18:9, 10); David (8:13) and Abishai (18:12); Seraiah (8:17) and Shavsha (18:16); Betah and Berothai (8:8), and Tibhath and Chun (18:8).
Another alteration manifests an apparent discrepancy in numbers: seven hundred horsemen (8:4) and seven thousand horsemen (18:4).
[In any event, every detail can receive an adequate explanation; no real reason exists to question the Scripture's veracity].
Of more significance, perhaps, are two verses, one found in each book which does not appear in the other.
2 Samuel 8:2 records the procedure David used to choose which Moabites he would put to death and which he would preserve alive.
Chronicles omits this reference, perhaps because recording it did not fit into the writer's style or purpose.
More to the chronicler's predilection is his reporting of Solomon's use of the bronze that David confiscated from cities of Hadadezer to make the Sea, the pillars, and the articles of bronze for the temple (18:8).
Samuel does not bother with such minutiae.
The Texts of Old Testament Scripture
1 Chronicles 19
The differences between this chapter and 2 Samuel 10 are minuscule, primarily involving the deletion or addition of names, the arrangement of words, and a discrepancy about the number of charioteers and infantry which David killed (19:18; cf. 2 Sam.10:18).
The chronicler, however, does include a reference that Samuel does not.
Apparently after shaming David's men and incurring the ire of the king, Ammon hired thirty-two thousand chariots from the king of Maacah (v. 7).
1 Chronicles 20
Beginning his account in the same way as Samuel started his (v. 1; cf. 2 Samuel 11:1), the compiler of the Chronicles ignores the more personal story of David and Bathsheba, treating it as irrelevant to his purpose (see 2 Samuel 11:2-12:25), and focuses on the aftermath of Joab's defeat of Rabbah, where the king confiscates the booty and sentences the Ammonites to slave labor (vv. 2-3; cf. 2 Sam. 12:30-31).
Consistent with his methodology, he proceeds to leap over the Ammon-Tamar affair (see 2 Samuel 13:1-22), David's dealings with Absalom (13:23-18:33), and the king's return to Jerusalem and his diplomatic gestures (19:1-21:14), and reports the demise of Philistine giants (vv. 4-8: cf. 2 Samuel 21:18-22).
Sovereignty and Human Will
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1 Chronicles 21
A comparison of the two parallel accounts of David's census reveals a compelling insight into the sovereignty of God and the freedom of His dependent creatures.
The chronicler reports that Satan instigated David to act proudly and order the census (v. 1), whereas Samuel writes that the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel (for some unspecified reason), and He moved David against them (24:1).
Undoubtedly, God used both Satan and David to accomplish His will to judge Israel; yet His instruments are guilty, not He.
Samuel records in considerable detail where Joab and his captains took the census (vv. 5-8); the chronicler, however, merely records the general's return with the number (v. 5).
Interestingly enough, another number discrepancy exists between Samuel and the chronicler (see 24:9; 21:5, 6).
Still another difficulty with numbers appears regarding how many years of famine which the LORD gave as one of the options for Israel's punishment (21:12; 24:13).
[Gleason Archer in his Old Testament Introduction offers reasonable explanations for such textual problems].
The plague episode also contains some divergences:
(1) The chronicler writes that the Angel of the LORD would destroy (21:12), but Samuel only refers to Him later (24:16);
(2) The owner of the threshing floor in Samuel is Araunah the Jebusite; it is Ornan in Chronicles (24:16; 21:15);
(3) Chronicles includes not only more details (what David saw, who accompanied him, what they all did), but a lengthier conversation between David and God than does Samuel (21:16-17; 24:17).
David's encounter with Ornan also sees more action in Chronicles than in 2 Samuel (vv. 20-30).
Chronicles records that Ornan had four sons who hid themselves when they saw David coming, but that the father kept threshing; Samuel does not (v. 20).
God answers David's sacrificial offerings by providing a display of fire in Chronicles, but not in Samuel (v. 26).
Finally, the chronicler mentions David's fear of traveling to Gibeon to sacrifice there because of the Angel (vv. 28-30); no such word appears in Samuel.
[Again, a problem with numbers surfaces regarding how much the king paid Ornan/Araunah for his floor and the oxen (21:25; 24:24)].
The Wise King Solomon
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1 Chronicles 22
Having become aware that God would not allow him to build the temple (v. 8), David, while perhaps poring over blueprints (v. 1), decides to prepare vast amounts of raw materials—large, hewn stones (v. 2), iron, bronze, and cedar trees (vv. 3-4)—for young Solomon, his peaceful son, to use in the construction of the LORD's magnificent house (v. 5).
David charges the prince—a neophyte in such matters, but a quick learner—to build the temple, informing him of the revelation that he had received about a "man of rest" who would complete the great work (vv. 6,9).
Thus he blesses Solomon, asking God to grant the youth wisdom and understanding, and the good sense to follow the LORD's Law.
David knows that only then will his son prosper and his throne be established (vv. 10-12).
With a final exhortation, David endeavors to encourage his son in the work, telling Solomon of his extensive preparations (vv. 13-16).
The king also orders Israel's leaders to help him, since their land is at peace (vv. 17-18).
Spiritual preparation is necessary to carry out the holy task of building God's house (v. 19).
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