1 Chronicles
Introduction 1-13 The Victories of David 14-17 Reign and Officials of David
Introduction

In the previous chapter we are in the sanctuary. In the chapter we have before us now, we find ourselves in the battle outside the sanctuary. When David has been with God in the sanctuary, he comes out strengthened and can gain victories over the enemies. David spreads to all sides the glory of Israel and of his reign. He is an example of the Lord Jesus in this. When the Lord Jesus comes out of the sanctuary, He will subdue and judge all His enemies and establish His kingdom on all the earth.

The contents of this chapter can also be found in 2 Samuel 8. Following the events described in this chapter, David wrote Psalm 60 (Psa 60:1-21For the choir director; according to Shushan Eduth. A Mikhtam of David, to teach; when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and Joab returned, and smote twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt.
O God, You have rejected us. You have broken us;
You have been angry; O, restore us.
2You have made the land quake, You have split it open;
Heal its breaches, for it totters.
).

The record of David’s victories must have been a great encouragement for the returned exiles. They too have to deal with all kinds of opponents. They return from exile in a country that has remained untended for seventy years. David owes his victories not to himself, but to God. It is to that God that the heart of the remnant is directed above all. Whom He has been for David He is also for them. For them and for us, “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:88Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday and today and forever.).


The Victories of David

1Now after this it came about that David defeated the Philistines and subdued them and took Gath and its towns from the hand of the Philistines. 2He defeated Moab, and the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute. 3David also defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah [as far as] Hamath, as he went to establish his rule to the Euphrates River. 4David took from him 1,000 chariots and 7,000 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers, and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but reserved [enough] of them for 100 chariots. 5When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 men of the Arameans. 6Then David put [garrisons] among the Arameans of Damascus; and the Arameans became servants to David, bringing tribute. And the LORD helped David wherever he went. 7David took the shields of gold which were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. 8Also from Tibhath and from Cun, cities of Hadadezer, David took a very large amount of bronze, with which Solomon made the bronze sea and the pillars and the bronze utensils. 9Now when Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer king of Zobah, 10he sent Hadoram his son to King David to greet him and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and had defeated him; for Hadadezer had been at war with Tou. And [Hadoram brought] all kinds of articles of gold and silver and bronze. 11King David also dedicated these to the LORD with the silver and the gold which he had carried away from all the nations: from Edom, Moab, the sons of Ammon, the Philistines, and from Amalek. 12Moreover Abishai the son of Zeruiah defeated 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 13Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the LORD helped David wherever he went.

David successively conquers the Philistines in the west (verse 11Now after this it came about that David defeated the Philistines and subdued them and took Gath and its towns from the hand of the Philistines.), the Moabites in the east (verse 22He defeated Moab, and the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute.), the king of Zoba and the Arameans, or Syrians, in the north (verses 3-113David also defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah [as far as] Hamath, as he went to establish his rule to the Euphrates River.4David took from him 1,000 chariots and 7,000 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers, and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but reserved [enough] of them for 100 chariots.5When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 men of the Arameans.6Then David put [garrisons] among the Arameans of Damascus; and the Arameans became servants to David, bringing tribute. And the LORD helped David wherever he went.7David took the shields of gold which were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem.8Also from Tibhath and from Cun, cities of Hadadezer, David took a very large amount of bronze, with which Solomon made the bronze sea and the pillars and the bronze utensils.9Now when Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer king of Zobah,10he sent Hadoram his son to King David to greet him and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and had defeated him; for Hadadezer had been at war with Tou. And [Hadoram brought] all kinds of articles of gold and silver and bronze.11King David also dedicated these to the LORD with the silver and the gold which he had carried away from all the nations: from Edom, Moab, the sons of Ammon, the Philistines, and from Amalek.) and the Edomites in the south (verses 12-1312Moreover Abishai the son of Zeruiah defeated 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.13Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the LORD helped David wherever he went.). He is successful because the LORD is with him (verses 6,136Then David put [garrisons] among the Arameans of Damascus; and the Arameans became servants to David, bringing tribute. And the LORD helped David wherever he went.13Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the LORD helped David wherever he went.), for the LORD is always with the one who is with Him.

That does not mean that the victories are just handed over to David. He really has to fight hard for it. To wage these wars he also had a hard training school during the time he was on the run from Saul. The Lord also gives us victory, but He does so only if we are fully committed to Him.

By defeating the Philistines (verse 11Now after this it came about that David defeated the Philistines and subdued them and took Gath and its towns from the hand of the Philistines.) David subdues an enemy who has been a plague to Israel for many years, already from the time of the judges. They even distressed Saul so much that he committed suicide and they killed his sons (1Sam 31:1-61Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa.2The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines killed Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua the sons of Saul.3The battle went heavily against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was badly wounded by the archers.4Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me through and make sport of me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it.5When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword and died with him.6Thus Saul died with his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men on that day together.). The Philistines have also conquered cities of Israel and started to live there themselves (1Chr 10:77When all the men of Israel who were in the valley saw that they had fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook their cities and fled; and the Philistines came and lived in them.). David breaks their power. By taking Gath and its towns out of the power of the Philistines, he now conquers cities instead of the other way around. Later on the killing of some of the remaining giants is reported (1Chr 20:4-84Now it came about after this, that war broke out at Gezer with the Philistines; then Sibbecai the Hushathite killed Sippai, one of the descendants of the giants, and they were subdued.5And there was war with the Philistines again, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear [was] like a weaver’s beam.6Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of [great] stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six [fingers on each hand] and six [toes on each foot]; and he also was descended from the giants.7When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, killed him.8These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.).

David also defeats the Moabites (verse 22He defeated Moab, and the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute.). Just like about defeating the Philistines, the chronicler is brief about that. He devotes only one verse to it, as well as to the defeat of the Philistines. The result is that the Moabites serve David and have to bring him tribute. In so doing David continues to wipe exercise his power over them, thereby averting the danger that they again will develop into a dangerous power apart from him.

The moment Hadadezer, the king of Zoba, wants to establish his power, David defeats him (verse 33David also defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah [as far as] Hamath, as he went to establish his rule to the Euphrates River.). He makes the enemy prisoners and he makes the means on which they have trusted powerless (verse 44David took from him 1,000 chariots and 7,000 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers, and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but reserved [enough] of them for 100 chariots.). If the enemies unite to fight against David together, that unification is only like the gathering of “sheaves to the threshing floor” (verse 55When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 men of the Arameans.; Mic 4:11-1211“And now many nations have been assembled against you
Who say, ‘Let her be polluted,
And let our eyes gloat over Zion.’
12“But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD,
And they do not understand His purpose;
For He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.
). David doesn’t have to fight against all these realms separately, but can defeat them in one war.

The rich booty of bronze from this battle will be used for the construction of the temple (verse 88Also from Tibhath and from Cun, cities of Hadadezer, David took a very large amount of bronze, with which Solomon made the bronze sea and the pillars and the bronze utensils.). “King David” – David twice emphatically is called king (verses 10-1110he sent Hadoram his son to King David to greet him and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and had defeated him; for Hadadezer had been at war with Tou. And [Hadoram brought] all kinds of articles of gold and silver and bronze.11King David also dedicated these to the LORD with the silver and the gold which he had carried away from all the nations: from Edom, Moab, the sons of Ammon, the Philistines, and from Amalek.) – sanctifies for the LORD both what he has received in gifts and what he has conquered in booty, to be used for the construction and decoration of the temple.

By defeating Hadadezer David gives reason for joy to Tou, the king of Hamath (verses 9-119Now when Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer king of Zobah,10he sent Hadoram his son to King David to greet him and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and had defeated him; for Hadadezer had been at war with Tou. And [Hadoram brought] all kinds of articles of gold and silver and bronze.11King David also dedicated these to the LORD with the silver and the gold which he had carried away from all the nations: from Edom, Moab, the sons of Ammon, the Philistines, and from Amalek.). Defeating enemies has therefore a richer effect than just personal joy. Just as failure has evil consequences for others (1Chr 13:6-106David and all Israel went up to Baalah, [that is], to Kiriath-jearim, which belongs to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, the LORD who is enthroned [above] the cherubim, where His name is called.7They carried the ark of God on a new cart from the house of Abinadab, and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart.8David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all [their] might, even with songs and with lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals and with trumpets.9When they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, because the oxen nearly upset [it].10The anger of the LORD burned against Uzza, so He struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.), so a victory in the power of God has good effect for others. It is wise of Tou to thank David for that. It is an example for us to make sure we become friends with those of whom we see that God is with them.

The literal enemies of David and Israel represent spiritual enemies for us. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers in the heavenly places (Eph 6:1212For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual [forces] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].). It is good to realize that in ourselves there is no strength to overcome any enemy. Just as there are various enemies of David, so the sin, using the evil powers in the heavenly realms, has many manifestations, such as jealousy and pride.

All these manifestations are enemies who want to influence our lives. The Lord wants to give us the strength to overcome those enemies. The armor of God is given to us for this (Eph 6:13-1813Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.14Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,15and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil [one].17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,). If we have put it on, without forgetting one part, we will remain standing.

David also puts “garrisons” in two hostile territories. He does so in Aram, or Syria (verse 66Then David put [garrisons] among the Arameans of Damascus; and the Arameans became servants to David, bringing tribute. And the LORD helped David wherever he went.), and in Edom (verse 1313Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the LORD helped David wherever he went.). This teaches us that once an enemy has been defeated, it must be kept down. A defeated enemy must not be given the chance to get up again.

We can also see these two enemies in a different way. Syria represents an enemy who wants to take away the blessings of the land, he comes to take them from us. In practice, this means that, for example, we cannot enjoy the Lord’s things through all kinds of pressure. Edom, that is Esau, is known for not being interested in the blessing of the land at all. It is the indifference to the things of God that can also bother us. Edom represents the flesh that is only interested in here-and-now (Gen 25:29-3429When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished;30and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom.31But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.”32Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what [use] then is the birthright to me?”33And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.34Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.). It must be subdued, for on the cross God “condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:33For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God [did]: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and [as an offering] for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,).


Reign and Officials of David

14So David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and righteousness for all his people. 15Joab the son of Zeruiah [was] over the army, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud [was] recorder; 16and Zadok the son of Ahitub and Abimelech the son of Abiathar [were] priests, and Shavsha [was] secretary; 17and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada [was] over the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and the sons of David [were] chiefs at the king’s side.

We see in these verses that David also provides peace internally by maintaining the law. He provides a good army, because he realizes that, although all his enemies have been overcome, they continue to pose a threat. The army is not only there to maintain the peace towards the peoples around them, it is also used to maintain peace among the members of the people themselves. Also internally there must be no outbreak of revolt. God gives man power, not so that man himself becomes great as a result, but so that he may do good with it. David’s reign responds to this.

If we apply this to the life of the church, the lesson is that even when there are tensions between them, the true David is ready to restore peace and rest. The Lord Jesus has an ‘army’, which are His gifts to the church (Eph 4:11-1211And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers,12for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;). They give indications that the tensions may disappear.

An example of these tensions and how they are removed can be seen from the very beginning of the church (Acts 6:1-61Now at this time while the disciples were increasing [in number], a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic [Jews] against the [native] Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving [of food].2So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.3Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”5The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.6And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.). There we read that a group of believers feel disadvantaged. They believe that, compared to others, they do not get enough. If this grumble does not disappear quickly, it will have a devastating effect on the church. The ‘army’ of the Lord Jesus, the apostles, comes with the solution, by which the grumble stops. This solution does not lie in the use of violence, but in meeting the complainants wherever possible.

Such a solution requires a spiritual attitude, that is to say the mind of the Lord Jesus. Each of us has a responsibility to ensure that in our own lives and in the church of God the right of God is upheld, which means obeying what He says in His Word. This cannot happen by force or violence, but by the Spirit, who works in leaders whom the Lord has given. These leaders are not officially appointed persons. There is no such thing in the Bible in relation to the church. They are servants trained and formed by the Lord in the school of life. We are warned to obey them and to be submitted to them (Heb 13:1717Obey your leaders and submit [to them], for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.).


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