The chronicler concludes his description of David’s life with the words: “Now David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel” (verse 2626Now David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel.). This review of David’s life and also the description of his death are consistent with the purpose of the books of Chronicles, which describes history as God likes to remember it, that is to say, history as it proceeds according to His purposes. David’s failure at the end of his life is also ignored here. The greatest possible fullness of life lies behind him and we see a son succeeding him. This wonderful way of saying goodbye to life is rare in the Old Testament.
It is remarkable that the mention “David the son of Jesse” appears both here and at the beginning of the description of David’s reign (1Chr 10:1414and did not inquire of the LORD. Therefore He killed him and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.). The description of David’s life seems to have been wrapped up by these two mentions.
He reigned a total of forty years (verse 2727The period which he reigned over Israel [was] forty years; he reigned in Hebron seven years and in Jerusalem thirty-three [years].), just like Saul. Solomon will also reign for forty years. The number forty is the number of trial. Saul, David, and Solomon were given the same period of trial, regardless of their character.
Everything in David’s life and death speaks of God’s “the faithful mercies shown to David” (Isa 55:33“Incline your ear and come to Me.
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
[According to] the faithful mercies shown to David.
). They are not limited to his life and death. Paul quotes this verse to show that these proofs of grace are also seen from the dead in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Acts 13:3434[As for the fact] that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY [and] SURE [blessings] OF DAVID.’). In the true Son of David and His reign all that is shown to David finds his fulfillment. David is waiting for that fulfillment, as well as all who have died in faith in God’s promises.
David dies “in a ripe old age, full of days, riches and honor” (verse 2828Then he died in a ripe old age, full of days, riches and honor; and his son Solomon reigned in his place.). This means that by all that God has given to Solomon (verse 2525The LORD highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him royal majesty which had not been on any king before him in Israel.) and that which he himself has given to God’s house, he has not become less and poorer. If we look at the end of David, it is hard to say what shines brighter here: the setting or rising sun.
To conclude the description of David’s life, the author of the books of Chronicles indicates from which sources he drew, led by God’s Spirit (verse 2929Now the acts of King David, from first to last, are written in the chronicles of Samuel the seer, in the chronicles of Nathan the prophet and in the chronicles of Gad the seer,). He refers to three prophets who wrote down David’s life: the seer Samuel, the prophet Nathan and the seer Gad. In their histories they have written about David’s kingdom and power, and about the events of him, of Israel, and of the other kingdoms (verse 3030with all his reign, his power, and the circumstances which came on him, on Israel, and on all the kingdoms of the lands.).
The mentioned writings (verse 2929Now the acts of King David, from first to last, are written in the chronicles of Samuel the seer, in the chronicles of Nathan the prophet and in the chronicles of Gad the seer,) have not been preserved. Samuel anointed David as king (1Sam 16:1313Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.). Nathan speaks to David on behalf of God about the building of the temple (1Chr 17:1-151And it came about, when David dwelt in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, “Behold, I am dwelling in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under curtains.”2Then Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.”3It came about the same night that the word of God came to Nathan, saying,4“Go and tell David My servant, ‘Thus says the LORD, “You shall not build a house for Me to dwell in;5for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up Israel to this day, but I have gone from tent to tent and from [one] dwelling place [to another].6In all places where I have walked with all Israel, have I spoken a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people, saying, ‘Why have you not built for Me a house of cedar?’”‘7Now, therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader over My people Israel.8I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a name like the name of the great ones who are in the earth.9I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and not be moved again; and the wicked will not waste them anymore as formerly,10even from the day that I commanded judges [to be] over My people Israel. And I will subdue all your enemies. Moreover, I tell you that the LORD will build a house for you.11When your days are fulfilled that you must go [to be] with your fathers, that I will set up [one of] your descendants after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom.12He shall build for Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever.13I will be his father and he shall be My son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him who was before you.14But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.”‘“15According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.; 2Sam 7:1-171Now it came about when the king lived in his house, and the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies,2that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.”3Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your mind, for the LORD is with you.”4But in the same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying,5“Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in?6For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle.7Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”‘8“Now therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel.9I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth.10I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly,11even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you.12When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.13He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.14I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,15but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took [it] away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.16Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”‘“17In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.) and rebukes David for his sin with Bathsheba (2Sam 12:1-121Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said,
“There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor.
2“The rich man had a great many flocks and herds.
3“But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb
Which he bought and nourished;
And it grew up together with him and his children.
It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom,
And was like a daughter to him.
4“Now a traveler came to the rich man,
And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd,
To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him;
Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
5Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.6He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”7Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.8I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if [that had been] too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!9Why have you despised the word of the LORD by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon.10Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’11Thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give [them] to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.12Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.’”). Gad rebukes David for the census (2Sam 24:10-1410Now David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”11When David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying,12“Go and speak to David, ‘Thus the LORD says, “I am offering you three things; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.”‘“13So Gad came to David and told him, and said to him, “Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or will you flee three months before your foes while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider and see what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.”14Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the LORD for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”; 1Chr 21:9-139The LORD spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying,10“Go and speak to David, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD, “I offer you three things; choose for yourself one of them, which I will do to you.”‘“11So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Take for yourself12either three years of famine, or three months to be swept away before your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes [you], or else three days of the sword of the LORD, even pestilence in the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now, therefore, consider what answer I shall return to Him who sent me.”13David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; please let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man.”).
When we think of “the circumstances which came on him” and “on Israel” (verse 3030with all his reign, his power, and the circumstances which came on him, on Israel, and on all the kingdoms of the lands.), we can think of persecution, of trial, of danger of death, of sorrow and of joy. In relation to all these circumstances David says: “My times are in Your hand” (Psa 31:1515My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.
; cf. Job 24:11“Why are times not stored up by the Almighty,
And why do those who know Him not see His days?
). “All the kingdoms of the lands” (cf. 2Chr 12:88But they will become his slaves so that they may learn [the difference between] My service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”; 17:1010Now the dread of the LORD was on all the kingdoms of the lands which [were] around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat.; 20:2929And the dread of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.) are the kingdoms with which the Israelites came into contact at the time of David.
With the death of David 1 Chronicles ends. In this Bible book almost all attention is focused on king David. In contrast to the description in 2 Samuel, the sins of this king are hardly mentioned here. David is here rather the prince who is God-fearing and is therefore richly blessed. The blessing consists of numerous military victories, which makes him the ruler of an immense realm and gives him fabulous riches.
He does not use these blessings for his own benefit, but makes them available for what he considers the highest goal for Israel: the building of the temple. He is not allowed to do this work himself, but he does do everything he can to prepare it. He gives a large part of his wealth, motivates the people to voluntarily give up a part of their abundance, and introduces Solomon, the future temple-builder, to the people.
The first book of Chronicles presents David as the one who focuses on the building of the temple and thus on the honor of God. In this sense he is the ideal prince, who does not seek his own honor, but the honor of God. In the period after the exile – the time in which the books of Chronicles were written – this description of David must have been strongly appealing. In that period there is attention for the improvement of the temple service and for a stronger focus on the LORD.
Also, the example of the wealthy king David making his riches available for the glory of God will have stimulated the desire for a new David. A few centuries later the Lord Jesus comes as a Servant, but in the future He will come as a Prince. He is as no other focused on God.