Saturday, August 24, 2013

1 Chronicles 18:1-22:1


I've chosen to go one verse over today's allotted portion. It would appear that 1 Chronicles 22:1 better belongs to chapter 21. It's just another awkward chapter division. There are a few of those in the Bible.

Chapters 18-20 tell of David's exploits in war. YHWH hands him victories. Yet it will be because of his warring ways that, according to Chronicles 22:8, David is deemed unfit to build the temple. Nevertheless, the spoils of war David collects will be used to furnish the temple.

Chapter 19 parallels 2 Samuel 10. David sends envoys to King Hanun of  Ammon. The king mistreats the messengers and so begins a war. Ammon hires mercenaries from Aram. David and Israel prevail.

Chapter 20 begins as 2 Samuel 11 did. It is springtime and David does not go to war. In 2 Samuel this signals the beginning of the episode with Bathsheba and Uriah, the lowest point of David's career. Chronicles makes no mention of those events. It mentions only Joab's victory against Rabbah.

In wars with the Philistines, the Israelites kill several giants. In 1 Samuel 17, David is said to have killed the giant Goliath. In 2 Samuel 21 it is Elhanan who killed Goliath. The Chronicler tries to reconcile the discrepancy by saying that Elhanan killed Goliath's brother.

The Chronicler is concerned with David's reputation to be sure. He is also concerned with YHWH's reputation it seems. In chapter 21 David takes an ill-conceived census which angers the Lord. When this story was told in 2 Samuel 24 it was YHWH who incited David to take the census in the first place. According to the Chronicler it was Satan.

YHWH is angry about the census and makes David choose from among three punishments. David believes that he is more likely to find mercy from YHWH than from a human agent and so chooses a three-day long plague. The plague is stopped at the threshing floor of Ornan (2 Samuel used the variant name "Aruanah"). David buys the threshing floor for 600 shekels of gold (1 Chronicles 21:25). This represents a considerable inflation over 2 Samuel's 50 shekels of silver (2 Samuel 24:18). David builds an altar on the site.

And here's the kicker: Ornan's threshing floor is the future site of the temple. 2 Samuel didn't mention that fact. The Chronicler is all about David's dynasty and the temple.

Next: 1 Chronicles 22-24

No comments:

Post a Comment