You may have noticed some familiar lines and locations in yesterday’s reading. You may have read about the siege of Rabbah and thought you’d heard about that before. Maybe you recognized lines like “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle…” or “…But David remained at Jerusalem” and thought, “that sounds too familiar.”
You’re right! These accounts also appear in 2 Samuel and some of the lines are quoted verbatim from that text. There are details present in the Samuel narrative that are absent here – one very large and consequential detail, in fact, about the time when David remained in Jerusalem – and there are details in Chronicles that don’t appear in Samuel.
You’re right to notice these differences, but they need not be translated as inconsistencies or errors. Each author has a story to tell, a narrative whose themes are important enough to warrant writing in the first place. The fact that certain lines appear verbatim in both works makes it highly likely that the Chronicler used Samuel as a source. We can accept that the author might well have known of other elements, but had his own reasons for excluding them, just as the author of Samuel had his own reasons for including them. Our goal is to honor both authors and try to understand their purposes, before trying to synchronize the accounts to get a more complete historical picture.
The census story ended yesterday with David offering sacrifices at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, for the tabernacle of the LORD, which Moses had made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt offering were at that time in the high place at Gibeon… It was hinted at in chapter 16, and is made explicit here, that the Tabernacle did not accompany the Ark to Jerusalem. That’s a problem that David hopes to address, and it launches our reading today.
Whereas the LORD was noticeably absent from the Ammonite accounts, the census story marks a shift and today’s text is all about David’s concern for the LORD’s Temple. Notice the worship in his commission to the leaders of Israel: "Is not the LORD your God with you? And has he not given you peace on every side? For he has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and his people. Now set your mind and heart to seek the LORD your God. Arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD God…”
Our verse for this week is Psalm 119:11: I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
1 Chronicles 22 through 24. Now let’s read it!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.