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!
1 Chronicles 22 - 24
22:1 Then David said, “Here shall be the house of the LORD God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.”
David commanded to gather together the resident aliens who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to prepare dressed stones for building the house of God. David also provided great quantities of iron for nails for the doors of the gates and for clamps, as well as bronze in quantities beyond weighing, and cedar timbers without number, for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought great quantities of cedar to David. For David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands. I will therefore make preparation for it.” So David provided materials in great quantity before his death.
Then he called for Solomon his son and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’
“Now, my son, the LORD be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the LORD your God, as he has spoken concerning you. Only, may the LORD grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the LORD commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed. With great pains I have provided for the house of the LORD 100,000 talents of gold, a million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weighing, for there is so much of it; timber and stone, too, I have provided. To these you must add. You have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of craftsmen without number, skilled in working gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Arise and work! The LORD be with you!”
David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying, “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, so that the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy vessels of God may be brought into a house built for the name of the LORD.”
23:1 When David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.
David assembled all the leaders of Israel and the priests and the Levites. The Levites, thirty years old and upward, were numbered, and the total was 38,000 men. “Twenty-four thousand of these,” David said, “shall have charge of the work in the house of the LORD, 6,000 shall be officers and judges, 4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 shall offer praises to the LORD with the instruments that I have made for praise.” And David organized them in divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
The sons of Gershon were Ladan and Shimei. The sons of Ladan: Jehiel the chief, and Zetham, and Joel, three. The sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran, three. These were the heads of the fathers' houses of Ladan. And the sons of Shimei: Jahath, Zina, and Jeush and Beriah. These four were the sons of Shimei. Jahath was the chief, and Zizah the second; but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons, therefore they became counted as a single father's house.
The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, four. The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was set apart to dedicate the most holy things, that he and his sons forever should make offerings before the LORD and minister to him and pronounce blessings in his name forever. But the sons of Moses the man of God were named among the tribe of Levi. The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer. The sons of Gershom: Shebuel the chief. The sons of Eliezer: Rehabiah the chief. Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very many. The sons of Izhar: Shelomith the chief. The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the chief, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, and Jekameam the fourth. The sons of Uzziel: Micah the chief and Isshiah the second.
The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish. Eleazar died having no sons, but only daughters; their kinsmen, the sons of Kish, married them. The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Jeremoth, three.
These were the sons of Levi by their fathers' houses, the heads of fathers' houses as they were listed according to the number of the names of the individuals from twenty years old and upward who were to do the work for the service of the house of the LORD. For David said, “The LORD, the God of Israel, has given rest to his people, and he dwells in Jerusalem forever. And so the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the things for its service.” For by the last words of David the sons of Levi were numbered from twenty years old and upward. For their duty was to assist the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, having the care of the courts and the chambers, the cleansing of all that is holy, and any work for the service of the house of God. Their duty was also to assist with the showbread, the flour for the grain offering, the wafers of unleavened bread, the baked offering, the offering mixed with oil, and all measures of quantity or size. And they were to stand every morning, thanking and praising the LORD, and likewise at evening, and whenever burnt offerings were offered to the LORD on Sabbaths, new moons, and feast days, according to the number required of them, regularly before the LORD. Thus they were to keep charge of the tent of meeting and the sanctuary, and to attend the sons of Aaron, their brothers, for the service of the house of the LORD.
24:1 The divisions of the sons of Aaron were these. The sons of Aaron: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. But Nadab and Abihu died before their father and had no children, so Eleazar and Ithamar became the priests. With the help of Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, David organized them according to the appointed duties in their service. Since more chief men were found among the sons of Eleazar than among the sons of Ithamar, they organized them under sixteen heads of fathers' houses of the sons of Eleazar, and eight of the sons of Ithamar. They divided them by lot, all alike, for there were sacred officers and officers of God among both the sons of Eleazar and the sons of Ithamar. And the scribe Shemaiah, the son of Nethanel, a Levite, recorded them in the presence of the king and the princes and Zadok the priest and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar and the heads of the fathers' houses of the priests and of the Levites, one father's house being chosen for Eleazar and one chosen for Ithamar.
The first lot fell to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim, the fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin, the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, the ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah, the eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim, the thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab, the fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer, the seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Happizzez, the nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezkel, the twenty-first to Jachin, the twenty-second to Gamul, the twenty-third to Delaiah, the twenty-fourth to Maaziah. These had as their appointed duty in their service to come into the house of the LORD according to the procedure established for them by Aaron their father, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.
And of the rest of the sons of Levi: of the sons of Amram, Shubael; of the sons of Shubael, Jehdeiah. Of Rehabiah: of the sons of Rehabiah, Isshiah the chief. Of the Izharites, Shelomoth; of the sons of Shelomoth, Jahath. The sons of Hebron: Jeriah the chief, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third, Jekameam the fourth. The sons of Uzziel, Micah; of the sons of Micah, Shamir. The brother of Micah, Isshiah; of the sons of Isshiah, Zechariah. The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Jaaziah: Beno. The sons of Merari: of Jaaziah, Beno, Shoham, Zaccur, and Ibri. Of Mahli: Eleazar, who had no sons. Of Kish, the sons of Kish: Jerahmeel. The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth. These were the sons of the Levites according to their fathers' houses. These also, the head of each father's house and his younger brother alike, cast lots, just as their brothers the sons of Aaron, in the presence of King David, Zadok, Ahimelech, and the heads of fathers' houses of the priests and of the Levites.