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Chronicles may read like a repeat of Samuel and Kings, but there are important differences. Chronicles was written after the Babylonian exile, looking back over the whole span of Israelite history and bringing it forward to include those who had returned to the Promised Land. These were difficult times. The former glory had departed and it was very unclear whether the nation would prosper or survive. In that situation, David is exalted as a supreme example of what God had done for Israel.
In times past, even when Saul was king, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the LORD your God said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over my people Israel.’” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD. And they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the LORD by Samuel. I Chronicles 11:2-3
More than merely representing past successes, David is lifted up by Chronicles as the type for Israel’s future deliverer. To that end his shortcomings are omitted by Chronicles in favor of magnifying his best qualities. But this is not just glorying in the past. Chronicles reminds us that all these excellent characteristics are coming back in the future Davidic leader and therefore the people should have great hope. The prophets had seen it before the exile. Jeremiah had said, “they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king. (Jeremiah 30:9)” Ezekiel had said, “my servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. (Ezekiel 37:24)” Now Chronicles reminds its readers that David had also seen it when he heard the good news that his son would build the temple and that God would preserve his kingdom and people.
“And now, Lord, let the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house be established forever. Do as you promised, so that it will be established and that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, ‘The Lord Almighty, the God over Israel, is Israel’s God!’ And the house of your servant David will be established before you.” I Chronicles 17:23-24
Chronicles reminds us that David had been a living, breathing, historical man who demonstrated many ideal qualities of a godly leader. More than that, he showed through flesh and blood an example of what God’s future king would be like, and for that reason the returning exiles could have great hope.
David was the head of God’s people, the prince of the congregation of Israel, not only in their civil affairs, but in ecclesiastical affairs also, and their leader in all things appertaining to religion and the worship of God. Herein he was as the Messiah is represented in the prophecies, which speak of Him as a prophet like unto Moses, and as the head of God’s people, as their great king, prophet and priest. And indeed, almost all that the prophecies say of the Messiah does [imply] that he shall be the great head of God’s people in their religious concerns. – Jonathan Edwards
About this blog
During 2020 I plan to post weekly writings covering the material you would read during each week as you proceed from Genesis to Revelation in one year. And so for this week I have covered I Chronicles 1-17. Next week I will write about I Chronicles 18 – II Chronicles 12. I hope you will continue along with me. You can find daily posts about these chapters archived here on the Bible in a Year blog. For your convenience here are the previous posts covering I Chronicles 1-17.
The person God chooses: I Chronicles 1-2
An honorable man: 1 Chronicles 4
And he will purify the sons of Levi: 1 Chronicles 6
Blessings delayed but fulfilled: 1 Chronicles 7
Mighty because… 1 Chronicles 11
The dangerous side of holiness: 1 Chronicles 14