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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

1 Chronicles 18

Verses 1-8

David’s victories over his enemies chs. 18-20

These chapters record the fulfillment of God’s promised victory over David’s enemies as part of the Davidic Covenant (1 Chronicles 17:8). David was successful because God was with him and helped him (1 Chronicles 18:6; 1 Chronicles 18:13; cf. 1 Chronicles 19:19). [Note: For a good explanation of the difference between 18:17 and 2 Samuel 8:18, see G. J. Wenham, "Were David’s Sons Priests?" Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 87:1 (1975):79-82.] Human kings only defeat themselves when they oppose the Lord and His anointed (cf. Psalms 2:1-2). The evidence that God gave David victory bolsters confidence that He will do the same to David’s great Son, Messiah.

The Chronicler recorded David’s victories over the Philistines (1 Chronicles 18:1), the Moabites (1 Chronicles 18:2), the Arameans (1 Chronicles 18:3-11), the Edomites (1 Chronicles 18:12-13), and the Ammonites (1 Chronicles 19:1 to 1 Chronicles 20:3). He also noted his defeat of the giants who came from the home of David’s first great adversary, Goliath (1 Chronicles 20:4-8). David’s wars were both aggressive and defensive (cf. ch. 19). [Note: See Zane C. Hodges, "Conflicts in the Biblical Account of the Ammonite-Syrian War," Bibliotheca Sacra 119:475 (July-September 1962):238-43.]

The writer portrayed David as having acted decisively to rid his kingdom of internal and external threats. He set up garrisons in Israel’s neighbor states by which he extended his influence beyond his own borders (1 Chronicles 18:6; 1 Chronicles 18:13). God’s blessing of Israel paralleled His blessing of David. Both nation and king had begun in humility with lowly origins but had expanded because of God’s grace and David’s appropriate trust and obedience to that grace (cf. 1 Chronicles 17:7).

These chapters also help clarify why David did not build the temple himself. He was a man of war who had shed much blood, and his reign was not a period of "rest," which was necessary for the establishment of a central sanctuary. Also these chapters show the economic prosperity that would have been needed for temple building, which characterized Solomon’s reign more than David’s. [Note: Williamson, pp. 137-38.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 18". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/1-chronicles-18.html. 2012.