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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 12

Gray's Concise Bible CommentaryGray's Concise Commentary

Verses 1-40


THE DOWNFALL OF SAUL (1 Chronicles 10:0 )

In reading this chapter with whose general contents we became familiar in 1 Samuel 31:0 , it is important to note the inspired comment at its close (1 Chronicles 10:13-14 ).

DAVID’S HEROES (1 Chronicles 11-12)

In the history of David in this book, the writer dwells chiefly on its prosperous side, passing over the rest as lightly as possible. His anointing at Hebron (1 Chronicles 11:1-3 ) reveals nothing of what we learned earlier of the rival kingdom of the house of Saul, and the seven years before his exaltation over all Israel. Again, in the list of warriors (1 Chronicles 11:10-47 ), there is an omission of Joab’s treachery and barbarous conduct in the cases of Abner, Uriah and Absalom.

Chapter 12 contains a supplemental list of braves who attached themselves to David earlier, and during the days of Saul, and of whom we have no record until now.


These begin with the bringing up of the ark as far as the house of Obed- edom (chap. 13). Then follows the account of battles with the Philistines (chap. 14), which occupies a different position from that in 2 Samuel 5:0 (the reason why can only be conjectured). After this the ark is brought up to Jerusalem (chaps. 15-16), the record being more detailed than in Samuel.

Note, for example, the preparation and act of transfer. A tent is erected (1 Chronicles 15:1 ), possibly in the vicinity of the palace, after the model of the old tabernacle. Then a consultation is held (1 Chronicles 15:2 ), the representative men assemble (1 Chronicles 15:3 ), the bearers are chosen (1 Chronicles 15:12-15 ), the singers appointed (1 Chronicles 15:16-24 ). Then the act itself, with its rejoicings, sacrifices and distribution of gifts (1 Chronicles 15:25 to 1 Chronicles 16:3 ). Then the initial service and the psalm of thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 16:4-36 ).

Another way to analyze the eight strophes of this psalm: (1) summons to praise (1 Chronicles 16:8-11 ); (2) to think on the wonders and judgments of the Lord (1 Chronicles 16:12-14 ); (3) to think of the covenant made with the fathers (1 Chronicles 16:15-18 ); (4) the reasons to remember this covenant (1 Chronicles 16:19-22 ); (5) affirmation that all the world shall concur in the greatness and glory of God (1 Chronicles 16:23-27 ); (6) all nations shall worship Him (1 Chronicles 16:28-30 ); (7) the inanimate creation will exult before Him (1 Chronicles 16:31-33 ); and (8) closes with a repeated summons to praise and prayer (1 Chron. 16:54-36).

DAVID AND THE TEMPLE (1 Chronicles 17-22)

Except as to its location the record in chapter 17 is in substance the same as in 2 Samuel 7:0 . The “group of war reports” (chaps 18-20) runs parallel to four sections in 2 Samuel which in that case are separated from one another by other matters. The story of the plague following the census (chap. 21), contains some deviations from that in Samuel, as for example, its position in the record, the fact that the offense was instigated by Satan, that Benjamin and Levi were not numbered, and that the threshing-floor was thereafter the constant place of sacrifice by David. These things are additions and not contradictions. As to the last named the words in verse 28, “At that time.., he sacrificed there,” have been rendered by Luther and others, “was wont to offer there,” meaning that he did it repeatedly, with frequency. In an earlier lesson it was stated that this threshing-floor subsequently became the site of Solomon’s temple.

After the episode represented by these chapters the author returns to the subject of the temple (chap. 22), speaking of David’s preparation of the materials (1 Chronicles 22:1-5 ), his charge to Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:6-16 ), and finally his appeal to the princes to assist (1 Chronicles 22:17-19 ).


The opening comment of this section gives the reason for what follows. David was old and felt the need of putting things in readiness for his son (1 Chronicles 23:1 ). There are two things that concern him chiefly, the worship of God and the strengthening of the kingdom, and it is significant that the worship of God receives attention first.

The chapters arrange themselves thus: Chapter 23 deals with the Levites, their number and classification for work; chapter 24 does the same for the priests, except that the closing verses refer again to the Levites; chapter 25 speaks of the singers; chapter 26 of the porters, treasurers and other business officers; and chapter 27 of the army, including its divisions and commanders.


The last directions of David concern the building of the temple where all the princes, the captains, the courtiers and the heroes are addressed (1 Chronicles 28:1-2 ), and Solomon in their presence is invested with power and authority as his successor (1 Chronicles 28:5-21 ).

Note the words in 1 Chronicles 28:12 . “And the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit.” We use a capital S believing the Holy Spirit to be intended, and that the words should be read in the light of 1 Chronicles 28:19 , “All this, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.” Are we not to understand, difficult as the words may be, that as God revealed the original of the temple to Moses in the wilderness when He revealed the tabernacle, so now also He controlled and directed David when the time came for the actual erection of the temple?

Do not pass chapter 29 carelessly. Note David’s example of giving (1 Chronicles 29:3-5 ), and the lever it affords to make an appeal to others. See the working of the Spirit of God among the people in the gladness of it all (1 Chronicles 29:9 ), a fact David recognizes and for which he praises God, 1 Chronicles 29:10 and the following.

When it says “they made Solomon king the second time” (1 Chronicles 29:22 ), it is in contrast with 23:1. In that case the first proclamation was made, but now the actual anointing took place. (Compare 1 Kings 1:32 and the following verses.)


1. What book gives the fuller history of Saul?

2. How would you compare this history of David’s reign in 1 Chronicles with that in the earlier books?

3. What explains the successful transfer of the ark in this instance, as compared with the earlier attempt?

4. Have you read the psalm contained in this lesson, and noted its analysis?

5. What evidence of the personality of Satan does this lesson contain?

6. How does it show David’s loyalty to God?

7. What may explain David’s particularity as to the details of the temple?

Bibliographical Information
Gray, James. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 12". Gray's Concise Bible Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jgc/1-chronicles-12.html. 1897-1910.
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