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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

1 Chronicles 18

Verses 1-13

Introduction

In the previous chapter we are in the sanctuary. In the chapter we have before us now, we find ourselves in the battle outside the sanctuary. When David has been with God in the sanctuary, he comes out strengthened and can gain victories over the enemies. David spreads to all sides the glory of Israel and of his reign. He is an example of the Lord Jesus in this. When the Lord Jesus comes out of the sanctuary, He will subdue and judge all His enemies and establish His kingdom on all the earth.

The contents of this chapter can also be found in 2 Samuel 8. Following the events described in this chapter, David wrote Psalm 60 (Psalms 60:1-Exodus :).

The record of David’s victories must have been a great encouragement for the returned exiles. They too have to deal with all kinds of opponents. They return from exile in a country that has remained untended for seventy years. David owes his victories not to himself, but to God. It is to that God that the heart of the remnant is directed above all. Whom He has been for David He is also for them. For them and for us, “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

The Victories of David

David successively conquers the Philistines in the west (1 Chronicles 18:1), the Moabites in the east (1 Chronicles 18:2), the king of Zoba and the Arameans, or Syrians, in the north (1 Chronicles 18:3-1 Kings :) and the Edomites in the south (1 Chronicles 18:12-:). He is successful because the LORD is with him (1 Chronicles 18:6; 1 Chronicles 18:13), for the LORD is always with the one who is with Him.

That does not mean that the victories are just handed over to David. He really has to fight hard for it. To wage these wars he also had a hard training school during the time he was on the run from Saul. The Lord also gives us victory, but He does so only if we are fully committed to Him.

By defeating the Philistines (1 Chronicles 18:1) David subdues an enemy who has been a plague to Israel for many years, already from the time of the judges. They even distressed Saul so much that he committed suicide and they killed his sons (1 Samuel 31:1-Joshua :). The Philistines have also conquered cities of Israel and started to live there themselves (1 Chronicles 10:7). David breaks their power. By taking Gath and its towns out of the power of the Philistines, he now conquers cities instead of the other way around. Later on the killing of some of the remaining giants is reported (1 Chronicles 20:4-Ruth :).

David also defeats the Moabites (1 Chronicles 18:2). Just like about defeating the Philistines, the chronicler is brief about that. He devotes only one verse to it, as well as to the defeat of the Philistines. The result is that the Moabites serve David and have to bring him tribute. In so doing David continues to wipe exercise his power over them, thereby averting the danger that they again will develop into a dangerous power apart from him.

The moment Hadadezer, the king of Zoba, wants to establish his power, David defeats him (1 Chronicles 18:3). He makes the enemy prisoners and he makes the means on which they have trusted powerless (1 Chronicles 18:4). If the enemies unite to fight against David together, that unification is only like the gathering of “sheaves to the threshing floor” (1 Chronicles 18:5; Micah 4:11-2 Kings :). David doesn’t have to fight against all these realms separately, but can defeat them in one war.

The rich booty of bronze from this battle will be used for the construction of the temple (1 Chronicles 18:8). “King David” – David twice emphatically is called king (1 Chronicles 18:10-1 Kings :) – sanctifies for the LORD both what he has received in gifts and what he has conquered in booty, to be used for the construction and decoration of the temple.

By defeating Hadadezer David gives reason for joy to Tou, the king of Hamath (1 Chronicles 18:9-1 Kings :). Defeating enemies has therefore a richer effect than just personal joy. Just as failure has evil consequences for others (1 Chronicles 13:6-2 Samuel :), so a victory in the power of God has good effect for others. It is wise of Tou to thank David for that. It is an example for us to make sure we become friends with those of whom we see that God is with them.

The literal enemies of David and Israel represent spiritual enemies for us. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). It is good to realize that in ourselves there is no strength to overcome any enemy. Just as there are various enemies of David, so the sin, using the evil powers in the heavenly realms, has many manifestations, such as jealousy and pride.

All these manifestations are enemies who want to influence our lives. The Lord wants to give us the strength to overcome those enemies. The armor of God is given to us for this (Ephesians 6:13-Job :). If we have put it on, without forgetting one part, we will remain standing.

David also puts “garrisons” in two hostile territories. He does so in Aram, or Syria (1 Chronicles 18:6), and in Edom (1 Chronicles 18:13). This teaches us that once an enemy has been defeated, it must be kept down. A defeated enemy must not be given the chance to get up again.

We can also see these two enemies in a different way. Syria represents an enemy who wants to take away the blessings of the land, he comes to take them from us. In practice, this means that, for example, we cannot enjoy the Lord’s things through all kinds of pressure. Edom, that is Esau, is known for not being interested in the blessing of the land at all. It is the indifference to the things of God that can also bother us. Edom represents the flesh that is only interested in here-and-now (Genesis 25:29-Nahum :). It must be subdued, for on the cross God “condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3).

Verses 14-17

Reign and Officials of David

We see in these verses that David also provides peace internally by maintaining the law. He provides a good army, because he realizes that, although all his enemies have been overcome, they continue to pose a threat. The army is not only there to maintain the peace towards the peoples around them, it is also used to maintain peace among the members of the people themselves. Also internally there must be no outbreak of revolt. God gives man power, not so that man himself becomes great as a result, but so that he may do good with it. David’s reign responds to this.

If we apply this to the life of the church, the lesson is that even when there are tensions between them, the true David is ready to restore peace and rest. The Lord Jesus has an ‘army’, which are His gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:11-2 Kings :). They give indications that the tensions may disappear.

An example of these tensions and how they are removed can be seen from the very beginning of the church (Acts 6:1-Joshua :). There we read that a group of believers feel disadvantaged. They believe that, compared to others, they do not get enough. If this grumble does not disappear quickly, it will have a devastating effect on the church. The ‘army’ of the Lord Jesus, the apostles, comes with the solution, by which the grumble stops. This solution does not lie in the use of violence, but in meeting the complainants wherever possible.

Such a solution requires a spiritual attitude, that is to say the mind of the Lord Jesus. Each of us has a responsibility to ensure that in our own lives and in the church of God the right of God is upheld, which means obeying what He says in His Word. This cannot happen by force or violence, but by the Spirit, who works in leaders whom the Lord has given. These leaders are not officially appointed persons. There is no such thing in the Bible in relation to the church. They are servants trained and formed by the Lord in the school of life. We are warned to obey them and to be submitted to them (Hebrews 13:17).

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Chronicles 18". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/1-chronicles-18.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.