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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 14

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-17

ζ. David’s House-Building, Family, and Victories over the Philistines: 1 Chronicles 14:0

1 Chronicles 14:1 And Hiram1 king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar-wood, and masons, and carpenters, to build him a house. 2And David perceived that the Lord had confirmed him king over Israel; for his kingdom was lift up on high, because of his people Israel.

3And David took more wives in Jerusalem; and David begat more sons 4and daughters. And these are the names of those born to him in Jerusalem: Shammua and Shobab, Nathan and Solomon. 5And Ibhar, and Elishua, and 6Elpelet. And Nogah, and Nepheg, and Japhia. 7And Elishama, and Beeliada, and Eliphelet.

8And the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over all Israel; and all the Philistines went up to seek David: and David heard it, and went out against them. 9And the Philistines came and spread themselves in the 10valley of Rephaim. And David inquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines, and wilt Thou give them into my hand? And the Lord said 11unto him, Go up, and I will give them into thy hand. And they went up to Baal-perazim; and David smote them there: and David said, God hath broken my enemies by my hand, like the breaking of waters; therefore they 12called the name of that place Baal-perazim. And they left their gods there; and David ordered, and they were burnt with fire.

13, 14And the Philistines came again and spread themselves in the valley.2 And David inquired again of God; and God said unto him, Go not up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them by the bacas. 15And it shall be, when thou hearest the sound going on the tops of the bacas, then go out to the battle; for God is gone out before thee to smite the camp of the Philistines. 16And David did as God commanded him: and they smote the camp of the 17Philistines, from Gibeon even unto Gezer. And David’s fame went out into all lands; and the Lord brought his fear upon all nations.


Preliminary Remark.—On the different position of this section in 2 Samuel 5:11-25, namely, before the history of the removal of the ark from Kiriath-jearim, comp. the Preliminary Remark on 1 Chronicles 13:0. The motive of the Chronist for the transposition is evidently the wish to represent the preparations for the removal of the national sanctuary to Jerusalem as the first undertaking of the king after the taking of the capital, to exhibit the building of his own palace as a work certainly taken in hand soon after, but still standing behind that all-important concern. To the history of the beginning of the palace-building is attached in the sources common to both historians a description of the blessing which attended David as a father and a captain in the battles with the Philistines; Our author took this description, in the main unaltered, along with the notice of the beginning of the palace-building, over into his narrative, undeterred by the appearance thence arising of the events in question, especially the two successful battles with the Philistines, having fallen in the three months between the removal of the ark to the house of Obed-edom and its introduction into Jerusalem. This grouping is here, as often in his representation of the history of David, determined by the order of thought rather than of time.

1. David’s Palace-building and Family: 1 Chronicles 14:1-7.—The text of the older parallel, 2 Samuel 5:11-16, agrees in the main with the present, only here and there more precise.—And cedar-wood, and masons, and carpenters, literally, “and timbers (beams) of cedars, and craftsmen of walls, and craftsmen of timbers” (Vulg. artifices parietum lignorumque).

1 Chronicles 14:2. And David perceived (concluded from the high honour which was conferred upon him by this message from the Phenician king) that the Lord had confirmed him king over Israel, definitely transferred the kingdom to him, established (“bestätigt,” Luther) him as king.—For his kingdom was lift up on high. נִשֵּׂאת, if genuine, would be an irregularly formed 3 fem. perf. Niph. (not, as 2 Sam. 14:43, an inf. abs. Niph.) from נשׂא, intensified by the לְמַעְלָה, “on high;” comp. 1 Chronicles 22:5, 1Ch 23:17, 1 Chronicles 29:3-25. But perhaps, as in 2 Samuel 5:12, the perf. Pielנִשֵּׂא is to be read, and Jehovah taken as the subject: “and that He had exalted his kingdom.” For מַמְלַכְתּוֹ, 2 Samuel 5:0, our text presents the later (occurring also 1 Chronicles 17:11; 1 Chronicles 17:14) form מַלְכוּתוֹ, perhaps merely by a slip of the pen; see Wellh. p. 164.

1 Chronicles 14:3. And David took more wives in Jerusalem. Before נָשִׁים in 2 Samuel stands פלגשׁים, which may have fallen accidentally out of our passage, as the concubines of David are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:9. Comp. on 1 Chronicles 3:5-9, where the names of the thirteen sons of David born in Jerusalem, and the partly different spelling here and there, are fully handled.

2. The First War with the Philistines: 1 Chronicles 14:8-12 (comp. 2 Samuel 5:17-21).—To seek David, to attack, לְבַקֵּשׁ, sensu hostili, as in 1 Samuel 23:15; 1 Samuel 23:25; 1Sa 24:3; 1 Samuel 26:2.—And David heard it, and went out against them, properly, “before them;” comp. 1 Chronicles 12:17. Into this general and indefinite expression our author has changed the more concrete, but also more obscure, statement of Samuel: “and went down to the hold” (the hold of Zion), perhaps designedly.

1 Chronicles 14:9. And spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim; comp. on 1Ch 11:15, 2 Samuel 5:18 : “sat down in the valley of Rephaim.” The perhaps more original וַיִּנָּֽטְשׁוּ, 2 Samuel 5:18; 2 Samuel 5:22, the Chronist has here and 1 Chronicles 14:13 exchanged for the simpler and more intelligible וַיִּפְשְׁטוּ.

1 Chronicles 14:11. Like the breaking of waters, like an outburst of water (בְּפֶרֶץ מַים). We may think of the rending or outbursting of enclosing dams by rapid floods, perhaps after a water-spout. The situation of Baal-perazim cannot be exactly ascertained. Mount Perazim, Isaiah 28:21, is not essentially different from it.

1 Chronicles 14:12. And they left their gods there. 2 Samuel 5:0 : “their idols” (עצביהם). The present phrase is the stronger; it yields, along with the following statement regarding the burning of these gods, a bitterly sarcastic sense. The burning took place, moreover, on the ground of the divine command in Deuteronomy 7:5; Deuteronomy 7:25. The text of Samuel weakens the statement in a strange way: “and David and his men took them away.” If the more concrete and stronger statement of our author is a traditional expansion of that text, the tradition on which it rests is at all events credible; comp. Movers, p. 224. By this victory, David wiped out the old disgrace of Israel, which rested on the people since Eli’s time. “As then Israel lost the ark, 1 Samuel 4:11, so now the sacred things of the Philistines fell into the hands of the Israelites” (Berth.).

3. The Second War with the Philistines: 1 Chronicles 14:13-17 (comp. 2 Samuel 5:22-25).—And spread themselves in the valley, that is, as the parallel text (so as the Sept. and Syr.; see Crit. Note) shows, in the same valley as above, 1 Chronicles 14:9, scarcely in another at Gibeon, as Movers, p. 243, thinks.

1 Chronicles 14:14. Go not up after them, that is, as Samuel shows: “go not directly towards them; seek not to drive them before thee by a direct attack.” Perhaps also our text is somewhat faulty, and to be amended, according to 2 Samuel 5:23 : לֹא תַֽעֲלֶ֑ה הָסֵב אֶל אַֽחֲרֵיהֶם, by the change of אחריהם in עֲלֵיהֶם (Berth.).—And come uponthem by the bacas, literally, over against the bacas. These we must suppose, as the divine command implies a going round the Philistine army, to be behind them. The baca, mentioned only here and 2 Samuel 5:0, and perhaps Psalms 84:7, is, according to Abulfadi (in Celsius, Hierobot. i. 339), a plant related to the balsam tree, and resembling it, which, when cut, discharges a white, sharp, and warm resin in the manner of tears, and appears to have received its name from בכא, flare. The older expositors, wavering uncertainly, render the term variously: Sept. ἄπιος, Vulg. pyrus; Luther, after the Jewish expositors, mulberry tree.

1 Chronicles 14:15. The sound going on the tops of the bacas, namely, the rustling of their leaves in the wind (Sept.: τὴν φωνὴν τοῦ συσσεισμοῦ αὐτῶν), not the sound occasioned by the entrance of God (supernatural, as in Genesis 3:8). As the baca has much larger leaves than the ordinary balsam, the rustling of them may occasion a sufficiently loud sound; the rendering “baca trees ” (Kamph.) is therefore unnecessary.

1 Chronicles 14:16. And they smote the camp of the Philistines, from Gibeon even unto Gezer. Two places of this name lie to the north-west of Jerusalem, the former (now el Jib) 2½, the latter 4½, hours distant from it. If the battle-field is to be sought between the two, in the region of Upper and Nether Beth-horon, the valley, 1 Chronicles 14:13, may still be the valley of Rephaim; only the site of it should be sought not so far south, as Thenius and Bertheau suppose (who also read for Gibeon in our passage, “ Geba,” according to 2 Samuel 5:25), and the battle must be regarded as moving in a north-westerly direction from its starting-point (comp. Wellh. on 2 Samuel 5:25, also Ew. Gesch. d. V. Isr. ii. 610).

1 Chronicles 14:17. And David’s fame went out into all lands; and the Lord brought his fear upon all nation, literally, “ gave his fear upon all nations;” comp. Esther 8:17. A pragmatic reflection of our author added to the original text, as its absence in 2 Samuel 5:25 shows. Comp. the similar reflections in 2 Chronicles 17:10; 2 Chronicles 20:29. On וַיֵּצֵא שֵׁם especially, comp. 2 Chronicles 24:15.


[1] Kethib: חִירָם. Keri: חוּרָם, as always in Chronicles (Sept. Χειράμ, as ever).

[2]For בעמק the Sept. and Syr. read בעמק רפאים, which is perhaps original; comp. 2 Samuel 5:22.

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 14". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/1-chronicles-14.html. 1857-84.
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