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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 3

Preacher's Complete Homiletical CommentaryPreacher's Homiletical

Verses 1-24

CRITICAL NOTES.] Having completed list of descendants of Jerahmeel and Caleb writer returns to ch. 1 Chronicles 2:15, gives line of David, royal house of tribe of Judah, to the Captivity and afterwards. Many difficulties in names and order cannot be touched here.

1 Chronicles 3:1-9.—Sons of David. First, those born in Hebron. Daniel, Chileab (2 Samuel 3:3). Reigned, 1 Chronicles 3:4 (2 Samuel 2:11; 2 Samuel 5:5; 1 Kings 2:11). Second, those born in Jerusalem, 1 Chronicles 3:5-9. Shimea, Shamnuah; Bathshua, Bathsheba; Ammiel, Eliam, letters merely transposed. Concubines.—1 Chronicles 3:9 (2 Samuel 15:16), “One daughter (Tamar) mentioned according to rule, that daughters are given only when the line is saved, or that they had for special reasons made a place for themselves in history” [Murphy].

1 Chronicles 3:10-16.—Descent to Captivity. First, as far as King Josiah, 1 Chronicles 3:10-14. Abia, or Abijah, for Abijam (1 Kings 15:1). Azariah (“help of Jah”), called Uzziah (“strength of Jah”) in 2 Kings 15:30, immediately after death, and so named elsewhere (2 Chronicles 26:1; 2 Kings 14:21). Four successions follow sons of Josiah, 1 Chronicles 3:15-16. Jeconiah, 1 Chronicles 3:16; Coniah in Jeremiah 22:24, and Jehoiachin in Kings, meaning “Jehovah will establish.”

1 Chronicles 3:17-24.—Descent to Exile and afterwards. This text is difficult and disarranged apparently. The following arrangement is given by Dr. Davidson (Hermeneutics): “V. 17. And the sons of Jeconiah the captive; Salathiel (asked of God) (Shealtiel, Ezra 3:2; Nehemiah 12:1; Haggai 1:12; Haggai 1:14; Haggai 2:2) his son: 1 Chronicles 5:18. And the sons of Salathiel; Zerubbabel (sown i.e., begotten, in Babylon—who was the direct son of Pedaiah; but omitting several intermediate links, is called the son of Salathiel, Matthew 1:12) and Shimei (renowned): and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam (friend, i.e., of God), Hananiah (graciously given of God), and Shelomith (pacific), their sister. 1 Chronicles 3:19. And Hashubah (esteemed), and Ohel, and Berechiah (blessed of Jehovah), and Hasadiah (beloved of God), Jushab-hezed (whose love is returned).

1 Chronicles 3:20. And Malchiram, and Rephaiah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah.

1 Chronicles 3:21. The sons of Hananiah; Pelatiah and Jesaiah: the sons of Rephaiah; his son Arnan, his son Obadiah (worshipper of Jehovah), his son Shecaniah (dwelling with Jehovah).”

1 Chronicles 3:22.—Shemaiah, or Shimei (1 Chronicles 3:19, cf. Zechariah 12:13). Hattush probably accompanied Ezra from Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:2).


THE SONS OF DAVID.—1 Chronicles 3:1-10

I. Their places of birth. The verses classified according to the place of birth. In Hebron, six sons born, each of a different mother. In Jerusalem, thirteen, four of one mother and nine of others not mentioned. Places often identified with birth of important persons. Bunyan and Bedford, &c. Let character and conduct give renown to place.

II. Their varied lives. Absolalom, son of a king’s daughter, a murderer and rebel, “died a fool.” Amnon violated his sister Tamar, and was slain. Adonijah conspired against the throne, and met with bitter disappointment. Nathan reminded his father of the prophet who reproved his sin, brought him to repentance, and had the honour of belonging to the ancestry of Jesus (Luke 3:31). Solomon, wisest, most gifted, and successor. But what checkered lives! Little to give parental joy. Much to cause anxiety and grief. Amid the splendour of his reign and the power of his palace, his cup was mixed with grief and sorrow, &c. “Trust not thou in their (children’s) life, neither respect their multitude: for one that is just is better than a thousand; and better it is to die without children, than to have them that are ungodly” (Sir. 16:3).

“Virtue, not pedigree, stamps nobility.”

THE GOLDEN AGE.—1 Chronicles 3:10-16

David’s successors given up to the Captivity. For convenience call it the golden age.

I. The description of the period.

1. A long period. “Seldom has a crown gone in direct line from father to son for seventeen descents together as here”—say Henry. Judah survived Kingdom of Israel by 135 years, and lasted from B.C. 975 to B.C. 586.

2. A prosperous period. In population, resources, and empire Judah great; soil fertile; aristocracy hereditary in sacerdotal caste; an army always subordinate; a venerated centre of worship and administration; on the whole, peaceful and uninterrupted success of kings. In language, literature, and religion a glorious period.

II. The nature of individual reigns. Peaceful and warlike; powerful and weak; long and short. Kings wise and foolish; godly and idolatrous; reigned by natural right and fixed on throne by foreign potentates. The first part began in splendour, the latter ended in desolation. In David and Solomon we pass from conflict to peace; in Jeconiah and Zedekiah from grief to exile.

“This strange, sad world is but our Father’s school;
All chance and change His love shall grandly overrule”

[F. R. Havergal].

THE DECAYING GLORY.—1 Chronicles 3:17-24

In these verses we have the royal remnant during captivity. The decaying glory.

I. The dark beginning. Jeconiah adopted Salathiel, otherwise written childless, the signet God plucked from his hand, dear as an ornament, yet rejected (Jeremiah 22:24). There is a striking contrast between this beautiful name (Jehoiakin, Jehovah will establish) and the miserable fate of the man. Enthroned by Necho, powerless against Nebuchadnezzar, Jerusalem was besieged, Jeconiah taken prisoner, bound in fetters and carried to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:6-7).

II. The gradual decay. Zerubbabel the last with any shred of authority. After him royal line disappears into obscure private life. Nehemiah next governor of whom we read. Sennacherib repulsed, religious revivals under Hezekiah and Josiah, but the impious reign of Manasseh and the lingering decay of the people under the four feeble descendants of Josiah prepared for the final ruin. Babylon in successive deportations drained away their strength. The temple was destroyed amid wailing of prophets; the nation ceased amid taunts of heathen tribes, released from the yoke of David. “The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish: yea, those nations shall be utterly destroyed.”


1 Chronicles 3:1-24. Review the list.

1. Indicative of God’s providential discipline. In bestowing mercy upon bad men, fulfilling his word to good men, and unfolding his purpose in wonderful events to all ages.

2. Indicative of vicissitudes in human life. In joy and grief, in splendours of the palace and the obscurity of exile. Revolutions in time and place. Change everywhere. “There is no remembrance of former things: neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come hereafter” (Ecclesiastes 1:11).

3. Indicative of vanity of worldly fame. The humorist Thackeray asks, “What boots it whether it be Westminster or a little country spire which covers your ashes; or if a few days sooner or later the world forgets you?”

“Thus are we fortune’s pastimes; one day live
Advanced to heaven by the people’s breath,
The next, hurled down into th’ abyss of death” [May].

1 Chronicles 3:10-16. Sketch the lives of David and Solomon, Hezekiah’s reign, Manasseh’s wickedness, and Josiah’s piety.

1 Chronicles 3:19. Zerubbabel.

1. Distinguished in work. (a) Leading a liberated people to their own land. (b) Rebuilding the Temple. (c) Instituting civil government.

2. Distinguished in the prosecution of that work. Courage, patience, faith, and enthusiasm. A personal example and a power among his people.

3. Distinguished as the object of prophecy. Often addressed by name by Haggai and Zechariah; received glorious predictions concerning temple he was building and future magnificence of Jerusalem and Judah, which exercised great influence upon his mind and preserved a spirit which endured till the coming of Christ. A name suggestive of important events.

1. Return of captives.
2. Restoration of national government.

3. Establishment of religious worship. “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house,” &c. (Zechariah 4:9).


1 Chronicles 3:1-24. Sons of, &c. It was, perhaps, ordained by Providence, to hinder us from tyrannising over one another, that no individual should be of such importance as to cause, by his retirement or death, any chasm in the world [Dr. Johnson].

“Men die and are forgotten. The great world
Goes on the same. Among the myriads
Of men that live, or have lived, or shall live,
What is a single life, or thine, or mine,
That we should think all nature would stand still
If we were gone?
The great are not great to me unless they are good” [S. Richardson].

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 3". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/phc/1-chronicles-3.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
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