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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Chronicles 14

Verses 1-2

1 Chronicles 14:1-13.14.2

Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David.

The building of the royal house

In Hiram’s conduct notice--


I.
An instance of true friendship.

1. Genuine.

2. Lasting.


II.
An illustration of human agency in the service of God.


III.
A proof of God’s providence.

1. In Hiram’s conduct.

2. In David’s accession to the throne.

3. In the honour and extension of David’s kingdom. (J. Wolfendale.)

Hiram and David

The treaty between these two kings illustrates--


I.
The providence of God in the exaltation of a good man.


II.
The influence of a good man upon others when thus exalted. Men pay homage to moral worth and holy life. This power every Christian may possess and wield.


III.
The design for which God exalts a good man (2 Samuel 5:12). Not for themselves, but for others are men enriched and honoured. (J. Wolfendale.)

Lifted up

Man throws down. God lifts up:

1. Persons.

2. Societies.

3. Nations.

Lifts up above:

1. Distress.

2. Opposition.

3. Danger. (J. P. Lange.)

Verse 10

1 Chronicles 14:10

And David inquired of God.

Inquiring of God

The Israelites usually asked counsel of God by the ephod, the Grecians by their oracles, the Persians by their magi, the Egyptians by their hierophantae, the Indians by their gymnosophistae, the ancient Gauls and Britons by their Druids, the Romans by their augures or soothsayers. It was not lawful to propose any matter of moment in the senate, priusquam de coelo observatum erat, before their wizards had made observations from the heaven or sky. That which they did impiously and superstitiously, we may, nay we ought to do in another sense, piously, religiously, conscionably, i.e., not to embark ourselves into any action of great importance and consequence, priusquam de Coelo observatum est, before we have observed from Heaven, not the flight of birds, not the houses of planets, or their aspects or conjunctions, but the countenance of God, whether it shineth upon our enterprises or not, whether He approve of our projects and designs or not. (J. Spencer.)

Verses 14-17

1 Chronicles 14:14-13.14.17

And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees.

The sound in the mulberry trees

What this “sound of going” was exactly we cannot tell. It probably resembled the march of an army in the air. A host of unseen angels may have moved above the mulberry groves, striking terror into the hearts of the barbarians and sending them into precipitate retreat. As they retreated, they fell into the hands of the Israelites (who had swung around to their rear), and were routed with complete discomfiture.


I.
That God signals to His people to take certain steps at certain times. Then it is their duty to bestir themselves. When the Deluge was about to descend upon a guilty world, Noah was commanded to bestir himself and prepare an ark for the saving of his household. When the fire-shower was coming upon Sodom, Lot was laid hold of by God’s angels and urged to escape for his life. When the children of Israel were in peril of being overwhelmed by the Egyptians, God signalled to them the order to advance, and by a majestic pillar of cloud led them through the parted sea. All sacred history is studded with illustrations of this truth. Martin Luther, discovering the “open secret” in the convent Bible at Erfurth, and hammering his theses on the church door of Wittemburg; the young Wesleys, awakened at Oxford and sent out to awaken slumbering Britain, were simply God’s agents bestirring themselves at the Divine signal.


II.
God has His “set times to favour Zion.” One of these was the memorable day of Pentecost. The faithful men and women in the upper room heard a sound as of a mighty rushing wind, and the baptism of fire descended. God moved, and His people were on their feet promptly. Each man, each woman obeys the signal. The Word of God grows mightily and prevails. The secret of this marvellous success is that Christians promptly and thoroughly co-operated with the Divine Spirit.


III.
A personal application. There are times when each child of Jesus hears the “sound of the going in the mulberries.” Let them be improved. Do not let us lose heaven’s fair wind. When we get fresh insight into the Word, let us open it to others. When our hearts are stirred with sympathy for sinners, then is the time to “pull them out of the fire.” If the Holy Spirit is striving with us, then is the time to strive with Him to save men from eternal death. As God moves in us, let us move for the salvation of those within our reach.


IV.
A time of trial is often a time of especial blessing. I have read of a German baron who stretched between the towers of his castle a set of iron wires. In calm weather the wires were silent. But when the winds arose these metallic chords began to play, and in the height of the gale this hurricane-harp gave out glorious music. So is it with a child of God. In seasons of calm and quiet prosperity he may too often become silent, inactive, useless. But when the storms of trial strike him his soul-harp awakes to new melodies of love and faith, and his life becomes as a stringed instrument struck by the hand of Jesus. Open your heart to the voice and the influences of the Divine and Loving Spirit. Let the time of trial be the time for doing God’s will, and at least one soul will taste the joys of a true revival! (Theodore L. Cuyler, D. D.)

The repeated question

The word “again” contains the kernel of the special teaching here.


I.
How David acted here.

1. A wise self-distrust. Self-distrust may be sinful, as it was in the case of Moses, who could not overcome his diffidence even when God had given him the greatest of all encouragements, saying “Certainly I will be with thee.” But there is a distrust of self, which is healthy and which leads a man on to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might; and that was what David had now and what secured his success.

2. A full confidence in God. He confided all the circumstances of his case to God.

3. A spirit of obedience. He was ready to abide by the Divine directions.

4. A recognition of wisdom beyond his own.


II.
How David might have acted.

1. He might have said the means which I had before will be enough now; I have very recently defeated those Philistines; their resources I know are much impaired, mine are not; I will go out against them at once. Such reasoning would have been wrong. Means which we have had before, even though intact, are not of necessity enough for us in a new emergency. The same circumstances seldom happen with every incident precisely alike. We may not see where the differences lie, but they may exist nevertheless; and perhaps it is precisely one of those unseen differences which will defeat us.

2. He might have contented himself with thinking generally that God would be with him. For this particular enterprise David asked specific advice. Specific acts of recognition of God receive specific blessings. Lessons--

1. The value of all close contacts with God.

2. We need not be afraid of wearying God with our frequent comings.

3. The value of new infusions of God’s wisdom and strength into all old, well known, well tried and successful means. The means will never be any more to us than what God enables them to be.

4. Nothing need grow old with God to keep it fresh.


III.
What came of David’s acting thus? In all probability escape from defeat. The way which God pointed out in answer to David’s inquiry, involved much from him.

1. Apparent cowardice.

2. Much self-restraint; but all these were but the preliminaries to triumph--the short time of waiting before God’s plan was perfected in victory.

Let us permit God’s answers to work themselves out. They must generally evolve. We cannot consult God with reverence, obedience and love, without His taking an interest in whatever we bring before Him. (P. B. Power, M. A.)

The battle of Gibeon


I.
A special change of tactics.


II.
A special sign by which these tactics are carried out.

1. A supernatural sign.

2. A disciplinary sign. Requiring an upward look, an open eye to see, an attentive ear to hear.

3. A typical sign. In the setting up of Christ’s kingdom, disciples waited to be equipped for work. (J. Wolfendale.)

Signals for duty


I.
God’s answer to man’s prayer.

1. Prayer for knowledge of duty.

2. Prayer for assurance of Success.


II.
God’s help in man’s circumstances.


III.
God’s signal for man’s action. We need not only to know, and strength to obey God’s will, but the signal to “go” at the right time. A detachment on one occasion waited for orders, longed to join their comrades in battle, instead of standing in silence, exposed to danger. At length Wellington gave the command, and the attack was successful. “They serve who stand and wait.” (J. Wolfendale.)

A wise tarrying

Xerxes, monarch of Persia, had invaded Greece with an army and a fleet. Against the latter the ships of the Greeks were drawn up, and were ready to sail down the bay to attack the Persians. But Themistocles, the commander, delayed. The men grew impatient and began to fret at the delay. Still he refused to give the order to advance. Discontent now became almost mutiny. Some said Themistocles was a coward; others declared that he had sold out to the enemy. But Themistocles was waiting for the land breeze. He knew that every morning, about nine o’clock, the breeze blew from the land, and by waiting for it to spring up, it would be possible to use the sails and it would be unnecessary to use the oars, and so every rower would become a fighter--thus his warriors would be increased in numbers. His delay meant success and victory as the sequel proved. In the spiritual work of to-day there is a wise tarrying and a foolish haste. Oh, if we could hear more said about the spiritual preparation, we are sure more would be accomplished in aggressive inroads upon the enemy! Let us insist that the Church be led to look for and expect the breath of the Holy Ghost, and then every man will be a soldier.

Before thee

1. A word of consolation in sore distress.

2. A word of encouragement amid inward conflict.

3. A word of exhortation to unconditional obedience of faith.

4. A word of assurance of the victory which the Lord gives. (J. P. Lange.)

The rustling of the Lord’s approaching help

1. Dost thou wait for it at His bidding?

2. Dost thou hear it with the right heed?

3. Dost thou understand it in the right sense?

4. Dost thou follow it without delay? (J. P. Lange.)

Victory comes from the Lord

1. When it is beforehand humbly asked for according to the Lord’s will and word.

2. When the battle is undertaken in the Lord’s name end for His cause.

3. When it is fought with obedient observation of the Lord’s directions and guidance. (J. P. Lange.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Chronicles 14". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/1-chronicles-14.html. 1905-1909. New York.