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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Chronicles 23

Verse 1

1 Chronicles 23:1

So when David was old and full of days.

I. An instructive view of life.


II.
A touching picture of old age.


III.
A solemn warning to all. (J. Wolfendale.)

How to employ old age

The pathos of David’s action will be more clearly recognised if we remember that the literal translation is, “Now David had become satisfied with days.” Satisfied with days, but not satisfied with labour. David had seen all the contents of time, in poverty, persecution, honour, end majesty, and yet he was anxious for the consolidation of his empire and the construction of the temple. When the heathen poet described the death of a philosopher it was under the image of a guest who had to the full enjoyed the feast. David as a guest of the Lord had himself sat long enough at the table of time, and now he was desirous that his son should take up the service and enjoyment of the empire, whilst he himself went forth to the mysteries of another state. Old age can do for the future what mere youth is not permitted to attempt. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Verse 5

1 Chronicles 23:5

And four thousand praised the Lord with the instruments which I made.

Music and religion


I.
The object of music. “To praise therewith” well expresses the attitude of the Bible towards music. Plutarch says: “The chiefest and sublimest end of music is the graceful return of our thanks to the gods.” In these words the wisdom of the Bible representation is vindicated. A worthy conception of God is the only thing which can give the true inspiration of music, and keep it pure and noble through all its strains. Thus music and religion ought never to be divorced.


II.
Some of the features of the revelation of God which the Bible gives, and see how they agree with the best features of musical life and growth.

1. The Bible reveals God to man, and man to himself; it opens up depths of meaning which ordinary life cannot sound; it calls man the son of God; it bases itself upon the love of God, which passeth knowledge; it speaks of things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive. If we allow music any rights of its own, they must be based upon its claim to give expression which is beyond the power of words, and to utter conceptions which thought cannot formulate. It has the power to take them out of the surroundings even of the deepest thoughts, to lift their aspirations where nothing else can go, to carry them into the presence of a power of harmony and order more fundamental than the skill of the hand or the logic of the mind can represent.

2. Then there is the universality of religion. It is meant for all men: there are all grades and kinds of reception of it. The gospel of Christ is for all men; it has truths for the simple, and doctrines for the wise; it meets all nations of men, each according to its nature and its needs. So music in one way or another affects the simplest and the most cultured, appeals to the joyful and to the sorrowing, defies lines of nationality and of language, and is appropriated by all according to the needs of each.

3. The object of religion is harmony--harmony between heaven and earth, between man and man, harmony in the life of the individual, with its varying experiences. The power of man to appreciate harmony finds a response in the growing resources of the musical art; and the yearnings of man for a better existence, where life shall not clash with death, joy with sorrow, and love with hate, finds an answer in a revelation which destroys death, comforts sorrow, and makes love seen everywhere. There could be no better expression for heaven, aa the place where such a revelation finds its completion, than as the place of music. (Arthur Brooks, D. D.)

Verse 14

1 Chronicles 23:14

Moses the man of God.

The man of God

1. A beautiful description of any man.

2. A possible description of every man.

3. A needful description of each man if he is to abide in his Father’s house for ever.

Some men have attained eminence in godliness. No renown is to be compared with this, no influence is ,equal to that which arises from such recognition. (J. Parker, D. D.)

When is man a “man of God”?

1. When he believes in God’s existence.

2. When he is assured of God’s providence.

3. When he has sunk his will in the Divine purpose.

4. When he lives and moves and has his being in God. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Verse 25

1 Chronicles 23:25

For David said, The Lord God of Israel hath given rest unto His people.

The rest of the people of God


I.
In the mysterious polity of the people of Israel spiritual and temporal blessings were so closely allied that the same language might naturally be employed to signify either.


II.
It is not unwarrantable for us to conjecture that in the joyous utterance contained in the text David insinuated profounder truths than lie on the surface of his words.


III.
If “there remaineth a rest to the people of God,” it becomes us to secure this great blessing as the sole or chief object of existence.


IV.
Rest and peace must fall upon a Christian spirit.

1. From its devotion to Christ Himself, and its devoted imitation of His pure and perfect example.

2. By the elevating tendency of the singleness of the object of his hope. Those who have many debts often feel it a relief to exchange them all for a single creditor; he whose whole heart is bent on reaching a single point leaves all around him on his way in equal and complete indifference. God is one; let our affections but partake of the unity of that object, and we shall have reached the pathway of real and imperishable rest.

3. From the very nature of the Christian affections.

4. From its hope being anchored in a future world. To support, still more to exalt us, heaven must mingle with earth. To direct a vessel upon the ocean there must be two elements at work, the air must modify the agency of the water; to set a vessel at rest there must be more elements than one employed, and the earth must afford the means of resisting the breezes and the sea. Such is the position in the voyage of this life. The earthly and the heavenly elements must combine, or we are powerless. Confined to the single element of our corrupted nature, we are the sport of every accident, we have no rules for our navigation. But they who join to the human nature the higher element, they have a power that guides them to the everlasting haven. To have the great object of our thoughts placed beyond the chances of human life is to place ourselves beyond them. (W. A. Butler.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Chronicles 23". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/1-chronicles-23.html. 1905-1909. New York.