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1 Chronicles 3:1-9
The whole of this chapter is occupied with the descendants of David: the first nine verses of it with his own sons, classified according to the place of their birth, Hebron or Jerusalem; the remaining verses with the line of kings of his house to Jeconiah and Zedekiah (1 Chronicles 3:16), the grandsons of Zerubbabel (1 Chronicles 3:21), and descendants of Shechaniah (1 Chronicles 3:24). To the seven years and six months (2 Samuel 2:11) of David's reign at Hebron six sons belong, each of a different mother. To the thirty and throe years (2 Samuel 5:5; 1 Kings 2:11) of his reign at Jerusalem belong other thirteen sons, viz. four of one mother, Bethshua, and nine of other mothers, whose names are not given. The list of the six Hebron sons, with their mothers, is nearly identical with that of 2 Samuel 3:2-5, although the differences, slight as they are, would of the two indicate our list here rather as not copied than copied thence. The only noticeable difference, however, is in the name of the second son, announced here as Daniel, instead of Chileab, while the Septuagint has Δαλουία. This, together with the circumstance that one word would, as regards the Hebrew characters, comparatively easily convert into the other. renders it probable that it is merely a corrupt text or text obscure at this point which has occasioned the difference. The meaning of the name Daniel, put side by side with what we read in 1 Samuel 24:15, 1 Samuel 25:39, suggests strongly that it is the right name of the two. It was a name likely to be given by David to his first child by Abigail. Additional suspicion is thrown on the name Chileab through the three last letters of it, "leab," constituting also the three first of the very next word," of Abigail" (לַאְביִנַיִל) which looks very much like the over-haste of the pen uncorrected. It is remarkable that the Syriac and Arabic versions translate "Caleb," both here and in the parallel passage. For the sons born in Jerusalem we have all three parallel lists at command, and the variations are rather greater. The other two lists are in 2Sa 5:14-16; 1 Chronicles 14:4-7. The first of these omits Eliphelet and Nogah (possibly they died young or without issue), and the latter calls Eliphelet Elpalet (אֶלְפֶלֶט). Again, Shimeah and Elishama in our passage must yield, overruled by the consent of the other two, to Shammuah and Elishua. Again, it is to be noticed that the name Eliada (God (אֶל) knoweth), on occasion of its latest occurence (1 Chronicles 14:7), appears as Beeliada (the Lord (בַעַל) knoweth), preserving therein probably its earlier form, viz. that used before a settled bad sense had come to be attached to the word Baal (see 'Speaker's Commentary,' in loc.).
1 Chronicles 3:5
In this verse we have the form Bathshua for the familiar name Bathsheba, i.e. בַת־שׁוַּע for בַת־שֶׁבַע, in which latter word שֶׁבַע is a shorter form of שְׁבוּעָה. In the same verse we have עַמִּיאֵל here for אֱלִיעָם in 2 Samuel 11:3. The former name occurs often, e.g. Numbers 13:12; 2Sa 9:4, 2 Samuel 9:5; 2 Samuel 17:27; 1 Chronicles 26:5. The component parts of both words are the same, but their order is different—the meaning of the one perhaps "the people of God;" of the other, "the God of the people."
1 Chronicles 3:9
This verse plainly adds concubines, perhaps the ten spoken of in 2 Samuel 15:16, to the number of the mothers of the foregoing sons. The mention of only one daughter of David, viz. Tamar, follows the manifest ordinary rule, that daughters are not recorded at all, except for one of two reasons—either that through a daughter the line was saved, or that the daughter had from some special reason made a place for herself in history.
1 Chronicles 3:10-16
The line of royal descent from David, is now rapidly carried down in these verses—first, as far as good King Josiah, sixteen generations in all (omitting, quite consistently, Athalia, who reigned by her own usurpation for six years on the death of her son Azariah); and then, by four successions (viz. two brothers, sons of Josiah, and a grandson and great-grandson of Josiah), to the Captivity.
1 Chronicles 3:10
Though the Authorized Version has Abia the Hebrew word is אֲבִיָּה both here and in 2 Chronicles 13:1, 23 (or Authorized Version, 2 Chronicles 14:1), in both of which passages, as also elsewhere, our Authorized Version has Abijah. Another form is Abijam (אֲבִיָּם), as in 1 Kings 14:31 and elsewhere. A corrupt form (אֲבִיָּחוּ) is found in 2 Chronicles 13:20. We have the name in the New Testament genealogy (Matthew 1:7, Matthew 1:8).
1 Chronicles 3:11
Ahaziah. This name is found as Azariah in 2 Chronicles 22:6; and, by a shifting of the derivative part of the word, as Jehoahaz in 2 Chronicles 21:17; thus, אֲחַזְיָהוּ or יְהוֹאָחָז
1 Chronicles 3:12
Azariah. This name is found in 2 Chronicles 26:1; 2 Chronicles 27:2, as Uzziah; but in the Second Book of Kings it is found sometimes as Uzziah and sometimes as Azariah in the very same chapter (cf. 2 Kings 15:13 and 2 Kings 15:17, 2 Kings 15:23 and 2 Kings 15:32, and see Gesenius, 'Lexicon,' sub voce). We have the name as Azariah in Matthew 1:8, Matthew 1:9.
1 Chronicles 3:15
The first thing to be observed in this verse is that, though it lays stress on the mention of the name of Josiah's firstborn of four sons as Johanan, this is the only mention of him. Some, however, have taken the Jehoahaz of 2 Kings 23:30 for him. Next, that Jehoiakim was not the original name of the next brother, but a name slightly altered by Pharaoh-Necho from Eliakim (2 Kings 23:34). If the dates of 2 Kings 23:31, 2Ki 23:34, 2 Kings 23:36, be correct, there is no doubt that, though Jehoiakim, i.e. Eliakim, reigned after Jehoahaz, yet he was the elder, and is in his right place in the present passage. Next, that Shallum (Jeremiah 20:11) is another name of the Jehoa-haz of 2 Kings 23:30, 2Ki 23:31, 2 Kings 23:34, and several other places. It is possible that he finds the last place amid the four brothers of this verse because of his probable usurpation of the throne, in violation of the right of his elder brother, Jehoiakim, and the early fall he met with in consequence. Lastly, that the fourth brother, Zedekiah, whose name (2 Kings 24:17) was originally Mattha-niah, was put on the throne by the King of Babylon, and reigned eleven years in Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:18) after that his nephew Jehoiachin (who could have no son old enough to succeed) was (2 Kings 24:12, 2 Kings 24:15, 2 Kings 24:17) carried captive to Babylon.
1 Chronicles 3:16
Of the above four brothers, sons of Josiah, the second, Jehoiakim, or Eliakim, had a son called Jeconiah, or Jehoiachin—essentially the same word. He was eighteen years of age when he succeeded his father (2 Kings 24:8). A touching glimpse is given of him in Jeremiah 52:31. His name is shortened to Coniah in Jeremiah 22:24 and Jeremiah 37:1, though elsewhere in the same prophet, Jeconiah, and in one place (Jeremiah 52:31), Jehoiachin. The name of Zedekiah occasions difficulty in this verse. In the first instance, following the examples of Jeremiah 37:10-14, we should presume that this Zedekiah is set forth as a son of Jeconiah, and as it is not said that he reigned after Jeconiah (for it was undoubtedly Jeconiah's uncle Zedekiah who reigned after him), we need only have read it as a statement of one of his sons. Against this, however, there are two tolerably decisive considerations; for, first, the verse opens confessedly by offering us sons of Jehoiakim, and these two, Jeconiah and Zedekiah, will fulfil the promise of that plural; and again, the seventeenth verse enters upon the formal enumeration of sons to Jeconiah. The question, therefore, returns—Who was this Zedekiah, son of Jehoiakim? Some consider him identical with the Zedekiah of the previous verse, and that "his son" means here "his successor." This undoes fewer difficulties than it makes. If the text be not corrupt, the likeliest solution is to suppose that this Zedekiah of Jeremiah 37:16 is an otherwise unknown brother of Jeconiah, and son of Jehoiakim.
1 Chronicles 3:17-24
These verses contain a line of descent brought down to a point not merely posterior to the Exile, but possibly reaching to the time of Alexander. This line, however, through Solomon is lost so soon as the first name, that of Assir, is passed; Salathiel (Authorized Version)or Shealtiel, being descended from David, not through Solomon, but through Nathan, whole brother to Solomon. This Assir is not known from any parallel passage; and Luther, Starke, Bertheau, and others, followed by Zoekler (in Lange, 'Comm. O.T.') translate the name as captive, applying it to Jeconiah. Not all their reasons, however, for this, outweigh one which must be pronounced against it, viz. the absence of the article. The Septuagint and Vulgate versions agree with our own. The greater probability might be that Assir derived his name from being born after Jeconiah was in captivity, and such passages as Isaiah 39:7, Jeremiah 22:30, may throw some light upon the extinction of Solomon's line here, and the transfer of the succession (comp. Numbers 27:11, and see interesting note on the present place in 'Speaker's Commentary'). Salathiel is the Authorized Version incorrect rendering of the Hebrew Shealtiel. In Matthew 1:12 it is said, "And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel;" and in Luke 3:27, "Salathiel, which was the son of Neri." Now, Neri was in the direct line of Nathan. There seems only one way of reconciling these statements—and the method removes similar difficulties in other places also—viz, to distinguish between the descent natural and the descent royal, and then acknowledge that the former was swallowed up, where necessary, of the latter. One as decisive instance of this kind as that before us is most useful to rule other cases. (For an important allusion to the house and family of Nathan's descendants, as well known at the time, see Zechariah 12:12—a passage probably dating a few years previous to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.),
1 Chronicles 3:18
Of the name Malchiram and five following, it must be left still doubtful whose sons they were—whether of Jeconiah (comp. again 2Ki 24:12, 2 Kings 24:15; Jeremiah 22:30) or of Neri as possibly brothers of Salathiel, or of neither of these. The first of these suppositions seems almost untenable, the second seems unlikely enough, and the exceeding prevalence of a corrupt text would strongly favour the third supposition. At the same time, it may be observed that 1 Chronicles 3:19 proves that the names must belong to the royal succession, and indicates that, whoever Salathiel was in such aspect, that Pedaiah was, who becomes father of Zerubbabel. The verses that follow are thought by Eichhorn, Dahler, Keil, and some others to be an interpolation of later date, chiefly on account of the point to which the genealogy is brought.
1 Chronicles 3:19
Pedaiah is now given as the father of Zeraubabel and Shimei. Of the latter of these nothing else is known, unless Lord Hervey's theory below be correct. The former is a great name—its derivation perhaps doubtful. Strictly it signifies "scattered to Babylon," but (Gesenius, 'Lexicon') if the initial part of the word be strengthened into זְרוַּע, the signification might be "born in Babylon." We have in this name another instance of the treatment just commented on with regard to the name Salathiel in Luke 3:28. Zerubbabel is elsewhere invariably described as son of Salathiel, or Shealtiel; but as the genealogy of St. Luke gives the natural descent of Salathiel as from Neri, so does our genealogy in this one place give us the natural descent of Zerubbabel as from Pedaiah, one of Salathiel's brothers; while all other passages (e.g. Ezra 3:8; Haggai 1:12; Matthew 1:12; Luke 3:27)give us that for which the genealogical table is chiefly designed, viz. the matter of succession, according to which Zerubbabel would be-shown as son, i.e. link of succession, following on Shealtiel.
1 Chronicles 3:19
Meshullam. Though this name recurs, and very frequently, in Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, yet the person here denoted by it—son of Zerubbabel—is found here only. Hananiah, 1.q. Joanna of Luke 3:27, the names being the same, but with the component parts transposed, as in instances already given above. In the Gospel, Hananiah appears as grandson of Zorobabel, Rhesa intervening. Shelomith. This person is mentioned here only. The word, though evidently a feminine form, is found for the name of a man, chief of the Izarhites (1 Chronicles 23:18), but very possibly by a mere clerical error, as the true form is given in the very next chapter (1 Chronicles 24:22) for the same character, viz. שְׁלמֹוֹת.
1 Chronicles 3:20
The five additional names of this verse must presumably stand apart from the two sons and one daughter of the preceding verse, for some reason. What that reason may be is not known. Perhaps the most natural supposition is that their mother was not the same. The meaning of some of the names, as especially of the last, Jushab-hesed, i.e. "Loving-kindness is returned," has led Bertheau and others to the conjecture that they may be separated as children born to Zerubbabel, one of the leaders of the return from captivity, after that return. This seems plausible, except for the consideration that, the more plausible it is, the more we might expect the explanation itself to have been notified.
1 Chronicles 3:21
The Hebrew text, followed by the Vulgate, not followed by the Septuagint, reads here וּבֶן־אהֲנַנְיָח. Yet some manuscripts have the plural "sons," from which comes our Authorized Version. The indication is important. It is doubly interesting, as the only indication in our Hebrew text that tends to give confirmation to the very noteworthy differences of the Septuagint Version. For although this last, apparently somewhat perversely, begins its version with "sons," which plural does not so well suit its sequel, instead of the "son" of our Hebrew text, which would suit it, yet it proceeds with a translation which must have been obtained from another text, such text again suiting properly the singular'—"son"—of our Hebrew. The form of its translation is analogous to that marked in the words of 1 Chronicles 3:10-14. "The sons [sic son] of Ananiah, Pelatiah, and Jesaiah his son, Rephaiah his son, Arnan his son, Obadiah his son, Shechaniah his son," making six (presumably) consecutive generations. This, therefore, is the reading which (if correct) might carry down the genealogy to the times of Alexander the Great, and indeed to a time a quarter of a century later. And in doing so, it would certify this entry as of later date than probably any other of the canon! If we reject this position and reading, we have to get over the term, repeated several times, the sons of. To do this, Bertheau suggests that the intention of our passage was, from the name Rephaiah inclusive, not to mention the individual four brothers' names, but to mention them as four distinguished families among the posterity of David—an attempt at explanation certainly not satisfactory. The conclusion of the matter is, that in this twenty-first verse we have difficulties in either alternative, not satisfactorily explained. Either we have the names in all of six brothers, being "sons of Hananiah"—the last four of whom are styled, not by their individual names, but as heads of families; or we have six lineal descendants from Hananiah. If this last supposition were correct, calculate a royal succession at the lowest average (say something under twenty years), and the genealogy, including what follows in the remaining verses of the chapter, will bring us, as above, to a date that covers the whole life of Alexander the Great.
1 Chronicles 3:22
In the obscurity that obtains on the subject, there is one somewhat bright star of light in a succeeding name, Hattush, to which this verse leads us. This verse purports to help on the line of genealogy by a contribution of two descents, the effective names being Shemaiah and Neariah, the line coming to its close by aid of two other effective names, Elioenai and (say) Hodaiah, contained in the last two verses of the chapter. Although one manifest error in 1 Chronicles 3:22 (involved in the number "six" when only five sons have been read) betokens the insecurity of the text, yet the summary measures of the ingenious Lord A. C. Hervey can scarcely be warranted, when he wishes first to omit altogether the words and the sons of Shecaniah; Shemaiah; and next, to regard Shemaiah as Shimei, the brother of Zerub-babel, and, as matter of course, those who followed as the descendants of this brother of Zerubbabel, instead of Zerubbabel himself. Now, a passage in the Book of Ezra helps us much here. Ezra mentions, as one of those of the "sons of David" who went up with him from .Babylon to Jerusalem (Ezra 8:2, Ezra 8:3), Hattush, "of the sons of Shechaniah." There is not only nothing to prevent this Hattush being the same as the elder brother of Neariah, who comes fourth in succession from Zerubbabel, but at the above-mentioned average of twenty years the dates will admirably synchronize—the last date of Zerubbabel being about B.C. 520, and that of Neariah B.C. 440; while the date of Ezra's journey was B.C. 458. This coincidence of names and dates must not be regarded as con-elusive; but, pending further discovery, it strongly disfavours the idea of the names of verse 21 constituting a succession, and it keeps well in check the rate of succeeding generations, bringing the last member of the succession to a date that may be harmonized with others which have for the most part held their ground. That in verse 22 only five names are given for what are summed up as "six," must lead to the supposition that one has dropped out; and since no known manuscript of the Hebrew text, nor the Septuagint or Vulgate versions supplies us with the missing name, the Syriac and Arabic versions, which supply the name Azariah between Neariah and Shaphat, must be viewed with some suspicion. Igeal is, in the Hebrew, a word (יגִאֱל) identical with the Igal of Numbers 13:7; 2 Samuel 23:36—Septuagint in the latter passages Ἰλαὰλ or Ἰγάλ, but in the present place Ἰωὴλ. Of the other persons in this verse little or nothing else is known.
1 Chronicles 3:23
None of the names in this or the following verse assists as yet in throwing any light upon the questions that arise in this fragment of genealogy. Lord A. C. Hervey would identify Hodaiah (1 Chronicles 3:24) with Abiud (Matthew 1:13) and with Juda (Luke 3:26), and quotes, for very just confirmation of the possibility so far as the mere names are concerned, Ezra 3:9; Nehemiah 11:9; compared with Ezra 2:40; 1 Chronicles 9:7. His investigations on the comparison of the genealogies of this chapter with those of Matthew 1:9 and Luke 3:9, are well worthy of attention, and may be found in his work above referred to, and in his articles of Smith's 'Bible Dictionary.'
HOMILIES BY W. CLARKSON
1 Chronicles 3:1-9.-Checkered life.
These verses suggest to us the thought which continually recurs in studying the life of David, viz. —
I. HOW JOY AND SORROW MINGLE IN THE LIVES OF MEN. To David were given many elements of joy: he had the outward dignity, the comfortable and even splendid surroundings, the authority and influence which belong to Oriental sovereignty: he reigned altogether forty years (1 Chronicles 3:4). For this large period of his life the pleasures of regal pomp, wealth, and power were at his command. But his was far from a cloudless day. In the home circle, where the sweetest joys are commonly found, there were abundant sources of trouble and distress. In his "first love," Michal, he was bitterly disappointed, and she was "childless unto the day of her death." His concubines deserted and dishonoured him (2 Samuel 16:22). As we read in these verses (1 Chronicles 3:1-8) the names of his children, we are struck with the thought—how little there was in them to give their father a parent's joy! how much to cause him a profound anxiety, or even poignant grief! If national prosperity or military success elated the king's heart, domestic dissatisfaction, home troubles, must soon have clouded his brow. Thus is it with us all: joy and sorrow may not spring from these two sources, they may not mingle in these proportions, but they are bound up together in the same bundle; they intermingle and interlace in every human life. Bodily gratifications, success, power, the endearments of human love, the hope of higher and greater things, the joy of beneficence, on the one hand; care, loss, toil, disappointment, regret, the "wounded spirit," on the other hand. It is a checkered scene, this plain of human life; sunshine and shadow fall fitfully upon it as we pass on to the far horizon. This aspect of David's household, recalling to us the contrasts of his experience, may lead us to remember —
II. HOW GOD DISCIPLINES OUR HEARTS. David would hardly have been the humble and devout man he was and continued to be, if he had enjoyed an unbroken course of triumph and satisfaction. The best graces of the human soul cannot thrive in perpetual sunshine; they must have the searching winds and the pelting rains of heaven. If God sends us loss and trouble, if he "breaks our schemes of earthly joy," it is to foster in our hearts those virtues of meekness, resignation, lowliness of heart, considerateness of others, etc; which we should not keep alive if the "barns were always filled with plenty," and the cup were always overflowing with earthly joy. We may especially learn here —
III. How GOD PREPARES US FOR HOLY SERVICE. David would never have left us the psalms which proceeded from his pen if his earthly life had not been the checkered thing it was. It was from a troubled if not a broken heart that those deep utterances were poured. It was from a soul that could find no rest and joy but in the faithful God, "the very present Help in trouble," that flowed the precious passages which are the comfort of mankind.
1. God never calls us to any estate so high as that of sacred service—the spiritual help we render our kind.
2. We cannot possibly serve to the full height of our power if we do not learn sympathy by suffering.
3. Therefore God leads his children into deep waters, that, through such baptism, they may comfort, heal, and bless the sorrowing and stricken souls who wait their ministering hand.—C.
1 Chronicles 3:10-24.-The best rewards of piety, etc.
This list of the names of the sons of David before and after the Captivity suggest three truths —
I. THE BEST REWARDS OF PIETY. To David God gave the promise that his children should sit upon his throne; to Solomon he gave a brilliant court and large exchequer. David had the high and lofty satisfaction of looking forward to future years, and knowing that his descendants would be wielding power and exerting influence for many generations. Solomon had his reward in the "things which are seen and temporal"—in great wealth, in a large harem, in foreign alliances, in growing merchandise, etc. The one reward was elevating, ennobling; the other proved to be hurtful and demoralizing. We are very apt to look for temporal prosperity, earthly honour, material gratification, as the guerdon of devotion; but if this should be given us, it may end at last in spiritual depression and failure. God may give us our request, and send leanness into our soul (Psalms 106:15). We should rather desire mental and spiritual bestowments, delights of the soul, gladness of the heart —
"The joys which satisfy
And sanctify the mind;"
those which have no tendency to enfeeble or to mislead, but which tend rather to enrich and to enlarge the soul.
II. THE VANITY OF HUMAN FAME. It is impossible not to be struck with the obscurity of the names which occur in some of these verses (1 Chronicles 3:10-24). It is something, indeed, that a man's name should find a place, however humble, in such an imperishable record. But these men lived and died without enjoying any such anticipation, and it is nothing to them now. The desire for distinction is natural to noble minds; and if it be honourable fame, and not mere worthless notoriety they seek, we must pay them praise and not accord them blame. But the fact that, as time proceeds, human fame becomes of less account, and that the very names of succeeding kings may become nothing more than a tedious chronicle, only read by way of duty, may well lead us to choose a more worthy and a more lasting portion. There are blessings to be sought and gained, the value of which does not decline with the passage of the years or even of the centuries. It is these which the wise will covet, which the holy will secure.
III. THE EXCELLENCY OF GODLY ZEAL. There is one name in this list which stands out among the rest as that of a man whom all the servants of God "delight to honour"—Zerubbabel (1 Chronicles 3:19). To have been the ancestor or the descendant of such a man was itself an honour. We regard his career as one of the worthiest and most fruitful which even the Holy Scriptures have recorded. His godly zeal did much to carry on the purpose of Jehovah from the return of the captives to the coming of the Lord. To have lived such a life and to have done such a work may satisfy the very largest ambition which the heart of man can hold. To look back from the spiritual world on such a work accomplished must be an increase to heavenly joy. There are few satisfactions, if there be any, which give a truer, deeper, diviner delight to the regenerated soul than the conviction that, by the help and grace of God, we are sowing the seeds of holy usefulness, of which future generations will reap the blessed harvest.—C.
HOMILIES BY F. WHITFIELD
1 Chronicles 3:1-24.-Genealogy of Israel's royal household.
Before entering upon the genealogies of the tribes of Israel in their due order, we are directed to fix our attention on the royal line. In 1 Chronicles 3:1-9 we have all the sons of David enumerated, viz. six born in Hebron and thirteen in Jerusalem. The number of David's sons born after his removal to Jerusalem was eleven; only nine are mentioned here—two are omitted, either on account of early death or no issue. In 1 Chronicles 3:10-16 the line is given from Solomon to Jeconiah and Zedekiah—the time of the Exile. From 1 Chronicles 3:17-24 we have the line of the captive and exiled Jeconiah, and other families. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned over forty years. Seven years and a half of these were over Judah in Hebron, and thirty-three over Israel and Judah united in Jerusalem. In 2 Samuel 5:1-25. we have his first public anointing to be king over Israel. This anointing took place at the time that David was king over Judah in Hebron. In 2 Samuel 2:1-32. we are told that the men of Judah came to Hebron—to which place David went by the command of God—and there they anointed him king. This, however, was not his first anointing. The Divine call and anointing took place ten years previously, during the reign of Saul, and was carried out at God's command by Samuel the prophet, as is fully recorded in 1 Samuel 16:1-23. Of Solomon himself little is said in this chapter. He reigned forty years over Israel in Jerusalem. Our attention is chiefly directed to David. The historian enters into more minute details in his case, both with regard to his family and to his reign. As the head of the royal line, he is brought into greater prominence. As the type of Christ, this is also as it should be. From this fountain-head all blessings flow. David, like David's Son and Lord, has here the pre-eminence. Throughout this chapter three kings of the royal line stand prominently forward in connection with the people of God—David, Solomon, and Zedekiah. Others, such as Josiah and Hezekiah, were distinguished as kings, but it is to these our attention is chiefly directed, on account of their typical bearing in connection with the kingdom of God. We shall look at them in this light, and see the reason why such prominence is given.—W.
1 Chronicles 3:1-9.-The kings of the royal line-David and Solomon: the lessons of their lives.
Under the reign of David the kingdoms of Israel and Judah may be said to have been established. It was marked from first to last by conflict, war, and bloodshed. Foes on every side, both hidden and open, had to be encountered, battle after battle to be fought. In all this he stood alone, and thus stands before us as the type of Christ. He encountered all our spiritual foes. He fought the great fight. "Oft the people there was none with him." All the powers of darkness were leagued against him. He endured the frown of man, and bore the wrath of God. He fought the fight and won the victory, and the kingdom of God was thus established in the Name of David's Son and Lord. In his sufferings in Gethsemane and on the cross he trod all the powers of darkness down, and in his resurrection from the dead God set his seal to the accomplishment of his work and the establishment of his spiritual kingdom, against which the gates of hell can never prevail. Of him it could be said, as was said of David himself (see 1 Chronicles 22:18), only in an infinitely higher sense, "Hath he not given you rest on every side? for he hath given the inhabitants of the land into mine hand; and the land is subdued before the Lord, and before his people." But, though David may be said to have founded and established the kingdom, he was not permitted to build the house of God. This was to be Solomon's work. The kingdom, thus established, was passed over to him to erect in it the great temple of God. Solomon, "the peaceful one," as his name signifies, was thus entrusted to complete the great work for which David had made all the preparation. Solomon follows David spiritually as surely as historically. It is but the gospel story in another form. In these early chapters of this book we see these names of David, Solomon, and Zedekiah closely interwoven with those of the twelve tribes, or the entire family of God. They are, in fact, inseparable. As the "vine and the branches," they are one living tree. Not only is it true of David and Solomon spiritually, but of all God's people—it is first conflict, then rest. It is through the former we enter into the latter. "Through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom." Only they who "fight the good fight of faith," who are the true soldiers of the cross, know how deep is the peace of God that becomes the portion of the soul. There is a peace which flows from the sight of a suffering Saviour bearing our sins. This is not the peace we mean. It is that peace which is the result of being true to Christ, living near to him, being wholly on his side—a marked man—who is not ashamed of his reproach. All this involves a daily, yea, hourly, conflict; and out of this God opens the channels of the soul for a peace to flow in which "passeth all understanding," and to which other Christians are strangers. But not only are David and Solomon the law of the kingdom of God,—it is the law of all things. Before the peace always goes the sword. This was our Lord's teaching when he said, "I am not come to send peace, but a sword." Peace follows. The storm and tempest are absolutely necessary to purify the air. To these both spring and summer owe their beauty. It is first the sorrow and then the joy that is the order of life. "The evening and the morning were the first day," and seem on the very first page of God's Word to reflect this truth. Through the evening the world still passes to its mornings. The first chapter of Genesis is all sunlight. But what a deep, dark cloud passes over all the book of God, what a history of sin and sorrow, crying and tears, till we reach its close, and then the sun rises again, never more to go down! We might go on to show how all life is full of this law; but this will suffice to help the reader's further thoughts. And as every stone of Solomon's temple rested on the work David had finished, and the preparation he had made, so do all the "living stones" of God's spiritual temple rest on the finished work of Christ, and everything really substantial on his conflict, struggle, and cross. And peace deeper than anything Solomon's reign could shadow forth fills their souls, even that peace which was his gift to all his people when he said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you."—W.
1 Chronicles 3:10-24.-Kings of the royal line-Zedekiah: the lesson of his life.
The portraiture of the Holy Spirit would be incomplete without that of Zedekiah. In him we see how every work of God may be undone, how the fairest fabric may become a wreck. If in David and Solomon we have that which will encourage, we have here a note of solemn warning. What is the lesson thus solemnly taught? That sin undid all the work of David and Solomon. Sin ruined the kingdom, and lay desolate the temple of God. And in what did that sin consist? In that which is the fertile source of all sin—idolatry. Idolatry is the heart going after something else than God. Its gross form is image-worship. Its more refined and general form is the love of something lower than Christ. The latter is the guiltier, because done under greater light. From this single source everything follows—loss of peace, darkness of soul, weakness of intellect, immorality of life, judicial blindness, and the entire spiritual wreck of everything, whether it be in an individual soul or in a nation. Let God be supplanted, and there is no abyss into which one and the other will not ultimately fall. God's first law to Israel was," Thou shalt have none other gods before me;" and it is his first law still. Well might the beloved apostle say, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." The utter ruin of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and the desolation of the temple, had one source, consummated by Zedekiah—idolatry. This brought down upon them that wrath of God which has been resting like a dark cloud on the nation ever since. If David and Solomon show us how we may pass through conflict to peace, Zedekiah shows us how we may pass from it all to utter desolation. Needful warning to complete this spiritual picture.—W.
HOMILIES BY R. TUCK
1 Chronicles 3:4.-David's double reign.
The important fact is recalled to mind that David's reign was divided into two parts: for some seven years and a half he reigned over a portion of the nation, and then for three and thirty years over the whole. His capital during the first part of his reign was Hebron; and during the second part, Jerusalem. It is evidently a point of interest and instruction that, though designed for the throne, and anointed in his early life, David only attained the throne by gradual stages and steps, and there was a long series of remarkable providences ever tending towards, and at last fully realizing the Divine purpose. From David's story we learn that there may be even prolonged delay in the fulfilment of the Divine promise, but that very delay is used in the ultimate and the more perfect fulfilment of the promise. This may be fully illustrated in the details of David's early history. If God's promise seems "to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not tarry." Immediately on receiving news of the death of Saul, David took action. As long as the anointed of the Lord lived, it was his duty to wait patiently, not to strive, not to assert his pretensions to the throne, not to rebel in any way against the lawful authority. But Saul being removed, no claims remained; he might assert at once his right to the throne. Here, however, the truly religious character of David is seen. The way seemed plain before him, but he would not take a step without inquiry of the Lord. He asks both the when, the how, and the where, desiring simply to follow the Divine lead. And he is directed to Hebron, the sacred city of the tribe of Judah. His removal to that city was the signal for the union of the tribe of Judah under his rule. His ultimately securing the allegiance of the entire people, and removing his capital to Jerusalem, was the result of a train of providential circumstances, which indicated the Divine will as plainly as if words of command had been uttered. Many men sin by trying to force God's will into conformity with their own, and deceiving themselves with the idea that they are doing God's will. Happy are they who, in all simplicity, follow God's lead, and are quite willing to wait for God's time and God's way. The point in David's story recalled by these verses shows us—
I. DELAY AND PARTIAL FULFILMENT TRYING DAVID'S FAITH. Years passed, and the promise of his youth seemed ever further off from fulfilment; and even when the fulfilment came, it was far below his hopes, scarcely worth so many years of waiting and bearing. Yet David fully maintained his trust. He never failed; he would not be persuaded to make his own way, by cutting off Saul's life when the king was in his power. David never lost hope. God's way might be in the sea, but God can make pathways even through seas. And delay has ever been, and still is, one of the most effective agencies for testing faith. So long as we can do something, we can keep trust alive; but it is so hard to "flesh and blood" to be still and wait.
II. DELAY AND PARTIAL FULFILMENT CULTURING DAVID'S FITNESSES. It is always more important that we should be fit for a position than that we should gain it; and so the long years of preparatory waiting and experience in lesser spheres are never wasted years. David in the court, David in the cave, and David in Hebron, was being fitted for full royalty at Jerusalem. Life is, for us all, in stages, each with a view to the next in advance. We want to leap to the best at once. God will not let us, save in judgment. He brings through the lesser trusts slowly to the greater ones. This gives us one of our best assurances of immortality. We are so evidently in this delay-time of earth being fitted for something more and higher. Gain what we may here on earth, we cannot exhaust our spiritual capacities.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 3:10-19.-Review of the kings.
It is specially worthy of notice that, according to his promise, God preserved the Davidic line among all the changes through which the kingdom of Judah passed; and this became a public testimony to the Divine faithfulness, and a constant plea against them when they publicly broke their side of the conditions of the national covenant. We may dwell on —
I. WHAT THIS UNFOLDS OF GOD'S LONG-SUFFERING MERCY. For some of the kings of Judah were rebellious and idolatrous; some, as, for instance, Ahaz and Manasseh, so very bad that we marvel at the mercy which held back judgment on the Davidic dynasty. Exactly what we have ever to wonder over is the Divine long-suffering towards us, towards his Church, towards men. God is infinitely jealous of the honour of his Name as the Promise-maker and the Promise-keeper, and we may even think of God as infinitely hopeful concerning his people, waiting on and on, bearing long with them, quite sure that they will yet turn to him and live. But every new impression of God's patient mercy made upon our hearts only shows up the more hatefully our sin in keeping on and "despising the riches of his mercy."
II. WHAT THIS UNFOLDS OF GOD'S WITNESS TO HIMSELF. God's dealings with men are the revelation of God's character. What he does is designed to unfold before us what he is, and so to ensure personal trust in him. Here mercy blends with faithfulness, and we gain the conception of his righteousness blending with his love, justice and mercy going hand in hand, the King and the Father making the sublime unity of the Divine King-Father. Sometimes we gain impressions of Divine justice, at other times impressions of Divine mercy, and we err if we keep these apart. We only conceive God himself aright when we can blend them to make the perfect harmony of him who is faithful, to all his words—faithful to punish and faithful to pity and faithful to preserve.
III. WHAT THIS UNFOLDS OF GOD'S HIGHER AND SPIRITUAL PURPOSES. For from the preservation of a particular dynasty we rise to the promise of the world's Messiah, who was to be recognized by coming in the Davidic line, and bear a royalty which should be a sublime spiritual royalty, and found a kingdom which should be an invisible but everlasting kingdom. David's kingdom was, by the promise, to be continued for ever; and so it is in that Son of David, who yet was David's Lord, and who bath now both an "unchangeable priesthood" and an "unchangeable kingship." His dominion shall yet prove to be an "everlasting dominion;" he "shall have the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession." And into the eternal Davidic kingdom we should enter, and we may enter, for the King throws wide the door, and calls "whosoever will" to come.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 3:19.-The builder of the second temple.
Among the names recorded here, that of Zerubbabel suggests an interesting passage in the Jewish history; and he has a marked individuality, so that his work and his times may be profitably reviewed. It is noticed as a fulfilling of the Divine promise concerning the Davidic dynasty, that Zerubbabel was a prince of the house of David, and so the returned captives resumed their national life under a Davidic leader, and with a fresh and constantly effective remembrance of the Divine promise and faithfulness. From the narrative in Ezra, details of the work of Zerubbabel may be given. His mission concerned three things:
1. The leadership of the liberated captives on their return journey to Palestine. What qualities this demanded—command, courage, patience, cheerfulness, etc; should be fully illustrated.
2. The erection of a new temple from the ruins of that of Solomon, and the restoration of the Mosaic ritual and worship. In this he was aided by Joshua, the high priest. Show what further qualities were demanded by this work—power to inspire others, personal godliness, an enkindling enthusiasm, and, in view of the efforts of the Samaritans, firmness, unswerving loyalty to God, and a holy jealousy that permitted no compromises in religion.
3. The establishment of a national and governmental order among the people. This was the work for which he probably had hereditary genius; and his position and authority, as the Persian Sheshbazzar, enabled him effectively to carry out his schemes. In him may be illustrated the threefold truth:
(1) that circumstances call forth the best that is in men;
(2) that men may to a large extent mould their circumstances; and
(3) that God is ever ready to give his grace and strength, unto the best success, to every man who sincerely wishes to be found faithful.—R.T.
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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 3". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30