1 Chronicles: A retelling

“Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.” -1 Chronicles 19:13

The warriors that came to David in Ziklag

The chief was Ahiezer. Then, Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite, Jeziel, Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth, Berachah, Jehu the Antothite, Ismaiah the Gibeonite, Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Josabad the Gederathite, Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, Shephatiah the Haruphite, Elkanah, Jesiah, Azareel, Joezer, Jashobeam, Korhites, Joelah, Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor, Ezer, Obadiah, Eliab, Mishmannah, Jeremiah, Attai, Eliel, Johanan, Elzabad, Jeremiah, and Machbanai.

These men appeared and acted as David’s friends/warriors, which was upon the death of Saul, in order to bring about the revolution. All of the forces were around 600 men. They claim to be ones helping God. Gradually, David was preparing to take the throne. These are the men who helped David become King of Judah. This gathering was about him getting ready to take the throne.

The first priests to return from Babylon were Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, and Jachin. It goes on… Azariah the son of Hilkiah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Zadok, the son of Meraioth, the son of Ahitub, Adaiah the son of Jeroham, the son of Pashur, the son of Malchijah, Maasiai the son of Adiel, the son of Jahzerah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Meshillemith, and the son of Immer. More were noted in large numbers but not listed here.

The first Levites to return from Babylon were Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, the son of Azrikam, the son of Hashabiah, of the sons of Merari, Bakbakkar, Heresh, Galal, Mattaniah the son of Micah, the son of Zichri, the son of Asaph, Obadiah the son of Shemaiah, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun, Berechia the son of Asa, and the son of Elkanah.

Saul asked the armor-bearer plainly to kill him by drawing his sword and thrusting it into him, but the armor-bearer refused, therefore, Saul took the sword and fell upon it instead. His armor-bearer was likely so dedicated to him that he didn’t want to kill Saul, but when Saul killed himself, the armor-bearer did it the same way unto himself. It says after that, that Saul and his three sons died (all his house overall) together. The Philistines had already slew Jonathan and the sons of Saul, so Saul probably became hopeless because all those that were close to him had died, therefore, Saul didn’t want to live on, it seems.

Three of David’s mighty men broke through the battle line of the Philistines in order to bring David a drink of water from the well at Bethlehem. However, David doesn’t drink the water, because of the danger that the men had gone through just to give it to him, so David poured the water out to the Lord.

Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, such as slaying two lionlike men of Moab and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day, as well as many other acts of slaying. He was among the three mighties as well.

David is made king, by which the government was happy about. Care is taken about religion in chapter 13, where David consults with the representatives of the people about bring the ark out of obscurity and into a public place. When the ark finally arrives after the trouble that was caused, guardians were appointed over the ark to watch it. David appointed various officials to lead worship.

David proposed to build a house for God, however, God disapproved it, for David was not the right man to build it. This is all in preparation of the Davidic Covenant, to which, the house of David shall be established for ever, and he was blessed. The Davidic line shall be eternal, and I believe Jesus is at the forefront.

David seemed to end his good kingship with glory, so to speak, because he had a praise and prayer speech, people offered gifts and sacrifices to God, and then his own son, Solomon is sworn in as new King. That would be a fitting ceremony, and an excellent way to end a kingly reign.

Synopsis

The Book of First Chronicles, most guess that Ezra (or an unknown chronicler) wrote it around 450-420 BC. It talks richly about Israel’s redemptive history, especially along the lines of the genealogies of Adam to the post-exilic restoration, and then about David’s reign as king. The idea behind the Chronicles being written was for the Jews, so they would have a record of their ancestry and redemptive history. A “chronicle” is defined simply as “a record of events.” The Books of the Chronicles were written many years after Israel and Judah had been taken into captivity.

The book begins with the genealogies of the tribes of Israel, which includes a long list of names – which is basically a detailed ancestry overall. So, the ones listed for example were from Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Jacob, from Jacob to David, from David to the Babylonian Exile, then of the Twelve Tribes, of the Remnant (tribes, priests, and Levites that returned), and Saul. Saul is mentioned, but nothing much is said about him, as it appears the writer is more concerned with the reign of David – especially since judgment came upon Saul for his unfaithfulness and disobedience.

The reign of David was strongly detailed in First Chronicles, as David was able to endure significantly in his reign, and that God had made a covenant with David that his family line would endure for generations, even unto eternity (as Jesus was a descendant of the line of David). This showed the importance of David, and his huge role that was played in the history of redemption, particularly for Israel. The writer must first, though, count the death of Saul – because that was how the ushering in of David became, was resulting from the fallout and death of Saul.

It seems like many of the events are not recorded, so it appears the writer is telling of the major events in David’s reign. The writer targets talking about the beginning of the reign of David over Jerusalem, and that the mighty men group that David created played a big role in establishing the kingdom. Many people who fought alongside David are also mentioned, including the Benjaminites who joined him at Ziklag while he fled from Saul, the fearless soldiers from Gad, and Benjamin and Judah who joined him in Adullum. The writer also notes how all of the tribes in Israel had sent a representative force of troops to Hebron to present themselves to David.

The next part that’s detailed is that the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem, a setback occurred because of a lack of reverence for it, but then it was brought with success – in which the people celebrated over it. Feasting and sacrifices were done at the arrival of the Ark, as people were glad it was finally in a proper place.

After that, the writer details the psalm of thanksgiving that was sung in the celebration of the Ark in Jerusalem. In this, we read about the Abrahamic Covenant being remembered, and that God’s faithfulness has lasted for so long in that covenant. God miraculously preserved the descendants – which he could’ve easily removed. Therefore, in all of this, it brought praise and glory unto the Lord. His unfailing mercy brought the Israelites an assurance that they could always depend on this mighty and just God.

When the Ark was brought, David had it placed in a temporary tent, while he could make plans and execute them for a temple to be built. However, God wanted David to build up his house first, because God wanted to build an eternal dynasty of David, and that one of his descendants would build the temple. After that, the listing of a number of David’s victories was done, and how he had great success/fame in war. Then, he speaks to Solomon about the temple plans, and that it should be built soon. He then encouraged Solomon to seek wisdom from God and obey his commands, so he could govern the nation according to God’s Law.

David was also interested in preparing the Levites for temple ministry among other administrative organizing – for he wanted the temple to be successful in being built. But more than that, he wanted his successor to be successful also in ruling Israel. So, in preparing to promote Solomon to the throne (since Solomon was the next heir, after all), his other son, Adonijah, was attempting to seize the throne for himself – therefore, David hurriedly promoted Solomon.

The anointing was quick and rather unceremonious – as the writer details – and that a second anointing had followed with a big ceremony (appropriate for new kings). David presented Solomon as king and the one who would build the temple of God. So then, God gave Solomon the plans that he had prepared for the temple and its service. In addition to the provisions that David gave for the temple project, David also gave a big offering from his savings – which prompted people to give their own generous offerings. This brought great joy to David and made him glad for his successor.

2 Kings paves the road to Kingdoms

“But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” -2 Kings 17:39

Some other key verses:

  • 2:1-2: This shows that Elijah shall be taken up into heaven by a whirlwind, and therefore, he told Elisha to stay with him, because the Lord had sent Elijah to Bethel. Elisha promised not to leave him, but to go with him.
  • 2:7-11: Elijah is seen taking the mantle, wrapping it together, smiting the waters, and they were divided – so that him and Elisha could proceed on dry ground. Elijah offered to do something for Elisha before he was to part, and Elisha requested a double portion of his spirit. Elijah acknowledge it would be difficult, but it would be dependent (on the Lord’s power?) on whether Elisha saw him afterward or not. Elijah then ascends into a whirlwind to heaven.
  • 9:30-35: Jezebel is shown here mocking in fear, for her heart was hardened against God. She planned to continue braving it, seducing others to wickedness. However, her attendants delivered her up to be put to death, and it was the end of pride and cruelty.

List of dynasties noted in 2 Kings

  • Of Israel:
    • Ahaziah
    • Joram
    • Jehu
    • Jehoahaz
    • Jehoash
    • Jeroboam II
    • Shallum
    • Menahem
    • Pekah
    • Pekahiah
    • Hoshea
    • (Zechariah was one of them, but we don’t see info on him in 2 Kings.)
  • Of Judah:
    • Jehoram
    • Ahaziah
    • Athaliah
    • Joash
    • Amaziah
    • Azariah
    • Jotham
    • Ahaz
    • Hezekiah
    • Manasseh
    • Amon
    • Josiah
    • Jehoahaz
    • Jehoiakim
    • Jehoiachin
    • Zedekiah.

Background

The authorship of 2 Kings is credited to Jeremiah. After the death of Jehoram, Jehu succeeded him and destroyed the wicked house of Ahab but not all idol worship. The restoration of the Temple took place during Joash’s reign, but later he was despised by the people for trying to buy peace by giving the Temple treasure to the Syrians. The King who was remembered “as one of Judah’s better kings” and was affected by “leprosy” was  Azariah.

Israel experienced a series of six kings in a very short period, only Menahem was not violently slain and then Israel fell into the hands of the Assyrians. During the reign of Ahaz in Judah, all manner of restoration and extension were restored, and the prophet Isaiah ministered in Jerusalem during his days. In 721 B.C. the Northern Kingdom of Israel made up of ten tribes came to an end and they were taken into captivity in the area now known as Persia.

The prophet Isaiah was at the right hand of King Hezekiah of Judah. While Sennacherib, King of Africa made war with Judah, Micah wrote his Book of the Bible. The great Babylonian Empire builder was Nebuchadnezzar II and Judah fell into his hands in 606 B.C. when Judah as a state ended. Bad Kings reigned for about 373 years, and Good Kings reigned for 383 years.

Synopsis

Second Kings, a book written by an unknown author in 560-550 BC; details the ministry of Elisha, and the continual division & multiples reigns of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In addition, we see the single kingdom arisen as Judah after Israel’s collapse.

First, it’s best to detail the entire reign of all of the kings. Ahaziah had continued to reign in Israel, and then it was Joram. Jehoam, then Ahaziah took over the throne in Judah. Jehu was next in line for Israel, and Athaliah and Joash were next in Judah. Jehoahaz and Jehoash followed for Israel, before Amaziah took over in Judah. Then, it was Jeroboam II in Israel and Azariah in Judah. Azariah lasted for quite a while, while Israel had new reigns from Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah. After that, we see Jotham and then Ahaz in Judah, and Hoshea in Israel. After Hoshea was imprisoned, Israel had collapsed, especially when Israel was taken into captivity. The land of Israel, after that, was resettled, for Judah was now the single kingdom, which would come under the reign of Hezekiah.

Before the reign of Hezekiah is detailed, Elisha’s ministry should be detailed separately – for the things that Elisha did were part of God’s plan, of course. Elijah knew his time had come, where he would have to pass on his work to Elisha. A test was given for Elisha, who was able to pass the test. Since he knew that he was Elijah’s spiritual heir, he had to remain with Elijah to the end so that he would receive the spiritual power to carry on his work. When Elijah was supernaturally carried away, Elisha gained power from God to go and do the Lord’s work. Elisha’s first two miracles involved blessing and cursing. At Jericho, he brought healing, and at Bethel, he brought God’s curse on those who rejected his message.

Elisha continued his miracles; he helped preserve the small body of believers in Israel who remained faithful to God. The collection of stories from chapters four through six show the supernatural powers that Elisha had to help preserve this small remnant of believers. The second collection of stories in chapters six through eight deals with the part of his work, which was concerned with the judgment on the nation of Israel. In the first collection of stories, some of the things that were detailed included Elisha moving around the schools of the young prophets, where he would instruct and encourage the faithful people. Foods were scarce in one school, but God provided for them through Elisha. On another occasion, we see God’s care for the faithful shown, when a farmer had brought an offering of food that was miraculously multiplied to feed Elisha and a hundred of his followers. This was a prophetic picture of Christ’s miracles to multiply food.

Some of Elisha’s remaining work was concerned with his dealings with the rulers of Israel and Syria, because God was going to use Syria to punish Israel for its sin (in the period of the Omri dynasty). However, Elisha, first, was to teach the two nations. Elisha had repeatedly warned the Israelite king of the ambushes that were coming from Syria. When Syria’s king heard of the failings of his ambushes, he had found out Elisha was doing such things to impede the success of the ambushes.

Therefore, the Syrian king sent out capture for Elisha; however, Elisha controlled the Syrian soldiers and led them to the Israelite capital (which was Samaria). Israel’s king thought it was a good idea to just kill them, but Elisha directed him to just feed them, and then release them. Peace was temporarily restored between Syria and Israel. Elisha, later, had one final responsibility, and that was to anoint Israel’s army commander, Jehu, as king. Jehu needed to rid Israel of the entire family of Ahab and Jezebel (especially because of the Baalism spread unto Judah). That closed Elisha’s good and helpful work.

After Elisha’s work, we read of anti-Baal movements being done and other chaos that was occurring throughout Israel. Then, Hezekiah was ushered in as new king. Hezekiah ruled for quite a while, which would bring a revival and reform in Israel. However, later Hezekiah would become quite ill and then be healed, before his foolishness caused death. Babylon started increasing in power, and this brought trouble for the nation.

This would sadly usher in an evil reign for Manasseh. After the reign of Manasseh, we would see the reigns of Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, and Jehoiakim. Josiah, when he reigned, had his own revival and reformation, to which he wanted extensive repairs to be done for the temple, because it had been damaged during the reigns of Manasseh and Amon. His biggest part of reform, it seems, was that he re-established the worship of Yahweh by keeping the Passover. He also tried to control idolatry, by forcing people to remove their private gods (in their households) and prohibiting spiritism and fortune telling. However, his reforms, mainly on idolatry, were unsuccessful.

Later, God prepared Babylon as a tool to punish Judah. Judah would soon lose its independence, as Pharaoh Necho considered himself the controller of Judah, where he wouldn’t accept a king that was chosen by the people of Judah. Soon, we read about the reign of Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, before we see the fall of Jerusalem, destruction of the temple and city walls, and the final deportation of the people to Babylon.