Module 16: The Illustration of the King - Of God's Choosing
Module Guide: 2 Samuel - Theocratic Monarchy; and 1 Chronicles - The Temple, Desired and Approached
This pre-read guide is taken from the public domain source "The Analysed Bible in 3 Volumes" by G. Campbell Morgan.
2 Samuel Introduction
This book deals almost exclusively with the history of David. Not with the whole of it, for it begins in 1 Samuel, and runs on into 1 Kings, and is dealt with from another standpoint in 1 Chronicles. It is, however, the principal history of his kingship, and presents to us the picture of the theocratic monarchy. The people had clamoured for a king. God first gave them one after their own heart; He then gave them one after His own heart. By him also the failure of mediation in government was manifested. Yet he, by relation to God maintained even through times of sinning, contributed to the movement of history toward the one true King. There are three main divisions: David's Rise (1-10); David's Fall (11-20); Illustrative Appendix (21-24).
In this first division of the book there are two movements, the one dealing with David's reign over Judah, and the other with his reign over the whole nation.
The book opens with the story of the bringing to David by an Amalekite of the news of the death of Saul. The story was evidently a fabrication. David dealt with him severely, and then sang his great lamentation over the death of Saul and Jonathan. Over Saul and Jonathan it is stately and dignified, but it merges into extreme tenderness when it deals with his friend Jonathan only.
Anointed king of Judah, David's first act was that of inquiring of God as to what he should do. The spirit of Saul, which was that of antagonism to David, was perpetuated in Abner, who set himself to consolidate the kingdom of Israel around the house of Saul. Joab, a strange and rugged character, at once fierce and faithful, was nevertheless unswerving in his loyalty to David. In the first battle between Israel and Judah under these respective leaders, Asahel was slain. His death entered like iron into the soul of Joab, who never rested until his vengeance was satisfied on Abner. The struggle was a long and weary one, but, as the chronicler declares, "David waxed stronger and stronger, but the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker."
David had won the heart of all Israel by his consistent justice and his manifestation of magnanimity toward those who stood in his way. The people recognized the kingly qualities of the man, and he was at last crowned king of the whole nation. His first victory was that of the taking of Jebus. An element of weakness manifested itself at this point, when, having come into possession of the kingdom, he multiplied his concubines and wives.
Victorious in war, the king was not unmindful of the central truth of that national life over which he was called to preside. He brought the ark into the capital. In close connection with the account of his doing so, the story of his desire to build the Temple is told. It was a perfectly natural and, indeed, a proper desire. So much was this the case that it appealed to Nathan, who advised him to do all that was in his heart. It was not, however, in the will of God that he should carry out this work, and the prophet was sent to deliver the message which was neither in agreement with David's desire nor with his own opinion. The story reveals the triumph both of Nathan and David in their ready submission to the declaration of the will of God. The prophet unhesitatingly delivered his message, even though it contradicted his own expressed opinion. David immediately acquiesced in the will of God, and worshipped.
The story of David's victories has a closer connection with his desire to build the Temple than appears upon the surface. By these victories he not only strengthened his position, but he gathered treasure. The house of the Lord was still in his mind, and although he knew that he would not be permitted to build, he was yet gathering in preparation for the work of his son.
There is an exquisite tenderness about the story of David and Mephibosheth. The king's love for Jonathan was still fresh. One cam easily imagine how, in the days of his growing prosperity, he would think of the old strenuous times, and his friend's loyalty to him under circumstances so full of stress and peril. For David, the house of Saul, which had done him so much harm, was redeemed by his love for Jonathan, and he instituted inquiry as to whether there were any left of that house to whom he might show kindness for the sake of his friend. This inquiry was rewarded by the finding of Mephibosheth, whose very lameness was tragic and pathetic, in that it had been caused by the flight of his nurse on the awful day of Jezreel, when his father and grandfather had fallen together. To him the king restored the lands of Saul, and set him as an honoured guest at his own table.
The record proceeds to give an account of victories gained over Ammon and Syria. Joab is revealed in all the rugged and terrible strength of his nature. It is interesting to note that he made no allowance for the possibility of ultimate defeat in his conflict with Ammon. When arranging for the battle, he divided his forces, but did so in order that if the Syrians on the one side should be too strong for him, the people under Abishai, his brother, should help him; or if, on the other hand, the children of Ammon should be too strong for Abishai, he would help him. It does not seem to have occurred to him that the combination may have been too much for them both. This is the true quality of the soldier. We are not surprised that the issue was victory for Joab. This story constitutes the culmination of the account of David's rise to power, and prepares for the terrible story of his fall, by showing us the general circumstances under which that fall occurred.
In all the Bible there is no chapter more tragic or more full of solemn and searching warning than that which tells the story of David's fall. Carefully pondering it, we notice the logical steps downward, following in rapid succession. First David tarried at Jerusalem. It was the time of war, and his place was with the army, but he remained behind in the sphere of temptation. In briefest quotations we may indicate the downward movement. "He saw" "he sent and inquired," "he took." The king is fallen, in answer to that inner weakness which has already been manifested as existing, from the high level of purity to that of terrible sin. His sin against Uriah, one of the bravest of his soldiers, was even more dastardly than that against Bathsheba. From the merely human standpoint the unutterable folly of the whole thing is evident, as it is seen how he put himself into the power of Joab by sharing with him his guilty secret. In a year the prophet Nathan visited him and charged him with his sin. One can almost imagine that after the year of untold misery this visit of Nathan came as a relief to the guilty man. His repentance was genuine and immediate.
The sincerity of David's repentance was manifested in his attitude in the presence of the punishment which now commenced to fall upon his head. When the child died, David worshipped. The sin of Ammon afflicted him grievously, but because it was after the pattern of his own, his arm was nerveless. Perhaps the severest suffering of all came to him through the rebellion of Absalom. The story is indeed full of tragedy. The heartlessness and cruelty of Absalom fell like an avalanche of pain upon the heart of David, and it is a question whether he suffered more in the day of Absalom's short-lived victory or in the dark and dreadful hour of his defeat and slaying. His lament over Absalom is a perfect revelation of grief.
At last, the rebellion being quelled, the king was brought back to the kingdom, and there was a reconstruction, new officers being appointed in the different departments of state.
As at the close of the first book, so here several matters are dealt with, not in chronological order or relation, but as illustrating the times which have been under consideration. This appendix contains matter which reveals the direct government of God, two utterances of David which are a revelation of his real character, and an account of some of the deeds of the mighty men, which shows the heroic spirit of the period.
The account of the famine was one written to give a purely national lesson. Saul had broken faith with the Gibeonites, and the guilt of his action had neither been recognized nor expiated. The sin of the ruling house was the sin of the people, and it is noted by God, and must be accounted for. Hence the famine, which was only stayed when, by the sacrifice of the sons of Saul, the nation had come to consciousness of its guilt, and repented thereof.
The character of David is revealed in two psalms. In the first we find the deepest things. Such convictions as those of the absolute sovereignty of Jehovah, of His omnipotent power to deliver, of the necessity for obedience to His law, and of assurance that in the case of such obedience He ever acts for His people, constituted the underlying strength of David's character. In all likelihood the psalm was written before his sin, and if so it will readily be understood how terrible was his sorrow as he subsequently recognized his failure.
The second contains the last words of the great king. They breathe the consciousness of his own failure, and yet sing the song of the Divine faithfulness.
The reign of David was pre-eminently the heroic age in Israel's history. This is demonstrated in the whole list of the mighty men and the illustrations of their exploits which are given. It is interesting to remember that these were men who had gathered to him in Adul1am, men who elsewhere are described as in debt, in danger, and discontented. They were men possessed of natural powers wliicli had heen spoiled, hut in whom such powers had heen redeemed and realized.
The book closes with one other picture, reminding us of the direct government of the people by God in that He visited king and nation with punishment for the numbering of the people. It has been objected that there was nothing sinful in this taking of a census, seeing that it had been done before in the history of the people by the direct command of God. But therein lay the contrast between previous numberings and this. They were by the commandment of God. This was done from some different motive. That the act was sinful is evident from David's consciousness that it was so, and in the presence of his confession it is not for us to criticise. As we have said, the motive undoubtedly explains the sin. Perhaps, while that motive is not explicitly stated, we may gain some idea of it from the protest of Joab, "Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing? " A spirit of vain-glory in numbers had taken possession of the people and the king, and there was a tendency to trust in numbers to the forcretfulness of God. The choice of David as to punishment again revealed his recognition both of the righteousness and tenderness of Jehovah. He willed that the stroke which was to fall should come directly from the Divine hand rather than through any intermediary.
The book ends with the story of the erection of the altar in the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite, and in that we see finally the man after God's own heart turning the occasion of his sin and its punishment into one of worship.
Part A: DAVID'S RISE - 2 Samuel 1:1-10:19
A.1. The Reign over Judah - 2Sam. 1:1-4:12
- His Lamentation for Saul and Jonathan - 1:1-1:27
- His anointing as King of Judah - 2:1-2:4
- War between Judah and Israel - 2:5-4:12
A.2. The Reign over the Whole Nation - 2Sam. 5:1-10:19
- Crowning - 5:1-5:5
- First Victories - 5:6-5:25
- The Provision for the Ark - 6:1-6:23
- Concerning the Temple - 7:1-7:29
- Conquests - 8:1-8:14
- The appointment of Officers - 8:15-8:18
- Kingly kindness (Mephibosheth) - 9:1-9:13
- Victories over Ammon and Syria - 10:1-10:19
Part B: DAVID'S FALL - 2 Samuel 11:1-20:26
B.1. The Sin - 2Sam. 11:1-12:31
- War - 11:1
- Sin - 11:2-11:27
- Repentance - 12:1-12:31
B.2. The Punishment - 2Sam. 13:1-18:33
- In the Family: Amnon and Tamar. Absalom - 13:1-14:24
- In the Kingdom: Absalom - 14:25-18:33
B.3. The Restoration - 2Sam. 19:1-20:26
- The King's return - 19:1-19:43
- Insurrection quelled - 20:1-20:26
Part C: APPENDIX - 2 Samuel 21:1-24:25
C.1. The Government of God - 2Sam. 21:1-21:22 and 24:1-24:25
- Famine - 21:1-21:22
- The Census - 24:1-24:25
C.2. The Character of David - 2Sam. 22:1-23:7
- Psalm: God's Government - 22:1-22:51
- Psalm: David's Failure; God's Faithfulness - 23:1-23:7
C.3. The Heroic Age - 2Sam. 23:8-23:39
- The Mighty Men (Here, as at the close of 1 Samuel, several matters are dealt with, not chronologically, but as illustrating the times under consideration)
2 Chronicles Introduction
The two books of Chronicles cover the period of history already studied in 1 and 2 Kings. They record this history, however, from an entirely different standpoint. The outlook is almost exclusively confined to Judah, the chronicler never referring to Israel save in cases of absolute necessity. Within the tribe of Judah, moreover, the history is that of the house of David, all other matters being referred to only as they affect, or are affected by, the Davidic line. Moreover, the story of these two books centres around the Temple. The chief matter in David's reign is his interest in preparing for it, while in Solomon's the chief interest is in the building thereof. The distinctive note of the books is that of religion and its bearing on the national life. In the first certain genealogies are given, which lead up to David, and proceed from him. Then the story of his time is told in its relation, pre-eminently, to the religious life. It has been truly said that while the Kings describe the history from the prophetic standpoint, the Chronicles describe it from the priestly. The book may be divided into two parts: Genealogies (1-10), David (11-29).
The period included in these genealogical tables is that from Adam to the restoration under Nehemiah, which are not exhaustive, but serve a clearly defined purpose in that they indicate the Divine choice of the channels through which God moved to the accomplishment of His purpose. Side issues are traced in certain directions, but only as they touch upon the line of the Divine progress. This fact is illustrated at the very beginning. The only son of Adam mentioned is Seth. Through him the line is traced through Enoch to Noah. Then the genealogies of Japheth and Ham are given because of the relationship of their descendants to the chosen people of God. The direct line of the Divine movement is taken up through Shem, and finds a new departure in Abram. There is another digression from Abram in the tracing of the descent through Ishmael, and also that through the sons of Keturah. The direct procession continues through Isaac. A third excursion traces the descendants of Esau. Through Israel the programme is carried forward. His twelve sons are mentioned, and all of them are subsequently referred to except Dan and Zebulun. The direct line of interest in tracing; the Divine method passes through Judah, and so on through Jesse to David. Of his sons nine-teen are named, but further descent is traced through Solomon and the kings of Judah on to the period of captivity. In tracing these genealogies it is interesting to notice how choice is based upon character; and moreover, how in the Divine progress there is constant deviation from the line of merely natural descent. The actual firstborn of the sons of Israel was Reuben, but he through sin forfeited the birthright, which passed to Joseph. And yet again, the Prince foretold was to come, not through Joseph, though to him had been given the birthright, but through Judah.
A long section is devoted to the priestly tribe. In the final movement the genealogies of each of the sons of Levi culminated in the person of one man, that of Kohath in Heman, that of Gershom in Asaph, that of Merari in Ethan. This division ends with the story of the death of the king chosen by men. It is a terrible picture of a man of magnificent capability going down in utter ruin. Routed by his enemies, he died by his own hand in the midst of the field of defeat. The reason of such failure is clearly declared. He trespassed against God, and then sought counsel of one who had a familiar spirit. Magnificent indeed was the ruin, but it was ruin. Saul was a man than whom no other had greater opportunities, but his failure was disastrous. Of good standing in the nation, distinctly called and commissioned by God, honoured with the friendship of Samuel, surrounded by a band of men whose hearts God had touched, everything was in his favour. From the beginning he failed, and step by step passed along a decline of conduct and character until he passed away, having failed himself, and dragged his nation to such confusion as threatened its very existence.
In this division of the book there are four movements: the story of David's crowning, events connected with the ark of God, the account of his reign, and matters concerning the building of the Temple.
The chronicler passes over in silence the story of the seven years in which David reigned over Judah, and commences with the crowning at Hebron. Immediately he had thus been recognized as king of the whole nation he captured Jebus, which became the city of his heart, and the metropolis of the nation.
The account of the mighty meu and tlicir deeds is full of colour. It is particularly interesting in view of what these men were in the days of David's exile. From being a company in debt, in danger, and discontented, they became "mighty men of valour ... trained for war," their one unifying inspiration being their loyalty to David. They "came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king." Thus he entered upon his kingdom under the most auspicious circumstances.
The king's consciousness of the true strength of his kingdom is manifest in his anxiety concerning the ark of God. It had been at Kiriath-jearim, and neglected for long years. He now set himself to bring it into the midst of the people as a recognition of the nation's relationship to Jehovah. The long neglect of the ark would seem to have rendered the people unfamiliar with all the particular regulations for its removal, which they attempted by a device of their own. The swift judgment on the man who stretched out a hand to save the ark is evidence at once of the presence of God among His people, and of the necessity for perfect conformity to His minutest instructions.
At this time there commenced a commercial friendship with Hiram, which continued into the reign of Solomon. The statement is now made of David's multiplication of wives. The silence of the chronicler concerning his sin is remarkable throughout this book. Two victories over the Philistines are described.
Again David turned his attention to the ark, bringing it up from the house of Obed-edom to Jerusalem. Companies of instrumentalists and singers accompanied the ark, and with high jubilation it was borne by the priests into the tent prepared. One shadow fell across the brightness of the day. It was that of the mockery of Michal, SauPs daughter. The incident illustrates the perpetual inability of the worldly-minded to appreciate the gladness of the spiritual. The chronicler gives us the psalm sung by the trained musicians on this occasion. It is a compilation of parts of three to be found in our Psalter, and is a general ascription of praise, merging into a call to remember the works of God, and His government covenant with the people.
The presence of the ark in the city seems to have created the desire in the heart of David to provide for it a permanent and more worthy resting-place. Of this desire he spoke to Nathan, who, acting without Divine consultation, charged him to go forward. Both prophet and king, however, had to learn that God's ways are not man's ways. While David's desire was not granted, yet, when in communion with God, he had been brought to the place of a resting worshipper, he was permitted to make great preparation for the building of the Temple by his son.
The next section tells the story of David's reign, and first gives the account of his victories over surrounding foes. In view of his desire to build the Temple of God, it is of special interest to notice how in all these wars he was amassing treasure with that end in view. The victories of David were the direct result of God's blessing upon him. Yet in the midst of them he sinned his greatest sin, and that notwithstanding the fact that in his deepest heart he desired to build God's house. One statement in this book is all that in any sense can be construed into a reference to that sin. "But David tarried at Jerusalem."
The cause of David's action in numbering the people is distinctly stated to be Satan. Therein lies a revelation of its nature. The one sin of Satan is that of pride and ambition, and this was the sin of David. In the place where the mercy of God operated in staying the plague resulting from his sin, David chose to build the house of his God. The threshing-floor of Oman the Jebusite was chosen as the site of the Temple.
During the latter days of his life the deep underlying desire became again the supreme matter. In perfect acquiescence with the will of God, he gave up all thought of building, and set himself to preparing everything for another hand to carry out the work. His charge to his son is full of beauty. He frankly told him how God refused to permit him to build, and named the reason. He was careful, moreover, to teach Solomon that his appointment to build was of God, and thereby created a solemn sense of responsibility in the matter.
His interest in the Temple was not only manifested in his material preparation. He practically abdicated the throne to Solomon in order to supervise the setting in order of the worship. Arrangements were made for the work of the Levites, and with great care and remarkable democracy of choice the courses of the priests were next set in order.
It is easy to imagine what delight the poet-king took in arranging the song service of the new Temple. Music had played a very important part in his career. His skill therein had been his first introduction to Saul. His psalms breathe the spirit of the varied experiences through which he passed. The days of his simple life as a shepherd, the period of his exile and suffering, the hours of battle and weariness, the triumph of his crowning, the agony of his sin, the joy of pardon - these and many other experiences are reflected in the great collection. And now at the end he gave himself to arranging the service of song in the Temple which was to be built. Finally he arranged the courses of the porters, and the duties of such as had charge of all the stores set apart for the sacred work.
Before coming to the last charges of David, in a parenthetical section (chap. 27), we have an idea of the internal order of the kingdom under the government of David. This chapter is a striking revelation of the fact that the greatness of David as a king was not confined to his victories in war. He was no less great in the arts of peaceful administration. The tilling of the ground, and its careful cultivation, the rearing of cattle, and all matters pertaining to the internal welfare of his people were arranged for under duly qualified and appointed oversight. There is no doubt that under the reign of David the Hebrew people realized their greatest strength, even though they did not reach the height of their material magnificence. Fundamentally a man of God, David was also a warrior, a poet, and an administrator, and with his passing the day of Hebrew greatness passed its meridian.
The book ends with an account of the solemn charge he gave to Solomon, and of the ceremony in which he gave to the Lord all that he had gathered for the carrying out of the work of the Temple. Finally the chronicler declares that David "died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour." It had been in very truth a great reign. Through varied experiences the king had come at last to the highest that was in him, and, as Paul declared, "after he had in his own generation served the counsel of God, he fell on sleep."
Part A: GENEALOGIES - 1 Chronicles 1:1-10:14
A.1. General: The Nations - 1Chro. 1:1-1:54
- Beginnings. Adam to Ishmael - 1:1-1:28
- Related to Israel - 1:29-1:54
A.2. Particular: The Chosen - 1Chro. 2:1-10:14
- Sons of Israel - 2:1-2:2
- Judah - 2:3-4:23
- Simeon, Reuben, Gad, Manasseh - 4:24-5:26
- Levi - 6:1-6:81
- Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher - 7:1-7:40
- Benjamin - 8:1-8:40
- Conclusion - 9:1-10:14
Part B: DAVID - 1 Chronicles 11:1-29:30
B.1. David made King - 1Chro. 11:1-12:40
- The Crowning at Hebron - 11:1-11:3
- The Taking of Jebus - 11:4-11:9
- The Mighty Men - 11:10-11:47
- The Gathering of the People - 12:1-12:40
B.2. The Ark - 1Chro. 13:1-17:27
- From Kiriath-jearim to House of Obed-edom and Death of Uzza - 13:1-13:14
- Parenthesis - 14:1-14:17
- From Obed-edom to Jerusalem and Michal's Contempt - 15:1-16:6
- Parenthesis: The Psalm - 16:7-16:43
- Desire to Build a Home for the Ark and Nathan - 17:1-17:27
B.3. David's Reign - 1Chro. 18:1-21:30
- Victories and Gathering of Treasure for Temple - 18:1-20:8
- The Numbering of the People - 21:1-21:30
B.4. The Temple - 1Chro. 22:1-29:30
- The Site - 22:1
- Preparation of Material - 22:2-22:5
- Charge to Solomon - 22:6-22:16
- Charge to Princes - 22:17-22:19
- Arrangements of Levites - 23:1-24:31
- Arrangements of Song Service - 25:1-25:31
- Arrangements of Porters - 26:1-26:19
- Arrangements of Keepers of Treasure - 26:20-26:32
- Parenthesis: Internal order of the Kingdom - 27:1-27:34
- The Final Charge - 28:1-28:21
- The Ceremony of Giving - 29:1-29:25
- Death of David - 29:26-29:30
Note: To the best of our knowledge we are of the understanding that the above material, being published in 1907 and freely available elsewhere on the internet in various formats, is in the public domain.