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Friday Bible Blogging - 1 Chronicles 21 to 1 Chronicles 29

This entry is part of a series. For a listing of all entries in the series, go to the Index. Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

BibleChapters 21 through 29 are the final chapters of 1 Chronicles, finishing up the summary of David's rule and transitioning to Solomon's. In keeping with the manner that the Chronicler has idealized David and Solomon, these chapters completely omit all the fighting between David, his sons, and Solomon. There was no revolt by Absalom, no seizing the throne by Adonijah, and no retribution by Solomon against Adonijah. These chapters were split roughly evenly between narrative and lists.

1 Chronicles, Chapter 21

Chapter 21 contains the story of David performing a census, and then God punishing all of Israel because of it. While 2 Samuel 24 didn't give any reason for God's wrath for this action, the chronicler at least tried to give some justification - Satan told David to do it. However, even this is a translation issue, as the New Oxford Annotated Bible indicates that 'an adversary' would have been a better translation than 'Satan'. And this explanation still doesn't explain why God punished Israel for David's action. And the way David was able to head off God's full punishment by intercepting the angel of the Lord and sacrificing some animals in front of him is still odd. And as one final note, God didn't act subtly in this story - no working in mysterious ways. When David offered his sacrifices, "he answered him with fire from heaven on the altar of burnt-offering."

1 Chronicles, Chapter 22

David chose the very location where he'd made those sacrifices as the future location for the temple. In a bit of a difference from previous books, he began stock piling materials for the temple to give to Solomon. This chapter also gave an explanation of why David wasn't fit to build the temple while Solomon was, "you shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood in my sight on the earth," while Solomon was to be "a man of peace".

1 Chronicles, Chapter 23

The chapter started with a short verse where David appointed Solomon king over Israel, but then moved immediately into lists - how many Levites there were, who was to have what duties, heads of tribes and their sons, etc. Concerning the division of priestly duties described in this chapter, the NOAB had the following interesting notes, "Although attributed to David's initiative, this development, unattested in preexilic texts, is known only in the Second Temple period. It persists to the Roman period (see Lk 1.5). Thus, here the Chronicler is legitimating worship as he knew it by attributing it to David."

1 Chronicles, Chapter 24

More lists of people, their sons, how the lots fell, and their duties.

1 Chronicles, Chapter 25

More of the same.

1 Chronicles, Chapter 26

And more.

1 Chronicles, Chapter 27

And still more.

1 Chronicles, Chapter 28

This chapter began with David giving a speech to all the officials of Israel explaining that Solomon was going to build the temple. Then he addressed Solomon, gave him advice to stay faithful to God, and then gave him detailed plans for the temple, inspired by God, "All this, in writing at the Lord's direction, he made clear to me--the plan of all the works." Then it was a few more instructions on the duties of the priests.

1 Chronicles, Chapter 29

David gave another speech, this time requesting donations for the upcoming temple. And the people donated willingly. Then there was another speech by David, basically a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. Finally, Solomon was crowned king. However, as I mentioned up in my introduction to this entry, the transition was peaceful with the fighting mentioned in other books, "...and also all the sons of King David, pledged their allegiance to King Solomon."

The end of the chapter dealt with David's death - listing the length of his reign, and mentioning other books with details of David, not all of which have made it into the Bible - "the records of the seer Samuel, and in the records of the prophet Nathan, and in the records of the seer Gad".


My impressions of 1 Chronicles remain largely the same as what I've written the past couple weeks. It's a rather brief summary of the history of Israel, pulling from previous sources, including a few books that made it into what is now the Bible. It contains a few contradictions to those earlier Biblical books, along with some supplemental material not included in those books. Perhaps some of the supplemental material is from the other sources, but much of it appears to be the Chroniclers theology shining through, and in so doing creating an idealized vision of David and Solomon. And while the summaries of the narrative portions aren't too bad, the lists and genealogies are rather tedious. It is interesting from a record-keeping standpoint, but not much fun to read.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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