David Prepares for the Construction of the *Temple
An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on 1 Chronicles chapters 21 to 29
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Verses 1-3 This account of Davidís life misses a period of years. During that time, there had been the problems with his son Absalom and other crises. These events are in 2 Samuel chapters 13 to 23. They took about 20 years. The writer of Chronicles does not record them. The reason for this is that they did not match his purpose. He wanted to encourage the *exiles as they returned from Babylon. So, he shows how God was in control of their history. The count in this chapter probably happened about 975 *BC.
*Satan hates God and all who trust in God. He was an enemy of *Israel because the *Israelites are Godís special people. He persuaded David to order this count. So, David ordered Joab to count the people from Beersheba to Dan. The phrase ĎBeersheba to Daní means the whole country of *Israel from the south to the north.
We do not know why David wanted to count the people. It may have been because he was proud of himself. He wanted to know the extent of his power. It could have been for practical reasons. Perhaps he wanted to know how large an army he could have in a war. Or perhaps he had a scheme to tax the people in order to get money for the government.
It was not always wrong to count the people (for example, see Numbers chapters 1 and 26). But God had given Moses clear instructions about such counts (Numbers 3:47-48). Foreign kings might count their people for any reason. But the *Israelites were different, because they were the *LORDís people. So when a leader counted the *Israelites, he had to pay a price for their lives. He would do this by means of a tax that he collected from them at the same time. The leader could not keep that tax. He paid the money to the priests. They used it for the *worship of God at the *LORDís tent (or afterwards, at the *temple). God also told Moses that the *Israelites must not count the *tribe of Levi with the soldiers. That was because they belonged to God in a special way.
However, David did not obey Godís instructions about the count. Joab knew that it was wrong to count the people at this time. He was the commander of Israelís army. Joab was a wicked man (1 Kings 2:5-6). But even he realised that David was not trusting God. Joab protested that the *LORD could make *Israelís army strong enough for any battle. He urged David not to begin the count. Joab knew that the result would be punishment on *Israel. The *LORD was already angry against *sin in *Israel (2 Samuel 24:1). But David did what was wrong. He counted the people and he did not pay the price for their lives. So, the *LORD punished him. And also, the people in *Israel suffered as well.
Verses 4-6 David insisted that Joab must obey his order. He told Joab to go and Joab obeyed him. He and his officers went through all *Israel. The task took them almost 10 months. Then they came and they gave to David the results of their count.
The total for all *Israel was 1 100 000 men. This number included 300 000 men who were already in the army. (The number of the soldiers in 27:1-9 is 288 000 but with other officers this would be about 300 000. In the account in 2 Samuel 24:9, the total is 800 000 men. That total does not seem to include the men who were already in the army.)
Davidís orders so disgusted Joab that he did not count all the *tribes. He left out the *tribes of Levi and Benjamin. Later David ordered a count of the *tribe of Levi (23:3). Joab may have left them out because of their tasks in *Israelís religion (Numbers 1:47). If the count were for the purpose of taxes, this would not include the *Levites. Also, they could not be soldiers. But there can be no such reason for him not to count Benjamin.
Verses 7-8 God was angry about the count and David now realised it. His conscience told him how wrong he had been. He confessed that he had *sinned. Now he knew that he had been foolish. He asked God to forgive him. But in order to *repent, it is not enough just to be sorry. A person must also turn away from *sin. David had not paid the tax for the *LORDís tent or the *temple. He had not paid the price for the lives of his men. And he had not given *sacrifices so that Godís punishment would be against the animals instead of the people.
So although David had asked God to forgive him, Davidís wrong action would still have an effect. The result was that God punished *Israel.
Verses 9-13 God spoke to a man whose name was Gad. Gad was a *prophet by means of whom God had spoken to David before. When David was hiding from Saul, Gad had advised him to go to Judah (1 Samuel 22:5). Later he helped David and Nathan to organise the *Levites for the *temple (2 Chronicles 29:25). Also he made a record of all the events that happened during the rule of David (1 Chronicles 29:29).
God chose this *prophet, Gad, to speak to David on his behalf. By this means, God gave David three choices of punishment for his *sin. Davidís choices were three years, three months or three days.
The first choice was three years of hunger in *Israel. During those three years, many of the people would starve to death.
The second choice was three months of defeat for *Israel. During those three months, enemy armies would kill many *Israelites. Much of the land that David had gained in battles he would lose. The nation would suffer shame and it would lose its power in the region.
The third choice was three days of death by disease in *Israel. In these three days, the *angel of the *LORD would move through the nation. He would kill many people.
Each of these punishments would reduce the number of people in *Israel. So Davidís count would not still be accurate. But David could see that it was right for God to punish *Israel.
David was still unwilling to do what God wanted him to do. God did not want to punish the *Israelites, but David had still not paid the price for their lives. The *prophet had told David about Godís judgement. But we do not yet read that David was praying for the people. And David was not offering *sacrifices for them. God forgives when there is a *sacrifice. That is because Godís judgement acts against the *sacrifice instead of the person or people.
David chose the direct punishment of the *LORD. David was wise not to trust people. They could be cruel and they would know no limits. But the *LORD is a God of sympathy. He is a God who pities his people. The *LORD would not punish more than was necessary.
*Israel could not avoid the punishment. 70 000 people died from a sudden, terrible disease.
Verse 15 The *angel began to destroy Jerusalem. People were starting to die in the city. The *angel got as far as the yard where Araunah was preparing his grain. But when the *LORD saw this, he stopped the *angel.
David was right. The *LORD is a God who has sympathy for his people. The *LORD pities his people. So, he reduced the punishment for their *sin.
Verses 16-17 David and the leaders were *repenting of their *sin. They were genuinely humble. They came to the place in rough clothes. They were sorry for what they had done. When they saw the *angel in the air, they fell down with their faces to the ground.
David spoke to God. Again, he confessed his *sin. This time, he accepted the total blame for everything that had happened. The people did only what he told them to do. Therefore, he said that he alone was to blame. He prayed that God would the stop the punishment of the people. He and his family should take all the punishment. He was responsible for everything that had happened to the people.
Verses 18-21 The *angel of the *LORD spoke to the *prophet Gad. He told Gad to tell David to build an *altar. Gad came to David. And he told him to build the *altar at the place where Araunah prepared grain. That is, the place where the punishment stopped. David obeyed and he built the *altar. But before he did, he had to buy the place.
Araunah was preparing his wheat. The count started in the autumn and it took almost 10 months. So, this was at the end of the wheat harvest.
The normal way to prepare grain was to spread it out on the special floor of a flat yard. Then a driver sent two *oxen forward and back over the grain. The *oxen pulled wooden boards on which the driver sat. The boards had three large wooden tubes with sharp points all over them. These tubes turned as the boards moved. Another person drew back the straw to separate it from the grain. They took the straw away. Then they threw what remained up in the air. The bits that were not grain blew away. This left only the grain on the floor. So the grain was now clean. And it was ready for people to store it.
Araunah saw the *angel. His 4 sons hid from the *angel. But Araunah did not hide. Then David arrived and Araunah stopped his work.
Verses 22-26 David asked to buy the property so that he could build the *altar there. Araunah would have given it to his king. But David insisted that he must pay the proper price. He would not give to the *LORD what was not his own. A *sacrifice must cost the person who makes it. If there is no cost, it is not a *sacrifice.
The *sacrifices would be of two animals and grain. Araunah provided the *oxen that he used to prepare the grain. A grain *sacrifice always went with animal *sacrifices. So, he gave his wheat for the grain *sacrifice. And he told David to use his wooden boards to make the fire for the *sacrifice by fire.
David bought the whole property. The price was 600 *shekels weight of gold (about 12.5 pounds or 6 *kilograms in weight). He bought the *oxen and the special floor. For these he paid 50 *shekels of silver (about 1 and a quarter pounds or 0.5 *kilograms in weight) (2 Samuel 24:24).
The property that Araunah owned was on *Mount Moriah. *Mount Moriah is the place where Abraham went to *sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:2). Solomon would later build the *temple there.
Then David built the *altar and he prepared the *sacrifices. Then he prayed to the *LORD. The *LORD sent fire from heaven to burn the *sacrifice on the *altar. This answer showed that God accepted the prayers and *sacrifices of David.
Verses 27- 30 In answer to Davidís prayer, the *LORD told the *angel to put his sword away. The *LORD had stopped the disease. Now the *angel would not destroy Jerusalem. And David continued to make *sacrifices there to the *LORD.
The holy tent at which the priests should make *sacrifices was about 4 or 5 miles from Jerusalem. It was in Gibeon. But David had built an *altar as the *LORD had told him. He did not go to Gibeon then. But he continued to *worship God in this place. He knew that by the *sacrifices on this *altar he had caused the *angel to stop his work.
Verse 1 God had dealt with David at the place where Araunah used to prepare his grain. David had built an *altar at this place. He had burned *sacrifices to the *LORD here. He knew that the *LORD wanted his *temple to be here. This was where the *temple should be. The *altar would be here and here the priests would *sacrifice to God. David was already using this place on *Mount Moriah as if it was the *LORDís *temple. The actual *temple was not yet here. But Solomon his son would build it (2 Chronicles 3:1).
Verses 2-4 David used the foreigners who lived in *Israel to carry out the initial work for the *temple. Some of them had to cut stones and to shape them ready for the builders. They stored these stones until Solomon started to build the *temple. Some of them worked with metals. They made nails and other things for the doors. And there were workers in wood who would prepare the wood for the *temple.
David provided all the materials such as iron, *bronze and wood. The wood came from Lebanon where the *cedar trees were very tall and straight.
Verse 5 We are not sure about the age of Solomon at this time. The date of his birth was probably about 990 *BC. He became king in 970 or 971 *BC. So he was 20 years old when he became king. He had a son, Rehoboam, who was then one year old. This chapter is about Davidís actions near the end of his rule. So, it seems that Solomon was a youth under 20 years of age.
The *temple had to be great, and it was. It had to be famous among the nations, and it was. But Solomon was young. So, David prepared all that he could. The *LORD would not allow him to build the *temple. But he got as much ready as he could.
Verses 6-10 King David was preparing his son to be the next king. David had desired to build the *temple for the *LORD. But the *LORD would not let him do it. This was the most important task for his son to do. So David explained to Solomon what God had said to him.
This *temple must be for the name of the *LORD. This means more than for the *LORDís honour. It means for the person of the *LORD. It must be a place where the people could go to meet with God. It will be the most important place of *worship for *Israel.
The *LORD refused to let David build the *temple. The reason was that David was a man of wars. The problem was not just that he fought wars. But David had killed people other than in war such as Uriah (2 Samuel 11:15). He was guilty of cruelty as he was with the soldiers from Moab (2 Samuel 8:2).
Before he was born, God chose Solomon to be king after David. The *LORD loved Solomon from birth. God promised that Solomon would rule in peace. As far as we know, Solomon fought only one battle. That battle was after he had built the *temple (2 Chronicles 8:3).
In this passage, David repeats the words that Nathan spoke to him from the *LORD (17:12-14). The *LORD promised to be as a father to Solomon but Solomon had to be loyal to the *LORD. Later in life, Solomon was not loyal to the *LORD.
The Ď*throneí of Solomonís *kingdom means the kings from the family of David. God would establish their Ď*throneí for all time. This means that one of Davidís *descendants will be king for all time. That *descendant is the *Lord Jesus. (Both Mary and Joseph were *descendants of David.) The *Lord Jesus is sometimes called King Davidís greater son, because he is Davidís most important *descendant. And, although he is Davidís *descendant, he is more important (greater) than David. There will be no end to the rule of the *Lord Jesus. His *throne will always remain. His *kingdom will never end (Luke 1:32-33).
Verses 11-13 In these verses, David repeats to Solomon much of what God had said. God had said that Solomon would build the *temple. God had said that he would make Solomon the king of *Israel. So, David encourages his son to do as God had said. David is telling Solomon: ĎBuild the *temple and obey God.í
David prays that Solomon will be wise. And David prays that Solomon will obey the law of the *LORD. Solomon will be successful only if he does obey the rules and laws of the *LORD. He will need wisdom from the *LORD to be able to govern the people. And he will need to be brave and to have courage so that he can rule *Israel.
Verses 14-16 We do not know the value of these metals at that time. But it must have been a very large sum.
David had provided a vast quantity of all that the builders would need for the work. But Solomon must add some more. Perhaps David thought that more was necessary. But perhaps David was encouraging Solomon to make the task his own. Solomon would involve himself more in the task if he gave toward it.
David had organised the labour with men skilled in all the trades. This large number of workers was ready to start the work. Therefore, he told Solomon, ĎGet on with it. Build the *temple of the *LORD. It is what the *LORD wants. And he will be with you.í Solomon could not begin yet. But as soon as he became king, this was his first and most important task.
Verses 17-19 Finally, David praises God for all that he has achieved. The *LORD has given peace to his people in *Israel. The *LORD has defeated all their enemies. The *LORD is with his people. The *LORD has given to them the country called *Israel.
Now the people must give themselves to the *LORD. They must work with Solomon to build the *LORDís *temple. That *temple will be the place where the *Israelites will *worship the *LORD their God.
The *ark of God was in the tent that David had prepared for it, in Jerusalem. But the *Israelites must bring the *ark into the *temple. David had already built his *altar in the place where the *Israelites would build the *temple. Many of the holy things were in the tent at Gibeon. They must bring these things into the *temple.
Verse 1 David was about 70 years of age, which in those days was old. This was now near the end of his life. It was probably during the 40th and last year of his rule (26:31; 29:27). He appointed Solomon to be the next king of *Israel.
Verses 2-5 To manage (run) the *temple, there would need to be 2000 *Levites on duty each month. They would not all work at the same time. Each of them would work for a part of the day or night. There were a total of 38 000 *Levite men who were 30 years of age and over. 24 000 of them would do this work. The women would not work in the *temple.
6000 *Levites would be judges and officials. They would work in every part of the country. They would be experts in the law of the *LORD and in the laws of the country.
Verses 6-11 The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. All the *Levites were *descendants of these three sons. David divided the *Levites into the *clans and families that came from these three men.
These lists do not give us the complete history of the *clans. In verse 8, these were not the actual sons of Ladan. They were among his *descendants. Shimei in verse 9 is a man who belonged to the *clans of Ladan. He is not the same as Shimei in verses 7 and 10.
The 4 sons of Shimei were not his actual sons. They were his *descendants and they may have lived in the time of David.
Because they had few children, David combined the families of Jeush and Beriah. So there were 9 groups out of the *clan of Gershon. 6 of these groups were from Ladan (three of which were from Shimei in verse 9). The other three groups were from the other man called Shimei in verse 10.
Verses 12-20 The ranks of the *Levites did not include the *descendants of Aaron. They were a special family. They were the priests. And the chief priests always came from this family. They had to make the *sacrifices to the *LORD. They were the agents of the people in relation to the *LORD. And they were the agents of the *LORD to the people. But the count of the *Levites did include the *descendants of Moses.
From the *clans of Kohath there were another 9 groups of *Levites.
Verses 21-23 The *clans of Merari made a further 6 groups. This is not clear from these verses. But the chiefs of the groups of Mahli came from Jaaziah (24:26-27), and Kish. The daughters of Eleazar married their cousins. By this means their families continued. The third group came either from another son of Jaaziah or from the daughters of Eleazar. The chiefs of the groups of Mushi came from his three sons.
There were 9 groups from Gershon, 9 groups from Kohath and 6 groups from Merari. This made a total of 24 groups.
Verses 24-27 The count was actually of those men who were 20 years old and older. Men were old enough to work in the *temple when they were 30 years old (verse 3). The *LORD said this to Moses when he counted the *Levites (Numbers 4:3).
Moses lowered the age for the work of the *LORDís tent to 25. But the *Levites did not work after the age of 50 (Numbers 8:24-25). Originally, David decided that the *Levites would start to work in the *temple at 30 years old. The work in the *temple would not be as heavy as the work for the tent. The *Levites had to carry the tent and all that was in it, including the *altar and the *ark. Both of these would now remain in the *temple at Jerusalem. But for some reason, David now lowered the age for the count to 20.
Verses 28-32 The task of the *Levites was to help the priests. They had to take care of the *temple and of all that was in it. They had to make sure that all things were clean and ready for use.
The *Levites had to bake 12 loaves of bread for each *Sabbath day. The priests placed these loaves in two rows of 6 on the special table in the holy place. The loaves remained there until the next *Sabbath day. Then the priests would eat these loaves in the holy place (Leviticus 24:5-9).
Each morning and each evening, the *Levites praised the *LORD with music and prayers. They did this at the time of the regular *sacrifices (Exodus 29:38-39). Also, they did this at the time of *sacrifices on the special days.
The priests made extra *sacrifices at other times. These were on the *Sabbath days, at the start of the month and other special days (Numbers 28:9 to Numbers 29:39). At each of these events, the *Levites praised the *LORD when the priests made the *sacrifices.
The special days were annual events. Some of them lasted for just one day. But other ones lasted for several days. The main special days each year were:
(1) The day called Passover, and the week afterwards when people ate flat bread. Each year the *Jews remember how God brought them out of Egypt. Passover is the special time when they remember this. (Passover is usually at the same time as Easter.)
(2) The day called Pentecost, which is a special day 50 days after Passover.
(3) The day to sound the *trumpets.
(4) The day when the people remember that God forgives *sin.
(5) The week when the people lived in tents.
Verses 1-3 The *descendants of Aaron were the priests. Aaron had 4 sons. They were called Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Nadab and Abihu died before Aaron. They took unholy fire into the *LORDís tent. This was against the *LORDís rules. At once, the *LORD punished them, and so they died there (Numbers 3:4). Because they had no children, the future priests had to come from the families of Eleazar and Ithamar.
Eleazar became the chief priest when his father died. Afterwards, the chief priest came from his *descendants until Eli who was a *descendant of Ithamar.
In the time of David, Zadok was from the *clans of Eleazar; and Ahimelech was from Ithamar. These two men helped David to divide their *clans into groups for service as priests in the *temple.
Verses 4-5 David divided the priests into 24 groups. 16 of these groups were of men from the *descendants of Eleazar. And 8 of these groups were from the *descendants of Ithamar. The groups would work in turn so that there would always be priests on duty in the *temple.
Eleazar had been the chief priest; Ithamar had not. And there were more of Eleazarís *descendants than there were of Ithamarís *descendants. But to David all the groups were equal. The groups received their order of duties in a way that was fair to them all.
Some men from each family were officers of the holy place. And some men were officers of God. These were leaders of some sort. However, we do not know what the titles mean.
Verses 6 To choose the groups, they took in turn a family from Eleazar and a family from Ithamar. Shemaiah wrote down the results. The king and his officials made sure that it was fair. Zadok and Ahimelech, the two chief priests, were among those who were present.
Verses 7-18 This is the list of the 24 groups in the order of the choice. These names are those of the leaders of the families.
These groups continued to serve in the *temple until the *exile. Some of these groups did continue to serve after the return from *exile. In the Book of Luke, Zechariah was in the group of Abijah (the 8th group). Zechariah was the father of John, who prepared for Jesusí work. John is well-known as ĎJohn the Baptistí (Luke 1:5).
Verse 19 They followed the order and plans that Aaron had given to them.
Verses 20-31 The rest of the *descendants of Levi were all those who were not from Aaron. This list shows the leaders of the families in the time of David. They are from the *clans that came from Kohath and Merari. But this list does not include the *clans that came from Gershon.
The *Levites formed 24 groups to do special tasks. The way that they chose the order of the groups was the same as for the priests. All the families were equal for this purpose.
Verse 1 David organised the 288 musicians into 24 groups. These would work with the groups of priests and other *Levites. The leaders of these groups came from the families of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun. About 30 years before, David had appointed these three men to be leaders of the music. That was when they brought the *LORDís *ark to Jerusalem (16:4-7; 16:37; 16:41-42).
These three men would *prophesy with *harps, *lyres, and *cymbals. There are two possible meanings of the word Ď*prophesyí in this passage. They could have spoken words that God gave to them at that time. Or they could praise him with Psalms (songs of *worship) that they (or somebody else) had written.
Verses 2-5 The leaders of the groups were the sons of Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman. Asaph had 4 sons and Jeduthun had 6 sons. Heman had 14 sons. These sons made the 24 leaders for the groups.
Verses 6-8 The Ďfatherí means Heman, who led his sons in music. But of course, Asaph and Jeduthun led their sons as well.
4000 *Levites praised the *LORD with instruments (23:5). It seems that these 288 skilled musicians led them. 12 skilled musicians were in each group and they led their sons and relatives.
The groups chose their order of duties. They used the same fair method that the priests and *Levites had used.
Verses 9-31 This is a list of the groups in the order of their duties.
Verses 1-9 The *Israelites had not built the *temple yet. But the king made these arrangements so that the *Levites would be ready. There were 4000 *temple guards (23:6). They were all from the *clans of Kohath and Merari. (Korah was from the *clan of Kohath.)
There were 24 groups of these *temple guards. They chose the order of their duties by the same fair method that the priests and *Levites had used.
The job of the *temple guards was to be responsible for the gates and doors of the *temple. They would open the gates and doors at the right times. And they would close them at the proper times. They would control the entrances to keep out anyone who should not come in. They would control everyone who went into or out of the *temple. And if necessary, they would control the crowds.
The work of the *temple guards was an important part of the *LORDís work. It was not less important than the work of the other *Levites. They were all part of the *worship of the *temple. They were all doing the work of the *LORD. They were all doing what God wanted them to do. So in his opinion, their rank was equal.
Asaph in verse 1 is not the same as the musician. The musician belonged to the *clan of Gershon. This Asaph belonged to the *clan of Korah. This Asaph is usually called Abiasaph; he was a son of Korah (1 Chronicles 9:19; Exodus 6:24). Kore and Meshelemiah were among his *descendants.
Obed-Edom was another *descendant of Korah. He kept the *LORDís *ark in his home after the death of Uzzah (13:13-14). He was a musician and he played in front of the *LORDís *ark in Jerusalem (15:21). Also, he was a guard for the *LORDís *ark (15:24). Here he is the head of his family as a *temple guard.
The family of Obed-Edom were strong men, as they may need to be as *temple guards. They had to guard the *temple day and night. And the gates of the *temple were large and heavy. It took several strong men to open and to close these gates.
Verses 10-11 Hosah had been a guard at the *LORDís *ark with Obed-Edom (16:38). He had 13 sons among whom Shimri was the chief son. But Shimri was not the oldest son. Perhaps the first son by birth was not a capable person for some reason. However, the father chose Shimri to be the first son.
Verses 12-19 Each group had its leaders. But a few chief men were over them all. These men made sure that the groups did their tasks well.
In each group, they chose the tasks. They did this by the same fair method that they had used for the order of their groups. So, the larger families did not have an advantage over the smaller ones.
Here we have some of those chief men. These men were responsible for the main gates and the stores building.
Shelemiah is the same as Meshelemiah (verse 1). He had control of the east gate. His son Zechariah had control of the north gate. Obed-Edom had control of the south gate. Shuppim and Hosah had control of the west gate.
Also, Shuppim and Hosah had control of the Shalleketh Gate. This was another gate to the west. It was probably the gate through which they took the rubbish from the *temple.
The east gate was the main gate. So, there were 6 guards at this gate but only 4 at the other gates. There were 2 guards at the stores building.
We are not sure what Parbar means. There are two possible meanings. The first is suburb. So, Parbar would be a gate to the west that leads to the suburbs of Jerusalem. There would be two guards at the gate and 4 guards on the road. The other meaning is that it is the name of a place outside the *temple building. There would be two guards at that place and 4 guards on the road to that place.
Verses 20-28 Some of the *temple guards took care of the gifts, money and valuable things that belonged to the *temple (verses 20-22). Other *temple guards took care of the stores of wealth that belonged to the *temple (verses 23-28). Ahijah was the official who was over all of these guards.
The sons of Jehieli, Zetham and Joel had control of the gifts and valuable things. These things were the gifts to the *LORD; and the precious objects that the priests used. These stores were for use in the daily service of the *temple.
Shubael was over the team who took care of all the wealth in the *temple stores. His team included Shelomith. Shelomith was responsible for all the gifts from David and the army officers. Many of these gifts were objects that the king and family leaders had given. Some of this wealth came from the goods that the army had taken from their enemies. Samuel, King Saul and former army officers had given wealth that was now in these stores. This wealth was for major repairs and for future use.
Verses 29-32 There were 6000 *Levites who worked as officials and judges (23:4). They did not work in the *temple. They went out to all parts of the nation called *Israel. Their job was to teach Godís law to the people. And they would be the judges in the law courts. Also, they would collect the taxes and other money that was due to the king and to the *temple.
Most of these *Levites came from the *clans of Kohath and Hebron. Kenaniah and his sons came from the *clan of Izhar, which was one of the *clans from Kohath. Hashabiah and the men at Jazer were from the Hebron *clan.
Hashabiah and his relatives worked to the west of the river Jordan. At Jazer in Gilead, there were men from Hebronís *clan. Gilead was to the east of the river Jordan. So, Jeriah and his men worked to the east of the river Jordan. That was where the *tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the *tribe of Manasseh lived.
Hashabiah had 1700 men and Jeriah had 2700 men. Therefore, as there were 6000 men, 1600 men worked with Kenaniah.
David organised all of this during the 40th year of his rule. That was his last year before he died.
Verse 1 A different group of soldiers served the king each month. There were 24 000 men in each group. To lead the group, there were officers over 1000 men. Then there were officers over 100 men. Also, family leaders and the kingís officials had some control over the army.
The king always had 24 000 men ready for war. There was always a group ready to guard the king. If an enemy attacked, the king could call all 12 groups of soldiers to fight. This would be an army of 288 000 men.
The men served in the army for one month in the year. During the rest of the year, they lived and worked as normal citizens.
Verses 2-15 Jashobeam had been the leader over Davidís 30 special soldiers (11:11). Also, he was one of the three most famous soldiers. He killed 300 men at one time with his *spear. He was the top leader during the first month, that is, the month called Nisan. He was from the *tribe of Judah. Perez was a son of Judah.
Jashobeam was the chief leader for the first month, the month called Nisan. The month called Nisan is during March or April in a modern calendar.
Here is a list of the names of the *Jewish months. The first month was called Nisan and the second month was called Iyar. The third month was called Sivan and the 4th was called Tammuz. The 5th month was called Ab and the 6th was called Elul. The 7th month was called Tishri and the 8th was called Marcheshvan. The 9th month was called Chisleu and the 10th was called Tebeth. The 11th month was called Shebat and the 12th was called Adar. Many of these months do have different names as well. For example, Nisan is often Abib and Iyar is Zif.
Dodai (verse 4) was the father of Eleazar. Eleazar was the second of the famous three soldiers (11:12). Dodai had Mikloth as his chief officer. Dodai was the leader during the second month.
Benaiah (verse 5) was the leader of King Davidís personal guards. He was as well-known as the famous three soldiers. But he was not one of them. He did many great deeds (11:22-30). He had his son Ammizabad as his chief officer. Benaiah was the leader during the third month.
It seems that such groups already existed well before the end of Davidís rule. In the original group, Asahel (verse 7) may have been a leader. He was one of the 30 special soldiers. But Abner killed Asahel in the battle between David and Ish-Bosheth (2 Samuel 2:18-23). So, Asahel died before David formed these groups. However, the 4th group still had Asahelís name as the leader. Maybe this was to give honour to his name. His son Zebadiah was in fact the leader of this group.
The leaders for each of the other months were among the 30 special soldiers (11:26-47).
Verses 16-22 This is a list of the leaders of the *tribes at the time when David counted the people.
We do not know why the list did not include the *tribes of Gad and Asher. There is a leader over the *tribe of Levi. But the *Levite *clan of Aaron had Zadok the chief priest as their leader. Because half of the *tribe of Manasseh lived east of the river Jordan, they had two leaders. Joel was the leader for the half *tribe on the west of the river. And Iddo was the leader for the half *tribe on the east of the river.
Verses 23-24 The *LORD promised that he would make the *Israelites as many as the stars. ĎAs many as the starsí was a phrase that meant too many to count. The *LORD gave this promise to Abraham about 1000 years before the time of David (Genesis 15:5). Because of that promise, David did not count those who were 20 years of age or less.
However, David did order a count of the men who were old enough to fight in the army.
Joab did not finish the count. He was against the idea. He knew that it was wrong to do it (21:6). So, he did not count the *tribes of Levi and Benjamin.
Because of the count and the *sins of the nation, God was angry. And he punished the people (21:7).
Samuel, Nathan and Gad made records of the events during Davidís life (29:29-30). But they did not record the number of the people.
Verses 25-31 These verses are a list of the kingís officials. They looked after his wealth and they controlled his *vineyards and farms. A *vineyard is a kind of farm where people produce *grapes.
The sycamore trees in verse 28 were also called sycamore-*fig trees. They produce a light wood, which is useful for many purposes. They also yield fruit. That fruit is like the *fig, but its quality is not so good. Poor people in particular would gather the fruit. The people would cut into the fruit about 4 days before they picked them. Then the fruit was ready and people could eat them. There were people whose job was to look after the sycamore-*fig trees (Amos 7:14).
Verses 32-34 Ahithophel joined Davidís son, Absalom, when Absalom tried to organise a revolution against David. But when Absalom did not follow Ahithophelís advice, Ahithophel killed himself (2 Samuel 17:23). Afterwards, Jehoiada and Abiathar took Ahithophelís place, and they advised King David.
Verse 1 All this happened in the last year of Davidís rule. It was in 970 *BC. All the leaders of the people and of the army came to David. All his officials were there.
Verses 2-3 David was now quite old and weak (1 Kings 1:47). But he made the effort to stand up when he spoke to the people there.
The desire of Davidís heart was to build a *temple for the *LORD. The *temple would be a more permanent place for the *ark of Godís special promise. The *ark was at that time in the tent that David had made for it in Jerusalem (16:1). The *temple would be the place where God would rest his feet. This refers to the gold cover over the *ark. Godís seat was between the *cherubim, which were at the two ends of the *ark. This was where the cloud of Godís *glory came. It was here that God met with Moses.
David had made the plans for the *temple. He had provided all the materials for the work to begin. But the *LORD would not let him do it. David was a man of war and this task was for a man of peace. In other words, God wanted a peaceful king (and not a soldier) to build the *temple.
Verses 4-7 God chose the *tribe of Judah. From that *tribe, God chose the family of Jesse. From the family of Jesse, God chose David (1 Samuel 16:10-12). God made David king over *Israel. From the many sons of David, God chose Solomon to be the next king of *Israel. None of this was the result of Davidís skill or choice. It was all Godís plan.
God chose David to be king for all time. Of course, David would not live for all time, but one of his *descendants would always be king. Both Mary and Joseph had David as their *ancestor (Luke 3:23-31 and Matthew 1:6-16). Jesus the Son of God is sometimes called King Davidís greater son. That is because he is both a *descendant of David, and Davidís *Lord (Psalm 110:1; Mark 12:35-37). And Jesusí *kingdom shall never end (Isaiah 9:7). This *kingdom includes all who accept Jesus as king.
Solomon was the *LORDís choice and he would rule over *Israel. Therefore, the *Israelites had to accept him as their king. They had to serve him and they had to obey him. But Solomon had to serve God and he had to obey God.
Solomon started well but later he did not obey the *LORD. God made Solomonís *kingdom strong while he lived. But later it became weak because of his *sin and the peopleís *sin.
God chose Solomon to build the *temple. And God promised to help him as a father helps his son.
Verse 8 David gave a serious appeal to the people who were present. The witnesses to what he said were the *LORD and his people. He told them that they must obey the law of the *LORD. This was essential to the future of the nation. The *LORD gave to them the country called *Israel as long as they obeyed him. If they did not obey the *LORD then he would force them out of that country. But if they did obey the *LORD, the country would pass to their *descendants.
Verses 9-10 David gave good advice to his son. Solomon needed to know God with all his inner person. David told Solomon to serve the *LORD with all his heart and mind. This is good advice for us and for all people. Jesus said, ĎLove God with your whole person Ė all of your heart, all of your inner person and all of your mindí (Matthew 22:37).
The *LORD knows each person. He knows their thoughts and desires. Nobody can hide anything from the *LORD. All people are like open books to him. But the *LORD will let them find him if they look for him. So, David told his son to look for the *LORD. If Solomon looks for the *LORD, he will find him.
David warned his son not to turn away from the *LORD. If a person turns away from the *LORD, the *LORD will turn away from that person.
The *LORD chose Solomon to build the *temple. Therefore, Solomon must be strong and he must do the work.
Verses 11-18 David gave to Solomon the plans for the *temple and its rooms. He had received these plans from the Holy Spirit and now he gave them to his son. Then he described to Solomon the work of the priests and *Levites. Also, David gave to him the details of all the things that Solomon had to make for the *temple. He said how much gold to use to make the gold things. And he told him how much silver to use to make the silver things.
In the *LORDís tent, there had been only one table for the holy bread. In the *temple, there would be 10 such tables. These would be 10 gold tables. There would be other silver tables but these would not be for the holy bread.
The gold *chariot of the *cherubim was probably not the *cherubim at the ends of the *ark. Those two smaller *cherubim were already on the *ark. In Psalm 18:10 the *LORD rode on the *cherubim. Ezekiel saw 4 *cherubim and the *throne of God was above them. The 4 *cherubim and the 4 wheels moved as the *chariot of God (Ezekiel chapter 1).
In the inner *temple, there would be a pair of large *cherubim. The workers would make them out of wood and then they would cover them with gold. The *cherubim would be about 15 feet high. Their wings would reach about 30 feet across the room. They would touch each other in the middle. And each of them would touch the wall at the side. So, with their wings, they would make a shelter over the most holy place. They would cover that room, which contained the *ark of the *LORDís special promise (2 Chronicles 3:10-13). Their purpose was to show that the *LORD was there. The *LORD sits on his *throne between the *cherubim (Psalm 99:1).
Verse 19 The *LORD showed to David the plan of the *temple. David did not design any part of it. God gave him all the details and David wrote them down.
Verses 20-21 Davidís final advice to his son was that he should be strong. He should have courage because the *LORD will not fail. Solomon should have no fear because the *LORD is with him. The *LORD has given to Solomon the task to build the *temple. The *LORD will be with Solomon until he has completed the *temple. And with the help of the *LORD, he will succeed.
David had organised the groups of the priests and *Levites. They were ready to do their work in the *temple. He had arranged already for the workers who would build the *temple. The people and the officials would all do what Solomon told them to do. They were ready to build the *temple for their *LORD.
So, David encouraged his son to do the work. He gave Solomon confidence to trust in the *LORD. He had done all that he could do in order to prepare Solomon for the task. He had provided all the materials that Solomon would need.
Verses 1-5 David was worried because Solomon was young. Solomon did not have the experience that David considered necessary. But David had done all that he could to prepare for the work. Now he was appealing to the people to support Solomon. He said that God had chosen Solomon. God had given to Solomon this great task.
The *temple would not be for the honour of any person. It was for the *LORD God alone. And for that reason it was a most important task to build it. The Ďsplendid buildingí in verse 1 means a palace. A palace is the place where the king lives. This *temple was to be the palace where the *LORD would live. The *LORD was the ruler over the king and the *Israelites.
David makes a list of the sort of things that he had provided for the *temple. He had given gold, silver, *bronze and iron. He had given wood and all kinds of precious stones. These stone were of many colours. And the marble was of the purest white.
Onyx and antimony are precious stones. Marble is a hard white rock. Builders use it because of its white colour.
David had become a very wealthy man. He was eager that the *LORD should have a splendid *temple. So now, he gave his personal wealth to help in the task. He gave 3000 *talents of gold. Gold from Ophir was then the best and most pure gold in the world. We do not know where Ophir was. Also, he gave 7000 *talents of pure silver.
Then David appealed to all those people to do as he had done. He asked them to give themselves to the service of the *LORD. This means that they would give much of their wealth to the *LORD.
Verses 6-9 All the leaders who were there answered the appeal. They all gave their gifts for the work of Godís *temple. Together, they gave a vast quantity of metals. Also, they gave their precious stones.
There were 5000 *talents and 10 000 *darics of gold and 10 000 *talents of silver. There were 18 000 *talents (about 600 tons) of *bronze and 100 000 *talents (about 3400 tons) of iron.
Jehiel received all these gifts. He and his sons had control of the stores of valuable things for the *temple (26:20-22).
The leaders gave these gifts because they wanted to give. It gave them much pleasure to give to the *LORD. That is how the *LORD wants his people to give (2 Corinthians 9:7). The people in Israel were very pleased that their leaders were so willing to give. And David too was glad because the leaders had given with such a good attitude.
Verses 10-13 This prayer of David is one of the most beautiful of all the prayers in the Bible. It turns attention away from David, Solomon and the *temple. It is a prayer of thanks. And David praises God alone.
The *LORD was the God of Jacob, who was also called *Israel. He was the *ancestor of the people in the country called *Israel.
The *LORD deserves all honour for all time. We should always praise him.
The *LORD is greater than all persons and things. He is perfect in every way. Nobody can stand against him. He is the king of kings because he owns everything in heaven and on the earth. David was a great king but the *kingdom belonged to the *LORD. At the end of the prayer that we call the *Lordís Prayer, we say: ĎFor the *kingdom, the power, and the *glory are yours for all time.í
All that we have came from God. He rules over all the affairs of our world. He is wonderful. He deserves our thanks. We praise God for who he is.
Verses 14-19 David and the people had given all these valuable things to the *LORD. But they gave only what they had received from the *LORD. All that we have has come to us from God. All that we own is really his property.
All things belong to God. We are as strangers who enjoy his benefits on earth for a short time. We cannot have a permanent place here. Our lives here are like shadows. They appear for a short time and then they go away.
God knows us. He knows what is in our hearts and minds. He knows our thoughts and actions. He knows why we do things. The reason David gave so much was to give honour to his God. He and the people did not give because it was their duty to give. They wanted to do it. They were happy to give to the *LORD. This attitude of heart pleases the *LORD.
David prays that the people will always have this same attitude toward the *LORD. He prays that they will be loyal to the *LORD.
David ends his prayer as he prays for Solomon. He asks that Solomon will love the *LORD with all his heart. He asks that Solomon will obey all the laws of God. And he asks that Solomon will build the *temple.
Verse 20 David told the people to praise the *LORD. And they did praise the God of their *ancestors. They fell with their faces to the ground in *worship to God. They did this in front of David, the king whom God had chosen.
Verses 21-22a (Ď22aí means the first part of verse 22.) On the next day, the people made many *sacrifices on the *altar. David had built the *altar at the place that he bought from Araunah (21:18). They would later build the *temple at that place.
These *sacrifices were for peace and to give thanks to the *LORD. The priests burned certain parts of the animals on the *altar. Then the priests would have some of the meat. Their part was the breast and the upper right leg of the animal (Leviticus 7:28-36). The people could eat the rest of the meat as the guests of the *LORD.
There were many thousands of *sacrifices on that day. So the people had plenty of meat and drink to enjoy.
Verses 22b-25 (Ď22bí means the last part of verse 22.) One of Davidís sons, Adonijah, had tried to make himself king of *Israel. As soon as David found out, he called for Zadok the priest and Nathan the *prophet. He sent them to Gihon with his son Solomon. There they poured oil on Solomonís head and they made him the king. And they declared to all the people that Solomon was the king of *Israel. Then the people shouted, ĎWe pray that King Solomon will have a long life!í That was the first time that they made Solomon king (1 Kings chapter 1).
This second time they again made Solomon the king of *Israel. They knew that he was the *LORDís choice. So, they poured oil on him as their king. Also, they poured oil on Zadok to make him the chief priest. Zadok and Abiathar had been the chief priests. But now Zadok alone was the chief priest.
The *LORD was the real ruler of *Israel. Therefore, Solomon sat on the *LORDís *throne. He was the king of *Israel but he was under the authority of the *LORD.
The *LORD made Solomon a successful and powerful king. The country had peace during the time that he ruled. God made him wise and he became wealthy. He was famous among the nations. And he received much honour from them. He received more honour than the kings of *Israel who ruled before him.
When Solomon became king, all the leaders promised to obey him. This included the army and all the sons of David.
Verses 26-30 David had a long life, wealth and honour. Also, he had a son who ruled after him. In all David had ruled for 40 years. He ruled over Judah (southern *Israel) in Hebron for 7 years. Then he ruled over all *Israel in Jerusalem for 33 years.
The chief *prophets during the life of David were Samuel, Gad and Nathan. Each of these recorded what they knew of Davidís life. Between them, they recorded all that he had done. We do not now have the books of Gad and Nathan. But we do have a record of Davidís life in the Books of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles.
altar ~ the special table where the priests burned animals or other gifts to God (or to false gods).
ancestors ~ people in history from whom your family has come.
angel ~ one of Godís special servants from heaven. God made angels to serve him and to take his messages.
ark ~ the ark of the *LORD or the ark of God; the Bible also calls it Ďthe ark of Godís special promiseí. It was a wooden box with gold all over the outside and inside. It had two models of gold *cherubim on the top (see Exodus 25:10-22). The *Israelites kept the ark in the most holy place; first in the *LORDís tent and then in the *temple.
BC ~ years before Christ was born.
bronze ~ a kind of metal. Its colour is brown, but it polishes well. It is very strong.
bulls ~ the male farm animals of which the females are cows.
burnt (sacrifice) ~ a *sacrifice that the priests burned completely on the *altar.
cedar ~ a kind of tree. Its wood is very beautiful.
chariot ~ a kind of cart that soldiers use to fight. Horses pull it.
cherubim ~ special *angels who were in the most holy place of the *temple.
clan ~ part of a *tribe, a group of families.
cymbals ~ a kind of musical instrument. A person hits two cymbals together to make a loud crash.
daric ~ a coin whose weight was about a quarter of an ounce (about 7 grams).
descendant ~ a future member of a family or nation.
disaster ~ when something very bad happens.
donkey ~ an animal that is like a small horse. It can carry people or goods.
exile ~ When people have to live in a foreign country, they are in exile. Such a person is called an exile.
fig ~ a kind of sweet fruit that grows on a tree.
glory ~ great honour and beauty.
grape ~ a fruit which people use to make wine.
Hagrites ~ people from various *tribes in the desert. They were *descendants of Hagar, the mother of Ishmael.
harp ~ a musical instrument that has many strings.
Hebrew ~ the language of *Israel. ĎHebrewsí is another name for the *Israelites.
incense ~ a substance that gives a sweet smell when it burns. The priests burned it when they praised God in the *temple.
Israel ~ Israel is the special name that God gave to Jacob. His *descendants were called Israel after him. So, Israel is the nation whose *ancestors were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The country in which they live is called Israel.
Israelites ~ the people whose *ancestors are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Jebusites ~ people who lived in the city called Jebus. David defeated them and he changed the name of the city to Jerusalem.
Jews ~ another name for the *Israelites.
Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew or anything that belongs to a *Jew.
kilogram ~ measurement of weight; also called a kilo. It is slightly over 2 pounds.
kingdom ~ the place or territory where a king rules and the people over whom a king rules.
Levite ~ a person who belongs to the *tribe of Levi.
lord ~ someone with authority such as the king.
Lord ~ a title for God, to show that he is over all people and things.
LORD ~ ĎLORDí is the special name that God gave to himself. The name probably means: ĎHe is always God.í This name has a relationship with Godís special promises to his people.
lots ~ a way to make a decision. People seemed to decide the matter by chance when they used this method. But they believed that, in fact, God guided them to make the right decision.
lyre ~ a kind of musical instrument with strings.
Mount ~ mountain.
olive ~ a fruit from which we get olive oil. It grows on an olive tree.
ox ~ a large and strong animal that farmers used to pull the plough. See also *bull.
oxen ~ plural of *ox.
prophecy ~ a message from God; a gift of the Holy Spirit.
prophesy ~ to speak a *prophecy.
prophet ~ a person who speaks for God. He can sometimes say what will happen in the future.
repent ~ to change the mind; to turn away from *sin and turn to God.
Sabbath ~ The Sabbath was the 7th day of the week (Saturday) which God told the *Israelites to keep as a special day. They did not work on that day. They used it for rest and for *worship.
sacrifice ~ The priests killed a special animal when people offered it as a gift to God. They burned all or part of it on an *altar. That animal was called a sacrifice. They offered a sacrifice when they asked God to forgive *sins. When Jesus died, he was the perfect sacrifice for our *sins. ĎTo sacrificeí means Ďto give a sacrificeí.
Satan ~ a spirit that God made. Satan was an *angel but he decided to fight against God. Satan tries to persuade Godís people to do wrong things. But Satan can only do this when God permits him to do it. In the New Testament (the second part of the Bible), the writers call him Ďthe devilí.
shekel ~ equal to one ounce in weight.
sin ~ Sin is the wrong things that we do. To sin is to do wrong, bad or evil deeds and not to obey God. People are called sinners because they are guilty of sin.
sling ~ The sling was a *weapon. It was a bit of leather with two strings. The soldier would put a smooth stone in the leather bit. Then he would swing it round above his head by the strings. Finally, he would let the stone fly out of the sling.
spears ~ long sticks with sharp ends that soldiers used as *weapons during battles.
talent ~ measurement of weight equal to 75 pounds or 34 *kilograms.
temple ~ a special building for the *worship of God. Or, a building for the *worship of false gods. The *Jews had a temple in Jerusalem for the *worship of the real God.
throne ~ the special chair for the king.
tribe ~ The *Israelites originally consisted of the 12 large families of the sons of Jacob. These families became the 12 tribes of *Israel.
trumpet ~ a kind of musical instrument; it makes a loud sound when a person blows into it.
vineyard ~ a farm where *grapes grow.
weapon ~ a tool of war that soldiers use in attack or defence during a battle, for example: swords, *spears and *slings.
worship ~ acts to show honour to God (or to a false god). When people praise and thank God.
Albert Barnesí Notes on the Bible
John Gillís Exposition of the Entire Bible
Adam Clarkeís Commentary on the Bible
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary
Martin J Selman, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries
H G M Williamson, The New Century Bible Commentary
J Barton Payne, The Expositorís Bible Commentary
William Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Dr William Smith, Concise Dictionary of the Bible
Bibles: NIV, RSV, NRSV, NASB, NCV, ASV, CEV, GNB, GW, KJV, LITV, MKJV.
© 2009, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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