Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Another Perspective

1 Chronicles

I was kind of amazed to learn that 1 and 2 Chronicles tell a large part of the history all over again!  But of course this narrative offers a different perspective.

The first 9 chapters (plus various other chapters throughout) go through the genealogy in great detail.  The story picks up in Chapter 10 with the death of Saul and the rest of the narrative recounts David's reign.  Some of the stories bear resemblances to those in Kings, but others are missing or have differences.  Many of the stories are stories of battles, but the main emphasis initially seems to be on bringing the ark of the covenant first to Obed-edom (Ch. 13), and then to Jerusalem (Ch. 15).  (I like it that the music and the musicians are given special mention!)  And the remainder of the emphasis seems to be on David's plans to have a special house (the temple) built to house the ark.

In Chapter 17, the Lord, speaking through Nathan, tells David that building the temple is not his to do; instead, one of his sons will do so.  The dialogue in Chapter 17 is very moving.

Then there are more stories of battles, and the odd story of how the Lord became angry with David for taking a census (Ch. 21).  A pestilence resulted.  Then David was moved to built an altar on some man's threshing floor, and now peace with the Lord was restored.  David was afraid to go to the tabernacle, and I think the point of this part of the story was that the Lord was moved by David's repentance and humility.  Not regarding himself as worthy enough to offer a sacrifice in the normal way, he makes an altar in a humble place (even paying full price to the farmer for taking over his threshing floor), and offers a sacrifice there.

I'm still puzzled about why taking a census evoked the Lord's wrath, though.

1 Chronicles ends with David assembling materials for the building of the temple, and charging his son Solomon with the task of actually building the temple.  When he was old "and full of days" (23:1) he made Solomon the next king.  He also gave Solomon the plan of the temple (Ch. 28).  Most important of all, though, is the message to continue to follow the ways of the Lord.

The passages where the Lord speaks and where David speaks are very moving, showing the closeness of the relationship between the people and God.  David is portrayed as loving God, as trying to do what is right, and as wanting to show his immense appreciation by planning to build a great temple, and wanting above all for the people always to live in this awareness of, closeness to, and appreciation for God.

4 comments:

  1. In re the census: by taking the census, the king was in effect saying "I don't trust You to give me this victory, God: I want to know exactly how many men I have so that I can rely on strength of numbers." This certainly doesn't mean that taking a census or knowing how many men you have in your army is wrong, but this was a special case, as we can see by the context.

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  2. I don't have my Bible handy, but if I have this right:

    1) The Ark of the Covenant was in the shrine at Shiloh.
    2) The family of priests in charge of that shrine became corrupt, started munching the portions of people's sacrifices reserved for God, harassing cute female worshipers, etc.
    3) Samuel, dedicated to that shrine, was given a prophecy to deliver to Eli (head of that familty) to the effect that a) This can't go on & 2) Your family has blown it!
    4) At the next major battle, the people ask to have the Ark carried into the fray for a little extra spiritual oomph. Eli's #1 son is killed & the Ark captured by the Philistines, who carry it home as a trophy.
    5) The Philistines start getting very sick. They make gold tokens of this sickness, put them on a wagon with the Ark, hitch up a team of cattle to the Ark and let it loose.
    6) At length this comes to rest at that particular threshing floor, in Jerusalem.
    ...
    8) This floor becomes the site of Solomon's Temple.

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  3. Hey, if you've put up a link to the "Friendly Skripture Study" site--

    How come you don't

    Please come visit, comment, maybe take some responsibility off my inadequate (and very individual!) shoulders?

    ReplyDelete