The Word Made Fresh
1Hiram, king of Tyre, sent ambassadors to David, along with carpenters and stonemasons and a supply of cedar logs, and an offer to build a house for him. 2David then realized that the LORD had indeed established him as king over Israel, and that the kingdom was held in great esteem for the sake of God’s people.
3David married more women in Jerusalem and became the father of more sons and daughters. 4The children born to him in Jerusalem were Shammua, Shobab, and Nathan; Solomon, 5Ibhar, Elishua, and Elpelet; 6Nogah, Nepheg, and Japhia; Elishama, Beeliada and Eliphelet.
8When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went after him. David heard about it and went to challenge them. 9The Philistines had made a raid into the valley of Rephaim. 10David asked the LORD, “Shall I attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them to me?” The LORD replied, “Go, and I will give them to you.” 11So, he attacked the Philistines at Baal-Perazim and defeated them. David said, “God has used me to overwhelm my enemies, like a flood bursting over them.” That is why the place is named Baal-Perazim. 12The Philistines abandoned their gods there, and David ordered his men to burn them.
13The Philistines made another raid in the valley. 14David asked God again for guidance, and God said, “Don’t attack them directly; go around them and approach them from the balsam trees. 15When you hear the sound of men marching in the tops of the trees, attack, for that is the signal that God has gone ahead of you to defeat the Philistine army.”
16David did as God said, and they defeated the Philistines from Gibeon to Gezer. 17David became famous everywhere, and the fear of the LORD came upon all the nations.
1-7: The relationship between King Hiram of Tyre and King David of Israel is a long and fruitful one which begins with overtures from Hiram in which he offers to build a “house” for David in Jerusalem. David takes it as evidence that he and Israel are now accepted as players on the world’s stage. He settles into his situation in Jerusalem, marrying wives and having children, whose names are given here; among them only Solomon plays a later role.
David’s sons that were born in Hebron were listed in 3:1-4, including Absalom and Adonijah who both tried to overthrow their father, but the Chronicles do not record the rebellion of Absalom that takes up so much of 2 Samuel or the attempt by Adonijah in the early chapters of 1 Kings to usurp his father’s throne. Nor do the Chronicles mention the affair with Bathsheba. The Chronicles present David’s reign as idyllic and discard all information to the contrary.
8-12: The Philistines invade Israel’s territory and David engages them in the valley of Rephaim located about 4 miles north-northwest of Jerusalem. Before he goes into battle, however, he “inquires of God.” The chronicler wants to emphasize that David is faithful to the God of Israel, unlike Saul before him and most of the kings who follow him. The Philistines are not only defeated, but abandon their “gods,” and David has them burned.
13-17: The Philistines are a determined lot, though, and raid the valley of Rephaim again (perhaps in an attempt to recover their gods). David again inquires of God, and in prayer he is inspired to engage them in a flanking maneuver to catch them off guard. The tactic works (the Philistines have probably prepared for a frontal attack as before), and the Philistines are routed and driven back deep into their own territory.
David is consistently portrayed as a king after God’s own heart in 1 Chronicles. His less honorable actions (affair with Bathsheba, having her husband Uriah killed to cover the act) are never mentioned. The book of 1 Chronicles reminds me a little of our modern-day obituaries, which always present the deceased in a positive light. I hope they do that with mine!