1 Chronicles 18


David’s Wars (18:1 – 20:8)

      • ESV Study Bible writes, “First Chronicles 18-20 deals with David’s wars and the extension of his power over the surrounding nations. The Chronicler has drawn very selectively from 2 Samuel 8 – 21, passing over a mass of material relating to David’s personal life, most notably the Bathsheba affair (2 Sam 11:2-12:25) and the troubles that engulfed his family and throne (2 Samuel 13-20). The writer has omitted this material not in order to ‘whitewash’ David’s reputation (since other matters that reflect positively on him, e.g., his kindness to Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 9, are also passed over), but to show how God’s promises to David (esp 1 Chron 17:8-10b) are being fulfilled and how David as a warrior and king contributed to the preparations for building the temple. As elsewhere in Chronicles…the materials do not always follow a strict chronology, but are used as illustrations from traditional sources.”

Expansion of the Kingdom

        • With regard to verses 1-13, ESV Archaeology Study Bible notes, “David’s victories over the Philistines in the southwest, the Moabites to the east of the Dead Sea, the Edomites in the southeast, and Hadadezer king of Zobah-Hamath in the distant northeast brought security to Israel (17:9) and extended its boundaries and zone of influence to their farthest point in history.”

      • Later, David defeated the Philistines and subdued them. He took Gath and its surrounding towns from Philistine control.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible remarks, “The Philistines posed a constant threat to David’s kingdom…They remained entrenched in their coastal settlements; although David conquered Gath and its surrounding towns, a Philistine king remained in Gath at the end of David’s reign (1 Kgs 2:39).”

      • David also defeated the Moabites. They became his subjects and brought tribute.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “David’s conquests east of the Jordan River took place in stages. The conquest of Moab in the south gave David firm control over the plateau north of the Arnon River…”

      • When he went to extend his control to the Euphrates River, David defeated King Hadadezer of Zobah at Hamath. David seized 1,000 chariots, 7,000 horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers from him. David hamstrung all but 100 of Hadadezer’s chariot horses. When the Syrians of Damascus came to help King Hadadezer of Zobah, David killed 22,000 Syrians. Then he placed garrisons in Syria of Damascus and the Syrians became David’s subjects and brought tribute. Yahweh made David victorious wherever he went. David took the gold shields that Hadadezer’s servants carried and brought them to Jerusalem. David also took a large amount of bronze from Tebah and Kun, two of Hadadezer’s towns. Solomon used that bronze to make the large bronze basin called “The Sea”, the pillars, and various bronze items.

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible writes, “When David took the throne, Zobah was the most powerful Aramean state in southern and central Syria. It was highly prized, as was Syria as a whole, for its strategic location on major trade routes passing from Arabia through Edom, Moab, and Ammon, up the King’s Highway through Syria, and south through Israel to Egypt. While Hadadezer, whose name means ‘(the god’ Hadad is (my) helper,’ subdued rebellious vassals in the Euphrates region further north, David took advantage of his absence and seized control of his territory. The Chronicler locates the battle near Hamath, on the Orontes River…During David’s reign, Damascus was of secondary importance, ranking behind Zobah in power and prominence. However, it became the capital of a unified Aram and by the mid-ninth century BC was the dominant power in the Levant and head of a coalition of Syrian states against the ever-expanding Assyrian Empire.”

        • There is disagreement regarding the best way to render verse 3. Some translations say David went “to set up his monument” at the Euphrates, while others say that David went to “extend his control” there. NET Bible’s text notes explain the difficulty, “The Hebrew word …(yad, ‘hand’) is usually understood to mean ‘control’ or ‘dominion’ here. However, since [yad] does occasionally refer to a monument, perhaps one could translate, ‘to set up his monument at the Euphrates River’ (i.e., as a visible marker of the limits of his dominion). For another example of the Hiphil of…(natsav) used with…(‘monument’), see 1 Sam 15:12.”

        • On this issue of translation, ESV Archaeology Study Bible comments, “…The parallel in 2 Sam 8:3 reads ‘restore his power’ rather than ‘set up his monument.’ The two Hebrew readings differ by a single similar-sounding letter. The difference, however, does not obscure the point that Hadadezer was in charge of this particular region.”

      • When King Tou of Hamath heard that David had defeated Hadadezer of Zobah’s entire army, he sent his son Hadoram to King David to greet him and congratulate him on his victory in battle over Hadadezer, because Hadadezer had been at war with Tou often. Hadoram also brought various items made of gold, silver, and bronze. King David dedicated these things, as well as the silver and gold that he had carried off from all the nations- Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amalek- to Yahweh.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “David’s victory over the Aramean alliance under Hadadezer brought him into alliance with King Toi of Hamath, an archenemy of Hadadezer (18:9-11). With the defeat of Ammon and the Arameans east of the Jordan, David extended his control over the southern expanses of Edom and gained access to a southern seaport (18:12-13).”

        • NET Bible notes two name spelling differences between Chronicles and the parallel in 2 Samuel. Regarding “Tou,” “The name is spelled ‘Toi’ in the parallel text in 2 Sam 8:9.” Regarding “Hadoram,” “The name is spelled ‘Joram’ in the parallel text in 2 Sam 8:10.”

      • Zeruiah’s son Abishai killed 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. He placed garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s subjects. Yahweh made David victorious wherever he went.

        • HCSB remarks, “Second Sm 8:13 mentions a victory of David’s in Edom where there were 18,000 Edomite casualties. The superscription of Ps 60 mentions Joab- also a son of Zeruiah (1 Ch 18:15)- as victorious over 12,000 in the Valley of Salt. Apparently, both Joab and Abishai acted together under David’s command.”

David’s Officials

        • David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. Zeruiah’s son Joab was over the army. Ahilud’s son Jehoshaphat was secretary. Ahitub’s son Zadok, and Abiathar’s son Ahimelech were priests. Shavsa was scribe. Jehoiada’s son Benaiah was over the Kerethites and Pelethites. David’s sons were chief officials at the king’s side.

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible reminds us that the, “Cherethites and Pelethites were foreign mercenaries forming part of David’s royal body guard. The Cherethites were probably from the island of Crete, while ‘Pelethite’ is thought to be related linguistically to ‘Philistine.’…”

        • Some may remember that the parallel passage in 2 Sam 8 refers to David’s sons here as “priests” instead of the Chronicler’s description as “chief officials,” leading to some confusion in what exactly is meant. The following sources provide discussion:

          • NET Bible notes, “That David’s sons could have been priests, in light of the fact that they were not of the priestly lineage, is strange. One must assume either (1) that the word ‘priest’ (kohen) during this period of time could be used in a broader sense of ‘chief ruler’ (KJV); ‘chief minister’ (ASV, NASB), or ‘royal adviser’ (NIV), perhaps based on the parallel passage in 1 Chr 18:17 which has ‘the king’s leading officials’, or (2) that in David’s day members of the king’s family could function as a special category of ‘priests’ (cf. NLT ‘priestly leaders’). The latter option seems to be the more straightforward way of understanding the word in 2 Sam 8:18.”

        • HCSB mentions the following, “Some have suggested that there was a textual corruption in Samuel, a book famous for many scribal errors in this history of its transmission. The Hebrew word for ‘administrator’ is just one letter different from the word for ‘priest.’”

        • NET Bible also points out the spelling difference for “Shavsha” here, “The parallel text of 2 Sam 8:17 has the variant spelling ‘Seraiah.’”

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