David’s Leadership Established

1 Chronicles 11-12

Chapter 10 quickly covered the end of Saul’s life to clear the way for David to ascend to the throne. The remainder of 1st Chronicles adds details to 2nd Samuel’s coverage of King David’s life in many interesting ways, most notably, naming the valiant warriors alluded to in 2nd Samuel. Second Chronicles does the same for 1&2 Kings. In hindsight, I probably should have added these chapters to the previous posts through 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Kings–next time, there’s always next time!

David honored God with his steadfast loyalty to Saul, even though it was difficult to appreciate. Now the people are prepared to embrace their new king. David’s first act here is to march into Jebus (as Pastor Mark Gasque reminded us a few months ago) and confront the Jebusites:

The Jebusites who lived there said to David,
“You will not get in here.” Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion–which is the City of David.
1 Chronicles 11:4-5

In two verses we read three different names for Jerusalem: Jebus, Zion and City of David…all depends on context.

Joab rises to the challenge to lead the attack, thereby securing his place as the commander of David’s army. Joab is an interesting character, worthy of a study all by himself. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a movie made about this character since he resembles Rambo, James Bond, and a number of thematic characters that seem to single-handedly win battles. Joab was real. He has great and mighty as well as headstrong and horrible.

David became more and more powerful,
because the Lord Almighty was with him.
1 Chronicles 11:9

The narrative here is careful to highlight David’s reliance on God, constantly reminding us that he sought God’s approval before running into battles, e.g., “and the Lord brought about a great victory” (1 Chronicles 11:14). If I learn nothing else, I hope this persistent theme gets drilled into my head!

Ezra is considered the writer of Chronicles and essentially the remainder of the history of Israel in the Old Testament. It seems he wanted to memorialize those individuals who led the battles. All this says to me is simply: individuals matter to God. The characters referred to by name in 2 Samuel are introduced here with a verse or two about their mighty acts. Let there be no doubt, these guys were tough and not to be taken down lightly. Abishai and Benaiah are highlighted along with Joab as might warriors. From 1 Chronicles 11:26 through chapter 12, Ezra takes time to list those who honorably served the army well.

The Gadites were notable additions to David’s army:

Their faces were the faces of lions, and they were as swift as gazelles in the mountains…the least was a match for a hundred, and the greatest for a thousand. 1 Chronicles 12:8,14

“Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God” (1 Chronicles 12:22).

Such were the men that bore the weight of war for Israel. It was a horrible time for war, but God continued to show his care for these chosen people. In many ways, we are at war today–it’s just more spiritual than physical. The depravity of the times we read about here remind us of our current society. Lord, help me see your hand in all things. Make me an instrument of your will in whatever way you choose.



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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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