1 Chronicles 17 – Dynastic Promise
1 Chronicles 18:1-13 – David’s Victories
1 Chronicles 18:14-17 – David’s Officials
1 Chronicles 19 – David Defeats the Ammonites
1 Chronicles 20:1-3 – The Capture of Rabbah
1 Chronicles 20:4-8 – War With the Philistines
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Chapter 17 begins with David speaking to Nathan the prophet about his desire to build a better place for the ark of the covenant. God speaks to Nathan and says lots of great things about David, but Solomon is the one who will build the temple, not David. David acknowledges God’s amazing plan for him and concludes, “You, Lord, are God! You have promised these good things to your servant” (1 Chronicles 17:26). David wisely discussed his plan with Nathan and listened to God’s response. Such should be the pattern for everything we do: think, discuss, pray, listen, do what God says. Things just go much better when we keep things in order.
Chapter 18 and 19 begin with the phrase, “in the course of time..” as a transition and to emphasize this is a highlight reel of David’s life. Notably, the Chronicler omits David’s sin with Bathsheba which occurred sometime during these events, perhaps in Chapter 20. “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went” (18:6 & 18:13).
The Ammonites made a blunder in Chapter 19 by humiliating the envoy sent by David to offer sympathy for their king’s death. They “seized David’s envoys, shaved them, cut off their garments at the buttocks, and sent them away” (19:4). I never saw this flannel-gram in Sunday School! (so sorry, I just laughed at this story!) Anyway, the Ammonites “hired 32,000 chariots and charioteers, as well as the king of Maakah…and moved out for battle” (19:7). David sent Joab and his brother Abishai, both incredible warriors. As Joab approaches the Arameans, they fled and when the Ammonites saw this, they fled from Abishai. The Arameans gathered to fight again and David was credited with routing them, “so the Arameans were not willing to help the Ammonites anymore” (19:19).
Chapter 20 quickly tells of more victories, including “a huge man with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot–twenty-four in all” (20:6). They all fell “at the hands of David and his men” (20:8). It’s interesting how individuals are identified in these battles, how significant they must have been. And so it is today. One person can make a difference. Lord, raise up those people you want to carry your banner. Let us know who these are among the masses. All for your glory and your honor.