November 6, 2015
11. 1-2 Chronicles, Bible, Old Testament
1 Chronicles, Abihail, Abijah, Absalom, Adoraim, Adullam, Aijalon, Ammonite, Attai, Azekah, Benjamin, Bethlehem, Bethzur, Bible, David, Egypt, Eliab, Etam, Ethiopian, Gath, Hebron, Iddo, Israel, Jerimoth, Jeroboam, Jerusalem, Jesse, Jeush, Judah, Lachish, Levite, Libyan, Maacah, Mahalath, Mareshah, Naamah, Old Testament, Rehoboam, Shelomith, Shemaiah, Shemariah, Shishak, Soco, Solomon, Sukkiim, Tekoa, Zaham, Ziph, Ziza, Zorah
In 1 Kings 12, Jeroboam split the nation of Israel in two, and Rehoboam rushed immediately to Jerusalem to assemble his armies and try to subdue the seceding northern kingdom. n 2 Chron. 10:18, however, Rehoboam first fled from Jerusalem, and only then did he return to muster soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.
From then on, 2 Chron. 11:1-4 largely matches the account found in 1 Kgs 12:21-24. In both cases, he manages to gather 180,000 warriors, but is stopped when God, speaking through the prophet Shemaiah, commands him to turn back rather than fight against his own brethren.
The Chronicler does change one detail. While Shemaiah addresses “King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people” in 1 Kgs 12:23, the address is to “King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin” in 2 Chron. 11:3. We see that the Chronicler refuses to allow the name of Israel to belong exclusively to the northern kingdom, instead emphasizing that it is the southern kingdom that remains the true kingdom, the true Israel.
The Bubastite Portal at Karnak, depicting a list of city states conquered by Shoshenq I
Though this passages implies that the two kingdoms were able to amicably split, or at least to split without bloodshed, this doesn’t seem to have been the case. We have to wait until 2 Chron. 12:15 to hear of it, but it seems that there was near-constant conflict between the two kingdoms.
Of his reign, we learn that Rehoboam built up Judah’s defenses, particularly in the cities of Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, Bethzur, Soco, Adullam, Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. He also made sure that the fortresses were strong and well supplied (likely in event of a siege). We are told that this allowed him to keep hold of Judah and Benjamin, even if he wasn’t able to retake Israel.
Complicating matters a little, the New Bible Commentary notes that all the cities mentioned are in the south, and proposes that the Chronicler was mistaken – that the fortifications were not defenses against northern Israel, but rather either in anticipation of Shishak’s invasion (which we will discuss shortly) or rebuilding after it (p.386). The details of Rehoboam’s fortifications are absent in Kings, so it could be that the Chronicler was using a different source and simply guessed at Rehoboam’s motivations.
The Chronicler isn’t particularly interested in the goings on of the northern kingdom, but we do learn of Jeroboam’s idolatry. It seems that he cast out all the priests and Levites from his territory, so they and other faithful came as refugees to Rehoboam (enough refugees to strengthen Judah and secure Rehoboam’s hold over the remnant of his country for three years). Meanwhile, Jeroboam appointed priests of his own (which we see him doing in 1 Kgs 12:31 and 1 Kgs 13:33) to tend to the high places and idols.
Of the idols, we earn that there were calves and satyrs (or goats, or goat-demons, depending on the translation).We already knew of Jeroboam’s calves, of course, from 1 Kgs 12:25-33, but the satyrs are new. James Bradford Pate notes that “there is no evidence in Syro-Palestine that Israelites worshiped deities who had the form of animals”. Rather, the calves were seen as seats on which god might sit, not worshiped as gods themselves. So how do the goats fit in? Pate proposes that Jeroboam may have been introducing a new faith of an Egyptian flavour, having spent some time there. But I can’t help but wonder if it might be a reference to the same folk religion that gave us the scapegoat ritual from Leviticus 16:8.
Of his family life, we learn that Rehoboam married Mahalath, who was the daughter of Jerimoth, who was the son of David and Abihail. This Abihail was the daughter of Eliab, who was the son of Jesse. Confused? That’s understandable, because we’re getting into “I’m my own grandpa” territory. Using 1 Chron. 2:13-16, I made this to illustrate:
With Mahalath, Rehoboam had three sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.
Rehoboam also married Maacah, daughter of Absalom (so, another cousin). 2 Sam. 14:27 says that Absalom had only one daughter, named Tamar, though it’s possible that Tamara was the only one that the author of Samuel felt was worth mentioning (due to her name being significant). In any case, they had the following sons” Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.
Of all his wives and concubines (of which he had 18 and 60, respectively), Rehoboam loved Maacah the most.
Altogether, Rehoboam had 28 sons and 60 daughters. Likely due to his affection for Maacah, he placed her eldest son Abijah, as his chief prince and heir. We’ve seen this circumventing of primogeniture for the sake of a favoured wife before. On example is with Bathsheba, and the conspiracy between herself and Nathan to have Solomon crowned, versus Abiathar in the pro-Adonijah faction.
We are told that Rehoboam dealt wisely, and that he distributed his sons through all the districts of Judah and Benjamin, and provided them with wives. The idea could have been to give them each a little power, keep them content, so that they don’t rise up like David’s sons. Or perhaps the idea was to maintain his hold on what little nation was left to him by making local rulers of his own dynasty.
Returning to Kings as a source material (specifically, 1 Kgs 14:21-31), we learn that, once Rehoboam felt like his rule was firmly established, he forsook God, and “all Israel with him” (2 Chron. 12:1). It doesn’t seem that he left the YHWH cult so much as that he wasn’t seen to be paying as much attention to it as he should, having grown complacent.
The mention of “all Israel” here is interesting. It could be that the Chronicler is using the term, as above, to underline that Judah and Benjamin are the true Israel. I think that’s much more likely than the idea that Rehoboam had managed to maintain so much influence in the northern kingdom.
In any case, the description of Rehoboam’s indiscretion lacks much of the detail from 1 Kgs 14:22-24.
In the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign, King Shishak of Egypt (almost certainly the pharaoh Shoshenq I) invaded Judah. He came with 1,200 chariots, 60,000 horsemen, and countless others. He swept through Rehoboam’s fortified cities, and made it as far as the walls of Jerusalem.
Judah’s leadership fled to the city. While they are gathered, God addresses them through the prophet Shemaiah, saying that this has all happened because they have strayed from God. The princes humble themselves and, as a result, God decides not to obliterate them. Instead, he will merely make them serve Shishak (likely as vassals), “that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries” (2 Chron. 12:8). I think the idea is that they found the worship of God too onerous to bother with, so he will show them the alternative.
Shishak plundered Jerusalem, taking the Temple and palace treasures back to Egypt. Specifically, he took Solomon’s golden shields, which Rehoboam had to replace with shields of bronze. Rehoboam gave these ersatz shields to his officers of the guard, and had them bear the shields whenever they accompanied him to the Temple.
I’m not sure why the shields are mentioned, out of all the treasures that must have been take, but I quite like the Artscroll’s explanation, as given by James Bradford Pate: That Rehoboam’s sin had been not to take God’s worship seriously enough. So now he has this visual reminder of his failing every time he goes to the Temple to keep him in line.
With the end of 2 Chron. 12, we learn that Rehoboam was 41 years old at his coronation, and that he ruled for 17 years. Throughout that time, he was in conflict with Jeroboam.
His mother’s ame was Naamah the Ammonite, and he was succeeded by his son, Abijah. For more information, the Chronicler directs us to the Chronicles of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer.
October 16, 2015
11. 1-2 Chronicles, Bible, Old Testament
1 Chronicles, Abraham, Bible, Chronicles of Gad, Chronicles of Nathan, Chronicles of Samuel, David, Gershonite, Hebron, Isaac, Israel, Jehiel, Jerusalem, Old Testament, Ophir, Solomon, Zadok
I noticed an interesting change in this chapter. Elsewhere, the Temple is referred to as “house” (as in “the house of the LORD”). In this chapter (and, as far as I can tell without putting in an absurd amount of work, this chapter only), however, the Temple is referred to twice as a “palace” (1 Chron. 29:1, 1 Chron. 29:19). Of course, I’m a little out of my depth linguistically, and must have faith that the fine translators and editors over at RSV-HQ have made this change to reflect a change in word use in the Hebrew. If that’s the case, it’s interesting to wonder why that might be. Was the Chronicler using a new source? Did he compose this chapter himself (and therefore used the more commonly used word of his own time) while he primarily used sources elsewhere?
The Freewill Offering
This chapter gives us David’s fundraising solicitation to the upper echelons of Israelite society, his prayful speech (or speechful prayer), and ends with Solomon’s succession.
David’s solicitation is quite adept. He begins by reminding the assembled notables that Solomon is so very young and so very inexperienced (because David just will not let up on the poor kid), and building the Temple is such a very big job. The implication being that they cannot count on Solomon to accomplish the task. If they want it done right, they are going to have to get involved.
He then throws in a bit about how important it is that the Temple be built right. After all, he reminds them, it isn’t being built for men, but for God!
Finally, David goes into a lengthy description of all that he, himself, has already contributed, setting the example not just for a donation, but for a very large donation. This also has a guilting effect (“I gave, how about you?”).
So he a) outlines the work to be done, b) emphasizes the importance of the work, and c) provides a tangible call to action with a personal lead to follow. This guy is a pro.
Unsurprisingly, he’s quite successful, and the Chronicler gives us a list of all the nice stuff that was donated to the cause. Among the items listed are precious stones, which we are told were given into the care of Jehiel the Gershonite (likely the same as Jehieli the Gershonite, named in 1 Chron. 26:21, who is in charge of the Temple treasuries). They are the only items that are listed as being placed in the care of a specific person, for some reason.
The donation list also names a quantity of darics, which are Persian minted coins. Since it seems that these were introduced by Darius I, we have a problem. I wonder if the Chronicler might not know of darics being committed for the building of the second Temple, and assumed that they would have been for the first as well. Or perhaps this was a deliberate fudging for the sake of mirroring.
In fact, the whole episode of the freewill offering may be an attempt at mirroring, as Exodus 35 has Moses doing the same thing for the construction of the tabernacle.
(Just as a point of interest, the list of what David claims he gave is rather conservative compared to what we’ve seen before. In 1 Chron. 29:3-5, he has set aside 3,000 talents of gold and 7,000 talents of silver (plus additional gold and silver for stuff that will go into the Temple), whereas in 1 Chron. 22:14, he’s set aside 100,000 talents of gold and a full million talents of silver.)
The funds received, David leads his people in a prayer that seems fairly standard as far as prayers go: God is great and powerful, all good things come from him, the people are very grateful, everyone is humbled. But there are a few details worth mentioning.
David mentions several times that good things come from God, and even goes so far as to say that the donations they are celebrating were just giving back to God what had come from him in the first place. This is in line with the idea that faithfulness leads to prosperity (and the corollary, that failure to follow the rules will lead to ruin).
In 1 Chron. 29:15, David describes the people as “strangers” and “sojourners” (or “aliens” and “transients”, depending on your translator) before God. Apparently, this has tripped a few people, who think it means that we are strangers to God (and so unknown to him), which would indeed be really weird. However, on my first – and, I believe, correct – reading, the words refer to a relative social position. It’s meant as a humbling, rather than literal, expression.
Finally, David adds a personal prayer (or personalized on the nation’s behalf, I suppose) that God keep Solomon in line and that he builds the much-discussed Temple, “for which I have made provision” (1 Chron. 29:29, because David really wants to make sure that everyone knows how much work he’s done on the project).
The people worship God and make their obeisances to David. My New Bible Commentary notes that the same word is used in both cases (p.384), but that most translators choose to distinguish between the particular kind of prostration that happens before God and the prostration that happens before a king. This is where we get into that tricky area of literal translations versus translations that preserve meaning or intent, and is precisely why I have utterly discounted translation as a career path.
Then comes the sacrifices, rather large at a thousand bulls, a thousand rams, a thousand lambs, and assorted other titbits. At the end of this, they have a huge party.
The End Of An Era
At the end of all this, we’re told that they made Solomon king a second time (1 Chron. 29:22). This could mean that they re-acknowledged his position (which might have been a little confusing, since his father was still living), or it could simply be a harmonization with 1 Chron. 23:1 to account for his being made king twice.
The Anointing of Solomon, by Cornelis de Vos, 1630
When Solomon is anointed king (or “prince for the Lord”, 1 Chron. 29:22), Zadok is named as his priest. It’s strange to see Zadok named alone, as opposed to co-priests with Abiathar. It seems to jump the gun a little, since David does not appear to be dead at this point in the narrative. However, we know from 1 Kings 2:26-27 that one of Solomon’s early acts was to depose Abiathar because of his support for Solomon’s half-brother, Adonijah, when he attempted to name himself as David’s successor. Zadok, who conspired to put Solomon forward instead in 1 Kings 1, seems to have benefited from his choice.
We are told that all the leaders, all the mighty men, and all of David’s other sons pledged their allegiance to Solomon. The mention of David’s other sons seems rather pointed. It could be a reference to Adonijah’s actions in 1 Kings 1:49-53, where he publicly pledged his support for Solomon in exchange for his life. Or it could just be to inform the reader that Solomon’s rule was uncontested, that there was no dynastic in-fighting in this idyllic, archetypal kingdom. The fact that Solomon was not David’s firstborn would be reason enough for readers to assume that his ascension may not have been particularly straightforward, and perhaps the Chronicler wanted to nip that quick.
In summary, we are told that David (named here as the son of Jesse, tying the boy shepherd to the elderly king) reigned for 40 years, 7 of which were in Hebron and 33 in Jerusalem. He died old, rich, and honoured.
For more information, consult The Chronicles of Samuel the Seer, The Chronicles of Nathan the Prophet, or The Chronicles of Gad the Seer. You may need a time machine, though, since none of these books remains extant.
Omitted from the Chronicler’s version, we have David’s rape of Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Absalom’s rebellion, and Adonijah’s attempted coup. In other words, anything that might have painted Israel under David’s rule as less than idyllic.
October 5, 2015
11. 1-2 Chronicles, Bible, Old Testament
1 Chronicles, Aaron, Abiathar, Abihu, Abijah, Ahimelech, Amariah, Amram, Asaph, Asharelah, Azarel, Beno, Beriah, Bible, Bilgah, Bukkiah, David, Delaiah, Eder, Eleazar, Eliashib, Eliathah, Eliezer, Gamul, Gedaliah, Gershom, Giddalti, Hakkoz, Hanani, Hananiah, Happizzez, Haran, Harim, Hashabiah, Haziel, Hebron, Heman, Hezir, Hothir, Huppah, Ibri, Immer, Israel, Isshiah, Ithamar, Izhar, Izharite, Izri, Jaaziah, Jachin, Jahath, Jahaziel, Jakim, Jedaiah, Jeduthun, Jehdeiah, Jehezkel, Jehiel, Jehoiarib, Jekameam, Jerahmeel, Jeremoth, Jeriah, Jerimoth, Jerusalem, Jeshaiah, Jesharelah, Jeshebeab, Jeshua, Jeush, Joel, Joseph, Joshbekashah, Kish, Kohath, Ladan, Levi, Levite, Maaziah, Mahazioth, Mahli, Malchijah, Mallothi, Mattaniah, Mattithiah, Merari, Micah, Mijamin, Moses, Mushi, Nadab, Nethanel, Nethaniah, Old Testament, Pethahiah, Rehabiah, Romamtiezer, Seorim, Shamir, Shebuel, Shecaniah, Shelomith, Shelomoth, Shemaiah, Shimei, Shoham, Shubael, Solomon, Uzziel, Zaccur, Zadok, Zechariah, Zeri, Zetham, Zina, Zizah
I’ve decided to combine chapters 23-25, since they all have to do with David organizing the Temple duties. Technically, I should include chapter 26 as well, since it covers the same ground, but the post is going to be long enough as it is. So I will be lumping those duties in with the military and civil affairs of chapter 27 instead.
To introduce this section, the Chronicler situates it in David’s old age, when he has resigned from power and made Solomon king in his place. Clearly, he has trouble letting go, since here he is dictating all the civil and cultic duties. In fact, much of the following chapters has David scheduling shifts for a Temple that has not yet been built, that will be built after his death. The David of Chronicles has absolutely no faith in Solomon whatsoever.
In any case, he gathers the leaders of his son’s kingdom around him, both secular and religious, to deliver his orders.
David begins by numbering the Levites. Now, I might think that David would be a little more hesitant to try that sort of thing again after what happened last time (see 1 Chron. 21), but what do I know?
In any case, he manages to find 38,000 Levites over the age of 30. This age agrees with Num. 4:3, where only men between the ages of 30 and 50 are eligible for Temple service. Things get a bit complicated later on, but we’ll deal with that in the appropriate spot.
Of the 38,000 Levites, David decrees that 24,000 of them will work in the Temple, 6,000 will serve as officers and judges, 4,000 will be gatekeepers, and 4,000 will be musicians.
And this is where things start to get a bit more complicated. There appear to be two lists of Levite chiefs, the first in 1 Chron. 23:7-23, and the second in 1 Chron. 24:20-31. The former is nearly organized into the descendants of Gershom, Kohath, and Merari (the sons of Levi). The latter seems to have attempted the same, but is a complete mess. I’m assuming its been corrupted, and while there are some overlapping names, there are plenty of differences.
In between the two lists, we are told that the priests Zadok and Ahimelech helped David to organize the priests. To me, this suggests that the first list (ch.23) is in the wrong spot. Perhaps an editor realized that the ch.24 list was hopelessly corrupted, and decided to provide a “clean” version, then unfortunately copy+pasted into the wrong spot. We’ve all been there.
The list in 1 Chron. 24:20-31 goes:
- Shubael, son of Amram;
- Jehdeiah, son of Shubael;
- Isshiah, son of Rehabiah;
- Shelomoth, of the Izharites;
- Jahath, son of Shelomoth;
- The sons of Hebron: Jeriah (their chief), Amariah, Jahaziel, and Jekameam;
- Micah, son of Uzziel;
- Shamir, son of Micah;
- Isshiah, brother of Micah;
- Zechariah, son of Isshiah;
- Mahli and Mushi, the sons of Merari;
- Beno, son of Jaaziah;
- The sons of Merari: Jaaziah, Beno, Shoham, Zaccur, and Ibri;
- Eleazar, son of Mahli (who had no sons);
- Jerahmeel, son of Kish;
- The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Jerimoth.
In contrast, the list in 1 Chron. 23 goes:
- The sons of Gershom: Ladan (named Libni in 1 Chron. 6:17) and Shimei;
- The sons of Ladan: Jehiel (their chief), Zetham, and Joel – in 1 Chron. 6:20, Libni’s son is named Jahath, who fathered Zimmah, who fathered Joah, names that are kinda sorta similar-ish to Jehiel, Zetham, and Joel;
- The sons of Shimei: Shelomoth, Haziel, and Haran;
- The additional sons of Shimei: Jahath (their chief), Zina, Jeush, and Beriah (neither Jeush nor Beriah had many sons, so their lineages were merged).
- The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel;
- The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses;
- The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer;
- Shebuel, son of Gershom;
- Rehabiah, son of Eliezer (the text notes that Rehabiah was Eliezer’s only son, but that he himself had many);
- Shelomith, son of Izhar;
- The sons of Hebron: Jeriah (their chief), Amariah, Jahaziel, and Jekameam;
- The sons of Uzziel: Micah (their chief) and Isshiah.
Aaron’s lineage is presented out of order, sandwiched between the two lists of Levites. We are given only the list of his sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. We are reminded that Nadab and Abihu died young (as described in Leviticus 10), and that they had no children.
- The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi;
- The sons of Mahli: Eleazar and Kish (here, we are told that Eleazar died without sons, so that his daughters married the sons of Kish; In 1 Chron. 6:29, however, neither of these characters appear, and Mahli has only one son, Libni);
- The sons of Mushi: Mahli, Eder, and Jeremoth.
Summarizing the list, 1 Chron. 23:24 tells us that these were all the descendants of Levi over the age of 20. Back at the beginning of the chapter, only the men over the age 30 were counted (1 Chron. 23:3). While the age of 30 corresponds with Num. 4:3, Num. 8:24 tells us instead that Levites over the age of 25 are to serve in the Temple. Clearly, there’s a discrepancy here in how old a Levite must be to get the job.
James Bradford Pate offers the suggestion that the work itself would begin at 30, but that training might start earlier.
Another possibility is that the age requirement was lowered over time, and that each number references a source written at a different point in Israel’s history. According to Pate: “Ezra 8:15-20 seems to indicate that post-exilic Israel had difficulty finding Levites; thus, it would make sense that requirements for Levitical service would become a bit looser at that time.” Another possibility is that David anticipated the Temple’s needs would be greater than the needs of the tabernacle, and lowered the age to accommodate the change.
Finishing off the chapter, we hear David’s rationale in ordering the Levites: They are no longer needed for the carrying of the tabernacle, and must thus be organized for their new duties in the Temple.
Helping David to organize the other priests are Zadok (descended from Eleazar, son of Aaron) and Ahimelech (descended from Ithamar, Aaron’s other son).
The work is recorded by a scribe named Shemaiah, son of Nethanel – a Levite. According to my New Bible Commentary, “the stress is not so much on his being a Levite, but that he was not the royal scribe” (p.381). I’m not sure why this is important, except perhaps to show that the organizing of the priests was conducted by David, the individual, rather than the crown as a representation of secular authority. From what I’ve gathered, it seems that there was, historically, some tension between the secular and religious authorities, as both tried to use the other to their own ends.
We also learn that the work was witnessed by (perhaps with input from) the king, the secular leaders, Zadok, Ahimelech, and all the chief priests and Levites.
In the counting, it comes out that there are 16 households in Eleazar’s lineage, but only 8 in Ithamar’s lineage, totalling 24. These 24 households were then organized into numbered groups, which would take turns performing the Temple’s duties. The text doesn’t explain this system, apparently presuming pre-existing knowledge, but I gather that each group would serve for about two weeks a year. Such a system would allow the priests to maintain their own affairs, coming in only once a year (plus the big festivals) to tend the Temple. Further, since the lunar months don’t correspond perfectly to the solar year, the season in which each group is on duty would rotate, ensuring that one group isn’t always stuck with, say, service during a major harvest when it would be a pretty big imposition to be away from home.
The lots, in order, fell to the following chiefs:
Turn Up The Music
The Chronicler has several lists of musicians, including 1 Chron. 6:31-48, 1 Chron. 15:16-24, 1 Chron. 16:4-7 (which mentions only Asaph as the chief musical director), 1 Chron. 16:37-42 (in which Heman and Jeduthun appear together). It goes without saying that there are some pretty major discrepancies (perhaps referring to different points in time).
The main three lineages in charge of the music are the sons of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun – who lead as well as father the other leaders among the musicians (and are explicitly placed under the control of the king). Jeduthun, while he appears in 1 Chron. 16:37-42, is elsewhere replaced with Ethan. The instruments they play are the harps, lyres, and cymbals.
The Choristers, by James Tissot, 1896-1900
The text makes the connection between music and prophesying explicit throughout this chapter, particularly 1 Chron. 25:1. That bears remembering, and is a delicious clue to the form of worship at the time.
The sons of Asaph are: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asharelah.
The sons of Jeduthun are in charge of prophesying with lyres in the thanksgivings and praises to God. They are: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah (the only one I’ve found identified among the lyre players in 1 Chron. 15:21). Incidentally, the text tells us that Jeduthun had six sons in all (1 Chron. 25:3), but the Masoretic Text lists only 5, omitting Shimei.
The sons of Heman are: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shebuel, Jerimoth, Hananiah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti, Romamtiezer, Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir, and Mahazioth.
There are few interesting things going on with Heman’s family. The first is that the names of his sons, from Hananiah to Mahazioth, seem to form a pattern. According to my New Bible Commentary, making it work requires “taking the consonantal text and occasionally dividing the words otherwise” (p.381). When this is done, the result is a phrase, which my study Bible translates as: “Be gracious, O Lord, be gracious to me; thou art my God, whom I magnify and exalt, my help when in trouble; I have fulfilled (or spoken), he has increased visions.”
If we assume that this is true and historical, it’s extremely interesting – certainly far more so than something as trite as theme-ing J names, as the Duggars have done. It’s certainly fitting for a man associated with music (and apparently, with the authorship of at least one Psalm – Ps. 88).
But it’s a rather long phrase, and it seems to put an awful lot of faith into being able to complete it. Well, why not? Heman is specifically identified as the king’s seer, and we are told that God had promised to exalt him (in the context of the number of children he had). Perhaps, given that the phrase doesn’t begin until his sixth child, we can deduce when he received this promise from God.
The other interesting thing going on with Heman is that we are told that he had 14 sons and 3 daughters, and that they “were all under the direction of their father in the music in the house of the Lord” (1 Chron. 25:6, emphasis mine). The implication seems to be that the daughters are included in this. In his post about the verse, Claude Mariottini points to other women associated with music, such as Miriam (Exodus 15), Jephthah’s daughter (Judges 11:34), and the women who greet Saul with music (1 Sam. 18:6). This points to some really cool hints of the roles women were allowed to occupy, at least in the tribal period and early monarchy.
The total number of trained musicians is given as 288, compared to the 4,000 in 1 Chron. 23:5. This isn’t a discrepancy if the 288 number refers only to those “trained in singing” (1 Chron. 25:7), while the total number of musicians is actually 4,000.
As with the priests, the musicians are also divided into groups. These are, under Asaph:
- Gedaliah (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Zaccur (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Izri (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Nethaniah (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Bukkiah (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Jesharelah (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Jeshaiah(and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Mattaniah (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Shimei (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Azarel (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Hashabiah (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Shubael (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Mattithiah (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Jeremoth (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Hananiah (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Joshbekashah (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Hanani (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Mallothi (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Eliathah (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Hothir (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Giddalti (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Mahazioth (and his 12 brethren and sons);
- Romamtiezer (and his 12 brethren and sons).
Assuming that Joseph is also accompanied by his 12 brethren and sons (he is the only one for whom this is not specified), and assuming that the leaders are not counted, this total comes out to 288.
Only those musicians under Asaph are listed. It’s possible, especially given the mention of Asaph as the leader of those who invoke God before the ark in 1 Chron. 16:4-7, that Asaph was in charge of the singers, while those under Jeduthun and Heman were charged with instruments only.
September 23, 2015
Around the Web
Fred Clark of Slacktivist posted recently about the political situation in Jerusalem, comparing it to his own experiences there in 1990. It’s a terrifically interested post, as his posts tend to be, but I wanted to make note of an anecdote he tells at the beginning.
According to his tour guide at the time, Hebron was once the holiest Hebrew site (believed to have been the burial site of Abraham and Isaac).
However, Hebron “was indefensible and a lousy place for a king and general to build his capital city.” Jerusalem, on the other hand, was a much more strategic location, so the political leaders had to either fabricate new religious traditions or grow existing ones to move the centre of worship over to a better spot.
I have no idea how much merit the theory has – I mean, this is all something I’m reading about from a guy who heard it from another guy 25 years ago – but it’s very interesting.
In our accounts, David ruled from Hebron for several years before moving his capitol to Jerusalem (1 Kgs 2:11; 1 Chron. 29:27). I wonder how that fits into the theory?
September 14, 2015
11. 1-2 Chronicles, Bible, Old Testament
1 Chronicles, Aaron, Abiathar, Abraham, Alamoth, Amasai, Amminadab, Asaiah, Asaph, Azaziah, Aziel, Benaiah, Berechiah, Bible, Canaan, Chenaniah, David, Eliab, Eliazaphan, Eliel, Eliezer, Eliphelehu, Elkanah, Ethan, Gershom, Gibeon, Hebron, Heman, Hosah, Isaac, Israel, Jaaziel, Jacob, Jahaziel, Jeduthun, Jehiah, Jehiel, Jeiel, Joel, Joshaphat, Kohath, Kushaiah, Levite, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Merari, Michal, Mikneiah, Moses, Nethanel, Obededom, Old Testament, Saul, Shebaniah, Shemaiah, Sheminith, Shemiramoth, Unni, Uriel, Uzziel, Zadok, Zechariah
David has decided that it is now, finally, time to bring the ark the rest of the way to Jerusalem. His reasoning isn’t explicitly explained, but there are two likely candidates that jumped out at me: The first and more flattering of the two is that, seeing the blessings on Obededom’s household, David realizes that God wasn’t angry that the ark was being moved, but rather that it was being moved incorrectly (in this case, because those moving it were not Levites, as per Num. 1:51). Therefore, once David has appointed Levites to move the ark, it becomes safe and the procession can continue.
The second explanation is that David saw all the blessings the ark was bringing to Obededom, and he wanted to get in on that.
In either case, he begins by building palaces for himself and pitching a tent for the ark. An odd statement, certainly. I realize that it was culturally known that the temple wasn’t built until Solomon, and that there may have been religious objections to housing the symbol of a nomad god in a permanent structure, but mentioning that David built palaces (plural, mind) for himself, yet merely pitched a tent for the ark seems strange to my modern sensibilities (not to mention my cultural assumptions regarding what a “house of God” ought to look like). Even within a proper context, however, mentioning David’s building projects here seems somewhat out of place.
There’s some odd narrative time skipping in these two chapters, resulting in the ark having been brought to its resting place at least once (possibly twice) before the procession is actually concluded. I suspect that this may be an artefact of the Chronicler’s use of multiple sources, or perhaps just some grammar troubles (one of my greatest difficulties in writing is trying to keep my tenses straight, so I totally get it).
There is also much dwelling on the names of the priests, as well as their roles. I’ll mention those at the end, though, because there’s a lot of them and they are fairly disruptive to the flow. That said, it certainly helped me to understand the commentaries who argue that the Chronicler may have been a musician!
Once David had built his palaces and cleared a little camping plot for the ark, he gathered Israel about him and announced that Levites must be the ones to carry and tend to the ark.
He told the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levite chiefs to sanctify themselves prior to approaching the ark (this would likely involve rituals like fasting, abstaining from sexual contact, and washing). David explains his theory that God attacked the first time (killing Uzzah) because the ark was not being carried by Levites. This is an addition to the story in 2 Samuel 6, which makes no mention of Levites (likely an anachronistic one, as well, since it seems there’s evidence to suggest that the Levitical caste didn’t emerge until later).
The priests do as they are told, and they carry the ark on their shoulders using poles, as per God’s instructions (relayed via Moses, then David).
David dances before the ark, from the Morgan Bible, 1240-1250
The priests appoint a number of singers, as well as musicians of various varieties to play in the procession and “raise sounds of joy” (1 Chron. 15:16). There are harps, lyres, cymbals, and trumpets. There’s even a conductor, Chenaniah.
Taking from 2 Sam. 6:12-15, the procession goes to the house of Obededom to fetch the ark and they bring it to Jerusalem. There are two main differences between this version and the one in 2 Samuel: The first is that we get a whole lot more detail about the music played in the procession. The second is that David is clothed, this time wearing a robe of fine linen in addition to his ephod. The priests of the procession are also wearing robes of fine linen.
Another possible difference is in the time/location of the sacrifices. In 2 Sam. 6:13, a sacrifice (one ox and one fatling) is made when those who bear the ark have gone six paces. In 1 Chron. 15:26, however, seven bulls and seven rams are sacrificed “because God helped the Levites who were carrying the ark”. Reading far too much into the text, it would seem that the 2 Sam. 6 priests tentatively lift the ark, and thank God right away when they survive the test. In 1 Chron. 15, however, the implication seems to be that they give thanks when the journey is completed, perhaps because God somehow made their burden light or saved them from any accidental stumble that could result in a situation like the one that led to Uzzah’s death. But this is bringing a lot into the text, and there’s no reason why the 1 Chron. 15 version can’t be taken to mean the same as the 2 Sam. 6 version.
As they approach Jerusalem, Michal (here, as in 2 Sam. 6:16, identified only as the daughter of Saul) sees David dancing and she hates him. In 2 Sam. 6:20-23, the reason for Michal’s hatred of David is apparently because he was dancing naked, uncovered save for the ephod, disgracing himself. It’s easy to see how afraid she might be, after her father’s house fell and her whole family was slaughtered. She has ever reason to want David to act the proper king, a king who won’t be judged weak or unfit and deposed. Here, however, the conversation is absent, and Michal’s reasoning is unstated. The implication, then, is that she hated him because she was Saul’s daughter (as this is the only detail we are given of her), and is perhaps seen as further proof of Saul’s dynastic unfitness.
The ark finally makes it to its new tend, and sacrifices are made. David blesses the people in God’s name, and he distributes a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a raisin cake to every Israelite (including, for once, the women).
A good deal of 1 Chron. 16 is given to a special thanksgiving song David gives to Asaph and the other musically-inclined priests. It’s a fairly ordinary praise song, much like the ones we’ve had before. God is great, we should seek God, he’s done wonderful works, the descendants of Abraham and Jacob are his chosen people, God has protected them. God is to be “held in awe above all gods” (1 Chron. 16:25), who are but idols while God is actually in heaven. The natural world exults in God for God is good. Also, if God wouldn’t mind delivering his chosen people from other nations – so that we can thank him for it, of course – that’d be great.
What’s interesting about this son in particular is that it appears to be a cobbling together of a few different Psalms. Specifically:
- 1 Chron. 16:8-22 is taken from Psalms 105:1-15;
- 1 Chron. 16:23-33 is taken from Psalms 96:1-13;
- And 1 Chron. 16:34-36 is taken from Psalms 106:1 and Psalms 106:47-48.
Perhaps even more interesting, “none of the three psalms used is Davidic and all are later, possibly even post-exilic” (New Bible Commentary, p.378). This would certainly explain the final verses of the poem, which talk about deliverance from other nations (1 Chron. 16:34-36) – something that would have been salient for the Chronicler, but not so much for the rising star of David who has recently destroyed the Philistines. James Pate proposes that the verses could refer to prisoner’s of war – perhaps some Israelites had been taken in David’s recent battles against the Philistines – and the hope that they should be returned.
Another interesting detail about the song is that it is the only place in all of 1 Chronicles where Jacob is referred to by that name, rather than as Israel.
All the people say “Amen!” and David leaves the priests to their business. The Israelites head home, and David goes to bless his house.
Priests and their roles are listed at several points through 1 Chron. 15-16. It begins when David is setting up a location for the ark, and he gathers the Levites to him. They are represented by their leaders:
- 120 Kohathites, led by Uriel;
- 220 Merarites, led by Asaiah;
- 130 Gershomites, led by Joel;
- 200 Elizaphanites, led by Shemaiah;
- 80 Hebronites, led by Eliel;
- And 112 Uzzielites, led by Amminadab.
David then commands these chiefs to appoint musicians from among their sub-tribes to play loudly before the ark as it is being transported. The Levites appoint Heman son of Joel, and Asaph son of Berechiah. The Merarites (listed as though a distinct group from the Levites) appoint Ethan son of Kushaiah, as well as some underlings: Zechariah, Jaaziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, and Mikneiah. Listed here, as though the role is a musical one, are also Obededom and Jeiel, appointed as gatekeepers.
Next, we get a breakdown of the musicians by instrument as they play before the ark in its procession:
- Sounding the bronze cymbals: Heman, Asaph, and Ethan;
- Playing the harps (according to Alamoth – apparently some unknown musical term): Zechariah, Aziel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Unni, Eliab, Maseiah, and Benaiah;
- Leading with the lyres (according to the Sheminith – some other unknown musical term): Mattithiah, Eliphelehu, Mikneiah, Obededom, Jeiel, and Azaziah;
- Blowing the trumpets before the ark: Shebaniah, Joshaphat, Nethanel, Amasai, Zechariah, Benaiah, and Eliezer;
- Lastly, the conductor: Chenaniah.
Berechiah and Elkanah are designated as the ark’s gatekeepers. Then, a verse later, we are told that Obededom and Jehiah are also the gatekeepers (1 Chron. 15:23-24).
Once the procession arrives in Jerusalem and the ark is settled into its new tent, David appoints some Levites to minister to it, led by Asaph, who is to sound the cymbals.
To the harps and lyres, David appoints Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obededom, and Jeiel.
Finally, David appoints Benaiah and Jahaziel to blow the trumpets continually (1 Chron. 16:6), though one hopes that they were at least allowed to take turns.
The sons of Jeduthun are appointed to the gate, which apparently includes Obededom (here identified as a son of Jeduthun) and Hosah (conspicuously not identified as a son of Jeduthun).
Jeduthun himself, along with Heman, are given charge of the trumpets and cymbals at Gibeon, where the tabernacle has been left in Zadok’s charge. There is no reason given for why the ark has been separated from its tabernacle and moved into a new tent, but it appears that worship continued at both sites.
One possibility involves the nomadic nature of the early YHWH cult. If David hoped to nurture a more urban society, detaching the local god from its tent would have been a priority. He might not have felt confident enough to to build a permanent temple yet, but he could at least separate the ark from its tabernacle (which had, as evidenced by this chapter, become a locus of worship in its own right). This is, of course, pure fancy and utterly unsupported as far as I know.
Obededom is a strange figure in these chapters. Is he the same Obededom who housed the ark in 1 Chron. 13:13? And why is he shoehorned so forcefully into 1 Chron. 15-16?
He is mentioned three times as a gatekeeper:
- When he and Jeiel are counted among the Merarite musicians (1 Chron. 15:17-18);
- When he and Jehiah are added, as if as afterthoughts, when Berechiah and Elkanah are listed as gatekeepers (1 Chron. 15:23-24);
- As a son of Jeduthun, who are appointed to the gate (1 Chron. 16:37-38).
This is, of course, in addition to his mentions as a musician.
The way in which he is mentioned feels very forced, particularly in 1 Chron. 15:23-24. I feel like there must be a reason for this.
If this Obededom is the same as the Gittite in 1 Chron. 13:13, it introduces a possible problem. The term “Gittite” is usually used to refer to people from Gath – a city under Philistine control. If Obededom is a Philistine, then he is not an Israelite, and he is certainly not a Levite.
That’s not a certainty, though. It could be that Obededom is merely an Israelite from Gath, or perhaps the name “Gath” was used in a few different place names and the designation of Gittite does not even refer to the Philistine city.
James Pate imagines that Obededom, having had direct experience with the ark and received its blessings while it was in his home, followed it to Jerusalem. It’s an amusing image!
September 7, 2015
11. 1-2 Chronicles, Bible, Old Testament
1 Chronicles, Aaron, Adnah, Ahiezer, Amasai, Anathoth, Attai, Azarel, Azmaveth, Bealiah, Benjamin, Benjaminite, Beracah, Bible, Danite, David, Eliab, Eliel, Elihu, Elkanah, Eluzai, Elzabad, Ephraimite, Ezer, Gadite, Gederah, Gedor, Gibeah, Gibeon, Haruphite, Hebron, Ishmaiah, Israel, Issachar, Isshiah, Jahaziel, Jashobeam, Jediael, Jehoiada, Jehu, Jeremiah, Jerimoth, Jeroham, Jesse, Jeziel, Joash, Joelah, Joezer, Johanan, Jordan, Jozabad, Judah, Kish, Korahite, Levite, Machbannai, Manasseh, Michael, Mishmannah, Naphtali, Obadiah, Old Testament, Pelet, Philistine, Reubenite, Saul, Shemaah, Shemariah, Shephatiah, Simeonite, Zadok, Zebadiah, Zebulun, Ziklag, Zillethai
We continue our coverage of David’s magnetic charisma. The section begins with a group of Benjaminites who defected to David during his stay at Ziklag (the town he was given by the Philistine king Achish in exchange for his raiding in 1 Sam. 27:5-12). The Chronicler makes absolutely certain that no reader can come away from this passage without realizing that the Benjaminites, despite being Saul’s kinsmen, chose to follow David while the two men were in open conflict. The point is clear: Even Saul’s own tribesmen realized that David was the better man.
This is likely why the Benjaminites are listed first, despite the Gadites being the first to join David chronologically. The point of David’s fitness to rule Israel is better made with Benjaminite defectors.
Coronation of King David, from the Paris Psalter, 10th cent.
Of these Benjaminites, we learn that they were ambidextrous, capable of shooting arrows and slinging stones with either hand. The association between Benjaminites and handedness is nothing new. They are specifically associated with left-handedness in Judges 20:15-16, and the Benjaminite hero Ehud is left-handed in Judges 3:15. As James Page points out, it’s likely that they were left-handed, but forced by superstition to train with their right hands until they came to be known for being ambidextrous.
They were led by Ahiezer and his second-in-command, Joash, both sons of Shemaah of Gibeah. This, too, reinforces David’s powers of attraction, as Gibeah was Saul’s home town.
Other notable Benjaminites to join David include:
- Jeziel and Pelet, sons of Azmaveth;
- Jehu of Anathoth;
- Jozabad of Gederah;
- Shephatiah the Haruphite;
- The Korahites: Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, and Jashobeam;
- Joelah and Zebediah, sons of Jeroham of Gedor;
- And Ishmaiah of Gibeon, who is said to be a leader of the Thirty (1 Chron. 12:4) despite not getting a mention in the last chapter, and the fact that Abishai is named the leader of the Thirty in both 2 Sam. 23:18-19 and 1 Chron. 11:20. It could be an error, or perhaps Ishmaiah led the Thirty at one time, and Abishai at another.
The Gadites come next. They came to David while he was “at the stronghold in the wilderness” (1 Chron. 12:8), which is likely a reference to Adullam. This would make them the first tribe to join David, listed second here because their joining isn’t quite as important, from a propagandic point of view, as the Benjaminites.
They are described as having faces like those of lions, which echoes Moses’s words in Deut. 33:20-21. Their speciality was fighting with shield and spear, and they were as swift as gazelles when in the mountains.
They were led by Ezer, and the other leaders were, in order: Obadiah, Eliab, Mishmannah, Jeremiah, Attai, Eliel, Johanan, Elzabad, Jeremiah, and Machbannai. Each of these chiefs led a company of at least a hundred men, with the largest company being over a thousand strong.
They crossed the Jordan in the first month, when it would have been overflowing and likely a rather dangerous crossing. Not only that, but they put to flight those on either bank.
James Pate notes that this isn’t the first time the Gadites were first:
The Orthodox Jewish Artscroll commentary believes it is significant that the tribe of Gad was the first Israelite tribe to side with David. Building on such Jewish sources as Genesis Rabbah 99:2 and the Midrash Lekach Tov, it notes that Gad is notorious for firsts: it was the first tribe to enter the land of Canaan, it was the first to accept David as king when David was still in exile from King Saul, and Elijah (perhaps a Gadite) will be the first to recognize the Messiah.
The Spirit Clothes Himself
While David was staying at a stronghold (again, this seems to be a reference to Adullam, though the place isn’t named), some men from Benjamin and Judah approached and David came out to meet him. This would have been during David’s time on the run, and it must have been concerning if Benjaminites were among those who approached (see, for example, 1 Sam. 23:15-29).
David asks if the men approach as friends – in which case he welcomes them – or as enemies – in which case he hopes that God will punish them (evidence, perhaps, of his dire situation at that point in his political career).
The spirit comes upon Amasai, prompting him to declare the visitors’ allegiance to David, and offering him their help. Interestingly, the literal phrase is that “the spirit clothed himself with Amasai,” which is just a delightful phrase. I’m rather disappointed with the RSV’s decision to render it as “the Spirit came upon Amasai” (1 Chron. 12:18) when such a poetic phrasing was readily available.
David seems to be so moved by Amasai’s declaration that he appoints the visitors as officers over his troops.
Interestingly, Amasai doesn’t appear elsewhere, and it seems that either Abishai or Amasa was meant.
The next group to join David happens in the context of Saul’s final battle against the Philistines, while David was still working for one of the Philistine kings. As was the case in 1 Sam. 29-30, we are assured that David took no part in the battle. However, it’s somewhat disconcerting that, in both narratives, it is not David who asks not to fight against Saul and the Israelites. Rather, it’s the Philistines themselves who express concern that he might defect, and so send him home. Those who would defend David would argue that this was, in fact, David’s plan, but there really isn’t anything in the text (in either place) that indicates this to be the case.
On his way back to Ziklag, David passes through the territory of Manasseh. As he does so, several men desert their tribe to join him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu, and Zillethai. They commanded thousands, and they helped David fight an unnamed and unreferenced band of raiders.
And so, day by day, David’s army grew larger.
On To Hebron
Finally, we cycle back to where we were in 1 Chron. 11, with the Israelites meeting at Hebron “to turn the kingdom of Saul over to [David]” (1 Chron. 12:23). Each tribe is listed with the men they brought along:
- Judah: 6,800
- Simeon: 7,100
- Benjamin: 3,000 (the majority of whom were newly converted from Saul’s side)
- The Cis-Jordan half of Manasseh: 18,000
- Issachar: 200 chiefs, plus the men they commanded (of Issachar, the Chronicler tells us that they understood the times and knew what Israel ought to do – 1 Chron. 12:32 – whatever that’s supposed to mean)
- Zebulun: 50,000
- Naphtali: 1,000 commanders, with 37,000 men
- Dan: 28,600
- Asher: 40,000
- The Transjordan tribes (Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh): 120,000
The Levites are also listed along with the others, but are interestingly divided into two groups: The house of Aaron, led by the prince Jehoiada, had 3,700, and Zadok leading 22 commanders. Paul Davidson (Is That In The Bible) sees this as “evidence in the biblical texts of rival priestly groups vying for control of the temple and other religious positions.”
Brant Clements (Both Saint and Cynic) notes that, “interestingly, the more remote tribes send far greater numbers of soldiers.” The numbers are clearly fictional, but this observation seems like it should be significant. Perhaps even more so if the numbers are not historical.
The Israelites all met with the purpose of making David their king. They stayed at Hebron for three days, during which they feasted and made preparations.
September 4, 2015
11. 1-2 Chronicles, Bible, Old Testament
1 Chronicles, Abiel, Abiezer, Abishai, Adina, Adullam, Ahiam, Ahijah, Ahlai, Ahohite, Ammonite, Anathoth, Arbathite, Aroerite, Asahel, Ashterathite, Azmaveth, Baanah, Baharum, Beeroth, Benaiah, Benjaminite, Bethlehem, Bible, Carmel, David, Dodo, Egyptian, Eleazar, Elhanan, Eliahba, Eliel, Eliphal, Elnaam, Ezbai, Gaash, Gareb, Gibeah, Gizonite, Hachmonite, Hagri, Hanan, Hararite, Harod, Hashem, Hebron, Heled, Helez, Hepher, Hezro, Hittite, Hotham, Hurai, Hushathite, Ikkesh, Ilai, Ira, Israel, Ithai, Ithmah, Ithrite, Jaasiel, Jashobeam, Jebus, Jebusite, Jediael, Jehoiada, Jeiel, Jeribai, Jerusalem, Joab, Joel, Joha, Jonathan, Joshaphat, Joshaviah, Kabzeel, Maacah, Maharai, Mahavite, Mecherathite, Mezobaite, Mibhar, Millo, Mithnite, Moab, Moabite, Naarai, Naharai, Nathan, Netophah, Obed, Old Testament, Pasdammim, Pelonite, Philistine, Pirathon, Rephaim, Reubenite, Ribai, Sachar, Samuel, Saul, Shaalbon, Shagee, Shama, Shammoth, Shimri, Shiza, Sibbecai, Tekoa, Tizite, Ur, Uriah, Uzzia, Zabad, Zelek, Zeruiah, Zion
Skipping straight from Saul’s death in the last chapter to David’s ascension as king, the Chronicler leaps right over the succession conflicts of 2 Samuel 2-4. In this narrative, David’s rise was effortless and conflict-less.
Right from the start, we see all of Israel congregating in Hebron to declare David as their new king. Repeating their speech almost verbatim from 2 Sam. 5:1-3, they reinforce David’s claim by saying that he had truly been the one leading them from the start, even while Saul was king in name. They make a covenant with David, and Samuel anoints him.
With all of Israel on his side, David turned toward Jerusalem. The Jebusites taunt David, saying that he will never enter his city. But then, wooops, he conquers it anyway. Parts of the story are copied word-for-word from 2 Sam. 5:6-10, except that all references to David’s hatred for people with physical disabilities are replaced by his vow to promote the first person to kill Jebusites (or perhaps to rush forward at the Jebusites) to the rank of chief and commander. This seems like a fairly awful way to pick leaders, given that leadership skills aren’t terribly correlated with “rush into battle and kill stuff” skills. I get that the point is to reward bravery, but this seems like the Peter Principle in action. The point is only more clearly made when we find out that it is Joab who goes first, earning his place as chief. And we all know how well that turned out (1 Kgs. 2:5-6).
My New Bible Commentary notes that Joab’s promotion here would seem to conflict with 2 Samuel, where Joab is already functioning as commander prior to the taking of Jerusalem. Yet, “the commander-in-chief of the king of Judah would not automatically have become commander-in-chief of the king of all Israel” (p.375). In other words, it’s possible that Joab was already commander, but had to re-earn his position in the new national government. Assuming historicity for a moment, this doesn’t seem unreasonable.
James Pate notes a problematic difference between this chapter and 2 Sam. 5:6-10: Whereas in 2 Samuel, David seems to have chosen Jerusalem as his capitol because it was centrally located and because it did not belong to any particular tribe (therefore avoiding the argument of favouritism), the Chronicler gives David complete support from all Israel before he turns to Jerusalem, and in fact shows a pan-tribal attacking army. So why, then, would David have needed to take Jerusalem? Pate discusses the issue in his post.
Once David took Jerusalem, it began to be known as the city of David. He and Joab then set to work repairing the city (and presumably building it up), and thus did David become ever greater.
The Mighty Men
The rest of the chapter lists the men of David’s elite army. It is nearly identical to the list found in 2 Sam. 23:8-39, though with additional names added to the end. One theory is that the 2 Samuel version ended with Uriah to rhetorically underscore the evil that David had done to him in 2 Sam. 11, whereas the Chronicler may have been working with a more complete list.
We begin with the elite of the elite, known as the Three. The group’s leader was Jachobeam, a Hachmonite, who once killed 300 enemies with his spear at one time (the number is 800 in 2 Sam. 23:8, but the difference could be caused by confusion with another warrior, Abishai, who killed 300 in 2 Sam. 23:18 and 1 Chron. 11:20).
The other two members of the Three are mashed together here, apparently due to a scribal error. In 2 Sam. 23:9-12, we learn of two members of the group: Eleazar son of Dodo the Ahohite and Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. In the 2 Samuel version, Eleazar was with David when they defied the Philistines. The Israelite army was routed, but Eleazar kept fighting until his arm grew weary – long enough to win the battle. When the Israelites returned, it was only to strip the dead. As for Shammah, the Israelite army was again routed, but Shammah stood in a plot of lentils, defending it until the Philistines were defeated.
The Chronicler’s version, however, tells us only of Eleazar, and how he was with David at Pasdammim when the Philistines gathered against them. Even though the Israelites were routed, he stood his ground in a field of barley and defeated the Philistines. It’s rather easy to see how a scribe’s eye might skip in two such similar stories.
Before getting into the Thirty, we learn of three men from the band of Thirty (there’s no indication that they are the Three) who came to David while he was in hiding in the cave of Adullam (his stay is narrated in 1 Sam. 22:1-5) while the Philistines occupied Bethlehem.
David seems to have been feeling rather sorry for himself, and said (with much sighing, I imagine) that he wished he could have some water to drink from one of the wells of Bethlehem. These three members of the Thirty heard him (or perhaps overheard him, depending on the interpretation) and took it upon themselves to go fetch that water for David. So they snuck through the Philistine guards, into Bethlehem, and drew the water.
When they returned, however, David refused to drink it. Instead, he poured it onto the ground, saying: “Shall I drink the lifeblood of these men?” (1 Chron. 11:19). How David looks in this story depends entirely on the reader’s interpretation. If he had asked his men who fetch him the water, then his actions are just awful. But if he was just moping about, feeling sorry for himself, and they happened to overhear him and did something foolish that he hadn’t wanted them to do, then he is some degree of less awful. At least no Beckets were killed this time.
The chief of the Thirty was Abishai, Joab’s brother. Like Jachobeam, he too killed 300 enemies at one go with a spear. The other member of the Thirty whose deeds are worth mentioning is Benaiah son of Jehoiada, of Kabzeel, the captain of David’s bodyguards. He killed two whole ariels of Moab, which I’m sure is very impressive whatever an ariel is. He also killed a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen, the significant of which is lost on me, but I’m sure that too is very impressive. He also duelled a very large Egyptian who wielded a spear like a weaver’s beam. Benaiah lunged in with his staff and, snatching the oversized spear from the Egyptian’s hands, killed him with his own weapon.
The rest of the Thirty are given as a simple list:
- Asahel brother of Joab
- Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem
- Shammoth of Harod
- Helez the Pelonite
- Ira son of Ikkesh of Tekoa
- Abiezer of Anathoth
- Sibbecai the Hushathite
- Ilai the Ahohite
- Maharai of Netophah
- Heled son of Baanah of Netophah
- Ithai son of Ribai of Gibeah, of the Benjaminites
- Benaiah of Pirathon
- Hurai of the brooks of Gaash
- Abiel the Arbathite
- Azmaveth of Baharum
- Eliahba of Shaalbon
- Hashem the Gizonite
- Jonathan son of Shagee the Hararite
- Ahiam son of Sachar the Hararite
- Eliphal son of Ur
- Hepher the Mecherathite
- Ahijah the Pelonite
- Hezro of Carmel
- Naarai the son of Ezbai
- Joel the brother of Nathan
- Mibhar son of Hagri
- Zelek the Ammonite
- Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab and son of Zeruiah
- Ira the Ithrite
- Gareb the Ithrite
- Uriah the Hittite
- Zabad son of Ahlai
- Adina son of Shiza, the Reubenite, who was a leader among the Reubenites and was accompanied by 30 of his brethren
- Hanan son of Maacah
- Joshaphat the Mithnite
- Uzzia the Ashterathite
- Shama son of Hotham the Aroerite
- Jeiel, Shama’s brother
- Jediael son of Shimri
- Joha, brother of Jediael, a Tizite
- Eliel the Mahavite
- Jeribai son of Elnaam
- Joshaviah, also a son of Elnaam
- Ithmah the Moabite
- Jaasiel the Mezobaite
These are, of course, way more than thirty men. It seems that the name of David’s elite company was chosen for its neat roundedness (or perhaps its accuracy at some earlier date).
August 17, 2015
11. 1-2 Chronicles, Bible, Old Testament
1 Chronicles, Aaron, Abdi, Abdon, Abihu, Abijah, Abishua, Adaiah, Ahimaaz, Ahimoth, Ahitub, Aijalon, Alemeth, Amariah, Amasai, Amaziah, Amminadab, Amram, Amzi, Anathoth, Anem, Aner, Asaiah, Asaph, Ashan, Asher, Ashtaroth, Assir, Azariah, Baaseiah, Bani, Bashan, Benjamin, Berechiah, Beth-horon, Beth-shemesh, Bezer, Bible, Bileam, Bukki, Caleb, Daberath, David, Debir, Ebiasaph, Eleazar, Eliab, Eliel, Elkanah, Ephraim, Eshtemoa, Ethan, Ethni, Gad, Galilee, Gath-rimmon, Geba, Gershom, Gershomite, Gezer, Gilead, Golan, Haggiah, Hammon, Hashabiah, Hebron, Heman, Heshbon, Hilen, Hilkiah, Hukok, Iddo, Israel, Issachar, Ithamar, Izhar, Jahath, Jahzah, Jattir, Jazer, Jeatherai, Jehozadak, Jephunneh, Jericho, Jeroham, Jerusalem, Joah, Joel, Johanan, Jokmeam, Jordan, Judah, Kedemoth, Kedesh, Kiriathaim, Kishi, Kohath, Kohathite, Korah, Levi, Levite, Libnah, Libni, Mahanaim, Mahath, Mahli, Malchijah, Malluch, Manasseh, Mashal, Mephaath, Meraioth, Merari, Merarite, Michael, Miriam, Moses, Mushi, Nadab, Nahath, Naphtali, Nebuchadnezzar, Old Testament, Phinehas, Ramoth, Rehob, Reuben, Rimmono, Samuel, Seraiah, Shallum, Shaul, Shechem, Shemer, Shimea, Shimei, Simeon, Solomon, Tabor, Tahath, Toah, Uriel, Uzzah, Uzzi, Uzziah, Uzziel, Zadok, Zebulun, Zephaniah, Zerah, Zerahiah, Zimmah, Zophai, Zuph
We next turn our attentions to the tribe of Levi. It’s worth noting both how detailed a treatment they get compared to the other tribes, and the fact that they are placed in the very middle of the genealogies, just as they were physically placed in the middle of the camp in Numbers 2. It’s hard to ignore the symbolism.
Roughly speaking, the narrative begins with the priestly genealogies, then discusses the temple musicians, and ends by looking at the territories under direct Levitical control.
The genealogy portion seems to be based on Exodus 6:16-25, but with some variations.
The sons of Levi are: Gershom, Kohath, and Merari. There’s some duplication of information as each section serves a different purpose that sometimes requires the same information. However, since my purpose is different than the Chronicler’s, I’ll be condensing a little.
The sons of Kohath are: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. From Amram came Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. From Aaron, we get Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. From this point, we follow Eleazar down in a direct line:
- Azariah: According to 1 Kgs 4:2, Azariah was Zadok’s son, not his grandson. However, this wouldn’t be the first time that “son” might have been used simply to mean “a descendant of.”
- Azariah: The text specifies that he was priest when Solomon built the temple.
- Jehozadak: The text indicates that he was taken into exile by Nebuchadnezzar after the fall of Jerusalem.
Aaron, from the Frauenkirche, Dresden
There is apparently some discussion as to whether or not Zadok (#9 on this list) was really of Levitical descent. Apparently, the Jebusite Hypothesis argues that Zadok was a priest in Jerusalem, serving the Jebusite god El Elyon, when it was conquered by David. Further, it argues that David may have appointed him as high priest as an appeasement to the conquered residents of the city (not only offering some continuity of leadership, but also bridging David’s god and their own).
In support of this, the similarity between Zadok’s name and the names of pre-Israelite inhabitants of Jerusalem is pointed out (for example, Melchizedek in Gen. 14:18 and Adonizedek in Jos. 10:1).
Some apparently also cite his role in Nathan and Bathsheba’s conspiracy to place Solomon on the throne, instead of Adonijah (1 Kgs 2). The argument goes that Solomon, born in Jerusalem, would have been preferred over Adonijah, who was born in Hebron.
The second lineage of Kohath: We also get a secondary list of the sons of Kohath, which is clearly not the same as above, beginning with Amminadab, and tracing down:
- Ebiasaph (appearing as Abiasaph in Ex. 6:24)
A few sources I looked at suggested that Amminadab might be an error here (albeit a strange one). Drawing from Exodus 6:21, they argue that Izhar may have been meant instead, which would certainly make a lot more sense.
We then get a list of descendants of someone named Elkanah, who is clearly not the Elkanah who was a descendant of Kohath. The grammar is a little fudgy, but it looks like he had two sons: Amasai and Ahimoth. Then, through Ahimoth, we get:
The sons of Samuel: In 1 Chron. 6:28, switch briefly over to a Samuel, who is presumably the Samuel of 1-2 Samuel, and meant to be related to the just-named Elkanah. This works for a little while, since 1 Samuel 1:1 names Samuel’s father Elkanah, and his grandfather Jeroham. It breaks down after that, however, as Jeroham is the son of Elihu, who is the son of Tohu, who is the son of Zuph. (A genealogy that matches better occurs below, in the discussion of musicians.)
Further, since Zuph is specifically named as an Ephraimite, we have to do a bit of juggling to make him also a Levite. It’s not impossible, since we could imagine a Levitical line living in Ephraim’s territory being identified by their geographical location rather than tribal descent. It’s worth noting that there were Kohathite territories within Ephraim (listed later in 1 Chron. 6:66-69).
In this case, however, there are too many pieces that don’t fit. It seems that, the Chronicler (who at least one of his sources) wished to shoe-horn Samuel into the Levitical line to excuse the fact that he was performing cultic duties. The problem with that, though, is that Samuel is seen making burnt offerings (for example, 1 Sam. 7:10), so why not place him directly in the Aaronic line? And why not mention in 1 Samuel that he was of Levitical descent?
In any case, the sons of Samuel are listed, in order, as Joel and Abijah.
The sons of Gershom are: Libni and Shimei. Gershom, by the way, is sometimes spelled Gershon. Given the phonetic similarity, I’m assuming this is just an error, and I will use the two forms interchangeably. Gershom traces the line down through Libni:
The sons of Merari are: Mahli and Mushi. Going down through Mahli, we get:
David is credited with founding the musical portion of the tabernacle service (or, at least, with reforming the system). When he initially brought the ark to Jerusalem, he appointed to “[minister] with son before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting” (1 Chron. 6:32). When Solomon built the temple, they moved with the ark.
The lineages are presented in reverse order. I’ll re-arrange them as a descent just to make the lineages more comparable to the ones we had above. Keeping in mind that it is the final member of the line who was appointed by David. I’ve bolded the appointees.
From the Kohathites:
- Heman the singer
If the Samuel listed as Heman’s grandfather is meant to be the Samuel who went around anointing Israel’s first few kings, the lineage matches much better than the one we got in 1 Chron. 6:25-28. The only differences are easily attributable to phonetic variations or scribal sloppiness (Eliel is listed as Elihu in 1 Samuel 1:1, and Toah as Tohu).
A second musician, Asaph, is identified as Heman’s brother in 1 Chron. 6:39. However, given the differences in the lineage, it seems probable that the term is meant to mean “brother in craft,” rather than as a description of a blood tie. His lineage is as follows:
The obvious problem here is that generations are skipped. Gershom’s sons are Libni and Shimei in 1 Chron. 6:17. Jahath isn’t listed until 1 Chron. 6:20, as the son of Libni (Gershom’s grandson). Shimei is missing from the 1 Chron. 6:20 version. After that, the comparison breaks down entirely, as the 1 Chron. 6:21 version continues with Joah, while this list continues through Ethan.
The first two errors can be fairly easily explained either as accidental errors, or as the Chronicler finding himself with a list containing a lovely symbolically resonant fourteen generations between Levi and Asaph, yet finding that it does not quite match his other source. He may have sacrificed Libni in order to include Shimei while still preserving the desired number of generations.
The final error also isn’t too difficult to explain, as there is nothing to say that Zimmah had only one son. His eldest might well have been Joah, while Asaph was descended from a secondary branch.
From the Merarites: The Merarites put forward one appointee, Ethan. His lineage goes:
The sons of Aaron: But only descendants of Aaron were allowed to make offerings, at least in the Chronicler’s time. His lineage is repeated down to Ahimaaz, and is identical to the one in 1 Chron. 6:4-8.
In 1 Chron. 6:54, the narrative moves into a discussion of the territories controlled by the tribe of Levi. This list corresponds largely to the one in Joshua 21, even presenting them in the same order (first to the Kohathites, then the Gershonites, then the Merarites).
Kohathite Cities: To the Kohathites, specifically the descendants of Aaron, Judah provided the following cities of refuge: Hebron, Libnah, Jattir, Eshtemoa, Hilen, Debir, Ashan, and Beth-shemesh. An added detail is given about Hebron: While the Levites get the town’s surrounding pasture lands, the fields and villages belong to Caleb son of Jephunneh.
Simeon won’t be listed here as a contributing tribe, but Ashan is allotted to them in Jos. 19:7. This suggests that Simeon had already been absorbed by Judah by the time the Chronicler’s source was written.
From Benjamin, the Kohathites received: Geba, Alameth, and Anathoth.
At this point, the text tells us that the Kohathites control 13 towns (1 Chron. 6:60), but the actual count reveals only 11. By comparing the list to Jos. 21:13-19, we can assume that Juttah and Gibeon were accidentally dropped by the Chronicler (or a subsequent scribe).
There appears to be a corruption of the text in 1 Chron. 6:61. The corresponding spot in Joshua is Jos. 21:5, where we learn that the Kohathites receive ten further towns from Ephraim, Dan, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The towns are not named in either location.
From Ephraim, they received Shechem, Gezer, Jokmeam, Beth-horon, Aijalon, and Gathrimmon.
The cities contributed by Dan aren’t listed, but Jos. 21:23-24 names both Aijalon and Gathrimmon as coming from Dan. This seems to be another scribal error.
From the half-tribe of Manasseh, they received Aner and Bileam.
Gershomite Cities: Gershom received thirteen cities from Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and Manasseh.
From the half-tribe of Manasseh, they received: Golan in Bashan, and Ashtaroth. From Issachar, they received Kedesh, Daberath, Ramoth, and Anem. From Asher, they received Mashal, Abdon, Hukok, and Rehob. And from Naphtali, they received Kedesh in Galilee, Hammon, and Kiriathaim.
Merarite Cities: Merari received twelve cities from Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.
From Zebulun, they received Rimmono and Tabor. In the Transjordan, they received from Reuben: Bezer, Jahzah, Kedemoth, and Mephaath. From Gad, they received Ramoth in Gilead, Mahanaim, Heshbon, and Jazer.
I only get a count of ten cities, rather than the twelve claimed, but there is some grammatical weirdness around 1 Chron. 6:78 that could account for the discrepancy.
August 10, 2015
11. 1-2 Chronicles, Bible, Old Testament
1 Chronicles, Abigail, Abijah, Abital, Absalom, Adonijah, Ahaz, Ahaziah, Ahinoam, Akkub, Amaziah, Ammiel, Amnon, Amon, Anani, Arnan, Asa, Azariah, Azrikam, Bariah, Bathshua, Berechiah, Bible, Carmelite, Daniel, David, Delaiah, Eglah, Eliada, Eliashib, Elioenai, Eliphelet, Elishama, Geshur, Haggith, Hananiah, Hasadiah, Hashubah, Hattush, Hebron, Hezekiah, Hizkiah, Hodaviah, Hoshama, Ibhar, Igal, Ithream, Japhia, Jeconiah, Jehoiakim, Jehoshaphat, Jekamiah, Jerusalem, Jeshaiah, Jezreelite, Joash, Johanan, Joram, Josiah, Jotham, Jushabhesed, Maacah, Malchiram, Manasseh, Meshullam, Nathan, Neariah, Nedabiah, Nepheg, Nogah, Obadiah, Ohel, Old Testament, Pedaiah, Pelaiah, Pelatiah, Rehoboam, Rephaiah, Shaphat, Shealtiel, Shecaniah, Shelomith, Shemaiah, Shenazzar, Shephatiah, Shimea, Shimei, Shobab, Solomon, Talmai, Tamar, Zedekiah, Zerubbabel
The importance of this chapter should be obvious. At the time of the Babylonian exile, Judah had seen only two dynasties: Saul’s, which lasted for a mere two kings, one of whom was so politically weak that he’s barely considered in the public imagination, and the dynasty of David, which takes a good deal of the credit for shaping the culture and identity of the people who were then taken into exile.
For over four hundred years, David’s dynasty had been churning out propaganda in support of itself. That the kingdom of Judah could exist again without a ‘son of David’ on the throne must have been unthinkable.
This chapter, like the closing verses of 2 Kings (2 Kgs: 25:27-30), offers the hope that restoration is possible – that a true kingdom of Judah, complete with its Davidic king, can exist once again.
The Sons of David
The first section deals with David’s children. This seems to be largely lifted from 2 Sam. 3:2-5 and 2 Sam. 5:13-16. The kids are divided into two groups: those born in Hebron, while David still mostly ruled only over Judah, and those born after his conquest of Jerusalem, when he ostensibly had control of all the Israelite tribes.
The sons born in Hebron, while he ruled there for seven and a half years:
- Amnon, born to Ahinoam the Jezreelite
- Daniel, born to Abigail the Carmelite
- Absalom, born to Maacah, daughter of King Talmai of Geshur
- Adonijah, born to Haggith
- Shephatiah, born to Abital
- Ithream, born to Eglah
The Daniel mentioned here does not appear in the Samuel account. Rather, Abigail’s son is named Chileab in 2 Sam. 3:3. It’s possible that in this, and the other instances we will see, that the discrepancy is due to individuals being known by multiple names, including pet names. In this case, my New Bible Commentary indicates that ‘Chileab’ means “all the father,” so it may be a term of endearment.
James Pate points out an oddity: of all the mothers listed in this section, only Eglah is referred to as David’s “wife” (1 Chron. 3:3). The same thing occurs in 2 Sam. 3:5. Here, of course, it’s likely that the Chronicler just copied the reference from Samuel, but that doesn’t explain why she is the only one named “wife” originally.
To figure this out, Pate looks to her name: “Eglah” is the Hebrew word for “heifer.” In Judges 14:18, Samson refers to his bride as his “heifer,” suggesting that it might be a term of endearment (perhaps used sarcastically by Samson). In other words, Eglah might not have been the woman’s name at all (and Pate finds from Rashi that Eglah was understood to be Michal), but the pet name of a beloved. Hence, a woman who might be honoured in the record by having her wifely status emphasized.
The sons born in Jerusalem, while he ruled there for 33 years:
- Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon, born to Bathshua, daughter of Ammiel
- Elishama (mentioned twice)
- Eliphelet (mentioned twice)
These were the sons “besides the sons of the concubines” (1 Chron. 3:9). In addition, Tamar (who features in 2 Sam. 13) is the one daughter mentioned.
Statue of King David, outside the Tomb of King David, Jerusalem
The first discrepancy that jumped out was Bathsheba’s name, here listed as Bathshua. According to Wikipedia, the name ‘Bathsheba’ is constructed from ‘bat’ (daughter) and ‘sheba’ (oath). Replacing ‘sheba’ with ‘shua’ (wealth) may mean as little as a reflection of her change in status, or an emphasizing of a different trait that her loved ones might have wanted for her.
In that same line, we have some other minor discrepancies: Shimea appears as Shammua in 2 Sam. 5:14, and Ammiel is Eliam in 2 Sam. 11:3.
The greater difficulty is with the way the names are presented. The implication (which I reflected in the above list) is that Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon were all Bathsheba’s sons. However, the text elsewhere lists sons according to their birth order, and Solomon is explicitly David and Bathsheba’s second son in 2 Sam. 12:24 (where he is the “comfort baby” following the death of their first, unnamed, son).
It seems likely, then, that Shimea, Shobab, and Nathan are not Bathsheba’s sons. Rather, that the Chronicler (or perhaps a later editor) added Bathsheba as Solomon’s mother in his spot in the list of sons whose mothers are otherwise unnamed.
This brings up a secondary point regarding which sons are being identified with their mothers. The mothers in Hebron are all named, yet only Bathsheba is named after coming to Jerusalem. It makes me think of the way the kings of Judah all have their mothers identified in Kings. Perhaps, the purposes of these two sections are different. For whatever reason, which son was born to which wife was important to the Hebron stage of David’s political career. But after coming to Jerusalem, the focus starts to shift off of David and onto a naming of the queen mothers. In this context, Bathsheba is the only mother worth mentioning in this list. It’s worth noting that, when the same lists appears in 2 Sam. 5:13-16 (which the Chronicler was likely copying), Bathsheba is not mentioned.
The next nine names give us some problems as well. The most obvious being that Elishama and Eliphelet both appear twice on the list.
The first name after Ibhar is Elishua in 2 Sam. 5:15, but is the first instance of an Elishama in 1 Chron. 3:6. To me, this suggest a simple error, perhaps due to a tired scribe working too late at night.
The first instance of Eliphelet, in 1 Chron. 3:6, is just as easy to explain, since the name appears later on in the 2 Sam. 5:13-16 passage. A tired scribe may have just begun on the wrong line and carried on, oblivious.
The presence of Nogah in 1 Chron. 3:7 is more difficult to explain. It could be that a corruption dropped the name from Samuel after the Chronicler had already copied from it, or perhaps the Chronicler knew of a tradition in which David had a son named Nogah, so he fit him into his own history.
Even more troubling is the conclusion in 1 Chron. 3:8, which explicitly states that there were nine sons. This count only works if we separate Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon from the rest of the list, and then keep all of the Chronicler’s variants. This counting up is absent from 2 Samuel 5:13-16.
The Reigning Sons
This list corresponds to the account in 1-2 Kings. I charted these figures during my reading of Kings.
Up to this point, the records match pretty well with 1-2 Kings. There are a few variations. Abijah appears as Abijam in 1 Kgs 14:31 and 1 Kgs 15, for example, and Azariah is occasionally named Uzziah (such as in 2 Kgs 15:13).
The most obvious difference between this record and the chronology of the kings of Judah is the omission of Athaliah, who was of course a usurper and a break in the Davidic dynastic line.
The sons of Josiah:
According to my New Bible Commentary mentions that the Johanan listed here is “not otherwise known” (p.372).
We know from 2 Kgs 23:30 that Josiah was succeeded by a son named Jehoahaz who was swiftly deposed by Pharaoh Neco, and who died in Egypt. Neco then installed Jehoahaz’s brother, Jehoiakim, as king.
It’s stranger that Jehoahaz is not on this list of Josiah’s sons. One possibility is that he is one of the other named sons on the list, and that either the name in 2 Kings 23 or the name here is a throne name. Since the sons are usually listed in birth order, and since we learn in 2 Kgs 23 that Jehoahaz was younger than Jehoiakim, we can assume that he is not the same person as Johanan (unless a dating error has snuck in somewhere). Branching out, we can deduce from Jeremiah 22:11 that he is the same person as the Shallum listed here.
The sons of Jehoiakim:
This Zedekiah is not the Zedekiah who had a turn under the crown (that one was named above as a son of Josiah).
The Jeconiah here is apparently the same as the Jehoiachin from from 2 Kgs 24:6, who was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar and taken captive to Babylon. Though his uncle, Zedekiah, was the final king of Judah, 2 Kings ends with Jehoiachin, as the bearer of the Davidic line in exile.
The final section is new for us, charting the deposed dynasty in Babylon, presumably in the hopes that this would enable the Hebrews to install a proper king once they return to Jerusalem. While he is known as Jehoiachin in 2 Kings, he is known as Jeconiah here.
Jeconiah had seven sons: Jeconiah: Shealtiel, Malchiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama, and Nadabiah.
In the next generation, Pedaiah had two sons: Zerubbabel and Shimei.
The, the sons of Zerubbabel are: Meshullam and Hananiah (plus a daughter, Shelumith). Listed separately, perhaps because they were born to different wife, we get Hashubah, Ohel, Berechiah, Hasadiah, and Jushabhesed.
Through Hananiah, we get: Pelatiah, Jeshaiah, Rephaiah, Arnan, Obadiah, and Shecaniah. Though the wording here is very odd, allowing for the possibility that this is a lineage (Pelatiah was the father of Jeshaiah, who was the father of Rephaiah, etc). Given the amount of time between the reign of Jeconiah and the return from exile, this seems unlikely.
Shecaniah had one son, Shemaiah.
Through Shemaiah, we get Hattush, Igal, Bariah, Neariah, and Shaphat. Though 1 Chron. 3:22 tells us that these are six names, my advanced mathematical skills allow me to understand that there are, in fact, only five names listed.
Through Neariah, we get Elioenai, Hiskiah, and Azrikam.
Through Elioenai, we get Hodaviah, Eliashib, Pelaiah, Akkub, Johanan, Delaiah, and Anani.
Frustratingly, given the importance of this lineage (both to us and to the people of the exile), the writing is very odd (even in translation) and has likely suffered corruption (or, perhaps, the Chronicler tried to fudge over his lack of knowledge by confusing the language).
Because of this problem, the list is practically useless in trying to date Chronicles. James Pate mentions one possible clue in the form of Anani:
He appears to be the last descendant of David who is mentioned in the genealogy. According to Roddy Braun in his Word Bible Commentary about I Chronicles, there was an Aramaic letter dated to 407 B.C.E. that mentions an Anani, and Braun believes it is plausible that this is the same Anani as the one mentioned in I Chronicles 3:24. That may give us an indication as to the date of I Chronicles.
The remainder of his post discusses Anani as a messianic figure, and how that might work if he is a historical figure.
With the important lineage of David established, the Chronicler will spend the next five chapters looking at each tribe in more detail, then finish up with a discussion of the families in Jerusalem after the exile. Only after that will the narrative begin again.