Matthew Henry's Commentary
1 Chronicles |
1 Chronicles Introduction:
The books of Chronicles are, in a great measure, repetitions of what is in the books of Samuel and of the Kings, yet there are some excellent useful things in them which we find not elsewhere. The FIRST BOOK traces the rise of the Jewish people from Adam, and afterward gives an account of the reign of David. In the SECOND BOOK the narrative is continued, and relates the progress and end of the kingdom of Judah; also it notices the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity. Jerome says, that whoever supposes himself to have knowledge of the Scriptures without being acquainted with the books of Chronicles, deceives himself. Historical facts passed over elsewhere, names, and the connexion of passages are to be found here, and many questions concerning the gospel are explained.
Chapter 1 Introduction:
Genealogies, Adam to Abraham. (1-27) The descendants of Abraham. (28-54)
Chapter 2 Introduction:
Genealogies. - We are now come to the register of the children of Israel, that distinguished people, who were to dwell alone, and not be reckoned among the nations. But now, in Christ, all are welcome to his salvation who come to him; all have equal privileges according to their faith in him, their love and devotedness to him. All that is truly valuable consists in the favour, peace, and image of God, and a life spent to his glory, in promoting the welfare of our fellow-creatures.
Chapter 3 Introduction:
Genealogies. - Of all the families of Israel, none were so illustrious as the family of David: here we have a full account of it. From this family, as concerning the flesh, Christ came. The attentive observer will perceive that the children of the righteous enjoy many advantages.
Chapter 4 Introduction:
Genealogies. - In this chapter we have a further account of Judah, the most numerous and most famous of all the tribes; also an account of Simeon. The most remarkable person in this chapter is Jabez. We are not told upon what account Jabez was more honourable than his brethren; but we find that he was a praying man. The way to be truly great, is to seek to do God's will, and to pray earnestly. Here is the prayer he made. Jabez prayed to the living and true God, who alone can hear and answer prayer; and, in prayer he regarded him as a God in covenant with his people. He does not express his promise, but leaves it to be understood; he was afraid to promise in his own strength, and resolved to devote himself entirely to God. Lord, if thou wilt bless me and keep me, do what thou wilt with me; I will be at thy command and disposal for ever. As the text reads it, this was the language of a most ardent and affectionate desire, Oh that thou wouldest bless me! Four things Jabez prayed for. 1. That God would bless him indeed. Spiritual blessings are the best blessings: God's blessings are real things, and produce real effects. 2. That He would enlarge his coast. That God would enlarge our hearts, and so enlarge our portion in himself, and in the heavenly Canaan, ought to be our desire and prayer. 3. That God's hand might be with him. God's hand with us, to lead us, protect us, strengthen us, and to work all our works in us and for us, is a hand all-sufficient for us. 4. That he would keep him from evil, the evil of sin, the evil of trouble, all the evil designs of his enemies, that they might not hurt, nor make him a Jabez indeed, a man of sorrow. God granted that which he requested. God is ever ready to hear prayer: his ear is not now heavy.
Chapter 5 Introduction:
Genealogies. - This chapter gives some account of the two tribes and a half seated on the east side of Jordan. They were made captives by the king of Assyria, because they had forsaken the Lord. Only two things are here recorded concerning these tribes. 1. They all shared in a victory. Happy is that people who live in harmony together, who assist each other against the common enemies of their souls, trusting in the Lord, and calling upon him. 2. They shared in captivity. They would have the best land, not considering that it lay most exposed. The desire of earthly objects draws to a distance from God's ordinances, and prepares men for destruction.
Chapter 6 Introduction:
Genealogies. - We have an account of Levi in this chapter. The priests and Levites were more concerned than any other Israelites, to preserve their descent clear, and to be able to prove it; because all the honours and privileges of their office depended upon their descent. Now, the Spirit of God calls ministers to their work, without any limit as to the families they came from; and then, as now, though believers and ministers may be very useful to the church, none but our great High Priest can make atonement for sin, nor can any be accepted but through his atonement.
Chapter 7 Introduction:
Genealogies. - Here is no account either of Zebulun or Dan. We can assign no reason why they only should be omitted; but it is the disgrace of the tribe of Dan, that idolatry began in that colony which fixed in Laish, and called it Dan, |Jud 18| and there one of the golden calves was set up by Jeroboam. Dan is omitted, |Re 7|. Men become abominable when they forsake the worship of the true God, for any creature object.
Chapter 8 Introduction:
Genealogies. - Here is a larger list of Benjamin's tribe. We may suppose that many things in these genealogies, which to us seem difficult, abrupt, and perplexed, were plain and easy at that time, and fully answered the intention for which they were published. Many great and mighty nations then were in being upon earth, and many illustrious men, whose names are now wholly forgotten; while the names of multitudes of the Israel of God are here kept in everlasting remembrance. The memory of the just is blessed.
Chapter 9 Introduction:
Genealogies. - This chapter expresses that one end of recording all these genealogies was, to direct the Jews, when they returned out of captivity, with whom to unite, and where to reside. Here is an account of the good state into which the affairs of religion were put, on the return from Babylon. Every one knew his charge. Work is likely to be done well when every one knows the duty of his place, and makes a business of it. God is the God of order. Thus was the temple a figure of the heavenly one, where they rest not day nor night from praising God, |Re 4:8|. Blessed be His name, believers there shall, not in turn, but all together, without interruption, praise him night and day: may the Lord make each of us fit for the inheritance of the saints in light.
Chapter 10 Introduction:
The death of Saul. - The design chiefly in view in these books of the Chronicles, appears to be to preserve the records of the house of David. Therefore the writer repeats not the history of Saul's reign, but only of his death, by which a way was made for David to the throne. And from the ruin of Saul, we may learn, 1. That the sin of sinners will certainly find them out, sooner or later; Saul died for his transgression. 2. That no man's greatness can exempt him from the judgments of God. 3. Disobedience is a killing thing. Saul died for not keeping the word of the Lord. May be delivered from unbelief, impatience, and despair. By waiting on the Lord we shall obtain a kingdom that cannot be moved.
Chapter 11 Introduction:
David raised to the throne. (1-9) A list of David's mighty men. (10-47)
Chapter 12 Introduction:
Those who came to David at Ziklag. (1-22) Those who came to Hebron. (23-40)
Chapter 13 Introduction:
David consults about the ark. (1-5) The removal of the ark. (6-14)
Chapter 14 Introduction:
David's victories. - In this chapter we have an account of, 1. David's kingdom established. 2. His family built up. 3. His enemies defeated. This is repeated from |2Sa 5|. Let the fame of David be looked upon as a type and figure of the exalted honour of the Son of David.
Chapter 15 Introduction:
Preparations for the removal of the ark. (1-24) The removal of the ark. (25-29)
Chapter 16 Introduction:
The solemnity with which the ark was fixed. (1-6) David's psalm of praise. (7-36) Setting in order the worship of God. (37-43)
Chapter 17 Introduction:
David's purposes; God's gracious promises. - This chapter is the same as |2Sa 7|. See what is there said upon it. It is very observable that what in Samuel is said to be, "for thy word's sake," is here said to be, "for thy servant's sake," ver. |19|. Jesus Christ is both the Word of God, |Re 19:13|, and the Servant of God, |Isa 42:1|; and it is for his sake, upon account of his mediation, that the promises are made good to all believers; it is in him, that they are yea and amen. For His sake it is done, for his sake it is made known; to him we owe all this greatness, from him we are to expect all these great things. They are the unsearchable riches of Christ, which, if by faith we see in themselves, and see in the Lord Jesus, we cannot but magnify as the only true greatness, and speak honourably of them. For this blessedness may we look amidst the trials of life, and when we feel the hand of death upon us; and seek it for our children after us.
Chapter 18 Introduction:
David's victories. - This chapter is the same as |2Sa 8|. Our good fight of faith, under the Captain of our salvation, will end in everlasting triumph and peace. The happiness of Israel, through David's victories, and just government, faintly shadowed forth the happiness of the redeemed in the realms above.
Chapter 19 Introduction:
David's wars. - The history is here repeated which we read |2Sa 10|. The only safety of sinners consists in submitting to the Lord, seeking peace with him, and becoming his servants. Let us assist each other in a good cause; but let us fear lest, while made instruments of good to others, we should come short of salvation, through unbelief and sin.
Chapter 20 Introduction:
David's wars. - Though the Lord will severely correct the sins of his believing people, he will not leave them in the hands of their enemies. His assistance will overcome all advantages of number and strength of those that defy his Israel. All that trust in Christ, shall be made more than conquerors through him that loveth them.
Chapter 21 Introduction:
David's numbering the people. - No mention is made in this book of David's sin in the matter of Uriah, neither of the troubles that followed it: they had no needful connexion with the subjects here noted. But David's sin, in numbering the people, is related: in the atonement made for that sin, there was notice of the place on which the temple should be built. The command to David to build an altar, was a blessed token of reconciliation. God testified his acceptance of David's offerings on this altar. Thus Christ was made sin, and a curse for us; it pleased the Lord to bruise him, that through him, God might be to us, not a consuming Fire, but a reconciled God. It is good to continue attendance on those ordinances in which we have experienced the tokens of God's presence, and have found that he is with us of a truth. Here God graciously met me, therefore I will still expect to meet him.
Chapter 22 Introduction:
David's preparations for the temple. (1-5) David's instructions to Solomon. (6-16) The prices commanded to assist. (17-19)
Chapter 23 Introduction:
David declares Solomon his successor. (1-23) The office of the Levites. (24-32)
Chapter 24 Introduction:
The divisions of the priests and Levites. - When every one has, knows, and keeps his place and work, the more there are the better. In the mystical body of Christ, every member has its use, for the good of the whole. Christ is High Priest over the house of God, to whom all believers, being made priests, are to be in subjection. In Christ, no difference is made between bond and free, elder and younger. The younger brethren, if faithful and sincere, shall be no less acceptable to Christ than the fathers. May we all be children of the Lord, fitted to sing his praises for ever in his temple above.
Chapter 25 Introduction:
The singers and musicians. - David put those in order who were appointed to be singers and musicians in the temple. To prophesy, in this place, means praising God with great earnestness and devout affections, under the influences of the Holy Spirit. In raising these affections, poetry and music were employed. If the Spirit of God do not put life and fervour into our devotions, they will, however ordered, be a lifeless, worthless form.
Chapter 26 Introduction:
The offices of the Levites. - The porters and treasurers of the temple, had occasion for strength and valour to oppose those who wrongly attempted to enter the sanctuary, and to guard the sacred treasures. Much was expended daily upon the altar; flour, wine, oil, salt, fuel, beside the lamps; quantities of these were kept beforehand, besides the sacred vestments and utensils. These were the treasures of the house of God. These treasures typified the plenty there is in our heavenly Father's house, enough and to spare. From those sacred treasuries, the unsearchable riches of Christ, all our wants are supplied; and receiving from his fulness, we must give him the glory, and endeavour to dispose of our abilities and substance according to his will. We have an account of those employed as officers and judges. The magistracy is an ordinance of God for the good of the church, as truly as the ministry, and must not be neglected. None of the Levites who were employed in the service of the sanctuary, none of the singers or porters, were concerned in this outward business; one duty was enough to engage the whole man. Wisdom, courage, strength of faith, holy affections, and constancy of mind in doing our duty, are requisite or useful for every station.
Chapter 27 Introduction:
David's military force. (1-15) Princes and officers. (16-34)
Chapter 28 Introduction:
David exhorts the people to the fear of the Lord. (1-10) He gives instructions for the temple. (11-21)
Chapter 29 Introduction:
David induces the princes and people to offer willingly. (1-9) His thanksgiving and prayer. (10-19) Solomon enthroned. (20-25) David's reign and death. (26-30)