Today’s readings are 1 Chronicles 18-21
Y’all, bear with me. Apparently I was in a thoughtfully speculative mood when I wrote these notes! Or maybe it was simply our passages that inspired it.
Today’s reading begins with a key statement:
“After this…” 1 Chronicles 18:1
It is important to review just what “this” consists of so that we understand the blessing David was operating under. He had just brought the Ark back in, amid much praising, dancing, music, and shouting to the Father! He had reinstated Levite priests, set His land in order to honor YHWH, and offered up his wonderful song of praise, with blessings and promises that hold true from then through today to eternity!
And after this…this is when we begin
1 Chronicles 18:4 As it has been before, it is difficult to read about David hamstringing the horses. First and foremost, I do not question the Almighty, His wisdom, and His ways, but I do seek to understand Him as best as I am able. With that in mind, I looked into this further and there is some quiet scholarly debate about whether or not the original intent of the word used in the texts meant hamstring or castrate. I have found some examples saying that Hebrew texts originally said castrate but it was consequently translated to hamstring. These are very quiet scholarly voices and I have not been able to find any definitive proof. If anything, I found more proof to support hamstringing, but I did want to point out that there remains a possibility (however slight) of a translation error. Regardless, He is God and we are not.
Moving onto 1 Chronicles 19:1-4 – it’s sad to see David’s sincere gesture received as having the opposite meaning. I have to wonder, had King Hanun surrounded himself with wiser advisors, would he have looked for the good? Often, we project our own character onto others.
1 Chronicles 20:1 We are reminded that this is the time of year in which kings go out to battle – but David stayed behind. While there is no mention of David’s great sin with Bathsheba and the eventual plotted death of her husband, Uriah, we can’t read this story and not feel the void of what is left unsaid.
Why did the writers leave this out?
It is likely that the story was already well known, we know it had been told in other books, or perhaps from an ethical standpoint the chronicler felt it wrong to rehash it yet again. I even wonder if the principle of Lashon Hara may have come into play a little bit (hang on, explanation coming), due to this incident being so unlike David normally.
You’ll recall, of course, that the chronicler is believed to have been a Levite, either way he was most assuredly a Hebrew or a Jew as we tend to blanketly label Hebrews in Bible times. The concept of Lashon Hara (evil tongue) is based on Leviticus 19:16 where it speaks against slandering your neighbor. We can see more about this in Proverbs 6:16-19 where we are told that there are 6 things YHWH hates, 7 that are detestable to Him:
There are six things the YHWH hates, seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Proverbs 6:16-19
Out of the seven, you’ll notice that 4 of these either begin or are carried out by the power of the tongue. Lying tongue, wicked schemes, false witness (lies), or stirring up conflict.
Back to being a Levite…I have always admired the seriousness with which devout Jews view the sin of Lashon Hara. It involves speaking negatively about a person, even if it is true. There are entire books written on the topic and on helping discern when “evil tongue” is taking place but a very broad generalization is that speaking negatively about someone, even if it is true, is Lashon Hara.
This can consume and absolutely destroy a life and it’s one of the first things I often see people feel convicted to have no part in when they begin living out their faith.
There are several instances in the Bible where the Father afflicts someone because of this. The most noted case that comes to mind is Miriam, Moses’s sister, when the Father afflicted her with Tzaraat for her words against Moses.
Of course, there are exceptions if laws are being broken or if someone is in danger.
I have a friend in my Bible study group who, a few years ago, was talking with me. Another person came up and she opened her mouth and then shut it and said, “Wait. I don’t want to say that. I’m sorry.” apologizing for even thinking about what she stopped herself from saying. I took that example to heart and I do my best to close my mouth on words best left unsaid as well.
Anyway, just a little rabbit trail as to one possibility why the tale of David’s sin is not mentioned. We know that, in the end, he was judged with a heart wholly for YHWH despite His sin. He did not follow after nor worship other Gods and his repentance was sincere. We can only pray (and live our lives as such) that we are seen the same way by our Father.
So just a little sidenote on Lashon Hara, evil tongue, gossip, slander, whatever you want to call it. It has no place in the life of a follower of YHWH and He has clearly told us that He detests it, so as Believers, we should have no association with it. Trust me, this is one we all gotta work at. I work at it daily. But you know, we are a work in progress and if we don’t work on us, we make no progress.
P.S. Yes, Facebook posts count, too. Even if all your friends are doing it, they still count. In fact, that is even more reason why we should refrain. We are supposed to be representing YHWH before the world, not representing the world before YHWH.
1 Chronicles chapter 20 – we see David back at battle with his initial adversaries which first brought him into the spotlight so to speak. When he goes up against descendants of the giants. The Interlinear refers to these as Rephaim, which is different from Nephelim but there are many theories that the two groups are somehow related.
Nephelim, Rephaim, and Anakim are interesting rabbit trails to take if you’re curious, but other than Nephelim, the Word does not give us a definite origin for these men of unusual stature. It could simply be that all giants other than Nephelim were just genetically very tall or there could be some Nephelim genes at play in other tribes – which was the way of Nephelim initially got here to begin with.
If you decide to take this trail, make sure you look at opposing points of view, realize that this is an intrigue and not a salvation issue, and don’t forget to circle back and return to our Bible study!
Two different accounts
1 Chronicles 21:1 “Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.”
This is different from how we were initially told the chain of events in 2 Samuel 24:1: “Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He stirred up David against them, saying, ‘Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.'”
It could be that the Father allowed Satan to bring about the census, shadows of Job. There are all sorts of reasons why the Census was wrong, I’ll link to a previous discussion of those below.
Or it could be we are simply reading this story from two different points of view with both being right to a degree. There are some things that we just can’t know for sure at this time – and that is okay.
“The secret things belong to YHWH our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” ~Deut 29:29
We discussed the issues of the Census and trouble it stirred up here.
Be encouraged! I know we have covered LOT of information since Genesis and the Father does not expect you to digest it all the first go around. Each time we read the Word, the Father is there, showing us new wisdom to apply in our lives. You have set your heart to understand and He is honoring that.
I’m so excited to be here with you!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!