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The first chapter of this paper deals with 1 Chronicles. This book is referred to in the title, “The Influence and Significance of King David in 1 Chronicles”. The Books of Chronicles cover the history of Israel from the origins of mankind to the return of the Israelites from the Babylonian captivity. The writer of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah is the Chronicler. The Chronicler used the deuterocanonical books (1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings) as a template. There are two hypotheses about the writer and the text: one of these supports the opinion that there is a single writer of the Chronicler’s historical work (W. Rudolph, R. Mosis …). This is the hypothesis we support. The other hypothesis holds that two or more chroniclers wrote two separate works (K. Galling, A.C.Welch). One of these works would be 1 and 2 Chronicles, and the other Ezra and Nehemiah (S. Japhet). The Chronicler reshapes the events already described by the writer of the deuterocanonical books, omitting some and changing others or placing them in a different context, this giving them a new meaning. The Chronicler’s texts were written around 350 B.C. His work mirrors the theology and preoccupations of his time, i.e., in the post-captivity community, and shows that he was concerned with Yahweh, King David, the Ark of the Covenant, the Kingdom and the liturgical community. David’s time was in the past, but the Chronicler describes David as a model king who establishes God’s theocracy. The Chronicler endeavours to present the Temple, King David and the cultic roles in an ideal light to motivate his contemporaries to renewal after their return from captivity. The theological intent of the Chronicler is to show the worship of God in the Jerusalem temple through official representatives, priests and Levites. He projects contemporary institutions and circumstances into the past and links them to the person of King David. The Chronicler evaluates individual Kings of Israel based on their attitudes toward the practice of liturgy in the Temple. In the post-captivity period all political and religious institutions had been destroyed. The Chronicler does not expect global eschatological changes in the future, but the future of Israel must correspond to the golden age of David. In the history of Israel, the establishment of the kingdom is of prime importance. Yahweh is the true king of Israel and governs the state, Yahweh’s kingdom, through the king. When presenting the persons and achievements of other kings, the Chronicler draws a clear distinction between David and Solomon on the one hand, and all other kings on the other. In
David’s time permanent institutions were created which became obligatory for all the kings and people of Israel. The Temple is the central concern of David and Solomon.
2 The Purpose of the Genealogy
The second chapter explains that human history did not begin with David. The Chronicler wishes to legitimize David’s time by referring to previous periods in Israel’s sacred history. He does so by means of genealogies which have a theological significance. By means of genealogies the Chronicler takes the shortest route to persons important to him in order to lead us to David. The first period begins with Judah (1 Chr 2,3-5) because a king from Judah is central to the Chronicler’s book. The Chronicler gradually sets the stage for David’s takeover of the kingdom. By means of genealogies the Chronicler wishes to establish continuity between the past and present. The Chronicler’s text is therefore more of a theology of history, with David in the centre, around which everything else seems to take place in concentric circles. God’s covenant with David gives meaning to the past and to the present, which is open to the future. The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles describes three circles of nations: the first circle encompasses the nations of the world (1 Chr 1), the second the tribes of Israel (1 Chr 2-8), and, finally, the inner circle encompasses the holy city of Jerusalem, its inhabitants and the Temple with its attendants (1 Chr 9). The Chronicler sees Judah as playing a central role in the history of Israel to a far greater extent than it does in the deuterocanonical books. The tenth chapter does not stand on its own but has the purpose of introducing David into the text. This chapter deals with Saul and his house, which had to disappear for David to become king. In 2 Sam, after the death of Saul there is a struggle for the throne between David and Saul’s sons. The Chronicler omits this and Saul’s house dies with him. The Chronicler is anxious for David to become king of all Israel immediately and without any obstacles. In 1 Chr, immediately after his crowning in Hebron, David undertakes his two most important endeavours: capturing Jerusalem and transferring the Ark. Saul died because he was unfaithful to God: he did not seek the advice of Yahweh but of a medium at En-dor and he did not seek Yahweh, i.e., he did not care about the Ark. Nahshon is presented as the ruler of the tribe of Judah and so the Chronicler gets ever closer to David. The Chronicler gives the reason for Saul’s death: So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, i.e. he made the burnt offering himself and did not execute God’s punishment upon Amalek (cf. 1 Sam 13,5 – 14; 1 Sam 15,1 – 35)
3 David’s history
This chapter deals with David’s history, which begins with David’s ascent to the throne, making David the king of all Israel. David becomes king of all Israel immediately after his crowning and has no opponents. All of Israel as an ideal whole thus participates in David’s anointing as king (cf. 1 Chr 11,4 – 9) and in the transfer of the Ark (cf. 1 Chr 13). The Chronicler glorifies David, but he does so by making him part of his conception, which is to make Jerusalem the capital and centre of all Israel, where the Temple was to be built and where the Ark was to be brought. The expression “all Israel” is both the introduction to and conclusion of David’s history. The Chronicler describes the events of David’s ascent to the throne and capture of Jerusalem as following immediately one after the other. He wishes to show that David’s most important task after his crowning was to take over Jerusalem as the centre of all Israel. There are three salient features in the Chronicler’s description of the capture of Jerusalem: all Israel participates in the capture of Jerusalem; the name of the city, Jebus, is replaced by a new name: Jerusalem; and the importance of the military commander Joab in the capture and restoration of Jerusalem. The significance of the city as David’s personal property is minimized, which makes the text different from Chapter 5 of 2 Samuel. The first and second transfers of the Ark take place in this period of David’s history. We may say that the Ark of God travelled first from Kiriath Jearim to Obed-Edom’s house and then to Jerusalem, where is stayed in the Tabernacle until its ceremonial transfer to the newly built Temple in Jerusalem. The transfer of the Tabernacle is in fact the second stage of the transformation of Jerusalem into the political and religious centre of Israel. The idea and incentive for the first transfer of the Ark come from David, but it is the entire people who make the decision. Because of Uzziah’s misfortune the Ark interrupts its journey and ends up in Obed-Edom’s house. The second transfer of the Ark takes place from Obed-Edom’s house to Jerusalem. The reason for the interruption of the first transfer was that the Ark was not carried by Levites and therefore Uzziah was punished. If in future Israel wants to avoid the misfortune that happened in Saul’s time, they must bring the Ark to Jerusalem and take care of it. The motif of the transfer of the Ark consists in the blessings obtained by David for the first transfer of the Ark: the pagan king Hiram pays tribute to David and God blesses David with many children and gives him victory over the Philistines. During the second transfer of the Ark it is the Levites who carry the Ark. David assigns to the Levites the duties the are to perform before the Ark. David makes the liturgical rules for the group of Levites and priests, the purpose of which is to glorify and praise Yahweh. In the view of the Chronicler, David is the true worshipper of Yahweh who establishes the cult and the persons entrusted with cultic roles for the liturgy. This is not mentioned in the deuterocanonical books. David introduces singers, Levites and priests into the liturgy and according to his own ruling he does not interfere in priestly affairs and draws a sharp line between political and priestly activities. The Chronicler states that David introduced cultic music to the Temple although the Temple had not yet been built. In addition to subjugating Israel’s enemies David did a lot more and imposed taxes on many surrounding states (1 Chr 18,2). The reform of the Levites was conditioned by historical circumstances: there was peace and the Levites were no longer carrying the Ark, which was in the Tabernacle in Jerusalem. The Levites were now given new roles which may be classified into three areas: they are tasked with guarding the Temple and putting it in order, assisting the priests in the offering of sacrifices and providing the musical accompaniment to the liturgy. David announced to his son Solomon that he had ordained the priestly ministry and assigned the priests their duties. It is important to observe in the establishment of the priestly ministry that the initiative, authority, and responsibility for the whole endeavour lie with David. David was especially accommodating to two priestly ministers, Zadok and Ahimelech. Those serving in the Temple also include officials who have a role in all management activities. In the view of the Chronicler the distinction between politics and the priestly ministry will be a special yardstick against which all future kings of Israel will be measured. The Chronicler wished to underline that in all his actions, and especially when it comes to the cult, David was following the law of Moses. In the eyes of the Chronicler, David is probably more than simply one who continued and fulfilled the work of Moses. The Chronicler describes and judges every king by his death and place of burial, that is, whether or not he was buried in the city of his father David. The Chronicler calls upon all of David’s heirs to worship Yahweh as David did, and sets David up as the model and yardstick against which they are all measured.
4 Nathan’s prophecy
The Chronicler’s main theme in 1 Chr is found in chapter 17 where Yahweh makes a promise to David’s dynasty. The following chapters depict the beginnings of the fulfilment of this promise. Like Moses, David will be denied seeing its fulfilment. David wants to build God a temple to house the Ark of God. God rejects David’s wish, but now Yahweh himself builds a future for David through his heirs (cf. 1 Chr 17,1 – 6). Thus the theme passes from the building of the Temple to the building of the House of David. God chooses David to ensure the future of the people of Israel through David’s eternal dynasty. We can therefore say that David comes closer to Moses and Joshua than any other leader of Israel in carrying out the task given him by God. David’s house, i.e., his legacy, will be built in the future. The meaning of David’s house cannot be limited to Solomon, but extends to the entire dynasty started by David. The promise given to David refers not just to David’s sons but to all his future heirs. Yahweh thus wishes to ensure the existence of Israel by means of David and his dynasty.
5. The Temple
The condition for building the Temple was the establishment of peace. David did not fully achieve peace, but only defeated his enemies. David again gathers all of Israel when gathering gifts. The gathering of all of Israel occurs at important moments in Israel’s history. In Solomon’s time peace in the surrounding areas will be achieved and he will be able to build the Temple. David names his son Solomon as his heir. Solomon rises to the throne of the Lord with no difficulty or opposition. Along with the crowning of Solomon, Zadok is appointed priest, and the two represent secular and religious authority, respectively. Now that the Kingdom of Israel had become stable internally and externally, David began to prepare everything for the construction of the Temple. The Chronicler’s description concerns the building of the Temple and the establishment of the temple cult (1 Chr 21 and 1 Chr 22 – 29). David buys a site for the Temple and the Chronicler wishes to show David’s zealous care for the site on which the Temple was to be built. The Chronicler is unique in that he uses the census and the punishment of Israel as an introduction to the selection of the site where the Jerusalem Temple was to be constructed. In the passage where the people are counted, David is described as a repentant sinner interceding for his people with prayers and sacrifices. The reason for David’s decision to ceremonially gather the people is the enthronement of Solomon, but it seems that Solomon’s rise to the throne is subordinate to the main theme, which is the building of the Temple (1 Chr 28,4 – 5). David hands over to his son Solomon a model of the Temple with all the details of construction and the cultic objects.
6 David the warrior
In this chapter the Chronicler attempts to shield David as warrior from any thought of harshness or cruel conduct which might jeopardize his idealized image of David the warrior. He ascribes David’s victories in war not just to David but also to his heroes. He does not allow any glorification of David’s name or prowess in war. In the Chronicler’s view it is Yahweh who is the true mover, leader and winner of wars. The wars waged by David and his war booty are to be used for the construction of the Temple. The main topic of David’s speech in chapter 29 of 1 Chr, verses 1 – 9, is a call on the people and all leaders to offer gifts for the building of the Temple. David could not build the Temple because he was preoccupied with extending the kingdom and securing it from enemies. It is only Solomon who can finally build the Temple because God granted peace on all sides. Addressing his son Solomon and the gathered representatives of the people, David enumerates the reasons why he cannot build the Temple: because he is a warrior and has spilt too much blood. This is why God prohibited him from building the Temple. The only innocent blood for which David could be held responsible is that of the seventy thousand who died because of David’s counting of the people. David achieved three important goals in his waging of wars: he defeated his main enemies, by winning he established ideal borders and after his victories he imposed taxes on Israel’s enemies. The image of David as warrior in 1 Chr is completely different from that in the deuterocanonical books. In 1 Chr David fought against the Ammonites who were far stronger than in 2 Sam 10,6. The Chronicler presents David as a great warrior and victor and avoids any mention of cruelty that might be ascribed to David. This intention of the Chronicler is evident in the conquest of Jerusalem. Here the Chronicler passes over the report about the blind and the lame which is found in 2 Sam 5,6b – 8. These are offensive words in the context of David and the Chronicler does not wish to bring shame on David for harshness. The Chronicler omits David’s heroic deeds before he became king of Israel. He omits the text in which David cuts off Goliath’s head and brings it to Saul. He also omits the report in which David kills two hundred Philistines and brings their skins to King Saul in order to become Saul’s son in law (cf. 2 Sam 18,22). David is a great warrior, but his victories in war are not due to his skill in arms, but to his trusting in Yahweh. His warriors are important to David. The meaning and goal of the wars waged by David is to extend the borders of Israel, establish peace in Israel’s surroundings, and secure Jerusalem, the location of the future Temple and the Ark in the Temple. His heroic warriors are in the service of the transfer of the Ark. David’s wars also serve to collect building materials for the Temple. Thus David obtains a lot of building material from Hadadezer (cf. 1 Chr 18,8a) and looted much silver and gold from other nations (cf. 1 Chr 18, 11b). This war booty would be used to make many objects in the Temple.
Chapter 7 – The conclusion of David’s history
The evaluation of David’s reign is unanimously positive, and this the Chronicler and the writer of the deuterocanonical books have in common. By using the phrase “all Israel”, the Chronicler wishes to emphasize the greatness and unity of Israel under the leadership of King David (cf. 1 Chr 29,26). It is worth mentioning here David’s death in advanced old age, which is a sign of God’s blessing, placing David next to Abraham (cf. 1 Chr 23,1 and Gen 15,15). The Chronicler mentions three writers who made records of David’s reign: the seer Samuel, the prophet Nathan and the seer Gad. David’s history affects him, Israel and all the then important kingdoms of the world. God would preserve David’s house because of the covenant He made with David. Thus God’s promise extends to Solomon and all of David’s heirs. The Chronicler describes David’s kingdom as one in which the Davidic king possesses theocracy in Israel. The theocracy of Israel is ordained by God. The Chronicler is convinced that the ideal of theocracy was best achieved in David’s rule in a model manner. The theocratic idea can already be discerned in the promise to David’s dynasty (cf. 1 Chr 17,1 – 15). Although it may seem that the ideal of theocracy in the post-captivity community has been achieved, the Judean community was not satisfied with its situation. The post-captivity community expects the removal of deficiencies such as the lack of a king and the fact that they live in a hostile environment. God’s rule already exists but not yet, because there is the harsh reality in which the Judean community depends on the favour of worldly rulers. There are elements which are important for the existence of theocracy: Yahweh, the Temple of Jerusalem, the Jerusalem cult in the Temple, David’s kingdom, Israel with its territory. Everything was there except that the throne of the Lord’s rule over Israel was still vacant. In his text the Chronicler underlines the importance of David’s person, which influenced the history of Israel in David’s time and still does in the post-captivity period. David’s kingdom and the cult of Yahweh are an indivisible whole and mutually dependent. The purpose of David’s kingdom is to serve the cult of Yahweh. The Chronicler described David as an ideal person and removed all the negative aspects described in the books of Samuel and Kings. David is set up as a model for the Chronicler’s contemporaries. The Chronicler idealizes David’s life and the end of his life. David is described as dying in advanced old age having enjoyed life, wealth and glory. In this he is compared to Job, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This texts is concerned with Jerusalem as the religious and political centre of Israel. From the moment of his ascent to the throne David transforms Jerusalem into the cultic and political centre of Israel. In Chapter 9 the Chronicler enumerates the inhabitants of the land and especially those residing in Jerusalem. The Chronicler lists the laymen, priests and Levites who live in Jerusalem. This list shows how much he cares about the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The most detailed list is that of the Levites. Jerusalem itself is conquered not by David’s personal army but by David with the whole of Israel. Thus Jerusalem becomes the capital not just of Judah’s tribe but of all Israel, becoming an independent city-state. Describing the conquest of Jerusalem the Chronicler highlights not just David, but also his heroic warriors, especially Joab.
8 Diavid’s influence on the Psalms
This chapter deals with David’s influence on the Psalms. David’s influence extends beyond the Chronicler’s texts. Thus 1 Chr ascribes to David the creation of the divine service with musical instruments. An ancient tradition ascribes the Psalms to David. It is improbable that any psalm originates from David, but we still refer to the “Psalms of David”. There are 73 psalms which contain a link with David in their title. He is a prominent person and there was a desire to ascribe some psalms to him or at least to make some connection with him. There are psalms with titles containing information about David’s life and psalms in which David’s name is mentioned.
There are both differences and similarities in the image of David as described by the Chronicler and by the psalms. David’s great trust in God and God’s deliverance from adversity are similar in the Chronicler’s texts and the psalms. Unlike the psalmist, however, the Chronicler does not complain about the circumstances of his time but sets up David and his deeds as a model for his contemporaries, encouraging them to create a good and secure future for their people Israel with God’s help.