Recently I started using a Chronological Bible for my daily reading. I felt like I had a hard time aligning events in the right time frame when I read each book in order. I couldn't remember who went with which event and era. I had planned to do it on my own until I got to the end of II Samuel and realized that the next several books contained multiple overlapping timelines.
I began in the new NIV Chronological Bible in June and it wasn't long before I arrived at a section of I Chronicles in which there were several Psalms intertwined. Once I arrived at I Chronicles 26, I learned of the families assigned to be the Temple gatekeepers, so I have actually been working through all of the psalms connected with the Sons of Korah.
One early side note: I have to day. I was dreading the Psalms. I know that's not a very pious thing to say; and there are some psalms that are very dear to my heart and my walk; but many are just so foreign and out of context for me. I worried it was going to be a slog. But the beauty of the chronological reading is, it puts them in context. You get the story and the references without having to trust that a commentator got it right. (although you're trusting the organizer to have put it in the right place; so it all takes a skeptical eye and personal responsibility to do research when needed.
All of that to say, I really, really enjoyed this section of psalms. They are beautiful and poetic and bring a lot to the experience and knowledge. I am beginning to understand why people love them so much. Recently, I found Psalm 84 so very uplifting. Although, I was still pretty lost with Psalm 87. 🙂
Today, I return to the narrative in the second half of I Chronicles 26, beginning in verse 20.
The Bible includes a transitional statement as it returns to the narrative. It summarizes that previous to this, David had done a good job organizing Israel's religious, military, an civil government- keeping in mind we're only a few short generations out of the chaos of the judges (and Saul's mismanagement). All that was left was the Temple. The commentator explains that, although the authors of Kings, Samuel, and Chronicles all agree that Solomon built the Temple, they are less consistent on how much influence David had. I Chronicles description leaves you with the impression that David did everything right up to physical building began.
In the next few chapters, David will wrap up his preparation and hand the project over to Solomon- and with it his longtime dream of offering His Lord a place to dwell among the people once again.
I Chronicles 26 (beginning in verse 20)
In this section of the I Chronicles, David is making extensive arrangements for the building of God's Temple under Solomon.
He has seen to the collection of materials and labor and now he has been organizing those who will serve in the Temple, with guidance from the Lord. He has organized the Levites, the priests, and the musicians and the gatekeepers. Now is seeing to the other officials.
v.20 Levites had already been in charge of the treasury and treasures. Which makes sense, since it was all God's. The family charged with this was of Gershom, son of Moses.
As treasures were collected, some were designated for specific purposes, such as repair of the Temple.
Then in verse 29 the duties change to tasks away from the Temple, such as officials and judges. The family David put in charge of the tribes east of the Jordan were the Hebronites, who he searched the genealogical records to identify.
A Ryrie Study Bible footnote explains that these were most likely judges who settled legal disputes and in charge of tax collection.
The Wiersbe commentary says that in addition to civil duties, such as taxes and law, these people were in charge over overseeing religious matters east of the Jordan. They encouraged participation in the annual feasts and the weekly Sabbaths-since David had learned from previous experience that hearts could grow cold and worship turn to other gods so far removed from the other tribes.
Next it appears David organized the army into troops of 24,000 who each served one month per year under specific commanders.
A Ryrie Study Bible footnote explains that 8 of the 12 generals belonged to the tribe of Judah.
Starting in verse 16, the Chronicler lists the leaders of each tribe.
Then in verses 23-24 the author drops a little surprise narrative between the lists. It states that David didn't take anyone under the age s of 20 or less because God had promised to make Israel as numerous as the stars.
But then Joab starts a count of the men. But he stopped and they did not enter the number because of God's wrath at their accounting.
There are elements of this story that resemble the story of David's sinful census, but also enough differences I wonder if it was a different occasion?
Wiersbe says it is the same census incident and that why the numbers are inconsistent in the two accounts because not all numbers were recorded and the whole thing was interrupted.
In verse 25 we're back to lists. Now the author is listing specific people who were put in charge of specific things in David's estate, such as the royal store house, the vineyard, farm workers, making wine, olives, olive oil, herds, camels, donkeys, king's counselors, and of course, good ole Joab, in charge of the army.
The Wiersbe commentary points out that Solomon was young, without the battlefield experience of his father (ergo...he gets to build the Temple). With that in mind, David was careful to organize the military, counselors, and other important roles to leave Israel strong while Solomon was building the Temple.
Wiersbe also points out that each of the assigned monthly generals was from the list of David's famous "Mighty Men". I missed that.
It is amazing what David thought of and provided for. I know it was at the inspiration of God. Mostly because it worked. I think a lot of men try to set things up so it goes well or even easy for their sons; but Solomon, himself, tells that that doesn't work. You only have your life to dictate, not your children.
However, in this case, God can influence after you are gone and Israel had peace and prosperity while Solomon built the Temple.
When you let God lead the way, the story goes how it is supposed to.