Bible Readings for November 18th
In today’s reading from 1 Chronicles 11 and 12, we arrive at the story of David himself. Everything up to this point has revisited the story leading up to David or has looked beyond him, but here we come at last to the main attraction: the great King David. In many ways, it seems at first that we are simply reading more lists of names just like the genealogies of the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles, but this list of names documents David’s warriors rather than his descendants. So, we read about David’s mighty men in 1 Chronicles 11:10–47, as well as the divisions of troops in 1 Chronicles 12. Still, these chapters represent more than simple rosters of military personnel—the description of David’s army transcends the description of merely human militaries in two ways.
First, the chief warrior of David’s thirty mighty men, Amasai, speaks with a prophetic oracle about David in a way that goes beyond merely human leadership: “Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said, ‘We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you’” (1 Chron. 12:18). David is more than an ancient near-eastern warrior king—he is the covenantal, anointed shepherd of Yahweh’s people, Israel (1 Chron. 11:1–3). Where Yahweh has been the king of Israel thus far (aside from the reign of Saul, briefly mentioned in 1 Chronicles 10), we see him now knitting his people to a human king. And in doing so, Yahweh paves the way to unite his people eternally with another human king who arises from the line of David—Yahweh’s own Son, Jesus Christ.
Second, the Chronicler describes the vast numbers of people who join up with David in terms that go beyond merely human warriors: “For from day to day men came to David to help him, until there was a great army, like an army of God” (1 Chron. 12:22). Again, we are seeing something here that expands beyond a simple band of warriors in the desert. Remember, we have already met the commander of the army of God in Joshua 5:13–15, and that commander was himself Yahweh, as evidenced by the fact that Joshua fell down at his feet to worship him (Josh. 5:14). Now, however, it is David who is described as the commander of the army of God.
Here too, these comparisons are not meant to exalt David beyond an appropriate level. Instead, they are meant to point forward to a new David, the Son of David, who genuinely is knit to his people covenantally and who does command all the armies of Yahweh. This new David will certainly be more than a military leader, but not less.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.