Bible Readings for November 22nd
As we have seen already in our study of the Chronicles, this retelling of Israel’s history centers on the person of David. The heavy emphasis on David does not suggest that David himself is the high point in the history of Israel, so that everything following David’s life is downhill; rather, the emphasis on David points forward to the new David, the offspring of David—one of his own sons—whose kingdom would be established forever, as Yahweh promises here in 1 Chronicles 17:11–14.
Now, if you compare 1 Chronicles 17 side by side with 2 Samuel 7, you will see small variations in the wordings, but for the most part, this is an identical retelling of the story—except for one crucial detail. In 2 Samuel 7:14–15, the description of Yahweh’s covenant with David included a promise that Yahweh would chasten David’s son but that he would never withdraw his covenant love and faithfulness from David’s son completely: “When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.” In 1 Chronicles 17, however, only part of this statement is included: “I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you” (1 Chron. 17:13). Why?
The omission of this statement about Yahweh’s discipline lines up with what we have already seen of the Chronicler’s account of David—his interest is not compiling all the evidence necessary to build a case against David and his house, as in the books of Samuel and Kings. Rather, the emphasis here is on the future Davidic king who would not need to be disciplined for his iniquity. The Chronicler, therefore, isn’t revising history in order to whitewash David—rather, he is presenting David in such a way as to anticipate the great, final David, the Lord Jesus Christ, who would know no sin (2 Cor. 5:21) and who would therefore need no discipline.
Nevertheless, both tellings of the story are essential. Where the narrative of Yahweh’s covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7 foreshadowed the work that Jesus Christ came to do at the cross, where he was disciplined, beaten with rods, and hanged on a tree to die, bearing the curse for our iniquity, the theology of the Chronicles anticipates the eternal kingdom that Jesus would establish by the work of his life, death, and resurrection. Therefore, let us trust in the finished work of Jesus at the cross as we live daily in dependence on the kingdom that dwells in our midst now, even as we await the eternal kingdom that Jesus will usher in at his second coming.
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.