This chapter is also primarily a list of names, but like other chapters the lists found here contain some familiar names. In the first fifteen verses of the chapter are the names of the chief fathers and captains that served King David. Men served in rotation in the services of the king, twenty-four thousand of them each month. Given that several of the names of the captains can be found among the lists of David's mighty men it would be reasonable to assume that these men were the captains over the army and guards of their day. Verse 1 says that they "served the king in any matter of the courses." It sounds like they did everything: border patrol, palace guards, standing army, etc. They were active duty at least one month out of each year. A couple of the names that are familiar are Asahel and Joab.
In the next paragraph we read of the under-rulers, (perhaps governors or tribal court judges) of the tribes. David's brother, Elihu (Eliab) was the leader of the tribe of Judah. We can assume that these men, and those that were numbered here as captains were over the age of twenty based upon the information given in verses 23 and 24. This also sheds some light on the nature of David's sin when he had Joab take a census of the fighting men of Israel. Verse 24 tells us that the number, meaning the total, was not put into David's records, but earlier in this chronicle and its counterpart in II Samuel do give numbers which differed by approximately 300,000 men. These verses tend to suggest that neither number was a complete reckoning. I assumed that the numbers given in the two accounts were different because one did not include the tribes of Levi and Benjamin but it could also have been that the larger one included the number of the young men under the age of 20 who were still capable of bearing arms within those 10 tribes. Either way, the total was not listed in David's court records and the LORD punished David and his nation for taking the census in the first place.
The next section names the men directly in charge of David's possessions. He had a treasurer; a man over the storehouses and fields, the cities and villages, and royal residences; a man who was a groundskeeper and gardener; a man to care for the vineyards; and a man responsible for storing the fruits of the vineyard in the wine cellars. He also had a man over the olive and sycamore trees located on the low plains, a man over the oil cellars, a herdsman over the herds feeding in Sharon, and another over the herds located in the valleys. He had a chief stableman over the camels and another for the donkeys. He had a separate man to keep the rest of the flocks.
The final paragraph names David's counselors. The first one named is one of David's uncles who was said to be a wise man and a scribe. Another counselor was with the king's sons, perhaps as a tutor. Next is the name of Ahithophel. His name is notable because he was the grandfather of Bathsheba. He later sided with Absalom in his attempted coup. When Absalom did not follow all of Ahithophel's advice which would lead to the further humiliation and ultimate destruction of David, Ahithophel went home, set his affairs in order, and took his own life. Listed also is Hushai the Archite, the king's companion, who was instrumental in offering counsel to Absalom that thwarted the plans of Ahithophel. Finally we see the names of the men who became David's counselors after Ahithophel as well as the name of Joab, the general who advised David in military affairs.
Does God issue any commands?
No, not in this chapter.
Does God make any promises?
- Verse 23 quotes the promise of God to increase Israel like to the stars of the heavens.
Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?
- David had a list of men that followed him and did as he commanded. The New Testament is full of lists of men who followed Jesus and did as He commanded them. Even the book of Revelation lists men who await or follow orders of their King.
Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?
- In many of His parables Jesus taught that those who are faithful in their earthly life will be rewarded in the life to come. He promised that His closest friends, the disciples and other followers, that they would rule and reign with Him. The New Testament teaches that all believers will so rule as judges. This will be when Jesus sets up His Kingdom on the earth to reign for 1,000 years. Everyone will be assigned their tasks in His Kingdom at that time.