Thoughts on the Chronicles.

R. Beacon.

1890 113 The Chronicles are by some thought to be a supplement to the preceding historical books, that is, to supply the omissions and defects supposed to be found in them. This is a denial of God as their Author. For if holy men of old were divinely inspired to write them, failure or error is impossible. To assert that the Chronicles are a more supplement to correct what went before is to misapprehend the aim and purpose of the Holy Spirit Who has never written one book as a supplement to another, in the above sense and meaning. Each separate book of the Bible is perfect in itself, though each a necessary part, to form one divine whole, and needs neither filling up nor correction. Even in the historical books the events related are never a bare record, but all are in special relation to the object the Holy Spirit has iii view. And all, being under His control, are just so many steps leading to the accomplishing of His will and purpose. So it may be that many circumstances, having no direct and immediate bearing upon the object of the Spirit in the particular book, are omitted, not because they are unimportant in themselves, but that the purpose of God does not call for their mention. And these same circumstances may be most essential in another book written for another object. The true question is, What is the purpose of God in this or that book? And only when we have apprehended it, can we see why events are mentioned in the one book and not in the other, although both may be concerning the same persons and nation. Take for instance David and Bathsheba and the moral processes by which David is restored, so fully given in the Kings, and not alluded to in the Chronicles. Only one fact connected with it circumstantially is found in Chronicles, viz., that David tarried at Jerusalem when he ought to have been at the head of his army. The consequences are narrated in Kings. The purpose of God in Chronicles did not require that mention.

Yet the Chronicles are the counterpart, the complement, of the Books of Samuel and of the Kings; for complement does not imply defect in that of which it is the complement. Supplement, ordinarily, implies omissions in the thing supplemented. A perfect book or epistle may have a complement, never a supplement in the above sense and meaning. The Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians are counterparts to each other, and both are perfect. We have the glories and fulness of the Head in the one; but Head implies body, and the full privileges and blessedness of the body are given in the other: not the one Epistle supplying omissions in the other, but each perfect in itself. And the body is the fulness (complement) of Him Who fills all in all (Eph. i. 23). These Epistles are complementary to each other. So Paul speaks of filling up what is behind of the afflictions of Christ. That is, the sufferings of the body — the church — are the complement of the sufferings of Christ. Does this mean that His sufferings were not perfect?

So also the Books of Samuel and of the Kings on the one side, and the Chronicles on the other, are complementary. The former is a record of mercy and forbearance. The iniquity of the people reached its climax when they rejected God as their king, yet He forbore. It was God's mind to give them a king, and this necessarily appears in their history, as proof of God's goodness which their sin could not turn away. But it in no way lessens Israel's guilt in desiring a king like the surrounding nations, that it was the purpose of God to give them a king in His own good time. Israel would have a king before God's man (typical) was prepared for them. The result was ruin. But the point in Samuel and the Kings seems to be the complete breakdown of man as seen in Israel; responsibility and ruin are correlatives. Now in Chronicles, where of course the ruin is as plainly read as in the former books, the point is God's predetermined bringing in of His Only-begotten, through a human line, but His only begotten Son. That is to say, His purpose is the more prominent in Chronicles. The genealogy is proof of this, and gives the key to the book. The sin and rebellion of the Kings involving the ruin of the people is met by God's purpose that His King shall reign.

The grand solvent for every apparent difficulty as to what is recorded or not is that Christ is the one Object before the Spirit of God, whether in the Bible as a whole or in each separate book. Nothing is there but what exalts Him. And He must be before our hearts if we would understand; and then we can laugh to scorn (or rather mourn over) all the futile objections of ignorant infidelity. If David and Solomon are historically more prominent in Samuel and 1 Kings, it is only because they are types of the Lord Jesus, in His rejection, than of His kingly power and glory. Suffering was David's pathway to the throne; it was the necessary path of Christ to His kingdom. "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory" (Luke xxiv. 24)? In Chronicles there is no rejected David; his history begins with the transfer of the kingdom to him and the establishment of his throne, though when the kingdom is committed to the responsibility of man, Israel becomes irretrievably ruined. And for the time the ruin is not merely apparent, but real. This, however, only for a season, so that in the end grace will be seen to provide the only stable foundation and sure basis for the accomplishing of the counsels of God. Saul's enmity, David's failures, and all to the consummated sins of the sons of Josiah, could not annul God's counsels, or set aside His purpose. What a triumph for Satan if God had on account of Israel's wickedness revoked His promise to Abraham, for in his seed all the nations, not Israel alone, are to be blessed! What would have become of the blessing? Apparently all was contingent upon man's obedience and faithfulness. Really, all rested upon an unassailable foundation, God's promise, given to Abraham 430 years before the law. Bat if Israel made the fatal step of accepting law as the ground of inheriting blessing, man's failure can never annul the purposes of grace.

Though the people sinned till there was no remedy (save that remedy which was only as yet in God's counsel), and they were carried away captives into a foreign land, during all that dark time of disobedience and idolatry grace was constantly watching over them, and guiding the destinies of this wonderful people. And grace is, now that they are scattered and for the most part unseen by human eye, controlling the world's history for their sakes. Now Lo-ammi is written upon them with a pen of iron; the time is coming when in that place where it was said, "Ye are not My people," there it shall be said unto them, "Ye are the sons of the living God" (Hosea i. 9). That will be when the true Anointed, the Man of God's right hand, comes, Who is not only Son of David, but also Son of man. For when grace acts in sovereign power it cannot be limited to the sphere of Israel. Such grace must be unto all. Hence the genealogy begins, not with Abraham which might suffice for a Jew, but with Adam: proof that not Israel's future blessing is alone before the mind of the Holy Spirit, but Christ in His exaltation and glory. The throne of the world is His, as well as the throne of David.

The types being only of men afford much instruction over and above the great and prominent fact that God is leading His chosen man to the throne. David's trials and faith, his failures and victories, come in by the way and are written for our learning. His failure cannot interfere with God's purpose. Rather do they bring out more manifestly the unchangeable decree of God, that David as the great type of his greater Son must sit upon the throne of Israel. For David had done enough to be righteously thrust aside; his willingness (real or feigned) to fight under Achish against Israel was alone sufficient to have debarred him from the throne. But he was the man chosen to be type of Him Who could not fail, and so there was a divine necessity that he should reign. Therefore David's failure in offering his services to Achish is not mentioned in Chronicles, nor any part of his life previous to Saul's death. Not God's grace in meeting David's failures in the path of suffering is the point, but the accomplishment of His purpose. David is king. This purpose fulfilled, and a glimpse of the glory seen in Solomon's day, when the temple was finished, and we may say consecrated by the fire of Jehovah consuming the sacrifice, His glory filling the house (2 Chron. vii.), the proper typical aspect ceases. The exaltation of the king becomes the sphere of his responsibility. Soon the inherent disobedience and evil of man appears, and David's house and the whole nation are speedily corrupted. On Israel's throne we see man in his best estate; the glory of the greatest Gentile monarch pales before the glory of Solomon, who truly was in honour, but where of himself he could not abide. The kings sinned and the people followed them, and God closes that period in judgment. The kingdom so bright in Solomon's earlier days ends in Babylon, and an alien if any occupied Israel's throne afterwards.

Ruin was stamped upon the kingdom long before the Babylonian captivity. For when the ten tribes were cut off through the revolt of Jeroboam, Judah alone could in no wise answer to the thought of God respecting His King as the Son of David. Not two tribes but the whole twelve form the kingdom over which Christ the Son of David must reign. Even if Judah had been faithful, and no evil king ever found on the throne, Christ could not be shorn of His glory in having only two tribes instead of twelve.

But in point of fact Judah became more offensive than Israel, Jerusalem more guilty than Samaria. While there were entreaty and warning, promise and threatening to Israel, but never one ray of goodness from the throne, while in Judah there were some good kings, and the channels of governmental blessings, yet we have the testimony of the prophets that Aholibah was worse than Aholah. God had His own among them. The righteous are distinguished from the wicked, but the condition of Judah as a whole appears far deeper sunken in idolatry and iniquity (see Ezek. xxiii.).

Idolatry was always dominant in Israel. In revolting against the house of David the ten tribes forsook the ground of covenanted blessing. Patience waited long, and called with wondrous evidences of mercy and power in the days of Elijah and Elisha. The signs and wonders wrought by these men were proof that they (Israel) were off the ground of God's covenant. Israel as a nation rebelled against God. Judah as a nation remained professedly true, inasmuch as they clave to the house of David, and outwardly to the temple and worship of Jehovah; yet were in heart as rebellious as the Israelites. God said of them, "This people draweth nigh with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." The hypocrisy of Judah was more hateful to God than the open apostacy of Israel. God had His remnant in both kingdoms. In Israel He had His seven thousand who had not bowed to Baal, and righteous ones were found in Judah with whom it should be well (Isa. iii. 10). Both kingdoms sinned till each filled up the measure of its iniquity: their land given to strangers, themselves captives.

Aholibah took no warning from the fate of Aholah, but became more idolatrous. If Judah is worse than Israeli why is Judah in captivity preserved as a people? Why not dispersed and lost among the nations, as are the ten tribes? Because there was a purpose of grace to be accomplished and full judgment was delayed. God had set David upon the throne, and it was a pledge that Christ must sit there also. For Christ on the throne of David is God's centre of blessing for this earthly sphere. Accordingly the tribe whence the King was to come is preserved till the appointed time when Jesus is born in Bethlehem. So this tribe is preserved while the ten are hidden in the dust of the earth, and has the prominent and sole place in the books of the Chronicles, and the family of David pre-eminent in that tribe. It is the royal tribe, and David's is the royal family. The line of true heirs, during the captivity when the Gentile was in possession of the throne, is sacredly preserved, and after the return from Babylon carried on by Matthew to the birth of Christ in Whom it ceases.

Wonderfully, yea divinely, kept are these family records, so that the title of Jesus of Nazareth to the throne might be established both legally and naturally: by law the Son of Joseph, by birth the Son of Mary. Then when the Christ has appeared Judah is overtaken in full judgment: there was no reason for further delay.

II. 1890 145.

When Christ was born, a usurper was on the throne, but God has preserved the genealogy of the rightful heir of David, who is also heir of the promises made to Abraham, in whose Seed all the nations will be blessed. "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. xii. 3-7). This promise was verified to Abraham as regards the former part, surely, but as a whole goes very far beyond him; it looks onward to the Seed, "which is Christ" (Gal. iii. 16). Eternally will they be blessed who bless Him, and eternally will they be cursed who curse or despise Him and reject His salvation. Not all Israel were blessed in faithful Abraham; but in his Seed, in millennial glory, all Israel and all the nations are to be blessed. Israel will be pre-eminent in blessing, but all nations are included in the far-reaching promise.

In Luke it is not the royalty of the Son of David, but the genealogy there is traced up to Adam. Christ is presented as Son of Man in likeness of sinful flesh, but in real flesh. "The Word became flesh," and thus He takes up the cause of lost man, for it was a too light thing to raise up only the tribes of Israel: "I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation to the end of the earth" (Isa. xlix. 5, 6). Messiah has special relationships with the Jew, with Israel; but, the Word having become flesh, in due time God's salvation must be to the end of the earth; i.e., His salvation cannot be limited to a few (Titus ii. 11), it is "unto all."

In Matthew, there is His royalty as from David, but as from Abraham all the promises are fulfilled in Him, for He is the Object of them all. And as regards Israel and the kingdom, it was best that he (Matthew) should not begin with Adam. In the genealogy here in Chronicles, Adam, Abraham, and David are the three salient points, each the head of a class; the first including all men, the second (Abraham) all the seed of promise, the third (David) a line of kings. As from Adam, He partook of flesh and blood (for which humanity is as true of Abraham and of David, yet faith and rule marked these respectively), but that which gives the character to Adam and makes him so fatally prominent is that he FELL. As descended from Abraham, the father of the faithful, the first who lived by that faith which separates from the world, we see Jesus our Lord (who must in all things have the pre-eminence) the Head of a new race, a race marked by faith, righteousness, and a divine nature, not lying under sentence of death because of sin, but having justification of life (Rom. 5) a new line, separate and distinct from the world. As from David, not the Head of a race, but as the heir to the throne, as having the dominion not only of Israel but of the world. If separation from the world (John xvii.) is seen under the Abrahamic aspect, the Davidic shows that same world in subjection to Him who is alone able and worthy to reign.

1 Chronicles 1. Adam is the starting point, and the Holy Spirit leads on through a list of names, yet no unmeaning list, till we come to David, the type of Him who, amidst other glories, is called the last Adam, who will shortly have all things put under Him, and in whom all families of the earth shall be blessed.

The King is before the mind of the Spirit, Who hastens onward and with seven names covers the whole time from the creation to the deluge, a space computed to be nearly one thousand seven hundred years. In all that time only two men are singled out for their faith till we come to Noah, Abel and Enoch of the old world; Noah links the old and the new, as it were, the last of the old and the first of the new, though that prime place he could not keep in honour. In Noah's sons we have the heads of the three great divisions of the human race, with characteristics so different as developed in this present day that infidels dare to deny their common blood (Acts xvii. 26). In Genesis, as here, the order is, Shem, Ham and Japheth; not that we can assume this to be the order of birth, for in Gen. x. 21, where Shem and Japheth are mentioned, Japheth is called the elder, and it is a question with some whether "younger son" in Gen. ix. 24 refers to Ham or to his son Canaan. Be this as it may, another order than the natural is before us, for the natural order, i.e., priority of birth, is constantly departed from when it traverses the order of grace and of God's purpose of blessing; and if Japheth and his descendants are noticed first, it is but briefly and then dismissed. That which brings the children of Ham into prominence here is that they are so often in collision with the people of whom came The King.

From Gen. x., we learn that the isles of the Gentiles are the portion of Japheth; but, if far from being prominent in the beginning, these names re-appear in the prophetic record of the close of this world's history (see Ezek. xxvii. — xxxix. and Rev. xx., where the names of Japheth's sons recur). They spread over their allotted portion of the earth noiselessly, hidden by their own insignificancy and in the darkness of their idolatry, unnoticed in the history of God's dealings with nations who at the first interfered with Israel (for that which makes any Gentile prominent is his having to do with Israel, whether with them or against them), but to come out in fearful prominence at the close, when the Son of David is about to make good His title to the sovereignty of the world. The sons of Ham have had their day of supremacy. The race of Japheth is now dominant, and will be a little longer. That of Shem is yet to come, when, in the person of the Jew, the glory of that race shall be manifest to all. But the Anointed of Israel must first come; for if the earth is to be blessed through the Jew, the Jew will owe his greatness to the presence of Him to Whom these genealogies lead. Until then the pride and haughtiness of Japheth will increase, and when it has reached its climax will be suddenly destroyed; for are not the first Beast, the future Emperor of the West, and the King of the North, all of the proud and domineering race of Japheth?

Then comes Ham, of whom was Nimrod. Worldly power is first seen in that line, which is now the most degraded. With him is the first mention of a kingdom (Gen. x. 10.); its beginning and its end was Babel — confusion. Man would be a power independent of God; if individually powerless, what would not combination do? Therefore they would make themselves a name and have a place of union lest they be scattered. The attempt to prevent scattering was the occasion of it. No scattering so complete and thorough, rendering intercourse impossible, as the confounding of their language: they could not "understand one another's speech." Man away from God begins to build a city, his first city, but never finished it, "they left off to build the city, therefore is the name of it called Babel" (Gen. xi. 8, 9.). Returning to Chronicles, we come to the familiar names of Canaan and his progeny. The Philistines wee not of. Canaan, but as descendents of Ham, were congeners; our attention is. called to them that we may know the origin of these most troublesome enemies of Israel. The descendants of Canaan have special notice because it was their land that was destined for Israel.

Now we come (ver. 17) to Shem. One of his sons, Asshur, built Nineveh (Gen. x. 11), one of the cities prominent as an enemy of Israel, though the founder of the race of Shem. Thus, though destroyed in judgment, it was nearer to Israel than Babylon, the city of Nimrod of the race of Ham. But the line of blessing did not run through Asshur, but through Arphaxad. Another event is related in connection with Shem's race, whose effects are of far wider range than the past greatness of Nineveh or of Babylon, however solemn and portentous their judgment and destruction may be. The names Shem and Arphaxad lead to Peleg, and in his days the earth was divided. Peleg lived in the time of Nimrod, when God scattered men by confounding their language. We may remark here that while in the cases of Japheth and of Ham, the Holy Spirit just records names, though Nimrod is called a mighty hunter, it is nothing but the mere fact without a word of praise or blame; when we come to Shem we are, as it were, in a higher atmosphere, we find that God is the Lord God of Shem, and the moral aspect, or character of things appears, and not merely names or history.

This dividing of the earth no doubt put an end to Nimrod's kingdom, but is not mentioned in connection with his name. The Lord God of Shem appeared in judgment upon man who was seeking to make a name in the earth. This intervention of God is in connection with the name of Peleg. The moral dealings of God are constantly seen in connection with the race of Shem, yet not with all his posterity, only with a chosen line. Joktan, Peleg's brother, has many sons to continue his line, but Peleg must wait for another occasion when his son shall appear in the renowned line that leads on to David. Besides this title to have his name recorded in this genealogy, it is associated with the judgment of God. The name of Peleg will be a continual reminder until the new heavens and the new earth of the judgment upon man through sin. Even the day of grace met the sin, and rose above the judgment in God's wise way, not by annulling the judgment, or obliterating the sin, but by giving power to the Apostles at the day of Pentecost to speak to men in their own tongues wherein they were born — to their amazement — thus proclaiming the grace of God amid the evidences of His judgment; yea, using the tokens of judgment as channels to proclaim His grace. Go where we may, the differences of tongues meet us, and proclaim God's rebuke of man's pride and ambition; and the unfinished Babel is a monument over the departed greatness — at least the potential greatness of man (Gen. xi. 6).

So with Shem are connected both the judgment and the grace of God, Who is the Lord God of Shem. Previously there was but one language. Now the history of nations begins, and men soon learnt to hate and fight. It is a solemn thought as we look round upon the many and diverse nations of the earth, that all these nationalities have their origin in sin and judgment. In the eternal state when the last trace of this moral ruin is effaced, the tabernacle of God will dwell not with nations but with men, nationalities will disappear.

A fresh start is made (ver. 24) and the Holy Spirit goes back again to Shem and from him direct to Abram — the same is Abraham. No collateral branches are noticed. And here is another dividing. Not of the earth as in Peleg's day but a dividing or separating from among the nations of a people by God for Himself. Judgment did the former, grace works now. The consequences of the former are wars and hatred among the nations, which will cease in the time soon to come, when "He shall judge among many peoples and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Micah iv. 3, Isa. ii. 4) But the dividing which began with Abram has eternal results. The Gentiles surrounded Abraham though he lived apart from them. Israel was enclosed in a vineyard and forbidden to mingle with Gentiles. The church is by grace separate from the world, though as to present circumstances in constant touch with it. But what will it be in heaven? no touch of evil there! And as between believers and the world we may perhaps say "between us and you there is a great gulf fixed." Only grace is active in calling and saving.

But this recommencement with Shem and going direct to Abram is one of the many indications that Christ — the Son of David — is the object of the Holy Spirit in this genealogy. Up to this point the chosen line has not been definitely distinguished from others. Now it is, and the call of Abram is given, the starting point of a new race in relationship with Jehovah-God, and all other nations outside.

Yet, not all his descendants are included in Abram's call. Outside the line of promise are many sons and they are noticed first. We see here a well defined and established principle in God's ways with moan, first that which is natural, afterwards that which is spiritual. The family of Ishmael, and the children of Keturah are given. Then Abraham is named again, of whom is Isaac, and from him Esau and Israel. Not Jacob, the name given at his birth, but Israel, the name afterwards given when as prince he had power with God and with men, and had prevailed: the name points onward to the ultimate purpose of God. It was in his distress and fear that God gave him the name of "Israel," a pledge to him that in no subsequent trouble would God fail to deliver him. Esau the first-born had no such title from God. He was a prosperous man; kings and dukes sprang from him. His family are given, and the place where he acquired his power. He was a descendant of the man who was called out from his kindred and country, to he separate from all peoples and to receive the promises. Esau returns to the people that Abraham left. Neither the call nor the promise was for him. In his sons he rises to supreme power. This may be the reason why the sons of Seir are so abruptly brought in (see Gen. xiv. 6, xxxvi. 6-20, Deut ii. 12-22.) Seir was a Horite that inhabited the land and as a chief may have given his name to Mount Seir. The Horim were dispossessed by the children of Esau. "By thy sword shalt thou live," said Isaac to his firstborn; and his became the dominant race. Yet soon the two races were blended in the persons of Eliphaz, son of Esau, and of Timna daughter of Seir: a union of one who could claim descent from Abraham with one of the race of Ham. What could the result of such a connection be but Amalek, the bitter and first enemy of Israel in the wilderness?

And where now do we see the greatest hostility to such as would be faithful to the heavenly call? Among those who, despising their birthright — separation and its privileges, have allied themselves with the world.

III. 1890 162.

Amalek's hand as against the people of Jehovah is against the throne and kingdom of Jehovah. Therefore the LORD said "I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" (Ex. xvii. 14). The last phase of the world's hatred and opposition to the kingdom of Christ (before it is established in peace and power, and His throne is the throne of Jehovah) will be when the Assyrian leads his hosts to Jerusalem. But his overthrow will be complete and eternal. Amalek is the first enemy that opposes the establishment of the kingdom after the Lord has visibly led out a people for it; the Assyrian is the last before the millennium; afterwards the final gathering of Gog and Magog, the host that comes against the camp or city of the saints but to be destroyed for ever, their remembrance utterly put out. Do not the words "from generation to generation" include all who dare oppose Christ and His kingdom, thus stamping the name of "Amalek" upon all that is specially opposed to the kingdom of the Son of Man? Therefore the LORD hath sworn that He will have war with the generations of Amalek for ever. Balaam's prophecy concerning Amalek may contain the thought that the Amalek spirit will be seen in the latest attempt of Satan against the dominion of Christ. "Amalek was the first of the nations [not in power, but in active opposition after redemption was known, typically] but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever" (Num. xxiv. 20). If the "first of the nations" points to Satan's first attack against the people now visibly declared to be the people of God, and manifestly under His protection and guidance, may not the words "latter end" lead our thoughts to that future day when the last hostile gathering against the people of God, but gathered to meet their doom, shall be immediately followed by the casting of all enemies of Christ into the lake of fire? In both the past and the future (i.e. Israel in the wilderness, or the camp of the saints after the thousand years), it is the earthly people of God who are in view, not the church.

But we see another thing; the Lord is gathering His people for Himself, and at the same time noting their enemies. To touch them is to touch Him. And if the people are written up for blessing, so surely are their enemies marked for judgment. The adversary may escape for a time, but his day is coming; "seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you" (2 Thess. i. 6). This may not be the highest motive to endurance during this present time, but it is one divinely given to those who with John are fellow-partakers "in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ."

Seir rose to power in the earth (verse 43) even as Nimrod, and the Horim had their dukes. Esau joined himself to them, and after a time his descendants rose apparently to greater power, for kings are named among his posterity. Violence seems to have characterised them, for not one king is succeeded by his son. As one faction prevailed over the other, so from different cities arose different kings, till (as it would appear) the kingly authority was abridged, and they were followed by dukes. And in this change of form of authority, not unseen in our day, there is a characteristic element — we might say flaw — in human power, viz., its instability. Man is unable to retain supreme and sole power in himself, and though there may be the semblance of it (as in some European countries of the present time), yet are there secret springs and influences possessing a power which autocrats dare not disregard. At first the head may be gold, but authority becomes gradually diffused, decentralised (civilization, some say), and will until even the clay will not mingle with the iron, but dare to contend with it, and dispute its authority and power. The vox populi was never in accord with the vox Dei, and soon will be openly antagonistic. All popular commotions and combinations should be distrusted. Let Christians fear and beware.

From the fact that no son succeeded his father, some think the Edomite monarchy was elective. But this supposes sufficient power in the hands of the people to choose their own ruler: — a democratic principle which we have no ground to suppose existed in those early days. Violence and lust of power were there, and bore fruit. The ambitious unscrupulous man will seek to sway the masses, and on them ride to power, but this is a different thing from an elective monarchy. What we do see in Esau's descendants, and what has characterised the world, is the contending of adverse factions for power, and where of course the strongest arm wins, God lets the world show itself, and its power, or rather lack of power, first. Then come His purpose and its firm foundation. For there were kings in Edom before any were found in Israel. The Edomite kings are gone, but God's King abideth for ever. This special mention of Edom is because of their great hatred of Israel, not the least implacable of all the nations round about them, (Num. xx. 14-21), which was seen long years after when the Edomite rejoiced at the overthrow of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (Psalm cxxxvii.). On this very account they are remembered for judgment (Obadiah 10).

There is no name in this first chapter so prominent or so connected with the purposes of God as that of Abraham, neither that of Adam nor of Noah, standing as these do in solitary grandeur, each in his day, as the heads of the human race. Abraham is the head of a peculiar race. Only three generations are given here, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (mark, not Jacob) in the direct and chosen line (verse 34). Ishmael and Esau have been already noticed (verse 28, etc.). They are dismissed (save to notice Esau's rise to power, and connection with the Horim) and the Holy Spirit returns to Abraham (34) as the true starting-point of the peculiar race. In these three names, i. c. the names themselves as given to these three men, the promise of God is intimately interwoven. It is Abram who is called out from his country and kindred. The name "Abraham" is given, the pledge that he should be the father of many nations, and a witness of the covenant "between Me and thee and thy seed after thee" (Gen. xvii.). This covenant is repeated to Isaac (Gen. xxvi.). In like manner the name "Israel" is bound up with the promise. God appeared to Jacob, and on two occasions changed his name to "Israel" (Gen. xxxii. 28 and xxxv. 10). Surely this genealogy is no unmeaning list of names, but where we may read the promise and the ultimate purpose of God.

Turning to the history of these men in Genesis there is a marked difference in the way God speaks of them, a difference indicative of their walk as saints. For God speaks of "Abraham" by his new name after it was once given; but of Jacob for the most part as "Jacob" not as "Israel." Occasionally he is called Israel, and on each occasion to remind him that, notwithstanding his failures and crooked ways, God was mindful of him and faithful to His promise. Jacob trembles and fears on account of Esau. God appears, and trembling Jacob becomes Israel, a prevailing prince. Weeping Jacob sets a pillar over Rachel's grave, but as Israel pursues his journey. Jacob suffers from want of corn, but it is the sons of Israel who go into Egypt to buy. Jacob may need, but in the name of Israel lay God's pledge to supply all his need; and at the close of his life it is Israel that blesses the sons of Joseph and foretells that God will bring them all again into the land of their fathers. In all these instances and every other, the Holy Spirit tells us, not of Jacob doing his own will, but of Israel the object of God's care and the depositary of the promise.

May we pause to enquire why no new name is given to Isaac, as was to Isaac's father and to Isaac's son? Abraham was a faithful pilgrim on the earth, and Jacob for the greater portion of his life a failing pilgrim. But as pilgrims both had new names. Historically Isaac was a pilgrim even as they. But a higher truth was to be taught the church of God by means of Isaac. Typically Isaac is a child of resurrection; and teaches us what our place is as risen with Christ, and in Him seated in the heavenlies. No need of a new name there. But as pilgrims and children of God down here on the earth we have a new name given to each of us, that we might know how God sets a mark upon us and distinguishes us from the world, and that we may not forget that we belong to another country, even the heavenly. (Heb. xi. 13-16).

1 Chronicles 2. — Esau with his kings and dukes are outside the chosen line. God's people are now in view. Not all Abraham's sons, not all Isaac's sons, but of Israel's, not one excepted. The offshoots of the elect stem Abraham, Isaac, Israel are lost in the common herd of Gentiles. Nay, even the people themselves are scarcely noticed till the KING is seen: hence the rapid run from Judah the son of Israel to David (verses 3-15). The king is presented with just enough of his line of descent to show that he is of the tribe of Judah, and he is presented in the person of David, who was chosen of God to be a type of the kingly power of Jesus the Messiah, hence for this reason, called a man after God's own heart (I Sam. xiii. 14, Acts xiii. 22). The ancestry of David, is the human ancestry of our Lord Jesus. Of the twelve sons of Israel, Judah takes the first place, not now to tell us of Judah, but of Him who sprang from Judah, the KING first, afterwards the children of the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit hastens to present Him Who is and was ever the Object before God.

Only a list of names from Judah to David! But can we find in the whole book of God a similar space as brief as this which contains so much of grace and of God's unchangeableness in purpose on the one side, and of the vileness of man's nature on the other? For the names here given are inseparably connected with both. The crucifixion of the Lord goes infinitely beyond all in declaring the grace of God and the wickedness of man; but what do we find in this list? Names renowned in the world and honoured among men? nay, but associated with the worst corruption and with disobedience to God and dishonour to His name. Like Judah himself married to a Canaanitess, take Er, Tamar, Pharez, what vileness and shame! There is a Hezron and a Boaz, and with them greatness and piety, but there is also an Achar [Achan] who is prominently marked as "the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed."

Yet what line of the world's most glorious pedigree can he compared to this of divine choice? Their names are linked with God's purposes of glory. Ennobled by a connection with Him Whose Name alone will be exalted in the earth when the world's nobility and glory shall be forgotten, a thing of the past. But now, before the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, if we turn to Gen. xxxviii. we see what Judah is, as he, the head of the tribe, there appears. Would not this dark but brief glimpse of Judah's domestic life have been suppressed if a good estimation of his character by man had been a necessary quality of the tribe, or at least of the head of it, from which the Lord was to come? Even the world would now cry shame upon such a man. But the Lord casts contempt upon the estimation of man.

Of no other son of Israel have we such a picture; and there is no reason to suppose Judah worse than his brethren. But the light is let in on his private life that time grace of our Lord Jesus Christ when He humbled Himself to become a man might be more manifest. He chose this tribe of Judah, which is continued not through the honourable tie of marriage but through sin. Look at Pharez, the next link in the chain — a child of incest — the stream was polluted at its source. What honourable man of the world would boast of ancestry like this, with the bar sinister across his escutcheon? The heroes of paganism pretend descent from their gods. All fable and imagination, you say. Most true. But they did imagine even a celestial origin: not one would admit that he sprang from the despised and the ignoble. The semi-civilised aborigines of Mexico claimed for their chiefs descent from the sun and moon, the objects of their worship. The Brahmins claim Brahma — a sort of demi-god — as their ancestor; the Chinese boast of a quasi-celestial origin.

Nearer home we find those who having no honour of their own acquiring, claim it by inheritance. But this phase of pride so natural to man has its corrective (!) in the amazing discovery made by the wisdom of the nineteenth century that neither from the sun nor from the gods are we descended, but from an ape! And have we to choose between gods, or monkeys? Naturally one would prefer a descent from the gods and heroes of antiquity than from the grinning be-tailed ape. But such is this world's wisdom, either among the stars according to ancient fables, or from monkeys according to modern absurdities (and what did monkeys spring from?) Pride is the common source of both the ancient and the modern fable. The modern boasts of profounder wisdom which sweeps away the trash of ancient fable — a small matter — and denies the truth of God, but cannot sweep this away. The ancient fable is simply the pride of birth; the same criterion by which men estimate the value of race-horses and other cattle.

What did the Lord inherit from His human ancestry? But this is the glory of the Lord Jesus. He humbled Himself, made Himself of no reputation, was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. In the likeness of the earth's most honourable would still have been sinful flesh, in the likeness of it. But He came in the line of Judah and Pharez, a tainted line even in the eyes of the world. What ineffable grace! Could the Son go lower? Was there a more degraded family to choose than that of Judah? And Judah is chosen! Truly He humbled Himself, and grace shines from the beginning.

IV. 1890 177.

With what care and precision the sons of Jesse are given, named and numbered in their order: evidently to tell us that David is the seventh. He alone fills the mind of the inspired writer. The six are numbered only that David might appear the seventh, for with that is bound up the purpose of God; so that "David the seventh" has a meaning far beyond the mere numerical order that he was the seventh; and indeed, as a fact, David was the eighth son, not the seventh. Before God he was both; but in His book God is giving us His thoughts, and not here enumerating natural events.

Turn to 1 Sam. xvi. 10, et seqq. "Again Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he come hither." And this one, unthought of and, in a manner, cast out from the family — for whom Samuel must pointedly ask when all the others were present — this lad keeping the sheep must be sent for, and lo! the neglected one is the chosen one. "And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he." Not one of the previous seven are chosen: the youngest therefore must have been the eighth. Again we read (1 Sam. xvii. 12) "And he had eight sons."

If, then, the seven are refused and the eighth chosen according to Samuel, why here in Chronicles is he numbered the seventh? Some have supposed that one of Jesse's sons died, and therefore David would be the seventh. Is this supposition satisfactory? Be that as it may, is there not a truth intimated in Samuel which is not necessary for the Holy Spirit's purpose in giving us the books of Chronicles? We know that "eight" is right in Samuel, and "seventh" in Chronicles: as divine in one as in the other; and each in perfect accordance with the truth God is there communicating. The numbers seven and eight have a symbolic significance in Scripture as well as a natural. Seven is clearly connected with rest in creation, and eight with rest in resurrection power and glory. David, being in Samuel the eighth, points to the true David who will restore all, and reign over Israel Himself as the risen Man. For rest in creation was impossible after sin came in. Eight signifies the intervention of God in grace when all is lost; so the coming kingdom, though it is for the earth, must have a link with resurrection, that it may be stable. That connecting link is the glorious risen Man as 1 King. Man — Israel — could never have entered into the kingdom but for that grace, nor could the earth ever know its blessedness. The glory and the dominion will be centred in the risen Man, the eighth.

And is not the inspired account in Samuel in perfect accord with the symbolic significance of "eight?" Was it not as a resurrection from the dead when David, who for a little time was lost to Israel, hidden in the court of Achish, came into the scene of Israel's ruin? when Israel was crushed upon the mountains of Gilboa, and the Philistines triumphant? For the Israelites "forsook the cities . . . and the Philistines came and dwelt in them" (1 Sam. xxxi. 7). Was he not as one risen from the dead, and, as it were, in resurrection power, leading Israel from Gilboa, the scene of ruin and death, to the possession of Mount Sion? And apart from the symbolic character of these events, they are in themselves truly wonderful. Where in the world's history is the parallel of this so rapid rise from slavery and ruin to power and glory? And if unparalleled, is it not to convey to our minds a brief picture of a greater David who will triumph more completely over a greater enemy, and in a still more glorious fashion will redeem Israel out of all his troubles, and a nation shall be born in a day? The son of Jesse is but the type — marvellously fitted, with circumstances controlled, that the picture might be as near the future display as was consistent with God's government at the time — David was but the type of Christ, Who, as the risen Man, is the "eighth."

But He is also God's rest in creation. And here, in connection with the earth and God's earthly people, Christ is the "seventh." He is the Creator, and "God rested on the seventh day." Chronicles does not give the wondrous quasi-resurrection power found in Samuel. David appears abruptly on the scene on the death of Saul, and the tribes gather to make him king; it is simply the earthly kingdom, and its establishment among men. And wonderful as this picture is, how immeasurably below the reality when the Lord shall reign in glory! What is the power of David or the splendour of Solomon compared with the millennial glory of Christ? How could it be otherwise, seeing that the honoured types are only poor failing men? "Arise, O LORD, into Thy rest, Thou and the ark of Thy strength." "For the Lord hath chosen Zion, He hath desired it for His habitation. This is My rest for ever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it" (Ps. cxxxii. 8, 13, 14). David, the type of God's rest in His Son when He sits upon His earthly throne, is here numbered the seventh. It is God's rest in the renewed earth. But even this would not be but by One Who had passed through death, so that this seventh-day rest can only be by Christ in quality of Risen Man. How wondrously the "seventh" and the "eighth" are combined in the Person of Christ!

Satan, whose most subtle and destructive power is seen in his imitation of divine counsels, will soon bring in his man . . . the blasphemous parody of the purpose of God — and his man will be eighth, yet of the seven. "And the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth and is of the seven and goeth into perdition" (Rev. xvii). Satan's power in the world is a solemn fact even now, and will be greater then when He that letteth is gone out of the way. Now God has put bounds which the devil cannot pass, but the limit is far beyond the conception of mere man. There are some who ignore altogether the personality of the devil. But this denial of his personality is a proof of his power; he hides himself behind the proud ignorance of men (which they think wisdom) and thus blinds them, that he may the more easily ensnare and ruin them. "Devil," they say, is a mythical and poetical personification of evil. As a necessary corollary the gospel is hid from them. "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not," etc. (2 Cor. iv. 3, 4). The mind of the unbeliever is blinded to what is plain to a believer. To hide, pervert, and deny the truth has been the aim of Satan from Eden downwards to the Jew that crucified the Lord of glory Whose words and works bore testimony that He was the Son of God, and that He was come to destroy the works of the devil. How could the Sadducees believe that He was manifested for this purpose when they did not believe in angel or spirit (Acts xxiii. 8)? To the Sadducees of the present day, as to those of old, Satan is only a fable; but to God and the believer he is a reality, a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, a wolf that scatters (but cannot devour) the sheep of God. And if we ask why such power is permitted to him, the answer is, It is for the glory of Christ, that after Satan has done his utmost, Christ may he and must be displayed to the whole universe as the Conqueror of Satan's extremest power. He Who is now acting in grace, and giving eternal life to as many as the Father gives Him, will soon appear in judgment. Satan will raise up a man the direct and personal antagonist of the Lord Jesus - even the "Antichrist but both he and his abettor, in whom is the power of this blinded world, will the Lord cast alive into the pit. The destruction of the enemy, as well as the salvation of believers, proclaim His glory and His power.

From Judah to David there is only a succession of names without any distinguishing mark with the exception of three, and two of these are prominent through their sin. Er, whom the Lord slew, Achar, the troubler of Israel, and Nahshon, the prince of the children of Judah. Having brought the line down to David, the Holy Spirit, as it were, pauses and notes the sons of Hezron (Esrom, Matt. i.) other than Ram (Aram, Matt. i.), i.e. to Jerahmeel, and to Chelubai, the same is called Caleb (see vers. 9 and 18). The honoured line passed through Ram, but his natural connections have a place in the archives of Judah. Doubtless every one named was prominent for some quality or excellence, or for some special blessing conferred which would confer still greater eminence. Hur is the son of Caleb. This is the Hur that with Aaron held up the hands of Moses when Israel fought and overcame Amalek, and was associated with Aaron in the care of the people when Moses went up the mount (Ex. xvii. 12). Bezaleel, grandson of Hur, was named of God and endowed with wisdom for a very special purpose, taught to make all the furniture for the tabernacle (Ex. xxxi). This gave greater eminence than all the riches of Jain, who had twenty-three cities, and took sixty more. But even Segub is named, though only half-brother to Ram. Is it not because of his connection with the ancestry of David, with that line which was always so choice with God that even the least affinity with it entitles to a place in these genealogies? Were not these named ones counted among God's elect ones? Would they be mentioned at all if among those who fell in the wilderness through unbelief? Unless such as Achar, whose sin brought such momentous consequences upon Israel, all whose names appear here, are among the worthies of that people. This special mention of Hezron's family and descendants is not a mere genealogical list from Judah to David where the evil take their place in successional order with the good; but these are men of renown, and while the book of God is read, their names will stand forth as of those whom God would honour.

V. 1891 198.

Of the family of Jerahmeel there is little but the names. The Ram here (1 Chron. 2:25) is nephew to the Ram, son of Hezron, and brother to Jerahmeel (1 Chron. 2:9). But there is in this branch of Hezron's descendants one man most prominent on account of what he was and what he became through the favour of God, and in so sovereign a manner that, while Israel is under law, a Gentile is honoured and prominent in Israel. Sheshan had no sons but daughters. Would not his name and family soon be lost among the thousands of Judah? Nay; for his daughter, though given to his Egyptian servant, stands at the head of thirteen generations (1 Chron. 2:35-41).

When Israel came out of Egypt, a mixed multitude was with them, who became the means of temptation and led them to murmur (Num. xi. 4). But one of the Egyptians that followed Israel had learned to bow to Jehovah, and had found it for his honour to be a servant in the house of Sheshan. He is raised afterwards to be a son in the house of his bondage. Thus a Gentile slave is brought into the commonwealth of Israel, and has inheritance among them, and is in touch not very remote with the family of David.

Is this a specimen of that grace which will come upon the Gentile, even upon Egypt, when the Son of David reigns over the whole earth? For here it is not, as of old, Egypt oppressing Israel, but Israel admitting Egypt to partake of his blessing. The day is coming when the Egyptian and the Assyrian shall serve, and Israel be a blessing in the midst of the land (Isa. xix. 24). The Gentile shall serve Israel, and Israel shall bless the Gentile.

How sovereign the grace which will not overlook the outcast Gentile! The Gentile element is found in the direct line of David's ancestry, for Boaz is the son of Rahab and the husband of Ruth. But the collateral line has its Jatha. And how irrespective of persons, the low and vile, and the high and noble! Gentiles are interwoven with the two tribes, the most prominent as being leaders in the house of Israel: Joseph, through Ephraim, ruling in virtue of the birthright, and Judah, of whom is the true David; Egypt's noble daughter, Asenath, with Joseph; the ignoble Thamar, with Judah; lower down the line, Rahab, of the doomed city; and Ruth, a Moabitess. Here too in a collateral line to that of Ram, an Egyptian slave is found. God would not be limited to Israel when it was a question of showing grace; He was as to law, but even under the old covenant, which was special to Israel, He chooses from among the Gentiles whom He will bless. Now that the work of the cross is done, how much more is the illimitable character of grace — God's grace — proclaimed. From Ephesians we know how it brings poor outcasts now into — not the commonwealth of Israel, but more — the enjoyment and possession of highest privilege, far beyond that of the favoured Israelite. Once we were aliens to the commonwealth, but now we are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and — what Israel was never called, and never was as a nation — we are of the household of God.

In 1 Chronicles 3 we return to 1 Chronicles 2:15 and David's sons and successors are given down to Josiah in regular succession from father to son. It was God's order, and was maintained even when the father was slain by conspirators. So that the interruption of this orderly succession would be strong evidence that God had cast off the nation. And as a fact that order was broken in upon after the death of Josiah, and the wrath began to be poured out as it had not been before. And God no sooner ceases to appoint to the throne than Satan steps in, and by his emissaries, the kings of Egypt and of Babylon, sets up men on the throne whom God rejected and gave up to judgment. Jehoahaz succeeded Josiah in the established order; but, not being confirmed on the throne by God, his reign only lasted for three months. The king of Egypt puts him down and carries him to Egypt, and sets Eliakim (Jehoiakim) on the throne. These were the immediate consequences of Josiah's rashness and folly in going to fight against Pharaoh-Necho, king of Egypt. God had given victory to Israel over larger armies than that which defeated Josiah. But this was pre-determined, and the Judge was at the door. See how God makes all to bow to His will. If Judah bows to the king of Egypt, then must both Egypt and Judah bow to the king of Babylon, for that is the place where their period of captivity is to be endured, and we can see now, the only suited place, for God was going to give rule and dominion to Nebuchadnezzar, and the people who had rebelled against God, as their king, would have to feel as captives the power of the world. For eleven years Jehoiakim — Egypt's nominee — reigns. The king of Babylon appears and takes Jehoiakim to Babylon, and places a child of eight years on the throne. And after three years and ten days he also is carried to Babylon, being still a child. Zedekiah the third son of Josiah and uncle to the child-king taken to Babylon is made king. How like making a football of that throne which Jehovah claims as His own. We know Zedekiah's rebellion and end; with him the semblance of the kingdom of Judah ceased, and Jerusalem was destroyed. Yet wonderfully is the royal line of David preserved. Satan was allowed by his instruments — yea the instruments of God's wrath — the king of Egypt and the king of Babylon, to set aside God's order.

Here (1 Chron. 3) we appear to have all the sons of Josiah; 2 Kings xxiii. and 2 Chron. xxxvi. give the names of those that were made kings. But Matthew gives the right line from Josiah, omitting collaterals, down to Joseph the husband of Mary. "And the sons of Josiah were the first born Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum" (Ver. 15). Not the first-born who died in Egypt (2 Kings xxiii. 34) but the second carries on the line, and he is carried to Babylon, and his son Jeconiah who was born previous to the carrying away. This grandson of Josiah is the one that the Spirit of God singles out of all Josiah's sons and grandsons to maintain the true genealogy from David to Messiah. All the rest are, we may say, lumped together by Matthew. "And Josias begat Jechonias [Jeconiah] and his brethren about the time they were carried away to Babylon." (Matt. i.)

[*J. A. kindly points out the misconception in p.199, cols. 1 and 2, that Jehoiakim was taken to Babylon. This was Nebuchadnezzar's purpose (2 Chron. 36:6), but changed probably by the king's submission. He died in shame at Jerusalem, as Jeremiah predicted. Jehoiachin also reigned three months, not years.]

Then after that, while in Babylon, Salathiel is born. Whatever changes in name may be as regards the others, there is nothing surprising in it, for the king of Babylon might as a matter of policy change their Hebrew names to Babylonish, even as he did in the case of Daniel and his three companions. He would, not unnaturally, seek to efface from their minds all remembrance of what they were, and all thought of their country, and of God's temple; and if so, equally an attempt on Satan's part to swamp God's line of kings in the common mass of Gentile names. God, who holds all in His hand, may have led the writer of the Chronicles and Matthew to give, the one their own names as Jews, the other the names as they were known among the heathen. Yet in that confusion when driven as captives to Babylon, the Spirit of God connects the last real king of Judah — Josiah — with his descendant born in Babylon. So Matthew has Josias, Jechonias Salathiel, (the dark time of Josiah's sons is abridged): compare 1 Chron. iii. 15–17 with Matthew i. 11, 12. It is enough for the true believer to know that both Chronicles and the Gospel are inspired. Scripture is inspired by God, the foolish criticisms of learned infidels notwithstanding. The genealogy in Chronicles terminates of course with the return from Babylon. In Matthew the promised Seed appears, the last of the line. He will have no successor, for He lives for ever. And though the outward link between Jehovah and the throne of Judah — of Israel — is broken, and man appears to control the destinies of that land, the due time is coming when the Son of David will assert His rights to the throne and kingdom. The kings of the earth will resist his claim, as they have: Jehovah has them in derision.

But what a principle of exceeding grace it is that made all Israel's blessing to hang upon the king! Most were bad, and chastisement fell on the nation. Some were good, none perfect, and prosperity followed. When He comes of Whom the prophet says, "Righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins" (Isa. xi. 5, Isa. xxxii. 1), who can compute the blessedness of all Israel, when the Perfect MAN sits on His Throne? yea, who can tell the joy of the whole earth when God says of Him that He reigns in righteousness? When Matthew wrote his Gospel, the throne was occupied by an enemy. The might and prowess of a David was a thing of the long past, the splendour of Solomon too was all gone, and the true Heir of their power and glory (yea, of much more) was in appearance a poor carpenter, the reputed son of a carpenter. But the crown is His; the royal title is, through Joseph, legally vested in Jesus the Son of Mary, and in Him it remains: and soon He will take the kingdom which is His both humanly and divinely. "For thine," O Lord, "is the kingdom and the power and the glory, Amen."

1891 213 The main object of the Chronicles is now accomplished. The King is revealed, typically by David, who is brought to the throne by the same power which will ere long make the enemies of Christ to be His footstool (Ps. cx.); thus David becomes the pledge of the fulfilment of the promises of God to Israel.

Now that the purposes of God concerning His King are made known, the children of the kingdom are named through the heads and chiefs of families. The tribes are given in the appointed order, first, the royal tribe of Judah (1 Chron. 4). Judah was mentioned before in 1 Chron. 2, because David is of that tribe: not the families of Judah, but David's genealogy is the point there. Here in chap. 4 it is the tribe that comes first, having the pre-eminence as being the royal tribe, next in importance to the royal family of David. Most of the great and honourable names of that tribe are in connection. with his family.

There is honourable mention made of one man for his piety. Jabez is named, not because he had possessions, but in that he prayed. "And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, O that Thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me and that Thou wouldst keep me from evil that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested" (iv. 9, etc.) His prayer was in keeping with God.* promises and Israel's relationships. This is the character of acceptable prayer, and the action of true faith which rests and builds upon the revealed word of God. Earthly prosperity was the unerring mark of God's favour to an Israelite. So witnessed the Psalmist. "I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread" (Ps. xxxvii. 25). It is not so now. The Lord Jesus Himself was here as a poor and dependent man. He had no possessions in this world. Certain women ministered to Him of their substance (Luke viii. 2, 3). And the word for us who now believe is, "having food and raiment, let us be content therewith" (1 Tim. vi. 8). The Christian's thought, even when having possessions here, if true to his heavenly calling, is, that he is only a pilgrim, a sojourner here below, and looks not at earthly possessions great or small. There are earthly wants to be supplied, and our heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of these things (Matt. vi. 22). The foundation of faith is the same now as then — the word of God. If the word promised every earthly good, contingent upon their obedience, the same word gives us the assurance of heavenly blessing through Him Who has secured them by His death. The pathway to glory may be through poverty, reproach, and much tribulation; but the heavenly inheritance, reserved in heaven for us, is beyond the reach of thieves, or the touch of moth and rust.

"Jabez was more honourable than his brethren." Is this an intimation that his brethren had forgotten that God was the Giver of their good things? Here they are not said to pray, and they have no such answer. God grants him (Jabez) that which he requested. Among that rebellious and stiff-necked people there were men of faith, and Jabez was one.

Hezron and his children were given in 1 Chron. ii. because David was of that line. In this chapter (1 Chron. 4) we seem to have the descendants of Zerah. "These are the families of the Zerathites." But whether children of Zerah or Pharez, they are of Judah. And besides Jabez we have Caleb, a well-known name, the son of Jephunneh, the son of Kenaz, if we may so conclude from Num. xxxii. 12. "Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenazite." He was the companion of Joshua in faithfulness, and they were the only two who left Egypt and reached the promised land. All others who entered Canaan were born in the wilderness. Then comes Shelah (ver. 21). So the three branches from Judah, Pharez, Zerah, and Shelah, have a place here. But though Shelah was the eldest (Er and Onan being slain in judgment), there is no name of note among them such as Jabez and Caleb; they are workers in fine linen, as others were craftsmen (ver. 14). There were princes among them "who had dominion in Moab," perhaps those who were appointed to gather gifts (tribute) from Moab (xviii. 2). But "these are ancient [past] things." Let us remember that this genealogy was written after the return from Babylon. What honour they had was lost through their sin, and "These were the potters and those that dwelt among plants and hedges, there they dwelt with the king for his work" (ver. 23). These descendants of princes seem to be gardeners to the king of Babylon.

The sons of Simeon" (ver. 24). Why is this tribe in such close communication with Judah, coming before Reuben and Levi who for different reasons (Reuben losing the birthright, Levi gaining the temple service) are both prominent after Judah? The reason is found in Joshua xix. 1, "their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah;" and turning to Gen. xlix. 6, 7, both Levi and Simeon were to be scattered in Israel. Truly Levi was scattered, but how honourably and blessedly! appointed to maintain the worship of Jehovah; no care nor anxiety but that which pertained to the worship of God. Simeon was small in Israel. "Neither did all their family multiply like to the children of Judah." Notwithstanding, those mentioned by name were princes, and the house of their fathers prospered (ver. 38). Five hundred of them smote the remnant of the Amalekites that had escaped and dwelt in their cities. This down even to Hezekiah's day. But the word of Jacob at the close of his life was prophetic of the future of each tribe. Simeon and Levi were sons of Leah, and were bound together in the wickedness which caused Jacob to say, "cursed be their anger for it was fierce, and their wrath for it was cruel. I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel."(Gen. xlix.) Simeon was the elder, and, may be, compelled Levi to share in his cruelty. They were scattered in Israel. But how wondrously and graciously fulfilled in Levi! His scattering was his exaltation. Simeon on the other hand dwindles down to little more than one-third of his number (compare Num. i. 23, Num. ii. 13, Num. xxvi. 14). Zimri, a prince in that tribe, was a ringleader in the iniquity of Poor. The plague that followed slew twenty-four thousand of them and made a terrible breach in that tribe. After the plague, the Lord bids Moses and Eleazar to "take the sum of the congregation;" and Simeon is found to be twenty-two thousand, instead of fifty-nine thousand as at the beginning.

1 Chronicles 5.

1891 230 "Now the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel." (1 Chron. v.) As such he had a prominent place. For the firstborn, or he who stands in that place, takes precedence of the whole family, and through him the principal ancestral line is ordinarily traced. But Reuben is set aside, and the natural prominence of the birthright only sank him the lower when he lost it. When did the natural order ever maintain itself according to the righteous government of God? For so it is that the order of nature is not God's order, and nothing can meet the aberrance of nature but the sovereign mercy of God. And so it ever was since man fell. This mercy is seen in God's governmental ways; how much more in His ways of grace where as a fundamental principle, it is first "that which is natural, and afterwards that which is spiritual"! God gave the birthright to Joseph. Yet even here, showing the sovereignty of grace, the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright. Whose genealogy? Who so glorious, so exalted, as to set aside the honoured line of him that had the birthright from God, and to choose another? Thus seemingly contempt is poured upon the things that men value, but, really, carrying out His own purpose.

It is the genealogy of the Chief Ruler. In the wisdom of God the birthright and the chief rule are for a brief space separated. And necessarily so for the purposes of redemption. The birthright was Christ's when He came into the world, it belongs to Him personally. But if He had assumed the chief rule then, which then could only have been in judgment — if the Lord Jesus had taken the supremacy then, which is His officially, where would be the cross? where the glory of God, the highest glory, the glory of His grace? where redemption? He came at the first to be cut off and have nothing, and withal to be hated and rejected by His own, and not to take the kingdom; for when the people would have taken and carnally have made Him king, He departed from them. There was a prior, if not a deeper, question ere He could appear as Chief Ruler according to the counsels of God. It required a distinct type, such as Joseph is, to set forth the truth that the Chief Ruler, Whose was the birthright, should appear as One Whose birthright was denied. To three chosen witnesses He gave a glimpse of His own personal glory as the Only Begotten; and they have borne testimony, "and we beheld His glory, glory as of an Only-Begotten with Father" (John i. 14). But He the First Born, possessing every right in heaven and on earth, veiled His glory, for the fulfilling of the counsels of grace, and was cast out, rejected by His own people, as Joseph by his brethren.

These are the purposings of God's love and are shadowed forth from the beginning. This infinite love shines bright in the eternal counsels of God before the beginning when the Eternal Son said, "Lo I come to do Thy will, O God". And since sin came in, God in all His dealings and ways of old declares how great is His love, and how it could be righteously manifested to sinners.

Sacrifice and blood-shedding from the earliest time and all that was commanded under the law point to and have a link with the cross, without which nothing was possible for man but everlasting perdition. So necessary was the cross for the unlimited preaching of God's love to the world that even Jesus the Lord whose heart was overflowing with infinite and divine love — even He said before He suffered, "I have a baptism to be baptised with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished?" (Luke xii. 50) — till the righteous foundation be laid.

Joseph as the ruler of Egypt is typical of the future rule and reign of Christ: how faint the type when compared with the glories revealed for the future! The power and might of the Chief Ruler and Conqueror was foretold in the same word that announced His sufferings; in Eden the Lord God said to the serpent, the great enemy, "He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel"; and before the hour of suffering came what instances of divine almighty power were seen! The triumph at the Red Sea, the victories of Joshua, of David; and the glory of Solomon, crowning all the previous triumphs and victories, present a vivid though brief picture of the future reign and dominion of the Chief Ruler, and how the serpent's head will be bruised.

But the final victory, thus assured and pledged by all these, must come after the suffering. The bruising of the heel of the Seed comes before the crushing of the Serpent's head. The cross is before the crown; the throne is set up in the shadow of the cross, and the glories of each shine out all the more. Yea, they cannot be separated, together so blended that they are one glory; even as the cherubim upon the mercy-seat gazing upon the blood-besprinkled cover were with it beaten out of the same piece of gold (Ex. xxxvii. 7). The truth is that all in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation have for their object the sufferings and glories of Christ, the rejected One but yet the Chief Ruler. And all these pictures and types are only shadows, not the very image of that divine and fullest love which had its most perfect expression in the cross, and in the glories that must follow. For all these taken separately could but faintly declare the grace and love (yea and the righteousness), which are now blended together and concentred in the person of Christ, the crucified One. We can trace their then shadowy, but now well defined, outlines in the bright light of accomplished redemption, in the cross, the staple truth of the N. T., and of the O. T. also; and with clearer eye behold the coming glory.

The first mention of birthright is in connection with one that despised it; and to his contempt for it the apostle alludes as a warning to believers "lest any man fail of the grace of God," etc., etc. (Heb. xii. 15, 16). For all in the church of God are first-born ones, and the privileges of our birthright are inalienable, though we may if worldly minded here lose the joy, even the knowledge of them. Esau selling his birthright for a mess of pottage is called profane; it is as if a Christian would barter his heavenly position and character for some fancied earthly good, for present ease in this world, or to escape the reproach of Christ. Our privileges are for the present time joined with the reproach of the world; for "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. iii. 12).

"Birthright" was one of God's landmarks for the support and maintenance of due authority and order amongst men. But the radical spirit of the present age is labouring to set this aside, as well as all else that God has given for government in this world. Esau despised and sold it. Reuben lost it. Jacob obtained it by taking advantage of Esau's necessities; but though he had given all the treasures of the world for it, something more was needed than buying it. That purchase Was an empty form and of no value (did Esau know this?). Isaac was the depository of the birthright, not to do with it as he pleased, but according to God's will. All our gifts are deposits from God only to be held and used according to His will. By mean trickery and lying Jacob deceived his father, for he said "I am Esau thy firstborn". Isaac was not deceived as to God's word; he knew that the elder was to serve the younger; but his will blinded him as to the personality of Jacob, though not without misgiving. There is no more striking instance than this of the over-ruling hand of God: man's will seemingly successful, but God accomplishing His. To Joseph the birthright is a gift immediate from God, with no unrighteous attempt to obtain it. In dreams it was foreshadowed to him though he knew not their significance, and with a lad's wonder related them to his father and brethren. Jacob, whose experience (for he had had his dream at Bethel) saw deeper into the meaning of Joseph's dreams; yet like Isaac not obedient in heart, forgetting perhaps his own case, he, astonished, rebuked the lad but could not help pondering on them. His brethren, too, surmised the meaning and hated him. They resented the idea of Joseph being their chief. The birthright should not be his if they could prevent it; so they sold him as a slave into Egypt. It was there that the privileges and authority of the birthright were seen in him. The means they took to prevent were God's means to accomplish. Their sheaves stood round about and made obeisance to his sheaf (Gen. xlii. 6, etc.). Yet another dream foretells a wider sphere of dominion, for "the sun and the moon and the eleven stars" bowed to him.

So it will be in the coming day. Joseph takes rank in the family as firstborn, though not naturally so. And our Joseph is not the first man but the Second, not the first Adam but the Last. Yet is He the Firstborn, and when He appears, Israel as the sheaves of corn, the first-fruits of the earth, will make obeisance to Him.

Jacob's view of the prophetic dream seems limited to his own family. When he heard the sun and moon and eleven stars paid homage to Joseph, he said, "Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee on the earth"? The sun and the moon were, to Jacob, father and mother. But this dream goes far beyond Jacob's family, or the nation of Israel. In that bright day, Israel as the first of the nations on the earth will be to the subject Gentiles, whose honour it will be to serve the Israelites — Israel will be to them as the sun and moon and stars, the sources of power and authority. For Christ will rule from Zion, and Israel the chosen nation shall be princes in the earth, the channels of its millennial blessings.

Joseph was in actual possession of the honours of birthright when his brethren bowed to him, and when he superintended his father's burial. But his glory and honour extended beyond this, for Pharaoh commanded the Egyptians to bow the knee before him. "Thou shalt be over my house, and according to thy word shall all my people be ruled: only on the throne will I be greater than thou" (Gen. xli. 40).

What wondrous truths are wrapped up in Joseph's dreams! For their fulfilment in his own person is but the type of a still more wonderful but blessed fulfilment in Him in Whom all the honours and glories of birthright and chief rule will be united. It was the will of God then to give the birthright to Joseph and the royalty to Judah. Therefore we read, "Judah prevailed above his brethren and of him came the chief ruler". For a brief space both are seen in Joseph.

"Judah prevailed." What a gracious way of declaring God's pre-determined purpose! Historically, in what did Judah prevail so as to obtain this honour? He was one with his brethren in their hatred of Joseph. If he shrank from shedding his brother's blood, it was he who suggested his sale to the slave-dealing Midianites after Reuben had interposed to save his life. As to plotting against his birthright, they were all equally guilty, with perhaps the exception of Reuben who well knew the birth-right was lost for him, and therefore would not consent to Joseph's death. Judah's prevailing is simply the will of God. Hence he prevailed, not by his goodness. The Holy Spirit has given a sketch from his domestic, or private, life; and his character and sin are plainly told. (Gen. xxxviii.) No other of Jacob's sons is so brought out into the light. Moreover, from his evil connection sprang Pharez through whom the genealogy is traced.

Between Joseph's dreams and their fulfilment there was a period of suffering; cast out, hated by his brethren, sold as a slave to Gentiles, yet ruling over them before his brethren bow to him. There passes before our hearts One greater than Joseph; Who endured greater hatred from His own, and was by them delivered to Gentiles to be crucified; Who now is bowed to and worshipped by the called out Gentile (Acts xv. 14), while the Jew is yet in the land of famine.

1891 246 Jacob did not know the glories of Him Who was hidden under the symbols of Joseph and his dreams. He did not know that they pointed to One Who will not only be the First-born and Chief Ruler with regard to Israel, but also of all creation, One to whom every knee must bow, and every tongue confess. Whatever of authority there be on earth — sun, moon, stars, symbols of rule here below — must pay homage to the Supreme, the Chief Ruler, when He appears. Yea, as if earthly sphere were too limited for the extent of His dominion and the display of His glory, God saith, "Let all the angels of God worship Him". All things in heaven, on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, dominions, principalities or powers, must pay homage to God's great First-born.

Yet is there a birthright even higher than this, this which gives title to reign over all things above and below, the works of His hands. As First-born of creation He is necessarily "Chief Ruler", and such the Lord Jesus was as soon as born in this world; but He was much more. Of that Child the prophet Isaiah (ix. 6) gives the glorious names, "His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." Though to human eyes He only appeared as a helpless babe which would have fallen if His mother had not held Him, yet at that very time, apparently an unconscious babe, He was in communion with God. "Thou didst make Me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts" (Ps. xxii.). And why wonder, why deny the divine Person of the Lord, whether presented to us in holy writ as the Babe in the manger, or as the wearied Man sitting on a well? Let us remember, as our heads are bowed before Him, that He is the Word that was God, and did not cease to be God when He became flesh. Were we humble in His presence, and bowed to the word which says, No man knoweth the Son but the Father, there would not be such unholy, not to say blasphemous questionings and assertions about Eternal Life. He was that all through, from His birth to His death, and could not be otherwise; for He was the Word, the eternal Word; in Him was life, i. e. the source of life, and that He might give eternal life to whomsoever came to Him, became flesh, died, and rose again. And John, who gives this wondrous fact at the beginning of his Gospel, closes his Epistle with the words, pointing (not to a "sphere," but) to the Son, Jesus Christ, "This is the true God and Eternal Life". He was and is the Eternal Son, and therefore personally the Eternal Life.

To return to the genealogy, He is presented as the Chief Ruler of the tribes of Israel. This was but a light thing in comparison with all the glories enwrapped in the title "Chief Ruler". Though the title was His as born in this world, yet there was but one pathway to enter into the glory. "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory" (Luke xxiv. 26). He humbled Himself even to the death of the cross. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. ii. 9). Death was the path to these glories, but only the pathway, for He could not be holden of it.

And now as the risen Man He takes His place as the Chief Ruler over all things. But another name He has won, which crowns many other names and glories, He is the First-born from the dead. His name as the First-born of creation is merged — not lost — in that of being the First-born from the dead. And as such, the risen exalted Man, God gave Him to be Head to the church, a place more precious to Him than the throne of Israel, or of the world. Not as incarnate is He given to the church, but as the risen glorified Man, seated on the throne of God. How exalted is the church in her Head! Without death and resurrection there could be no church. Even for the stability of earthly blessing there was no other way. But the glories are distinct.

As Chief Ruler His human ancestry is given, and as the Son of David on the throne of Israel praise is waiting for Him in Zion (Ps. lxv.). It is the praise of millennial saints, who will worship Him in the full blaze of His official glory, when He reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Herein is one distinction between millennial worship and that which the church now offers to God. They see His manifested glory, and praise. We believe His glory, and in faith worship Him before He takes the kingdom, while He is still hidden from the world, and on the throne of God. When He takes His own earthly throne, there will be worship suited to His manifested glory: not the inner court of the temple thrown open, and every believer as now entering through the rent veil. A sample (so to speak) is given of millennial worship, and a special tribe is chosen for it: the same tribe that was appointed by Moses — Levi; who in the future will stand in the same relation to the other tribes as in the time past. Only how faint the shadow. with all its splendour in Solomon's day, to that which shall be displayed when the great King is present, He Who is greater than Solomon.

In giving this genealogy, the throne and the temple are prominent before the mind of God. For both must be set up on the earth. Jesus the Lord, the Son of David, fills both. The throne is His proclaimed all through scripture. The temple is His declared as emphatically, if not so widely, in the word of God. The Psalms and the Prophets abundantly speak of the temple of the Lord, and in the Gospels the Lord Jesus Himself said, "My Father's house". We have had the throne, and Judah in connection with it. Next in promise — if not equally — is the temple, and Levi in connection with it. Not that the throne is separate from the temple, or the temple without the throne. For David — the throne — superintends the service of the temple, and arranges the order of it.

But before the tribe of Levi is given, there is a brief mention of those who were content to remain outside the promised land. They were attracted by the fertility of the land east of the Jordan, and regarded not the promise. It was not falling in the wilderness, but it was failing of the grace of God. The land of their choice might to their eyes possess every advantage, fertile and suitable for "much cattle", but it was not the promised land. So far from labouring to enter into that rest, they pleaded to be left outside, outside that good land which Moses so longed for. As a whole Israel failed to enter; as a whole the nation came short of the glory of God, and then most of all.

Reuben and Gad (Num. xxxii.) are the two tribes which seek an inheritance other than God had provided, and doubtless their influence drew half of Manasseh. So two and a half tribes choose independently of God. Moses rebuked them, thinking (as appears from his words) that they would not help their brethren in the war with the Canaanites. But when they assured him of their willingness to go fully armed to the war with the other tribes, Moses was pacified, and gave them the land they wished for. Nay, more, Moses said that if they went armed over Jordan, then afterward "ye shall return and be guiltless before the Lord". Guiltless! So said Moses, but not the Lord. On the contrary, here in 1 Chron. v. 25 the divine record is, "And they transgressed". The words of Moses convey no reproof for choosing possessions outside the promised land. But was not this their transgression? which the Holy Spirit emphatically marks. All Israel were transgressors; these are held up to view as having an evil prominence among transgressors. Even in the records of the returned captives who had themselves been carried away to Babylon on account of their own transgression, these two and a half tribes are called transgressors. "And they transgressed" points to their great sin in choosing for themselves when God had chosen for them. If these words refer only to the following: "went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land", they were not worse in this than all the other tribes. But they are prominent here as despisers of God's gift, for evidently they thought they had chosen a better land than that which the Lord had chosen for them. Yet though they so transgressed, they are not omitted in this genealogy, for they are sons of Israel, a part of the chosen nation. But, because of this sin, only brief mention is made of them. God did not forget them while He noted their sin. He helped them in their wars because they trusted in Him. They cried to Him in their need, a sort of faith in God; but where was their obedience? where His honour?

God always hears those who put their trust in Him, and call upon Him in time of danger, even though they may be in a wrong position, and practically forget Him, when things around them seem prosperous. And is not this one of His gracious ways of rebuking our unfaithfulness?

These two and a half tribes did not cease to be Israelites; but as outside the promised land, the special privileges of the temple were lost to them, as also the consciousness, such as the other tribes might have had, that the manifested power of Jehovah in the battles with the Canaanite was for them. All their armed men went over the Jordan to help their brethren in the war, yet not to conquer an inheritance for themselves where God had chosen for them, but to return to their own choice where they made their home, not a temporary home, for there they built fenced cities for their children. As tribes, Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh did not enter the land. They became mere onlookers of the triumphs of Israel. The salutary lessons in connection with Ai, with Gibeon, etc., were only, so to say, second-hand to them. Not for them the mighty power was displayed at Jericho, which might have remained standing, so far as their possessions were concerned; not for them the victories over Adonizedek and Jabin. Not for them, as for the other tribes, did the sun and moon stand still, or the Lord send great hail-stones upon the army of the allied five kings (Joshua 10). Indirectly they partook of the resulting prosperity, for all the nations feared Israel. But God's purpose was — and is — to establish all the people of Israel in that land. This will yet be done, but, humanly speaking, these tribes frustrated that purpose in the past. God in grace rising above responsible man's failure will fulfil His purpose, and prove that, where sin abounded, grace yet more abounds.

Their beginning seemed fair; there were men of valour among them. Though renowned, there was this fatal charge against them, "And they transgressed." They were shut out from the peculiar blessing of the land. How great their loss! Yet their loss is not the most solemn part of their disobedience, but their preference of their own liking to the goodness of God. The consequences are two-fold, moral and judicial. They went after the gods of the people of the land — they became idolators. This was the moral consequence of their position. And the judicial is that the "God of Israel" brought upon them the king of Assyria, who carried them into captivity, far away from the land that they valued above God's land.

Perhaps it was the same time that the Assyrian overthrew the kingdom of Israel under Hoshea. Be that as it may, their tribal history is summed up in three prominent facts: they refused God's land; they went after other gods; they were carried away by Assyria. The first inevitably led to the second, and then came judgment. If their captivity be at the same time and by the same power that executed the Lord's judgment upon Israel in Hoshea's reign, why is their end so early brought before us, their beginning and their end contained in a few verses? Of the other tribes we have the beginning, not the end so distinctly told. The answer is found in the words, "And they transgressed". They are dismissed seemingly before Levi is given, which had special charge of the temple, and to lead in the worship of God; as if being outside the promised land they had cut themselves off from the privileges of the temple and the protection of the presence of Jehovah in the midst of them. Sovereign grace will bring them back at the end, and Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh will stand in their lot with the other tribes, and in equal numbers (Rev. vii.), at least symbolically.

From the moment of their choosing a possession, they were morally on different ground before God. To despise the promised land is a greater sin than failure in the land. This was the case of the remaining tribes, and brought down heavy judgments upon them; but the sin of despising God's land is over and above the sin of failure in the land. And God marks it, "they transgressed".

When Joshua encouraged Israel to go and possess the land which the Lord gave them (Joshua 1), he has a different word for these transgressors; he speaks of their land as that which Moses gave them; and these go through the Jordan, that is, their warriors, for their wives and children remain behind, to fulfil their promise to Moses: the nine and half go to the war on the ground of God's promise to Israel. God's promise on the one hand, man's promise on the other. What a difference!

1 Chronicles 5:25-26.

1891 265 The God of Israel stirred up the King of Assyria against them (ver. 26), "God of Israel" is significant. It is God in relationship with Israel. Israel's God resented Israel's choice of other lands than His own. It was a slight put upon His wisdom and His love, and was sure to bring judgment. The judgment might be delayed; there might even be blessing during the delay. Valiant men did arise, and their enemies were subdued. But when their cup was full, when they added idolatry to their transgression the God of Israel used the King of Assyria as His instrument of judgment.

The Lord has called His people now to a good land which is to believers what Canaan was to Israel. Canaan is not heaven by-and-by. In heaven there is rest, in Canaan there is fighting. Our Canaan is the knowledge and enjoyment of heaven's blessings while we are yet dwelling on earth. This enjoyment is inseparably bound up with practical separation from the world, and from the things of the world. The love of this world is incompatible with the love of the Father (1 John ii. 15).

But to enjoy the blessings, the Jordan must be crossed. Passing through the Red sea is surely redemption. The power of the enemy was broken. Israel went through it, led by the miraculous power of God, under the efficacy of the sprinkled blood. It was the "salvation of God," but it landed them in a desert, and there was no water. When passing through the sea they were as fugitives fleeing from the enemy, here in crossing the Jordan they are as a conquering army going to subdue and possess. But (symbolically) they are on holy ground, where all that is of the flesh must be judged as in the presence of God. Hence Gilgal. And here let us remark that circumcision is no preparation for going through the Jordan. Gilgal comes after. The knowledge that we are on the resurrection side of death ought to lead us to circumcise our hearts, that circumcision which is not made by hands, but the mortifying our members which are upon the earth. It was after Gilgal that they did eat the old corn of the land, and with believers now there must be the judgment of all that is of the flesh before we can rejoice in heavenly blessings. Crossing the Jordan for us is complete separation practically from the world. The Lord Jesus said "they are not of the world even as I am not of the world:" This is true of every child of God now, as to his standing in Christ but to realise that position, so as to say with Paul "the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" is to enter practically into that good land which is our possession, although living on the earth.

Alas, the "transgression" of the two and half tribes has been repeated by those who live in this present day, whose guilt is therefore greater, even as the spiritual blessings of the church of God are higher and greater than the earthly blessings of Israel. Do not similar consequences flow now? Then the disobedient ungrateful tribes fell into idolatry. Now not to speak of images, relics, saints so called, what of those who boast of deliverance from all these idols, but who are really enslaved by that far subtler phase of idolatry, loving and striving for the world's riches and honours, or its pleasant things? This brought these tribes into captivity to the Assyrian. And is not the world-church in captivity to the world? Are not its forms, ceremonies, ecclesiastical order, all controlled by the exigencies of the powers of the world? And the same judgment awaits it, yea a more fearful doom than overtook them. Let the predicted fall of Babylon the Great testify. But as God raised up valiant men among these tribes, so has He raised up upright men among those who have followed in their steps. What a valiant man was Luther, and according to their light, Wesley and Whitfield, not to name others as valiant as they, to whom God gave victory.

1 Chronicles 6.

1891 278 The tribe of Levi is next in importance to Judah. Judah must have the first notice, for He Who came of Judah has the pre-eminence in all things. The well-being and happiness of Israel and of the whole earth depend upon His presence. Equally depends upon his presence the perfection of earthly praise and worship. It will not be then in the coining day, as it was in the wilderness, where a prophet and a priest are found; then there will be a temple, and for the temple there must be a King. And the Lord will come to His temple, and He is Prophet, Priest, and King in His own Person: as Prophet revealing God, as Priest the people's representative before God, as King providing for and appointing the order of worship according to God. And so David, as type, ordered all the temple service. The offerings upon the altar of burnt-offering, the altar of incense, the work of the most holy place and to make atonement for Israel. All this is the special function of Aaron, who has a prominence in Levi similar to David's in the tribe of Judah; and none could interfere with Aaron or his sons, or their appointed work. But each branch of the tribe of Levi had to look to David for the detail of their service, and always according to. all that Moses, the servant of God, had commanded.

There is great care and minuteness discernible in the genealogy of the Levites. And this is what we might expect; for they had sole charge of the temple service. It was theirs to keep constantly before the eye of Israel the outward means of worship, to guard them from idols, for what is there of which God is more jealous than the purity of His worship? Before the Son was manifested, what was it that moved Jehovah to jealousy? What but Israel's forsaking Him and transferring their homage to idols? At the beginning of their course Jehovah declared Himself, "For thou shalt worship no other god; for Jehovah Whose name is jealous, is a jealous God" (Ex. xxxiv. 14). The word is emphatic: not only is God a jealous God, but His name is Jealous. He takes this name in view of idols. If that was His name under law when commanding men to worship Him, can He be less jealous now? Connected inseparably with the worship of God, is the worship of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Worship centres in Him; any other centre makes false worship and is abomination to God. God the Father is now seeking worshippers, who are to worship Him in Spirit (? in the Spirit) and in truth. The praises of the past day were surrounded by types and shadows, God dwelling in the thick darkness, where all the value of these shadows was that they were only shadows having no light of their own. They pointed to a better thing.

Levi is dedicated to the service of God, and separated from common Israelites. No inheritance is given to them as to the other tribes. They are Jehovah's pensioners. He provides for them out of Israel's abundance. Each tribe gave a portion to the Levites, few cities from them that had less, many from those that had more.

But God's care for His holy things is manifest in His preserving thus the record of Levi's sons so minutely, and appointing to each his particular work (see Num. iii. and iv.) Of Levi's three sons Kohath has the first place, from him Amram, then Aaron and Moses, and Miriam too is named; and from Aaron the line of priests. These were prominent in the tribe of Levi, they were leaders of the people (Micah vi. 4). Miriam led the first song, a remarkable position of honour. Aaron as high priest led the people in worship and stood before God for them. Moses the prophet led them in their journeys through the wilderness. And he stands alone in his peculiar place as prophet. Aaron had sons to succeed him in the priest's office, for that line of priesthood must continue until the appointed time. Moses looks far away into the then distant future, over the times of Samuel, and Isaiah, and of all the prophet band and sees the Prophet as his successor in the Lord Jesus Himself. Of Whom Moses by the Spirit of God says, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me, unto Him shall ye hearken." Yea, God Himself thus speaks, "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee" (Deut. xviii. 15-19). "Like unto thee." None like Moses till He came, but then how infinitely He surpassed the mediator of the old covenant!

We have Aaron's family down to the Babylonish captivity. His family was as distinct from ordinary Levites, as the Levites were from common Israelites. The priestly line is given without a break from Aaron to Jehozadak, who "went into captivity when the Lord carried away Judah and Jerusalem by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar." But there is in this list special mention of Azariah, "he it is that executed the priest's office in the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem" (vi. 10). He was high priest when Uzziah was king. There were extraordinary circumstances in his day. In spite of the king's presumptuous interference, Azariah, firm and valiant for God's truth and order, resisted the king, who, censer in hand, was proceeding to burn incense. A mere time-server would have yielded to royalty. Not so Azariah: faithful and zealous for the maintenance of the established order, he went in after the king, and with him fourscore priests of Jehovah, valiant men, who could and would use force if necessary. There he fearlessly and as with authority says, "Not to thee, Uzziah, to burn incense . . . Go out of the sanctuary, for thou hast trespassed." In the list of priests Azariah stands prominent. It is honourable mention of his unflinching courage where others might have yielded. No other such instance is recorded, whether we look at the king's transgression or the priest's fidelity. God's order in His own temple must be maintained, though confusion be everywhere else. That sanctuary was a worldly one (Heb. ix. 1), and is not now in existence; yet is there a heavenly sanctuary, a better tabernacle, in which God is as jealous of His order as in the past. There is order now, even when we are called to walk by faith, and not by sight. This to man is confusion, for all men have not faith. Walking by faith, unswayed by sight, constitutes the difference, truly immense, between the present time and the dispensation of law. It was necessary, and the law demanded a sacerdotal order, a tabernacle or temple, and a service to be performed in it, which would be unlawful elsewhere. All this is past for the present time; while the Lord is absent and unseen, we walk by faith which will only cease when we see Him. There is now no priestly order according to natural birth or of man's selecting, but the Lord Jesus as Master calling and appointing whom He will from among the lowly and poor as from the rich, the unlearned as from scholars. And He gave "some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers." He divides among them the work, and bestows His gifts as it pleases Him. It would be inconsistent with the walk of faith if there were a caste known by birth or by outward garb who were in a nearer position to God, who had a call or place of nearness exclusive of other believers. There was such a place in Israel. No such exclusive place is now in the church of God. The believers are children of God, are priests of God, and have access to the Father, as they have the Holy Ghost.

The ruin of the professing church is not more apparent in any thing than in men's going back to the old thing, turning again to the beggarly elements of the world (Gal. iv. 9). To take up these is to reunite the torn veil which was rent in twain when Jesus our Lord accomplished redemption on the cross. The will of man ever contrary to God seeks to re-establish that which God has set aside, and places a barrier between God the Father and His own children. Where is access to the Father if a self-asserted priest must intervene? But this is Christendom, whether we look at one system or another, whether the autocratic, the oligarchic, or the democratic aspect prevail, it is the will and order of man, which is high treason against the Lord.

The church is not left without order, but it is God's; and the single-eyed believer may surely learn it from God's word. Alas! what we see advancing with rapid strides in the secular world, and in the religious, even attempts to show itself in the assembly of God. May all saints of God be preserved from the spirit of self-exaltation which is so closely connected with the spirit of infidelity. It is the sure precursor of ruin for that in which it is found. Like the raging waves which foam out their own shame. Human power and order may for a while force a calm, but it is the calm of the Dead Sea.

1 Chronicles 6 – 9.

1891 296 The inspired writer begins again with the sons of Levi (1 Chron. vi. 16). The special line of the priesthood, the sons of Aaron, are as prominent in Levi, as the line of kings, the sons of David, are in Judah. Here the three branches of the tribe, Gershom, Kohath, and Merari, the sons of each, and the appointment of one from each family to be a leader in the service of song.

The importance of song as part of the service to be rendered to God is seen in the particular care taken that the leaders in that choir should have a sort of double witness or attestation of their right to the name of Levi, and therefore of their qualification to be leaders of song, and to the privileges of the Levitical tribe. Of the sons of Kohath, Heman; of Gershom, Asaph; and of Merari, Ethan. These had been included in the general list of descendants (16–19) now the genealogy of each is traced backward to Levi (1 Chron. 6:33-47). There is no such care manifested for any other branch of Levitical service. Why such particular care about the singers? Because none must be allowed to sing, but those who have the right. And who now have the right to sing? Redemption gives the right. Should there be songs for slaves? Whether to a willing or a groaning slave, deliverance must first come, and in that comes the appointment to sing. The care with which God by David assigns the service of song to these three leaders has a meaning for the church now, where all are, or should be, singers, making melody in the heart.

Song is the outward expression of melody in the heart, and could not be omitted in the order of temple worship. What melody there will be in the millennial temple, what a "joyful noise" from all lands when Messiah reigns, when the ark shall rest in its place prepared by the true David, Who will appoint the singers then, and set them over the service. The scene given in 1 Chronicles is but a transient glimpse of what the earth shall see and hear. The psalmist looks over the (to him) unknown gloom and darkness of intervening years to that brightness which will in Messiah's reign rest upon the temple and upon the land of God, and exclaims, "Praise waiteth for Thee, O God, in Zion" (Ps. lxv.). What a service of song will be then! Above will be the twenty-four elders, saying, "We give Thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come, because Thou hast taken to Thee Thy great power, and hast reigned" (Rev. xi. 17). On earth will be the shouts of responsive joy; the courts of Zion will answer to the courts of heaven. Our hymn says, "Let earth and heaven agree" and so they will then, when He Who is the joy of heaven is the object of praise on earth. No agreement till He reigns. What a wondrous thing to look forward to is this, angelic voices and human choirs blending together and singing the same song!

We hear now of "service of song," where the mixed multitude join, where those who are not reconciled to God, whose hearts are at enmity against Him, pretend to sing His praise! It is mockery. Israel did not sing till they were redeemed. There is no song for this world before He comes Who will purge His kingdom from all things that offend. Then acceptable song will burst from all, a universal hallelujah from heaven and earth.

But is there no song now? Yea, truly the choicest of songs, which more than anticipates that to come. When that future song is heard, all the surroundings will be in harmony with it; now we sing surrounded with evil, by things out of tune, the discords of sin and sorrow and death. But our song is the melody of the heart that knows redemption, a present redemption through His blood. Song in the heart is what God now looks for, and without this, however sweet the song may be as mere fruit of the lips, it cannot be acceptable to Him. The melody which rises from the church of God is richer and sweeter than that from Israel in the future, even as faith is a closer link with God than the sight of the glory.

But was there no heart worship in these three chief singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, ( — Jeduthan, see 1 Chron. xvi. 41, 42; 1 Chron. xxv. 6; 2 Chron. xxix. 14)? Let their psalms bear witness. There are twelve ascribed to Asaph, one to Heman, and one to Ethan.

The line of priests had been already given down to the captivity (1 Chron. 6:4 – 15). Here (1 Chron. 6:49) we have them again but only to Zadok and Ahimaaz, to the time of David, the period when authority in the things of God was transferred from the priest to the king. David takes the supremacy which had previously been vested in the priest, and the picture is complete of the time when Christ the true King is present; Who, when here in humiliation, rejected by His own people, gave a momentary glimpse of His authority and power when He drove out from the temple of God all those who had made it a den of thieves. Nothing human can account for this, that a crowd of sellers and buyers see their tables overturned, and yet all flee from One! He came as the prophet announced. "Behold thy King cometh unto thee; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass" (Zech. ix. 9), and so Matthew describes His entry into Jerusalem. . . . But it was thy King Who was coming. And the first place in the city that the Lord goes to (Matt. xxi.) is the "temple of God." And as King the crowd flee before Him. It was the power and authority of God's great King, and the throne and the temple are in accord. When the King came first, He was lowly, meek, no pomp of earthly glory, riding on an ass, and a crowd of humble followers. When He comes the second time, it will not be in humiliation, but in the brightness of the glory of God, and creation will flee before Him. Not on an ass but on the clouds of heaven He will ride; not then to cleanse the temple only, but to purge His kingdom, to take vengeance, and destroy His enemies.

1 Chronicles 7 gives the remaining tribes with the chief men among them. The two divinely important things, the throne and the temple having been given with care and detail, all other tribes not so immediately connected with them as were Judah and Levi respectively are passed over with exceeding brevity. One event is recorded in connection with Ephraim which is not given elsewhere, namely, the disaster that befell some of the sons of Ephraim (1 Chron. 7:21). The men of Gath slew them "because they came down to take away their cattle." This happened during Ephraim's life, perhaps before that Pharaoh arose who knew not Joseph. The land of Goshen bordered upon the land of Gath (the Philistine's land). And no doubt the inhabitants of each land made inroads upon the other, and in one the sons of Ephraim were slain. The moral state of the children of Ephraim was no better than that of the Philistines. The law had not yet said, "Thou shalt not steal." It is not probable that this could have happened when the Israelites were slaves under the last Pharaoh. A son was born to Ephraim after this, whose name, Beriah, was commemorative of their death, "because it went evil with his house." And there was blessing in his daughter Sherah, and other sons were born to him. This was a healing of the breach.

Benjamin has a second notice in chapter viii., and stands next as to detail to Judah and Levi. What was there in, or connected with, Benjamin to make his tribe prominent in these genealogies? Judah is connected with the throne, — the king; Levi with the priest and temple service, it was fitting that these two tribes should stand out prominent before the others. But what had Benjamin? It was from that tribe came Saul, the hater and persecutor of God's chosen man, and he has a fearful prominence among them. He was approved of men, but given of God in anger (Hosea xiii. 11). He brought the kingdom to ruin. It was right in the wisdom of God when He is presenting the true King in David that the enemy should also be seen (typically) in Saul. And even as Saul the man of the people ruled when David appeared, and as Cesar ruled when Christ was born, so when the rightful King appears by-and-bye the usurper will still occupy the throne, but to be hurled thence into the abyss. All will be in arms against God's King then, as it was in time past.

From the opening of chapter ix. we learn that these genealogies were compiled after the return from Babylon, and "the first inhabitants of the land" are those who returned first, and the chief among them are named. There are the children of Judah and of Benjamin with remnants of Ephraim and Manasseh. The two tribes that clave to the house of David, and the representatives of the children of Joseph. So that in this comparatively small remnant, there are both the royalty and the birthright. And before they were driven out again, He appeared Who is both King and the Firstborn. Who alone is such before God. By rejecting Him, this favoured remnant lost both. Grace will at the right time restore both, and bring all Israel, the ten lost tribes together with the Jewish remnant into the privileges and glory flowing from both.

We see that 1 Chron. 8:29–38 are repeated in 1 Chron. 9:35 – 44. In the former it is as the sons of Benjamin, though on account of Saul the false king coming from that tribe, with more detail than in 1 Chron. 7:6, etc. But in chap. 9 it is simply the false king's family and connections, his immediate ancestors. And they are joined with the ruin of the kingdom. The sacred penman leads from the enumeration of Saul's sons to the condition of Israel, utterly broken, and flying from the Philistines, compare 1 Chron. 8:38 and 1 Chron. 9:44. The former part, 1 Chron. 9:1 – 34, is a kind of parenthesis, stating those who returned from Babylon, and their employment; and we see that those who were necessary for the due temple service are carefully mentioned. We return to Saul's family (1 Chron. 9:35) and plunge into Israel's ruin.

A remnant is brought back not for the sake of history, but that history may tell how sovereign grace interposed, and is yet to interpose when Christ comes: else irreparable ruin in common with the Gentile. But God was foreshadowing His great purpose of all Israel's restoration. The remnant's return is the pledge of the nation's return. The worship of Jehovah is (nominally and outwardly) re-established. The old men might weep at the diminished splendour and glory of the house, but there it was, an immense fact for this lost world, where idol temples abounded. One temple to Jehovah! It was the link then between God and His rebellious people, and through them with man. What is it now? Not the temple, but the cross.

All who are necessary for the service of the temple are there, priests, Levites, and porters. Of the priests it is said, "very able men for the work of the service of the house of God" (1 Chron. 9:13). If Solomon's temple exceeded this in glory, so that old men wept when they thought of it, so and much more will the future temple exceed that of Solomon. There will be no old men to weep then.

1 Chronicles 9 – 14.

1891 309 With the family of Saul (1 Chron. 9:35) a new section begins. The first terminating in a brief but prophetic glimpse of the future restoration of Israel as foreshadowed in the return of the captives from Babylon, and their settlement in the land (1 Chron. 9:1-34). Faint when compared with the future, but in itself a marvellous event. For their Gentile oppressors are by the overruling hand of God, made to aid and encourage them and to restrain their enemies, as Ezra and Nehemiah declare.

The going back to Saul after counting up the returned captives is confirmatory that the object of the Holy Spirit in the Chronicles is not history — save as subsidiary — but the bringing in of the Son Who is to reign over all; that the sin and failure of man, Satan's determined opposition, as seen in Saul, are but occasions for the display of sovereign grace and of Almighty power. That Christ the Son shall not only be the King of the Jews as Son of David, and the Inheritor of the promises as Son of Abraham, but shall as Son of man be King of kings and Lord of lords. Hence His genealogy down from Adam, that He the last Adam should win back the headship over the lower creation which the first Adam lost. Other names come in and shine among their fellows, and collateral purposes are accomplished, but the great purpose of God centres in His Son. The genealogy points to Him.

Saul slain, the Philistines triumphant, is the moment when David appears and drives back the Philistine, and the ruined kingdom rises in splendour never seen before. If the past shows how the kingdom was lost and won, much more the future when He Who is both Son and Lord of David shall come and restore all things.

1 Chronicles 10 seems to come abruptly; we are brought at once into the closing scenes of Saul's life. No record of his life in Chronicles, only God's summary of it, but which comprehends in few words his life, death and judgment. "So Saul died for his transgressions which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it, and enquired not of the Lord; therefore He slew him and turned the kingdom unto David the Son of Jesse" (1 Chron. 10:13, 14). Saul passes before us as a spectral vision, save for the reality of God's judgment upon him. David is brought to view as abruptly as Saul, no record of his previous life; only his lineage, as that of Saul. And surely the reason is plain, — not these men on their own account are so prominent personally, but the kingdom is in the mind of God, and the Holy Spirit hastens to present it.

The Lord turned the kingdom unto David. It was a marvellous turning. The hinderer is no sooner removed than all Israel seek David, and say, "Behold we are thy bone and thy flesh" (1 Chron. 11:1, etc.), and the blessing conies. David takes his fore-ordained place, and a nation is born in a day. Brighter than this will be seen when Israel from a deeper fall shall rise to a higher position of glory. With what cleaving of heart will all Israel gather to the Son of David in the day of their deliverance. "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power" (Ps. 110:3).

Let us look for a moment at 1 Sam. xxviii. 6. "And when Saul enquired of the Lord" and compare it with 1 Chron. x. 14. "And enquired not of the Lord." Samuel records the outward act, the Holy Spirit in Chronicles pronounces the judgment of God upon the inward condition of his soul. It was the pressure of despair which wrung out of his heart an unavailing cry to the Lord, but no real turning to Him Who never shuts out the most despairing cry from a soul truly contrite. All help was gone, and he in his fear enquires of the Lord Whom he had habitually disobeyed and neglected, as many others since, and like him have sunk deeper into the slough of despair. Bear the judgment of all such from the Lord Himself, "But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me but I will not answer, they shall seek Me early [diligently, R. V.] but they shall not find Me" (Prov. i. 25-28). The Lord would not listen to the cry of the persecutor and hater of His chosen man.

Saul remembers Samuel, his former friend. If Jehovah answered him not, either by dreams, or by Urim, or by prophets, would Jehovah's servant help him out of his misery? And he invokes the aid of Satan to bring up Samuel! Wretched Saul — what darkness on his heart, as if Satan had power over the spirits of departed saints! What despair, to seek for one of those whom he had in outward zeal sought to destroy! What had brought him to this? Permitted of God the prophet appears, and the wretched king's doom is confirmed; it is near, imminent. But Saul's seeking help from one having a familiar spirit is a true index of the heart. He had no faith in God, but in the witch of Endor; therefore he enquired not of the Lord. He had in earlier days clothed himself with zeal as with a garment. Extreme danger strips him of his borrowed robe, and he appears in his own naked infidelity. God judges the heart. "Behold Thou desirest truth in the inwards" (Ps. li. 6.). The piercing eye of God saw no truth in Saul. Therefore the Holy Spirit in Chronicles says that "he enquired not of the Lord."

All Israel seek David. This turning to David as with one mind is marvellous. A greater marvel is yet to come. Not David, but the Son of David will appear; and when they see Him, all Israel will seek Him with a greater oneness of mind, and will know Him, and in gladness of heart will shout, "Hosanna to the Son of David, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest." The picture given by Matthew (xxi. 9) is prophetic of the coming display of His glory, when He takes His own. It is in a smaller frame but in brighter colours, inasmuch as it is the King Himself personally present in the scene given in the Gospel; it is only His type in Chronicles.

God immediately surrounds David with mighty men of valour. And the tribes of Israel send their thousands, "men of war that could keep rank," or as we should say, well disciplined. Who had disciplined these men, that just before had forsaken their cities and hidden themselves through fear of the Philistines? God's chosen man was there, who was anointed to be king over Israel, and the kingdom was turned to him. This is the reason of their sudden endowment of valour and might, and some of the wonderful deeds of the renowned men whom the Holy Spirit names. Some of their astonishing deeds are told, yet not astonishing when we remember Whose kingdom is really before us. For this is not the striving together of the potsherds of the earth; these great acts are only the natural consequences of the presence of His power Who is giving samples (so to say) of what the power and the glory will be when He personally takes the kingdom. Then greater deeds will be done.

The Lord of hosts is marshalling the strength and power of Israel. And the Holy Spirit gives a list of tried men of might. They are presented in the halo of their own prowess. The foremost of these worthies joined David while he was a fugitive and an outcast (1 Chron. 12:1-22); their origin is given (1 Sam. xxii. 2) and is an instance among many of God's taking up the despised of men and exalting them.

David is crowned, and there is great feasting in Hebron; for the neighbouring tribes "brought bread on asses, on camels, on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and lunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly, for there was joy in Israel" (1 Chron. 12:40). But David thinks not of his rapid exaltation, and of the mighty hosts around him (not long before he was hiding from Saul in the court of Achish); his ardent desire is to bring up the ark of God. But Jerusalem as the chosen city is the right plate for the ark, and that city is still in the possession of the Jebusite. The city taken (2 Sam. v. 6-7), (which is not given in Chronicles) David said unto all the congregation of Israel, "If it seem good unto you and that it be of the Lord our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren everywhere that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us; and let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul" (1 Chron. 13:2, 3). David's thought was right, but there was levity in the act. He and all the people gathered from Shihor of Egypt to the entering in of Hamath, i.e., from the southern boundary to the northern. They unite to fetch the ark from Kirjath-Jearim. It was an occasion of great joy, but fleshly zeal meddled with the ark. And in these scenes, we behold David the responsible man, not David the type of the perfect One. The Holy Spirit shows us that however blessed and honoured a man may be, yet he is only a man, and here his imperfection is seen. If his thought was right and acceptable unto God, it was God Who gave it. But their starting point was wrong. How could they expect to carry the ark to its place when, instead of the Levites carrying it upon their shoulders, according to the ordinance of God, they put it in a new cart? A "new" cart; but this could not condone their want of attention, and consequently their disobedience to God's commands.

If obedience be imperative in the common things of everyday life, how much more in the things which are special to the service of God?

David was responsible. His was the prerogative as king to regulate and order the right way of bringing home the ark, which must be according to God. The same forgetfulness of the ordinance of God, and what the ark symbolised, made Uzzah put forth his hand and touch the ark, and thus brought on himself instant judgment, his unauthorised interference completed the disobedience manifest from the first. Man might say the motive was good, but that could not be good which leads to the neglect of God's word. God must and will vindicate His own honour, and the authority of His own word. Uzzah's act was but the reflex of the want of care on David's part. There was much gladness with them all, but the joy of saints must not compromise the authority of God's word.

David was displeased. With whom? Alas, here is more than mere failure — it is disloyalty of heart. Fear succeeds his want of care. Carelessness in the things of God hinders communion, and so it was that David was afraid before God. For a time he loses the blessing; both the ark and its accompanying blessing are carried into the house of Obed-edom (1 Chron. 13:14; 2 Sam. 6:11).

If David is afraid of God, it. does not turn aside God's purpose with regard to David. After the needed discipline in his soul and hearing how the ark brought blessing to Obed-edom, he regains faith and brings the ark to its place. Yet though he is seen here as a failing man, his typical position is not lost. For the truthfulness of the type takes precedence of the restoration of faith in the soul. This position was not contingent upon his faithfulness, but was the appointment of God's sovereign will, Who by David is unrolling the volume of the honours and dominion of the Only-Begotten when He shall be set upon the holy hill of Zion (Ps. ii.). Then will be seen perfectly what can only be partially presented in these typical scenes. For apparently before the ark is brought to its place, the Gentile submits to him. If the natural hatred of the Gentile appears in the persistent attacks of the Philistine, the power of God compels the king of Tyre to send "messengers, and timber of cedars with masons and carpenters to build him a house." In David and Hiram are to be seen, as with a borrowed light, the glory of Christ's kingdom, the submission of all nations to Him. Into the millennial Jerusalem kings shall bring their glory and honour. So does the king of Tyre own the greatness of David, and contribute to his glory. But the past is but as the first droppings; the rushing shower is yet to come.

1 Chronicles 14 – 16.

1891 325 Though the Philistines are smitten, they are not yet subdued; they were the most inveterate and persistent of all Israel's enemies. The reign of peace is not come, and David finds that there are other powerful foes to contend with. The Philistines had overcome Saul, and were doubtless astonished at the rapid recovery of the kingdom after the crushing defeat on the mountains of Gilboa. They were soon to learn that it was not with a Saul, a king disowned of the Lord, but with a David, a king specially chosen of Him, with whom they would fight. And this chosen man was only the type and representative of One infinitely higher. As the representative of Him, David was bound to conquer, whatever his failure might be as a saint, or he would not be a type. The Philistines soon learnt his might. "And when the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David" (1 Chron. 14:8). It is against David, Israel does not seem to count for anything, their strength is in him. The Philistines war against the anointed king, so when the true David comes to take the kingdom, it is against Him that the world's power will be arrayed. Against Him will "the kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together." Something like this combination was seen when Jesus was born, though then within a limited area. It was the same spirit of hatred and hostility that united Herod and the rulers in Jerusalem and which then proved itself murderous, which will show itself in its strength and be all but universal when He comes the second time in glory and power to sit upon His throne.

The Philistines are not enemies such as Assyria and Babylon, who were afterwards executors of God's wrath on a nation of rebels. Assyria carried away the ten tribes, and Babylon the kingdom of Judah. At that time there were found in the armies of Israel no mighty men performing astonishing deeds of valour, but on all great dismay and terror, all fleeing from their enemies. These wars were the pouring out of God's wrath upon them after every remedy had been tried, and had been found ineffectual. In earlier years judgment and chastisement had been blended together, in their distress the people had cried to the Lord, and He had never failed to raise up a deliverer (see Judges), and even then we find Philistines, in the days of Shamgar, of Samson; notably in the days of Saul. Now in the days of David it is neither judgment nor disciplinary chastisement, but the bringing of the enemy to feel and own the power of the man God has placed upon the throne. For David is God's king, and Jerusalem is God's city, and the ark of God is about to be placed there, and all is in the sunshine of God's favour.

The very servants of David are mighty, wonderful men. All to prove the power and manifest the purpose of God, which if dimly seen then will soon shine in the glory of God, perfectly accomplished according to His good pleasure. But even what was seen then might well raise the feelings of wonder and awe, if of joy. For the Lord God Himself fights their battles and overthrows their enemies, so that Israel has to pursue rather than fight. On one occasion David is to turn away from his Philistine foe, and not to move till he heard a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees; then he would know that God was gone forth before him (1 Chron. 14:15). Did the Philistines hear that sound? If they did, they could have no true intelligence as to its cause. No doubt it would excite superstitious fears, but even so it would be a proof to them that a mightier sword than David's was against them. David's fame is spread abroad, and Jehovah brings the fear of him upon all nations.

In his prosperity David does not forget the ark of God. The same earnestness of desire, but now obedience to the ordinance of God. With what carefulness he now brings it to the place prepared for it. "None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites, for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God and to minister unto Him for ever." All is done according to the law. But the king directs, he takes the first place, not the priest. He assembles the priests' families, arranging their order. And besides this present carefulness there is a confession that on the former occasion "we sought Him not after due order." Now the singers are duly appointed, it is a true and acceptable service to God, and a service of song to Him; for why indeed should they not sing? At the former time there was gladness of heart which perhaps vented itself in unintelligent and uproarious shouting, not the orderly and reverent joy of those who worship God; at that time David and all Israel played before God with all their might (see 1 Chron. 13:8). Now the singers are appointed; Heman, Asaph, and Ethan take the lead. Then, it was fleshly joy intruding into holy things, and God in vindication of His own order and majesty was compelled to judge them all in the person of Uzzah. This fleshly joy manifests itself in its own true character by its immediate reaction when rebuked; for David was displeased and afraid. The joyous procession never reached Jerusalem. Now it is holy joy, David's heart is bowed and laying aside his royal robe, he arrays himself in a priestly one, a robe of linen, as the Levites and the singers, as it were, humbling himself to take part in the song as one of the company, yet was he the true leader. Again, as constantly through these scenes, we are reminded of Him Who said, "In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee."

These outward expressions of praise (David in a linen robe and dancing) are not for the saints in the church of God now, whose melody is made in their hearts, and more acceptable to God than the best harmony of voice and instrument, even though the singers and the players, yea, the instruments be all appointed by Him, as they were at that feast of joy (1 Chron. 16:42). For the song of the church exceeds that song of Israel infinitely more than that song exceeded the perhaps disorderly singing and shouting which characterised the previous attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem, but which ended in failure.

David abased himself to be as one in that holy congregation, to join in that service so acceptable and well pleasing to God. But there was one looking upon it whose heart was not in unison with it, one who scorned the idea of laying aside kingly dignity on any occasion, not even to join in praise to the King of all the earth, and such an one could only feel contempt for a king who would be happy in being more vile, provided it was abasing himself before the Lord (see 2 Sam. 6:22). David's heart was overflowing with fulness of joy, Michal's was occupied with the thought of David's appearance. The ark of God has not the first place in her soul, and so she is here called not the wife of David, but Saul's daughter. In her father's time the ark was unthought of, and she, educated in that neglect, thinks not of the ark now. For though she loved David (1 Samuel xviii. 20), she had no heart for God, she was still Saul's daughter. The nearest of earthly ties with the saints of God cannot bring the unrenewed heart into communion with Him.

Now (1 Chron. 16) the king blesses the people in the name of Jehovah; all share in the joy. "To each one a loaf of bread, a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine." The king appoints certain Levites to minister before the ark, Asaph to sound with cymbals. They are to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel. But the song itself is given by David; he is inspired of God to give thanks to Him in a psalm which, while boasting in a covenant already made with their fathers, embraces in its onward look the future wondrous actings of the mercy that endureth for ever. This psalm is suited to the then time, for the ark is not yet in its final resting place. It was in a tent all through David's life. There were enemies to be subdued, more victories to be won, before the final aspect of triumph and peace could appear — the ark in the temple.

But this psalm while in keeping with the circumstance of the ark being yet in a tent, looks onward to the time when the heavens shall be glad and the earth rejoice, and when men shall say among the nations, "The Lord reigneth." It has a prophetic character, it brings to the eye of faith what did not then appear. It opens with a burst of praise — Give thanks unto the Lord, etc., and then, which is an essential part of Israel's worship, looks back to the covenant with Abraham, made for a thousand generations. Made with Abraham, repeated with an oath to Isaac, confirmed to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant. Made when they were but few people and wanderers from one kingdom to another. But the covenant stood firm. Yea, He reproved kings for their sake, saying, "Touch not mine anointed and do My prophets no harm" (see Gen. xii. 17, Gen. xx. 7). Now, all the years of unfaithfulness and ruin passed over, he strikes at once the chords of praise at the future mighty intervention of God for His still beloved people. All the earth is summoned to sing unto the Lord; for the blessings of Israel as from a centre will radiate over the whole earth. First it is the intelligent creation called to give the glory due to His name, let men say, "The Lord reigneth." Then the heavens will be glad and the earth will rejoice. We sometimes sing, "Let earth and heaven agree," etc. But this can only be when the Lord reigneth. The time contemplated in this psalm seems not full millennial peace. But the Lord reigns, and both the heavens and the earth rejoice in the blissful change. The Lord will make His power felt before the ark is in the temple. Then we know how at His presence even the inanimate creation shall cease its groaning and there will be fulness of joy. The fields will rejoice and the trees of the wood sing. Yet these words have a deeper meaning than the blessedness of inanimate creation, figuratively expressed. Under this beautiful imagery is the joy and conscious security of saints while yet the sea — the world — is roaring; not yet the full millennial blessing. "Let the sea roar;" but "roaring" is not suggestive of peaceful rest. It may be with conscious power as when a lion roars over his prey (Isa. xxxi. 4), or with a sense of impotency as the waters roar (Ps. xlvi.) — the enemies of God against His saints. "Roaring" is in scripture connected with tumult, battle, war, vengeance, and wrath. Even the wrath of the Lord upon the heathen is His roaring. "The Lord shall roar out of Zion" (Joel iii. 16; Amos i. 2). It is used to express deepest distress of soul from temporal calamities, as in Job iii. 24. The burden of sin upon the conscience made the psalmist roar (Ps. xxxii. 3; see also xxxviii. 8, which, if referring to our Lord, shows the disquieting pressure of our responsibilities which He in grace took upon Himself). Even the Lord Jesus Himself when on the cross suffering under the forsaking of God cries out, "Why art Thou so far from the words of my roaring" (Ps. xxii. 1). The millennium will be peace and rest. This verse (1 Chron. 16:32) expresses the state of the world just before the reign of peace, but after the church has gone, and its testimony to the long-suffering and grace of God, passed away for ever. There will be saints on the earth, but their rejoicing and testimony will be different from that of the church, then at that time in glory with the Lord but whose past testimony on the earth was grace, not judgment. The saints at that time, under the emblem of rejoicing fields and singing trees, will rejoice because the Lord cometh to judge the earth. So when the Lord shall execute judgment and shall roar like a lion (Hosea xi. 10) there will be also His chosen ones in conscious security, saying, "God is our refuge." Nevertheless the fields will rejoice and the trees of the wood will sing. Mark the contrast between the turbulent* roaring sea, and the calm quiet rest of joyful fields and singing trees. The blessedness of saints is given not infrequently in pictures of natural beauty. Sometimes the saints themselves personally are "trees of righteousness" as the righteous man in the first psalm. Or it maybe their state of happiness, as "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters." So also Balaam in prophetic vision as the future happiness of Israel passed before him, "As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river side, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, as cedar trees by the waters" (Num. xxiv. 6). This psalm does not actually reach into the time of millennial rest though in near view of it. All enemies are not subdued, nor are all Israel yet gathered, for they say, "Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather us together and deliver us front the heathen that we may give thanks to Thy holy name and glory in thy praise. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for ever and ever." All the people say, "Amen," and praise the Lord.

*[Turbulence here may be questioned, as well as the application to the nations. "Roaring" is hardly uniform. Ed.]

Portions of this psalm are found in others, but that does not make this to be mere quotations from them. This as a whole is most suited to the circumstances then — (1) the ark in a tent, (2) the sea roaring, and (3) the prayer for deliverance while praising God for His mercy. There will be a similar experience just before the Lord enters upon the Solomon character of His reign.

1 Chronicles 15 – 19.

1891 342 David appoints those who are to minister before the ark, but ho himself returns to bless his house. A daughter of Saul may be there, having no sympathy with the feelings of David, but that does not hinder his blessing it. His soul was filled with the thought of the ark of God being brought home, and, overflowing with thanksgiving, would have his house to share his joy.

Dancing in public before the ark may not have been a kingly act; but the dignity of the king was forgotten in the joy of the worshipper. And when twitted by Michal for demeaning himself as a vain fellow among his servants, his answer was, that he would yet be more vile, he would be base even in his own eyes when it was in praise to the Lord (2 Sam. vi. 20). What a constraining power there is in joy and gladness; and when this joy is from God and with God, how unworthy earthly appearances and earthly considerations become. The church of God now has greater motive for joy than had David then.

But it occurs to David that it is unseemly, while that he himself dwells in a house of cedars the ark of the covenant should be under curtains. He purposes to build a house for it, and Nathan the prophet encourages him. But however pleasing to the Lord such a purpose is, He sends Nathan to forbid it. "Thou shalt not build Me a house to dwell in." David was a man of war, and as such was not allowed to build the house; for only when the words are fulfilled "on earth peace" will the temple be built. The Lord is a man of war (Ex. xv.), and when He comes to reign over the earth will be first known as such. When every knee bows and every tongue confesses, and every thing that offends is taken out of the kingdom then peace shall dwell upon the earth. He, the Lord, is the true Melchizedek, the King of righteousness, and puts down all evil; then He shines forth as King of peace. First is war and judgment, then peace and rest. These two periods differ in character, and two men are used respectively as types. Two kings set forth Messiah's glory and reign. Yet there is no break in their reign, as when one dies and then the accession of the other. Solomon is anointed king before David dies. The throne is not vacant for a moment. Typically David and Solomon are one. The Lord is the true David and the true Solomon.

But David's thought is pleasing to God, and God unfolds His purpose in a special revelation to hire. David had the thought to build a house for the Lord. God will be a debtor to no man and will build a house for David. In the days of Solomon both houses (typically) were built, the king's house and the temple; but when man's obedience and faithfulness came to be reckoned as a factor for their unbroken continuance, then all is lost; the temple is destroyed, and David's house is carried into captivity. But the inability of man to maintain the first condition of the temple, or of David's house, was known to Him Who made this promise. Therefore in God's message to David, or even in David's thanksgiving (led by the Holy Spirit) to God, there is much more indicated than the transient glories of Solomon's reign. For in God's message it is not man's responsibility, but His purpose.

To accomplish His purpose God took David from the sheepcote to be king of Israel, and to the shepherd boy gave a name like the name of the great men of the earth. But his faithfulness, or that of his children, as a condition, does not appear in the book of Chronicles. If we turn to 2 Samuel vii. all there seems to hang upon man's behaviour. "If he commit iniquity," etc., etc. Why is this omitted in Chronicles xvii.? Because a greater than Solomon is before the mind of God. It is Messiah's kingdom that shall be established for ever, and there is no room for such a word as, "If he commit iniquity;" abundant reason for their utterance in view of Solomon. It has its right place in Samuel where man's responsibility runs side by side with the promises and the foreshadowing of the kingdom, as if all depended on him. And so it did for its continued manifestation then. But for its ultimate and triumphant establishment it rests on God's unassailable purpose, far beyond the reach of man's failure. It may be that David did not intelligently apprehend the fulness of the promise; but God looked onward through the intervening dark clouds of sin and long years of judgment to the establishment of a greater throne than that of Solomon. Its glories were yet below the human horizon.

In his thanksgiving David praises God for what He is. "O Lord, there is none like Thee . . . Thy people Israel didst Thou make Thine own people for ever, and Thou, Lord, becamest their God." But it is the Lord's special promise to build him a house that brings him before the Lord. "For Thou, O my God, hast told thy servant that Thou wilt build him a house," etc. God's promise is absolute and unconditional, yet David prays that his house may be before Him for ever. It is the certainty of its accomplishment that brings David before the Lord. If there had not been such a sure foundation as the promise of God, it would have been presumption thus to pray; but with such word before him, his prayer becomes the expression of his faith. What can tell his experience better than his closing words, "For Thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed for ever."

Let us learn from this that the certainty of God's blessings in no way obviates the necessity of prayer. Rather should we pray in faith, doubting nothing. We have the assurance of all things needful. Therefore it is that in making our requests to God, supplications and thanksgivings go hand in hand. God's word gives boldness — confidence — to draw near to the throne of grace.

The following chapter (1 Chron. 18) is the record of David's triumphs and increasing glory. His enemies become his servants. Gentile kings become vassals. One infinitely beyond David is mirrored forth here, Whose glory shall fill the whole earth. Ton, the king of Hamath, hearing of David's victory over Hadadrezer and the Syrians, congratulates him, and sends all manner of vessels of gold and silver and brass. The Lord is bringing costly things for His temple. Once before He prepared gold and silver for His tabernacle in the wilderness, for Israel came out of Egypt laden with jewels of gold and of silver, "And they spoiled the Egyptians" (Ex. xii. 35, 36). Now the Lord is spoiling the near Gentile nations. For all this is for the temple. Some are compelled by war, others give freely. All contribute.

God's picture of the coming kingdom is nearly complete, that is, its first phase, or Davidic period. Only a few more touches by the Master's hand to bring out in clearer prominence the enemy's malice, and how God overrules and turns aside his envenomed shafts. But David has now reached the place to which he was called. "So David reigned over all Israel, and executed righteousness and justice among all his people." The prophet Isaiah says of the Branch out of Jesse's roots that righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins. And if David executed judgment and justice, can a human type come nearer to Him?

The kingdom is established (in type), and David is king. Who seeks to overthrow him? Who thought to unfit loin in past times for the honour to which he was called? He who was always the enemy of the Son of God, tried to dethrone David by three principles which he uses now to bring discredit upon the Christian, and dishonour on the Lord's name. The friendship of the world, the power of the flesh, and pride, are three potent things in the armoury of Satan, and it is only the watchful and the prayerful that can escape their insinuating and deadly power.

Three events are given in which David's faults appear. Yet not to tell us of his faults, but to bring out to view the unchangeable counsel of God, Who, having led David through human enemies, yea, delivered him as a youth from the lion and the hear, now lets us see after a while the prime instigator of all the enemies of David. It is the glorious purpose of God rather than David's slips that the Holy Ghost has before Him. The first event is God's interposition to deliver David from the consequences of an unholy friendship. The second is the dreadful result of an unwatchful saint falling under the power of the flesh, and the third is vain glory, the pride of life.

This chapter (1 Chron. 19) opens a fresh aspect of David. Hitherto prosperity has marked his course in which no false step is recorded, save his first attempt to bring home the ark; and then not the desire of it, but the manner of doing it was sin before God. The Lord still preserves. He had preserved him from his open enemies, now we see how He delivers from the consequences of his own errors. The occasion is the death of Nahash, and David's sending messengers to comfort his son. To receive presents and homage from the king of Hamath was according to God, but to carry on friendly intercourse with the Ammonite was contrary to His word. In the former it is the Gentile bringing presents; in the latter it is David seeking to comfort a natural enemy; not receiving homage but giving friendship. God interposes for His own name's sake, and the suspicions of Hanun and his princes rejecting the friendly offers of David become the occasion for the execution of God's judgment on Israel's enemies. Kindness from the father leads to war with the son and well nigh to the extermination of the Ammonites. On mere human ground a righteous retribution for their shameful treatment of David's ambassadors. But there was a deeper thing than that. There was God's judgment, and the human occasion fades from view.

There is another point from which to look at this war. It is God teaching a saint the consequence of receiving kindness from the world when he should have had faith in God. Abraham refused the world's gifts (Gen. xvi. 22-24). To show kindness to the world — to sinners — in God's way is acceptable and pleasing; for He is sending His gospel and the promise of eternal life. Only let saints of the heavenly calling remember that showing true kindness to sinners is not friendship with the world.

David accepted kindness when he was (it would seem) a fugitive, he feels the consequence when he is a king. Slips and failures are sometimes far reaching in their effects, God in His wisdom may allow a long time to elapse before the results appear Saints now fail and slip; but there is a gracious word for us if we discern and judge ourselves, for then we shall not be judged (1 Cor. xi. 31, etc.). How important to bring all our circumstances into the light of God's word! There we have an unerring mark, "the friendship of the world is enmity with God" (James iv. 4). This word is a sharp sword for the Christian. How many friendships would be cut asunder, and how many prevented if we knew how to use it!

1 Chronicles 19, 20.

1891 358 The Ammonites fear the vengeance of David and combine with the Syrians and others against him. This is the result of his well-meant kindness. It suggests a future combination of this world's rulers against Christ. Against Him Who has manifested such boundless love, but Whose mercy and kindness has been denied and spurned. He, the Lord, sent His ambassadors to men worse than the Ammonites; and how were they treated? And now Jew and Gentile are joined together in rejecting the kindness of God our Saviour. But for these rejecters, as for the Ammonites then, a day of vengeance is coming; that day is fixed, known only to God. There is a tarrying, a delay; but there is a limit. David told the men to tarry at Jericho until their beards were grown. The Lord is now waiting until the appointed time, and His long-suffering is salvation. But the judgment sore and certain is approaching, and that day will break up a wider confederacy with a more fearful overthrow.

David hears of their alliance and sends Joab against them; and with him all the host of mighty men. The Lord did not want Joab and his mighty men, He wanted David. He gave them victory, but not with such a visible manifestation of His presence and power as when David overcame the Philistines, and the tops of the mulberry trees proclaimed the presence of the Lord of hosts. Is there not in this absence of David a forgetfulness of the special place God had given him? He was anointed to be the leader of the people. Even Abner could say that by the hand of David God would save His people out of the hand of all their enemies (2 Sam. iii. 18): "by the hand of David" is certainly more than sending Joab to lead Israel in the fight. It is David's presence that God requires, so that the victory might not be claimed by another. For here is not the type of Him Who by His own arm — Himself, personally — fights and overcomes — of Him of Whom the past bears record, and the future yet more wondrously will proclaim His mighty deeds.

It was a personal victory He gained over the foe for the church, though that victory was won by dying (for Israel too). But for them He will show His power in future not by being smitten, but in smiting, but not less personally in this than in His dying. And have not all His interpositions on Israel's behalf against their enemies been personal? Was it only a remarkable providence when the first-born in Egypt were slain, when their enemies were drowned in the Red sea? In the destroying angel that went through the land of Egypt on the Passover night, in the pillar of fire that came between Israel and the foe, I see a personal interposition of the Lord for them. And again, Who came as Captain of the Lord's host and as such appeared to Joshua at Jericho? (Joshua v. 13). And when David went to war, Who was with Him whithersoever he went? And in the future crisis Who wins the battle and destroys the enemy? Will not the deliverance of the people depend on the personal presence of that same Captain of the Lord's host? What do the prophets say? "And He saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no intercessor [none to come between Israel and the foe] therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him" (see Isa. liv. 16, Isa. lxiii. 1-6). And is David exalted to represent, though ever so faintly, this glorious mighty Conqueror? What forgetfulness of his high calling! He was as it were entrusted with Messiah's honour and glory, and he puts it into Joab's hands, who having no true faith in God exercises a little human foresight in order to guard it.

But if we see forgetfulness in David, not less do we see in Joab a great assumption of piety mingled with the absence of faith; a condition not unknown in this day. God for His own name's sake gave victory to the armies of Israel; but there could be no sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees when the chosen leader was absent, and only a clever strategist leading the armies of Israel. The wisdom of the man is seen, human care and provision, contingencies provided for, yet not fully; he calculates upon help afforded by one brother to the other, but suppose both needed, where was the help? "And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me then thou shalt help me; but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then will I help thee." And with this insufficient provision for all possible contingencies, there was the appearance of dependence upon God and of strengthening himself in God, and encouraging his brother. "Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people and for the cities of our God, and let the Lord do that which is good in His sight" (1 Chron. 19:12, 13). How easy at times to imitate and repeat the words of faith and humble dependence on God! But the confidence of faith which can sing of victory before the fight begins is found only with real believers.

In the following chapter (1 Chron. 20) we come to the second event in what we may call an appendix by the Holy Ghost to His account of David's succession to the throne of Israel. Led by a mightier hand than his own, in triumph he is seated on the throne through enemies, through failures which in Chronicles the Holy Spirit does not stop to relate till he is on the throne and executing judgment and justice (1 Chron. 18:14). Then the Spirit of God "after this" tells us of the death of Nahash and the results of David's receiving kindness from him which happened so many years before; yet even now not to notice David's failure, but to show that God would accept no kindness from an enemy, would suffer no interference with His purpose, nor permit any delay to its accomplishment, although in the righteous government of God David must feel the consequences of seeking protection from an enemy. Yet even in this the sovereignty of grace appears. Even here all things work together for good.

The account of David and Bathsheba which occupies in Samuel two chapters (2 Sam. xi. and xii.) is here in Chronicles passed over, save the first step in that steep incline, "But David tarried at Jerusalem." Sovereign grace passes on to David's taking the crown from off the head of the King of Rabbah, a crown of gold and set with precious stones, and it is set on David's head. Here is not the restoration of the soul of a failing saint, but God's restoring David to his official position as the type of Him Who is yet to come.

Why is the sin not recorded? Was it not heinous? (Job xxvi. 9-11). Yea, verily, but the Holy Spirit is here showing how vain is the attempt of Satan by means of David's failure to ruin the kingdom through him. For David was to Satan the expression of the kingdom of God. Satan might wonder but could not tell whether David was the real king, or only a type. The counsels of God concerning Christ were not revealed to Satan however, for satanic wisdom might learn the purpose of God in the course of events on the earth. When he did meet the real King, though in a wilderness and not in a palace, he felt His power and fled. In the Chronicles it is Satan's opposition rather than David's faults.

1 Chronicles 20, 21.

1891 373 "And it came to pass after this" (1 Chron. 20:4). Now that David is restored to his true position, such is the super-abounding of grace that his servants become mighty men. Their valiant deeds do but proclaim who is on the throne. And we may note it is after David is firmly fixed on the throne and executing judgment and justice that the Spirit, as it were, turns to look upon the servants. Until that time it is only David that the Spirit speaks of, or in association with others necessary to exalt him yet more. Not so here (1 Chron. 20). Apart from his typical position the Lord may be teaching David that the glory of His kingdom, and the renown of His faithful ones, cannot be put under a cloud, because the most honoured among the Lord's servants has failed and yielded to selfish ease and its consequences. Be that as it may for David, it is a lesson that we may learn. The Lord uses, and honours men by using them as His servants now; but we are not necessary to His power. But David is more than an honoured servant. As type he must be on the throne, and then there is no limit to the outflow of grace, and the servants are mighty because David is on the throne, and giants are slain by them.

We do not read here of giants among the Ammonites and Syrians; these rather represent the external forces of the Enemy — for us, the world, and its hatred, persecutions, slaughterings of the saints. But when brought to face the Philistines giants are found, and these are rather an internal enemy; for they immigrated into Palestine at different times, and as being somewhat within its borders,* was an internal enemy, and were the most persistent of all; for the Israelites do not subdue them by one victory, not even do these noted warriors deter them. They may be defeated, again and again, and yet again there is war. And they come with increased power. There is a man of great stature, abnormal; he has twenty-four fingers and toes. But he was the son of the giant, and the slaughter of Goliath is the pledge of his own. This man defied Israel like Goliath (1 Sam. xvii. 10). It was his death-warrant.

[* They appear to have had a footing in the South-Western Lowland of Palestine.]

The flesh may not be inaptly set forth by this man of great stature. And though the world and the flesh are servants of the devil, yet does the flesh appear as more powerful than either, to the Christian an enemy more to be dreaded, more to be watched against, and the reason is because it has its rest in the old heart, and so terrible its onslaught that at times it appears as a giant "with six fingers and six toes on each hand and foot" respectively. But the faith that slew Goliath also gives us the victory over this man, however terrible in appearance. And because our David — the Lord Jesus — is exalted and on the throne, we conquer in His Name. The world and the flesh are brothers, we may say twin brothers, for both came into existence at the same moment, i.e. at the fall. At that awful moment man became "flesh," and this creation, before so good, became the "world."

Satan, knowing well David's sin with all its aggravations, might be astonished at the prowess of the king's mighty men. Would God uphold the kingdom when the sole link that held earth to heaven was found defective? David proved to be a transgressor, adulterer, murderer. Will not God now find another Moses and make a great nation of him, and consume this people and their king with them? Nay, God is not man, His gifts are without change of mind. And now, if we may so reverently speak, persistence in His purpose is more than ever imperative: else what a boast for Satan that he had compelled God to annul His promise to Abraham! The Holy Spirit is still showing the glory of the kingdom, and these mighty deeds are not the cause, but the results of that glory which has its source in the King alone.

Satan has to learn that, however formidable his own servants might be, they were nothing before the mighty men of David. The sons of the giant are slain, and the kingdom becomes all the stronger through the war wherein the choice servants of each side are face to face.

Hitherto Satan has used instruments and persecuted David, perhaps before he knew for what purpose David was called and anointed. And the more distinct God's purpose became, the more intense and murderous the persecutions became. But these never weaken God's saints. It is the flesh that makes them weak as other men, and the crafty foe succeeds in his attempt, and David falls. But in His grace God comes in, which Satan did not count upon, and Satan is defeated upon the battle-ground of his own choosing. "Yet again" he will attempt the destruction of God's kingdom; he has hitherto as it were worked behind the scenes. Now, no longer in secret, he "stands up" against Israel; and so plainly does he show himself that even his own servant Joab endeavours to dissuade David from his purpose. "And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel (1 Chron. 21:1). Turn to Samuel, "And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go number Israel and Judah" (2 Sam. 24:1). We might suppose that "he" refers to "Lord"; and if so, it is because His anger was kindled against Israel and the sin of numbering the people is the judicial consequence of previous sin which the Lord would now judge. Therefore the Lord permitted Satan to stand up against Israel and provoke David to number them.

How marvellous the ways of God! Here is David, originally a shepherd boy, called to be king over Israel, and as such to be the honoured type of Him Who is to reign over Israel and all the earth. And in this typical place he is upheld by the mighty hand of God, and no enemy without or within, nor his own failures, can deprive him of that wondrous position; yet at the same time God remembers that he is but a man, and as such, though a greatly honoured saint, needs correction and reproof. Doubtless there was sin among the people, for the Lord's anger was kindled against Israel. And such sin as made the king — the means of blessing — to be the means of judgment upon them as well as of bringing chastisement upon himself.

Another thing we do well to mark, that the unwatchful and unfaithful saint is, surely unwittingly, but not the less really, the tool of Satan. It may be that pride and vainglory found a lodging place in David's heart, and so Satan found it no difficult matter to provoke him to number Israel. Satan, himself, glad of the occasion, stood up against the kingdom. The cunning Serpent has learned by this time that all his mighty efforts by means of enemies without, or (mightier still) through enemies within, only end in bringing increased honour and renown to the king, and that the only way left to him is to destroy the kingdom (if possible) through the king himself. He has tried fleshly lusts and failed, now he turns to the lusts of the mind. If that which is common to man and to the brute has failed, he will try that which betokens affinity with himself, namely pride. For man's nature is now not only sensual, but also devilish. Satan allures David to think of his own greatness apart from God, and to number the people as if they were his people, and not the people of God.

1 Chronicles 21.

1892 6 The world in its friendships and the flesh in its worst forms have under the cunning wiles of Satan rudely shaken the king on the throne; and he would have stumbled to rise no more, but that the word and the purpose of God are in question. So grace meets and triumphs over the sin, for God is pledged to bring the king through all. "Yet again there is war." David is still the point of attack, as it were the citadel, hitherto found impregnable, of the kingdom which stands or falls with him. After proving that all attempts have as yet only visibly established David more firmly (if possible) in his kingdom, Satan turns to other means to attain his end. David's heart is lifted up with vanity, and he seeks to gratify himself with his own glory, as if independent of God, forgetting that it was God Who had clothed him with honour and renown as with a garment.

It is a like vainglory which has wrought ruin in the church. It began in the admiration of itself. The attributing to itself, as the source, all the things it admired, early shut out the Lord from view, and then it became a question only of proselytising. The Lord was forgotten, and increased numbers the aim. The professing church has boasted of its own riches, saying it has need of nothing; while the truth is, it is wretched and miserable and poor, blind and naked (see Rev. iii. 17). Becoming more boastful, yet more wretched, it awaits a fuller development of pride, to be followed by sure and unsparing judgment. "I will spue thee out of my mouth" is not all. Compare Rev. xvii., xviii.

David's sin lies not in the bare fact of numbering the people; for they had been numbered by God's command before. God looks at the hidden spring. Fleshly and worldly ostentation, springing up in his heart, for the moment shut out the thought of God. Had David forgotten the grace that took him while yet unknown, and even unthought of by his own family, and anointed him to be king? His heart swelling with his own greatness, as if acquired by his own power, he would know the extent of his rule from Beersheba even unto Dan. God judged the secret motive, and later on David judges himself. "I have sinned greatly because I have done this thing; but now I beseech Thee do away the iniquity of Thy servant, for I have done very foolishly" (1 Chron. 21:8). Does not Psalm 30 refer to this time when prosperity for a moment hid God from his soul? "And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved." When restored, all breaks into the praise of God, "To the end my glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent; O Lord my God. I will give thanks unto Thee for ever."

To trust in prosperity, in earthly riches, is a danger for most if not all saints. It was so in the days of old when prosperity in earthly things was a mark of God's favour. How much greater the folly of trusting to them now, when our true riches are revealed to be heavenly and not earthly! To boast of spiritual gifts and attainments as if acquired by our own skill is even more offensive to the Lord, Who alone gives as it pleases Him. It is to put God's blessings and favours in the place of God Himself. If the perishable things of this life are His gift, how much more the spiritual and eternal! Forget not all His benefits, but bless the Lord.

It was the same spirit of pride and self-complacency as in Nebuchadnezzar. The self-complacency might be greater in him, but the sin was greater in David. It was but natural in the heathen king, and he had a wider domain than David; but David knew God, therefore his guilt was greater. Hear the heathen's confession of sin. For one year after the warning from Daniel he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon and said, "Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty." In like spirit David looked on Jerusalem and all Israel, and in the consciousness of being king would know the extent of his power and the number of the people. The iniquity of his sin in the sight of God may be seen in the manner of God's judgment. On his fall before when owned, the prophet said, "The Lord hath put away thy sin." In this the confession is not met with the declaration of mercy, but with an offer of three kinds of judgment. Had David dared to choose, he would have found how vain was his numbering the people. As it was, piously choosing to fall into the hand of God and leaving all in His hand, thousands were cut off as in a moment. It was a solemn rebuke to David. The Lord is saying to him, "All souls are mine"; and He can increase or diminish the number at a word.

Though the same kind of sin in both David and Nebuchadnezzar, how different the manner of judgment! David confesses his sin and the chastisement comes after. Nebuchadnezzar confesses after his recovery. In both we see how swiftly judgment overtook the sin. When the numbering was completed, immediately Israel is smitten and the angel of the Lord with a drawn sword stands over Jerusalem: David makes confession and rears an altar. Here grace triumphs over judgment. There is submission to the Lord, and confidence in Him. David chooses nothing but to fall into the hand of the Lord, "for very great are His mercies." Remark that faith accompanies true confession; and it would appear before the three days are ended the Lord said to the destroying angel, "It is enough, stay now thine hand." In this case the people suffered, for the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. We do not read of any special judgment on the Babylonians, it falls upon the king alone. Upon him it was sudden and terrible. In the same hour of his boasting the judgment fell on him (see Dan. 4:25, 33), swift and unexpected. So it was with the antediluvians, so with Sodom; so it will be in the days of the Son of Man (Luke xvii. 26-30). There doubtless were consternation and fear in his court, for it was no ordinary case of insanity, as infidels since have dared to say, as they do of the possessed of demons in the Gospels. Were there such infidels then? Wonderful as the account is, believers know that it is true. Indeed the words of scripture are far too precise to admit of any meaning short of literal fact. He was driven from the abodes of men, did eat grass as oxen, his body was wet with the dew of heaven (i.e., wore no clothing), his hair grew like eagle's feathers, and his hair like bird's claws. It was God's rebuke, terrible in its measure, but blessed in its ultimate result.

Daniel iv. appears to be in the main the confession of Nebuchadnezzar after his restoration to his throne. He relates how he was warned, his exceeding pride and sin, and how great the judgment upon him; how at the end of the days he lifted up his eyes, at the end of the seven times meted to his punishment; and his reason came as suddenly as it was taken from him; and his first thing is to honour Him that liveth for ever. Therefore he thinks it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God had wrought towards him (ver. 2). And he tells of a miracle at his return to his kingdom as striking as when men drove him away (he was not shut up in a madhouse). "At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me, and I was established in my kingdom and excellent majesty was added unto me." That his lords and courtiers should seek him after seven years' estrangement, that excellent majesty should he added unto him, mark the miraculous controlling power of Him Who holds all things in His hand. Nebuchadnezzar, in the opening and closing verses of this chapter (Dan. iv.), praises the King of heaven, the One Who had shown signs and wonders to him.

David's praise rises higher, but then his confession was deeper, "I have done very foolishly." This was an intelligent saint, that an ignorant heathen. But the word of God closes its history of the mighty man of the earth, the head of gold, with his being a worshipper by grace. There is a faith that believes "that He is," and God is a rewarder of such. Shall we not see him in the kingdom of God among those who come from the east and the west, from the north and the south? There was not "much" given to him, but God looks to what a man hath.

This attempt of Satan against Israel is also baffled, and becomes the occasion for a further and greater display of that grace which is the only foundation of God's kingdom among men. If the sword of the Lord is drawn out against rebellious man, His grace lingers over him, and puts back the sword, for a time into its sheath. It is here as we read in the prophets, "But I wrought for My name's sake." That wondrous name had been declared to Moses. A name which shot forth bright but transient rays before the glorious light was displayed in Christ. Oftentimes mercy and goodness rose above the law on which man had perched himself. What more glorious proof of that name could there be before Christ came than when Jehovah restrains the avenging sword that was already stretched out over Jerusalem?

In Chronicles this is the last recorded attempt of Satan against the kingdom during David's life. In it David failing, but grace triumphing, brings to view, in a little, the grace now fully displayed in Christ; for here in result an altar is built on the floor of a Jebusite, a Gentile. The ark of the covenant was in the tent in the city of David (1 Chron. 16:1). And the old altar of burnt offering and the tabernacle of the Lord which Moses made in the wilderness, "were at that season in the high place at Gibeon," and David is afraid to go there, because of the sword of the angel of the Lord. This sword is always connected with the old altar and the tabernacle that Moses made. But here is an altar altogether new, built by the man who feared to go to the other. Is not David's son made the occasion of showing that grace without law is the only foundation even for the kingdom, and that the priests of the Aaronic type have nothing to do with it? For it is David the king that builds it, and sacrifices on it, and the Lord answers by fire. It is a new way, unknown to the law, where are found both Israelite and Jebusite. What right had the priests who served at the altar in Gibeon to the altar built by the king? And what right have those who plead works as a ground of acceptance with God to the altar which is the expression of pure, unmingled, sovereign grace, without works? Here is a transient ray from that name long before declared to Moses, and now in far fuller character to all that have ears to hear.


1 Chronicles 22 - 29.

1892 20 The opening words of chap. 22 taken in immediate connection with ver. 28th of the preceding chapter (of which the 29th and 30th are parenthetical) show David, as it were, recognising and bowing to the truth that neither himself could stand, nor the kingdom be established, save as the fruit of grace without the works of law. For that was the great truth stamped upon the altar built on Oman's threshing floor. It was in connection with, and the immediate sequence of, the word of grace, "It is enough, stay now thy hand," i.e., mercy free and pure. The old altar is connected with law, and judgment, and the sword; and David is afraid. His fear is not the result of having no confidence in the Lord, but rather a tacit confession that he deserved death and could not stand before the sword. He builds an altar and turns to it where there is no angel with a drawn sword to fear, and says, "This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel." This is the altar of thanksgiving for the mercy which rose above the law that demanded righteous judgment. With what deep feeling of heart David would say, "Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified" (Ps. cxlviii.), and while fearing the just judgment of God, yet peacefully resting upon His grace symbolised by a new altar exclaim (as in Ps. cxliv.), "I will sing a new song unto Thee, O God." A new altar demands and necessitates a new song. But the time was not yet come for the full display of this grace, indeed could only come by Him of Whom the Holy Spirit wrote by the pen of John, "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John i. 17). So afterwards Solomon and all the congregation go to the high place at Gibeon, the place of law, turning from the new altar on the threshing floor of the Jebusite, where only sovereign grace untrammelled by the requirements of the law was found. There were deeper evils in man yet to be brought into the light before God's due time came, when His grace revealed in the cross could meet the need of the worst. Therefore a little longer for Israel to continue under the law, "for by the law is the knowledge of sin."

This is the last attempt of Satan, recorded in Chronicles, against the kingdom during the life of David. He failed, but grace triumphed, and brings to view a better blessing, with victory through the grace of God, deliverance from the snares of the devil. Satan was bruised under his feet; and in the same manner we shall be victors, for it is written, "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom. xvi. 20) — your feet!

David's closing days are in peace, and the house of God is his uppermost thought. Though not allowed to build it, it is his part to prepare all the material, to give the patterns and appoint the order of service; and in giving these he was greater than Solomon who only built according to the prepared plan. God made David to understand (1 Chron. 28:19), even as He made Moses understand when He showed the patterns for the service of the tabernacle, "See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed thee in the mount" (Heb. viii. 5). Besides the things, there were the twelve legions and their captains, and their monthly service. Surely all this care and minute arrangement will have its answer in the peaceful glories of Messiah's reign!

Not without a special divine purpose are all the sons of Moses reckoned among the mass of common Levites. "Now concerning Moses, the man of God [he himself is most prominent, and distinguished by that title], his sons were named of the tribe of Levi." (1 Chron. 23:14). No succession here of that kind of which a Judaising Christendom boasts. His immediate successor in leading Israel into the promised land was Joshua. the son of Nun. It was according to the wisdom of God in that dispensation that the sons of Aaron should inherit his honours, and ordinarily that the eldest should be high priest after him. All this necessarily passed away when the True and Great High Priest came, Who abides for ever. But to be the leader of His people was an appointment that God kept in His own immediate hand (Joshua i. 1, 2); and both were needed.

We pass over the names and the apportioned work in the following chapters; not that they are unimportant, but the full meaning of their enumeration may be only clearly seen when all shall be accomplished under the reign of the true Solomon. But we may be allowed to point out that in all this the singers have a prominent place (1 Chron. 25 is all about the singers). How the Lord delights in the songs of His people! He names the families of the singers, and gives through David the psalms to be sung; and so we read as the heading to most, if not all, of the psalms, "To the chief musician," etc. Is it only Israel who is called to sing? Is it not so now, while the church, the future grand choir of the courts above, is now below? Yea, "Rejoice in the Lord alway, again I say rejoice" (Phil. iv. 4).

In the presence of the assembled chiefs David encourages and warns his son: a word for him, but as in their hearing, for them also. Solomon was foremost among them, and the earthly link between Jehovah and the people. But this picture of the future glory and the kingdom will be soon dimmed; for the glory of its then appearance is to be committed to the hand of man. Will he maintain it? Solomon is warned that his present glory and magnificence, which was not of his own acquiring but a special gift from God, would soon pass away if he were not faithful. And with the glory of the king would pass away the happiness of the people. How intimately the king's glory, the kingdom's prosperity, the people's joys and obedience to the law of God are interwoven; and he, Solomon, would be responsible for all. How earnestly David exhorts him to be faithful and to take heed (1 Chron. 28:1-10).

David in the presence of all the congregation blesses the Lord, ascribing all his glory to God. The people and he were but strangers and sojourners as all their fathers were. And of the gold and silver which they had so abundantly given, after all it was what God had already given them, and he acknowledges God's claim over it all; "for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee." How beautiful and acceptable to God this low but only right place of humility and thanks-giving; how different from the human boastful spirit that led him to number Israel (1 Chron. 21)! But now he has reached the end of his course, a point where for the display of the future glory of God's King he must give place to another. He has risen, step by step, through changing scenes, through sorrows and victories, and not without slips, personally to this point where Israel are now found worshipping God, and the joy is great, "And (they) did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness" (1 Chron. 29:22).

In this joyful festive scene how apparently abrupt the transition appears from David to Solomon. The man of war makes room for the prince of peace. David vanishes, as it were, swallowed up in the glory (we may say that in the person of his son), clothed upon with immortality; not here in the typical scene taken away by death, but, as the poets sing, like the star of the morning absorbed in the surpassing light of the rising sun. Surely a fitting close for him who was chosen to be a type of the Lord as a Man of war; and more by this divine silence was he honoured than was Jacob when all the elders of Egypt, with the chariots and horsemen, followed him to his grave. Nor need we ask how, for it is not David nor yet Solomon that fills the eye of the Holy Spirit, but the Christ and His never ending and unbroken glories.

The last act of David is to call Israel to the feast, and his last words are "Now bless the Lord your God" (1 Chron. 24:20). The congregation respond, and bless the Lord God of their fathers. But there is in this feast more than meets the natural eye. This was a feast of the Lord, and anticipative of a greater feast, and of a greater congregation, when the Son of David will say, "My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation" (Ps. xxii. 25). Though not many souls might then have been able to be glad in its prophetic light, yet none the less it does point to a future feast, never to be thrown into the shade by succeeding rebellion and shame. For then a new heart will be given to the people, and clean water will be sprinkled upon them, and all shall know Jehovah. David begins the feast, clothed with the renown of a mighty conqueror who was never defeated, but whose course was marked with power and victory from the time that he rescued the lamb from the mouth of the lion and the hear, until the sons of the giant, the last of his enemies, fall by his hand, or by the hand of his servants (1 Chron. 20:8). But these warrior glories are mellowed in the golden splendour of Solomon, of peace and plenty and undisputed supremacy.

"And they [the people] made Solomon, the son of David, king the second time." This marks a change. David disappears. Solomon sits upon the throne of the Lord. Looking for a moment at this scene apart from its typical aspect, what a coronation (to use an earthly term) had Solomon! In the annals of the world, of its triumphs and rejoicings, was there ever such a national rejoicing as this? Yet how short even this magnificence falls of the exceeding glory and gladness to come! And this future gladness is unmingled with woe of any kind, while there is not a scene of the world's glory and apparent joy but has beneath its surface in not a few hearts a feeling (it maybe) of incurable sadness. Here is no masked grief, but joy unfeigned. Yet it is not the very image, but a shadow of that to come. For Israel, David, and Solomon, in this first book of Chronicles, are but the frame containing God's picture of His Son in His earthly glory. What if some of the colours in that picture are human and therefore dark? They only enhance the brightness of Him Who stands in the foreground, Who is the centre of all; the sun illuminating not only Israel but the whole world.

The last verses (1 Chron. 29:26 etc.) are an addendum; for the 25th verse is a fitting close to the announcement that Solomon "sat on the throne of the LORD." What other in such a position could there be that "the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel." The picture of the glory is rolled up. The following verses are but the notice of David's death, and where the records of his reign may be found — his death as a man, not in his typical aspect, (that has ceased,) and Solomon takes his father's place.