1 Chronicles 16-19: Our Servant

Chapter 16 begins with David’s song of thanks to the LORD, an ode which bears the following elements:

1.  Calling upon the LORD’s name (v.8, 10, 29, 35)

2.  Make known his deeds of salvation (v.8, 9, 12, 21-24, 35)

3.  Remember His covenant (v.15-18, 35)

4.  Ascribing to Him glory in our rejoicing (v. 10, 24, 27-35).

Note especially the last part of David’s song of thanksgiving which combines the four elements together:

Save us, O God of our salvation, and gather and deliver us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.  Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!” (v.35-36)

After this act of worship, the blessing and glory of the LORD does not stay there in one place; rather, He continues to be with them in their households (v.43; c.f. John 17):

“The meaning of glory is offered most fully in John 17—where Jesus spoke aloud to the Father before going to his death.  Jesus received glory from the Father, and he reciprocated that glory to the Father.  As the linkage of glory to sacrificial death in the analogy of the planted-wheat of John 12 made clear, glory was displayed in the Son’s willingness to die for all who would believe

Glory is what Jesus shared with the Father and the Spirit even before there was a creation (17:5).  And what was the eternal motive for this whole exchange?  Love!  The Son’s real mission on earth wasn’t to gain glory but to give access to that eternal Father-Son-Spirit glory which the Father had given him “because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (17:24).  So it is that God is not a glory-monger but a glory-sharer.  And when the Spirit coaches us to glorify God—as in 1 Corinthians 10:31—it must be understood in light of 1 Corinthians 13, “the greatest of these is love” so that we love him, and out of that love our own celebration of his goodness—our own giving of glory—is poured out.” – Ron Frost on “Glorifying Glory

Chapter 17 is commonly associated with Solomon, as David looks to continue thanking the LORD by creating a house for the ark of the covenant.  However much David is like the Son, he is not the Son Whom the LORD has anointed (c.f. Isaiah 42:1).  The words, too, do not apply specifically to Solomon; although Solomon eventually built the temple to house the ark of the covenant, his throne did not reign forever either.  Chapter 17 therefore should only truly and firstly apply to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whose Name shall indeed reign forever unlike Solomon whose kingdom has vanished for thousands of years already.  Let us now turn to the Father’s prophecy of His Son in (v.8-15):

V.8 – the Father will make for David a “name”;

v.9 – the Father will appoint a place for His people Israel and “be disturbed no more”.  This was clearly not fulfilled in the days of Solomon; and the indication here is that the place is not Canaan, for Canaan was already given to Israel at this stage (despite the intermittent invasions by neighbouring pagan nations);

v.10-11 – the LORD will build a house (not Solomon); and He will establish the kingdom of one of David’s offspring.

v.12-14 – the offspring (Jesus) will build a house for the Father (John 14:2; preparing a place for us), and He will establish the Son’s throne forever.  He will not take his steadfast love from His Son, as He had done so with Saul – and the Son’s throne shall be established forever (Hebrews 1:8 Revelation 22:3).  He will be to him a Father as he will be to him a Son (v.13; quoted in Hebrews 1:5).

Much of these truths are reflected also in Psalm 1-2 and in the book of Hebrews, as prophesied by the vision of Nathan.  David thus went into the tent and sat before the LORD (note, not before the ark!) and again re-counted his thankfulness to the LORD – such recognition of his need to be humble before the One who saves!  There is indeed none like the LORD (v.20), and none like Israel – the one united nation to have been chosen to be redeemed (v.21; note the Hebrew word “echad” used to describe Israel; it is not so much that Israel was the only people chosen to be redeemed, but rather, the only nation as a whole chosen to be redeemed.  This explains the ready salvation of the Gentiles in the Old Testament, such as in Exodus 12:38, although not to the same extent or focus on these nations compared to Israel, the chosen priesthood – c.f. Exodus 19:6).  David thus speaks of Christ as the Servant (v.23) through Whom the Father’s Name shall be established forever (v.24), though at the same time referring to himself as the servant before the LORD, looking forward to the work of the incarnate Servant (Isaiah 42:1).  As Matthew Henry comments:

“That which is there expressed by way of question (Is this the manner of men, O Lord God?) is here an acknowledgment: “Thou hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree. Thou hast made me a great man, and then treated me accordingly.” God, by the covenant-relations into which he admits believers, the titles he gives them, the favours he bestows on them, and the preparations he has made for them, regards them according to the estate of men of high degree, though they are mean and vile. Having himself distinguished them, he treats them as persons of distinction, according to the quality he has been pleased to put upon them. Some give these words here another reading: “Thou hast looked upon me in the form of a man who art in the highest, the Lord God; or, Thou hast made me to see according to the form of a man the majesty of the Lord God.” And so it points at the Messiah; for, as Abraham, so David, saw his day and was glad, saw it by faith, saw it in fashion as a man, the Word made flesh, and yet saw his glory as that of the only-begotten of the Father. And this was that which God spoke concerning his house for a great while to come, the foresight of which affected him more than any thing. And let it not be thought strange that David should speak so plainly of the two natures of Christ who in spirit called him Lord, though he knew he was to be his Son (Ps. cx. 1), and foresaw him lower than the angels for a little while, but afterwards crowned with glory and honour, Heb. ii. 6, 7.”

Immediately thereafter, chapters 18 and 19 once again covers the victories of David after his dialogue and worship of God, just as chapter 14 had done after the narrative in chapter 13.  It seems to be the narrator’s intention to portray the need for the king of Israel to seek the face and Name of the true King of kings before any victory can be achieved, just as Christ sought the Father’s warm embrace (c.f. Matthew 26) before being nailed on the cross to achieve the Victory of victories.

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1 Chronicles 16-19: Our Servant

1 Kings 14: The Two Houses

1At that time Abijah the son of Jeroboam fell sick. 2And Jeroboam said to his wife, “Arise, and disguise yourself, that it not be known that you are the wife of Jeroboam, and go to(A) Shiloh. Behold, Ahijah the prophet is there,(B) who said of me that I should be king over this people. 3(C) Take with you ten loaves, some cakes, and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what shall happen to the child.”

 

Shiloh is within the realms of Israel, north of Bethel.  Yet, Jeroboam does not go to Shiloh himself lest he be called a hypocrite of his own religion.  Throughout the last two chapters he has established himself as a tour de force in the making of a new faith – faith in his new golden calves, as the false high priest of both Bethel and Dan.  The irony of the death of the man of God in chapter 13 is but a foretelling of the death of Jeroboam – that the wrath of God, though laid up on The Man of God His Son, is not propitiated from Jeroboam who steadfastly still refuses to say Yes in Jesus.  In fact, looking at the curse against the house of Jeroboam in v.7-16 (especially v.11) reminds us of the dignity of being buried with the Man of God, and rising in resurrection with him.  The LORD was in sovereign control over even the lion and the donkey who only served to kill the man, and in contrast, He in His sovereignty commands the death of Jeroboam’s kingdom by being fed to the dogs and birds.

4Jeroboam’s wife did so. She arose and went to(D) Shiloh and came to the house of(E) Ahijah. Now Ahijah could not see, for his eyes were dim because of his age. 5And the LORD said to(F) Ahijah, “Behold, the wife of Jeroboam is coming to inquire of you concerning her son, for he is sick. Thus and thus shall you say to her.”

When she came, she pretended to be another woman. 6But when(G) Ahijah heard the sound of her feet, as she came in at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why do you pretend to be another? For I am charged with unbearable news for you. 7Go, tell Jeroboam, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:(H) “Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over my people Israel 8and(I) tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, and yet you have not been(J) like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes, 9but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and(K) made for yourself other gods and(L) metal images, provoking me to anger, and(M) have cast me behind your back, 10therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and(N) will cut off from Jeroboam every male,(O) both bond and free in Israel, and(P) will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone. 11(Q) Anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat, for the LORD has spoken it.”‘ 12Arise therefore, go to your house.(R) When your feet enter the city, the child shall die. 13And all Israel shall mourn for him and bury him, for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him(S) there is found something pleasing to the LORD, the God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam. 14(T) Moreover, the LORD will raise up for himself a king over Israel who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam today. And henceforth, 15the LORD will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and(U) root up Israel out of(V) this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them(W) beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their(X) Asherim, provoking the LORD to anger. 16And he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and made Israel to sin.”

Indeed – how can a Jeroboam’s wife presume to feign her position before the prophet, who though had dim eyes was in fact clearer in Spiritual sight than anyone else in the kingdom of Israel?  In the words of Matthew Henry:

“Those who think by their disguises to hide themselves from God will be wretchedly confounded when they find themselves disappointed in the day of discovery. Sinners now appear in the garb of saints, and are taken to be such; but how will they blush and tremble when they find themselves stripped of their false colours, and are called by their own name: “Go out, thou treacherous false-hearted hypocrite. I never knew thee. Why feignest thou thyself to be another?’’ Tidings of a portion with hypocrites will be heavy tidings. God will judge men according to what they are, not according to what they seem.”

By the Spirit, God spoke through him such a terrible prophecy that should only remind Jeroboam of why he was blessed to lead Israel in the first place.  It is the LORD’s favour, not Jeroboam’s self-making (v.7-9); and Jeroboam’s destruction, however, is his bondage to sin and to Satan, blindly denying the LORD’s exaltation (v.7), failed to keep his commandments (shamar, שׁמר, a priestly term, though Jeroboam became a priest of other gods)(v.8), making false images (v.9).  The following verses read almost like Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 1:

“The account here given of the wickedness of the Jews agrees with that which the apostle gives of the wickedness of the Gentile world (Rom. 1:21, 24), so that both Jew and Gentile are alike under sin, Rom. 3:9. (1.) They became vain in their imaginations concerning God, and changed his glory into an image, for they built themselves high places, images, and groves (v. 23), profaning God’s name by affixing to it their images, and God’s ordinances by serving their idols with them. They foolishly fancies that they exalted God when they worshipped him on high hills and pleased him when they worshipped him under the pleasant shadow of green trees. (2.) They were given up to vile affections (as those idolaters Rom. 1:26, 27), for there were sodomites in the land (v. 24), men with men working that which is unseemly, and not to be thought of, much less mentioned, without abhorrence and indignation. They dishonoured God by one sin and then God left them to dishonour themselves by another. They profaned the privileges of a holy nation, therefore God gave them up to their own hearts’ lusts, to imitate the abominations of the accursed Canaanites; and herein the Lord was righteous. And, when they did like those that were cast out, how could they expect any other than to be cast out like them?2. See here how weak and poor they were; and this was the consequence of the former. Sin exposes, impoverishes, and weakens any people.” – Matthew Henry

And such is the declaration of God’s judgment against Jeroboam; such transparency, which though Josiah would proclaim upon Israel in the latter chapters of 2 Kings 350 years later, are but types of the global disaster and restoration of the Noahic flood and the Day of Resurrection.  No righteous posterity shall come out to Jeroboam’s womb, far from the blessing of progenitors to Abraham and David’s line.  Here, the Father’s mercy does not extend to Jeroboam for reason of his failing to keep (as Adam was commanded in Genesis 2:15), and failing to cling onto the Judaic line of Christ through David’s offspring.  V.16 describes how Jeroboam sinned “and made Israel to sin”, and such is the effect of a king who does not make promises as Christ does to His church to mutually edify and glorify (John 17:24-26).  The scattering of Israel, under the Assyrian captivity, begins here – with the false leadership of Jeroboam outside of the house of Judah, the refined line of Christ’s tree line (represented by the scattering of Israel beyond Euphrates, v.15 c.f. Isaiah 8:7; Jeremiah 2:18).

17Then Jeroboam’s wife arose and departed and came to(Y) Tirzah. And(Z) as she came to the threshold of the house, the child died. 18And all Israel buried him and mourned for him,(AA) according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by his servant Ahijah the prophet.

19Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam,(AB) how he warred and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. 20And the time that Jeroboam reigned was twenty-two years. And he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his place.

 

Though not described in detail here, note Jeroboam’s death in 2 Chronicles 13:18-22 which displays an important comparison to 1 Kings 14:

 

“18Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed,(AC) because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers. 19And Abijah pursued Jeroboam(AD) and took cities from him, Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and(AE) Ephron[e] with its villages. 20Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah.(AF) And the LORD struck him down,(AG) and he died. 21But Abijah grew mighty. And he took fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22The rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways and his sayings, are written in the(AH) story of the prophet(AI) Iddo.” – 2 Chronicles 13:18-22

Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah: why is that?  2 Chronicles 18 reveals it plainly:  “because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers”.  For the first time since Solomon’s death we see reliance on the LORD, not the golden calves, not the false elohim, but the LORD struck him down and he died (v.20).  The further fulfilment of the Shilonite’s words is described in 1 Kings 15 by Baasha’s overtaking of Jeroboam’s house: but the narrator purposely left it for later description.  Instead, the focus is on the parallel between Jeroboam’s heretical rule, and Rehoboam’s similarly rebellious activity though favoured by the LORD simply because he is the heir of David’s throne.

21(AC) Now Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem,(AD) the city that the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there.(AE) His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. 22(AF) And Judah did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and they(AG) provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their fathers had done. 23For they also built for themselves(AH) high places(AI) and pillars and(AJ) Asherim on every high hill and(AK) under every green tree, 24and there were also(AL) male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations that the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.

 

So strange a comparison – that we see the LORD curse Jeroboam’s house so, to see the only ‘dignity’ to arise out of a death of a Christly child, almost a comparison to the death of the man of God!  Rehoboam, similarly led Judah to do what was evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to jealousy, more than all that their fathers had done (v.22).  They, too, built high places and pillars and Asherim (like Jeroboam – c.f. v.15; even the narrator makes this comparison obvious in v.24 noting that ‘they did according to all the abominations of the nations that the LORD drove out’) – but the favour and mercy upon Rehoboam is simply because he reigned over the city that the LORD has chosen out of all the tribes of Israel; that he reigns in the line of the chosen.  Who is chosen?  Christ is the Chosen and Elected One of all ages (Isaiah 42:1).  That is why Rehoboam is not cursed; his household is not cursed, even though he is born of Naamah the Ammonite, repeated twice in this chapter (v.21 & 31) – that is not a purebred.  That is the comparison the narrator is trying to make.  Would the Shilonite’s prophecy prevail not only against the house of Jeroboam, but also against Rehoboam, forever cursing the coming of the seed (Genesis 3:15)?  No – even in Abijam’s sins, even in his mixed heritage, the house of David prevails for God’s promise in David, shadowed by Christ, shall not be broken, despite our sins.  He is faithful, even when we are not (2 Timothy 2:13; c.f. 1 Kings 15:4-5).

25(AM) In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. 26He took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s house.(AN) He took away everything. He also took away all the shields of gold(AO) that Solomon had made, 27and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house. 28And as often as the king went into the house of the LORD, the guard carried them and brought them back to the guardroom.

This alliance between Jeroboam and Shishak is now an unholy alliance against the church of Christ (Psalm 2) – established in 1 Kings 11:40, taking away the golden treasures of the LORD.  Such is the comparison made against the prophecy in Daniel 2:32-45 to Nebuchadnezzar, the kingdom of gold subsumed by a kingdom of silver and bronze – only to be entirely consumed by the humble element – the Stone and Rock of Ages.  The Stone that became a Mountain – the theology of the mustard seed (Luke 13:19).  Though the glory of Israel seemed to dim by the theft of Shishak, the true glory remained, though dim, in the men of God like Shemaiah, like the mysterious visitor from Judah buried in Bethel, the prophet who looks forward to the prophecy concerning Josiah, and undoubtedly Ahijah himself.  These are the little seeds, sown across a rebellious nation, as the lamp still shone in the city of Jerusalem for the day when the light of the world breaks into the darkness as sunlight does to the darkest of nights.

29(AP) Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 30(AQ) And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. 31And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David.(AR) His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. And(AS) Abijam his son reigned in his place.

And so the chapter ends not on a note of negativity as one may assume, by Rehoboam and Jeroboam’s rebellion.  Rather, though the light is dim, Rehoboam is still managing the house of the LORD (v.28).  The temple is still not entirely neglected – and this is the mercy of our God through Christ’s redemptive work – that he redeems not those false priests and Pharisees of the purebred line of Israel like Jeroboam was from the house of Ephraim; but especially those of the line of David, whom David himself is a descendant of a Moabite, that Rehoboam should receive the same mercy for the beauty which Naamah the Ammoite bore is not physical – but a beauty inherited from Christ.  The chapter ends with Rehoboam keeping the commandment of the maintenance of this otherwise neglected temple, and we are reminded that he is of mixed heritage.  Yet, the LORD’s favour rests on him anyway – Romans 11.

1 Kings 14: The Two Houses

1 Kings 3: Wisdom and folly

1(A) Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into(B) the city of David until he had finished(C) building his own house(D) and the house of the LORD(E) and the wall around Jerusalem. 2(F) The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the LORD.

There has been ample speculation regarding Solomon’s relationship with Pharoah’s daughter, many of which has been negative (due namely to the commandment in Exodus 34; Deuteronomy 7:3-4; however, Egypt is not specifically mentioned – rather, the crux of such prevention of inter-marriage is to ensure that these foreign people do not bring with them foreign gods to ensnare the Israelites).  Yet, note that Solomon’s kingdom is a type of the new creation kingdom, and littered throughout Solomon’s reign is a shadow of the inclusion of the Gentiles which has already been happening prior to Solomon’s reign (Rahab in Joshua 2:1-3, 6:17-25; Barzillai, blessed by David in 1 Kings 2 and hails from the tribe of Gileadites from the mixed race of the sons of Manasseh – Numbers 26:29; and the blessing of Japheth, the father of Gentiles, in Genesis 9:27) and truly fulfilled on the Pentecost after Christ’s ascension (Acts 2).

What is the focus of this portion of the chapter however is not his marriage alliance with Pharoah though indeed we should not ignore the significance of this being one of his first actions as king, especially marked after his receipt of the Spirit’s wisdom in this chapter.  Rather, it is that the people were sacrificing at the high places (v.2), just as Solomon had done so (v.3-4), but not because the people necessarily consciously sinned against the LORD.  Rather, the reason is given in v.2 – it is “because no house had yet been built for the name of the LORD”.  Note that Solomon is emphasized as loving the LORD and walking in his father’s statutes (even in his marriage alliance with Pharoah) – but the emphasis is placed on the fact that he is offering at high places, the Hebrew indicating that this is not a good thing (“however” in v.2, and “only” in v.3).

How are we then to reconcile the fact that there is the tent of God, the tabernacle for just offerings; but there being no “house of the LORD”?  This tension may be resolved by understanding that this chapter lays down the blueprint and background behind Solomon’s building of the temple, compared to David’s building of the temple (2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 28).  The focus therefore is not simply an issue of whether these men are sinning or not when they sacrifice in “unauthorized” places like Gibeon (for the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night at Gibeon – v.5; and furthermore reconciled with 2 Chronicles 1:3 where the tent of meeting was actually there at Gibeon as well, though the ark is in Jerusalem – 2 Chronicles 1:4), but the symbolism behind how these Christians who offered burnt offerings to God at different places were united because the house of the LORD was finally built by an anointed son of David.

If sin is not the central thrust of the discussion here, then the inclusion of the marriage alliance with Pharoah falls neatly into place – for we are then speaking of the shadow of the Israelite-Gentile church, scattered around the globe, providing their various burnt offerings but still having no place that they can call home (1 John 2:15).  Yet, such a great task of building the house of the LORD cannot be easily met by mere intelligence or human wisdom – even the less impressive and mobile tabernacle had to be built by architects filled with the Spirit (Exodus 28:3, 31:3, 35:21, 35:31).  Consider therefore Solomon’s concern in relation to how he is to lead the nation as a king, and how to subsequently build this house (1 Kings 5):

5(J) At Gibeon(K) the LORD appeared to Solomon(L) in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 6And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because(M) he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and(N) have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. 7And now, O LORD my God,(O) you have made your servant king in place of David my father,(P) although I am but a little child. I do not know(Q) how to go out or come in. 8(R) And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people,(S) too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9(T) Give your servant therefore an understanding mind(U) to govern your people, that I may(V) discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

10It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12behold,(W) I now do according to your word. Behold,(X) I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13(Y) I give you also what you have not asked,(Z) both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments,(AA) as your father David walked, then(AB) I will lengthen your days.”

Note Solomon’s wise request – he had asked the LORD for an understanding mind to govern His people, to discern between good and evil, for who (but the LORD) is able to govern His great people (v.9)?  What a reverent way to address the LORD, compared to the very arrogance of Adam and Eve in attempting to discern good and evil (Genesis 3:5, 3:22), for themselves (Genesis 3:5 – “you” will be like God) rather than for creation (Genesis 1:26 – dominion over the fish of the sea, birds of the heavens, livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth… for we are made in God’s image – v.27; thus, it is God’s primary role as head of such dominion, which man has but inherited from God as a gift) and His people.

However, v.14 is again a condition which only Christ could fulfill perfectly.  For 2 Samuel primarily marks not the triumph of David, but rather David’s reliance on the LORD who triumphs on His behalf, the Angel who stayed His hand upon David’s offering at Jebus (2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21; 2 Chronicles 3:1).  Yet, this is already counted as “walking in [the LORD’s] ways, keeping [His] statutes and [His] commandments” (v.14), despite David’s grave sins of murder and adultery (2 Samuel 11-12, adultery with Bathsheba; murder of Uriah). Thus, the condition is merely that Solomon, like David, must proclaim the LORD as his LORD, despite Solomon’s shortcomings as a man born in the sin of Adam but clinging onto the hope of the Anointed Offspring of Adam (Genesis 3:15) and David (2 Samuel 7).  Where Solomon fulfilled v.14, his son Rehoboam failed miserably for he sinned defiantly and did not return to the LORD for true propitiation like David had (1 Kings 12; 1 Kings 15:6 – there was war all the days of Rehoboam’s life, very different from the peace and safety accorded under Solomon’s reign), finally leading to the rejection of Israel in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivity (2 Chronicles 30-33).

15And Solomon(AC) awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.

Observe how Solomon, after the dream (Genesis 31, 37; Joel 2:28; Matthew 1:20 – often associated with the beginning of one’s ministry, similar to that of a “vision of the night” – Job 33:15), has not turned to worshipping at Gibeon, but immediately travels to Jerusalem before the ark (v.15).  This is his first step in consolidating the Christians in Israel back to the house of the LORD, just as our Christ is now preparing a house for us (book of Ezekiel / John 14:2 / Revelation 21:2), that we should set our sights on the house of the LORD in new creation.  Furthermore, this is a restoration of the centrality of the ark of the covenant, which has been long neglected during Saul’s reign (1 Chronicles 13:3), retrieved by David, Zadok and Abiathar (2 Samuel 15:29), and now no longer shunned to the side and given its full significance as it had been during the time of Moses.  Therefore, to this day, we will look to the day when we worship the LORD before the ark of the covenant in new creation (Revelation 11:19).

16Then two prostitutes came to the king(AD) and stood before him. 17The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. 18Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house. 19And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. 21When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.” 22But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king.

What a sick scenario, that we see two prostitutes fight over their rightful son.  Here, we see a shadow of the Satan working through the prostitute with the dead son, for Satan’s “offspring” (John 8:44; 1 John 2:22) are but subject to the death caused by Satan himself (v.19; c.f. Genesis 3).

23Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.'” 24And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king. 25And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” 26Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because(AE) her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.” 27Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.” 28And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that(AF) the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.

However, look at the wisdom of Solomon – rather than subject himself to the wisdom which he had before his reign, he now rules more definitively by gift of more Wisdom from God to discern between good and evil.  Thus, the first two actions after receiving such a gift is the immediate worship at the tabernacle; followed by discernment of the wheat from the chaff, the Satan masquerading as an angel of light and pretending to be the rightful mother of this babe.  For Solomon’s kingdom shall not be ruled merely by the sword, but by Wisdom (Proverbs 8).  This first judgment by Wisdom is but a microcosm of what every king has failed or succeeded in doing – the discernment of good and evil for God’s people rather than the king’s people (v.9).  Note the loving mother who yearned for her child in v.26 compared to the Satanic prostitute who would rather the child be divided – at first they are presented as identical, but very swiftly the darkness is exposed and that such is the spiritual perception of God’s wisdom  (v.28), to not only differentiate good from evil but to also exalt the woman who is a prostitute to glory as a mother who yearns for her child; to not only exalt the prostitute-church who has cared for her offspring, but also expose the murderous woman of Babylon for quenching the child of the church (Revelation 17).

1 Kings 3: Wisdom and folly

1 Samuel 30: The rejected Redeemer

Once again, the redemption of those who were taken from Ziklag happened on the third day (v.1), where David by the indication of the priest Abiathar and ephod (v.7) received command from the LORD to pursue the Amalekite band.  David in his distress, in his weeping, is immediately seen as the weak and humble king-to-be – in contrast to Saul who has not wept nor has he truly inquired of the LORD except through a false mediator who attempted to raise Samuel from the dead.  This is the Saul who has caused his men hunger.  The Saul who has led people to war without inquiry from Samuel.  The Saul whose kingdom was torn from him as the Father elects Christ to be the only true anointed One, He who weeps for His people (Isaiah 63:10) and would not move until the Father commands Him to move.  So here, David equally is not first and foremost portrayed as a man of valour; and time and time again, he is portrayed as a man of vulnerability, a man who is not immediately chosen by Israel to be the redeemer between the nation and Goliath – a mere shepherd boy and the youngest of his family without the same weight or stature as Saul.  And even in the midst of worthless men speaking of stoning him, David’s faith was continually strengthened in the LORD his God.  Is this not like us?  No – I’m not speaking as if we are like David.  Rather, David’s worthless men are like us.

Are we not the missionaries who, upon disaster, weep and are greatly distressed only to turn on Christ and abuse Him for leading us thus far?  Are we not the mobile church who, after deciding to follow Him as our leader, are led into regions of discomfort where we feel that what we endure is too much to manage?  The Spirit at no stage indicates that our lesson is to learn to have the faith of David.  Rather, the Spirit is telling us that David is our Christ, in whom we receive the blessings of resurrection and ascension after our deaths for it is His life of faithfulness which has brought all his brethren into the book of life, not our lives of faithfulness.  If not for David strengthening himself in the LORD His God, the true king would have died by stoning and the captives of Ziklag would have forever remained slaves of the Amalekites.  Yet, our Christ did not give up and once again elected Himself to be the redeemer despite being rejected not only by Israel, not only by the Philistines, but now rejected also by the mobile church of worthless men.  David is truly at the bottom of the social rung, of the pit of life, and yet the glory of Christ did shine at its finest peak when he hung on the cross like a worthless worm (Psalm 22:6).

And in the midst of the pursuit of the persecutors, we meet an Egyptian slave to an Amalekite.  It is here that we see how far Egypt has fallen into other nations’ hands as the nation has not been mentioned since Exodus (at least referred to over one hundred times as a proverb of a nation fallen by the hand of God since the book of Exodus) – and here, for the first time since the travels in the wilderness and Israel’s arrival at Canaan do we meet an Egyptian man.  Yet, he is not a prince, nor a master; he is a slave to one of Israel’s enemies.  Here, David treats the man hospitably (Deuteronomy 23:7) before asking him about his allegiance (v.12) as it appears that the Egyptian had been wandering in the open country, abandoned and without food for three days and three nights.  Is this not what our LORD does for us as he revives us on the third day with true spiritual bread and the waters of the Holy Spirit?  Us, who were God’s enemies?  Us, who appeared to be the kings of our own world?  Us, who in actuality was nothing but slaves and thrown to rot in the wilderness by the allegiances which we make outside of Christ?  Yet, David’s love for the man is God’s love for us, His enemies, so that we may no longer betray our true Saviour just as David is this Egyptian’s saviour in the wilderness.  For our sickness can only be healed by the true Physician (Luke 5:31), yet our false gods quickly abandon us as they have no true power of healing.  Though this man may still call the Amalekite his master (v.15), it is clear that the Egyptian is very much willing to side with David and above all a God-fearing man.

Here, from v.16 onwards, we see another prophetic glimpse of Christ’s victory over Satan through the body of the church.  Though two hundred stayed at the brook Besor (v.10), four hundred went on to defeat the Amalekites and reclaim all that was lost.  This is but a shadow of the judgment day as some Amalekites have fled, just as some of the Nephilim remained even after the flood (Numbers 13:33, as Anakim), but the important message of chapter 30 is the reclamation of what was lost, and even more (as the Amalekites did not only pilfer and burn down Ziklag, but also the great spoil from the land of the Philistines (v.16)).  It is under the headship of David that “nothing was missing, whether small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything that had been taken.  David brought back” (v.19).  How this would make the greatest sense in the context of our LORD Jesus Christ who was crucified by worthless men, revived the Gentiles on the third day by feeding us with spiritual bread and water and go on to defeat the enemies of God leading us once again to victory though we are the same people whom he should destroy as well.  Indeed, these possessions are all given to us his mobile church, yet it is the flock and herds and livestock which are David’s spoil (v.20), for we the flock are His spoil and not anything which us worthless men can own.

In spite of David’s victory, much of the men who went out to fight against the Amalekites were still labeled as “wicked and worthless fellows” (v.22) – and though we, the still-wicked and still-worthless fellows worshipping under the banner of Christ are judgmental of those who had not gone out to reclaim the spoil which the church rightly owns, David speaks the truth behind one of the parables used in the gospels (Matthew 20).  The spoils are not determined by the exact nature of our works – for it is God’s economy that he who fights and he who stays by the baggage are equally blessed: the economy of God’s mercy.  Just as the small Israelite church had been preserved in the Old Testament (Romans 11), and just as the work of the cross had been prophesied and not yet fulfilled in the time before the incarnation, are these people who stood by the brook Besor denied the blessings of the cross because they have yet to progress into global missions as a theocratic nation?  Furthermore, this abundant overflow of blessing is given not only to the fighting men and the tired men but also to the elders of Judah as a gift although David has long been an outcast of Israel – once again displaying David’s love for his enemies as a sign of David’s near-future enthronement as the king of Judah.  Though David and his men had not been accepted in both lands claimed by Israel and the surrounding nations, His love for us is to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4) as he inevitably ascends to become a shadow of the Lion of Judah (Hosea 5:14).

1 Samuel 30: The rejected Redeemer

1 Samuel 23: The living house of God

After David’s rejection by both the house of Saul and house of Gath in chapter 22, we immediately see a conflict between the two houses in chapter 23 – the Philistines against the Israelites.  Is there any reason for David to intervene?  Absolutely; for he fought for the chosen church of God, the Israelites; he did not fight just for Saul, and just as the LORD elected him to defeat Goliath, so he also awaits the LORD’s election to defeat the Philistines and save Keilah (v.2).  It is the LORD who delivers; but it is through David alone; just as it is the Father who raises up the Son and defeats sin on the cross, but it is done through Christ where the Father and Son, and their Holy Spirit are collectively glorified.  It is a mere matter of fact that the men’s weakness was the LORD’s strength as they “struck them [the Philistines] with a great blow… so David saved the inhabitants of Keilah”.  Thus, David delivered the Israelites from the hands of the uncircumcised men who blasphemed the true living Yahweh:

1Sa 17:26  And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

These uncircumcised pagans who were robbing the threshing floors, the fruit of the land, and in turn is robbed of their lives – a true parable of Satan robbing the fruit of the church, the vineyard of Keilah, only to be covered in the bloody grapes of the Father’s wrath upon the Son, bruising the enemy’s head.

David, therefore once again, is the LORD-elected redeemer and Saviour of a city which belonged to a nation which either positively persecuted him, or loved him as their typological mediator. Yet, this city belonged to the former: “Will the men of Keilah surrender me into his [Saul’s] hand?” (v.11)  “They will surrender you” the LORD replied (v.12).  In face of this, we see David fleeing from Saul, even from an enclosed fortitude like Keilah, a town which has “gates and bars” (v.7 – c.f. John 10:39), to display the greater irony that the LORD is not with Saul and will not deliver David to Saul as Saul is not the true anointed.  Such is his delusion that  he believes the death of David, like the death of the priests in the house of Ahimelech, are a result of the LORD’s blessings (v.21).  Contrarily, it is by the LORD that David escaped.  Not only this, but it is by the LORD that Saul could not search out David in the wilderness, but Jonathan managed to find him and even renewed their covenant a second time, the third time it is mentioned that a covenant was established between these two brethren in Christ (v.16-18).

It is during a time like this that we see a hallmark image of the tension between David and Saul, many of such images littered throughout the rest of 1 Samuel.  It is by this Rock of Escape (v.28), this mountain which divided Saul’s thousands of men from David’s hundreds (v.26), that we see the antithesis of the two.  The righteous king is cornered, though he is the victor over the Philistines once over Goliath, twice by instilling fear in the city of Gath, and thrice by defeating the Philistines though his men were weak and unwilling; and yet the actual king of Israel is overcome with jealousy that he would be unaware of the invasion of the Philistines.  What a great contrast!  David in persecution still loved his people (Luke 23:34); but Saul, doing the persecuting, neglected Israel.  He, like the Philistines, was robbing the threshing floors (v.1) of Israel by depriving them of their saviour David.  “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah” David’s men exclaimed (v.3) – and we are such men.  We need the true David’s leadership and guidance for we are no David; we need the true David’s grace and mercy for we are also the same men who persecute the Son of Man.  We stand on Saul’s side of the mountain, and yet in Christ who is our true Rock of Escape, the wrath of the Father’s is propitiated once and for all (Psalm 103:12).  It is thus fitting that this chapter closes in reminiscence of the vineyard of the threshing floor, as David left the Rock of Escape where he found refuge in the LORD’s providence, and left Keilah for Engedi – another stronghold which instead is the fount of the kid, celebrated for its vineyards (Song of Songs 1:14), and a prophetic place of men’s salvation.  Men of all kinds shall be saved from Engedi to Eneglaim (Ezekiel 47:10), the fish according to their kinds representing the fitting picture of David and his six hundred, tired, weary, weak, hungry, sweaty, bloodied, and yet they are all redeemed men by David’s reliance on the LORD.  So we also rely on the Son’s obedience to the Father as we are the subject of the first Fisherman, and in turn we too become the fishermen standing at Engedi to Eneglaim, redeeming all those rejected, warmly welcoming and rejoicing that they have instead joined us at the Rock of Escape, from the persecution of man as they will receive their just deserts just as the story of David in Keilah showed the Philistines.

1 Samuel 23: The living house of God