From 1 Chronicles 18-21
The LORD is with David. He goes out and wars against the nations. Because the LORD is with him, they are defeated and become his servants. In the gospel, Jesus fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy the Gentiles will come and put their hope in him. Both passages remind us the gospel is for all nations. All nations will submit to the rule of God’s chosen king.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
David has just been given some pretty amazing promises from the LORD concerning the continuation of his kingdom (1 Chr 17; cf. 2 Sam 7). Afterwards the text describes all his victories over the surrounding nations.
Victories made possible because the LORD is with him.
18 After this David defeated the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Gath and its villages out of the hand of the Philistines. 2 And he defeated Moab, and the Moabites became servants to David and brought tribute. 3 David also defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah-Hamath, as he went to set up his monument at the river Euphrates. 4 And David took from him 1,000 chariots, 7,000 horsemen, and 20,000 foot soldiers. And David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but left enough for 100 chariots. (1 Chr 18.1-4)
The passage repeats the word ‘defeated’ a number of times making the point David has become mighty and the LORD is raising him above the nations.
David defeats the nation and takes over their land.
Most probably, he is gaining control of the land already promised to God’s people, but lost during the time of the Judges.
5 And when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David struck down 22,000 men of the Syrians. 6 Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus, and the Syrians became servants to David and brought tribute.
And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went.
7 And David took the shields of gold that were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. 8 And from Tibhath and from Cun, cities of Hadadezer, David took a large amount of bronze. With it Solomon made the bronze sea and the pillars and the vessels of bronze. (1 Chr 18.5-8)
On occasion the nations David defeats become his servants and are required to give him regular tributes of gold and silver.
The LORD gave victory to David wherever he went.
These early victories helped him prepare for the later building of the temple of the LORD under Solomon’s rule. David was not permitted to build the house, but he stockpiled many materials for Solomon’s later use.
9 When Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated the whole army of Hadadezer, king of Zobah, 10 he sent his son Hadoram to King David, to ask about his health and to bless him because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him; for Hadadezer had often been at war with Tou. And he sent all sorts of articles of gold, of silver, and of bronze. 11 These also King David dedicated to the LORD, together with the silver and gold that he had carried off from all the nations, from Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, the Philistines, and Amalek. (1 Chr 18.9-11)
Some of the surrounding nations hear about David’s victories and seek him on more positive terms. They too respect his authority and the position the LORD had given him.
David dedicates their offerings to the LORD. Recognising all the LORD has done for him.
12 And Abishai, the son of Zeruiah, killed 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 13 Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s servants.
And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went. (1 Chr 18.12-13)
The messiah defeats the Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, Edomites, Ammonites and Amalekites.
More and more people groups become his servants.
There are a number of Psalms recognising which describe the nations coming under the rule of God’s appointed king. Psalm 2 is probably the most famous.
7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Ps 2.7–12)
What we see here is what is described in 1 Chronicles. David defeats the nations and they become his servants. There is a warning for those who reject him and an encouragement to come under his rule and protection.
The Psalm also anticipates the ministry and rule of Jesus Christ. A few things he did in the gospel carried the implication of his rule over the nations – the Gentiles who would believe in Him. We can see this in the gospel according to Matthew.
15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all 16 and ordered them not to make him known. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
18 “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
20 a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory;
21 and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” (Mt 12.15–21)
The LORD gave victory to the word about Jesus wherever it went.
The passage today reminds us the LORD has greater plans than just our people group. We should share the gospel with all nations.
David defeated the nations and they came under his rule. Jesus does not defeat the nations as David did. He dies on a cross for their salvation. But those who do recognise him as king put their hope in Him.
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