The book of 1 Chronicles reviews Biblical genealogy going all the way back to Adam, and most of the events of the kings of Israel. So while there wasn’t any new stories exactly, there were some added insights, and also discrepancies, to stories I had read previously.
Something I missed in the first reading of David’s rise to power was presented plainly in 1 Chronicles 15:1 – “After David had constructed buildings for himself in the City of David, he prepared a place for the ark of God and pitched a tent for it.” In my first read I didn’t realize so much time passed between David conquering Jerusalem and preparing a place for God. Building a palace for himself fits with the general idea of David thinking about himself over all others, and David himself realizes when it is done that he lives “in a palace of cedar” while God still lives in a tent. God does tell David he can’t build a temple because of the blood David has spilled, thereby paving the way for Solomon. So the argument could be made that David would establish the kingdom for God’s people, with Solomon building God’s temple. That said, there isn’t a reference of David choosing to build a temple first and God saying no. I did find it ironic that David, a man after God’s own heart, could not build a temple because of too much bloodshed. This is the only time bloodshed has been a hindrance.
So, Solomon is charged with building God’s temple. As a promise to David, God says of Solomon, “I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever” (1 Chron. 17:13-14). Solomon’s reign, while prosperous, decays because he worships other gods and spirals to the point of Nebuchadnezzar sacking Jerusalem many generations later. I understand the relationship between obedience and prosperity in the Old Testament, but it’s a promise that isn’t kept.
The name “Satan” makes, I believe, its first appearance in 1 Chronicles 21. Satan “rises up” and forces David to order a census (the census that God was angry at and asked David to choose the punishment for in 2 Samuel 24). The “serpent” is referenced in Genesis, but I think this is the first time Satan has been called Satan. Does this have to do with Chronicles being written almost 70 years after Kings? Perhaps. I’m curious what role, if any, Babylonian captivity played in the differences between the two sets of books. I’m also curious if Satan will become more prevalent as I keep reading. Baal, idols and other gods have seemed to be the enemy thus far much more than Satan.
Because 1 Chronicles re-tells stories from previous books, there were a few times I noticed some differences in the account. In 1 Chronicles 28:6, David says God told him Solomon would be the son who reigns after David’s death. If we go back to 2 Kings chapter 1, Nathan the prophet tells Bathsheba to convince David to name Solomon king. Nathan does this after another of David’s sons, Adonijah, declares himself heir to the throne. David then names Solomon king, referencing an oath he made to Bathsheba in front of God to anoint Solomon. A small difference, probably from the books being written by different people at different times, but it made me go back to check.
The second is 1 Chronicles 29:24, regarding Solomon as king, which says “All the officers and warriors, as well as all of King David’s sons, pledged their submission to King Solomon.” Again, this doesn’t match the account given in 1 Kings chapter 2, which details Solomon having both Adonijah and David’s top general, Joab, killed. To say all the officers and David’s sons pledged submission when a son and the best general David had did not, made me pause a second time.
Are these glaring discrepancies? No. Two people, 70 years apart, with Israel on opposite ends of the power spectrum … it makes sense that some things would be different, or forgotten. It isn’t so much a change of story as it is a change in the details of the story. Still, I found myself reading this book carefully, flipping back to check if the events were written about the same way. I’m sure I’ll read 2 Chronicles similarly.
Thank you for reading,