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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1 Chronicles 21

“This chapter,” observes Rawlinson, “covers the same ground as the last chapter of 2 Samuel, but continues the narrative somewhat further, the last four verses (27-30) and the latter part of 1 Chronicles 21:26 being additional to the earlier account. The resemblance to Samuel is throughout less close than usual; the additions are more numerous, the supernatural circumstances of the narrative being brought out into greater prominence, and some remarkable touches of a miraculous character, which are wholly new, being appended. The history is evidently not drawn from Samuel, but from some quite separate document, probably a contemporary account of the occurrence drawn up by Gad.” In this, however, as in other cases, the parallel passages in the different books mutually supplement each other.

See notes on 2 Samuel 24:0.

Verse 6

6. Levi and Benjamin counted he not The Levites were not numbered by Moses in obedience to the command which was given at Sinai, “Thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them among the children of Israel.” Numbers 1:49. Because of this command they were not reckoned by David. The Benjamites were not numbered, probably, as Bertheau explains, because the numbering was stopped before the census of that tribe was taken. The writer gives as a reason that the king’s word was abominable to Joab. Joab discerned at the beginning of the matter that it was fraught with evil omen, (see on 2 Samuel 24:3,) and his opposition to the measure served, probably, to stop the census sooner than would otherwise have been the case. The coming of the pestilence put an effectual stop to Joab’s work. 1 Chronicles 27:24.

Verse 29

29. The tabernacle… and the altar… at Gibeon See note on chap.

1 Chronicles 16:39.

Verse 30

30. David could not go before it to inquire of God: for he was afraid because of the sword of the angel It was a moral and spiritual, not a physical cause, that hindered David from going to Gibeon. Gibeon had probably not been spared by the pestilence, and the fear inspired by the sight of the angel, together with the command to build an altar and sacrifice on the spot where the angel appeared, convinced the king that thenceforth he must offer his sacrifices on the threshingfloor of Ornan. Hence he could not go elsewhere to sacrifice without violating his convictions of duty and obedience. He may also have feared that any disregard of the command to sacrifice on this new spot would cause the sword of the destroying angel to appear again. With this verse the first verse of the next chapter should be connected. Convinced by a Divine revelation that this spot was chosen by God as a place for sacrifice, he proclaimed, “This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt offering for Israel.” Here at length he found the spot on which the temple should be built.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.