1 Chronicles Chapter 14
(See notes on 2 Sam. 5:11-16).
The events of this chapter took place before those of (1 Chron. 3:5-9).
1 Chronicles 14:1 “Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and timber of cedars, with masons and carpenters, to build him a house.”
So the Hebrew text of Chronicles spells the name, and the LXX. And all the other ancient versions both of Samuel and Chronicles have it so. But the Hebrew margin of Chronicles writes “Huram.”
“Timber of cedars”: Felled from Lebanon, and sea-borne to Joppa (2 Chron. chapter 16).
“With masons and carpenters”: Literally, and craftsmen of walls, and craftsmen of timber. (2 Sam. 5:11), has “craftsmen of wood, and craftsmen of stone of wall.”
“To build him a house”: Samuel, “and they built a house for David” (2 Sam. 5:11).
“House”: Palace. So, the Temple was called “the house as well as “the palace” (compare the Accadian e-gal, “great house”). We may think of the numerous records of palace building which the Assyrian and Babylonian sovereigns have left us. The cedar of Lebanon was a favorite material with them.
Hiram or Huram is probably short for Ahiram. Ahiram was his Phoenician name. Tyre was short of food, and Israel needed the cedar. Hiram gave the cedar to David with no strings attached, but David gave Tyre grain, that they badly needed. The men of Tyre were skilled in working with wood, and sent carpenters and masons to build David a house.
1 Chronicles 14:2 “And David perceived that the LORD had confirmed him king over Israel, for his kingdom was lifted up on high, because of his people Israel.”
And David knew that Jehovah had appointed him. The willing alliance of the powerful sovereign of Phoenician Tyre was so understood by David. The favor of man is sometimes a sign of the approval of God always, when it results from well-doing (Gen. 39:21; Luke 2:52).
“For his kingdom was lifted up on high”: Samuel, “and (he knew), that he had lifted up his kingdom.” Perhaps our text should be rendered, viz. “That his kingdom was lifted up on high.”
“Lifted up.”: Aramaic form (nissêth).
“Because of”: For the sake of.
“On high”: A favorite intensive expression with the chronicler (1 Chron. 20:5; 21:17).
“Kingdom”: The Hebrew term (malkûth), is more modern than that in Samuel (mamlãkhăh).
This verse helps us to understand how David was “a man after God’s own heart.” His innate humility recognizes at once the ground of his own exaltation as not personal, but national.
When Hiram built this beautiful house, or more probably a mansion for David, David recognized it as another blessing from God. This had never happened in the 7 years he was in Hebron. He now realized that he was where the LORD wanted him to be. When God pours out a blessing, it is so abundant that no one can doubt where it is coming from. David knew God was blessing him mightily.
Verses 1-7 is a repeat of (1 Chron. 3:5-9).
Verses 1-2 (see the notes on 2 Sam. 5:13-15).
1 Chronicles 14:3 “And David took more wives at Jerusalem: and David begat more sons and daughters.”
Although taking multiple “wives” was the custom of the day, it was not God’s original intent (Gen. 2:24), and it caused much grief within David’s family (2 Sam. Chapters 11-24).
In another Scripture, the wives are called concubines. It really does not matter here, which they were. Children were believed to be blessings from God, and David had many. One of the signs of a powerful king was the number of wives he had.
1 Chronicles 14:4 “Now these [are] the names of [his] children which he had in Jerusalem; Shammua, and Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon,”
Literally, the born. Samuel has a different word from the same root, and omits the relative pronoun and its verb. (For the names, compare 1 Chron. 3:5-9 notes, and 2 Sam. 5:14-16). The list is repeated here because it occurred at this point in the document which the historian was copying, and perhaps also as an instance of David’s prosperity, which is the topic of the section.
“Nathan”: “And Nathan” (Samuel), must be right. The conjunction occurs throughout the list. Joseph, “the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus,” traced his descent from this son of David (Luke 3:23-31).
These 4 sons were born to David by his wife Bath-sheba. Shammua is the same as Shimea (in 1 Chronicles 3:5). The genealogy that leads to Mary, the mother of Jesus, comes from Nathan mentioned here. It is very interesting, that Bath-sheba would name a child by the prophet, Nathan’s, name.
1 Chronicles 14:5-7 “And Ibhar, and Elishua, and Elpalet,” “And Nogah, and Nepheg, and Japhia,” “And Elishama, and Beeliada, and Eliphalet.”
These 9 were also born to David by his wives in Jerusalem. The children born of the concubines are not mentioned.
Verses 8-16: For a longer description of this battle with “the Philistines” (see 2 Sam. Chapter 5).
The Philistines desired to ruin David before the throne was consolidated. Their plan was to kill David, but God gave him victory over the Philistines (unlike Saul), and thus declared both to the Philistines and Israel His support of Israel’s new king. For details (see notes on 2 Sam. 5:17-23).
1 Chronicles 14:8 “And when the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over all Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David. And David heard [of it], and went out against them.”
Samuel, “they had anointed David.” The verb in each case is mashah, from which is derived Mashȋah or Messiah.
“Over all Israel”: The word “all,” omitted in Samuel, contrasts David’s second election with his first as king of Judah only.
“To seek David” with hostile intent. The verb is so used in (1 Sam. 26:2).
“Went out against them”: Literally, before them (1 Chron. 12:17). Samuel has, “went down to the stronghold.” The term “stronghold” designates the “castle of Zion” (1 Chron. 11:5; 11:7), and also David’s old refuge, the rock and cave of Adullam, in the valley of Elah. The latter is probably intended here. As on former occasions, the Philistine forces were likely to choose the route through the valley of Elah (compare 1 Sam. 18:1-2), and David “went down” from Zion “to meet them” there.
The Philistines were a constant enemy of Israel. Whoever was king of Israel was their enemy. They were not seeking him to be friends. They intended to overthrow him if they could. They had destroyed Saul, and they thought David would be no different. They had forgotten David’s God.
1 Chronicles 14:9 “And the Philistines came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.”
Now the Philistines had come. The narrative goes back to (1 Chron. 14:8). The invaders had approached by another road than usual, and encamped in the valley of Rephaim (1 Chron. 11:15).
“Spread themselves”: The chronicler has given an easier term than that used in Samuel.
The valley of Rephaim is the valley of giants. They have spread themselves for battle. At the time this is speaking of the Philistines still held some territory around Jerusalem from their previous battle with Saul.
1 Chronicles 14:10 “And David inquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand.”
When David “inquired of God” before the battle, God answered and David obeyed. In contrast, Saul heard from God but did not obey, so when the Philistines attacked, God did not answer when Saul asked God what to do. In desperation, Saul turned to a medium (1 Sam. Chapter 28).
David is doing the correct thing in asking God before he goes in to battle, whether it is the thing to do or not. He probably went to the High Priest and had him to ask of God. We are not told exactly how he did it, just that he did. David knows when God tells him to go, He will be with him, and David and his men will win the battle. When the LORD fights for you, there is no way to lose.
1 Chronicles 14:11 “So they came up to Baal-perazim; and David smote them there. Then David said, God hath broken in upon mine enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters: therefore they called the name of that place Baal-perazim.”
“So they”: that is, David and his troops. Samuel, “And David came into Baal-perazim.” The locality is unknown. The prophet Isaiah (1 Chron. 28:21), refers to these two victories of David: “For Jehovah shall rise up as in Mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.” Such a reference proves the great moment of the events so briefly chronicled here.
“God hath broken in upon mine enemies”: Samuel has “Jehovah” here and (in 1 Chron. 14:10; 14:14-15; see note, 1 Chron. 13:12). True to his character, David owns the mighty hand of God in the results of his own valor (compare 1 Chron. 17:16). He is conscious of being God’s instrument. Contrast the haughty self-confidence of the Assyrian conqueror (Isa. 10:5-15).
“By mine hand”: Samuel, “before me;” and so the Syriac and Arabic here. The Hebrew phrases are probably synonymous (compare 1 Sam. 21:14, “in their hand,” i.e., before them). In Arabic, “between the hands” means before. Our text seems the more original here.
“Like the breaking forth of waters”: David’s forces probably charged down the slopes of Mount Perazim (Isa. 28:21), like a mountain torrent, sweeping all before it.
“They called”: An explanation of Samuel, which has “he (i.e., one), called.” The remark indicates the antiquity of the narrative. Compare the frequent verbal plays of this kind in the stories of the Book of Genesis.
“Baal-perazim”: Lord, or owner, of breaches, or breakings forth. “Baal” may refer to Jehovah (compare 1 Chron. 9:33 note). And perazim may have also meant the fissures or gullies on the mountain-side. It is the plural of the word Perez (1 Chron. 13:11).
“Baal-perazim” means master of breaches. This would be appropriate to name the place, since God broke in upon the enemies for David. God empowered David and his men for the battle. The “breaking forth of waters” is speaking of a flood. This battle was unexpected by the Philistines, and Israel came in on them like a flood.
1 Chronicles 14:12 “And when they had left their gods there, David gave a commandment, and they were burned with fire.”
“Gods … burned” (2 Samuel 5:21), reports that the idols were carried away, presenting an apparent contradiction. Most likely the idols were first carried away and then burned later, according to the Mosaic Law (Deut. 7:5, 25).
Instead of destroying the idols around them, the people of Israel began to adopt them as their own, something God explicitly forbade (Exodus 20:4). Desiring to bring the nation back to the one true God, David “burned” the idols as the Lord had commanded (Deut. 7:5).
These false gods (images), were probably made of wood. They were gathered up and burned. Not only does David defeat the Philistines, but the false gods of the Philistines are proven to be nothings as well.
1 Chronicles 14:13 “And the Philistines yet again spread themselves abroad in the valley.”
“Yet again”: This invasion of “all the Philistines” (1 Chron. 14:8), was too serious to be repelled by a single defeat.
“Spread themselves abroad”: R.V. says made a raid (as 1 Chron. 14:9).
“In the valley”: In (2 Sam. 5:22), in the valley of Rephaim.
It appears from this, that the Philistines who were not killed in the first battle, regrouped and spread out to war against David again in this same valley.
1 Chronicles 14:14 “Therefore David inquired again of God; and God said unto him, Go not up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.”
Every aspect of a believer’s life is important to God. Even when faced with a battle, “David inquired … of God” (2 Sam. 5:23, 25).
Again, David very wisely got advice from God what he should do. He was not to attack them at this time. In fact, it would appear that he was withdrawing. The mulberry trees were located behind them and would leave them no way of escape. When the army of Israel appeared to be leaving the battleground, they would go to the rear of the Philistine troops and wait for a signal from God to attack.
Verses 15-17: Why did God choose to have David wait? And why did God choose to make “a sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees?” And why did David so willingly go along with this unusual plan? The answer to all these questions is faith. Word about this victory doubtless spread throughout the region. As a result of David’s faith, God caused “all nations” to fear Israel.
1 Chronicles 14:15 “And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, [that] then thou shalt go out to battle: for God is gone forth before thee to smite the host of the Philistines.”
“A sound of going”: R.V. the sound of marching. Targum, the sound of angels coming to thy help. LXX the sound of shaking.
“Thou shalt go out to battle”: Samuel has a more vivid phrase, thou shalt bestir thyself.
“Smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer”: This victory was decisive; the main army of the Philistines was routed.
Sometimes, the Spirit of God is likened to a mighty rushing wind. That was what David and his men would hear, before they went to attack. God would lead the attack. He would fight for Israel. David and his men would come behind and finish up.
1 Chronicles 14:16 “David therefore did as God commanded him: and they smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer.”
And David did. Samuel adds “so.”
“And they smote the host”: (camp). Samuel, “and he smote the Philistines.” (Compare 1 Chron. 14:11).
“From Gibeon”: The present Hebrew text of Samuel has Geba. The LXX agrees with Chronicles in reading Gibeon, but the Targum, Syriac, and Arabic read Geba. Gibeon lay about six miles northwest of Jerusalem, between the valley of Rephaim and Gezer (Isa. 28:21), supports this reading.
“Even to Gazer”: (or Gezer). Compare Pharez (Perez), and Japhet (Yepheth). The text of Samuel has, “until thou come to Gezer;” the Chronicles, “even unto Gezer-ward.” (See Joshua 12:12; 1 Kings 9:15-17).
This is just showing how large their army was. This mattered not to God. The Philistines were destroyed from Gibeon (Geba), to Gazer. God honors those who obey His commands. David was given credit for winning this battle.
1 Chronicles 14:17 “And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations.”
It looks like a concluding reflection of the chronicler’s, similar to (2 Chron. 17:10; 20:29).
“The fame of David went out”: David’s name. The same phrase recurs in (2 Chron. 26:15).
“All lands”: All the lands. (Compare Psalm 19:4).
“And the Lord brought the fear of him upon all nations”: Yet this fear was, as we should say, the natural effect of his victories. In the view of the chronicler, David’s success in arms, with all its consequences, was the work of Jehovah. The Hebrew phrase is similar to that in (Esther 8:17).
God fought this battle, but the eyes of the nations looking on gave credit for the victory to David. They feared David, but they also feared the God of David. Their fear was based on the fact that they knew God was with David. Notice who brought the fear, it was the LORD.
1 Chronicles Chapter 14 Questions
1. Who was king of Tyre?
2. What did he send to David as material for his house?
3. Who built the house?
4. What were some other names Hiram was called?
5. What did David give Hiram that helped him?
6. What did David perceive that the LORD had done?
7. David recognized this beautiful house as what?
8. Many wives were a sign of what?
9. The four children of David, in verse 4, are the children of David’s wife ____________.
10. How many other children born in Jerusalem are mentioned?
11. Whose children are they?
12. Which of David’s children are not listed?
13. Who heard of the anointing of David as king of all Israel and came against him?
14. What did David do first, before he reacted to the threat?
15. Where did the Philistines settle themselves?
16. What will happen, since the LORD told David to fight this battle?
17. What does “Baal-perazim” mean?
18. What is the “breaking forth of waters” speaking of?
19. What did David command to do with their false gods?
20. Who does this defeat, besides the Philistines?
21. What did the Philistines that were not killed in the first battle, do?
22. When David inquired of God, what did God tell him to do?
23. When was David and his men to attack?
24. What caused the rustling in the mulberry trees?
25. Where were the mulberry trees located?
26. Who went first in the battle?
27. What happened to the Philistines?
28. The fame of __________ went into all the lands.
29. Who did the nations fear?
30. Who brought the fear?
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