1 Chronicles 18:1–17

Read the passage.

Writing from the perspective of hindsight, the Chronicler understands that Solomon was able to build the temple because of the geopolitical environment that his father David was able to leave as a legacy. Many of Israel’s enemies, who have caused trouble for the nation throughout the time of the judges and even since before Canaan was conquered, are defeated under David’s leadership. The Philistines lose territory, the Moabites send tribute, Syria as well when it is drawn into war to help its ally Zobah, and Edom becomes an occupied territory.

But David does not go to war with all of Israel’s neighbors. Hamath opens up diplomatic relations with Israel because they were often at war with Zobah. I suspect Hamath had actually been occupied by Zobah since Hadadezer was called the king of Zobah-Hamath in verse 3. If not outright occupation, Tou was under the foot of Hadadezer as a vassal king, but after David defeated Hadadezer at the Euphrates River, he regained his independence and gifted David with many treasures to show his gratitude. This gifts are dedicated to the Lord and are eventually used to furnish the temple, which again shows David’s humility. He understands that it is the Lord who gave him the victories and not his own might.

The chapter closes with a list of the top officials in David’s kingdom. King David’s example of ruling with “justice and equity” (v. 14) would have to be emulated by these men in order for the kingdom as a whole to experience these virtues. Though Chronicles don’t tell us of any of the mistakes and missteps that surely happened, we, like the returning exiles who first read these words, can look to these standards and hold our own leaders to them as well.

Your perfect justice is a delight to the righteous.

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