The focus of these Bible passages were on the transfer of the kingship from Saul to David. Saul had rebelled against God and chose to follow his own heart, whereas David was identified in scripture as being “a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)”. This doesn’t mean that David didn’t sin or that he always chose to do the right thing. In fact, we’ll look next week at some of David’s shortcomings.
What it does mean, though, is that David had the desire in his heart to be obedient to God and to seek His ways in what he did. Notice, for example, in 1 Samuel 14 that Saul is identified as having only built an altar to God once, and this was in the context of trying to coax a silent God into blessing his rash actions. David, on the other hand, regularly sought the Lord’s leading and honor.
- When approaching Goliath in battle, David said “You come to me with sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Samuel 17:45)
- When David had the opportunity to kill Saul in a cave (when Saul was pursuing him to destroy him), David refused, saying “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord’s anointed.” (1 Samuel 24:6)
- Another time David had the opportunity to sneak into Saul’s camp and kill him. David clearly instructed his men, “Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?… As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord’s anointed.” (1 Samuel 26:9-11)
Even though Saul was acting in a manner contrary to God’s will, knowing that David had been chosen by God to replace him, David insisted that God had anointed Saul as king and it was up to God to arrange for Saul’s removal, just as it was up to God to give David victory over Goliath.
Another interesting aspect of scripture that stood out in this week’s readings is the unique perspective of the (unknown but Holy Spirit-inspired) author of 1 and 2 Chronicles. Prior to this week, the passages from the first chapters of 1 Chronicles have been mainly lists of people and their relations. However, as the rest of the Chronicles plays out, it becomes more of a narrative history, paralleling the events depicted in 2 Samuel and the Kings books. However, it is very interesting reading Samuel and Kings simultaneously with the parallel passages in Chronicles because it becomes more apparent at the point that Chronicles is trying to make.
Chronicles is written from a perspective of identifying how Israel’s history is tied to its obedience to God’s Law and the worship of God in conjunction with the ark, tabernacle, and temple. Here is an initial representative example of this.
- Both Samuel and Chronicles share this information: “David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale-Judah to bring up from there the ark of God.” (2 Samuel 6:2, parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 13:6) However, the writer of Chronicles added the following preface to this information: “David said to all the assembly of Israel, ‘If it seems good to you and from the Lord our God, let us send abroad to our brothers who remain in all the lands of Israel, as well to the priests and Levites in the cities that have pasturelands, that they may be gathered to us. Then let us bring again the ark of our God to us, for we did not seek it in the days of Saul.’ All the assembly agreed to do so, for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.” (1 Chronicles 13:2-6)
We learn from this preface that Israel had fallen out of the habit of seeking God’s will through the proper worship of Him in conjunction with the ark, as specified in the books of Moses. This is just the first of many examples where reading the parallel passages from Samuel/Kings and the Chronicles will shed some interesting theological insight on the historical narratives in those passages. The Chronicler often will add insight to help us understand what these histories can teach us about God’s work among His people.