The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Chronicles

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1 Chronicles 16

1Ch 16:1

1Ch 16 outlined: (1) David brings the ark to Zion (vv 1-6); (2) The psalm that David delivered at that time (vv 7-36), consisting of: (a) Psa 105:1-15 (vv 8-22), (b) Psa 96 (vv 23-33), (c) Psa 106:1 (v 34), and (d) Psa 106:47,48 (vv 35,36); (3) The names of the priests left before the ark in Zion (vv 37,38); (4) The names of the priests left before the tabernacle in Gibeon (vv 39-42); and (5) Those who had come to worship went home (v 43).

1Ch 16:8

Vv 8-22 = Psa 105:1-15.

CALL ON HIS NAME: What name? The Covenant Name, of course! All the emphasis is on this, esp in the first portion of the psa (Psa 105:1,3,4,7,19,45). Yet His people, who should pin their faith upon His Covenant Name and esteem it more than their necessary food, exclude it from their synagogue service and prayers. And a sizeable portion of the New Israel argues about its precise pronunciation (and misses its intrinsic meaning?).

1Ch 16:11

LOOK TO THE LORD AND HIS STRENGTH: That is, the Shekinah Glory resident in the Ark of the Covenant (Psa 78:61; 132:8; 2Ch 6:41). The Ark of God's Glory was called His "Strength" because it was the sign of His kingship in Israel, and the focal point for the display of His person in the midst of the nation (Psa 26:8; 63:2). David's use of these words in 1Ch 16:8-22 -- when he was bringing the Ark to Jerusalem -- substantiates this.

FACE (of God): In Pss, always ref God's presence in ark/tabernacle/temple: see VL, Pss, God's face.

1Ch 16:12

THE JUDGMENTS HE PRONOUNCED: Not the Ten Commandments, but the Promises to the fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, called also "word" (v 8) and "law" (v 10). The context requires this.

1Ch 16:13

SONS OF JACOB, HIS CHOSEN ONES: In ct with Esau (Mal 1:2,3).

1Ch 16:15

FOR A THOUSAND GENERATIONS: Cp Exo 20:6: "And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." Should this read "unto thousands", or -- as in Psa 105:8,9 -- "unto a thousand generations"? Notice the italics in Exo 20:5: "generations" is added there, by the translators, to give the sense; and so it prob should be here also. At any rate, Psa 105:8,9 (and Psa 103:17,18; Deu 7:9; 1Ch 16:15; Isa 51:8; and Luk 1:50) provide divine warrant for this interpretive addition. But is not a thousand generations a gross exaggeration? By any reckoning, there cannot have been more than about 300 total generations since Adam. True, unless these passages mean spiritual "generations" in Christ, which can be "begotten" in rapid succession. The enthusiastic convert to the truth in Christ loses no time in converting a friend or relative to the same faith. And so on, and so on, until God's mercy has been shown indeed to a thousand such "generations"! (WBS 186,187).

1Ch 16:16

The covenant was made with Abraham (Gen 12:1-3; 13:14-17), and confirmed by an oath (Gen 22:16); renewed to Isaac (Gen 26:3) and to Jacob (Gen 28:13; 35:12). As a token of his participation in this covenant, Jacob was given the new name Israel at the ford of Jabbok (Gen 32:28).

1Ch 16:18

TO YOU: Singular. The Promise was made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob separately as individuals. But note "you [plural] will inherit"; it will be fulfilled to all of them collectively. But here is a promise to the patriarchs not yet fulfilled, either in the past or the present (Act 7:5; Heb 11:8,9,13).

1Ch 16:19

Quoting Jacob in Gen 34:30, when he had first come into the Land with his sons (cp v 13 here). God esteems faith in His faithful remnant far more than formality in the mass of the people. "There is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few" (1Sa 14:6).

1Ch 16:20

The wandering life of the patriarchs is thus described: Gen 12:1,9; 13:18; 20:1; Heb 11:9.

1Ch 16:21

KINGS: This plural is accurate: Pharaoh in Gen 12:17, and Abimelech king of Gerar in Gen 20:7; 26:11.

1Ch 16:22

MY ANOINTED ONES: The LXX has the singular: "my Christ"; but most versions give the plural: "my anointed ones". Who was (were) the Anointed One(s)? The fathers, along with Sarah, in the general sense of having been specially selected by God. And so God saw that, wherever the fathers went, they would be protected by His Providence, and if necessary by divine decree given to Gentile rulers.

Or -- as singular -- the "Messiah" in the womb of Sarah (Gen 20:3,7; cp Gen 18:14), on the general principle of Heb 7:9,10 (Levi paying tithes while still in the loins of his father Abraham)? This is the same point David was careful about re Saul: Never would he lift up a hand against the Lord's anointed (1Sa 24:6,10; 26:11,23).

Did David learn this psa -- and this attitude -- from Samuel? (If so, then here is a point in favor of Mosaic authorship for the psa, or at least for the first part.) And it was because of "the anointing" (Isa 10:27) of Hezekiah (as David's successor and Jesus' predecessor) that the Assyrian army -- having swept through all of Judah (vv 28-32) -- was at last turned aside short of its ultimate objective of Jerusalem (vv 23,24,33,34).

DO MY PROPHETS NO HARM: A quite remarkable addition to the Gentile account, yet strictly true: Both Abraham (Gen 22:8; 17:17; Rom 4:19) and Sarah (Gen 21:10,12; Gal 4:30) were "prophets"! And so also were Isaac (Gen 27:27-29) and Jacob (Gen 48:15-22; 49:1-27).

1Ch 16:23

Vv 23-33 = Psa 96:1-13.

Psa 96:1: Historic setting: The mighty "Theophany" in Hezekiah's reign. Cp Psa 33:3; 40:3; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa 42:10. This v matches Isa 38:20. Note also the marked similarities between Psa 96 and Isa 42:10-12 (and v 9 suggests that the great divine deliverance will have its greater future counterpart).

ALL THE EARTH: "All the Land!": Hezekiah's appeal to all 12 tribes.

1Ch 16:25

Vv 25,26: Scornful expressions about idols, because the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem was essentially a challenge to Jehovah by the "gods" of Nineveh (Isa 36; 37). The outcome was foreordained: Jehovah is to be feared above all gods.

1Ch 16:26

FOR ALL THE GODS OF THE NATIONS ARE IDOLS: There is a marvelous play on words here: "gods"/"idols" = elohim/elilim. Elilim is a pun and parody on Elohim; the word means "worthless" or "useless" (Job 13:4; Jer 14:14, sw). So Paul writes that "an idol is nothing" (1Co 8:4). Psa 96:13 is cited by Paul on Mars' Hill (Act 17:31). There the main thrust of his discourse was to undermine the supposed authority of the many idols in Athens -- so this psa (and esp v 5 here) would naturally come to mind.

THE LORD MADE THE HEAVENS: That is, even the sun, moon and stars which the heathen invaders worshiped. Not only was He greater than the other "gods"; He MADE the other "gods"! And He "will make" the "heavens"!: see Isa. 65:17,18; cp Isa 51:16; 66:20,22; Rev 3:12; 21:2,10; Heb 12:22,23; 2Pe 2:13.

1Ch 16:29

ASCRIBE TO THE LORD THE GLORY DUE HIS NAME: "To divest ourselves of all pride of achievement and to humble ourselves before the Father is a prerequisite to worshipping Him for this ought to be our first reason for praying to Him. The scientists who unravel some of the secrets of the molecule and the genes; the astronomer who peers out into frighteningly vast space; and the astronauts who photograph the beauties of nature's colours on earth, all proclaim the wondrous and mighty works of God. They unfold for us a multitude of reasons for our humble worship of the Father and the Psalms must often put into words for us what we feel about His Majesty" (TNL 94).

1Ch 16:31

LET THE HEAVENS REJOICE, LET THE EARTH BE GLAD: In Heb, this reads something like: Yismehu Hashshamayim Wethagel Ha'arez ("Rejoice, heavens; be glad, the earth"). The Massoretes have pointed out that the first letters of these four words form the Tetragrammaton YHWH. Not counting this v, the Covenant Name occurs 11 times in Psa 96 (vv 1,1,2,4,5,7,7,8,9,10,13); counting it, the Name occurs a much more satisfying 12 times!

1Ch 16:32

LET THE SEA RESOUND, AND ALL THAT IS IN IT: Cp Psa 98:7-9, but altogether at variance -- as a figure of speech -- with the more common usage of Psa 93:3,4; 46:3; Isa 5:30; 57:20; Jer 50:42; and Luk 21:25. Here (and in Psa 98) the roaring sea is a picture of great rejoicing, but elsewhere it is a picture of turmoil and war and revolution.

1Ch 16:33

This fig language is almost lit -- the God-given fruitfulness of the Year of Jubilee which God had promised to the wasted Land (Isa 35:1,6,7; 41:18; 43:19; 44:23; 55:12,13; cp Psa 67:6; 81:16; 85:12; 107:35-38; 147:8,9).

1Ch 16:34

Vv 34-36 = Psa 106:1,47,48.

Yahweh is a God who keeps His promises, even though (as this ps emphasizes) His people prove unworthy of His kindness.

1Ch 16:35

This v invites comparison with 1Ki 8:49,50. One fulfillment of this desired deliverance from captivity was in Ezra and Nehemiah; but such Scriptures as Isa 49:8-26 indicate that the massive captivity rounded up by Sennacherib (as described in the Taylor Prism) had an early and happy release, thanks to the unquenchable faith of Hezekiah.

1Ch 16:43

"Then each went to his own home. But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives" (Joh 7:53; 8:1).

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