Thoughts on 1 Chronicles 1-21

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With what care and precision the sons of Jesse are given, named and numbered in their order evidently to tell us that David is the seventh. He alone fills the mind of the inspired writer. The six are numbered only that David might appear the seventh, for with that is bound up the purpose of God; so that “David the seventh” has a meaning far beyond the mere numerical order that he was the seventh; and indeed, as a fact, David was the eighth son, not the seventh. Before God he was both; but in His book God is giving us His thoughts, and not here enumerating natural events.
Turn to 1 Samuel 16:1010Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these. (1 Samuel 16:10), & seqq. “Again Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he come hither.” And this one, unthought of and, in a manner, cast out from the family—for whom Samuel must pointedly ask when all the others were present—this lad keeping the sheep must be sent for, and lo! the neglected one is the chosen one. “And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” Not one of the previous seven are chosen: the youngest therefore must have been the eighth. Again we read (1 Samuel 17:1212Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehem-judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul. (1 Samuel 17:12)) “And he had eight sons.”
If, then, the seven are refused and the eighth chosen according to Samuel, why here in Chronicles is he numbered the seventh? Some have supposed that one of Jesse's sons died, and therefore David would be the seventh. Is this supposition satisfactory? Be that as it may, is there not a truth intimated in Samuel which is not necessary for the Holy Spirit's purpose in giving us the books of Chronicles? We know that “eight” is right in Samuel, and “seventh” in Chronicles: as divine in one as in the other; and each in perfect accordance with the truth God is there communicating. The numbers seven and eight have a symbolic significance in Scripture as well as a natural. Seven is clearly connected with rest in creation, and eight with rest in resurrection power and glory. David, being in Samuel the eighth, points to the true David who will restore all, and reign over Israel Himself as the risen Man. For rest in creation was impossible after sin came in. Eight signifies the intervention of God in grace when all is lost; Bathe coming kingdom, though it is for the earth, must have a link with resurrection, that it may be stable. That connecting link is the glorious risen Man as King. Man—Israel—could never have entered into the kingdom but for that grace, nor could the earth ever know its blessedness. The glory and the dominion will be centered in the risen Man, the eighth.
And is not the inspired account in Samuel in perfect accord with the symbolic significance of “eight?” Was it not as a resurrection from the dead when David, who for a little time was lost to Israel, hidden in the court of Achish, came into the scene of Israel's ruin? when Israel was crushed upon the mountains of Gilboa, and the Philistines triumphant? For the Israelites “forsook the cities... and the Philistines came and dwelt in them” (1 Samuel 31:77And when the men of Israel that were on the other side of the valley, and they that were on the other side Jordan, saw that the men of Israel fled, and that Saul and his sons were dead, they forsook the cities, and fled; and the Philistines came and dwelt in them. (1 Samuel 31:7)). Was he not as one risen from the dead, and, as it were, in resurrection power, leading Israel from Gilboa, the scene of ruin and death, to the possession of Mount Sion? And apart from the symbolic character of these events, they are in themselves truly wonderful. Where in the world's history is the parallel of this so rapid rise from slavery and ruin to power and glory? And if unparalleled, is it not to convey to our minds a brief picture of a greater David who will triumph more completely over a greater enemy, and in a still more glorious fashion will redeem Israel out of all his troubles, and a nation shall be born in a day? The son of Jesse is but the type—marvelously fitted, with circumstances controlled, that the picture might be as near the future display as was consistent with God's government at the time—David was but the type of Christ, Who, as the risen Man, is the “eighth.”
But He is also God's rest in creation. And here, in connection with the earth and God's earthly people, Christ is the “seventh.” He is the Creator, and “God rested on the seventh day.” Chronicles does not give the wondrous quasi-resurrection power found in Samuel. David appears abruptly on the scene on the death of Saul, and the tribes gather to make him king; it is simply the earthly kingdom, and its establishment among men. And wonderful as this picture is, how immeasurably below the reality when the Lord shall reign in glory! What is the power of David or the splendor of Solomon compared with the millennial glory of Christ? How could it be otherwise, seeing that the honored types are only poor failing men? “Arise, O LORD, into Thy rest, Thou and the ark of Thy strength.” “For the LORD hath chosen Zion, He hath desired it for His habitation. This is My rest forever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:8, 13, 148Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. (Psalm 132:8)
13For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. 14This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. (Psalm 132:13‑14)
). David, the type of God's rest in His Son when He sits upon His earthly throne, is here numbered the seventh. It is God's rest in the renewed earth. But even this would not be but by One Who had passed through death, so that this seventh-day rest can only be by Christ in quality of Risen Man. How wondrously the “seventh” and the “eighth” are combined in the Person of Christ!
Satan, whose most subtle and destructive power is seen in his imitation of divine counsels, will soon bring in his man—the blasphemous parody of the purpose of God—and his man will be eighth, yet of the seven. “And the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth and is of the seven and goeth into perdition” (Rev. 17). Satan's power in the world is a solemn fact even now, and will be greater then when He that letteth is gone out of the way. Now God has put bounds which the devil cannot pass, but the limit is far beyond the conception of mere man. There are some who ignore altogether the personality of the devil. But this denial of his personality is a proof of his power; he hides himself behind the proud ignorance of men (which they think wisdom) and thus blinds them, that he may the more easily ensnare and ruin them. “Devil,” they say, is a mythical and poetical personification of evil. As a necessary corollary the gospel is hid from them. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not,” etc.. (2 Cor. 4:3, 43But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 4:3‑4)). The mind of the unbeliever is blinded to what is plain to a believer. To hide, pervert, and deny the truth has been the aim of Satan from Eden downwards to the Jew that crucified the Lord of glory Whose words and works bore testimony that He was the Son of God, and that He was come to destroy the works of the devil. How could the Sadducees believe that He was manifested for this purpose when they did not believe in angel or spirit (Acts 23:88For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. (Acts 23:8))? To the Sadducees of the present day, as to those of old, Satan is only a fable; but to God and the believer he is a reality, a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, a wolf that scatters (but cannot devour) the sheep of God. And if we ask why such power is permitted to him, the answer is, It is for the glory of Christ, that after Satan has done his utmost, Christ may be and must be displayed to the whole universe as the Conqueror of Satan's extremist power. He Who is now acting in grace, and giving eternal life to as many as the Father gives Him, will soon appear in judgment. Satan will raise up a man the direct and personal antagonist of the Lord Jesus — even the Antichrist—but both he and his abettor, in whom is the power of this blinded world, will the Lord cast alive into the pit. The destruction of the enemy, as well as the salvation of believers, proclaim His glory and His power.
From Judah to David there is only a succession of names without any distinguishing mark with the exception of three, and two of these are prominent through their sin. Er, whom the Lord slew, Achar, the troubler of Israel, and Nahshon, the prince of the children of Judah. Having brought the line down to David, the Holy Spirit, as it were, pauses and notes the sons of Hezron (Esrom, Matt. 1) other than Ram (Aram, Matthew 1), i.e. to Jerahmeel, and to Chelubai, the same is called Caleb (see verses 9 and 18). The honored line passed through Ram, but his natural connections have a place in the archives of Judah. Doubtless every one named was prominent for some quality or excellence, or for some special blessing conferred which would confer still greater eminence. Hur is the son of Caleb. This is the Hur that with Aaron held up the hands of Moses when Israel fought and overcame Amalek, and was associated with Aaron in the care of the people when Moses went up the mount (Exodus 17:1212But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. (Exodus 17:12)). Bezaleel, grandson of Hur, was named of God and endowed with wisdom for a very special purpose, taught to make all the furniture for the tabernacle (Exodus 31). This gave greater eminence than all the riches of Jair, who had twenty-three cities, and took sixty more. But even Segub is named, though only half-brother to Ram. Is it not because of his connection with the ancestry of David, with that line which was always so choice with God that even the least affinity with it entitles to a place in these genealogies? Were not these named ones counted among God's elect ones? Would they be mentioned at all if among those who fell in the wilderness through unbelief? Unless such as Achar, whose sin brought such momentous consequences upon Israel, all whose names appear here, are among the worthies of that people. This special mention of Hezron's family and descendants is not a mere genealogical list from Judah to David where the evil take their place in successional order with the good; but these are men of renown, and while the book of God is read, their names will stand forth as of those whom God would honor.