1 Chronicles 17-19
The Reign of King David, cont’d. 1 Chronicles 9-29:21
1 Chronicles 17:1-27-David speaks to Nathan about building a house for the LORD. Initially, Nathan says to do so, but then God speaks to Nathan and tells him that David's son will build the house. God also tells him to inform David that He will establish the house of David, forever.
1 Chronicles 18:1-17-David defeats the Philistines, the Moabites, the Zobahites, the Arameans, and the Edomites. Joab was over his army. Jehoshaphat was his recorder. Zadok and Abimelech were priests. Shavsha was his secretary. Benaiah was over the Cherethites and Pelethites. His sons were chiefs.
Cherethites and Pelethites
The name is also found in the frequent phrase "Cherethites and Pelethites." By this phrase was designated the corps d'élite and body-guard (thus correctly, Josephus, "Ant." vii. 5, § 4) of David; compare II Sam. viii. 18 (= I Chron. xviii. 17), xv. 18 (with "the Gittites"; i.e., men from Gath), xx. 7 (among "all the mighty men"), ib. verse 23 (Ket., ); I Kings i. 38, 44 (escorting Solomon to his coronation). If the Carites and Cherethites (II Kings xi. 4) are identical, the same troop was still in existence in the time of Athaliah (see Carites). It is evident, especially from II Sam. xv. 18, that this troop consisted of mercenaries recruited from the warlike Philistines. They are different from the special guards (Hebrew, "runners"; mentioned in Saul's time, I Sam. xxii. 17) of the kings (I Kings xiv. 27 = II Chron. xii. 10); compare "Carites" in II Kings xi. 4, R. V. The threat against "those that leap over the threshold" at the king's court (Zeph. i. 9) is usually explained as referring to soldiers and officials of Philistine blood (compare on their superstitious custom I Sam. v. 5), but see the commentaries for different explanations of that passage. "Pelethi" = "Pelethite" is now generally considered as a shortened form of "Pelishti" = "Philistine," adapted to the Hebrew (according to Ewald). This seems to establish a difference between the Cherethites and the majority of the Philistines. The Septuagint, in the Prophets, translates "Cherethite" by "Cretans," and the tradition is found that the "Palestinians" (Stephen of Byzanz; Tacitus, "Historiæ," v. 2, erroneously of the Jews) had come from Crete. This tradition seems to have sprung from the Septuagint; however, see Caphtor on the question of the origin of the Philistines from the "island [of Caphtor?]" and the frequent identification of "Caphtor" with "Crete." Less probable is the explanation of the two names of nations, "Cherethites" and "Pelethites" as appellative nouns; for instance, by Gesenius, "executioners and runners"; or by Targum (Pesh., some Greek MSS.), "bowmen and slingers"; by the Hexapla in Zephaniah, "corrupted people," for "Cherethites"; by Halévy, "the exiles excluded from their nation," etc.
1 Chronicles 19:1-The king of Ammon dies and David sends men to express kindness to the king's son, Hanun. Hanun thought that David had sent them to spy out his resources and land, so he shaved their beards and cut off their garments above the waist, to embarrass them. When the Ammonites realized their blunder (:6) they tried to hire an army to fight with them from Mesopotamia (the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Aram-maachah is between Damascus and Galilee. The Arameans joined in the battle against David. However, despite the odds, David won the battle.
- Hanun took David's servants, shaved them, and cut off their garments in the middle … and sent them away: This was a disgraceful insult to these ambassadors from Israel. In that culture, many men would rather die than to have their beard shaved off, because to be clean shaven was the mark of a slave but free men wore beards.
- "With the value universally set upon the beard by the Hebrews and other Oriental nations, as being man's greatest ornament, the cutting off of one-half of it was the greatest insult that could have been offered to the ambassadors, and through them to David their king." (Keil and Delitzsch in their commentary on 2 Samuel 10)
- "The beard is held in high respect in the East: the possessor considers it his greatest ornament; often swears by it; and, in matters of great importance, pledges it. Nothing can be more secure than a pledge of this kind; its owner will redeem it at the hazard of his life." (Clarke on 2 Samuel 10)
iii. To cut off their garments in the middle was also an obvious insult and humiliation. "That the shame of their nakedness might appear, and especially that of their circumcision, so derided by the heathen." (Trapp on 2 Samuel 10)
- "This is check to the fashion-mongers of our time, saith Piscator; who wear their clothes so close, and cloaks so short, that they cover not their buttocks." (Trapp) One must only wonder what the Puritan preacher John Trapp would say about those who today wear their garments so low that they do not cover their buttocks.
- To insult the ambassador is the insult the king. It was just as if they had done this to David himself. The same principle is true with King Jesus and His ambassadors. Jesus reminded His disciples: If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. (John 15:18)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for 1 Chronicles 19,
Prayer: Father, sometimes the odds seem to be against me. Difficulties and troubles arrive at my front door in bunches. When that happens…please help me to not be afraid, but to turn to You and to find comfort. Help me to lean on You, Father. And to know that You are my strength, and my wisdom, and my help. Thank You, Lord, that I can call upon You at all times and know that You are there.