Chapter 27 lists Israel’s army divisions. Each division had 24,000 men and there were twelve divisions, one for each month. It then names the leaders of the twelve tribes. Although the number of soldiers in these divisions is obviously known it notes that “David did not take the number of the men twenty years old or less, because the LORD had promised to make Israel as numerous as the stars in the sky. Joab son of Zeruiah began to count the men but did not finish. God’s wrath came on Israel on account of this numbering, and the number was not entered in the book of the annals of King David” (27:23f). From this statement alone we would not know that it was David’s fault that Joab began counting them and caused God’s anger.
Chapter 28 contains the clearest expression of why David did not build the temple: “God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood’” (28:3). He goes on to make the claim which led to our understanding of Davidic and Messianic kingship “Yet the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from my whole family to be king over Israel forever” (v4).
“David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement. He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the LORD and all the surrounding room” (28:11f). It is interesting that the TNIV capitalises Spirit in this section causing us to read it as Holy Spirit. I checked with several other translations and other than the NIV they don’t do this.
The chapter concludes with David’s charge to Solomon to complete the project well because everything has been prepared for him. In chapter 29 he continues this charge to include the people, urging them to get behind this building project and contribute from their personal wealth. David’s last recorded act is a prayer acknowledging God’s goodness to them and Solomon’s coming kingship. It does not mention the controversy over Solomon becoming king here either, simply stating: “Then they acknowledged Solomon son of David as king a second time, anointing him before the LORD to be ruler and Zadok to be priest” (v22b).
Having finished 1 Chronicles it seems clear that the Chronicler is a proponent of the Davidic monarchical line and his establishment of the religious authority of the temple in Jerusalem with its priests and Levites. As we work through 2 Chronicles let us observe this portrayal in relation to David’s descendents and their wickedness in Israel and Judah.