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Lessons from the
Book of 1 Chronicles

By Ken Raggio

The Chronicles

Like the old stereoscope viewers, Chronicles adds a "third dimension," a spiritual/religious aspect to the books of Samuel and Kings. Ezra compiled about forty parallel stories and twenty-eight chapters of supplemental information, including extensive genealogies. This 3,500-year saga retells the stories of Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, construction of the great Temple in Jerusalem, the divided kingdom, captivity in Babylon, the return from exile, up to the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

1 Chronicles 9:1 - "So all Israel were reckoned by genealogies; and, behold, they were written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah."

Obscure People

Why does God put so many "boring" genealogies in the Bible? Follow the path of the ancients, both winners and losers. Why publish the lineage of Noah's cursed son, Ham; or of Abraham's illegitimate son, Ishmael; or of Abraham's concubine, Keturah; or of Esau, who sold his birthright? God keeps records we may not expect. God keeps track of saints and sinners; He follows both His friends and enemies. Even you. Even me. Nobody is obscure to God.

1 Chronicles 1:28 - "The sons of Abraham; Isaac, and Ishmael." V. 32 "...the sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine."


We often skim genealogies as though they are unimportant and insignificant. But genealogies are extremely important in the Bible. Blessings, cursings, and prophecies often follow family lines. Inheritances are validated or invalidated, based on genealogies. Genealogies furnish some of the best proofs that God keeps His promises. Bible genealogies are not always comprehensive, (skipping minor characters), nevertheless they are reliable. The first nine chapters of Chronicles provide genealogies from Adam to the Babylonian captivity, with many sub-strings, including obscure descendants of Abraham, Ishmael, Esau, the twelve tribes of Israel, and several royal families.

1 Chronicles 1:29 - "These are their generations:"

Nahshon, Prince Of Judah

The most comprehensive genealogy of the twelve tribes is that of Judah, father of Israel's royal line. His eldest son by Tamar, Pharez, fathered Ram, who fathered Amminadab, who fathered Nahshon, the "prince of the children of Judah." Jewish tradition says Nahshon was first to cross the Red Sea. He was captain of Judah when Moses pitched the tabernacle, and gave the first offering at its dedication. Aaron married his sister. Nahshon's exemplary life is probably why he was chosen progenitor of Christ.

1 Chronicles 2:11 - "Nahshon begat Salma, ...Salma begat Boaz, ...Boaz begat Obed, ...Obed begat Jesse. ...Jesse begat ...David."

David's Son, Nathan

The genealogies in Genesis and Chronicles agree from Adam to Abraham. From Abraham to David, Chronicles, Matthew, and Luke agree. From David to Zerubbabel, Chronicles and Matthew agree. But from David to Jesus Christ, two different genealogies appear. Chronicles and Matthew agree, but Luke does not. Why? Luke traces the royal line to Jesus from David through Nathan, not Solomon, to Mary. Joseph descended from David through Solomon. Joseph was Jesus' legal father, but not biological.

1 Chronicles 3:1,5 - "Now these were the sons of David, ...born unto him in Jerusalem; Shimea, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon."

The Prayer Of Jabez

A descendant of Judah, Jabez, prayed a noteworthy prayer. Some have tried to make it a formulary prayer, one that never fails, but if you are looking for a model prayer, I suggest the Lord's prayer.

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 - "And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: ...And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested."

Soldiers Should Pray

The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh were valiant men, able to bear buckler and sword, to shoot with bow, and skilful in war. 44,760 made war against the Hagarites. "They were helped against them," because they prayed to God for help. They took rich spoils, including 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 asses, and 100,000 men. If anybody should pray, soldiers should.

1 Chronicles 5:20,22 - "For they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him. ...because the war was of God."

Ancient Occupations

In the genealogies of Chronicles, several interesting tidbits of information emerge about ancient Jews . For example, the sons of Shelah, grandson of Judah, "wrought fine linen." Some were "potters, and those that dwell among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work," - the king's domestic help. The sons of Simeon "found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable." The three sons of Levi - Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, were full-time musicians.

1 Chronicles 6:32 - "They ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing."

Shechem and Gaza

Many prominent cities now claimed by the Palestinian Authority were key Israelite cities for hundreds of years. Not only do the first nine chapters of the book of I Chronicles furnish us with extensive genealogies of the tribes of Israel, but they document many cities and towns where Israelites lived. Nowadays, the "anti-Zionist" crowd regularly denies Israel's true history, refuting that Israel ever controlled Jerusalem or ever had a temple. But God knows the truth.

1 Chronicles 7:28 - "Their possessions and habitations were, Bethel. ...Shechem, ...Gaza. ...In these dwelt the children of Joseph the son of Israel."

The Lost Tribe Of Dan

The tribe of Dan is never mentioned in the genealogies of Chronicles. In the book of Numbers, it was the largest tribe, but Jeroboam placed a golden calf in Dan, leading them into idolatry. They were the first to go into captivity. But Ezekiel 48 prophesied "a portion for Dan" in the coming millennial kingdom of Messiah. Some Ethiopian Jews claim to be Danites. Modern Danites may not know their identity today, but God does. Ancient genealogies are in the Bible. Future genealogies are in the mind of God.

1 Chronicles 8:28 - "These were heads of the fathers, by their generations."

Those Who Returned From Babylon

Skip seventy years from where II Kings ended. If you read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, you find this roll-call of repatriates - those who made it back home from Babylon - BEFORE the story of the captivity is even told. Your trial (captivity) is not the big story. Your triumph over it is.

1 Chronicles 9:2-3 - "The first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions in their cities were, the Israelites, the priests, Levites, and the Nethinims. And in Jerusalem dwelt of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh."

God's House Before My House

The temple in Jerusalem was totally desecrated with idolatry and the worship of false gods by several kings before God removed the Jews to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. After seventy years of punishment, God brought the Jews back to Jerusalem. The very first thing they did was restore the temple and establish true worship of God. They learned a hard lesson. Put God first.

1 Chronicles 9:13-27 - "...very able men for the work of the service of the house of God. ...priests; ...Levites; ...porters; ...keepers of the gates of the tabernacle: ...chief porters, ...lodged round about the house of God."

The Prophetic Destiny of Transgressors

It may not appear to be a prophetic subject, but being punished for one's sins is truly a prophetic fulfillment. When King Saul disobeyed God by sparing the Amelekites, and consulting the witch of Endor, he sorely transgressed against God. We all have prophetic destiny; a reward if we have obeyed the gospel, or eternal punishment if our sins remain unforgiven.

1 Chronicles 10:13 - "So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, ...and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, ...And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him."

Water Of The Well Of Bethlehem

David bunkered in the cave of Adullam while fighting Philistines in the valley of Rephaim and Bethlehem. He thirsted, and longingly said, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that is at the gate!" Three men risked their lives, penetrated enemy lines, and brought David water. He was humbled. When men honor you, give God the glory.

1 Chronicles 11:18,19 - "David would not drink of it, but poured it out to the LORD, and said, shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy?"

Help Will Come

After many fugitive years, David's exile was over. It was time for prophecy to be fulfilled. Armed and mighty men began to show up from every tribe in Israel to help David - from Benjamin, Judah, Ephraim, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Gad, Issachar, Zebulun, Naphtali, Dan, Reuben, and Asher. God will turn your captivity. Help will come.

1 Chronicles 12:22,38 - "Day by day there came to David to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God. ...All these men of war ...came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel."

They Enquired Not In The Days Of Saul

Here is a conspicuous Biblical phenomenon. Most stories about righteous men include some account of prayer. Stories of evil men almost never mention prayer. It is a warning signal, like a canary in a coal mine. If the canary dies, miners know that oxygen levels are low, and evacuate the mine. When prayer levels get too low, it is time to pray or evacuate. That was Saul's weakness. David immediately rectified that problem.

1 Chronicles 13:3 - "Let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul."

Prophetic Anointing

The anointing of God is incomprehensibly powerful. When Samuel first saw boy David, the LORD said, "Arise, anoint him: for this is he." Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him. The Spirit of the LORD came upon David. Nobody could have imagined how profoundly God would use David.

1 Chronicles 14:2,17 - "David perceived that the LORD had confirmed him king over Israel, for his kingdom was lifted up on high, because of his people Israel. And the fame of David went out into all lands; and the LORD brought the fear of him upon all nations."

"We Sought Him Not After The Due Order"

Since Moses, men enquired of the LORD before the Ark of the Covenant. But Philistines captured it, then returned it, and it was stored away for nearly eighty years. David started to move it to Jerusalem, but the priests were not sanctified properly and Uzzah died when he touched it. People often handle holy things recklessly, but God is holy and must be approached on His terms.

1 Chronicles 15:13 - "Because ye did it not [sanctify yourselves] at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order."

The Tabernacle of David

In the Tabernacle of David, David praised God with boisterous singing, music, even dancing. He ordered harps, psalteries, timbrels, cornets, trumpets, cymbals and choirs of singers. Amos 9:11 prophesied, "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen." In Acts 15:16, James identified the New Testament church as the revived Tabernacle of David. Sing! Play! Dance! Worship!

1 Chronicles 15:16 - "David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy."

Bring Back The Glory Of God

The Ark of the Covenant was absent from the Tabernacle of Moses for almost a century. The Tabernacle was impertinent without it. Rituals are useless when the glory of the LORD departs. Levites "brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God." David wrote a beautiful song for Asaph and choir to sing.

1 Chronicles 16:37 - "He left there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually."

"I Will Ordain A Place For My People Israel"

David told Nathan that he wanted to build a house for the LORD. But God spoke to the prophet and said He did not want David to build it. God already had plans for David and Israel. Nathan uttered a great prophecy. God ordained a place for Israel. Today, no UN Resolution or terrorist organization can ever define Israeli borders.

1 Chronicles 17:9 - "I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more."

Praise And Worship - Prelude To Victory

David pitched the tabernacle for the ark because he wanted to bring back the glory of God to Israel. He choreographed a truly epic event with massive sacrifices, lavish offerings, prayers, praise, worship, exultant music, feasts and celebrations. Is it any surprise then, that Almighty God quickly gave David dominion over the greatest nation that ever existed in that territory? Almost overnight, David ruled from Egypt to Syria to the Euphrates. Praising God is a prelude to victory.

1 Chronicles 17:19 - "O LORD, for thy servant's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all this greatness."

David's Exploits

Shortly after David was established as king, he set out to subdue his enemies round about. He smote the Philistines, took Gath, Moab, Edom, Ammon, and Amalek. From king Hadarezer of Zobah, David took 1000 chariots, 7000 horsemen, 20,000 footmen, plus shields of gold, and very much brass. When Syrians tried to intervene, David slew 22,000, and conquered Damascus. All these people became David's servants, and the spoils of gold, silver and brass, David dedicated to the LORD.

1 Chronicles 18:14 - "So David reigned over all Israel, and executed judgment and justice among all his people."

When People Misjudge Your Motives

David's sent condolences to Hanun, king of Ammon, over the death of his father, but Hanun's princes accused David of spying on them. To make a long story short, Hanun hired Syrian and Mesopotamian mercenaries and declared a massive war on David. David sent Joab and his mighty men against them, and they whipped them soundly. People who misjudge your motives can cause you lots of trouble, but cannot defeat you.

1 Chronicles 19:18 - "The Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots, and forty thousand footmen."

"I Will Subdue All Thine Enemies"

In Nathan's prophecy (1 Chronicles 17), the LORD said to David, "...Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies." Many adversaries arose. Ammonites from Rabbah came, but David won "exceeding much spoil" from them. Philistines attacked almost continuously, but lost again and again.

1 Chronicles 20:6,7 - "There was war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each hand, and six on each foot: and he also was the son of the giant. But when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David's brother slew him."

A National Tragedy Turned Into A National Treasure

David angered God by numbering Israel, so he repented. "I have sinned greatly, ...I have done very foolishly." An angel smote 70,000 men. David prayed again, "Let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, ...but not on thy people." God required David to build an altar and make sacrifices where the angel stood. David bought the place, and Solomon eventually built the temple there. Prayer turned a national tragedy into a national treasure.

1 Chronicles 21:27 - "And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof."

David Prepares For The Temple

God forbid David to build the temple, so David prepared abundantly before his death; wrought stones, cedar trees, an hundred thousand talents of gold, a thousand talents of silver; brass, iron, timber and stone. He also provided cunning workers in every craft. David's example says, "Do everything you possibly can for God."

1 Chronicles 22:5 - "David said, ...the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: ...Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build an house for the LORD God of Israel."

That They May Dwell In Jerusalem Forever

David fought valiantly and worked obsessively to build a nation and a religion that would glorify God for ages to come. He returned the Ark to its central role. He called Levites to keep the charge of the tabernacle. He provided extensively for a new temple. He established officers, judges, musicians, singers - key people in key roles everywhere. May God make us valiant to build righteous homes, churches, and nations for God and our children.

1 Chronicles 23:25 - "David said, The LORD God of Israel hath given rest unto his people, that they may dwell in Jerusalem for ever."

Aaron's Posterity Recertified

God told Moses, "In the tabernacle of the congregation ...Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations." (Exodus 27:21). Three hundred years later, David ordained the descendants of Aaron's sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, as overseers of the house of God. No matter how long ago God made a promise to you, it is still valid.

1 Chronicles 24:5 - "Thus were they divided by lot, one sort with another; for the governors of the sanctuary, and governors of the house of God."

Prophesying With Instruments

The Hebrew word, "naba," is translated "prophesy," and means "speak or sing by inspiration." David assigned the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun to prophesy with harps, psalteries and cymbals. Others were "to lift up the horn." They "prophesied according to the order of the king, give thanks and to praise the LORD." Twenty-four courses of twelve musicians created a 288 member orchestra and choir.

1 Chronicles 25:6 - "All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the LORD, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God."

Treasures In The House Of God

In addition to the ministry of the priests, the house of the LORD in Jerusalem housed tithes and offerings from the people, priceless temple treasures, and vast spoils of war brought home by Israel's armies. David organized "strong" and "mighty" men called "porters," grouped by family clans, to guard the doors and gates of this veritable "treasure house." About 1700 men in all managed and protected the treasures around-the-clock. Their salaries were derived from the spoils.

1 Chronicles 26:27 - "Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the LORD."

National Government

Every month, a fresh, new staff of 24,000 men over the age of 20 served the king. His captains oversaw the king's treasures, storehouses in the fields, cities, villages and castles, vineyards, olive and sycamore groves, cattle herds, camels, asses, flocks. He also had scribes, counselors, wise men, "king's companion" and an army general.

1 Chronicles 27:1 - "The chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and went out month by month, ...of every course were twenty and four thousand."

The Pattern Of The Temple

God gave Moses the explicit pattern for the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 25:9). God also gave David explicit plans for the Temple. Although we speak of the Temple of Solomon, it is more accurately the Temple of David, because David provided EVERYTHING pertaining to the Temple, including the laborers. Solomon only followed David's "pattern of all that he had by the spirit."

1 Chronicles 28:11,19 - "David gave to Solomon his son the pattern, ...All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern."

David Prayed And Epic Prayer For Solomon

David called all Israel to Jerusalem to inaugurate Solomon. This epic event also launched construction of the new Temple. The people greatly rejoiced and made countless offerings to the LORD. David prayed one of the greatest prayers ever prayed by a ruler. I recommend you read it completely.

1 Chronicles 29:19,25 - "Give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision. ...And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel."

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