1 Chronicles 18 Commentary

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Legend: B.C. dates at top of timeline are approximate. Note that 931 BC marks the division of the Kingdom into Southern Tribes (Judah and Benjamin) and Ten Northern Tribes. To avoid confusion be aware that after the division of the Kingdom in 931 BC, the Southern Kingdom is most often designated in Scripture as "Judah" and the Northern Kingdom as "Israel." Finally, note that 1 Chronicles 1-9 is not identified on the timeline because these chapters are records of genealogy.


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Comparison of 1 Samuel thru 2 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 1-9:44 1 Chronicles 10:1-39:30
Royal Line
of David
of David
12 Tribes
of David's Reign
of David's Reign
Genealogies History
Ancestry Activity
1000's of Years Circa 33 Years

Map of David's Kingdom-
ESV Global                           Map of Cities in 2 Samuel             

1 Chronicles 18:1  Now after this it came about that David defeated the Philistines and subdued them and took Gath and its towns from the hand of the Philistines.

  • B.C. 1040
  • after this: 2Sa 8:1,2-18 
  • Gath: 1Sa 5:8 27:4 2Sa 1:20 8:1, Metheg-ammah

Related Passage:

2 Samuel 8:1 Now after this it came about that David defeated the Philistines and subdued them; and David took control of the chief city from the hand of the Philistines. 

                                  ESV Global Study Bible                                                  NIV Study Bible - click for legend 


August Konkel: Between the dynastic oracle in chapter 17 and David’s purchase of the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (Ornan, NRSV) as the location of the future temple (ch. 21), the Chronicler has provided a summary of the wars of David that provided the circumstance in which Solomon had peace to build the temple. . . David’s victories are extensive: the Philistine territory along the Mediterranean (1 Chron 18:1), Moab across the Jordan (v. 2), Hadadezer and the Arameans of Damascus in the north and northeast (vv. 3–8), Edom in the southeast (vv. 12–13). He is known as far north as Tou of Hamath, who receives relief from his own wars with Hadadezer (vv. 9–11). Booty is garnered from Edom, Moab, the Philistines, Ammonites, and Amalekites (18:11), though no battles are mentioned for the last two. . .

  • Expansion of the Kingdom, 18:1–13
  • Administration of the State, 18:14–17
  • Victories over Ammonites and Arameans, 19:1–20:3
  • Victories over Philistines, 20:4–8

Iain Duguid: The collation of David’s victories carries the story forward in two ways. - First, we see how God fulfills his promise (1Ch 17:10) as David “subdues” his enemies (1Ch 18:1; 1Ch 20:4) and neighboring peoples become his “servants” (1Ch 18:2, 6, 13; and “became subject,” 1Ch 19:19). - Second, the collation illustrates how David was indeed one who “shed much blood and . . . waged great wars,” but the result was the “rest” that enabled Solomon to build the temple (1Ch 22:8–10; 28:3). 1Ch 18–20 will be followed by arrangements for the temple and its worship.

Martin Selman: Chapters 18-20 contain an outline of David’s creation of an Israelite empire. This achievement was mainly the result of external expansion through military victories, though one short passage (1Ch 18:14-17) shows that internal reorganization also played a part. The material is clearly selective, with few details and little analysis of the causes and progress of individual conflicts.

This chapter parallels 2 Samuel 8 which outlines the expansion of David’s kingdom (W = 2Sa 8:1+, E = 2Sa 8:2+, N = 2Sa 8:3-12+, S = 2Sa 8:13-14+) with 2Sa 8:6, 14+ being the "key" to his success "And the LORD helped David wherever he went." Note 1Ch 18:13 " Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the LORD helped David wherever he went."

THOUGHT - Jesus said "Apart from Him we can do (absolutely) nothing (of supernatural, eternal value)!" (Jn 15:5) Beloved, we are all involved is an intense spiritual war for the souls of men and our enemy is invisible and powerful (like the Philistines were powerful). There is only one way we can win the battles each day and that is to fight like David, with the help of the LORD. He has given us the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Eph 6:17+), the indwelling Spirit for power (Acts 1:8+) and the privilege of prayer (Eph 6:18+). God grant that each of us might be empowered by the Spirit to fight the good fight of faith always relying on His help and always for His glory in Christ Jesus. Amen. 

Now after this - This time phrase should always prompt a pause to ponder (PPP) and ask "What time is it?" After God had revealed the Davidic Covenant to David in 2Sa 7:7-16+. In context that is true but the NIV Study Bible makes an interesting point that "Chronologically the events of 2 Samuel 8 (ED: AND PARALLEL CHAPTER IN 1 CHRONICLES 18), or many of them, are probably to be placed between 1 Samuel 5 and 6" primarily because of the statement in 2Sa 7:1+ that "the LORD had given him rest on every side from all his enemies." In light of that statement, it would make sense that Chapter 8 describes how and over whom David attained that rest from all his enemies. On the other hand in 2Sa 7:11 God promised "I will give you rest from all your enemies."

Youngblood sums it up stating that "It is impossible to know for certain whether the divine promises of ch. 7 preceded or followed the divine victories of ch. 8....In any event, it would seem that the narrator intends the account of the Philistine defeat (v. 1) to resume the story told in 2Sa 5:17–25"  (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

August Konkel: David’s earlier wars with the Philistines in 1 Chronicles 14:8–17 were defensive battles to preserve Israelite territory. The wars described here are to subjugate enemies, as Nathan the prophet had promised (17:10), to eliminate threat and fear, to provide security and rest.

it came about that David defeated the Philistines and subdued them and took Gath and its towns from the hand of the Philistines  Gath was 30 miles west and south of Jerusalem. On the map above, the Philistines would be Israel's enemy on the western border toward the Mediterranean Sea. Note David not only defeated them but subdued them, bringing them under control by force. The Hebrew verb means he humbled them!  The hand speaks of power and in context of the control of the chief city, presumably Gath.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: The full extent of David’s conquests in the Philistine territory is here distinctly stated; whereas in the parallel passage, 2Sa 8:1, it is only described in a general way. Gath was the ‘Methegammah (or here),’ or ‘arm-bridle,’ as it is there called, either from its supremacy, as the capital, over the other Philistine towns, or because, in the capture of that important place and its dependencies; he obtained the complete control of his restless neighbors.

Selman - “Evidence for David’s conquest of Gath and its towns is found in the presence of 600 Gittites in David’s entourage (2 Samuel 15:18).”

Guzik - When David became king, the Philistines were taking territory from God’s people. Under his leadership God’s people began to take territory from the enemy.

Alan Redpath - David didn’t avoid fighting the Philistines because Israel had lost to them so many times before. “The thing that fascinates me about this complete victory is the utter contempt with which David treated the great power of his adversaries.” (ED: I would add that he was surely able to do so because he was confident that the LORD was with him!)

James Butler summaries chapter 18 with alliteration - 1 Chronicles 18—Advancement of David. The growth and progress of David’s reign over Israel is cited. •Defeat of nations: Philistia, Moab, Zobah, Syria, and Edom were defeated. •Despoiling of foes: in the spoils of victory, David obtained much wealth from his foes. •Dedication of possessions: David dedicated to the building of the Temple much of what he gained in battle. •Diplomacy of allies: they brought presents and promoted peace with David. •Delegating of officials: this chapter closes by listing the main officials in David’s administration.

Related Resources:

1 Chronicles 18:2  He defeated Moab, and the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute.

  • He defeated: Nu 24:17 Jdg 3:29,30 2Sa 8:2 Ps 60:8 Isa 11:14 
  • tribute: 1Sa 10:27 1Ki 10:2,25 2Ki 3:4,5 Ps 68:29,30 72:8-10 Isa 16:1

Related Passage: 

2 Samuel 8:2  He defeated Moab, and measured them with the line, making them lie down on the ground; and he measured two lines to put to death and one full line to keep alive. And the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute. (BOLD NOT IN CHRONICLES DESCRIPTION)

Guzik - David’s war against Moab and his harsh treatment of their army seems out of place considering that David’s great-grandmother was a Moabite (Ruth) and that he entrusted his mother and father into the care of the Moabites (1 Samuel 22:3-4). It may be that the Moabites killed or mistreated David’s parents.


He defeated Moab, and the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute - Moabites were descendants of Lot (Ge 19:36–38) and their land was on the EASTERN border of Israel posed constant military (and religious threat - pagan, idolatrous worship) to Israel (Nu 25:1-3; Jdg 3:12-30; 1Sa 14:47). It is interesting to recall that previously (probably some 10-20 years before) David had taken his parents to live in Moab to be safe from King Saul (see 1Sa 22:2-4+) Recall also that David had Moabite blood from his great grandmother Ruth the Moabitess (Ru 4:13-21), but this did not prevent him from attacking and defeating the Moabites.  Those Moabites David spared became his subjects and paid taxes to him.

Andrew Hill: David apparently leaves local leadership in place [ in the land of the Philistines and of Moab] but imposes annual tribute as a satellite state of Israel.

Ron Daniel: The Moabites had been enemies of Israel ever since they hired Balaam the prophet to curse the Jews (Num. 22) as they wandered in the wilderness. When David defeated them, he made them subject to Israel, forced to pay tribute, which is essentially "protection money."

Guzik on tribute - God did not want Israel to destroy every neighbor nation. Generally, God wanted Israel to be so blessed and strong that other nations were “taxed” by Israel, in recognition of their strength and dominance.

Walton tribute. When one state or other political entity conquered another or extended hegemony over its affairs, the result was the exaction of tribute payments from the subject people. This could take the form of precious metals (by weight or as jewelry or implements), farm produce (a significant portion of the harvest) or labor service. Not surprisingly, this draining of the economy was unpopular and was generally the reason for revolt or warfare. Extra-biblical documentation for this practice is widespread. For instance, the annals of the Assyrian kings often include lists of items received as tribute: the Black Obelisk inscription of Shalmaneser III (859-824 B.C.) contains Jehu’s tribute to Assyria of silver, gold, lead and hard woods; Tiglath-Pileser III (744-727 B.C.) received elephant hide, ivory, linen garments and other luxury items from his vassals in Damascus, Samaria, Tyre and elsewhere. (Page 334 IVP Background Commentary)

1 Chronicles 18:3  David also defeated Hadadezer, king of Zobah as far as Hamath, as he went to establish his rule to the Euphrates River.

  • Zobah: 1Sa 14:47 2Sa 10:6 Ps 60:1 *title
  • by the river: Ge 15:18 Ex 23:31 

Related Passage:

Genesis 15:18+  On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: 

Deuteronomy 1:7+  ‘Turn and set your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites, and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negev and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates.

Joshua 1:4+  “From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.


David also defeated Hadadezer, king of Zobah as far as Hamath (see far north in map above), as he went to establish his rule (yad = literally "hand") to the Euphrates River - 2Sa 8:3 says David "went to restore his control along the Euphrates River." (See note by Konkel below)  Hamath was north of Damascus (capital of Syria), near the upper reaches of the great river Euphrates. Thus, God's promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:18+) had finally been partially fulfilled. The bend of the Euphrates (see map above) at Emar is most likely the area intended here. Hadadezer meant “Hadad (personal name of Canaanite storm god) is my help ('ezer) (cf Israel's "Eben-ezer" - 1Sa 7:12+) He was not much help (!!!) against David because David had the help of Jehovah the only true God (2Sa 8:6,14+)!  Zobah was an Aramean (later called Syria) kingdom north of Damascus and  more than 60 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. Note that David wrote Psalm 60 was to commemorate this battle (see below).  Saul had previously fought against the kings of Zobah (1Sa 14:47)  on Israel’s northern border and restore indicates David restored what Saul had controlled only briefly. The River refers to the Euphrates River which was listed as boundary to the land promised to Abraham (see passages above).


F B Meyer - The border of Israel was carried to the line of the Euphrates, so that promise made by God to Abraham was fulfilled: ‘Unto thy seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.’ ”

Redpath - “Then there was Syria (ARAMEANS), the great heathen nation to the north, divided into two groups with capitals at Zobah and Damascus. They united together for protection but found themselves helpless against the might of David.

Andrew Hill: David opposes Hadadezer’s declaration of sovereignty, perhaps because he has designs on controlling the trade route known as the King’s Highway (running from Sela in Edom to the city of Hamath through Damascus; this would explain David’s expansionist policy in the Transjordan against the Edomites, Moabites, and the Ammonites).

NET Note - Heb “when he went to set up his hand at the Euphrates River.” The Hebrew word יָד (yad, “hand”) is usually understood to mean “control” or “dominion” here. However, since יָד does occasionally refer to a monument, perhaps one could translate, “to set up his monument at the Euphrates River” (i.e., as a visible marker of the limits of his dominion). For another example of the Hiphil of נָצַב (natsav) used with יָד (“monument”), see 1 Sam 15:12. 

August Konkel: The encounter with Hadadezer king of Zobah, a territory north of Damascus toward Hamath, is introduced immediately following the subjugation of Philistia and Moab (18:3). It was the result of an intervention in setting up a monument at the Euphrates River. Kings would set up monuments outside their own territory to represent their presence in territory they controlled. The Euphrates was a natural boundary for such a monument because it separated the northwest from the east. It is not certain whether David or Hadadezer was engaged in setting up the monument, which was north of both of their territories. The inference of the Chronicler, made from 2 Samuel 8:3, is that David was setting up the monument as a testament to his expanded conquests when Hadadezer resisted him. The result was an expanded war with the Arameans (2 Sam 8:4–6), which brought about a very significant dominion to the young state. The territory of David now extended to the boundaries of Tou (Toi), king of Hamath, and its territories on the Orontes River (1 Chron 18:9–11). The king of Hamath was eager to form an alliance with David since the Israelites effectively ended his conflict with the Arameans to the south. Tou (Toi) had no desire to engage the military might of David, but he was content to have a secure southern border to his territories. Summary statements are given in 1Ch 18:6, 13: The LORD gave David victory wherever he went. These episodes demonstrate the fulfillment of the prophetic promise in 1Ch 17:8-10a....David also engaged in destroying the weaponry of the Arameans. The Chronicler tells us that David hamstrung all but a hundred of the chariot horses (1Ch 18:4b). This practice follows the analogy of Joshua 11:6–9, where God requires that the horses be disabled and the chariots burned. In both cases this was to cripple the military of mercenary forces. It may have been a precaution against them being hired again in a military attack, but it also may have been regarded as a stipulation of what is termed holy war. All booty of those battles won by direct divine intervention belonged to God and could not be used as plunder [War in Chronicles, p. 481]. In Joshua 11:6 the spoils of war at Hazor were regarded as profane (ḥalalim) for Israel, a categorization that always carries moral implications.

The NRSV goes with Konkel's interpretation - "David also struck down King Hadadezer of Zobah, toward Hamath, as he went to set up a monument at the river Euphrates." (1Ch 18:3NRSV) RSV = David also defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah, toward Hamath, as he went to set up his monument at the river Euphrates." (1Ch 18:3RSV) The NAB is similar = "David then defeated Hadadezer, king of Zobah toward Hamath, when the latter was on his way to set up his victory stele at the river Euphrates. (1Ch 18:3NAB)

1 Chronicles 18:4  David took from him 1,000 chariots and 7,000 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers, and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but reserved enough of them for 100 chariots.

  • seven thousand: 2Sa 8:4, seven hundred
  • David Dt 17:16 Jos 11:6,9 Ps 20:7 33:16,17 
  • hundred chariots: 1Ki 4:2 10:26 

Related Resources:

Deuteronomy 17:16+ (DAVID HEEDED THIS INSTRUCTION) “Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’

2 Samuel 3:18+ “Now then, do it! For the LORD has spoken of David, saying, ‘By the hand of My servant David I will save (yasha; Lxx =  sozo) My people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand (yad = power) of all their enemies.’”

2 Samuel 7:9+ "I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth.


David took from him 1,000 chariots and 7,000 horsemen and 20,000 foot soldiers, and David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but reserved enough of them for 100 chariots - 2 Samuel 8:4 says David took 700  horsemen instead of seven thousand while the other numbers agree, so that this must represent a copyist error in one of them, and the correct reading is probably 700 rather than 7000.  Hamstrung horses would be disabled. Horses were not hamstrung out of cruelty but necessity because David could not take care of such a large number of horses while carrying out an active military campaign. Hamstringing meant cutting the tendons behind the back knees of horses so that they could not pull heavy loads or plow deeply.

Walton - . chariots. The chariots of Syria during this period are similar to the Assyrian models depicted in reliefs of the ninth century. They featured two yoked horses with one or two others harnessed beside. Two spoked wooden wheels on a rear axle supported a small platform occupied by a driver and rider equipped with bow and spear. The sides only went up to mid-thigh on the standing occupants. hamstringing. Horses could not be mercifully shot as they are today, and the Israelites had no use for them and no means to care for them; they certainly did not want their enemies to have continued use of them. Hamstringing involves cutting through the rear tarsal tendon in the hock joint (equivalent of human Achilles tendon), leaving the horses unable to walk. (Page 334 IVP Background Commentary)

NET Note -  Heb “and David cut the hamstrings of all the chariot horses, and he left from them one hundred chariot horses.” 


Ron Daniel: We can see how riches might corrupt a king, and we certainly understand the problems associated with multiple wives. But what harm could there be in having lots of horses? God wanted the king of Israel to be dependent upon the Lord, not on his own military might. David understood this, and even wrote in one of his psalms, Psa. 20:7 Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.

Guzik had an interesting comment on 100 chariots - That David kept such a small number shows remarkable self-control and trust in God. David obeyed the principle of Deuteronomy 17:15–16 and absolutely refused to trust in horses as military weapons. His trust was in God instead

Psalm 20:7+ (PSALM OF DAVID) Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God. 

Psalm 33:16-17+ (? AUTHOR) The king is not saved by a mighty army; A warrior is not delivered by great strength.  17 A horse is a false hope for victory; Nor does it deliver anyone by its great strength. (Psalm 20:7 and Ps 33:16–17).

This is a very interesting text in light of Deut 17:14-17+, instructions God had given to those who would be His king. Dt. 17:14-17 says 

When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. 16“Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ 17 “He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. 

Notice that the king was forbidden to do three things:

            1.  He was not to accumulate horses.

            2.  He was not to accumulate wives.

            3.  He was not to accumulate gold and silver.

Alan Carr makes some excellent observations and gives some wise advice - David had honored God’s command regarding items number one and three.  David had disabled the horses taken in battle, 2 Sam. 8:4.  He had also dedicated the gold and silver taken as spoil in battle to the Lord, 2 Sam. 8:7-12.  But, he had disregarded what God had to say about accumulating wives.

            David had a giant, and if a name had to be attached to this giant, I think “Lust” would be appropriate.  It appears that David had strong sexual desires and sought to satisfy his urges by accumulating women.  But, David, like many others, discovered that many sexual partners will not satisfy your sexual desires, they will only increase them.

            David had problems with a spiritual giant named “Lust.”  You may not battle that one, but you know the name of the one or ones you do battle. In fact, if you have never done it, it might be good for you to identify the identity of you giant.  Admitting that it exists is the first step in seeing it defeated!

Gleason Archer - What is the correct number of horsemen that David took in his battle over Hadadezer, seventeen hundred (2 Sam. 8:4) or seven thousand (1 Chron. 18:4)?

In the war against Hadadezer of Zobah, David won a significant victory near Hamath, capturing many prisoners, listed in 2 Samuel 8:4 as “a thousand and seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen.” But in 1 Chronicles 18:4 the number taken in this engagement is given as “a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen, and twenty thousand footmen [i.e.,infantry].” There is no question but that these two accounts refer to the same episode, and therefore the prisoner count should be the same in both instances. There has been a scribal error or two either in Samuel or in Chronicles.

Keil and Delitzsch (Samuel, p. 360) have a most convincing solution, that the word for chariotry (reḵeḇ) was inadvertently omitted by the scribe in copying 2 Samuel 8:4, and that the second figure, seven thousand (for the pārāsím “cavalrymen”), was necessarily reduced to seven hundred from the seven thousand he saw in his Vorlage for the simple reason that no one would write seven thousand after he had written one thousand in the recording of the one and the same figure. The omission of reḵeḇ might have occurred with an earlier scribe, and the reduction of seven thousand to seven hundred would followed by chain reaction when the defective copy was next copied by a later scribe. But in all probability the Chronicles figure is right and the Samuel numbers should be corrected to agree with it. (Page 175 in the New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties)

1 Chronicles 18:5  When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 men of the Arameans.

  • the Arameans = the Syrians: 2Sa 8:5,6 1Ki 11:23,24 
  • to help: Isa 8:9,10 
  • Zobah: 1Ch 18:3 1Sa 14:47 

Related Passages:

2 Samuel 8:5  When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer, king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 Arameans.


When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 men of the Arameans - Aram was the old name that became Syria in the Hellenistic period (332 B.C.-63 B.C.) Did David kill 22,000 in battle or after they were captured. Ancient war was brutal so it could have been either or both.

Walton on Damascus - Damascus is located in an oasis watered by the Barada River in the shadow of the Anti-Lebanon range to the west and with the Syrian desert stretching out to its east. It is first mentioned in the lists of Thutmose III in the fifteenth century and is named, though not in a major role, in the Amarna texts. Its major prominence comes in the conflicts with Assyria in the ninth and eighth centuries. The continuing occupation of the site has offered few opportunities for excavation, resulting in no information to illuminate the biblical period. (Page 334 IVP Background Commentary) (See Wikipedia History of Damascus - See timeline of Damascus)

1 Chronicles 18:6  Then David put [garrisons] among the Arameans of Damascus; and the Arameans became servants to David, bringing tribute. And the LORD helped David wherever he went.

  • became David's: 1Ch 18:2 Ps 18:43,44 
  • Lord: 1Ch 17:8 Ps 121:8 Pr 21:31 

Related Passage:

Psalm 121:8+ The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever.

2 Samuel 8:6,14+ Then David put garrisons among the Arameans of Damascus, and the Arameans became servants to David, bringing tribute. And the LORD helped David wherever he went....14 He put garrisons in Edom. In all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the LORD helped David wherever he went. 


Then David put garrisons (Wikipedia) among the Arameans (Syrians) of Damascus, and the Arameans (Syrians) became servants to David, bringing tribute (Wikipedia). - Garrisons is not in the Hebrew text fits the military context and is included in the parallel passage in 2Sa 8:6. Garrisons were places where troops were stationed in captured territory to keep it under control.

NET Note -  The object נְצִיבִים (nétsivim, “garrisons”) appears to have been accidentally omitted from the text. See v. 13, as well as the parallel passage in 2 Sam 8:6, which includes it.

Utley on tribute - These references to the wealth of the nations being collected by David and used by Solomon for the temple is a recurrent theme (cf. 1 Chr. 22:5,14-15; Hag. 2:7-8; Zech. 2:9; 6:11,15). This reminds one of how Israel despoiled the Egyptians (cf. Exod. 3:22; 11:2; 12:35-36).

And the LORD helped (yasha; Lxx =  sozoDavid wherever he went -  It reflects the promise of 1 Chr. 17:10. 18:7,8,10,11 Notice the recurrent pattern in Scripture -- Man's responsibility (David fought) and God's sovereignty (LORD helped). (See the Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible) This is how believers are to wage war against our enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil

Helped (saved, delivered) (03467yasha' or [v;y") (See also yeshua from which we get our word "Jesus") is an important Hebrew verb which means to help, to save, to deliver. The root in Arabic is "make wide" which underscores the main thought of yasha' as to bring to a place of safety or broad pasture in contrast to a narrow strait which symbolizes distress or danger.  TWOT adds that the concept of "wide" "connotes freedom from distress and the ability to pursue one’s own objectives. To move from distress to safety requires deliverance. Generally the deliverance must come from somewhere outside the party oppressed. In the OT the kinds of distress, both national and individual, include enemies, natural catastrophies, such as plague or famine, and sickness. The one who brings deliverance is known as the “savior.” (Here is a link to the TWOT = Harris, R L, Archer, G L & Waltke, B K Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament) Thus yasha' connotes protection that produces freedom from a present danger (2Sa 22:3, Job 5:4), salvation or deliverance in a religious sense (Ps 51:12), a title of God (Savior - 2Sa 22:47; 1Chr 16:35; Ps 18:46; Ps 24:5; Ps 25:5; Ps 27:9; Ps 65:5; Ps 79:9; Ps 85:4; Isa 17:10; 62:11; Mic 7:7 Hab 3:18), victory as an act or a result of conquering (2Sa 22:36; Ps 18:35) It is notable that almost 20% of the uses of yasha' are found during the dark days of Judges (dominated by the heart attitude of Jdg 21:25), which surely speaks of the undeserved lovingkindness of God!

1 Chronicles 18:7  David took the shields of gold which were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem.

  • shields: 1Ki 10:16,17 14:26-28 2Ch 9:15,16 12:9,10 

David took the shields of gold which were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem

Iain Duguid on 1Ch 18:7-11 -- Although still involving Hadadezer, focus shifts from the victory itself to the spoils and their use. Emphasis is on the temple, so reinforcing the Chronicler’s association of victories and temple building.

Walton on shields of gold - gold “shields.” The Hebrew term here was long obscure but is now recognized as a technical term borrowed from Aramaic referring to a bow case. Ceremonial bow cases are pictured in later Persian reliefs. 8:8. Tebah and Berothai. Tubik (Page 334 IVP Background Commentary)

Rich Cathers has an interesting note on shields of gold -  It seems that gold shields seem to be a picture of God's blessing and protection. Here we see David capturing and taking gold shields. Later, Solomon would make 300 shields of gold, the pinnacle of the kingdom. II Chronicles 9:16 And three hundred shields [made he of] beaten gold: three hundred [shekels] of gold went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. Under Solomon's son Rehoboam, the nation began its decline, as pictured with the gold shields being taken away. II Chronicles 12:9 So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made.

1 Chronicles 18:8  Also from Tibhath and from Cun, cities of Hadadezer, David took a very large amount of bronze, with which Solomon made the bronze sea and the pillars and the bronze utensils.

  • Tibhath: 2Sa 8:8, Betah, Berothai
  • wherewith: 1Ch 22:14 1Ki 7:15-47 2Ch 4:2-6,12-18 Jer 52:17-23 

Related Passage:

2 Samuel 8:8 - From Betah and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, King David took a very large amount of bronze


Also from Tibhath and from Cun, cities of Hadadezer, David took a very large amount of bronze, with which Solomon made the bronze sea and the pillars and the bronze utensils The "Sea of cast bronze" (see SPECIAL TOPIC: LAVER) was located in the inner court area of the temple and was a huge laver for the priests' washing,  about 15 feet across and about and 45 feet in circumference. It contained two thousand baths (a bath ~ 5.8 gal or 22 lit).  The basin stood upon twelve oxen, three on every side (1Ki 7:25). This laver was for the priests as they ministered at the altar or went into the temple (2Ch 4:6). This "bronze sea" took the place of the laver at the tabernacle. 

NET Note on (1Ki 7:23) bronze sea - This large basin that was mounted on twelve bronze bulls and contained water for the priests to bathe themselves (2 Chr 4:6; cf. Ex 30:17–21).

Andrew Hill: Among the spoils David takes from Hadadezer and the cities of Zobah are large quantities of bronze. The Chronicler adds the fact that the booty is later used by Solomon in casting the bronze vessels for the temple (18:7–8). This not only provides further detail as to what became of the plunder, but also it is another way in which the Chronicler connects David to the preparations made for building Yahweh’s temple.

Guzik - One needed two things to build the temple: security and money. These chapters show how David, though he could not build the temple himself, obtained the security and money necessary for his son to build the temple.....Even when God shuts the door for us to do a work, we may still be vitally involved in it – often by amassing treasure for that work, as David did for the temple his son would build. “To be willing to do the work of preparation, when not permitted to undertake the principal service, is proof of real devotion.” (Morgan)

F B Meyer - “In view of the desire of the king to build the Temple of God, the chapter is of special interest; it shows how in these wars he was amassing treasure with that purpose in view, not for himself, but for his son.” (Meyer)

Selman - “At first glance, this is a somewhat artificial record of David’s military successes, which has been produced by leaving out the more interesting narratives and those less favourable to David. This view is rather inaccurate, however, since positive elements such as the birth of Solomon, David’s magnanimity to Saul’s family, and David’s psalms are omitted…. The reason is that Chronicles has chosen to focus on the relationship of David’s wars with the Davidic covenant and the temple preparations.” 

Utley - Notice that the items of bronze taken by David in the defeat of the people groups to the north of Israel were melted and became part of Solomon's temple - the bronze sea, cf. 1 Kgs. 7:23-26; 2 Chr. 3:2-6; the two pillars at the front of the temple, cf. 1 Kgs. 7:15-22,41-42; 2 Chr. 3:15-17; they were called "Jachin" and "Boaz," cf. 1 Kgs. 7:21; the many bronze utensils, cf. 1 Kgs. 7:24-47

1 Chronicles 18:9  Now when Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer king of Zobah,

  • Tou: 2Sa 8:9, Toi


Now when Tou (Toi in 2Sa 8:10) king of Hamath heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer king of Zobah (2Sa 8:9)

NET Note -  The name is spelled “Toi” in the parallel text in 2 Sam 8:9-10

1 Chronicles 18:10  he sent Hadoram his son to King David to greet him and to bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and had defeated him; for Hadadezer had been at war with Tou. And Hadoram brought all kinds of articles of gold and silver and bronze.

  • Hadoram: or Joram, 2Sa 8:10 = Joram, in the parallel text, seems a mistake for Hadoram, or Idoram; for the LXX. have there [Leddouram.] NET Note -  The name is spelled “Joram” in the parallel text in 2 Sam 8:10.
  • all kinds: 2Ch 9:1,23,24 Isa 39:1 


he sent Hadoram his son to King David to greet him and to bless (barak; Lxx = eulogeo)  him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and had defeated him; for Hadadezer had been at war with Tou. - This is like the saying the enemy of my enemy is my friend!  Tou of Hamath controlled the region north of Zobah and was apparently pleased to see the influence of the kingdom of Zobah checked by the Israelites

NET Note -  Heb “and to bless him because he fought with Hadadezer and defeated him, for Hadadezer was a man of battles with Tou.”

And Hadoram brought all kinds of articles of gold and silver and bronze.- He brought a "tribute" to David. Note that Hadoram in the parallel text in 2Sa 8:10 is designated Joram. 

Guzik - Not every pagan nation surrounding Israel was hostile to Israel or their God, and David did not treat them as if they were hostile. We make a mistake if we treat every unbeliever as an openly hostile enemy of the Lord.

1 Chronicles 18:11  King David also dedicated these to the LORD with the silver and the gold which he had carried away from all the nations: from Edom, Moab, the sons of Ammon, the Philistines, and from Amalek.

  • dedicated: 1Ch 22:14 26:20,26,27 29:14 Ex 35:5,21-24 Jos 6:19 2Sa 8:11,12 1Ki 7:51 2Ki 12:18 2Ch 5:1 Mic 4:13 
  • the children: 1Ch 20:1,2 
  • Amalek: 1Sa 27:8,9 30:13,20 Ps 83:6,7 


King David also dedicated these to the LORD  NET Note -  “also them King David made holy to the LORD.”  Dedicated is the verb qadash (Lxx - hagiazo) which means to set apart or consecrate, and so David declared the tribute as consecrated to God was separated from all profane use. As one has written "Rather than assume the victor's right of property, David acknowledged the Source of the victory. 

God gave their spoil to David and David returns it to the Giver and the ultimate Possessor!

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory
Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth. 
-- Ps 115:1+

THOUGHT - It all belongs to the LORD! Is that your (my) mindset? We are simply stewards of His treasure (time and talents included). We will be held accountable for how we stewarded His resources (2Co 5:10+, 1Pe 4:10-11+) - for our selfish ends or for His glory. "Possessions come from God and should be used to express gratitude to Him. David believed his victories resulted from God's care for him. He acknowledged his gratitude and his dependence on God by dedicating valuables taken in battle."

with the silver and the gold which he had carried away from all the nations: from Edom, Moab, the sons of Ammon, the Philistines, and from Amalek. - So David did not just dedicate the tribute from Toi, but from all the nations over which the LORD had given him victory. Today we would call David a "generous giver," a great pattern to emulate and surely another reason David is called by God a man after His Own heart! O, to be such a man or woman. Let it be so in our life. Amen

NET Note on from Edom - The parallel text of 2 Sam 8:12 of the Masoretic Text reads “Aram.” However, a few Hebrew Manuscripts along with the LXX and Syriac of 2 Sam 8:12 read “Edom” in agreement with 1 Chr 18:11 (cf. 2 Sam 8:14).

Walton - Dedication of the precious metals to the Lord means that they were donated to the sanctuary’s treasury and became part of the assets administered by the priests rather than going into the royal treasuries. Specially selected objects such as ceremonial weapons or important cultic objects would have been kept, while many of the smaller items would be melted down. (Page 334 IVP Background Commentary)

August Konkel: The wars against the Ammonites and the Arameans granted David control of the territory east of the Jordan as far north as the kingdom of Tou at Hamath, on the Orontes River (1 Chron 18:9–11).

Dedicated (consecrated, sanctified) (06942qadash means to set apart for a specific use. Removed from common use. To be holy. To show one's self to be holy. To consecrate or dedicate. To set apart a person or thing from all common or secular purposes to some religious use. Everything consecrated to God was separated from all profane use. Webster's Dictionary definition #2 for consecrate is convicting - " make or declare sacred; esp devote irrevocably to worship of God by a solemn ceremony."  Qadash could refer to anything reserved exclusively for God (Ex 13:2, 12, 13; Nu 18:15) Qadash signifies an act or a state in which people or things are set aside for use in the worship of God, i.e., they are consecrated or made sacred for that purpose. They must be withheld from ordinary (secular) use and treated with special care as something which belongs to God (Ex 29:21). Otherwise, defilement makes the sanctified object unusable (cf. Dt 22:9; Eze 44:19; 46:20). Qadash is used with various objects: people of Israel - Ex 19:10, 14; Joshua 7:13; altar in the Temple - Ex 29:36; 1Ki 8:64; priests - Ex 28:41; 29:1;1Sa 7:1; mountain - Ex 19:23; Sabbath - Ge 2:3; Ex 20:8; new building - Neh 3:1; fast - Joel 1:14; 2:15. 

1 Chronicles 18:12  Moreover Abishai the son of Zeruiah defeated 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

  • Moreover: 1Ch 2:16 11:20 1Sa 26:6,8 2Sa 3:30 10:10,14 16:9-11 19:21,22 20:6 2Sa 21:17 23:18 
  • Abishai: Heb. Abshai, 1Ch 19:11 *marg:
  • Edomites: 2Sa 7:13 8:13,14 Ps 60:1 *title Ps 60:8,9 
  • the valley of Salt: 2Ki 14:7 2Ch 25:11 


Moreover Abishai the son of Zeruiah defeated 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt The Valley of Salt is probably south of the Dead Sea (see map above). The parallel passage in 2Sa 8:13+ attributes the victory to David = "David made a name for himself when he returned from killing 18,000." Abishai was David's nephew and Joab's brother, and according to the title of Ps. 60, was also involved in this victory.

Ps 60:1+ Title - For the choir director; according to >Shushan Eduth. A Mikhtam of David, to teach; when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah (THIS WOULD BE IN THE NORTH - NE OF DAMASCUS), and Joab returned, and smote twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt. 

Comment - 1Ch 18:12 says Abishai but Ps 60:1 says Joab and 2Sa 8:13+ says David! How do you resolve? The only thing I can see is that Abishai was Joab's brother, so it is possible both were present in this victory. Believer's Study Bible note seems to agree noting that "Expositors debate whether the Edomite victory referred to should be credited to David, Joab, or Abishai. The most plausible solution is as follows: (1) David, as king, was commander-in-chief of all the armies of Israel; (2) Joab was probably in charge of this particular Edomite campaign; (3) Abishai likely was serving as the field commander under Joab." 

August Konkel: The subjugation of all the north and east side of Jordan provided David with the opportunity to subdue Edom and establish garrisons there. This not only granted Israel a strategic seaport to the south; it also secured the southern border. By this description, David had created a small empire. He had enlarged the size of his territory in the conquest of Philistia, and had secured subordination and contribution of tribute from all the surrounding nations.

Psalm 60:1+ For the choir director; according to >Shushan Eduth. A Mikhtam of David, to teach; when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and Joab returned, and smote twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt. 

O God, You have rejected us. You have broken us; You have been angry; O, restore us.  

2 You have made the land quake, You have split it open; Heal its breaches, for it totters.  

3 You have made Your people experience hardship; You have given us wine to drink that makes us stagger.  

4 You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.  

5 That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and answer us!  

6 God has spoken in His holiness: “I will exult, I will portion out Shechem and measure out the valley of Succoth.  

7 “Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet of My head; Judah is My scepter.  

8 “Moab is My washbowl; Over Edom I shall throw My shoe; Shout loud, O Philistia, because of Me!”  

9 Who will bring me into the besieged city? Who will lead me to Edom?  

10 Have not You Yourself, O God, rejected us? And will You not go forth with our armies, O God?  

11 O give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain.  

12 Through God we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries.

1 Chronicles 18:13  Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the LORD helped David wherever he went.

  • garrisons: 1Ch 18:6 1Sa 10:5 13:3 14:1 2Sa 7:14-17 23:14 2Co 11:32 
  • all the Edomites: Ge 25:23 27:29,37,40 Nu 24:18 
  • Thus the Lord: 1Ch 18:6 Ps 18:48-50 121:7 144:10 


Then he put garrisons (netsibin Edom, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the LORD helped David wherever he went - We see this same idea our part and God's part in Ps 127:1 "Unless the LORD builds the house (GOD'S PART), They labor in vain who build it (MAN'S RESPONSIBILITY); Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain."

Guzik - Israel possessed more of the land God promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18-21) under David’s reign than at any other time. David was able to accomplish so much against God’s enemies because he, unlike Saul, was not consumed with fighting against the people of God. (ED: NOT TO MENTION THAT HE SOUGHT THE LORD NOT HIS SELF-INTERESTS LIKE SAUL).

Walton - Placing garrisons in annexed territories or in vassal countries allowed a country to extend its supply line and to monitor activities and maintain control. Food supplies and arms could be stored there, and the military personnel could be ready to deal with any deviation from treaty stipulations or to put down any uprisings. Likewise tribute could be collected and merchant activity controlled  (Page 335 IVP Background Commentary)

Iain Duguid: In all these battles, the key element is that “the Lord gave victory [Hb. verb yashaʻ] to David wherever he went.” God’s actions through David provide for postexilic hearers an example of his answer to the cry of 1 Chronicles 16:35: “Save (yashaʻ) us . . . from . . . the nations.” (Forms of yashaʻ occur over 350 times in the MT, describing “salvation, deliverance, victory, help.” The LXX almost always has a form of sōzō, common in a variety of contexts in the NT with similar English translations, including “healing.”)

J. Parker: Spoils from Edom If we have conquered an enemy we must hold the conquest as an illustration of the power of God rather than of the skill of our own might or hand. The idols which we bring away from the lands of darkness are to be set up in God’s house, and are to mark points in the progress of Christian civilization. They are to be regarded as indications of a universal conquest which Christ has yet to win over the nations of the whole world. If we have brought back spoils--such as art, music, or any form of pleasure by which the popular mind can be touched and moved in an upward direction-- we are to remember that in all these spoils we are to see the Divine power, and not proofs of our own military genius.

Related Resources:

Garrisons (pillar)(05333)(netsib from natsab = to take one's stand) means  a pillar, prefect, garrison, post. Most uses point to a military unit of troops (e.g., 1Sa 10:5; 1Ch 11:16). There are two times that the noun should be translated "governor" or "officer" (1 Ki. 4:19)(2 Chr. 8:10).The basic sense of the Niphal stem of nāṣab, the root of netsib, is well illustrated in God's order to Moses to "stand (i.e. station himself) by the river's brink" to meet Pharaoh (Ex 7:15).

Netsib - 11v - deputy(1), garrison(4), garrisons(5), officers(1), pillar(1). Gen. 19:26; 1 Sam. 10:5; 1 Sam. 13:3; 1 Sam. 13:4; 2 Sam. 8:6; 2 Sam. 8:14; 1 Ki. 4:19; 1 Chr. 11:16; 1 Chr. 18:13; 2 Chr. 8:10; 2 Chr. 17:2

F B Meyer - 1 Chronicles 18:13—He put garrisons in Edom; and all the Edomites became servants to David

Edom and Israel were closely related, but there was constant rivalry and war between the two peoples. Sometimes Israel held the upper-hand for a little; but Edom soon broke loose again, and resumed the old independence, with the border forays (2 Chronicles 21:10; 25:11–14; Psalm 137:7). Now as Edom stands for the flesh, which hungers for the savory dish, and is willing to give even its birthright of spiritual power to secure it—this long feud is full of interest to us. It reminds us of the strife of Romans 7, between the will of the renewed man and the law of the members, ever striving for mastery.

We turn on the pages of our Bibles to Isaiah 63, where a mighty Conqueror is seen coming toward the southern frontier of Palestine, with His back on Bozrah and Edom. His garments are dyed with the blood of Israel’s foes; and behind Him cities are desolate and depopulated, territories are laid waste without inhabitant, and Edom’s hostility is forever quenched in blood. What a portraiture is here of Jesus “mighty to save,” who in His cross triumphed over principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly. He has overcome the world, the flesh, and the prince of the power of darkness; and stands forevermore between us, and our former oppressors.

Let us resign the conflict wholly to Him. We have sought in vain for victory by resolutions and endeavors; by close attention to religious duties; by occupying our mind with various interests, so that we had no leisure to be tempted; by diet and exercise. Now, hand the conflict absolutely over to Jesus: do not even try to help Him: just let Him do all: be quite still, and when temptation comes, let Him meet it.

1 Chronicles 18:14  So David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and righteousness for all his people.

  • David: 1Ch 12:38 
  • administered: 2Sa 8:15 Ps 78:71,72 89:14 Isa 9:7 32:1,2 Jer 22:15 23:5,6 Jer 33:15 


So - Therefore, for this reason. What reason? The summation of all the previous passages, all the victories over all the enemies, all made possible only by the help of the LORD! This last section of chapter 18 gives us a general description of David's government. 

David reigned over all Israel - David's kingdom is established by the help of the LORD. This is the high point of Israel as a nation in the Old Testament, the mystical "Camelot" if you will! That glory would sadly soon be sullied by David's wandering eyes! 

and he administered justice (mishpat; Lxx - krima) and righteousness (tsedaqah; Lxx - dikaiosunefor all his people NET Note = Hebrew = “and he was doing what is just and fair for all his people.” Note all so not just the rich, powerful, influential! David's administration is clearly a foreshadowing to the future reign of the Son of David the Messiah, for Isaiah 9:7+ says "There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this." The prophecy in Jeremiah adds "Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land." (Jer. 23:5) And again Jeremiah records "‘In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth." (Jer 33:15+)

Justice and righteousness - this phrase occurs 22x in the NAS - 2Sa 8:15; 1Ki 10:9; 1Ch. 18:14; 2 Chr. 9:8; Ps. 99:4; Ps. 119:121; Eccl. 5:8; Isa. 9:7; Isa. 33:5; Jer. 9:24; Jer. 22:3; Jer. 22:15; Jer. 23:5; Jer. 33:15; Ezek. 18:5; Ezek. 18:19; Ezek. 18:21; Ezek. 18:27; Ezek. 33:14; Ezek. 33:16; Ezek. 33:19; Ezek. 45:9

Eugene Merrill - BKC - The creation of an empire, though still small in comparison with the great powers of today, required the creation of a bureaucracy to administer its affairs. 

“But let justice roll down like waters
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. 
-- Amos 5:24

THOUGHT - Beloved, are you being mistreated, treated unjustly, etc, etc. Are you growing weary watching the manifold manifestations of injustice and unrighteousness not only in America but around the entire world? Then hold on to Jesus dear brother or sister, because He is coming (soon) and will exercise justice and righteousness over the entire earth in His Messianic Kingdom! This hope is not a hope so, but a hope sure! You can stake your life and your eternal destiny on it! 

August Konkel: Israel itself was a confederation of disparate tribes, genealogically related, but they retained their separate identities. David was able to reduce the hostile states to agreements of taxation and thereby provided domestic security. This could be described in a brief eulogy as governing with justice and equity (18:14 AT), much as could be said of King Solomon (1 Kings 4:21). If such a kingdom were to survive, it would require very judicious administration.

Mark Boda: The final phrase is literally “he enacted justice and righteousness,” qualities related to the proper administration of justice, which was a key role for the king in ancient Israel as vice-regent of the Lord (Pleins, 2001; Weinfeld 1995). These qualities typify conformity to an ethical standard or norm set by God and his law (see Ps 72:2-4, 12-14). Those who benefit from such righteous justice are the vulnerable of society, often listed as the poor, the needy, the widow, and the fatherless. Such justice has both a positive and a negative quality, that is, it involves frustrating the schemes of the oppressor as well as protecting the rights of the oppressed (see Ps 72:4). Such characteristics of royal justice ultimately find their source in the character and action of the High King of Israel, the Lord (Ps 146:7-10).

Peter Wallace: Too often we think that treating everyone “fairly” means treating everyone the same. But the equitable administration of justice means doing what is right and fair in this case. No one has ever devised a code of justice that covers every possible situation. So the question for the judge is this: given the law, how do we apply the law rightly? How do we apply the law equitably to the case before us?

Justice (04941mishpat/mispat from shaphat = to judge, govern) is a masculine noun used over 400x in the OT and has general meanings including a judgment, a legal decision, a legal case, a claim, proper, rectitude.  Vine adds that mishpat/mispat "has two main senses; the first deals with the act of sitting as a judge, hearing a case, and rendering a proper verdict. Eccl. 12:14 is one such occurrence. Mishpat can also refer to the “rights” belonging to someone (Ex 23:6). This second sense carries several nuances: the sphere in which things are in proper relationship to one’s claims (Ge 18:19—first occurrence); a judicial verdict (Dt. 17:9); the statement of the case for the accused (Nu 27:5); and an established ordinance (Exod. 21:1).  (Vine's Expository Dictionary)

Righteousness (06666tsedaqah from tsedeq = rightness, righteousness) conveys the idea of that which is straight and so one who is upright or righteous is one who walks a straight path. The root thought is that which  conforms to an ethical or moral standard. TWOT notes that "The masculine tṣedeq (06664) occurs 118 times, the feminine tsedāqâh 156 times. The two forms do not differ in meaning, as far as we can prove (Snaith ibid., p. 72)." The first use of tsedaqah in Ge 15:6+ is informative as it describes the righteousness that God decreed of Abram when he believed in the Lord and His promises (especially the promise of the Seed, the Messiah - Gal 3:8+, Gal 3:16+). So the righteousness described here in Isa 61:11 is supernaturally (Spirit) enabled righteous thoughts, words and deeds before God and before men. Comment on Tsedaqah in Genesis 15:6 - right standing in the sight of God was imputed or placed on Abraham's spiritual account. At Calvary our sins were put on Jesus' account (cp "numbered [counted - Heb = manah = to count, reckon; Lxx = logizomai] with the transgressors" - Isa 53:12) and He as our perfect, sinless Substitute suffered the punishment that should have fallen on us (Isa 53:6+). When Abraham trusted God's promise of a coming Seed, the Messiah (and however much of that truth that had been revealed to him), Christ's righteousness was placed "on credit" on Abraham's spiritual account (2 Cor 5:21+) and he stood positionally (and perfectly) righteous and forgiven before the Holy God! Abraham proved his faith by his works when he offered Isaac on the altar (James 2:14–24+). Abraham was not saved by obeying God, or even promising to obey God. However his obedience (cp Ge 22:1-2, 15-17, 18) proved his faith. Sinners are not saved by faith plus works but by a faith that works! If it does not "work" then one has reason to question whether it is genuine faith!

1 Chronicles 18:15  Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder;

  • Joab: 1Ch 11:6 2Sa 8:16 
  • Jehoshaphat: 1Ki 4:3 
  • recorder: or, remembrancer


Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army Joab is the "wild one" who David refused to punish for killing Abner, only giving him a "slap on his wrists" so to speak. Joab was the one who was first into Jebus and was made commander as David had promised.

Mabie -  In addition to the royal princes (David’s sons) who served in various leadership roles within the royal bureaucracy, the Chronicler notes two areas of administration (recorder and secretary [scribe]), two areas of military service (the regular army and the specialty wing of the Kerethites [Cretans] and Pelethites [Philistines]), and one area of religious oversight (priests).

and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder - The role of recorder is uncertain but would appear to be like a royal historian, secretary, keeper of records. 

August Konkel: One of the positions in the king’s administration was that of recorder. It is not possible to determine his precise function, but it may have included the oversight of public records, necessary in a royal court, as well as reporting to the king and transmitting royal decrees, as was true in Egyptian courts. Kings were reliant on scribes, who no doubt had to function in several languages for international correspondence. Shavsha is not a Hebrew name (v. 16); it is possibly Egyptian.

Walton on recorder - The recorder would have charge of the records and documents of state and could be viewed as a herald or even as the equivalent to the modern press secretary. He also had control of who was admitted to see the king and would have been the protocol officer. The secretary would have been in charge of diplomatic correspondence and would have been comparable in some ways to the Secretary of State. (Page 335 IVP Background Commentary)

Bob Utley summarizes 1Ch 18:15-17 These verses name David's leaders and administrators.

  1. Joab, the overbearing captain of the army, mentioned often in 2 Samuel 2; 3; 10:11,14: 18:20,24, was David's nephew.
  2. Jehoshaphat was a royal scribe; 2 Sam. 8:16; 20:24; 1 Kgs. 4:3; 1 Chr. 18:15.
  3. Zadok and Abiathar were joint High Priests, cf. 2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chr. 15:11.

    The problem comes with the spelling of Abiathar's father.

    1. Abimelech ‒ MT of 1 Chr. 18:16 (UBS Text Project gives this form an "A" rating)
    2. Ahimelech ‒ 1 Sam. 20:20

    Also, the name "Ahituh" is given as Zadok's father, but in 1 Sam. 20:20 as Ahimelech's father's father.

    This passage in 1 Chronicles 18 follows 2 Samuel 8 closely up to this point. 2 Samuel 8:17 has "Ahimelech," as does 1 Sam. 20:20. The REB has "Zadok and Abiathar, sons of Ahimelech, son of Ahituh," leaving Zadok's father unnamed. However, Zadok's father, Ahituh is mentioned in 2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chr. 6:8,53; Ezra 7:2! The NIDOTTE, vol. 4, p. 348, suggests the names Ahimelech and Abiathar have been interchanged.

  4. The name of the secretary also changes.
    1. Seraiah ‒ 2 Sam. 8:17
    2. Shavsha ‒ 1 Chr. 18:16

    The Pehsitta has #1 in 1 Chr. 18:17.

  5. Shavsha was secretary over
    1. the Cherethites
    2. the Pelethites

    These were special foreign mercenaries or body guards, cf. 2 Sam. 8:18; 15:18; 20:2,23; 1 Kgs. 1:38,44; 1 Chr. 18:17.

1 Chronicles 18:16  and Zadok the son of Ahitub and Abimelech the son of Abiathar were priests, and Shavsha was secretary;

  • Abimelech: 2Sa 8:17, Ahimelech
  • Abiathar: 2Sa 20:25 1Ki 2:35 
  • Shavsha: 2Sa 8:17, Seraiah, 2Sa 20:25, Sheva, 1Ki 4:3, Shisha

Related Passage:

1 Chronicles 24:6  Shemaiah, the son of Nethanel the scribe, from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers’ households of the priests and of the Levites; one father’s household taken for Eleazar and one taken for Ithamar. 

From Eugene Merrill - BKC


and Zadok the son of Ahitub and Abimelech the son of Abiathar were priests, and Shavsha (Seraiah in 2Sa 8:17) was secretary - Note the diagram above is somewhat confusing, for here the writer has the name Abimelech (Ahimelech in the parallel passage in 2Sa 8:17) and calls Abiathar his father. 1Sa 22:20+ after the massacre of the priests at Nob says "one son of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David."

Guzik - David was able to accomplish so much against God’s enemies because he, unlike Saul, was not consumed with fighting against the people of God. 

Zadok served in the Tabernacle at Gibeon (1Ch 16:39), whereas Abiathar served in the temporary tent in Jerusalem. 

NET NOTE on the parallel text - 2Sa 8:17 which reads "Ahimelech the son of Abiathar -- Here (in 2Sa 8:17) Ahimelech is called “the son of Abiathar,” but NCV, CEV, and REB reverse this to conform with 1Sa 22:20. Most recent English versions (e.g., NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) retain the order found in the MT.

The NIV Study Note on Ahimelech and Abiathar - "These two names may have been transposed (see also 1Ch 24:6). Abiathar is referred to as “son of Ahimelech” in 1 Sa 22:20+. Or it may be that the Abiathar of 1 Sa 22:20 could have had a son named Ahimelek (after his grandfather)."

MacArthur has a similar note "See 1Sa 22:20+, which indicates that Abiathar is the son of Ahimelech. This is best accounted for by a scribal copying error (cf. 1Ch 18:16; 24:3, 6, 31). Abiathar was David’s priest along with Zadok (15:24, 35; 19:11). Abiathar traced his lineage through Eli (1Ki 2:27) to Ithamar (1Ch 24:3). With Abiathar’s removal (1Ki 2:26, 27), God’s curse on Eli was completed (1Sa 2:33), and God’s promise to Phinehas of Eleazar’s line was fulfilled (cf. Nu 25:10–13; 1Sa 2:35). "

Zadok ("righteous") was high priest (2Sa 20:25) under David, and was son of Ahitub of the house of Phinehas, in turn of Eleazar (1Ch 24:3) the son of Aaron, and 11th in descent from Aaron (1Ch 6:4-8). David had two priests, so that Zadok and Abiathar acted as high priests. "Then David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel and Amminadab, and said to them, “You are the heads of the fathers’ households of the Levites; consecrate yourselves both you and your relatives, that you may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel to the place that I have prepared for it.(1Ch 15:11-12; cf 2Sa 15:24-29, 35-36). As David was dying Adonijah sought to secure his throne and Abiathar sided with him, and therefore "Solomon dismissed Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD, which He had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh." (1Ki 2:27) Zadok, who had remained faithful to David (1Ki 1:8, 26), became sole high priest, for Solomon "appointed Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar." (1Ki 2:35; cf 1Ch 29:22). As the only High-Priest in Solomon’s reign, Zadok fulfilled God’s promise to Phinehas ("a covenant of a perpetual priesthood" = Nu 25:10–13+). This "perpetual priesthood" will in fact be continued in the Millennial Reign of the Son of David, Ezekiel recording "the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from Me, shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer Me the fat and the blood,” declares the Lord GOD." (Eze 44:15)

NAVE's summary of Abiathar - He was high priest under David and was called by two other names -- Ahimelech (2Sa 8:17), and Abimelech (1Chr. 18:16). Abiathar was the son of Ahimelech (1Sa. 22:20), and was the priest who escaped with the ephod when Saul killed the priests in Nob (1Sa 22:20-23, 6-19). Abiathar on three occasions consulted the ephod for David (1Sa 22:10; 23:9; 30:7). Here in 2Sa 8:17 Abiathar is named associate high priest with Zadok (cf 2Sa 15:35; 20:25; 1Ki 4:4; 1Ch 15:11). Abiathar remained loyal to David when Absalom rebelled, leaving Jerusalem with the Ark of the covenant, but later directed by David to return with the Ark (2Sa 15:24-29). Abiathar aided David by sending his son from Jerusalem to David with secret information concerning the counsel of Ahithophel (2Sa 15:35, 36; 17:15-22; 1Ki 2:26). Unfortunately he made a mistake in supporting David's son Adonijah when he attempted to take David's throne (1Ki 1:7) and because of this he was dismissed from office by Solomon (1Ki 2:26, 27) in fulfillment of the prophecy to Eli that "there will not be an old man in your house" (1Sa 2:21). The prophet had predicted to Eli the destruction of his priestly family which was partially fulfilled in the massacre of the priests of Nob (1Sa 22:11-19) and then fulfilled in the dismissal of Abiathar by King Solomon who transferred the priesthood solely to the family of Zadok (1Ki 2:26-27, 35). 

1 Chronicles 18:17  and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and the sons of David were chiefs at the king's side.

  • Benaiah: 2Sa 8:18 15:18 20:7,23 23:19-23 1Ki 1:38,44 2:34,35 
  • Cherethites: Zep 2:5 
  • chiefs at the king's side.: Heb. at the hand of the king, 1Ch 23:28

Related Passages:

2 Samuel 8:18  Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief ministers.


and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites - Benaiah was the head of David's bodyguards, a position which called for loyal and valor/might, and which prepared Benaiah to later become the commander-in-chief of Solomon’s army (1Ki 2:34, 35; 4:4), after he killed Joab, David’s general (1Ki 2:28–35). 

Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada of Kabzeel (compare Josh 15:21), was a man of "mighty deeds" and was more honorable than any of the mighty men of David except the three chiefs. Therefore David made him his chief counselor (2 Sam 23:23 m; compare 1 Ch 27:34 where the order of names seems to be reversed) and set him over the Cherethites (compare Carites, 2 Ki 11:4 ff and margin) and Pelethites and he was made the 3rd captain of the host and chief over the course of the 3rd month (1 Ch 27:5 f; 2 Sam 8:18; 20:23; 1 Ch 18:17; 2 Sam 23:20 ff; 11:22 ff). Being a true friend of David (compare 2 Sam 15:18) he did not take part in the usurpation of Adonijah (1 Ki 1:8,10,26), and was therefore with others chosen by the king to proclaim Solomon king over Israel (1 Ki 1:32 ff) and later by Solomon to execute Adonijah (1 Ki 2:25), Joab (1 Ki 2:29 ff), and Shimei (1 Ki 2:46). In recognition of his services Solomon appointed him over the host in Joab's place (1 Ki 2:35; 4:4).

Ron Daniel: Ben-aw-YAW, the son of Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW was over the Ker-ay-thites ("executioners") and the Pel-AY-thites ("couriers"). These were David's two teams of bodyguards, his secret service agents. It would seem that the Ker-AY-thites were the guys that would take down anyone who would attempt to attack David in his house, while the Pel-AY-things seem to have specialized in protection of David when traveling from one place another.

MacArthur on the Cherethites - They fled Jerusalem as allies with David (2Sa 15:18), and pursued Sheba the son of Bichri with Joab (2Sa 20:7). They were hand-picked by David to be present at Solomon’s anointing as king. The Cherethites appear to have come from Crete, and to have been a part of the king’s bodyguard (2Sa 23:20, 23). (Borrow MacArthur Study Bible)

Baldwin has an interesting thought on Cherethites and Pelethites - “By employing foreign guards to ensure the safety of the king, David would minimize the possibility of becoming the victim of inter-tribal rivalries; these men from Crete could give whole-hearted allegiance to him.” 

CHERETHITES - ker'-e-thits (kerethim, ha-kerethi; Chelethi "executioners," "life-guardsmen"): A people in South Palestine whose territory bordered upon that of Judah (1 Sam 30:14). In 1 Sam 30:16 this land is apparently identical with that of the Philistines. In Ezek 25:16 the Philistines and the Cherethites are threatened together; while in Zeph 2:5 the Cherethites are evidently the dwellers in "the land of the Philistines," "the inhabitants of the seacoast." Septuagint in both Ezekiel and Zephaniah renders the name "Cretans." The translators may have been "guided only by the sound." But Zeus Cretagenes in Gaza suggests a connection with the island of Crete. See, however, CAPHTOR. It may be taken as certain that the Cherethites were a Philistine clan. In conjunction with the Pelethites they are frequently named as forming the guard of David (2 Sam 8:18, etc.). It was the custom of many ancient monarchs to have a guard of foreign mercenaries.

PELETHITES - 7 verses - 2Sa 8:18; 2Sa 15:18; 2Sa 20:7; 2Sa 20:23; 1Ki 1:38; 1Ki. 1:44; 1Chr. 18:17 - They are always mentioned always along with the Cherethites, and only in the time of David. The word probably means "runners" or "couriers," and may denote that while forming part of David's bodyguard, they were also sometimes employed as couriers (2Sa 8:18; 20:7, 23;1Ki 1:38, 44; 1 Chr. 18:17). Some, however, think that these are the names simply of two Philistine tribes from which David selected his body-guard. They are mentioned along with the Gittites (2 Sam. 15:18), another body of foreign troops whom David gathered round him.

And the sons of David were chiefs at the king's side - NET = "the king's leading officials" ESV = "chief officials in the service of the king." NLT = "king's chief assistants." Chiefs is the Hebrew adjective rishon meaning first or primary or chief and translated in Lxx with protos meaning first, foremost, most important.  2Sa 8:18 has a different Hebrew word, the noun kohen, which is most often translated priest and in the Lxx is rendered with aularches which means something like "mayor of the palace," or "chief of the court." 

Eugene Merrill - BKC on chief ministers -  This Hebrew word (kohen), usually rendered “priests,” is explained in 1 Chronicles 18:17 as “chief officials” (cf. 2 Sam. 20:26). This no doubt is the better meaning since David’s sons, as Judeans, were ineligible to serve as priests. 

NET NOTE on the sons - Heb "and the sons of David [were] the heads at the hand of David." The parallel text of 2Sa 8:18 identifies them as "priests" (see sn there on the word "priests").  That David’s sons could have been priests, in light of the fact that they were not of the priestly lineage, is strange. One must assume either (1) that the word “priest” (כֹּהֵן, kohen) during this period of time could be used in a broader sense of “chief ruler” (KJV); “chief minister” (ASV, NASB), or “royal adviser” (NIV), perhaps based on the parallel passage in 1 Chr 18:17 which has “the king’s leading officials”, or (2) that in David’s day members of the king’s family could function as a special category of “priests” (cf. NLT “priestly leaders”). The latter option seems to be the more straightforward way of understanding the word in 2 Sam 8:18. (ED: I DISAGREE THAT THE LATTER OPTION IS THE BEST - NOTICE THE NET NOTE DOES NOT COMMENT ON THE SEPTUAGINT WHICH SUPPORTS "royal advisers." and does not support the idea that David's sons had any priestly function.)

Andrew Hill on whether David's sons were "priests" -  The Chronicler deviates from 2 Samuel 8:18 in identifying the sons of David as “chief officials” (hariʾ šonim, 1 Chron. 18:16) instead of “priests” (kohanim; cf. NIV “royal advisers”). Japhet argues that the sons of David are unacceptable to the Chronicler as “priests” because they are not of Levitical lineage. Thompson contends the text of 2 Samuel 8:18 is corrupt in that the term for priest (kohen) was mistaken with the term for “administrator” (soken). Selman seeks to mediate the extremes by suggesting David’s sons are non-Levitical priests, who function as the king’s personal priests or as “royal chaplains.” There is little reason to doubt the text of 2 Samuel 8:18. It is also clear that King David violates several of the prescriptions for Hebrew kingship outlined by Moses (e.g., the prohibition against taking many wives, cf. Deut. 17:14–20). Why is it surprising that David would appoint his sons as “priests” of some sort when he himself usurped the role of priest on occasion (cf. 1 Chron. 15:27; 16:2–3)? Selman may be correct in his assumption that, as priests, David’s sons have duties that differ from the Levitical priesthood.