1 Chronicles 21-22-23-24-25, Bible Highlights: week starting november 9

Highlights From Bible Reading: 1 Chronicles 21-25. Information for personal study.

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“Then Satan stood up against Israel and incited David to number Israel.”

*** w92 7/15 p. 5 Does the Bible Contradict Itself? ***
▪ Who caused David to take a count of the Israelites?
Second Samuel 24:1 states: “Again the anger of Jehovah came to be hot against Israel, when one incited David [or, “when David was incited,” footnote] against them, saying: ‘Go, take a count of Israel and Judah.’” But it was not Jehovah who moved King David to sin, for 1 Chronicles 21:1 says: “Satan [or, “a resister,” footnote] proceeded to stand up against Israel and to incite David to number Israel.” God was displeased with the Israelites and therefore allowed Satan the Devil to bring this sin upon them. For this reason, 2 Samuel 24:1 reads as though God did it himself. Interestingly, Joseph B. Rotherham’s translation reads: “The anger of Yahweh kindled against Israel, so that he suffered David to be moved against them saying, Go count Israel and Judah.”

*** it-2 p. 765 Registration ***
David’s Calamitous Registration. A registration taken toward the end of King David’s reign is also recorded, one that brought calamity. The account at 2 Samuel 24:1 reads: “And again the anger of Jehovah came to be hot against Israel, when one incited David against them, saying: ‘Go, take a count of Israel and Judah.’” The “one” who did the inciting is not there identified. Was it some human counselor? Was it Satan? Or even God? First Chronicles 21:1 helps to answer the question, saying: “Satan proceeded to stand up against Israel and to incite David to number Israel.” That rendering in the New World Translation agrees with the Hebrew text and with translations into Greek, Syriac, and Latin. It is also consistent with the renderings in other translations.—AT, NE, RS, JB, Mo.
However, as the footnote at 1 Chronicles 21:1 points out, the Hebrew word sa•tanʹ can also be rendered “a resister.” Byington translates it “a Satan”; Young’s translation reads, “an adversary.” So it is possible that the “one” moving David to decide on the calamitous course was a bad human counselor.
Interestingly, a footnote at 2 Samuel 24:1 shows that this text could be rendered: “And again the anger of Jehovah came to be hot against Israel, when he incited David against them.” The translation in The Bible in Basic English reads: “Again the wrath of the Lord was burning against Israel, and moving David against them, he said, Go, take the number of Israel and Judah.” Hence, some commentators consider that the “one” or “he” who incited David to take the census was Jehovah. His ‘anger against Israel,’ according to this view, predated the census and was due to their recent rebellions against Jehovah and his appointed king, David, when they followed first ambitious Absalom and then the good-for-nothing Sheba, the son of Bichri, in opposition to David. (2Sa 15:10-12; 20:1, 2) Such a viewpoint could be harmonized with the view that Satan or some bad human counselor incited David if the incitement is viewed as something that Jehovah purposely allowed, as by removing his protection or restraining hand.—Compare 1Ki 22:21-23; 1Sa 16:14; see FOREKNOWLEDGE, FOREORDINATION (Concerning individuals).
On David’s part, there may have been wrong motive due to pride and trust in the numbers of his army, hence a failing to manifest full reliance on Jehovah. In any case, it is clear that on this occasion David’s chief concern was not that of glorifying God.


“So David said to Joʹab and the chiefs of the people: “Go, count Israel from Beʹer-sheʹba to Dan; then report to me so that I may know their number.””

*** it-1 p. 277 Beer-sheba ***
Beer-sheba came to stand for the southernmost point in describing the length of the Promised Land, as expressed in the proverbial phrase “from Dan down to Beer-sheba” (Jg 20:1), or, in a converse direction, “from Beer-sheba to Dan.” (1Ch 21:2; 2Ch 30:5) After the division of the nation into two kingdoms, Beer-sheba continued to be used to indicate the southern extremity of the kingdom of Judah in the expressions “from Geba as far as Beer-sheba” (2Ki 23:8) and “from Beer-sheba to the mountainous region of Ephraim” (where the northern kingdom of Israel began). (2Ch 19:4) In postexilic times the expression was used in a yet more limited form to refer to the area occupied by the repatriated men of Judah, extending from Beer-sheba “clear to the valley of Hinnom.”—Ne 11:27, 30.
In reality, there were other towns of the Promised Land that lay to the S of Beer-sheba, even as there were Israelite towns N of Dan. However, both Dan and Beer-sheba were situated at natural frontiers of the land. In the case of Beer-sheba, its position was below the mountains of Judah on the edge of the desert. Additionally, it was one of the principal cities of Judah (along with Jerusalem and Hebron), and this was not only because it had an excellent supply of water as compared with the surrounding region, thus allowing for both farming and grazing of herds and flocks, but also because important roads converged on it from several directions. From Egypt an ancient route led up by the “Way of the Wells” through Kadesh-barnea to Beer-sheba, being joined by another road over which traveled the camel caravans from the “Spice Kingdoms” of the Arabian Peninsula, heading for Philistia or Judah. From Ezion-geber, at the head of the Gulf of ʽAqaba, another route led up through the Arabah and then turned W, climbing the Ascent of Akrabbim to Beer-sheba. At Gaza, in the Philistine Plain, a road branching from the highway led SE to Beer-sheba. And, connecting it with the rest of Judah, a road ran from Beer-sheba to the NE, climbing the plateau up into the mountains of Judah to Jerusalem and points farther N.—Ge 22:19.


“Joʹab now gave to David the number of the people who were registered. All Israel amounted to 1,100,000 men armed with swords, and Judah, 470,000 men armed with swords.”

*** w92 7/15 p. 5 Does the Bible Contradict Itself? ***
▪ How can one harmonize the different figures given for Israelites and Judeans in David’s count?
At 2 Samuel 24:9 the figures are 800,000 Israelites and 500,000 Judeans, whereas 1 Chronicles 21:5 numbers Israel’s fighting men at 1,100,000 and Judah’s at 470,000. Enlisted regularly in the royal service were 288,000 troops, divided into 12 groups of 24,000, each group serving one month during the year. There were an additional 12,000 attendant on the 12 princes of the tribes, making a total of 300,000. Apparently the 1,100,000 of 1 Chronicles 21:5 includes this 300,000 already enlisted, whereas 2 Samuel 24:9 does not. (Numbers 1:16; Deuteronomy 1:15; 1 Chronicles 27:1-22) As regards Judah, 2 Samuel 24:9 apparently included 30,000 men in an army of observation stationed on the Philistine frontiers but which were not included in the figure at 1 Chronicles 21:5. (2 Samuel 6:1) If we remember that 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles were written by two men with different views and objectives, we can easily harmonize the figures.

*** it-2 p. 766 Registration ***
The count revealed that Israel had 1,100,000 men and Judah had 470,000, according to the record at 1 Chronicles 21:5. The report at 2 Samuel 24:9 says 800,000 men of Israel and 500,000 men of Judah. Some believe that a scribal error exists. But it is unwise to ascribe error to the record when the circumstances, methods of counting, and so forth, are not fully understood. The two accounts may have reckoned the number from different viewpoints. For example, it is possible that members of the standing army and/or their officers were counted or omitted. And different methods of reckoning may have caused a variation in the listing of certain men, as to whether they were under Judah or Israel. We find what may be such an instance at 1 Chronicles 27. Here 12 divisions in the king’s service are listed, naming all the tribes except Gad and Asher, and naming Levi and the two half tribes of Manasseh. This may have been because the men of Gad and Asher were combined under other heads at the time, or for other reasons not stated.


“But Leʹvi and Benjamin were not registered among them, because the king’s word was detestable to Joʹab.”

*** it-2 pp. 765-766 Registration ***
Joab, at David’s insistence, took the census, but unwillingly, the report stating: “Levi and Benjamin he did not register in among them, because the king’s word had been detestable to Joab” (Levi not being counted, in accord with the law at Numbers 1:47-49). Joab either stopped before registering Benjamin or delayed the progress of the registration, and David came to his senses and called a halt to it before Joab had completed it. (1Ch 21:6) Joab may have avoided Benjamin because he did not want to stir up this tribe that was the tribe of Saul, which had fought David’s army under Joab before uniting with the other tribes under David. (2Sa 2:12-17)


“Jehovah then spoke to Gad, David’s visionary, saying:”

*** it-2 p. 1160 Visionary ***
Not all of Jehovah’s prophets were visionaries. However, Gad was called both a “prophet” and “David’s visionary,” apparently because at least some of the messages he received from God came by means of visions containing divine instruction or counsel for King David.—2Sa 24:11; 1Ch 21:9.

(1 CHRONICLES 21:12)

“whether there should be three years of famine, or three months of being swept away by your adversaries while the sword of your enemies overtakes you, or three days of the sword of Jehovah—pestilence in the land—with Jehovah’s angel bringing destruction in all the territory of Israel.’ Now consider what I should reply to the One who sent me.””

*** it-2 p. 766 Registration ***
Jehovah’s judgment. Jehovah’s prophet Gad was sent to David, giving David, the authorizer of the census, a choice of one of three forms of punishment: a famine for three years, the sword of Israel’s enemies overtaking Israel for three months, or a pestilence for three days. David, leaning on God’s mercy rather than man’s, chose “to fall into the hand of Jehovah”; in the pestilence that followed, 70,000 persons died.—1Ch 21:10-14.
Here another variation is found between the Samuel and Chronicles accounts. Whereas 2 Samuel 24:13 says seven years of famine, 1 Chronicles 21:12 says three. (The Greek Septuagint reads “three” in the Samuel account.) One proffered explanation is that the seven years referred to at Second Samuel would, in part, be an extension of the three years of famine that came because of the sin of Saul and his house against the Gibeonites. (2Sa 21:1, 2) The current year (the registration took 9 months and 20 days [2Sa 24:8]) would be the fourth, and three years to come would make seven. Although the difference may have been due to a copyist’s error, it may be said again that a full knowledge of all the facts and circumstances should be had before one reaches such a conclusion.

(1 CHRONICLES 21:23)

“But Orʹnan said to David: “Take it as your own, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. Here, I am providing the cattle for burnt offerings and the threshing sledge for the wood and the wheat as a grain offering. I give all of it.””

*** it-1 p. 811 Farming Implements ***
The threshing sledge was designed to separate the kernels from the ears of grain. The implement used in ancient times likely resembled the two types still employed in some parts of the Bible lands today. One consists of wooden planks joined together and bent back at the front. Its underside is equipped with sharp stones or knives. (Compare 1Ch 21:23; Job 41:30; Isa 41:15.) The driver stands on the sledge to weight it down. The other type has a seat for the driver and consists of a low-built, four-cornered wagon frame. Two or three parallel revolving rollers equipped with iron strips are fitted into this frame.—Compare Isa 28:27, 28.

(1 CHRONICLES 21:25)

“So David gave Orʹnan 600 gold shekels by weight for the site.”

*** it-1 p. 146 Araunah ***
The Jebusite owner of the threshing floor purchased by King David for building an altar to Jehovah. This action resulted as the divinely indicated means of ending a scourge provoked by David’s numbering of the people.—2Sa 24:16-25; 1Ch 21:15-28.
Araunah apparently offered the place, along with cattle and wood implements for the sacrifice, without charge, but David insisted on paying a price. The record at 2 Samuel 24:24 shows that David purchased the threshing floor and the cattle for 50 silver shekels ($110). However, the account at 1 Chronicles 21:25 speaks of David’s paying 600 gold shekels (c. $77,000) for the site. The writer of Second Samuel deals only with the purchase as it relates to the altar location and the materials for the sacrifice then made, and it thus appears that the purchase price referred to by him was restricted to these things. On the other hand, the writer of First Chronicles discusses matters as relating to the temple later built on the site and associates the purchase with that construction. (1Ch 22:1-6; 2Ch 3:1) Since the entire temple area was very large, it appears that the sum of 600 gold shekels applies to the purchase of this large area rather than to the small portion needed for the altar first built by David.

*** it-1 p. 147 Araunah ***
In the Chronicles record Araunah is called Ornan.—1Ch 21:18-28; 2Ch 3:1.

*** it-2 p. 715 Purchase ***
Later, it appears, more of the surrounding property was added to include an area large enough for the whole temple site, the purchase price being 600 gold shekels by weight (c. $77,070). (2Sa 24:21-24; 1Ch 21:22-25)

(1 CHRONICLES 21:26)

“And David built an altar there to Jehovah and offered up burnt sacrifices and communion sacrifices, and he called on Jehovah, who now answered him with fire from the heavens on the altar of burnt offering.”

*** si p. 78 par. 17 Bible Book Number 13—1 Chronicles ***
After purchasing the location from Ornan, David obediently offers sacrifices there and calls upon Jehovah, who answers him “with fire from the heavens upon the altar of burnt offering.” (21:26)


“David then gave orders to bring together the foreign residents who were in the land of Israel, and he assigned them to be stonecutters to cut and shape stones for building the house of the true God.”

*** it-2 p. 42 Jerusalem ***
Toward the close of his rule, David began preparing construction materials for the temple. (1Ch 22:1, 2; compare 1Ki 6:7.) The hewn stones prepared may have been quarried in that area, for the bedrock of Jerusalem itself is easily cut and chiseled to size and shape, yet, upon exposure to the weather, hardens into durable and attractive building stones. There is evidence of an ancient quarry near the present Damascus Gate, vast quantities of rock having been cut out there in the course of time.


“But Jehovah’s word came to me, saying, ‘You have shed a great deal of blood, and you have fought great wars. You will not build a house for my name, for you have shed a great deal of blood on the earth before me.”

*** it-2 p. 987 Solomon ***
Undoubtedly the name Solomon (from a root meaning “peace”) applied in connection with the covenant that Jehovah made with David, in which he said that David, being a man who had shed much blood in warfare, would not build the house for Jehovah, as David had it in his heart to do. (1Ch 22:6-10) Not that David’s warfare was wrong. But Jehovah’s typical kingdom was essentially of a peaceful nature and objective; its wars were to clean out wickedness and those opposing Jehovah’s sovereignty, to extend Israel’s dominion to the boundaries that God had outlined, and to establish righteousness and peace. These objectives the wars of David accomplished for Israel. Solomon’s rule was essentially a reign of peace.

*** it-2 p. 1076 Temple ***
Solomon’s Temple. King David entertained a strong desire to build a house for Jehovah, to contain the ark of the covenant, which was “dwelling in the middle of tent cloths.” Jehovah was pleased with David’s proposal but told him that, because he had shed much blood in warfare, his son (Solomon) would be privileged to do the building. This was not to say that God did not approve David’s wars fought in behalf of Jehovah’s name and His people. But the temple was to be built in peace by a man of peace.—2Sa 7:1-16; 1Ki 5:3-5; 8:17; 1Ch 17:1-14; 22:6-10.

(1 CHRONICLES 22:14)

“Here I have taken great pains to prepare for Jehovah’s house 100,000 talents of gold and 1,000,000 talents of silver and such great quantities of copper and iron that they cannot be weighed, and I have prepared timbers and stones, but you will add to them.”

*** it-1 p. 590 David ***
David always had it in his heart to build that temple, and though not permitted to do so, he was allowed to set a great task force to hewing stones and gathering materials that included 100,000 talents of gold ($38,535,000,000) and 1,000,000 talents of silver ($6,606,000,000), and copper and iron without measure. (1Ch 22:2-16)

*** it-1 p. 982 Gold ***
David had set aside no less than 100,000 talents of gold for that temple, valued today in excess of $38,535,000,000. (1Ch 22:14)

(1 CHRONICLES 23:24)

“These were the sons of Leʹvi according to their paternal houses, the heads of the paternal houses, by those registered who were counted and listed by their names and who carried out the work for the service of the house of Jehovah, from 20 years old and up.”

*** it-1 p. 57 Age ***
Later, in David’s day, the age limit was dropped to 20 years for beginning tabernacle service, which was in time replaced by temple service.—1Ch 23:24-32; compare also Ezr 3:8.

(1 CHRONICLES 23:28)

“Their function was to assist the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of Jehovah, to be in charge of the courtyards, the dining rooms, the purification of every holy thing, and any work needed for the service of the house of the true God.”

*** nwt p. 1712 Glossary ***
Sons of Aaron. Descendants of Levi’s grandson Aaron, who was chosen as the first high priest under the Mosaic Law. The sons of Aaron performed the priestly duties at the tabernacle and at the temple.—1Ch 23:28.

(1 CHRONICLES 23:29)

“They assisted with the layer bread, the fine flour for the grain offering, the wafers of unleavened bread, the griddle cakes, the mixed dough, and all measures of quantity and size.”

*** it-1 p. 504 Cooking, Cooking Utensils ***
The Israelites also possessed deep-fat kettles or deep pans and also griddles. Grain offerings were frequently prepared in these. (Le 2:5, 7; 7:9; 1Ch 23:29) Examples of earthenware griddles have been discovered at Gezer. These had small depressions, comparable to the waffle iron of today. Iron griddles were also in use.—Eze 4:1-3.


“David, along with Zaʹdok from the sons of El•e•aʹzar and A•himʹe•lech from the sons of Ithʹa•mar, made divisions of them for the office of their service.”

*** it-1 p. 823 Festival of Booths ***
It is likely that the first of the 24 divisions of priests established by David began to serve at the temple after the Festival of Booths, inasmuch as the temple built by Solomon was inaugurated at the time of this festival in 1026 B.C.E.—1Ki 6:37, 38; 1Ch 24:1-18; 2Ch 5:3; 7:7-10.


“Of Heʹman, the sons of Heʹman: Buk•kiʹah, Mat•ta•niʹah, Uzʹzi•el, Shebʹu•el, Jerʹi•moth, Han•a•niʹah, Ha•naʹni, E•liʹa•thah, Gid•dalʹti, Ro•mamʹti-eʹzer, Josh•be•kashʹah, Mal•loʹthi, Hoʹthir, and Ma•haʹzi•oth.”

*** it-1 p. 224 Azarel ***
2. Head of the 11th of the 24 divisions of temple singers in David’s time; also called Uzziel.—1Ch 25:1, 4, 18.


“The number of them and their brothers who were trained in song to Jehovah, all experts, was 288.”

*** it-2 pp. 451-452 Music ***
In conjunction with the preparations for Jehovah’s temple, David set aside 4,000 Levites for musical service. (1Ch 23:4, 5) Of these, 288 were “trained in song to Jehovah, all experts.” (1Ch 25:7) The whole arrangement was under the direction of three accomplished musicians, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun (apparently also named Ethan). Since each of these men was a descendant of one of Levi’s three sons, Gershom, Kohath, and Merari, respectively, the three chief Levite families were thus represented in the temple music organization. (1Ch 6:16, 31-33, 39-44; 25:1-6) The sons of these three men totaled 24, all of whom were among the aforementioned 288 skilled musicians. Each son was appointed by lot to be the head of one division of musicians. Under his direction were 11 more “experts,” selected from his own sons as well as other Levites. In this manner the 288 ([1 + 11] × 24 = 288) expert Levite musicians, like the priests, were separated into 24 courses. If all the remaining 3,712 ‘learners’ were thus divided, it would average about 155 more men to each of the 24 divisions, meaning there were about 13 Levites in various stages of musical education and training to each expert. (1Ch 25:1-31) Since the trumpeters were priests, they would be in addition to the Levite musicians.—2Ch 5:12; compare Nu 10:8.

(1 CHRONICLES 25:14)

“the seventh for Jesh•a•reʹlah, his sons and his brothers, 12;”

*** it-1 p. 189 Asharelah ***
A son of Asaph serving in the service groups of musicians and singers at the house of Jehovah in the time of David. (1Ch 25:1, 2) It is probable that Jesharelah of verse 14 is a variation of his name.

(1 CHRONICLES 25:18)

“the 11th for Azʹar•el, his sons and his brothers, 12;”

*** it-1 p. 224 Azarel ***
2. Head of the 11th of the 24 divisions of temple singers in David’s time; also called Uzziel.—1Ch 25:1, 4, 18.

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