1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18
11 Then the Israelites found David at Hebron and acknowledged him as their king.
Israelites: Certainly we are your family, your flesh and blood. 2 You have always guided and protected Israel, even when Saul was our king and it was not your responsibility, because the Eternal your God decided, “You will be the shepherd of My people Israel, the prince over all of them.”[a]
3 So all the elders of Israel came to coronate their king at Hebron. David made a covenant with them that the Eternal One witnessed; and they anointed him king over Israel, as the Eternal had commanded them to do through the seer, Samuel.
4 Then David and his subjects traveled from Hebron to Jebus, which is now known as Jerusalem, where the Jebusites lived. 5 The Jebusites threatened David, “You shall not pass through these gates.” Nevertheless David captured the stronghold (Zion), now known as the city of David, and made it his capital.
David uses this conquest to identify his best warriors.
David (challenging the men): 6 The first man who kills a Jebusite will be rewarded with the rank of chief and commander.
Joab (a son of Zeruiah) won the challenge, attacking first and becoming a chief. 7 After the conquest David lived in Zion, so it became known as the “city of David.” 8 He fortified the city with earthen ramparts while Joab repaired the damages caused by the conquest. 9 David, along with the city, grew in power because the Eternal One, Commander of heavenly armies supported him.
King David chooses Jerusalem as his capital for political and military reasons. Resting between Benjamin and Judah, it is not located within any of the twelve tribes’ borders, making it politically neutral. No one can say that David is showing preference to one tribe over another by locating his capital—and the center of the Israelite religion—within one tribe’s borders. And there is a very good reason the Jebusite city remained unconquered by any Israelite tribe when all other Canaanite cities had fallen, a reason that further justifies David’s selection of the city: Sitting on a high ridge, Jerusalem is easy to defend. Its very location will help save it from future invaders, such as the Assyrians, when other Israelite cities fall.
10 These are leaders of the warriors whom David commanded. They and the citizens of Israel supported him in his rule, as the Eternal desired for Israel when He chose David as king. 11 So what follows is an accounting of David’s great warriors. Jashobeam (son of a Hachmonite) was the chief of 30,[b] the highest-ranking officers in David’s army. He slaughtered 300 men in one battle with his spear.
12 Second in command was Eleazar (son of Dodo the Ahohite), who was one of three notable warriors. 13 He fought alongside David in a barley field called Pasdammim when the people fled from the Philistines. 14 Together they repelled the Philistines from the field, and the Eternal delivered them from the Philistines with a great victory.
15 Three other of the 30 chiefs pursued the Philistines to their camp in the valley of Rephaim (between Jerusalem and Bethlehem). These other chiefs waited with David in a rocky area of the cave of Adullam, west of Bethlehem. 16 While David was in his stronghold and the Philistine garrison was in Bethlehem, 17 the king was very thirsty.
David: Could someone bring me water from the well of Bethlehem, which is near the gate of the city where the Philistines are waiting?
18 The three warriors broke through the Philistine camp in the valley of Rephaim, drew water from the well of Bethlehem near the gate, and took it to David. In spite of his thirst, David would not drink it. Instead he poured it out as an offering to the Eternal One.
David: 19 How could I drink this water with God watching me? I could not drink the blood of my three strong warriors who risked their lives to bring it to me, so I will not benefit from their sacrifice.
20 Abshai, Joab’s brother and leader of these 30,[c] slaughtered 300 men in one battle with his spear and made a notable name for himself. 21 Of the three in the second rank, Abshai was the most honored and became their commander, but he was never promoted to the highest rank.
22 Benaiah (son of Jehoiada, son of a warrior of Kabzeel) performed great deeds—he killed the two warriors of Moab, killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day, 23 and killed a seven-foot-six-inch-tall Egyptian, who carried a curved spear (the size and shape of a weaver’s beam). Benaiah attacked this Egyptian with a club, stole the spear from the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with the same spear. 24 Because of these great deeds, Benaiah (Jehoiada’s son) had a powerful reputation equal to that of the three mighty men. 25 He was honored among the 30, but he did not achieve the status of the three. Because of Benaiah’s effectiveness in battle, David appointed him captain of the king’s guard.
26 The warriors of the armies were Asahel (another brother of Joab), Elhanan (son of Dodo of Bethlehem), 27 Shammoth the Harorite, Helez the Pelonite, 28 Ira (son of Ikkesh the Tekoite), Abiezer the Anathothite, 29 Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite, 30 Maharai the Netophathite, Heled (son of Baanah the Netophathite), 31 Ithai (son of Ribai of Gibeah the Benjaminite), Benaiah the Pirathonite, 32 Hurai of the brooks of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite, 33 Azmaveth the Baharumite, Eliahba the Shaalbonite, 34 the sons of Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan (son of Shagee the Hararite), 35 Ahiam (son of Sacar the Hararite), Eliphal (son of Ur), 36 Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah the Pelonite, 37 Hezro the Carmelite, Naarai (son of Ezbai), 38 Joel (brother of Nathan), Mibhar (son of Hagri), 39 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Berothite, the armor bearer of Joab (son of Zeruiah), 40 Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, 41 Uriah the Hittite, Zabad (son of Ahlai), 42 Adina (son of Shiza, a Reubenite chief) and 30 with him, 43 Hanan (son of Maacah), Joshaphat the Mithnite, 44 Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel (sons of Hotham the Aroerite), 45 Jediael and Joha (sons of Shimri the Tizite), 46 Eliel the Mahavite, Jeribai and Joshaviah (sons of Elnaam), Ithmah the Moabite, 47 Eliel, Obed, and Jaasiel the Mezobaite.
12 After David fled from Saul (son of Kish) to the Philistine city of Ziklag, all the tribes of Israel sent warriors to support him in battles. 2 There were especially skilled Benjaminite archers, able to sling stones and shoot arrows from their left hands[d] or from their right hands. 3 Their chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite, Jeziel and Pelet (sons of Azmaveth), Beracah, Jehu the Anathothite, 4 and Ishmaiah the Gibeonite, a warrior equal to and better than the 30. Then Jeremiah, Jahaziel, Johanan, Jozabad the Gederathite, 5 Eluzai, Jerimoth, Bealiah, Shemariah, Shephatiah the Haruphite, 6 Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, Jashobeam, the Korahites, 7 Joelah, and Zebadiah (son of Jeroham of Gedor).
All of these Benjaminites recognize David as king, even over their fellow tribesman, Saul.
8 While David was positioned in his wilderness stronghold, mighty Gadite warriors joined him in battle. They fought in wars with spears and shields, with the ferocity of lions and the speed and agility of gazelles. 9 Their chief was Ezer, then Obadiah, Eliab the third, 10 Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth, 11 Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh, 12 Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth, 13 Jeremiah the tenth, and Machbannai the eleventh. 14 They were captains of the army—the weakest of them was worth 100 soldiers, and the greatest of them was worth 1,000.
Large armies such as David’s require many men and complex coordination. In the battlefield, men are lined up according to what weapon they use: Spearmen are in front, protected by their shields and able to fight other spearmen hand-to-hand. Slingers are behind them, able to hoist heavy projectiles over their own spearmen and thin out their opponents’ frontline. Archers are in the back, able to shoot their arrows long distances to attack their opponents’ midline or to infiltrate high battlements. All three are necessary for sieges, but not all military leaders are able to gather so many men of varying skills to their causes. The size and capability of David’s army demonstrates his power and the peoples’ widespread support of him.
15 In the autumn, when the Jordan River overflows its banks, these men crossed the river and conquered its inhabitants, who then fled to the east and the west. 16 Some Benjaminites and Judahites then joined David’s army.
David (to the Benjaminites and Judahites): 17 If you are joining my army because you agree with my rule, then I welcome your help. We will unify the land of Israel as brothers. But if you are joining me as spies for my enemies, even though I have done nothing wrong, then our God, the God of our fathers, will judge your actions.
Amasai, the Chief of the 30 (inspired by the Spirit): 18 We are at your command, David, son of Jesse! May peace reward you and your allies, for your God is your ally.
So David accepted them as warriors and made them captains of the guard.
28 We quickly learned that we were on the island of Malta. 2 The Maltese people found us and were extraordinarily kind to us. They kindled a bonfire and welcomed us around it, which we greatly appreciated because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul was gathering firewood and helping build the fire. A viper had been hiding in some of the wood, and as it tried to escape the heat, it bit Paul on the hand. It sank its fangs in and wouldn’t let go. 4 The natives saw it dangling from his hand.
Natives: This man must be a murderer. He escaped the sea, but now justice has caught up with him.
5 Paul simply shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no harm. 6 The natives knew what to expect—rapid swelling followed by death—but when they waited a long time and saw that Paul suffered no ill effects of the bite, they changed their minds and concluded that he was a god.
7 The leading man of the island, Publius, owned large amounts of land near this beach. Publius received us and hosted us for three days. 8 Publius’s father was sick, bedridden with fever and dysentery. Paul visited the invalid and prayed for him, placing his hands on Publius’s father. The man was cured. 9 Soon people from all over the island who had diseases came, and they were cured as well.
10-11 We stayed on Malta for the next three months and were treated with great honor. When spring arrived, we prepared to continue our journey on a ship that had wintered there—an Alexandrian vessel with the Twin Brothers as its figurehead. The Maltese people showed us a final kindness as we departed: they came with all the provisions we needed for our journey and put them on board.
12 We set sail from Malta and stopped first at Syracuse. After three days, 13 we weighed anchor and came to Rhegium. We waited there a day, and then a south wind sprang up and sped us to Puteoli. 14 We found some believers there, and they invited us to stay with them for seven days. Then we reached Rome. 15 The believers from Rome heard we were coming, so they traveled out to meet us at the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns. Paul thanked God and felt encouraged to see them. 16 Once inside the city, Paul lived under house arrest by himself, with only one soldier to guard him.
17 Three days after his arrival, he called together the local Jewish leaders.
Paul: Brothers, although I committed no wrong against our Jewish people or our ancestral customs, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 The Romans examined me and wanted to set me free because I had committed no capital offense. 19 But my Jewish opponents objected, so I had to appeal to the emperor—even though I had no charges against me and had filed no charges against my nation. 20 I wanted to gather you together and explain all this to you. I want you to understand that it is because of Israel’s hope that I am bound with this chain.
Luke’s account of the early church ends abruptly: one of the story’s heroes, Paul, is under house arrest in Rome awaiting trial. Other sources will recount how Paul is later martyred in Rome, a victim of Nero’s paranoia and cruelty. But Luke’s story isn’t a biography of Paul; it is a narration about “the Way” as it moved geographically and culturally from Jerusalem (at the edge of the empire) to Rome (the celebrated center of the world). Therefore, Luke’s story finishes once the message of Jesus is spreading without hindrance.
As it moves geographically, “the Way,” as Jesus’ followers preferred to call it, crosses cultural, linguistic, and religious boundaries. At each and every point, Luke assures, the Spirit is there demonstrating God’s blessing on and approval of the emissaries who walk in the footsteps of Jesus and in fulfillment of prophecies. Clearly what happened in those early decades was driven by the Spirit-wind of heaven; and God’s purposes are realized through the faithful obedience of disciples such as Peter, Stephen, Philip, and Paul.
Luke’s account has ended, but the story about the acts of God through the church continues into our day. We are the characters in the current volume of salvation history. Through our faithful obedience, also empowered by the Spirit-wind of heaven, our stories are part of the anthology of God’s new creation.
Jewish Leaders: 21 We haven’t received letters from Judea about you, and no visiting brother has reported anything or said anything negative about you. 22 So we are interested in hearing your viewpoint on the sect you represent. The only thing we know about it is that people everywhere speak against it.
23 They scheduled a day to meet again, and a large number came to his lodging. From morning until evening, he explained his message to them—giving his account of the kingdom of God, trying to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets’ writings. 24 Some were convinced, but others refused to believe.
Paul (adding as they left in disagreement): 25 The Holy Spirit rightly spoke to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah,
26 Go to this people and say,
“You certainly do hear, but you will never understand;
you certainly do see, but you will never have insight.
27 Make their hearts hard,
their ears deaf, and their eyes blind.
Otherwise, they would look and see,
listen and hear,
understand and repent,
and be healed.”[a]
28 So let it be known to you that God’s liberation, God’s healing, has been sent to the outsiders, and they will listen.
[29 Then the local Jewish leaders left Paul to discuss all he had told them.][b]
30 For two full years, he lived there in Rome, paying all his own expenses, receiving all who came to him. 31 With great confidence and with no hindrance, he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the ultimate authority—the Lord Jesus, God’s Anointed, the Liberating King.
For the worship leader. A song of David to the tune “Death of a Son.”[b]
In the Hebrew manuscripts, Psalms 9 and 10 work as a unit because together they form an acrostic poem, meaning each stanza begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This literary device has several functions. First, it provides a mnemonic device for easier memorization. Second, it is inherently beautiful; the rigid structure is a showcase for the author’s literary talents. Finally, it conveys the idea of completion by describing the reasons God is to be praised “from A to Z.” Psalm 9 offers David’s thanks and praise to God for defeating his enemies. Psalm 10, on the other hand, is a lament complaining that God is far off while the poor and helpless suffer.
1 All my heart will give thanks to You, Eternal One.
I will tell others about Your amazing works.
2 I will be glad and celebrate You!
I will praise You, O Most High!
3 When my adversaries turned and fled,
they fell and died right in front of You,
4 For You supported my just cause.
From Your throne, You have judged wisely.
5 You confronted the nations; You have destroyed the wicked.
You have erased their names from history.
6 The enemy is finished, their time is up;
their cities will lie in ruin forever;
all memory of them is gone.
7 Still the Eternal remains and will reign forever;
He has taken His place on His throne for judgment.
8 So He will judge the world rightly.
He shall execute that judgment equally on all people.
9 For the Eternal will be a shelter for those who know misery,
a refuge during troubling times.
10 Those who know Your name will rely on You,
for You, O Eternal One, have not abandoned those who search for You.
11 Praise Him who lives on Zion’s holy hill.
Tell the story of His great acts among the people!
12 For He remembers the victims of violence and avenges their blood;
He does not turn a deaf ear to the cry of the needy.
19 Better to be poor and live with integrity
than a fool with a foul mouth.
2 Surely there’s no advantage for a person without knowledge,
and whoever moves too quickly misses the turn.
3 Foolishness diverts the course of life,
yet the heart rebels against the Eternal.