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1 Chronicles 18


(LXX versing)
David's Kingdom Strengthened David's Further Conquests David's Further Military Prowess David's Military Victories David's Wars
18:1-4 18:1-2 18:1 18:1-2 18:1-2
18:3-4 18:3-8 18:3-4 18:3-8
18:5-8 18:5-8 18:5-8
18:9-11 18:9-11 18:9-11 18:9-11 18:9-11
18:12-13 18:12-13 18:12-13 18:12-13 18:12-13
David's Administration The Administration of the Kingdom
18:14-17 18:14-17 18:14-17 18:14-17 18:14-17

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


1Now 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. 2He defeated Moab, and the Moabites became servants to David, bringing tribute. 3David also defeated Hadadezer king of Zobah as far as Hamath, as he went to establish his rule to the Euphrates River. 4David 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.

18:1 "defeated" This is literally "smite" (BDB 645, KB 697). It is used seven times in this chapter describing David's God-given victories over the enemies of Israel (cf. 1 Chr. 17:10; 20:4).

▣ "the Philistines" The Philistines were apparently Greeks from the Aegean Islands. They were the only group of people in this part of the world who were uncircumcized. They were apparently a mercenary force who tried to attack Egypt in the twelfth century B.C. but were defeated. They then settled on the southern coast of Palestine. They had five major cities which are delineated in Jos. 13:3 — Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gad, and Ekron. They were a major military problem throughout the period of the judges and even throughout the reign of Saul and David. The name "Palestine" comes from the word "Philistine."

▣ "Gath" This was one of the city-states of the Philistines. To have lost it shows the weakness of the collective Philistine cooperative (cf. 2 Sam. 8:1).

The parallel in 2 Sam. 8:1 calls it "the chief city of the Philistines." The NKJV translates it as an unknown city's name, "Metheg Ammah," as does the JPSOA. The NJB leaves the phrase out.

18:2 "he defeated Moab" This is recorded in 2 Sam. 8:2.

For "Moab" see note on Isa. 15:1 online.

18:3 "Hadadezer king of Zobah" This victory of David, north of Damascus, is recorded in 2 Sam. 8:3,5; 10:16. David may have confronted this person in battle two or three times (ABD, vol. 3, p. 12).

Hadad was the throne title of the kings of Edom. The name referred to the storm god or rain god who brought fertility. Often Hadad equals "Ba'al." This fertility god was also known as Ramman or Rammon (cf. 2 Kgs. 5:18).

The Peshitta has "Hadarezer." The Hebrew letters "r" (NKJV) and "d" (NRSV, NJB, JPSOA) are often confused (see KJV).

▣ "rule" This is literally "hand," which is a Semitic idiom for power, control.

It is possible that "hand" here should be understood as "monument" (see JPSOA, NRSV, REB translations) and BDB, p. 390 #4. It lists 1 Sam. 15:12; 2 Sam. 18:18; 1 Chr. 18:3; Isa. 56:5 as possible places "monument" fits best.


18:4 "chariots" The numbers of chariots and their soldiers differ between 2 Sam. 8:4 and here. This matches 1 Chr. 19:18 and seems to fit the context best.


▣ "hamstrung" This VERB (BDB 785, KB 874, Piel IMPERFECT with waw, cf. Jos. 11:6,9; 2 Sam. 8:4) refers to cutting the tendons behind the back knees of horses so that they could not pull heavy loads or plow deeply.

This action may reflect Deut. 17:16, where the King was to trust God, not his military weapons (i.e., captured weaponry).

5When the Arameans of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed 22,000 men of the Arameans. 6Then 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. 7David took the shields of gold which were carried by the servants of Hadadezer and brought them to Jerusalem. 8Also 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.

18:5-6 These verses describe David's defeat and subjugation of the Syrians/Arameans (cf. 2 Sam. 8:5-8).

18:5 "Damascus" The spelling is "Darmesek" (MT), which is an Aramaic form of "Damesek" in 2 Sam. 8:5. Both are ancient forms of Damascus (BDB 199).

18:6 "garrisons" This is not in the Hebrew text but may be the connotation of the VERB in a military context (cf. LXX, Peshitta, Vulgate). It is included in the parallel of 2 Sam. 8:6.

▣ "And the Lord helped David wherever he went" This is a recurrent affirmation of the central place of YHWH's involvement in David's victories (i.e., 1 Chr. 18:6,13). It reflects the promise of 1 Chr. 17:10. 18:7,8,10,11 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).

18:7 "shields" The NOUN (BDB 1020) is from an Akkadian root for "quivers" (cf. Jer. 51:1; see JPSOA footnote). They were some type of ornamental military item carried by the king's officials. They became a symbol of Syria's defeat by David.

The LXX translates the word as "collars" here, but in its other seven occurrences, the LXX uses five other words. One of my favorite authors on OT procedures and customs is Roland deVaux, Ancient Israel. He discusses this word on p. 245 and concludes, based on 1 Kgs. 10:17, that it refers to parade shields overlaid with gold (cf. Ezek. 27:11; Song of Songs 4:4). For a full discussion see NIDOTTE, vol. 4, pp. 1522-1523.

18:8 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.

  1. the bronze sea, cf. 1 Kgs. 7:23-26; 2 Chr. 3:2-6
  2. 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
  3. many bronze utensils, cf. 1 Kgs. 7:24-47


9Now when Tou king of Hamath heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer king of Zobah, 10he 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. 11King 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.

18:9 "Tou" In 2 Sam. 8:10 he is called Toi.

18:10 "Hadoram" In 2 Sam. 8:10 he is called "Joram." The AB (p. 131) suggests the two forms possibly reflect a name "Hadad is exalted" (also note Jewish Study Bible, p. 1748).

18:11 The tribute and booty of the defeated nations were given to YHWH for the temple by David.

12Moreover Abishai the son of Zeruiah defeated 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. 13Then he put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the Lord helped David wherever he went.


14So David reigned over all Israel; and he administered justice and righteousness for all his people. 15Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; 16and Zadok the son of Ahitub and Abimelech the son of Abiathar were priests, and Shavsha was secretary; 17and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites, and the sons of David were chiefs at the king's side.

18:14 "justice" 1 Chronicles 18:14 describes how God's society (i.e., people) should act and live. For "justice" see SPECIAL TOPIC: JUDGE, JUDGMENT, and JUSTICE IN ISAIAH.

▣ "righteousness" These two terms characterize a godly reign (cf. 2 Chr. 9:8; Ps. 89:14). They often appear together (cf. 1 Kgs. 10:9; 2 Chr. 9:8; Ps. 99:4; Isa. 9:7; 32:16; 33:5; 59:14; Jer. 4:2; 9:24; 22:3,15; 23:5; 33:15; Ezek. 18:5,19,21,27; 33:14,16,19; 45:9; Amos 5:7,24).


▣ "for all the people" Notice the "all," not just the rich and powerful (cf. Isa. 11:1-5).

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.


18:17 "and the sons of David were chiefs at the king's side" The parallel in 2 Sam. 8:18 calls them "priests," but apparently in an administrative sense. The usage in 2 Samuel 8 may allude to Israel as "kingdom of priests" (cf. Exod. 19:5-6), BDB 463, #1 and 2 Sam. 20:26 and 1 Kgs. 4:5 as examples.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. How is this chapter related to 2 Samuel 8? Why the differences?
  2. Why are David's military victories so theologically significant?
  3. Why did he hamstring the horses in 1 Chr. 18:4?
  4. What is the theological significance of 1 Chr. 18:6,13?
  5. Why did David give all the captured precious metal to YHWH's house?
  6. What are the historical and textual issues involved in 1 Chr. 18:16?
  7. Did David use foreign mercenaries?

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