1 Chronicles 27:24
Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not, because there fell wrath for it against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(24) Joab the son of Zeruiah began.—Or, had begun. This clearly refers to 1Chronicles 21:6. Joab omitted to number Levi and Benjamin.

Because there fell wrath for it.—The same phrase recurs in 2Chronicles 19:10; 2Chronicles 24:18. (Comp. for the fact, 1Chronicles 21:7, seq.) The sense of the Hebrew may be brought out better thus: “Joab son of Zeruiah had begun to number, without finishing; and there fell,” &c.

Neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David.—Literally, and the number came not up (‘ālāh), was not entered. (Comp. 1Kings 9:21; 2Chronicles 20:34.) The number which Joab ascertained was not recorded, as might have been expected, in the official annals of the reign, here designated as “the account of the chronicles of king David” (mispar dibrê ha-yāmîm). It is implied that the chronicler had these annals before him in some form or other, probably as a section of the “History of the Kings of Judah and Israel,” and that he found the lists of this chapter in that source. Those of 1 Chronicles 23-26 may have been derived from the same authority. In 2Kings 12:20; 2Kings 13:8; 2Kings 13:12, and all similar instances, the phrase for “book of the Chronicles” is not mispar, but sēpher dibrê ha-yāmîm. Some suppose that the text here should be altered accordingly; others would render mispar dibrê ha-yāmîm, “the statistical section of the annals.” But mispar in Judges 7:15 means the telling or relation of a dream, and the transition from such a sense to that of written relation is easy. The phrase rendered “Chronicles” is the same as the Hebrew title of these books.

1 Chronicles 27:24. Joab began to number — Namely, all from twenty years old and upward, as David commanded him. But he finished not — For Levi and Benjamin he counted not, 1 Chronicles 21:6. Because there fell wrath for it against Israel — While he was doing the work, which was one reason that made him desist. The Hebrew however is, And there fell, &c. Though David numbered them with caution and limitation, as was observed before, yet this did not hinder God’s wrath from falling upon Israel for this sin. Neither was the number put in the chronicles of King David — An account of the number, as far as he went, was given by Joab to the king; but the king, being sensible of his error, would not have it recorded in the public registers of the kingdom, as other things of daily occurrence were. Yet the memory of it is preserved in these books, to teach all posterity not to put their trust in the arm of flesh.27:16-34 The officers of the court, or the rulers of the king's substance, had the oversight and charge of the king's tillage, his vineyards, his herds, his flocks, which formed the wealth of eastern kings. Much of the wisdom of princes is seen in the choice of their ministry, and common persons show it in the choice of their advisers. David, though he had all these about him, preferred the word of God before them all. Thy testimonies are my delight and my counsellors.Because there fell wrath - literally, "And there fell wrath." The falling of God's wrath was not the cause of Joab's ceasing. His motive is clearly stated in 1 Chronicles 21:6. See also the marginal references.

Neither was the number ... - The meaning is, that in the portion of the chronicles of King David which treated of numbers - the number of the standing army, of the Levitical and priestly courses, the singers, etc. - the return of the number of the people made by Joab was not entered. The disastrous circumstances which followed on the taking of the census perhaps produced a feeling that God might he further provoked by its being put on record in the state archives. The numbers which have come down to us must therefore have been derived from private sources.

24. neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of King David—either because the undertaking was not completed, Levi and Benjamin not having been numbered (1Ch 21:6), or the full details in the hands of the enumerating officers were not reported to David, and, consequently, not registered in the public archives.

the chronicles—were the daily records or annals of the king's reign. No notice was taken of this census in the historical register, as from the public calamity with which it was associated it would have stood as a painful record of the divine judgment against the king and the nation.

Began to number, to wit, all from twenty years old and upward, as David commanded him.

He finished not; for Levi and Benjamin he counted not, 1 Chronicles 21:6. Because there fell wrath for it against Israel, whilst he was doing the work; which was one reason which made him to cease. Heb. And there fell, &c. Though David numbered them with caution and limitation, as was noted before, yet this did not hinder God’s wrath from falling upon Israel for this sin.

Neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David: the sense is either,

1. That the full number was not registered, because Levi and Benjamin were not counted by Joab. Or rather,

2. That David being sensible of and smarting for his sin, would not have the number brought in by Joab to him put into the public register, though God would have it recorded in Scripture for the instruction of succeeding ages. For he speaks not here of the account given in to the king, which was done, and was Joab’s act; but of the putting of the account into the public records, which was not done, and which could not be done but by David’s command or permission. Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number,.... By the order of David, but entirely against his own will, see 1 Chronicles 21:2,

but he finished not; the two tribes of Benjamin and Levi not being counted by him, 1 Chronicles 21:6.

because there fell wrath for it against Israel; the plague being broke forth before he had done numbering, which put a stop to it, 1 Chronicles 21:14.

neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of David; that which was brought in by Joab, though imperfect, was not entered into the diary, journal, or annals which David ordered to be written of all memorable events and transactions in his reign; and which were afterwards carried on by the kings of Judah, often referred to in the preceding books; and this was done, not because of the imperfection of the account, but because David did not choose this sin of his should be transmitted to posterity, though it has been, notwithstanding this precaution of his.

Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not, {e} because there fell wrath for it against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the {f} chronicles of king David.

(e) The commandment of the king was abominable to Joab, 1Ch 21:6.

(f) The Hebrews make both these books of Chronicles but one, and at this verse make the middle of the book concerning the number of verses.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. he finished not] Cp. 1 Chronicles 21:6.

because there fell wrath for it against Israel] R.V. and there came wrath for this upon Israel.

in the account of] R.V. into the account in. A summary of the numbers of David’s census is given in 1 Chronicles 21:5 and also (with divergences) in 2 Samuel 24:9. The Chronicler probably means in the present passage that the details of the census were not entered in the official records.

the chronicles] Lit. the acts of the days; cp. Introduction, § 1.Verse 24. - It seems a little surprising to read of Joab, fixed on the page of history as the person who began to number, but... finished not, when we have been already particularly told that it was he to whom King David's command to number was "abominable" (1 Chronicles 21:6). However differently enough from the method of either nature or mankind, the antidote has here preceded the evil. For because there fell wrath for it, read the Hebrew, and there was for this wrath upon Israel. The last sentence of the verse purports to say that such numbering as had been done before the point at which Joab stopped was not honoured by a place, where other numbers were found, in the register of the chronicles of King David. Elihu, of the brethren of David, is only another form of the name Eliab, 1 Chronicles 2:13, David's eldest brother, who, as Jesse's first-born, had become tribal prince of Judah.
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