William Kelly Major Works Commentary
Now these were the sons of David, which were born unto him in Hebron; the firstborn Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; the second Daniel, of Abigail the Carmelitess:1 Chronicles Chapter 3
Then comes the third chapter - the grand object, the genealogy of David. "Now these were the sons of David" (v. 1) - himself singled out from among all the line of Judah; and as with Caleb from the earliest days of the planting in the land, so with David from the time that the kingdom became evident as the purpose of God. Saul is entirely passed by. David, though later in fact, was before Saul really in purpose, and even during the days of Saul was actually anointed by Samuel the prophet. So we find here the sons of David. Here again too, "that which is natural" - these born in Hebron. They never came to the throne. "And these were born unto him in Jerusalem, Shimea and Shobal and Nathan and Solomon" - Solomon the last of these "four of Bathshna [or Bath-sheba] the daughter of Ammiel," as the Spirit of God takes care to say. No flesh shall glory in His presence. The last becomes the first. The purpose of God alone triumphs. Solomon, the last of the four, of her that was the wife of Uriah, is the man chosen to the throne. Others are mentioned too. "These were all the sons of David, beside the sons of the concubines, and Tamar their sister." 1 Chronicles 3:9.
And then the line of Solomon: "Solomon's son was Rehoboam." All this is traced down to the end of the chapter.
This is the first great division of these genealogies. The purpose of God is traced down first from nature in Adam, down to the kingly purpose in David and his line. Such was God's intention for the earth. It had come under a curse, but God always meant to reconcile, as we know, all things; so the Jew is here given to understand. Here is the certainty that God would recover the kingdom; He would restore the kingdom to Israel. Yet, they misunderstood the time. The disciples did the same. They thought they were sure of it when the Lord died and rose. Not so. The Father keeps times and seasons in His own power. Still, He will restore the kingdom to Israel. And we now have this line continued as far as it was given them then to trace.
And this is another thing to bear in mind: the books of Chronicles are fragmentary. They bear the impress of the ruin that had come in to Israel. In a time of ruin, it would falsify if everything were in due order. The attempt to produce order now as a complete thing is fallacy, and would be a lie if it were made apparently true. Hence we see the utter folly of the religious world in this respect, because this is their effort. We know very well it is utter disorder when judged by the Word of God, because in point of fact even the very foundations are forgotten and supplanted. But supposing the theory were true, it would be a falsehood in its moral purpose, because God will make us feel in a time of ruin that we are in ruins. It is not but what His grace can interfere and abound. "Where sin abounded grace did much more abound." But it is a wholly different thing to assume that things are right, and to wear an appearance that only deceives.
Hence, therefore - for the truth is a very practical one - when men complain of weakness, and when they talk about power in the present state of things, there is danger - very great danger. We ought to feel our weakness. We ought to feel that things are ruined. We ought to mourn over the state of the Church. We ought to feel for every member of the body of Christ. When persons make themselves comfortable in a little coterie of their own, and imagine that they are the Church of God, they are only deceiving themselves. The whole state is contrary to the mind of God. The truth is that God and His grace suffice perfectly; but it is as to a remnant. Whenever we lose the sense that we are a remnant, we are false. Whenever we take any other ground than that of being those whom grace has, by the intervention of God Himself, recalled - but recalled in weakness, recalled out of ruin - we are off the ground of faith. This gives no license to disorder - not the least. We are thoroughly responsible - always responsible - but at the same time we must not assume that we have everything, because God gives us that which grace alone has secured.
This is all important, we shall find, both in our work and also in the Church of God. Here we find it in these collections of testimonies of God that are brought together in the books of Chronicles. They are fragmentary; they are meant to be fragmentary. God could have given a completeness to them if He pleased, but it would have been out of His order. God Himself has deigned and been pleased to mark His sense of the ruin of Israel by giving only fragmentary pieces of information here and there. There is nothing really complete. The two books of Chronicles savour of this very principle. This is often a great perplexity to men of learning, because they, looking upon it merely with a natural eye, cannot understand it. They fancy it altogether corrupted. Not so. It was written, advisedly and deliberately so, by the Spirit of God. So, I am persuaded, the provision by the grace of God for His people at this present time looks very feeble, looks very disorderly, to a man with a mere natural eye; but when you look into it, you will find that it is according to the mind of God, and that the pretension of having all complete would put us out of communion with His mind - would make us content with ourselves instead of feeling with Him for the broken state of His Church.
The books of Chronicles, therefore, really are a mass of fragments. We shall have more reason, perhaps, to see this as we go along; but I merely make the remark just new. They are only the fragments that remain. God Himself never gave more. In the books of Kings, we have a more complete whole; but Chronicles has a character and beauty of its own, and a moral propriety, beyond anything, because it takes up and shows that in the ruin of all else the purpose of God stands fast. That is what we have to comfort ourselves with at this present time. There is a ruined state in Christendom; but God's purposes never fail, and those who have faith settle themselves and find their comfort in the sure standing of the purpose of God.
The third, Absalom the son of Maachah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur: the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith:
The fifth, Shephatiah of Abital: the sixth, Ithream by Eglah his wife.
These six were born unto him in Hebron; and there he reigned seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years.
And these were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shimea, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, four, of Bathshua the daughter of Ammiel:
Ibhar also, and Elishama, and Eliphelet,
And Nogah, and Nepheg, and Japhia,
And Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphelet, nine.
These were all the sons of David, beside the sons of the concubines, and Tamar their sister.
And Solomon's son was Rehoboam, Abia his son, Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son,
Joram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son,
Amaziah his son, Azariah his son, Jotham his son,
Ahaz his son, Hezekiah his son, Manasseh his son,
Amon his son, Josiah his son.
And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum.
And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.
And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son,
Malchiram also, and Pedaiah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah.
And the sons of Pedaiah were, Zerubbabel, and Shimei: and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister:
And Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, and Hasadiah, Jushabhesed, five.
And the sons of Hananiah; Pelatiah, and Jesaiah: the sons of Rephaiah, the sons of Arnan, the sons of Obadiah, the sons of Shechaniah.
And the sons of Shechaniah; Shemaiah: and the sons of Shemaiah; Hattush, and Igeal, and Bariah, and Neariah, and Shaphat, six.
And the sons of Neariah; Elioenai, and Hezekiah, and Azrikam, three.
And the sons of Elioenai were, Hodaiah, and Eliashib, and Pelaiah, and Akkub, and Johanan, and Dalaiah, and Anani, seven.