King David and His Scribes

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King David and His Scribes

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David was a remarkable leader and skilled organizer. In particular, 1 Chronicles details how he administered his government. Under his rule professional recorders and scribes were engaged and educated in the royal court. These men were greatly respected, and their successors in later reigns recorded court histories of the kings of Israel and Judah. One such record, for instance, was "the account of the chronicles of King David" (1 Chronicles 27:24). Shemaiah was one scribe in David's royal court whose name is recorded (1 Chronicles 24:6).

An earlier passage in 2 Samuel sums up David's regal administration. "So David reigned over all Israel; and David administered judgment and justice to all his people. Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar were the priests; Seraiah was the scribe" (2 Samuel 8:15-17). The chronicler later mentions that "Jehonathan, David's uncle, was a counselor, a wise man, and a scribe" (1 Chronicles 27:32). This highly educated relative was apparently a trusted royal adviser.

The Bible indicates that King David created a climate in which recording and writing about royal affairs were important governmental functions, ranked with priestly and military duties. Solomon, his son and successor, grew up in an atmosphere that nourished his own considerable writing talents, which were strengthened by his father and others of the royal court. Among the king's final words to his young son Solomon were these: "All this ... the LORD made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans [for the first temple]" (1 Chronicles 28:19).