Three of the thirty chiefs came down to David to the rock at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out to the Lord . “God forbid that I should do this!” he said. “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty warriors. – 1 Chronicles 11:15-19
Well my walk with water in the bible has brought me to the book of 1 Chronicles. I admit I have never really spent much time reading Chronicles and I am going into this feeling like it will be a slog….sort of like I felt entering the book of Leviticus. I do not know much about the book so I did a little research and there are many things that are still not known about the book and it’s author. It seems there is general agreement that this is an attempt to circle back and recount stories already told in the previous books of the bible, and it is likely written by a priest — maybe Ezra.
The Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (the Septuagint) calls this book “Things Left Out”. This could be taken two ways…it could mean that things were left out of this book which were included in other biblical accounts, or it could mean that this book contains things not included (left out) in other accounts.
Based on what I have read so far both meanings seem to apply. The first 10 chapters or so were a detailed account of lineages and lists of groups of people which were not provided in other accounts which describe the same time period (they were left out). I have to confess that I skimmed these chapters as they did not seem relevant to my journey seeking water references in the bible.
This verse is the first one I came upon which contained a water reference. It is a retelling of a story from the book of 2 Samuel 23:13-17 which I reflected on in a previous post on December 10, 2014 called “well” intentioned. Since these are essentially the same story I thought it would be interesting to reflect on any differences in the accounts or my understanding of it since I reflected on it before.
The stories are almost identical in all details with the exception of a few minor word differences when the three mighty warriors return with the water and David pours it out. In the 2 Samuel account David says “Far be it from me, Lord , to do this!”and in this account he says “God forbid that I should do this!”. I am not sure there is a real difference except perhaps in the posture and perspective of the author. In the first response the focus is David, and in the second it is on God and what he does or does not forbid.
One of the things “left out” of the 1 Chronicles account of David so far, and the accounts of the earlier leaders, is the details that help us understand that these leaders had flaws (i.e. King David with Bathsheba and Uriah) — they were all flawed followers just like me. I think the earlier accounts which have not been “scrubbed” are more meaningful and “real” to me. None of us is perfect and pretending to be does not bring us closer to God — we are not fooling Him.
Prayer: God help us to boldly share our life stories with others, including the ways that you are still working to make us more like You.