THE TRANSITION FROM DAVID TO SOLOMON FOCUSES ON THE PREPARATION AND PROVISION FOR THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE
Frederick Mabie: All in all, the Chronicler makes a clear shift in these chapters from a focus on David to a focus on David and his son (and designated heir) Solomon. This focus on David and Solomon is one of transition, largely within the context of David’s expansive preparations for the Jerusalem temple and the requisite personnel.
J.A. Thompson: The Chronicler includes three speeches by David:
Chapters 22–29 are unique to Chronicles, having no parallel in the Bible.
Andrew Hill: In 22:2–19 the spotlight shifts from a focus on David alone (cf. ch. 21) to a wider angle that highlights the relationship between David and his son and successor, Solomon. Repeated words and phrases indicate that the chapter is all about providing materials and preparing Solomon and Israel’s leaders to build the temple of Yahweh (“build” [bnh] occurs nine times, 22:2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 19; the verb to “provide” or “make preparation” [kwn in the Hiphil] occurs five times in 22:3, 5, 14). David’s “extensive preparations” (22:5) for the temple included readying Solomon to accept the charge to build a house for God (22:6–13), making provision for the building materials and skilled laborers (22:14–16), and establishing support for the project among the leadership of Israel (22:17–19). No doubt the Chronicler regards this concern for preparation before embarking on the work of God an important lesson for his own audience.
A.C. Gaebelein: God had accepted the sacrifice. The judgment had passed. Prayer had been answered and David, therefore, could truthfully say “this is the house of the LORD God, and this is the altar of the burnt-offering for Israel.” The place had therefore been pointed out on which the temple was to be reared. And from now on up to the twenty-eighth verse of chapter 26 all concerns the house which is to be built. The temple is from now on prominently in the foreground and that which the book of Kings does not mention, David’s great interest in making preparations for it, is recorded in these chapters. And so we see David with great energy making vast preparations. It shows again how grace had worked in his heart. All else seems to have been forgotten by him. Only one desire controls the king, to make provision of everything necessary for the construction of the Temple. And the house, according to David’s conception “must be exceeding magnificent, of fame and of glory throughout all countries.” His heart burned with zeal to glorify Jehovah, whose mercy and grace he knew so well and who had kept and prospered him in all his ways. “I will therefore now make preparation for it,” David said. Then he prepared abundantly before his death. David, making preparation for the temple his son was to put up, is not without a very striking typical meaning. Both David and Solomon are types of our Lord Jesus Christ. David typifies Him in His humiliation and suffering, Solomon in His exaltation and glory. What Christ has done in His grace results in the coming glory. This is foreshadowed in the preparations David made for the house and the glorious reign of his son. If this is kept in mind these historical statements will take on a blessed meaning.
Iain Duguid: First are details of gathering together the artisans and a brief overview of major resources David has provided (vv. 2–5). Next is David’s charge to Solomon: he first repeats God’s previous word concerning the temple and Solomon (vv. 6–10; cf. 17:7–14); following is the charge itself, beginning and ending with the prayer, “The Lord be with you” (22:11–16). God’s promise and presence form the basis for the future. David’s concluding commands to “all the leaders of Israel” also start with what God has done, leading to the leaders’ involvement in the task of building (vv. 17–19).
I. (:2-5) PREPARATION OF RESOURCES FOR BUILDING THE TEMPLE
A. (:2) Manpower Resources
“So David gave orders to gather the foreigners who were in the land of Israel, and he set stonecutters to hew out stones to build the house of God.”
Frederick Mabie: In order to address the challenge of supplying skilled and unskilled workers common to large building projects in the biblical world, David taps into the resident aliens living within Israel. That some of the individuals are skilled in certain trades is reflected both here (v.2) and in the further details on the craftsmen noted later (cf. vv.15–16).
Andrew Hill: The “aliens” (1 Chron. 22:2) are non-Israelite inhabitants of territories occupied and controlled by Israel. David’s conscription of “aliens” fits the pattern in the ancient Near East of using prisoners of war and subjugated people as forced laborers for major building projects. Typically, the resident aliens were free citizens with limited legal rights. They enjoyed the rights of assistance, protection, and religious participation in the Israelite community under Mosaic law (Deut. 14:29; 16:11, 14; 24:14). The alien was under divine protection, and the Israelites were to love aliens as themselves, since they had been aliens once in Egypt (Deut. 10:18–19). It is assumed these legal principles inform the Israelite treatment of the aliens levied in the labor details. We know from the register of David’s cabinet members that Adoniram is supervisor of the forced labor units, a position he held under kings Solomon and Rehoboam as well (2 Sam. 20:24; cf. 1 Kings 12:18).
John Schultz: It seems strange that no Israelites but foreigners were recruited for the preparation of the stones that were needed for the construction of the temple. The main reason may have been that they had an expertise that was not found among the Israelites. Foreigners had built David’s palace for the same reason. It may also be that the Israelites found that stonecutting was labor that was “below them.”
On the other hand, or maybe better, seen from above, from God’s perspective, the whole world population, not only Israel, ought to be involved in preparing a place for God’s revelation on earth.
B. (:3-4) Material Resources
“And David prepared large quantities of iron to make the nails for the doors of the gates and for the clamps, and more bronze than could be weighed; 4 and timbers of cedar logs beyond number, for the Sidonians and Tyrians brought large quantities of cedar timber to David.”
Frederick Mabie: In addition to the provision of manpower, David also provides a significant amount of the raw materials necessary for the temple construction project (again, note the further details on precious metals, timber, and stone noted later; cf. v.14). The raw materials noted here reflect a combination of David’s hegemony over the Philistines (iron), his economic-political alliance with Phoenicia (cedar), and his earlier military conquests (bronze; e.g., 18:8; see further remarks on these raw materials at 2Ch 2:7–9).
August Konkel: Abundance is the key concept in the Chronicler’s account of David making preparation for the temple materials (1 Chron 22:3‐4). These include sculpted stone, iron to secure fasteners for the doors of the gates, material for the joins (it is not certain if these fittings were wood or metal), and bronze and wood in large quantities. The bronze would be used for the columns, the altar, and the great molten sea. The cedars of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) were renowned for their impressive size, reaching to nearly one hundred feet; by the mid‐nineteenth century CE this vast resource was depleted (Konkel 2006: 123). These trees were legendary for building palaces in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece.
Andrew Hill: Some of the raw materials were probably secured through trade agreements of some sort, much like Solomon’s bartering with the king of Phoenician Tyre for additional lumber with payments of grain (1 Kings 5:10–12). The cedar timbers imported from the Sidonians and Tyrians are one of the temple’s outstanding features (cf. 1 Chron. 17:1, 6). These logs are one of the defining characteristics of the second temple as well (cf. Ezra 3:7). Selman has reminded us, however, that the magnificence and splendor of Yahweh’s temple is not about the celebration of the edifice as an architectural wonder. Rather, the temple is a theological statement to the nations (1 Chron. 22:5) about God’s faithfulness to his covenant with David and the embodiment of his kingdom in the Israelite monarchy.
C. (:5) Summary of Preparations
“And David said, ‘My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house that is to be built for the LORD shall be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all lands. Therefore now I will make preparation for it.’ So David made ample preparations before his death.”
Frederick Mabie: This statement (largely repeated later at 29:1) reflects David’s desire that the temple built for Yahweh bring together the apex of beauty and craftsmanship in such a way as to remind God’s people of the beauty of God’s holiness (cf. Ps 29:2). David’s extensive preparations (also cf. v.14) and plans for the temple (plans received via divine revelation, cf. 1Ch 28:11–12, 19) underscore the Chronicler’s perspective that the Jerusalem temple was in many ways a joint project of David and Solomon. David’s concern for Solomon’s youth and inexperience is likewise reflected in Solomon’s own prayer for wisdom (1Ki 3:6–9).
II. (:6-16) PREPARATION OF SOLOMON FOR THE RESPONSIBILITY AND PRIVILEGE OF BUILDING THE TEMPLE
Andrew Hill: David’s actual charge to Solomon to build the temple is an invocation or prayer that offers encouragement, delineates the task at hand, and gives assurance of divine help. This threefold structure has been identified as the pattern in what is called the “induction into office” formula in Old Testament literature. Typically, the induction formula begins with a word of encouragement to the one about to enter the office. It then includes a description of the task to which the individual is called and concludes with the promise of divine accompaniment as enablement for the successful completion of the commission (cf. Moses’ charge to Joshua, Josh. 1:6–9). In this case, the installation of office formula authorizes or establishes Solomon as the builder of Yahweh’s temple. The installation formula reminds Solomon (and the Chronicler’s audience) that God’s call invariably includes the means to accomplish it—even as Moses learned when God called him and equipped him to deliver Israel from Egypt (cf. Ex. 3–4).
A. (:6-10) Charge to Solomon Regarding His Divine Appointment to the Task
“Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel. 7 And David said to Solomon, ‘My son, I had intended to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. 8 But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, You have shed much blood, and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood on the earth before Me. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’”
August Konkel: War did not make soldiers individually guilty of murder, but at the same time it involved the taking of human life. David had not only engaged in war; he had also waged much war. The holy temple to be built (1 Chron 29:3) would represent the power and gift of life within the kingdom. For the Chronicler, David was far too closely associated with death to be the one who should build a house representing a kingdom of life and peace.
J.A. Thompson: David is here to Solomon much like Moses was to Joshua. David could do all the preparations for the temple but could not build it, just as Moses could not lead Israel into Canaan. A life of violence, even in God’s service, had disqualified him. The one who built God’s house must be a man of peace. The name “Solomon” (Heb. šĕlōmōh) is a cognate of the word for “peace” (šālôm). Israel would have peace and quiet during his reign (v. 9). On the other hand, we should not forget that it was David’s warfare and many victories that enabled Solomon and the nation to have the peace in which they could build the temple. David was not qualified to build the temple, but he was not thereby condemned in the text.
B. (:11-13) Spiritual Encouragement to Solomon of Divine Assistance
“Now, my son, the LORD be with you that you may be successful, and build the house of the LORD your God just as He has spoken concerning you. 12 Only the LORD give you discretion and understanding, and give you charge over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. 13 Then you shall prosper, if you are careful to observe the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD commanded Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and courageous, do not fear nor be dismayed.”
Frederick Mabie: David’s charge to his son Solomon reflects the reality that the building of the temple for the Lord is a spiritual exercise as much as it is a building enterprise. The notion of “success” (vv.11, 13) is that which is pleasing in the eyes of the Lord, which in turn has a direct correlation to obedience and covenantal faithfulness (vv.12–13). Such obedience is enabled by God’s presence (v.11) together with the gifts of wisdom and understanding that come from above (v.12). Moreover, success in temple building is consistent with God’s promises to David regarding Solomon (“as he said you would,” v.11; cf. 1Ch 17:11–12).
C. (:14-16) Testimony of David’s Abundant and Generous Preparations
“Now behold, with great pains I have prepared for the house of the LORD 100,000 talents of gold and 1,000,000 talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond weight, for they are in great quantity; also timber and stone I have prepared, and you may add to them. 15 Moreover, there are many workmen with you, stonecutters and masons of stone and carpenters, and all men who are skillful in every kind of work. 16 Of the gold, the silver and the bronze and the iron, there is no limit. Arise and work, and may the LORD be with you.”
J.A. Thompson: The quantities specified here seem to be exceptionally large. One explanation is that it was a standard figure of speech for stressing the magnificence of the temple and drawing attention to David’s vast preparations for the temple that was soon to be erected. This sort of hyperbole is often used in ancient literature and speeches, and the round numbers further imply that they are not to be taken literally. Our western propensity to be precise allows little room for a characteristic feature of the literary methods of the ancient Near East. A comparison may be made with the amount of gold that Solomon’s fleet brought to Israel from Ophir (1 Kgs 10:14).
III. (:17-19) PREPARATION OF THE LEADERS OF ISRAEL TO JOIN IN PARTNERSHIP WITH SOLOMON
Frederick Mabie: While the temple project is prepared by David and completed by Solomon, it is nonetheless an expression of the mutuality of the whole Israelite congregation and their “help” in the project. Note that David’s charge to the leaders to devote their heart and soul to “seek” God is inseparably connected with their obedience to God’s Word. Moreover, as seen with Solomon (vv.11, 16), divine presence (“Is not the LORD your God with you?” v.18) is at the center of David’s admonition to the leaders of Israel, as only God’s enabling power can shape human hearts to his pleasure (cf. Php 2:13). Moreover, David’s reminder of God’s faithfulness to his covenantal promises (“has he not granted you rest . . . handed the inhabitants of the land over to me,” v.18; cf. Dt 12:10) will encourage these leaders that God will complete the good work he has begun in the covenantal life of Israel (cf. Php 1:6).
A. (:17) Charging the Leaders to Assist Solomon
“David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon,”
B. (:18) Assuring Them of Divine Assistance
“saying, 18 ‘Is not the LORD your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and before His people.’”
C. (:19) Defining the Mission and its Purpose
“Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise, therefore, and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD.”
August Konkel: Worship at the place God has chosen, confirmed by the sign of fire from heaven (1 Chron 21:26), requires a sanctuary for the altar that has been brought to Jerusalem, along with all of the sacred artifacts that belong with it.
Andrew Hill: The same contingency for success given to Solomon applies to the leaders of Israel (cf. 22:12). They too must “seek” the Lord, recognizing that this is the act of obedience to God’s law, not a search for divine guidance. David envisions two distinct purposes for the temple as the sanctuary of God:
– housing the sacred vessels and furniture essential to Israel’s worship, especially the ark of the covenant, and
– exalting the name of the Lord before his people and the nations (22:19; cf. 2 Chron. 5:5 on the “sacred furnishings” of the Tent of Meeting that are transferred to the temple).
The rhetorical question affirming God’s presence with the leaders assures them that God’s interests do not lie with Solomon alone (22:18; cf. 22:11). The phrase “God be with you” is a covenant formula and has implications for the “Immanuel” theology that will continue with the temple even as it began with the tabernacle (cf. Ex. 25:8).
Martin Selman: David again (cf. v. 9) stresses in three distinct ways that the rest (v. 18; ‘peace,’ GNB, NRSV, RSV, REB, NEB) which Israel enjoys is a God-given precondition for the building of a sanctuary (v. 19; cf. 28:1). With two of Chronicles’ characteristic phrases, the leaders are challenged to participate with Solomon, so continuing into Solomon’s reign the positive qualities associated with his father. They are to help (v. 17) Solomon, a term which strongly evokes Israel’s help for David (I Chr. 12:1, 17, 18, 21, 22), and they must seek the LORD (v. 19) as David had sought him (cf. 13:3; 14:10, 14). David explains how to seek (‘devote your heart and soul’; cf. REB, NEB, JB) and what it meant in practice (Build the sanctuary). As elsewhere, ‘seeking’ is an act of obedience rather than a search for guidance, and David will yet again underline its importance (I Chr. 28:8-9)