DIVINE PLANS FOR GOD’S KINGDOM AGENDA CALL FOR COURAGEOUS OBEDIENCE BY GOD’S APPOINTED LEADER WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE COVENANT COMMUNITY
Frederick Mabie: Following his extensive preparations in workers, raw materials, and leadership (chs. 22–27), David now seeks to prepare the hearts of the leaders of the Israelite community to embrace Solomon’s rule and strive for covenantal faithfulness and obedience. . .
The crux of David’s heartfelt speech (“my brothers and my people,” v.2) is wholehearted obedience to the covenantal framework established between Yahweh and his people (“be careful to follow all the commands of the LORD your God,” v.8, emphasis added). David connects his exhortation to obedience with Israel’s continued possession of the Promised Land (v.8) in a manner reminiscent of earlier biblical passages connected with Abraham, Moses, and Joshua (e.g., Ge 17:1–8; Dt 8:1; Jos 23:6–13).
August Konkel: The enthronement of Solomon is presented as a gathering of all of the leaders and officials of David’s kingdom, including the administrators of the various divisions, whether Levitical or civil, all of the military officers, and all those engaged in state employment. The gathering is representative of all Israel (Willi: 161–62); they must accept responsibility for enabling the new king to carry out his charge for the divine kingdom. A great festivity accompanies the installation of the new king, and a summary statement provides assurance that all Israel supported their new king, who was increasingly successful in his rule. The section concludes with a summary statement of David’s reign typical of that found for other kings. . .
Genre of a Levitical sermon with 3 main motifs:
(1) Solomon is the one who will bring rest (28:20).
(2) Solomon is a successor of David as Joshua was of Moses.
• He must be resolute and courageous (28:7, 10, 20; cf. Josh 1:6‐7, 9, 18);
• He must observe and protect God’s commandments (1Chron 28:7‐8; 29:19; cf. Josh 1:7‐8), which will ensure his success (Josh 1:8; 1Chron 29:23).
(3) Finally, there is strong emphasis on Solomon as the one whom God has chosen (28:6, 10; 29:1), a distinction that never applies to Levites or kings other than David.
Andrew Hill: The emphasis on the theme of obedience to God’s law and the exhortation to “be strong and courageous” (28:20) echoes the commissioning of Joshua by Moses as his successor (cf. Deut. 31:7–9; 32:44–47). Two distinct threads tie the chapter together:
(1) the stress placed on obedience by the leadership of Israel, both to God and to Solomon as David’s successor (1 Chron. 28:7–8, 21), and
(2) the understanding that the temple-building project is really a divine initiative (cf. 28:2, 10, 12, 19).
Iain Duguid: David’s final actions in the Chronicler’s account of his reign were to assemble a large number of leaders from across the country and charge both the leaders as “my brothers” and Solomon as “my son,” his successor, to follow God’s commands and to build the temple (1 Chron. 28:1–10). He delivered to Solomon the God-given plans of the temple (building, vessels, and personnel), reinforcing the charge to build and affirming the support that he would receive from the many leaders (28:11–21).
I. (:1-10) SECOND CHARGE TO THE PEOPLE AND TO SOLOMON
A. (:1) Convocation
“Now David assembled at Jerusalem all the officials of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the commanders of the divisions that served the king, and the commanders of thousands, and the commanders of hundreds, and the overseers of all the property and livestock belonging to the king and his sons, with the officials and the mighty men, even all the valiant men.”
Iain Duguid: “Jerusalem” is the place to which David has brought the ark and at which God has authorized David’s son to build the temple (11:4–8; 15:1; 16:1; 17:11–12). David’s reign reaches its culmination as it is there he “assembled” the widely representative “all the officials of Israel” to charge them concerning the temple and Solomon.
Martin Selman: The Hebrew text uses the word sar for “officials.” It is a general term for anyone occupying a high position. The “officers over the tribes” are called “princes” in the Hebrew text, but that does not necessarily mean that they were of royal blood. They must have been the ones who represented each of the twelve tribes that constituted the nation of Israel. The highest army personnel was invited, including, what we would call colonels, majors and captains. The administrators of the personal property of David and his family were high ranking civilians. The Hebrew word for “palace officials” is cariyc, which refers to a eunuch. They were the men in charge of the king’s harem, the servants of the queens. Added to the group were some who had been decorated for heroic feats performed in war. They are called “valiant men” and “mighty men.”
B. (:2-8) Charge to the People
“Then King David rose to his feet and said,”
Pulpit Commentary: The expression, David the king stood up upon his feet, probably means to emphasize the fact that hitherto, having been in a sitting or recumbent position, owing to his age and infirmity, he now with effort forced himself to stand in the presence of the unusual congregation and in consideration of what he felt was due to the occasion.
1. (:2) David’s Intentions to Build the Temple Himself
“Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I had intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build it.”
Andrew Hill: The plural imperative verb forms encasing David’s first address indicate that the speech is directed to all the “officials of Israel” (28:2–8; e.g., “listen to me,” v. 2; “be careful to follow,” v. 8). The pastoral heart of David as Israel’s shepherd-king is seen in his appeal to the leaders of Israel as “my brothers” and the citizens of Israel as “my people” (28:2). . .
The royal footstool (28:2) is a symbol of a king’s authority, a symbol of the peaceful rest enjoyed by his kingdom, and a sign of humble loyalty to the monarch on the part of his subjects. By means of this symbol the Chronicler recognizes that Israel’s “rest,” whether in David’s time or his own, is entwined with God’s restful presence among his people. God’s rejection of David as the builder of his temple because he is a warrior repeats information previously reported in David’s private charge to Solomon as his successor (cf. 22:8–9). The temple will be built by a “man of peace and rest” (22:9).
2. (:3-4) God’s Plans for David
“But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name because you are a man of war and have shed blood.’ 4 Yet, the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever. For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father’s house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel.”
Andrew Hill: The opening lines of David’s speech are a historical summary of sorts, outlining his aspirations for building Yahweh’s temple (28:2–3). The expressions “house … of rest” for the temple and “footstool” for the ark of the covenant are found only in Psalm 132 and Chronicles (though cf. also Isa. 66:1). Clearly, Psalm 132 is important to the Chronicler because it contains reflections about David’s restless ambition to build a sanctuary for God. The addition of 132:8–9 to the end of Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple (2 Chron. 6:41–42) is further evidence of the Chronicler’s interest in this song of ascent. . .
It is widely agreed that the next segment of David’s speech to the officials of Israel serves to legitimize his dynasty both retrospectively and prospectively. By way of the past, David traces his lineage to the tribe of Judah, the tribe given the “scepter” in Jacob’s blessing of his sons (cf. Gen. 49:8–12). By way of the future, David points to the selection of Solomon as his successor (no doubt with allusions to the Davidic covenant announced by Nathan the prophet, 2 Sam. 7; 1 Chron. 17). Indeed, God’s choice of Solomon from among David’s many sons makes his divine election all the more remarkable (1 Chron. 28:5; David had nineteen sons, see 3:1–9).
3. (:5-7) God’s Choice of Solomon to Build the Temple
“And of all my sons (for the LORD has given me many sons), He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. 6 And He said to me, ‘Your son Solomon is the one who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be a son to Me, and I will be a father to him. 7 And I will establish his kingdom forever, if he resolutely performs My commandments and My ordinances, as is done now.’”
4. (:8) Charge to Maintain Covenant Obedience and Thus Possess the Land
“So now, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek after all the commandments of the LORD your God in order that you may possess the good land and bequeath it to your sons after you forever.”
Frederick Mabie: One of the more striking aspects of David’s speech is the emphatic stress on the agency of God in shaping the path of the nation:
• “But God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for my Name’” (v.3).
• “The God of Israel chose me” (v.4).
• “He chose Judah as leader” (v.4; cf. the “scepter” of Judah in Ge 49:8–12).
• “He chose my family” (v.4).
• “He was pleased to make me king” (v.4).
• “He has chosen my son Solomon” (v.5).
• “I have chosen him” (v.6).
• “I will be his father” (v.6).
• “I will establish his kingdom” (v.6).
This stress on God’s expression of his will underscores that Solomon’s imminent coronation as king and temple builder (note vv.12, 19) is part of God’s sovereign design, which includes the reality that Solomon will be sitting “on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel” (v.5). While kings of the biblical world were seen as sovereign monarchs over nations and people, in the case of the Israelite covenantal community, the people led by the king are God’s people (2Ch 1:10), the kingdom is God’s kingdom (1Ch 17:14; 2Ch 13:8), the king is God’s son (1Ch 22:10; 28:5–6), and the king sits on God’s throne (1Ch 29:23; 2Ch 9:8; cf. Dillard, 12; Hill, 380).
J.A. Thompson: The use of plural verb forms in the Hebrew behind “be careful to follow all the commands of the Lord your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever” indicates that this exhortation is still part of the address to the leaders of Israel. Within David’s speech to the men before him—and to the readers of Chronicles—there lies a profound message. David, the great king and leader of Israel, must pass from the scene. What future or hope can the people have? Their hope must not be in David, whom they see but whose strength and wisdom are limited, but in God, whom they do not see but whose presence, power, goodness, and wisdom are forever. It was God who chose the house of David, God who determined who would build the temple, God who gave the commandments in which are life and peace, and God who would remain when David was gone. Israel must not despair the loss of their great king but realize that their only hope is in God.
Iain Duguid: They are not only to “observe [“keep”] . . . all the commandments” (shamar has a note of watchfulness) but also to “seek” them (darash; cf. Ps. 119:45, 94, 155); the people are to be intentional in a devotion that continues to the next generation. For hearers who have returned after exile, the message is clear: here is the path to enjoyment of “this good land . . . forever.”
C. (:9-10) Charge to Solomon
“As for you, my son Solomon,”
1. (:9a) Know the God of the Covenant
“know the God of your father,”
2. (:9b) Serve God Wholeheartedly and Seek Him Alone
“and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”
3. (:10) Carry Out Your Divinely Appointed Mission Courageously
“Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be courageous and act.”
Andrew Hill: The public transfer of power, accomplished “in the sight of all Israel” (28:8), completes the succession ritual begun with David’s private charge to his son (22:11–13). Both admonitions link Solomon’s success to his obedience to God’s law, and both urge the new king to “be strong.” The king’s general exhortation to obedience continues that thematic emphasis in 28:9 and is followed by the specific command to build the Lord’s temple (28:10).
II. (:11-19) PRESENTATION OF TEMPLE PLANS TO SOLOMON
A. (:11-12) Temple Plans — Architecture
“Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan of the porch of the temple, its buildings, its storehouses, its upper rooms, its inner rooms, and the room for the mercy seat; 12 and the plan of all that he had in mind, for the courts of the house of the LORD, and for all the surrounding rooms, for the storehouses of the house of God, and for the storehouses of the dedicated things;”
B. (:13a) Temple Plans — Personnel
“also for the divisions of the priests and the Levites
and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD”
C. (:13b-18) Temple Plans — Contents
“and for all the utensils of service in the house of the LORD; 14 for the golden utensils, the weight of gold for all utensils for every kind of service; for the silver utensils, the weight of silver for all utensils for every kind of service; 15 and the weight of gold for the golden lampstands and their golden lamps, with the weight of each lampstand and its lamps; and the weight of silver for the silver lampstands, with the weight of each lampstand and its lamps according to the use of each lampstand; 16 and the gold by weight for the tables of showbread, for each table; and silver for the silver tables; 17 and the forks, the basins, and the pitchers of pure gold; and for the golden bowls with the weight for each bowl; and for the silver bowls with the weight for each bowl; 18 and for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the model of the chariot, even the cherubim, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.”
Andrew Hill: The gold and silver vessels are especially important to the Chronicler because they are among the goods the Persians restored to the Jews when they returned to the land after the Babylonian exile (cf. Ezra 1:7–11). Thus, they are tangible representations of the continuity of postexilic temple worship with preexilic temple worship. But more important, they are tokens of God’s faithfulness in preserving and restoring his covenant people.
The table displaying the consecrated bread (28:16) is a notable feature of both the tabernacle and temple furnishings because it symbolizes God’s constant presence and provision for his people. The “chariot” (28:18) is unmentioned elsewhere in the listings of tabernacle and temple furnishings. This may simply be a cryptic allusion to the cherubim on the lid of the ark of the covenant as a symbolic chariot of some sort. The idea of the chariot, whether real or symbolic, is the mobility of God’s presence—he is always among his people (cf. Ezekiel’s vision of God’s throne mounted on a carriage or chariot, Ezek. 1).
The ark is given special emphasis in the inventory of temple furnishings by virtue of its placement at the end of the list (28:18). It was the symbol of God’s presence with his people, and in its glorious uniqueness it embodied the nature and character of the special relationship he established with Israel through the mediator and lawgiver—his servant Moses.
D. (:19) Temple Plans — Summary
“’All this,’ said David, ‘the LORD made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern.’”
John Schultz: The fact that David had not been allowed to build a temple for the Lord must have been very difficult for David to accept. His elaborate preparations in getting ready the blueprint and gathering much material for the construction, as well as his substantial contribution of personal funds are indication of the fact that the temple was very much on his heart.
Frederick Mabie: Following his charge to Solomon to serve God with “wholehearted devotion” (vv.9–10), David entrusts Solomon with the plans for the temple complex. David’s plans and provisions for Yahweh’s temple are detailed (e.g., “the weight of gold for each gold dish . . . ,” v.17) and wide-ranging (from architectural details [vv.11–12] to implements used in the Israelite sacrificial system [vv.17–18]). This degree of detail reflects the depth of David’s dedication to the temple project (cf. 22:2–4, 14–16). Similarly, note that David’s detailed organization of the priestly and Levitical divisions (v.13) occupies much of the content of chs. 23–26.
David’s motivation for his vast preparatory efforts relate to both Solomon’s inexperience as well as David’s desire that the temple be “of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations” (22:5; cf. 29:1). In short, David wants the beauty of the temple to reflect brightly the beauty of God’s holiness (cf. Ps 29:2).
August Konkel: This whole section has emphasized the divine plan for the construction of the temple (28:11‐12, 18‐19). The plan was a written document rather than a blueprint or drawing, thus comparable to the divine instructions that Moses received on Mount Sinai for building the tabernacle (Exod 25:9, 40). The plan provided much more than architectural designs or the shapes and sizes of utensils and furnishings. It included weights of metals, their quality, and even the organization of personnel to carry on the rituals of the new temple. The plan presented everything David had in mind (v. 12), though it may be that this is a reference to the mind of God that came to David via God’s spirit (ruaḥ). In any case, none of this was of David’s own initiative. Every detail given by God was put in writing (v. 19); God granted David insight over every aspect of the plan.
The description of the written plans that David gave to Solomon is inclusive of everything to do with the temple. First listed are aspects of the building itself: the entrance area, the building with its storerooms, the upper levels (perhaps some architectural feature of the temple roof), the inner rooms, and the most holy place, where the ark was located. The temple was surrounded by courts, and there were store chambers around the sides. Some of these served as treasuries for the temple revenues and for the offerings dedicated to temple maintenance (cf. 26:20). The weight of gold was calculated for the lampstands; usually there were ten, with seven lamps on each one. The other basic furnishings were the table for the rows of bread, and silver tables, unknown in other contexts. The altar furnishings included the long‐tined forks for turning roasting meat, bowls for collecting blood (28:17), jars of pure gold for libations, and basins, both gold and silver. These basins are only mentioned in late sources and are not found in Exodus. The articles most closely associated with the most holy place were the altar of incense and the cherubim.
III. (:20-21) CONCLUDING CHARGE AND ENCOURAGEMENT
A. (:20) Fulfill Your Mission Courageously with the Assurance of Divine Support
“Then David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.’”
Frederick Mabie: Although David exhorts Solomon to be strong and courageous to complete the temple project, Solomon’s ability to have such strength and courage completely hinges on divine presence and enablement (“the LORD my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished,” v.20; cf. 22:11–12, 16–17). As such, David’s exhortation reflects the reality that the building of the temple for the Lord is a spiritual exercise as much as it is a building enterprise.
J.A. Thompson: Once again Solomon is given a charge by David to be strong and courageous and to do the work (cf. 22:11–13; 28:10). Helpers lay ready to assist in the building who would obey Solomon’s every command. The extent of this support is spelled out in 29:1–9. Solomon also was given the assurance by David that “the Lord God, my God, is with you.” David stressed that God is Yahweh, the God of Israel, but that he also is specifically the God of David and his dynasty. In this Solomon could take the throne with full confidence of success.
John Schultz: The two Hebrew words David uses to encourage Solomon in regards to the task ahead of him are chazaq and ‘amats. Chazaq contains an element of help and encouragement. It first occurs in Scripture in the story of Lot leaving Sodom. We read: “When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.” There is a suggestion of divine support.
‘Amats speaks of strength that can be either positive or negative. It has a sense of superiority, as in the verse where God reveals to Rebecca that she is pregnant with twins and that the younger will be stronger than the older. It has also an element of divine assistance. Solomon will not be on his own as king over Israel.
B. (:21) Fulfill Your Mission Diligently with the Assurance of the Support of All Israel
“Now behold, there are the divisions of the priests and the Levites for all the service of the house of God, and every willing man of any skill will be with you in all the work for all kinds of service. The officials also and all the people will be entirely at your command.”
John Schultz: While it is true that this is a very different account of David’s end from that in Kings (1 Kgs 1:1 – 2:12), Chronicles’ aims are also quite different. The Chronicler’s purpose is to draw attention to God’s sovereign control of David and Israel throughout David’s reign in spite of some of his difficulties (cf. especially 2 Sam. 11 – 12; 1 Chr. 21). God’s power has been made perfect in David’s weakness (cf. 2 Cor. 12:8).