1 Chronicles 22:2
And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew worked stones to build the house of God.
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(2-5) David gathers craftsmen, and accumulates materials for building the house of God.

(2) And David commanded to gather together the strangers.—The word rendered “to gather together” (kānas) is different from the terms used in 1Chronicles 15:3-4; 1Chronicles 19:7, and is late in this sense.

The strangers (gêrîm).—Sojourners, or resident foreigners, such as Israel had been in Egypt (Genesis 15:13). The Canaanite population are meant, who lived on sufferance under the Israelite dominion, and were liable to forced service if the government required it. (See 2Chronicles 8:7-8, and 1Kings 9:20-21.) Solomon found them by census to be 153,600 souls. The census was a preliminary to apportioning their several tasks. (See 2Chronicles 2:17-18.) David, probably on the present occasion, had held a similar census of the Canaanite serfs (2Chronicles 2:17).

And he set.Appointed (1Chronicles 15:16-17); literally, caused to stand.

Masons.Hewers; selected, apparently, from among “the strangers.”

Wrought stones.—“Saxum quadratum,” square stones (1 Kings 5:31; Isaiah 9:9).

To build the house—i.e., for building it hereafter. It is not said that the work was begun at once, but only that the organisation of the serf labour originated with David.

1 Chronicles 22:2-3. To gather the strangers that were in the land of Israel — The same persons whom Solomon afterward employed in the same work; of which see 1 Kings 5:15; 1 Kings 9:20-21. He set masons to hew wrought stones — Wherein he could not do much, being prevented by death; but Solomon carried on and perfected what David had begun. For the joinings — To be used, together with melted lead, for the joining of those great and square stones together.22:1-5 On occasion of the terrible judgment inflicted on Israel for the sin of David, God pointed out the place where he would have the temple built; upon which, David was excited to make preparations for the great work. David must not build, but he would do all he could; he prepared abundantly before his death. What our hands find to do for God, and our souls, and those round us, let us do it with all our might, before our death; for after death there is no device nor working. And when the Lord refuses to employ us in those services which we desired, we must not be discouraged or idle, but do what we can, though in a humbler sphere.The strangers - i. e., the aliens the non-Israelite population of the land. Compare 2 Chronicles 2:17. 2. David commanded to gather together the strangers—partly the descendants of the old Canaanites (2Ch 8:7-10), from whom was exacted a tribute of bond service, and partly war captives (2Ch 2:7), reserved for the great work he contemplated. The strangers that were in the land of Israel; the same persons whom Solomon afterwards employed in the same work; of which see 1 Kings 5:15, compared with 1 Kings 9:20,21.

He set masons to hew wrought stones; wherein he could not do much, being prevented by death; but Solomon carried on and perfected what David had begun. And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel,.... The proselytes, as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions; that is, proselytes of the gate, who submitted to the seven precepts of Noah, were admitted to dwell in the Cities of Israel, see Genesis 9:4 and these were ordered to be got together to be employed in building the temple, and making preparations for it; and that partly because they were better artificers than the Israelites, who were chiefly employed in husbandry and cattle, and partly that the Israelites, who were freemen, might not be put to hard service; but chiefly this was for the sake of a mystery in it, denoting that the Gentiles would be concerned in building the spiritual house and church of God, the temple was a type and figure of, see Zechariah 6:15.

and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God; to dig them out of the quarries, and fit them for the building.

And David commanded to gather together the {b} strangers that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God.

(b) Meaning, cunning men of other nations who dwelt among the Jews.

2–5. David’s Preparations for Building the Temple

2. the strangers] Cp. 2 Chronicles 2:17; 2 Chronicles 8:7 … 9 (R.V.). Hewing of stone was regarded as task-work unit for free men.

wrought stones] All the stone used for the building of the Temple was previously cut to the right size; cp. 1 Kings 6:7.Verse 2. - The strangers. These are plainly called in the Septuagint "proselytes" (τοὺς προσηλὺτους). They were, of course, foreign workmen, who came in pursuit of their trade. The injunctions as to "strangers," and with regard to showing them kindness, are very numerous, beginning with Exodus 12:19, 48, 49; Exodus 22:21(20); Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:10, 33, 34; Numbers 15:14-16; Deuteronomy 10:18, 19; Joshua 8:33-35. It was not David's object merely to gain cheap or compulsory work (2 Chronicles 2:17, 18), but to obtain a skill, which immigrants from certain places would possess, in excess of that of his own people (2 Chronicles 2:7, 8, 13, 14), especially considering the absorption of Israel in the pursuit of war, which had so largely impeded their study and practice of these the arts of peace. In 2 Samuel 24:25 the conclusion of this event is shortly narrated thus: David offered burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, and Jahve was entreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel. In the Chronicle we have a fuller statement of the יהוה יעתר in 1 Chronicles 21:26. David called upon Jahve, and He answered with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt-offering (1 Chronicles 21:27); and Jahve spake to the angel, and he returned the sword into its sheath. The returning of the sword into its sheath is a figurative expression for the stopping of the pestilence; and the fire which came down from heaven upon the altar of burnt-offering was the visible sign by which the Lord assured the king that his prayer had been heard, and his offering graciously accepted. The reality of this sign of the gracious acceptance of an offering is placed beyond doubt by the analogous cases, Leviticus 9:24; 1 Kings 18:24, 1 Kings 18:38, and 2 Chronicles 7:1. It was only by this sign of the divine complacence that David learnt that the altar built upon the threshing-floor of Araunah had been chosen by the Lord as the place where Israel should always thereafter offer their burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as is further recorded in 1 Chronicles 21:28-30. and in 1 Chronicles 22:1. From the cessation of the pestilence in consequence of his prayer and sacrifice, David could only draw the conclusion that God had forgiven him his transgression, but could not have known that God had chosen the place where he had built the altar for the offering demanded by God as a permanent place of sacrifice. This certainly he obtained only by the divine answer, and this answer was the fire which came down upon the altar of burnt-offering and devoured the sacrifice. This 1 Chronicles 21:28 states: "At the time when he saw that Jahve had answered him at the threshing-floor of Ornan, he offered sacrifice there," i.e., from that time forward; so that we may with Berth. translate שׁם ויּזבּח, "then he was wont to offer sacrifice there." In 1 Chronicles 21:29 and 1 Chronicles 21:30 we have still further reasons given for David's continuing to offer sacrifices at the threshing-floor of Ornan. The legally sanctioned place of sacrifice for Israel was still at that time the tabernacle, the Mosaic sanctuary with its altar of burnt-offering, which then stood on the high place at Gibeon (cf. 1 Chronicles 16:39). Now David had indeed brought the ark of the covenant, which had been separated from the tabernacle from the time of Samuel, to Zion, and had there not only erected a tent for it, but had also built an altar and established a settled worship there (1 Chronicles 17), yet without having received any express command of God regarding it; so that this place of worship was merely provisional, intended to continue only until the Lord Himself should make known His will in the matter in some definite way. When therefore David, after the conquest of his enemies, had obtained rest round about, he had formed the resolution to make an end of this provisional separation of the ark from the tabernacle, and the existence of two sacrificial altars, by building a temple; but the Lord had declared to him by the prophet Nathan, that not he, but his son and successor on the throne, should build Him a temple. The altar by the ark in Zion, therefore, continued to co-exist along with the altar of burnt-offering at the tabernacle in Gibeon, without being sanctioned by God as the place of sacrifice for the congregation of Israel. Then when David, by ordering the numbering of the people, had brought guilt upon the nation, which the Lord so heavily avenged upon them by the pestilence, he should properly, as king, have offered a sin-offering and a burnt-offering in the national sanctuary at Gibeon, and there have sought the divine favour for himself and for the whole people. But the Lord said unto him by the prophet Gad, that he should bring his offering neither in Gibeon, nor before the ark on Zion, but in the threshing-floor of Ornan (Araunah), on the altar which he was there to erect. This command, however, did not settle the place where he was afterwards to sacrifice. But David - so it runs, 1 Chronicles 21:29. - sacrificed thenceforward in the threshing-floor of Ornan, not at Gibeon in the still existent national sanctuary, because he (according to 1 Chronicles 21:30) "could not go before it (לפניו) to seek God, for he was terrified before the sword of the angel of Jahve." This statement does not, however, mean, ex terrore visionis angelicae infirmitatem corporis contraxerat (J. H. Mich.), nor yet, "because he, being struck and overwhelmed by the appearance of the angel, did not venture to offer sacrifices elsewhere" (Berth.), nor, "because the journey to Gibeon was too long for him" (O. v. Gerl.). None of these interpretations suit either the words or the context. חרב מפּני נבעת, terrified before the sword, does indeed signify that the sword of the angel, or the angel with the sword, hindered him from going to Gibeon, but not during the pestilence, when the angel stood between heaven and earth by the threshing-floor of Araunah with the drawn sword, but - according to the context - afterwards, when the angelophany had ceased, as it doubtless did simultaneously with the pestilence. The words וגו נבעת כּי can therefore have no other meaning, than that David's terror before the sword of the angel caused him to determine to sacrifice thereafter, not at Gibeon, but at the threshing-floor of Araunah; or that, since during the pestilence the angel's sword had prevented him from going to Gibeon, he did not venture ever afterwards to go. But the fear before the sword of the angel is in substance the terror of the pestilence; and the pestilence had hindered him from sacrificing at Gibeon, because Gibeon, notwithstanding the presence of the sanctuary there, with the Mosaic altar, had not been spared by the pestilence. David considered this circumstance as normative ever for the future, and he always afterwards offered his sacrifices in the place pointed out to him, and said, as we further read in 1 Chronicles 22:1, "Here (הוּא זה, properly this, mas. or neut.) is the house of Jahve God, and here is the altar for the burnt-offering of Israel." He calls the site of the altar in the threshing-floor of Araunah יהוה בּית, because there Jahve had manifested to him His gracious presence; cf. Genesis 28:17.
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