1 Chronicles 23:1
So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.
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(1) So when David was old and full of days.—Literally, Now David had become old and satisfied with days. (See Genesis 35:29; Job 42:17; where both terms, which are verbs here, appear as adjectives.) Perhaps our pointing is wrong. The expression “satisfied with days” reminds us of Horace, who describes the philosopher as departing this life like a satisfied guest (ut conviva satur, etc.).

He made Solomon his son king.—Heb., and he made, &c. This short statement is all that the chronicler has chosen to repeat from 1 Kings 1, a narrative intimately connected with David’s family affairs, with which he is not concerned to deal. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 20, introductory remarks.)

1 Chronicles 23:1. He made Solomon king over Israel — Not that he resigned the kingdom to him, but only declared his mind concerning Solomon’s succeeding him in the throne after his death. Thus David himself is called king, 1 Samuel 16:1, because he was appointed and anointed to be king after Saul’s death, though till then he was only a subject.23:1-23 David, having given charge concerning the building of the temple, settles the method of the temple service, and orders the officers of it. When those of the same family were employed together, it would engage them to love and assist one another.See the marginal references and notes. 1 Chronicles 23:28-32 give the most complete account in Scripture of the nature of the Levitical office. CHAPTER 23

1Ch 23:1. David Makes Solomon King.

1. when David was old … he made Solomon … king—This brief statement, which comprises the substance of 1Ki 1:32-48, is made here solely to introduce an account of the preparations carried on by David during the latter years of his life for providing a national place of worship.David maketh Solomon king, 1 Chronicles 23:1. The number and distribution of the Levites, according to their families, 1 Chronicles 23:2-23. Their office, 1 Chronicles 23:24-32.

Not that he did resign the kingdom to him, but that he declared his mind concerning his succession into the throne after his death. As David himself is called king, 1 Samuel 16:1, because he was appointed and anointed to be king after Saul’s death, though till then he was only a subject.

So when David was old and full of days,.... Perhaps was now in the last year of his age, about seventy years old, though before he was bedridden; see 1 Chronicles 28:2,

he made Solomon his son king over Israel; declared him to be his successor; this was before the affair of Adonijah, for then he ordered him to be anointed king, and placed on the throne; and this aggravated the rebellion of Adonijah, that it was against the declared and known will of his father.

So when David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel.
Verse 1. - David... made Solomon his son king over Israel. These words give the key note of what remains in this book. David made his son king, as he himself acknowledges (1 Chronicles 28:5), under the superintending direction of God. The manner in which the formal event was precipitated by the conduct of Adonijah is found at length in 1 Kings 1:11-53. The original occasion alluded to there more than once, on which David promised, "and sware" to Bathsheba, that her son should be his chief heir and successor to the throne, is not distinctly recorded. We can easily assign one convenient place in the history for it to have found monition, viz. in 2 Samuel 12:25. The brevity of the statement which composes this verse, when compared with all the deeply interesting matter recorded in 1 Kings 1:11-53, is one among many other very clear illustrations of the purposed silence of our present history in certain directions. In conclusion (1 Chronicles 22:14-16), David mentions what materials he has prepared for the building of the temple. בּעניי, not, in my poverty (lxx, Vulg., Luth.), but, by my painful labour (magna molestia et labore, Lavat.); cf. Genesis 31:42, and the corresponding בּכל־כּוחי, 1 Chronicles 29:2. Gold 100,000 talents, and silver 1,000,000 talents. As the talent was 3000 shekels, and the silver shekel coined by the Maccabees, according to the Mosaic weight, was worth about 2 Samuel 6d., the talent of silver would be about 375, and 1,000,000 talents 375,000,000. If we suppose the relative value of the gold and silver to be as 10 to 1,100,000 talents of gold will be about the same amount, or even more, viz., about 450,000,000, i.e., if we take the gold shekel at thirty shillings, according to Thenius' calculation. Such sums as eight hundred or eight hundred and twenty-five millions of pounds are incredible. The statements, indeed, are not founded upon exact calculation or weighing, but, as the round numbers show, only upon a general valuation of those masses of the precious metals, which we must not think of as bars of silver and gold, or as coined money; for they were in great part vessels of gold and silver, partly booty captured in war, partly tribute derived from the subject peoples. Making all these allowances, however, the sums mentioned are incredibly great, since we must suppose that even a valuation in round numbers will have more or less correspondence to the actual weight, and a subtraction of some thousands of talents from the sums mentioned would make no very considerable diminution. On the other hand, it is a much more important circumstance that the above estimate of the value in our money of these talents of silver rests upon a presumption, the correctness of which is open to well-founded doubts. For in that calculation the weight of the Mosaic or holy shekel is taken as the standard, and it is presumed that the talents weighed 3000 Mosaic shekels. But we find in 2 Samuel 14:26 mention made in David's time of another shekel, "according to the kings' weight," whence we may with certainty conclude that in common life another shekel than the Mosaic or holy shekel was in use. This shekel according to the king's weight was in all probability only half as heavy as the shekel of the sanctuary, i.e., was equal in weight to a Mosaic beka or half-shekel. This is proved by a comparison of 1 Kings 10:17 with 2 Chronicles 9:16, for here three golden minae are reckoned equal to 300 shekels-a mina containing 100 shekels, while it contained only 50 holy or Mosaic shekels. With this view, too, the statements of the Rabbins agree, e.g., R. Mosis Maimonidis constitutiones de Siclis, quas - illustravit Joa. Esgers., Lugd. Bat. 1718, p. 19, according to which the שלחול שקל or המדינה שׁקל, i.e., the common or civil shekel, is the half of the הקדשׁ שׁקל. That this is the true relation, is confirmed by the fact that, according to Exodus 38:26, in the time of Moses there existed silver coins weighing ten gera (half a holy shekel) called beka, while the name beka is found only in the Pentateuch, and disappears at a later time, probably because it was mainly such silver coins of ten gera which were in circulation, and to them the name shekel, which denotes no definite weight, was transferred. Now, if the amounts stated in our verse are reckoned in such common shekels (as in 2 Chronicles 9:16), the mass of gold and silver collected by David for the building of the temple would only be worth half the amount above calculated, i.e., about 375,000,000 or 400,000,000. But even this sum seems enormously large, for it is five times the annual expenditure of the greatest European states in our day.

(Note: According to Otto Hbner, Statistical Table of all Lands of the Earth, 18th edition, Frankf. a M. 1869, the yearly expenditure of Great Britain and Ireland (exclusive of the extra-European possessions) amounts to a little over 70,000,000; of the French Empire, to 85,000,000; of Russia, to about 78,000,000; of Austria and Hungary, to 48,500,000.)

Yet the calculation of the income or expenditure of modern states is no proper standard for judging of the correctness of probability of the statements here made, for we cannot estimate the accumulation of gold and silver in the states and chief cities of Asia in antiquity by the budgets of the modern European nations. In the capitals of the Asiatic kingdoms of antiquity, enormous quantities of the precious metals were accumulated. Not to mention the accounts of Ktesias, Diodor. Sic., and others, which sound so fabulous to us now, as to the immense booty in gold and silver vessels which was accumulated in Nineveh and Babylon (see the table in Movers, die Phnizier, ii. 3, S. 40ff.), according to Varro, in Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxxii. 15, Cyrus obtained by the conquest of Asia a booty of 34,000 pounds of gold, besides that which was wrought into vessels and ornaments, and 500,000 talents of silver; and in this statement, as Movers rightly remarks, it does not seem probable that there is any exaggeration. In Susa, Alexander plundered the royal treasury of 40,000, according to other accounts 50,000 talents, or, as it is more accurately stated, 40,000 talents of uncoined gold and silver, and 9000 talents in coined darics. These he caused to be brought to Ecbatana, where he accumulated in all 180,000 talents. In Persepolis he captured a booty of 120,000 talents, and in Pasargada 6000 talents (see Mov. loc cit. S. 43). Now David, it is true, had not conquered Asia, but only the tribes and kingdoms bordering on Canaan, including the kingdom of Syria, and made them tributary, and had consecrated all the gold and silver taken as booty from the conquered peoples, from the Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, Philistines, Amalekites, and Hadadezer the king of Zobah (2 Samuel 8:11.), to Jahve. Now, in consequence of the ancient connection between Syria and the rich commercial countries of the neighbourhood, great treasures of silver and gold had very early flowed in thither. According to 2 Samuel 8:7, the servants (i.e., generals) of King Hadadezer had golden shields, which David captured; and the ambassadors of King Toi of Hamath brought him vessels of silver, gold, and copper, to purchase his friendship.

(Note: Apropos of the riches of Syria even in later times, Movers reminds us, S. 45, of the rich temple treasures - of the statue of Jupiter in Antioch, which was of pure gold and fifteen yards high, and of the golden statues in the temple at Hierapolis - and adds: "Even Antiochus the Great had immense treasures in his possession. The private soldiers in his army had their half-boots studded with gold nails, and their cooking utensils were of silver." See the proofs, loc cit.)

The other peoples whom David overcame are not to be regarded as poor in the precious metals. For the Israelites under Moses had captured so large a booty in gold rings, bracelets, and other ornaments from the nomadic Midianites, that the commanders of the army alone were able to give 16,750 shekels (i.e., over 5 1/2 talents of gold, according to the Mosaic weight) to the sanctuary as a consecrating offering (Numbers 31:48.).

We cannot therefore regard the sums mentioned in our verse either as incredible or very much exaggerated,

(Note: As Berth. for example does, expressing himself as follows: "In our verse, 100,000 talents of gold, 1,000,000 talents of silver, - a sum with which the debts of the European nations might almost be paid! It is absolutely inadmissible to take these at their literal value, and to consider them as a repetition, though perhaps a somewhat exaggerated one, of actual historical statements. They can have been originally nothing else than the freest periphrasis for much, an extraordinary quantity, such as may even yet be heard from the mouths of those who have not reflected on the value and importance of numbers, and consequently launch out into thousands and hundreds of thousands, in an extremely unprejudiced way." On this we remark: (1) The assertion that with the sums named in our verse the debts of the European nations could be paid, is an enormous exaggeration. According to O. Hbner's tables, the national debt of Great Britain and Ireland alone amounts to 809,000,000, that of France to 564,000,000, that of Russia to 400,000,000, that of Austria to 354,000,000, and that of the kingdom of Italy to 258,000,000; David's treasures, consequently, if the weight be taken in sacred shekels, would only have sufficed to pay the national debt of Great Britain and Ireland. (2) The hypothesis that the chronicler, without reflecting on the value and importance of numbers, has launched out into thousands and hundreds of thousands, presupposes such a measure of intellectual poverty as is irreconcilable with evidences of intellect and careful planning such as are everywhere else observable in his writing.)

nor hold the round sums which correspond to the rhetorical character of the passage with certainty to be mistakes.

(Note: As proof of the incorrectness of the above numbers, it cannot be adduced "that, according to 1 Kings 10:14, Solomon's yearly revenue amounted to 666 talents of gold, i.e., to about 3,000,000 in gold; that the queen of Sheba presented Solomon with 120 talents of gold, 1 Kings 10:10; 2 Chronicles 9:9; and King Hiram also gave him a similar amount, 1 Kings 9:14; all of which sums the context shows are to be considered extraordinarily great" (Berth.). For the 666 talents of gold are not the entire annual income of Solomon, but, according to the distinct statement of the Biblical historian, are only the annual income in gold, exclusive of the receipts from the customs, and the tributes of the subject kings and tribes, which were probably more valuable. The 120 talents of the queen of Sheba are certainly a very large present, but Solomon would give in return not inconsiderable presents also. But the quantities of silver and gold which David had collected for the building of the temple had not been saved out of his yearly income, but had been in great part captured as booty in war, and laid up out of the tribute of the subject peoples. A question which would more readily occur than this is, Whether such enormous sums were actually necessary for the temple? But the materials necessary to enable us to arrive at even a proximate estimate of this building are entirely wanting. The building of a stone temple from 60 to 70 yards long, 20 yards broad, and 30 yards high, would certainly not have cost so much, notwithstanding that, as we read in 2 Chronicles 3:8., 650 talents of gold were required to gild the inner walls of the Holy Place, and at the same rate 2000 talents must have been required to gild the inside of the Sanctuary, which was three times as large; and notwithstanding the great number of massive gold vessels, e.g., the ten golden candlesticks, for which alone, even if they were no larger and heavier than the candlesticks in the tabernacle, ten talents of gold must have been required. But there belonged to the temple many subordinate buildings, which are not further described; as also the colossal foundation structures and the walls enclosing the temple area, the building of which must have swallowed up millions, since Solomon sent 70,000 porters and 80,000 stone-hewers to Lebanon to procure the necessary materials. Consul Rosen has recently indeed attempted to show, in das Haram von Jerusalem und der Tempelplatz des Moria, Botha (1866), that there is reason to suppose that the temple area was enlarged to the size it is known to have had, and surrounded by a wall only by Herod; but he has been refuted by Himpel in the Tbinger theol. Quartalschr. 1867, S. 515f., who advances very weighty reasons against his hypothesis. Finally, we must have regard to the statement in 1 Kings 7:51 and 2 Chronicles 5:1, that Solomon, after the building was finished, deposited the consecrated silver and gold collected by his father David among the temple treasures. Whence we learn that the treasures collected by David were not intended merely for the building of the House of God.)

Brass and iron were not weighed for abundance; cf. 1 Chronicles 22:3. Beams of timber also, and stones - that is, stones hewed and squared - David had prepared; and to this store Solomon was to add. That he did so is narrated in 2 Chronicles 2.

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