1 Chronicles 28:1
And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course, and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, to Jerusalem.
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(1) And David assembled all the princes of Israel.—As he had called the National Assembly before removing the Ark (1Chronicles 13:1; 1Chronicles 15:3). Who the princes (sārîm) were is defined in the following clauses.

The princes of the tribes.—See the list of them in 1Chronicles 27:16-22.

Captains of the companies.—Rather, princes of the courses, who served the king: viz., those enumerated in 1Chronicles 27:1-15.

Stewards.—See 1Chronicles 27:25-31. Both “captains” and “stewards” are sārîm in the Hebrew.

Possession (miqnèh).—A word generally used, like the Greek κτῆμα (κτῆνος), of possessions in cattle—live stock.

And of his sons.—Perhaps considered as his heirs, or rather, from the old tribal view of property, as sharing the royal domains with him.

With the officers.—Heb., sarîsîm, eunuchs. The word appears to be used in a generalised sense, and to denote simply courtiers or palace officials. (Comp. Genesis 37:36; 1Samuel 8:15; 1Kings 22:9; Jeremiah 38:7; Jeremiah 41:16.)

The mighty men.The heroes” (ha-gibbórîm) or “warriors” of 1Chronicles 11:31-47; 1Chronicles 11:12. But the LXX. and Vulg. interpret men of rank and wealth, magnates (τοὺς δυνάστας, Luke 1:52).

And with all the valiant men.—Literally, and every mighty man (“gibbôr”) of valour, a phrase meant to include all other persons of importance. It is noticeable that in this meeting of the estates of the realm all the dignitaries of 1 Chronicles 27 are present (contrast 1Chronicles 15:25; 1Chronicles 23:2; 1Chronicles 13:1), except the priests and Levites. (But comp. 1Chronicles 28:21.)

1 Chronicles


1 Chronicles 28:1 - 1 Chronicles 28:10

David had established an elaborate organisation of royal officials, details of which occupy the preceding chapters and interrupt the course of the narrative. The passage picks up again the thread dropped at 1 Chronicles 23:1. The list of the members of the assembly called in 1 Chronicles 28:1 is interesting as showing how he tried to amalgamate the old with the new. The princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, represented the primitive tribal organisation, and they receive precedence in virtue of the antiquity of their office. Then come successively David’s immediate attendants, the military officials, the stewards of the royal estates, the ‘officers’ or eunuchs attached to the palace, and the faithful ‘mighty men’ who had fought by the king’s side in the old days. It was an assembly of officials and soldiers whose adherence to Solomon it was all-important to secure, especially in regard to the project for building the Temple, which could not be carried through without their active support. The passage comprises only the beginning of the proceedings of this assembly of notables. The end is told in the next chapter; namely, that the Temple-building scheme was unanimously and enthusiastically adopted, and large donations given for it, and that Solomon’s succession was accepted, and loyal submission offered by the assembly to him.

David’s address to this gathering is directed to secure these two points. He begins by recalling his own intention to build the Temple and God’s prohibition of it. The reason for that prohibition differs from that alleged by Nathan, but there is no contradiction between the two narratives, and the chronicler has already reported Nathan’s words {1 Chronicles 17:3, etc.}, so that the motive which is ascribed to many of the variations in this book, a priestly desire to exalt Temple and ritual, cannot have been at work here. Why should there not have been a divine communication to David as well as Nathan’s message? That hands reddened with blood, even though it had been shed in justifiable war, were not fitted to build the Temple, was a thought so far in advance of David’s time, and flowing from so spiritual a conception of God, that it may well have been breathed into David’s spirit by a divine voice. Sword in one hand and trowel in the other are incongruous, notwithstanding Nehemiah’s example. The Temple of the God of peace cannot be built except by men of peace. That is true in the widest and highest application. Jesus builds the true Temple. Controversy and strife do not. And, on a lower level, the prohibition is for ever valid. Men do not atone for a doubtful past by building churches, founding colleges, endowing religious or charitable institutions.

The speech next declares emphatically that the throne belongs to David and his descendants by real ‘divine right,’ and that God’s choice is Solomon, who is to inherit both the promises and obligations of the office, and, among the latter, that of building the Temple. The unspoken inference is that loyalty to Solomon would be obedience to Jehovah. The connection between the true heavenly King and His earthly representative is strongly expressed in the remarkable phrase: ‘He hath chosen Solomon . . . to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of Jehovah,’ which both consecrates and limits the rule of Solomon, making him but the viceroy of the true king of Israel. When Israel’s kings remembered that, they flourished; when they forgot it, they destroyed their kingdom and themselves. The principle is as true to-day, and it applies to all forms of influence, authority, and gifts. They are God’ s, and we are but stewards.

The address to the assembly ends with the exhortation to these leaders to ‘observe,’ and not merely to observe, but also to ‘seek out’ God’s commandments, and so to secure to the nation, whom they could guide, peaceful and prosperous days. It is not enough to do God’s will as far as we know it; we must ever be endeavouring after clearer, deeper insight into it. Would that these words were written over the doors of all Senate and Parliament houses! What a different England we should see!

But Solomon was present as well as the notables, and it was well that, in their hearing, he should be reminded of his duties. David had previously in private taught him these, but this public ‘charge’ before the chief men of the kingdom bound them more solemnly upon him, and summoned a cloud of witnesses against him if he fell below the high ideal. It is pitched on a lofty key of spiritual religion, for it lays ‘Know thou the God of thy fathers’ as the foundation of everything. That knowledge is no mere intellectual apprehension, but, as always in Scripture, personal acquaintanceship with a Person, which involves communion with Him and love towards Him. For us, too, it is the seed of all strenuous discharge of our life’s tasks, whether we are rulers or nobodies, and it means a much deeper experience than understanding or giving assent to a set of truths about God. We know one another when we summer and winter with each other, and not unless we love one another, and we know God on no other terms.

After such knowledge comes an outward life of service. Active obedience is the expression of inward communion, love, and trust. The spring that moves the hands on the dial is love, and, if the hands do not move, there is something wrong with the spring. Morality is the garment of religion; religion is the animating principle of morality. Faith without works is dead, and works without faith are dead too.

But even when we ‘know God’ we have to make efforts to have our service correspond with our knowledge, for we have wayward hearts and obstinate wills, which need to be stimulated, sometimes to be coerced and forcibly diverted from unworthy objects. Therefore the exhortation to serve God ‘with a perfect heart and with a willing mind’ is always needful and often hard. Entire surrender and glad obedience are the Christian ideal, and continual effort to approximate to it will be ours in the degree in which we ‘know God.’ There is no worse slavery than that of the half-hearted Christian whose yoke is not padded with love. Reluctant obedience is disobedience in God’s sight.

David solemnly reminds Solomon of those ‘pure eyes and perfect judgment,’ not to frighten, but to enforce the thought of the need for whole-hearted and glad service, and of the worthlessness of external acts of apparent worship which have not such behind them. What a deal of seeming wheat would turn out to be chaff if that winnowing fan which is in Christ’s hand were applied to it! How small our biggest heaps would become!

The solemn conditions of the continuance of God’s favour and of the fulfilment of His promises are next plainly stated. God responds to our state of heart and mind. We determine His bearing to us. The seeker finds. If we move away from Him, He moves away from us. That is not, thank God! all the truth, or what would become of any of us? But it is true, and in a very solemn sense God is to us what we make Him. ‘With the pure Thou wilt show Thyself pure; and with the perverse Thou wilt show Thyself froward.’

The charge ends with recalling the high honour and office to which Jehovah had designated Solomon, and with exhortations to ‘take heed’ and to ‘be strong, and do it.’ It is well for a young man to begin life with a high ideal of what he is called to be and do. But many of us have that, and miserably fail to realise it, for want of these two characteristics, which the sight of such an ideal ought to stamp on us. If we are to fulfil God’s purposes with us, and to be such tools as He can use for building His true Temple, we must exercise self-control and ‘take heed to our ways,’ and we must brace ourselves against opposition and crush down our own timidity. It seems to be commanding an impossibility to say to a weak creature like any one of us, ‘Be strong,’ but the impossible becomes a possibility when the exhortation takes the full Christian form: ‘Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.’1 Chronicles 28:1. David assembled all the princes, &c. — A great deal of business David had done in his day, and had served his generation according to the will of God. But now the time draws nigh that he must die, and the nearer he comes to his end, the more busy he is, and does his work with all his might. He is now recovered from the weakness, mentioned 1 Kings 1:1. He therefore improves his recovery, as giving him an opportunity of doing God and his country a little more service.28:1-10 During David's last sickness, many chief priests and Levites were at Jerusalem. Finding himself able, David spoke of his purpose to build a temple for God, and of God's disallowing that purpose. He opened to them God's gracious purposes concerning Solomon. David charged them to cleave stedfastly to God and their duty. We cannot do our work as we should, unless we put on resolution, and fetch in strength from Divine grace. Religion or piety has two distinct parts. The first is knowledge of God, the second is worship of God. David says, Know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind. God is made known by his works and word. Revelation alone shows the whole character of God, in his providence, his holy law, his condemnation of sinners, his blessed gospel, and the ministration of the Spirit to all true believers. The natural man cannot receive this knowledge of God. But thus we learn the value of the Saviour's atonement, and of the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, and are influenced to walk in all his commandments. It brings a sinner to his proper place at the foot of the cross, as a poor, guilty, helpless worm, deserving wrath, yet expecting every thing needful from the free mercy and grace of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Having been forgiven much, the pardoned sinner learns to love much.Officer - literally, as in the margin. This is the only occasion in which eunuchs are mentioned in connection with David's reign; and it is to be remarked that they occupy, during the earlier period of the Jewish kingdom, a very subordinate position. CHAPTER 28

1Ch 28:1-8. David Exhorts the People to Fear God.

1. David assembled all the princes of Israel—that is, the representatives of the people, the leading men of the kingdom, who are enumerated in this verse according to their respective rank or degree of authority.

princes of the tribes—(1Ch 27:16-22). Those patriarchal chiefs are mentioned first as being the highest in rank—a sort of hereditary noblesse.

the captains of the companies—the twelve generals mentioned (1Ch 27:1-15).

the stewards, &c.—(1Ch 27:25-31).

the officers—Hebrew, "eunuchs," or attendants on the court (1Sa 8:15; 1Ki 22:9; 2Ki 22:18); and besides Joab, the commander-in-chief of the army, the heroes who had no particular office (1Ch 11:10-12:40; 2Sa 23:8-39). This assembly, a very mixed and general one, as appears from the parties invited, was more numerous and entirely different from that mentioned (1Ch 23:2).David in a solemn assembly declareth God’s favour to him, and promise to his son Solomon; exhorteth them to fear God, and encourageth Solomon to build the temple, 1 Chronicles 28:1-10; giveth him a pattern for the form, and gold and silver for the materials, 1 Chronicles 28:11-21.

This assembly seems to be distinct from that 1 Chronicles 23:2, and more general, as may be gathered from the persons said to be assembled here and there. Though others think them to be the same, and this to be a return to his former discourse.

And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes,.... Whose names are given in 1 Chronicles 27:16.

and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course; monthly, each having 24,000 men under him, whose names are expressed, 1 Chronicles 27:2.

and the captains over the thousands; of which there were twenty four in a course, at the head of each 1000, under the chief captain:

and captains over the hundreds: centurions under the second captains:

and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons; whose names may be read in 1 Chronicles 27:25.

with the officers: the courtiers:

and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men; both men of valour, and of wealth and riches: these David

assembled unto Jerusalem; the metropolis of the kingdoms and where his court and palace were.

And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course, and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, unto Jerusalem.
Ch. 1 Chronicles 28:1-8 (cp. 1 Chronicles 22:17-19). David’s charge to the chief men of Israel concerning the building of the Temple

1. the princes of the tribes] Cp. 1 Chronicles 27:16-22.

the captains of the companies] See 1 Chronicles 27:1-5.

that ministered to] R.V. that served (as in 1 Chronicles 27:1).

the stewards] R.V. the rulers (as 1 Chronicles 27:31). The A.V. has translated the same Hebrew word (sârîm) in this verse by three different English words, viz., princes, captains, and stewards. See 1 Chronicles 27:25-31.

possession.] R.V. possessions, mg. cattle.

officers] R.V. mg. eunuchs; the earlier authorities however for David’s reign (in the books of Samuel) do not mention such officials; and they were perhaps introduced into the Israelite court at a later time. Yet cp. 1 Samuel 8:15.

and with all the valiant men] R.V. even all the mighty men of valour.Verse 1. - One Hebrew word (שׂרֵי) stands for the princes (twice), captains (three times), and stewards (once) of this verse. The classification of the verso speaks for itself. There are the princes of Israel; i.q. the princes of the tribes (1 Chronicles 27:16, 22). Otherwise the former of these expressions may be of an entirely generic kind, and apply to all that succeeds. There are, secondly, the princes of the twelve military companies... by course of the months (1 Chronicles 27:1-15). Thirdly, there are the princes of thousands and hundreds (Deuteronomy 1:15; 1 Samuel 8:12; 1 Samuel 17:18; 1 Samuel 18:13; 1 Samuel 23:7; 1 Chronicles 12:14; 1 Chronicles 27:1). There follow, fourthly, the princes of all the substance and cattle of the king, and (as seems to be added here) of his sons. There can be no doubt that the Hebrew text does say this, and does not merely register the fact of the attendance and presence of the sons of the king, as also it does not specialize the attendance of Solomon himself, though it is certain that he was present. Otherwise it may be doubtful, considering the facts of the occasion, and comparing 1 Chronicles 29:24, whether the original document is not misrepresented here. Next, fifthly, mention is made of the officers (סָרִיסִים), the Hebrew for which word generally means "eunuch," and such use of it must have become much more familiar during and after the Captivity, and, therefore, of course, at the time of the compilation of this work; but it does not necessarily mean it. Eunuchs are never mentioned elsewhere in David's reign. There is no reason to suppose the word means "eunuch," for instance, in Genesis 37:36; Genesis 39:1; 1 Samuel 8:15; 1 Kings 22:9; 2 Kings 24:12; 2 Kings 25:19; Jeremiah 34:19. Under any circumstances, it would seem unnecessary that such officers of a royal establishment as eunuchs should be under summoned that description to an assembly of this kind. Sixthly, the mighty men (1 Chronicles 11:10-25) were called to the assembly. And perhaps a seventh division may be made of all the valiant men (1 Chronicles 11:26-40), who belonged to other places, or who were at this time more especially in Jerusalem, as residents. As to the שׁפלה, see on Joshua 15:33. הגּדרי, he who was born in Geder, not Gedera, for which we should expect הגּדרתי (1 Chronicles 12:4), although the situation of Gedera, south-east from Jabne (see on Joshua 12:4), appears to suit better than that of גּדר or גּדור in the hill country of Judah; see Joshua 12:13 and Joshua 15:58.
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