And you, Solomon my son, know you the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And thou, Solomon my son.—The king now turns to his heir, urging a whole-hearted service to his father’s God (1Chronicles 28:9-10).
Know thou.—Regard thou, have care for (Psalm 1:6).
The God of thy father might mean the God of Israel (comp. 1Chronicles 29:10). But 1Chronicles 28:20, where David speaks of “my God,” suggests the simpler meaning, God of David, here. (Comp. Psalm 18:2; Psalm 18:6; Psalm 18:22; also Genesis 31:29; Genesis 31:42.)
With a perfect heart.—The word shālēm means whole, sound, unimpaired; the Latin integer. Hence, what is urged is an undivided allegiance, such as is enjoined by the Decalogue. (Comp. 1Chronicles 29:9; 1Chronicles 29:19; 1Kings 8:61.)
A willing mind.—For service is not real unless it be voluntary, and so glad as well as free.
For the Lord searcheth all hearts.—Search, i.e., seek (1Chronicles 28:8 and below). For the thought, comp. Psalm 139:1-4; Psalm 139:23; 1Samuel 16:7; Psalm 94:9; Acts 1:24; Hebrews 4:13. The Searcher of hearts will at once see through an insincere and half-hearted obedience.
If thou forsake him.—Deliberately and of set purpose, as choosing to live by other laws than His.
He will cast thee off.—A strong word (hizniah), meaning strictly, to reject as noisome or foul-smelling. (Comp. Hosea 8:3; Hosea 8:5.) The verbal form hiphil is peculiar to Chronicles. (See 2Chronicles 11:14; 2Chronicles 29:19.)1 Chronicles 28:9. Know thou the God of thy father — Thou knowest that there is a God, a living and true God, and that the God of thy father is that God: thou knowest not only that he is, but what he is: that he is a Spirit, an infinite and eternal Spirit, self-existent, and therefore independent of, and supreme over, all other beings, who are only the workmanship of his hands. Thou knowest that he is possessed of all possible perfections, of unsearchable wisdom, of almighty power, of unfathomable goodness, of inviolable truth, of impartial justice, of unspeakable mercy and love: that he is thy Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor, to whom thou art indebted for all thy powers and faculties of body and mind; for thy life, and breath, and all things: that he is thy Redeemer and Saviour, thy Governor and Judge. But know him as he makes himself known to his people when he gives them a heart to know him, (Jeremiah 24:7,) and manifests himself to them as he does not to the world. Know him as a sin-pardoning God, merciful to thy unrighteousness, and remembering thy sins and iniquities no more, Jeremiah 31:34. Know him so as to be acquainted, intimately acquainted, and at peace with him, Job 22:21; so as to love and live to him: for God is love, and God is holy, and he that loveth him not, knoweth him not, 1 John 4:7-8; and, he that saith he knoweth him and loveth him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John 2:4. And serve him — That is, worship and obey him, and endeavour to serve and promote his honour and interest in the world, which is the interest of piety and virtue, of truth and grace. With a perfect heart — Not only with a sincere and upright heart, but with an entire and undivided heart, or with thy whole heart, being fervent in his love, and zealous in his service, and therefore with a heart entirely changed and made new, Ezekiel 36:26. And with a willing mind — Not with reluctance, as if his service were a bondage and drudgery; but with alacrity, delight, and joy, and from a principle of love to him and his service, knowing by experience that it is perfect freedom. For the Lord searcheth all hearts — And as he has made it the indispensable duty of all ranks and conditions of mankind, of kings as well as their subjects, to know, love, and serve him, in sincerity and truth; so he takes notice, and perfectly knows, whether they do so or not; nor can any one impose on him by false pretences. If thou, Solomon my son, only take up a form or profession of religion to please me and others; or if thy obedience to God be insincere, thou mayest indeed deceive man, but thou canst not deceive him, for he searcheth the desires and designs, the counsels and intentions, nay, the thoughts and imaginations, and all the motions of the heart. If thou seek him — In the way he hath appointed, by prayer, meditation upon, faith in, and obedience to, his word; if thou seek him sincerely, perseveringly, and with all thy heart; he will be found of thee — Will manifest himself to thee by his holy and enlightening Spirit, will make himself known to thee as thy friend, and father, and God in covenant: yea, he that commanded light to shine out of darkness, will shine into thy heart, and give thee the light of the knowledge of his glory; so that, beholding his glory with open face, thou shalt be changed into his image, and shalt resemble the God thou lovest and servest, 2 Corinthians 3:18. But if, after having known, and loved, and begun to serve him aright, thou forsake him — Desert his love and service, and turn from following him; he will cast thee off for ever — Notwithstanding his promises to me and my seed, and that great honour and favour which he hath showed thee. Reader, observe, this advice and charge, given by David to his son Solomon, is given by the Holy Ghost to thee, and every human creature into whose hands these divine oracles come. O! see that thou attend to it, and make it thy chief care, and the constant business of thy life, to comply with and reduce it to practice.
9, 10. And thou, Solomon my son—The royal speaker now turns to Solomon, and in a most impressive manner presses upon him the importance of sincere and practical piety.
know thou—He did not mean head knowledge, for Solomon possessed that already, but that experimental acquaintance with God which is only to be obtained by loving and serving Him.Know thou the God; know him, so as to love him and serve him, as it follows; for words of knowledge in Scripture use commonly imply affection and practice: or acknowledge him as thy God, by loving and obeying him; for otherwise Solomon did already know God, having doubtless been very well instructed in the knowledge of God’s nature and law.
The Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou dost only put on a profession of religion, to please me and secure thy hopes of the kingdom; or if thy obedience to God be insincere and with grudging; thou mayst indeed deceive me, but thou canst not deceive him, for he searcheth thy inward thoughts, and the motions of thy heart.
If thou forsake him; if when I am dead and gone, and thou art perfectly at thy own dispose, thou shalt cast off that religion and fear of God of which thou now makest profession, and shalt continue to do so without true repentance for thine errors.
He will cast thee off for ever; notwithstanding all his promises made to me and to my seed, and that great honour and favour which he hath showed to thee, with which possibly thou mayst flatter thyself.
know thou the God of thy father; who was his Father and covenant God, and whom he served and worshipped, and who had bestowed upon him many favours, both temporal and spiritual; and having had such an experience of his goodness, he exhorts his son to seek to know more and more of him, and to own and acknowledge him as his God, and to love and fear him:
serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind; cordially and sincerely, cheerfully and freely, neither in an hypocritical manner, nor through force and constraint, nor with loathing and weariness:
for the Lord searcheth all hearts; the hearts of all men, even of kings, and knows from what principles and with what views and in what manor they serve him:
and understandeth all the imaginations of the thought; not only the thoughts of the heart, when regularly formed and ranged in order, hut even the very beginning of them, the first motions of the mind, and before they are well formed, see Genesis 6:5.
if thou seek him; by prayer and supplication in his house and ordinances:
he will be found of thee; grant his presence and bestow his favours, see Isaiah 4:6.
but if thou forsake him: his word, his ways, his worship:And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. know thou the God of thy father] For this use of know cp. Exodus 5:2; Isaiah 1:3; Jeremiah 31:34.
with a perfect heart] i.e. with a single, undivided heart. In 2 Chronicles 15:17 the heart of king Asa is described as perfect, because he took no part in the idolatrous practices which prevailed in his day. Faithfulness to Jehovah, not moral perfection, is implied in phrases of this kind.
the Lord searcheth] Cp. Ezekiel’s vision of the Lord’s detection of secret idolatry (Ezekiel 8).1 Samuel 30:23; 2 Samuel 19:13. What David here says (1 Chronicles 28:3-7) of the temple building, he had in substance already (1 Chronicles 22:7-13) said to his son Solomon: I, it was with my heart, i.e., I purposed (cf. 1 Chronicles 22:7) to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of Jahve, and the footstool of the feet of our God, i.e., for the ark and for the capporeth upon it, which is called "footstool of the feet of our God," because God was enthroned above the cherubim upon the capporeth. "And I have prepared to build," i.e., prepared labour and materials, 1 Chronicles 22:2-4 and 1 Chronicles 22:14.; on 1 Chronicles 28:3, cf. 1 Chronicles 22:8. - In 1 Chronicles 28:4 David states how his election to be king was of God, who had chosen Judah to be ruler (cf. 1 Chronicles 5:2); and just so (1 Chronicles 28:5, 1 Chronicles 28:6) had God chosen Solomon from among all his many sons to be heir to the throne, and committed to him the building of the temple; cf. 1 Chronicles 22:10. The expression, "throne of the kingdom of Jahve," and more briefly, "throne of Jahve" (1 Chronicles 29:23, or מלכוּתי, 1 Chronicles 17:14), denotes that Jahve is the true King of Israel, and had chosen Solomon as He had chosen David to be holder and administrator of His kingdom dominion. - On 1 Chronicles 22:6 and 1 Chronicles 22:7, cf. 1 Chronicles 22:10 and 1 Chronicles 17:11.; and with the condition וגו יחזק אם, cf. 1 Kings 3:14; 1 Kings 9:4, where God imposes an exactly similar condition on Solomon. הזּה כּיּום, as is done at this time; cf. 1 Kings 8:61, and the commentary on Deuteronomy 2:30. On this speech J. H. Mich. well remarks: "tota haec narratio aptata est ad prospositum Davidis: vult enim Salomoni auctoritatem apud principes et fratres conciliare, ostendendo, non humana, sed divina voluntate electum esse," To this David adds an exhortation to the whole assembly (1 Chronicles 28:8), and to his son Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:9), to hold fast their faithfulness to God.
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