1 Chronicles 29:15
For we are strangers before you, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners.Psalm 39:12.

Our days on the earth are as a (the) shadow.Job 8:9; Psalm 144:4.

And there is none abiding.—Rather, and there is no hope; no outlook, no assured future, no hope of permanence. What is the ground for this plaintive turn in the thought? Merely, it would seem, to emphasise what has just been said. We, as creatures of a day, can have no abiding and absolute possession. Our good things are lent to us for a season only. As our fathers passed away, so shall we.

1 Chronicles 29:15. For we are strangers before thee, &c. — Poor, despicable creatures. The land which we possess is thine, not ours; we are not the proprietors, but only thy tenants: and as our fathers once were mere strangers in it, even before men, so we at this day are no better before thee, having no absolute right in it, but only to travel through it, and sojourn in it for the short time we live in the world. This is equally true of all men, who on earth are but strangers and sojourners; while angels and saints in heaven are there at home. Our days on earth are as a shadow — David’s days had as much of substance in them as most men’s: for he was upon the whole a good man, a useful man, and now an old man. He lived long, and to good purpose; and yet he puts himself in the front of those who must acknowledge that their days on the earth are as a shadow: which speaks our life a vain life, a dark life, a transient life, and a life that will have its period, either in perfect light or perfect darkness. And there is none abiding — Hebrew, מקוה, mickve, expectation. We cannot expect much from earth, nor can we expect any long continuance in it. This is mentioned here as that which forbids us to boast of what we give to God and his cause, or to our poor and destitute fellow-creatures, or of the services we perform to him. We only give what we must shortly leave, and what we cannot keep to ourselves: and our services are confined to a mere scantling of time: they are the services of a short, uncertain life. What, therefore, can we pretend to merit by such gifts or services? and what right have we to boast, or think highly of ourselves, on account of them? Surely God does us a great favour that he will accept such offerings and services from us.29:10-19 We cannot form a right idea of the magnificence of the temple, and the buildings around it, about which such quantities of gold and silver were employed. But the unsearchable riches of Christ exceed the splendour of the temple, infinitely more than that surpassed the meanest cottage on earth. Instead of boasting of these large oblations, David gave solemn thanks to the Lord. All they gave for the Lord's temple was his own; if they attempted to keep it, death would soon have removed them from it. They only use they could make of it to their real advantage, was, to consecrate it to the service of Him who gave it.The people rejoiced for that they offered willingly - i. e., the munificence of the princes and officers 1 Chronicles 29:6 caused general joy among the people. 1Ch 29:10-25. His Thanksgiving.

10-19. Wherefore David blessed the Lord—This beautiful thanksgiving prayer was the effusion overflowing with gratitude and delight at seeing the warm and widespread interest that was now taken in forwarding the favorite project of his life. Its piety is displayed in the fervor of devotional feeling—in the ascription of all worldly wealth and greatness to God as the giver, in tracing the general readiness in contributing to the influence of His grace, in praying for the continuance of this happy disposition among the people, and in solemnly and earnestly commending the young king and his kingdom to the care and blessing of God.

These words may contain a reason, either,

1. Of the first clause of 1 Chronicles 29:14, Who am I &c., i.e. what mean and contemptible creatures are we, and how unworthy of so high a favour! for, saith he here, we, I and my people, as it is 1 Chronicles 29:14, are strangers, &c, poor pilgrims, who bring nothing into the world, and pass hastily through it, and can carry nothing with us out of it. Or rather,

2. Of the last clause of that 14th verse, of thine own, &c. For the land which we possess is thine, not ours; we are not the proprietors or perpetual possessors of it, but only thy tenants: and as our fathers once were mere strangers in it, even with or before men, Psalm 105:12; so we at this day are no better with or before thee, having no absolute right and title in it, but only to travel through it, and sojourn in it for that short time that we live in the world. And this the argument seems to be borrowed from Leviticus 25:23, where this is give as a reason why the inheritances of the land of Canaan could not be sold for ever, but only till the jubilee; for, saith God, the land is mine, as to dominion and propriety, for ye were (or for, or but you are) only strangers and sojourners with me.

There is none abiding: we only give to thee what we must shortly leave, and what we cannot keep to ourselves; and therefore it is a great favour that thou wilt accept such offerings; or, and therefore we are not perpetual possessors of this land, and the fruits of it, but only pilgrims and passengers through it. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers,.... For though they were in possession of the land of Canaan, yet they held it not in their own right, but as the Lord's:

who said, the land is mine, Leviticus 25:23, they were but tenants in it, and were not to abide long here; they belonged to another city and country; the consideration of which might tend to set them loose to worldly things, and the more easily to part with them for the service of God, and the honour of his name:

our days on the earth are as a shadow; man's life is expressed by days, not months and years, being so short; and by days on earth, in distinction from the days of heaven, or eternity; and these said to be as a shadow, of a short continuance, empty, mutable, and uncertain, dark and obscure, quickly gone, like the shadow of the sun; and not only like that, or of a mountain, tree or wall; but, as the Targum, of a bird that is flying, which passes away at once:

and there is none abiding; not long, much less always, being but sojourners as before; so Cato in Cicero (p) is represented as saying,"I depart out of this life as from an inn, and not an house; for nature has given us an inn to sojourn, not a place to dwell in:''or "there is no hope or expectation" (q); of living long, of recalling time, and of avoiding death.

(p) De Senectute, c. 23. (q) "non est expectatio sive spes", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Michaelis.

For we are {i} strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.

(i) Therefore we have this land loaned to us for a time.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. strangers before thee, and sojourners] David describes himself and his people not as strangers to God, but as strangers dwelling before God. In ancient states foreigners were sometimes allowed to reside in the capital under the immediate protection of the king or of the heads of the state; cp. 1 Samuel 22:3-4; 1 Samuel 27:3; 2 Samuel 15:19; cp. also the position of the aliens at Athens. David appeals to God on the ground that Israel is immediately under God’s protection. Cp. Psalm 39:12.

none abiding] R.V. no abiding, i.e. no continuance.Verse 15. - Of the seven other clear occasions of occurrence of the word here translated abiding (מִקְוֶה), it bears three times the meaning of "a gathering together" as of waters (Genesis 1:10; Exodus 7:19; Leviticus 11:36). The other four times it is translated in the Authorized Version "hope," either in the abstract (Ezra 10:2), or in the personal object of it (Jeremiah 14:8; Jeremiah 17:13; Jeremiah 50:7). Probably the word "abiding," as drawn from this latter aspect of the word, expresses with sufficient accuracy the intended meaning here. The people and the king rejoiced over this willingness to give. שׁלם בּלב, as in 1 Chronicles 28:9.
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