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.
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.
Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:
Verse 2. - The expression, David the king stood up upon his feet, probably means to emphasize the fact that hitherto, having been in a sitting or recumbent position, owing to his age and infirmity, he now with effort forced himself to stand in the presence of the unusual congregation and in consideration of what he felt was due to the occasion. He had not lost the man and the brother in his official and exalted rank, and, following ancient precedents (Genesis 29:4; Judges 19:23; 2 Samuel 19:12), he addresses the congregation as my brethren, and my people. David says he had it in his heart to build a house of rest, i.e. an abiding house (Psalm 132:8, 14) for the ark of the covenant, instead of the moving one, and for the footstool of our God. By this he means the mercy-seat, to which especial allusion is made ver. 11 (בֵּת הַכַּפֹרֶת). God is often spoken of as "dwelling between the cherubim," and sometimes (Psalm 99:1) as "sitting between the cherubim," which were over the lid of the ark, called the mercy-seat.
But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.
Verse 3. - The contents of this verse are stated, as already seen, even more forcibly in 1 Chronicles 22:8; while far less forcibly in 2 Samuel 7:5; 1 Kings 5:5.
Howbeit the LORD God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel:
Verses 4-7. - David mentions himself as the elect of God among all the members of his father's family, and from thence is led to trace the call from the first, by the following steps: - The tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8; 1 Chronicles 5:2); the house of Jesse (1 Samuel 16:1); thirdly, of himself (1 Samuel 16:13); and lastly of Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:9, 10; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 2 Samuel 7:12-16). The exact time and method of David's receiving the identification of Solomon as the son to succeed him, is nowhere given. The throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. This expression, not found in its entirety elsewhere, is an emphatic statement here of the true theocracy, which should have ever prevailed among the people of Israel, and which is now paralleled by the kingship of the Lord in his own Church (1 Chronicles 17:14; 1 Chronicles 29:23). The solemn and most distinct proviso, If he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day, reminds us of Psalm 132:12. This proviso is emphatically presented again to the attention of Solomon, when the time comes for the direct appeal of God to him (1 Kings 3:14; 1 Kings 8:61; 1 Kings 9:4).
And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.
And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.
Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day.
Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.
Verses 8-10. - The double charge of these verses, first to the people and then to Solomon, is full of force and majesty. Translate, Now therefore in the sight of all Israel - the congregation of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God ("Hear me," ver. 2), keep ye and study to do all the commandments of the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 4:21, 26; Deuteronomy 30:19; Leviticus 25:46; Jeremiah 3:18). The. expression, Know thou the God of thy father, for a practical knowledge and fear of God, is analogous with the expression, "Hear thou," for the matter of practical obedience; e.g. "If they hear not Moses and the prophets" (Luke 16:32). Although there are not very many instances of this use of the word "know," its antiquity and classical character may be considered guaranteed by such passages as Job 18:21; 1 Samuel 2:12; Proverbs 3:6; Psalm 36:10; Jeremiah 9:2; Hosea 5:4; Hosea 6:3. The expression, "the God of thy father," evidently intended to be touching, is more fully given in ver. 20, "God, even my God, will be with thee," which in its turn reminds us of Paul's language, "But my God shall supply all your need" (Philippians 4:19). The urgent entreaty on the part of David breathes in every sentence of it, thought, and a mode of presentation of it, feeling, and depth of conviction, with which we are familiar in his psalms. He speaks from his own varied, remarkable, and rich experience of the Divine care and jealous love, and from much personal experience of the deceitfulness of the heart, to Solomon, into whom, were it possible, he would pour the advantage of all he had learned, and from whom he would hide nothing of his intense and anxious solicitude. To the same strain he returns in ver. 20, but there with more exclusive reference to the undertaking of the building of "the house of the Lord," or the house for the sanctuary. One thing only fails, perhaps, to be made quite apparent from the language of David, viz. why he deemed it necessary to urge so strenuously on Solomon the enterprise of building the temple and of carrying it to completion. With abundance of means and preparations so large already made, one might have supposed a young king and a young man would have needed little pressure and little exhortation. Nevertheless, in the manifest presence of David's words, it is very far from impossible to suppose the dangers and temptations of Solomon's position as constituting a serious risk.
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.
Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.
Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,
Verses 11-19. - These hints respecting the parts of the building that was to be, and respecting the furniture of it, will come in for fuller consideration in the fuller treatment of them, found in the narration of the actual construction of the building in 2 Chronicles compared with 2 Kings 6, etc. It is evident that David desired to make a solemn and set business of handing over even the patterns and plans. Nor is this under any circumstances wonderful, but least of all considering their Divine origin. The Divine original of the tabernacle and all its belongings (Exodus 25-30; Hebrews 8:5) was not to be a neglected precedent as regards the greater temple. It is said that "David gave" these "patterns to Solomon his son" (ver. 11), and the form in which he gave them is explained in ver. 19. There we read, "The whole in writing from the hand of Jehovah upon me, he made me to understand - all the works of this pattern." Whatever we generally accept respecting the writing of the tables of the Law by the finger of God (Exodus 24:12; Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:15, 16; Deuteronomy 4:13; Deuteronomy 5:5, 22; Deuteronomy 9:10), is at all events open for acceptance here. At the same time, the phraseology of our nineteenth verse is certainly not so uncompromising-as that of the references just instanced from the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. The words of ver. 19 may be satisfied by the meaning that David was in such manner and degree "in the Spirit" (Revelation 1:10), that in the writing and the drawing of patterns his hand was entirely under the guidance of that Spirit. In either alternative, to hand over such documents and such "patterns" must have been felt by David and all present an act of which much should be made. Verse 11. - The patterns of six parts of the future building are here delivered over to Solomon.
1. The porch; הָאוּלָם (1 Kings 6:3; 1 Kings 7:6; Ezekiel 40:7; Ezekiel 8:16; Joel 2:17; 2 Chronicles 3:4, where we read that the length was twenty cubits, and the height one hundred and twenty cubits; 2 Chronicles 8:12; 15:8; 29:7, 17); Septuagint, τὸ αἰλὰμ τοῦ rang generally, but in this verse τοῦ ναοῦ is all that appears. This porch was built on the east of the temple.
2. The houses thereof; i.e. not of the porch, but of the whole building; בָּתָּיו; Septuagint, τῶν οἴκων αὐτοῦ. The word "houses" in this place designates the" greater house," or" temple," or holy place of 2 Chronicles 3:5; 1 Kings 6:5, 17; and the "inner house," or "oracle," or "most holy house," or "holy of holies,'" of 2 Chronicles 3:8; 1 Kings 6:19-27.
3. The treasuries thereof; נַנְזַכָּיו, a word found only here in this form, with a Chaldee termination in אַּך; Septuagint, τῶν ζακχῶν αὐτοῦ. The treasuries were chambers for receiving gifts, and storing the treasures new or old of the temple. Which of the rooms that were built against the sides of the temple were set apart as these treasure- chambers is not known. Perhaps they were the three-storied wings of the temple (1 Kings 6:5).
4. The upper chambers thereof; עֲלִיּתֹיָו; Septuagint, τῶν ὑπερώωνι (for fuller treatment of these, see 2 Chronicles 3:9). We may only with confidence say of these chambers that they were upper chambers, but whether over the "oracle" as Keil and Bertheau think, or over the "porch," or the higher of those, that leaned against the sides of the main building, it is impossible to determine from such data as we at present have.
5. The inner parlours thereof; חֲדָרָיו הַפְגִימִים, Septuagint τῶν ἀποθηκῶν τῶν ἐσωτέρων. There can be little doubt that these designate the lower rooms of the side buildings of the holy place, and perhaps also of the porch.
6. The plane of the mercy-seat; בֵּית הַכַּפֹרֶת; Septuagint, τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ ἐξιλασμοῦ.
And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:
Verse 12. - Bertheau, Keil, and some others regard the spirit here spoken of as referring to the spirit and mind of David, and Bertheau goes so far as to translate, or paraphrase, "the pattern of all that floated before his mind." Such manifest stress has been laid upon the two facts - that the patterns were of God's giving, and that they were now in such form that they could be given over into the hands of Solomon - that such an interpretation seems inadmissible. Rather translate, And the pattern of all which was by the spirit with him. For the courts of the house of the Lord, see 1 Kings 6:36; 2 Chronicles 4:9. The chambers round about; הַלְּשָׁכות סָבִיב(1 Chronicles 23:28). There seems no necessity to suppose that these chambers were separate from the building. For the treasuries, the correct translation is the treasures (1 Chronicles 26:20).
Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.
Verse 13. - This verse either continues the subject of the giving of the patterns, which will read rather harshly, as preceding the courses of the priests and the Levites, and could only mean directions or instructions for their interchange, etc.; or it may continue the subject of the "chambers round about" "for the treasures of the house of God," etc., also for the convenience "of the courses of the priests," etc., and "for all the work," etc., and for keeping "all the vessels of service," etc. Bertheau and Keil somewhat scout the former supposition, and adhere to the latter.
He gave of gold by weight for things of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; silver also for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service:
Verses 14, 15. - The general meaning of these verses is that, if the question were one of gold, or one of silver, David assigned for each vessel and each part of the candlesticks, the proportionate weight of gold that was to be employed.
Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, both for the candlestick, and also for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.
And by weight he gave gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and likewise silver for the tables of silver:
Verse 16. - So tot, as regards the tables of shewbread, whether in sort of gold or of silver, he assigned the due weight of metal for either sort. We should have been at a loss to understand the plural here employed, showing more than one table (Exodus 25:23; 1 Kings 7:48; 2 Chronicles 29:18), but for 2 Chronicles 4:8, 19; in the former of which verses we read of "ten tables" being made and placed on "the right side and on the left, in the temple," and in the latter verse, yet more distinctly, of "tables, whereon the shewbread was set."
Also pure gold for the fleshhooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basons he gave gold by weight for every bason; and likewise silver by weight for every bason of silver:
Verse 17. - It is to be observed that the term basons (פְורִים), which appear to have been covered goblets, is only found here and in Ezra 1:10; Ezra 8:27.
And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
Verse 18. - By the chariot of the cherubims, is of course not meant that the cherubim had a chariot, but that they constituted the chariot of Jehovah (Psalm 18:11).
All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.
Verse 19. - This abrupt bringing in of David as the speaker himself has already had one illustration in 1 Chronicles 23:5. (See on the matter of this verse, note on per. 11; and comp. 2 Kings 3:15 for the parallel of an expression which evidently intends to assert an inspiring hand of the Lord.)
And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
Verses 20, 21. - These verses, as above seen, continue and close David's urgent and last exhortation to Solomon. He has now done with admonition and urgent appeal, but he offers prayer for him (1 Chronicles 29:19). Verse 20. - David in this verse enlarges upon the certainty of God's faithful steady presence with Solomon and support of his work to the end.
And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment.
Verse 21. - In this verse David reminds Solomon what servants and helpers he has ready to hand on earth, as well as his God above - priests and... Levites,... all manner of workmen,... willing and skilful,... princes and... people.