New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

1Ch 29:1 David the king said to all the assembly, Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is yet young and tender-
"Whom alone..." is a political statement. David of course claimed that God had chosen Solomon out of all his sons (1 Chron. 28:5), but there is no record of that happening; rather do we suspect that David came to imagine that his own choice was in fact God's. Psalm 72 was David's declaration that he believed Solomon would be the Messianic ruler; but that was proven wrong, because Solomon did not reign with justice and turned away from Yahweh. The words will come true in the person of the Lord Jesus, but David was wrong to insist they must apply to Solomon.

So it was David who chose Solomon, but he is trying to make God be the one who preferred Solomon. As discussed on 1 Chron. 28:4, David had misrepresented God as having chosen David on the basis of lineal descent, when that wasn't at all the case. But David does so because he wants to thereby justify Solomon as the chosen son on the basis of lineal descent. When Adonijah briefly seized power, David was forced to make a statement in support of Solomon; but beyond the reference to a personal comment to Bathsheba that he wanted Solomon to succeed him, David had never made his position on Solomon clear before that time. And there was no recorded word from Yahweh saying that Solomon was to succeed him. 

And the work is great; for the palace is not for man, but for Yahweh God-
This is true on one level, but not on another. The greatness of God is not necessarily responded to by lavish decoration of buildings, as we see in the Orthodox churches. God dwells in the hearts of men and not in such buildings

1Ch 29:2 Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, the brass for the things of brass, the iron for the things of iron and wood for the things of wood; onyx stones and stones to be set, stones for inlaid work and of various colours, all kinds of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance-
The reference to precious stones would suggest that David was seeking to make new robes for the high priest, including a new breastplate. But the scale of the materials suggests David was going far beyond that, and instituting a new religious system with opulence everywhere, with "inlaid work" on fixtures which was not stipulated in the tabernacle plans. This was quite contrary to God's desire to live in the hearts of people; those hearts were precious stones to Him. And He specifically stated He wanted the ark to dwell in a tent. LXX "Parian marble"; the word is only used of the decadent palace of Esther 1:6. The spiritually minded amongst the exiles would have observed the parallels.

1Ch 29:3 In addition, because I have set my affection on the house of my God-
"Affection" here is s.w. :17 of God's "pleasure" in righteousness. David assumes that God has pleasure / affection towards him because he has this obsession with building a temple- which God had said He didn't want. The whole story here is a parade example of where religion overtakes spirituality, and form eclipses content.

Since I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, I give it to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house-
What we have is not ours because we worked for it- although that, I know, is how it feels. It is ours on loan. Surely this of itself ought to mean that each of us leaves our property, if we own any, to the Lord's work, after the pattern of how David left all his personal wealth to the work of the temple, rather than to Solomon personally. 

But as with Haman offering huge amounts of money, we wonder where exactly David acquired all this personal wealth from. David had his own extensive personal wealth, including vineyards (1 Chron. 27:27), servants who worked the ground (1 Chron. 27:26). This was exactly what Samuel had warned Israel about; a human king would take Israel's men to till their ground, and would take their vineyards from them (1 Sam. 8:12,14). That all suggests that David slipped spiritually at the end of his life. For he came from a poor family, and to have all these things meant he had taken them for himself, and had ignored these warnings of his one time mentor Samuel. See on :12.

1Ch 29:4 even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, with which to overlay the walls of the house-
This is a huge amount of wealth to now additionally offer, for the sake of rendering the temple with gold. This kind of opulence is quite opposed to the humble spirit of the tabernacle construction. The amount may be less if we recall that Chronicles was rewritten under Divine inspiration for the exiles, and "talents" may refer to Persian talents which were considerably less than Hebrew talents. But it may well be that David is wildly exaggerating, in order to elicit yet more such donations from other wealthy people. David boasts in 1 Chron. 29:4 that his gold is "of Ophir", whereas in reality Solomon covered the house with gold "of Parvaim" (2 Chron. 3:6). This suggests that David may not in fact have had in hand all the fantastic personal wealth he boasted of donating for the rendering of the house with gold.

1Ch 29:5 of gold for the things of gold, and of silver for the things of silver, and for all kinds of work to be made by the hands of artisans. Who then offers willingly to consecrate himself this day to Yahweh?-
David was almost covetous for the donations of others, and therefore appears to overstate his own voluntary donation (see on :5). This is all an example of how he was obsessed with the project. What God required was willingly consecrated hearts, not consecration to God through impressive material donations towards a project God didn't want anyway.

1Ch 29:6 Then the princes of the fathers’ households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers over the king’s work, offered willingly-
As in :3, we wonder from where the leaders of Israel had such huge wealth. I noted on 1 Chron. 27 and elsewhere that David had appointed leaders who were largely from his own tribe and personal circle. The impression we get now is that they had all enriched themselves at others' expense. See on :3.

1Ch 29:7 and they gave for the service of God’s house five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, and of silver ten thousand talents, of brass eighteen thousand talents and of iron a hundred thousand talents-
The mention of darics, a Persian measurement, suggests this record was rewritten [under inspiration] in exile. See on :4. This would mean that "talents" may refer to Persian talents, which were considerably less than Hebrew talents.

1Ch 29:8 They with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of Yahweh, under the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite-
The only precious stones required were those for the breastplate and garments of the high priest. These were given by the rulers of the people (Ex. 35:9,27). But we have the impression that a huge amount of precious stones was gathered from the leaders. Far more than the 12 stones of the breastplate. Again, the simple, humble nature of the tabernacle was being subverted by a mistaken idea that God is honoured by opulence- a lesson Pentecostalism has failed to learn.

1Ch 29:9 Then the people rejoiced, because they offered willingly, because with a complete heart they offered willingly to Yahweh: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy-
It is true that even if all this opulence was a case of misplaced idealism, genuine giving to God rather than retaining for ourselves is a source of personal joy. We will note on :14,18 that this attitude of heart was also given by God. But we wonder whether the record here, although inspired by God in its recording, was really the summary of the narrative David wished to believe. Because the language of the people rejoicing for their willing giving recalls the descriptions of the people willingly offering for the building of the tabernacle (Ex. 25:2; 35:21,22,29). But David was not building or rebuilding the tabernacle; he was building a grandiose religious system which in letter and spirit was out of step with the tabernacle specifications. And although the people in the wilderness offered so willingly, they were far from God in their hearts and turned back to Egypt. They were not justified by their apparent generosity.

1Ch 29:10 Therefore David blessed Yahweh before all the assembly; and David said, You are blessed, Yahweh, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever-
This public praise of God "before all" appears out of step with the real spirit of praise and worship. This prayer ends with the people prostrating themselves before David, which all seems so spiritually inappropriate for the man who was initially loved as the shepherd boy with a humble heart. See on :20. 

1Ch 29:11 Yours, Yahweh, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory and the majesty! For all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, Yahweh, and You are exalted as head above all-
The common rubric found in the histories of the kings is that the "might" of a king was recorded at his death (1 Kings 15:23; 16:5,27; 22:45; 2 Kings 10:34; 13:8,12; 14:15,28; 20:20). "His might that he showed" uses a word for "might" which has the sense of victory / achievement. But the contrast is marked with the way that David so often uses this word for "might / victory / achievement" in the context of God's "might"; notably in 1 Chron. 29:11, which the Lord Jesus places in our mouths as part of His model prayer: "Yours is the power [s.w. "might"], and the glory and the majesty". The kings about whom the phrase is used were those who trusted in their own works. It therefore reads as a rather pathetic memorial; that this man's might / achievement was noted down. But the unspoken further comment is elicited in our own minds, if we are in tune with the spirit of David: "But the only real achievement is the Lord's and not man's". All human victory and achievement must be seen in this context. The same word is used in Jer. 9:23,24: "Don’t let the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might [s.w.]... but let him who glories glory in this, that he has understanding, and knows Me, that I am Yahweh who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness, in the earth". The glorification of human "might" is often condemned. "Their might [s.w.] is not right" (Jer. 23:10; also s.w. Jer. 51:30; Ez. 32:29; Mic. 7:16 and often).  

1Ch 29:12 Both riches and honour come from You, and You rule over all; in Your hand is power and might; it is in Your hand to make great, and to give strength to all-
David appears to have himself in view, the one from a poor family who had been "made great" by God's gentleness and grace (Ps. 18:35). Yet I suggested on :3 that David had really made himself great by taking wealth not intended for him. And we hear the same today, people praising God for having blessed them with what in fact they blessed themselves with, often by unethical means. 

1Ch 29:13 Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name-
David has used the same phrase in Ps. 66:2; but the following context of the Psalm is of his praise of God's grace in redeeming and saving His unspiritual people. But now, David appears to be praising God for the works which he himself is able to do. This is the inverse image of how God had told David that He didn't want a temple built, but rather wanted to build David a house of people whom He had redeemed by grace.

1Ch 29:14 But who am I-
This was David's response when God first told him that He didn't want a temple, but rather would build a house for David from his descendants. David has totally misrepresented God's response as saying that He did in fact welcome the idea of a grandiose physical temple, and so by repeating his response at the time, he is surely guilty of a false humility.

And what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this?-
The idea is  that even the desire to offer willingly was given by God, as well as the actual materials given. As will be noted on :18, God can give desires and motives to people, working directly on the human heart. And He can do so today, in the hearts of those open to the working of the Holy Spirit.

For all things come from You, and of Your own have we given You-
God insisted through Malachi (3:8-12), you are robbing me if you don't give back, or even if you don't give your heart to Him in faith. And will a man rob God? Will a man...? We must give God what has His image stamped on it: and we, our bodies, are made in His image (Mt. 22:21); therefore we have a duty to give ourselves to Him. We are not our own: how much less is 'our' money or time our own! Like David, we need to realize now, in this life, before the judgment, that all our giving is only a giving back to God of what we have been given by Him. The danger of materialism is the assumption that we are ultimate owners of what we 'have'. When Eli and his sons kept part of God's sacrifices for themselves, he was condemned: "You trample upon My sacrifice and My offering" (1 Sam. 2:29 RVmg.). This is what we are doing by considering that anything that is God's is in fact ours- we are trampling upon that which is His.

1Ch 29:15 For we are strangers before You, and foreigners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is no remaining-
David uses the language of Gentiles, appreciating that their Hebrew roots, in ethnic terms, were of no real value in achieving their salvation. Their inherent mortality as men, of whatever ethnic background, meant that they were saved by grace and not because of their ethnicity. Because we brought nothing into the world and can carry nothing out, i.e. because of our very nature, we shouldn't be materialistic and should be content (1 Tim. 6:7,8). In saying this, Paul is alluding to how Job faced up to the reality of our condition by saying that we entered this world naked and return naked (Job 1:21). Paul is saying that we are all in Job's position, facing up to the loss of all things, and should count it a blessing to have even clothing. David said that just because "our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding" , therefore he wanted to be as generous as possible in providing for the work of God's house (1 Chron. 29:14-16).

1Ch 29:16 Yahweh our God, all this store that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name comes from Your hand, and is all Your own-
David sees the wealth which he and the leaders of Israel had offered as having come from God. But I explained on :3 that in fact they appear to have acquired that huge wealth by unGodly means. This kind of thing goes on often. Men build up wealth in their own strength, often by unGodly means; and then piously claim it is all God's blessing, and they are giving it back to God. This is far from just the tendency of the very wealthy; it applies to people on all levels of wealth.

1Ch 29:17 I know also, my God, that You try the heart, and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things. Now have I seen with joy Your people, that are present here, offer willingly to You-
But David clearly advertised his own huge giving in order to elicit such donations from other wealthy people. So to then praise God for their willing hearts is somewhat less than truthful.

"Willingly offered" is LXX "with a single eye". Speaking in the context of serving either God or mammon, the Lord uttered some difficult words: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth...the light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of great is that darkness!" (Mt. 6:19-22). All this is in the context of not being materialistic. The Lord is drawing on the OT usage of "an evil eye"- and consistently, this idiom means someone who is selfishly materialistic (Prov. 22:9; 23:7; 28:22; Dt. 15:9). The NIV renders some of these idioms as "stingy" or "mean". A single eye refers to a generous spirit (1 Chron. 29:17 LXX), and a related Greek word occurs in 2 Cor. 8:2; 9:11,13 with the sense of "generous". So surely the Lord is saying that our attitude to wealth controls our whole spirituality. Whether we have a mean or generous spirit will affect our whole life- an evil [stingy] eye means our whole body is full of darkness.

1Ch 29:18 Yahweh, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Israel our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and prepare their heart for You-
NET: "Maintain the motives of your people and keep them devoted to you". This is a clear example of how God through His Spirit can work directly on the human heart, giving motivations and preparing minds. And this is really what we so earnestly need in our spiritual lives. 

1Ch 29:19 Give to Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep Your commandments, Your testimonies and Your statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for which I have made provision-
As noted on :18, David understood God to have the ability to work directly upon the human heart, and to make people obedient. This is the function of the Holy Spirit today. But as with Solomon, God will never force a person to be obedient if this is not in fact what they themselves truly want.

Solomon's prophetic sonship of David was conditional upon him preserving or observing Yahweh's ways (1 Kings 2:4; 1 Chron. 22:13; 2 Chron. 7:17); but he didn't preserve of observe them (1 Kings 11:10,11); despite David praying that Solomon would be given a heart to observe them. It seems David assumed his prayer was answered, and Solomon was somehow made righteous and even perfect. This would account for Solomon's lack of personal conscience of sin and possible failure, which was to be his spiritual undoing. We can pray for God to work upon the hearts of others, but He will not force people against their own deepest will and heart position. Solomon stresses overmuch how God would keep or preserve the righteous (Prov. 2:8; 3:26), without recognizing the conditional aspect of this. Why did Solomon go wrong? His Proverbs are true enough, but he stresses that obedience to his wisdom and teaching would preserve his hearers (Prov. 4:4; 6:22; 7:1; 8:32; 15:5), preservation was through following the example of the wise (Prov. 2:20); rather than stressing obedience to God's ways, and replacing David his father's simple love of God with a love of academic wisdom: "Yahweh preserves all those who love Him" (Ps. 145:20).

Solomon keeps saying that his zealous  work  for the temple was the result of God's promise to David  having  fulfillment  in him (1 Kings 8:24-26), and to some extent  this  was true. David earnestly prayed for Solomon to be the Messianic King (e.g. Ps. 72), and therefore David asked for Solomon to be given a truly wise heart (1 Chron. 29:19). These prayers were answered in a very  limited  sense-  in that Solomon was given great wisdom, and his Kingdom was one of the greatest  types of Christ's future  Kingdom. Our prayers for others really can have  an  effect upon them, otherwise there would be no point in the   concept   of  praying  for  others.  But  of  course  each individual  has  an  element  of  spiritual  freewill;  we can't force  others  to  be  spiritual  by  our  prayers;  yet  on the other  hand,  our  prayers  can  influence  their  spirituality. David's  prayers  for  Solomon  is  the classic example of this. Those  prayers  were  heard  most definitely, in that God helped Solomon  marvellously, giving him every opportunity to develop a superb  spirituality; but he failed to have the genuine personal desire to be like this in his heart, in his heart he was back in Egypt, and therefore ultimately David's desire for Solomon to be the wondrous Messianic King of his dreams had to go unfulfilled.  

1Ch 29:20 David said to all the assembly, Now bless Yahweh your God! All the assembly blessed Yahweh, the God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads and prostrated themselves before Yahweh and the king-
Such prostration before David was surely inappropriate. David was really playing God, and the whole scene, although it includes many spiritual words and ideas, smacks of pride and inappropriate opulence.

1Ch 29:21 They sacrificed sacrifices to Yahweh, and offered burnt offerings to Yahweh, on the next day after that day, even one thousand bulls, one thousand rams and one thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel- 
This was clearly out of step with what David had earlier been taught after his sin with Bathsheba; that God did not want thousands of sacrifices, but rather broken, contrite hearts (Ps. 40:6-8). And Solomon repeats David's failure in this, by again offering such huge numbers of sacrifices. Which, like the temple, God didn't want.

1Ch 29:22 and ate and drink before Yahweh on that day with great gladness. They made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him to Yahweh to be prince, and Zadok to be priest-
It seems that this was "that day" when David had made his public prayer. So Solomon was made king shortly before David actually died. "The second time" refers to how the first time, David had hurriedly pronounced Solomon king at the time of Adonijah's rebellion. We note that they anointed him to be king, whereas Saul and David were anointed by God to be king. Zadok was made high priest because the other high priest Abiathar had supported Adonijah's rebellion and had been demoted.  

1Ch 29:23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him-
Solomon would only prosper if he was obedient to the Divine commandments (s.w. 1 Chron. 22:13). But he didn't do so, and so his prospering was in appearance.

1Ch 29:24 All the princes, the mighty men, and also all the sons of king David submitted themselves to Solomon the king-
Again the record appears to be reflecting the narrative which David and Solomon wanted to believe. For Solomon slew his brother Adonijah and any other potential competitors for his throne. Those who remained presumably only submitted themselves out of fear.

1Ch 29:25 Yahweh magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel-
Despite all the unspirituality of this situation, God was willing to work with what He had. He likewise worked through a human kingship system, although it was a rejection of Him; and He was to inhabit the temple, although He never wanted it built in the first place. Solomon, like Saul, was set up with the potential for being the Messianic seed / king; but he failed to use the huge potential given him. 

1Ch 29:26 Now David the son of Jesse had reigned over all Israel-
"All Israel" is stressed. The exiles for whom Chronicles was rewritten were commanded to participate in a renewed Davidic kingdom, which was intended to comprise the repentant remnants of both Judah and the ten tribes. 

1Ch 29:27 The time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and he reigned thirty-three years in Jerusalem-
Solomon, David and Saul are all stated to have reigned 40 years, and it may be a non literal number. If Saul reigned 40 years (Acts 13:21), this creates various chronological problems. Paul's argument in Acts 13:21 seems to be seeking to draw a parallel between Israel's 40 years in the desert and Saul's reign. Numbers are simply not used in Semitic literature in the literalistic way that they are in the writings of other cultures. To this day an Arab may describe a hot day as being 100 degrees C, when it is not that literally. But the Arab is not lying nor deceiving; it's a case of using numbers within a different context of language usage. David beginning his reign at 30 may be intended to recall how the Levites began serving at 30 (Num. 4:3), because David was set up to be the priest-king who would replace the high priesthood according to Hannah's song. And at times he clearly did act like this, although his failures meant that the potential was reapplied and reframed to fulfilment in the Lord Jesus.

1Ch 29:28 He died in a good old age, full of days, riches and honour; and Solomon his son reigned in his place-
This again presents David from a very idealistic viewpoint, part of the narrative which David and Solomon wished to believe. For I discussed on :3 how his wealth was perhaps wrongly acquired. And he hardly died with universal honour, for the last years of his life, right up to Adonijah's rebellion when he was on his death bed, were characterized by discontent with him. The record of the words is inspired, but that is not to say that we are not reading a history written by someone who wished to justify the David-Solomon narrative.

1Ch 29:29 Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the history of Samuel the seer, in the history of Nathan the prophet and in the history of Gad the seer-
"The history" is literally 'the words'.  The reference may not be to the books of Samuel; the Hebrew title for The Books of Chronicles is "The words (or the acts) of the days". And that book may well be a compilation of the three sources listed here. 

1Ch 29:30 with accounts of all his reign and his might, and the circumstances which he and all Israel experienced, and those of all the kingdoms of the surrounding countries
"Circumstances" is "the times". But this history or "times" needs to be interpreted, as it was by those of 1 Chron. 12:32. It seems from this that the histories of :29 included histories of the nations surrounding Israel, and it would appear that these are being referenced as if they existed somewhere. It seems that when Chronicles was rewritten under inspiration in exile, there developed a body of such literature, although the texts of :29 are not all preserved.