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CRITICAL NOTES.] The remaining chapters of this book are peculiar to the chronist. They narrate the arrangements of David for the building of the temple, his religious and political regulations, and his last will and death [Murphy]. This chapter, which consists entirely of new matter, helps to fill up the gap which had been left by the earlier authors between 2 Samuel 24:0 and 1 Kings 1:0 [Speak. Com.].
1 Chronicles 22:1-5.—Preparations for the Temple. This, the spot on which the altar was built, he regards as the site of the temple. 1 Chronicles 22:2. Strangers, non-Israelites, descendants of old Canaanites, war captives from whom exacted a tribute of bond-service (2 Chronicles 8:7-10), and war captives (2 Chronicles 2:7) reserved for the great work contemplated [Jamieson]. Masons, stone-cutters. 1 Chronicles 22:3. Joinings, braces or brackets for binding wood or stone. 1 Chronicles 22:4. Zidon, abounded in timber merchants and navigators (cf. 1 Kings 5:1; 1 Kings 5:15-18; 2 Chronicles 2:16). 1 Chronicles 22:5. Tender, exact age unknown. “It cannot have been more than 24 or 25. It may have been as little as 14 or 15” [Speak. Com.].
1 Chronicles 22:6-16.—Charge to Solomon. 1 Chronicles 22:6. Called, a short time before his death to give him special instructions. 1 Chronicles 22:7. Mind, heart (2 Samuel 7:1-17). 1 Chronicles 22:8. Blood. This referred to in ch. 1 Chronicles 28:3 and 1 Kings 5:17, though not in same terms. Nathan’s message (ch. 1 Chronicles 17:4-14) assigned no ground for prohibition. In form of command here and the first intimation of reason why David must not build. On character of David’s wars, cf. 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Samuel 10:18; 2 Samuel 12:31; 1 Kings 11:16. Sol., “had two names—viz., Solomon, ‘peaceful,’ and Jedidiah, ‘beloved of Jehovah’ (2 Samuel 12:25). The former name prevailed on account of this prophecy, which attached to the name the promise of a blessing” [Speak. Com.]. Give peace (1 Kings 4:20-23; 1 Kings 5:4). 1 Chronicles 22:10. Son in peculiar and special manner. 1 Chronicles 22:11. Prosper, literally “The Lord shall be with thee, and thou shalt prosper. But future may have an imperative sense” [Speak. Com.]. 1 Chronicles 22:12. Wisdom (cf. Psalms 72:1; Sol.’s prayer, 1 Kings 3:5-15). 1 Chronicles 22:13. Strong, words which are found in Deuteronomy 4:1; Deuteronomy 5:1; Deuteronomy 7:4; Deuteronomy 11:32; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:7. 1 Chronicles 22:14. Trouble, poverty. “By my strenuous labour, according to Genesis 31:42; see the precisely similar expression (ch. 1 Chronicles 29:2), I have prepared with all my might” [Keil]. Talents, taking usual idea of talent, this would be more than eighty millions sterling. Either the talent of smaller value or text corrupted. “The latter is certainly the more probable supposition” [Speak Com.]. 1 Chronicles 22:15. Cunning, i.e., skilful, serfs of ancient kingdoms very numerous (cf. 2 Chronicles 2:17).
1 Chronicles 22:17-19.—Charge to Princes. Members of court, including other sons of David. 1 Chronicles 22:18. Reasons for liberality in giving. 1 Chronicles 22:19. Set, make this your purpose and effort; holy vessels used in tabernacle service.
THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE.—1 Chronicles 22:1-5
This chapter and the seven which follow are supplementary to the Second Book of Samuel, and fill up the space between the end of that Book and the beginning of the First Book of Kings. Preparations for building going on for twenty-five or thirty years. In times of war and domestic affliction, David accumulated treasure and materials to be handed over to his successor.
I. The work for which he prepared. “This is house of the Lord God.” Its building “exceeding magnifical.”
1. In the costliness of its materials. Iron and brass, timber and stone, gold and silver. In the spiritual temple the materials are human beings, intellectual and immortal spirits. The preparation and forming of these materials into a temple for God includes the calling, regeneration, and consecration of men in Christ, “in whom all the building, fitly framed (exactly fitted) together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:20).
2. In the grandeur of its Design. Not for earthly and inferior objects.
(1) For the honour of the great God, Lord of heaven and earth. “Build an house for the Lord God.”
(2) For the benefit of men. “Of fame and of glory throughout all countries.” Reminding men of God’s existence and claims; the centre of light and purity, bringing heaven down to earth, and securing the triumphs and praise of redeeming grace.
II. The incentives to the performance of this work. There are many.
1. Consider the greatness of the work. More than the erection of a palace, the building of a city, the founding of an empire. A work agreeing with youth and age; affords scope for ambition, enthusiasm, and skill.
2. Divine instructions are given to its performance. God revealed the site, the plan, the ornaments, and all the arrangements for service. When way is known, walk in it. Knowledge given to practice.
3. Good example inspires. “Precepts teach, but examples draw.” Man a creature of imitation by education and habit. A noble example interests, rouses attention, and stimulates to action. Illustrates the possibility and the manner of doing what is enjoined. David set a noble example.
4. The circumstances of others should influence us. “Solomon is young and tender.” Others may not be situated, prepared, blessed as we are, may be weak, aged, and helpless. Consider the wants of the Church—men, money, and materials; the wants of the rising generation—good examples, education, and sympathy; the wants of the world—temples, Bibles, and missionaries. Care for the future, and if you cannot build, gather materials.
PREPARATION FOR THE WORK OF GOD.—1 Chronicles 22:1-5
This needful, urgent, and within the reach of all. I. By personal effort. David earnest, patient, and persevering; getting ready in prosperity and adversity. Warned by shortness of time, infirmity, and approaching end, “prepared abundantly before his death.” II. By initiation of the work. Gather materials, begin or enter some work for God. Forethought is the best security against waste, idleness, and failure. An unfurnished minister, scholar, or church member cannot be “a wise master-builder.” “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field, and afterwards build thine house.” III. By employment of willing helpers. “Strangers” gathered together and enlisted in the service. Aliens (the non-Israelite population) hewed wood, carried burdens, &c. Often questioned whether help for building sanctuaries, supporting and maintaining religious institutions and worship, should be received from ungodly. But God urges every one to surrender to him. All our possessions are God’s, and should be consecrated to him. Some are willing, others may be induced. Only cherish a liberal, kindly feeling, and they “shall be his servants, that they may know his service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”
“All the means of action—
The shapeless masses, the materials,
Lie everywhere about us. What we need
Is the celestial fire to change the flint
Into transparent crystal, bright and clear” [Longfellow].
DAVID’S CHARGE TO SOLOMON.—1 Chronicles 22:6-16
Something more than dead materials required. Gold and silver nothing without willing hearts and active hands. David would gladly have done the work, but forbidden. Gives a touching and direct charge to incite Solomon to build. Learn—
I. That some originate a good work, but are not permitted to execute it. David himself gives a special reason (1 Chronicles 22:8). Hands stained with blood not fit to build a house of worship, the abode of love and peace. What a lesson! Sin may be forgiven, but a stain left behind. Present acts may influence future character, hinder holy work, decide the lot that should fall to us, or be lost by us. Cruelty and inconsistency will ever deprive of noble work and honour.
II. That others may be called to execute work which they never originated. David prepared, and Solomon used the materials. “One soweth and another reapeth,” and thus the work is carried on under a divine plan. A work for us, and a sphere appointed to do it. What matter middle, beginning, or end? No Christian effort, no man’s life isolated. In our surroundings and duties our life’s purpose is unfolded.
1. They are specially designated for the work. “He shall build an house.” Cyrus called by name to do God’s pleasure, and set captives free (Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1).
2. Opportunities are given them to work. Solomon had rest from enemies, and Israel enjoyed “peace and quietness” in his days. Where God gives opportunity, leisure, and talent he expects work. If not done in time and place, may be left undone, or given to another. “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
III. That, when called, they should finish the work given them to do. “Arise, therefore, and be doing” (1 Chronicles 22:16).
1. The work is urgent. “Arise, &c.” We are apt to fall into apathy, formalism, and forgetfulness—to be absorbed by earthly cares, or overcome by temptation. Awake to holy zeal, intense concern for the Redeemer’s work.
2. God has promised help. Need of men and money, sanctified intellects and eloquent tongues, broad shoulders and active hands; but with all, and more than all, the Lord’s presence. Do we rely upon this? Are we earnestly desiring and praying for this? “The Lord be with thee, and prosper thee, &c.” (1 Chronicles 22:11).
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
1 Chronicles 22:2. Gather the strangers. A notable type of the calling of the Gentiles; and the like we may say of the temples being built on the ground of a Jebusite, and by the help of Tyrians and Zidonians, and adorned with the spoils of divers nations (chap. 18) [Trapp].
1 Chronicles 22:3. Prepared. Many parents prepare guilt in abundance, hoards and heaps of evil-gotten goods—and there-withal God’s curse—to spend on their lusts, &c. As for pious and charitable uses, they cry out with Judas, Whereto is this waste? [Ibid.].
1 Chronicles 22:5. Magnifical. The second temple was nothing like it, though the glory of it was greater (Haggai 2:0), by the presence and preaching of Jesus Christ in it [Ibid.].
1 Chronicles 22:9. A son predicted. I. Son of David; so was Christ. II. A man of rest; so was Christ. III. The giver of peace; so was Christ. IV. He had a significant name; so has Jesus Christ. V. He was a glorious king; so is Christ. VI. His great work was the building of the temple; so is the work of Christ [Bib. Museum].
1 Chronicles 22:11-13. A father’s prayer for his son. I. For the possession of moral qualities.
1. “Wisdom and understanding.” Parents should be anxious for the education and religious welfare of children. Inheritance, wealth, and position nothing without this. Wisdom needed to turn all to good account. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting get understanding.”
2. Strength and moral courage. “Be strong and of good courage.” 1 Chronicles 22:13. Enemies and dangers cause “dread.” In possession of sound wisdom and in vital alliance with God we are perfectly safe. Men without understanding and courage, out of place, weak and useless.
“Let not the world see fear and sad mistrust
Govern the motion of a kingly eye” [Shakespeare].
II. For the presence of God. “The Lord be with thee.” A petition often repeated, too little understood; needful and appropriate to all times, undertakings, and places; the wish of every good father, and the prayer of every true Christian for an earnest worker. “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” III. For successful undertaking. “Prosper thou and build.” All parents wish success to children in every pursuit, possession of influence and authority, “charge over Israel.” This often selfish, without reverent regard for the Lord’s will. Be anxious for moral integrity and loyal obedience of youth. No prosperity without obedience to “the law of the Lord” and regard for his will. “Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes, &c.”
“ ’Tis not in mortals to command success,
But we’ll do more, Sempronius; we’ll deserve it.”
CONDITIONS OF SUCCESSFUL EFFORT.—1 Chronicles 22:11-13
Time procured by our labours or help of others most profitably spent in God’s service, utilising the preparations, improving the advantages, and carrying on the work of predecessors. But success only on certain conditions.
I. Personal fitness. There must be ability, power, capacity, physical, intellectual, and moral.
1. Wisdom to direct. “Wisdom and understanding.” Not worldly policy, human education, “earthly wisdom;” but “wisdom from above” (James 3:15-17), that “wisdom profitable to direct” (Ecclesiastes 10:10).
2. Strength to work. Weakness, distrust, and hesitancy certain to fail. “Fortune favours the brave.” “Woe unto him that is faint-hearted,” says the son of Sirach. There must be no unfitness in act, heart, or capacity.
II. God’s presence to help in its prosecution. The word only (1 Chronicles 22:12) most suggestive, indicates entire failure without this. Skilful workmen, wise diplomatists, useful materials for work, may be needful, but divine help can never be dispensed with. The wisdom, the royal influence, and the powerful rule of Solomon not sufficient. “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man.”
III. Loyal obedience to God. “Keep the law of the Lord.” Success in departments of nature gained by submission to matter and co-operation with its laws. Our strength lies in “keeping the law.” The throne of kings, the business of merchants, the prosperity of churches, established by obedience. “Observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
THE EARNEST APPEAL.—1 Chronicles 22:17-19
Princes urged to help, to consecrate themselves first, for this the foundation of zeal; then reasons given for liberality in the work. This earnest appeal suggests—
I. That God has a temple to build among men. “Build ye the sanctuary.”
1. A sanctuary to be built. Not by earthly materials, but by “lively (living) stones” (1 Peter 2:5). A spiritual temple, a Christian church, as well as a material palace.
2. A sanctuary to be furnished. “Bring the ark and the holy vessels.” Furnished not with pompous ceremonies and burning tapers, but with moral beauty, appropriate rites, spiritual songs, devout attendants, and the presence of God. This the work of Solomon on the throne, courtiers in the palace, and people in the cottage. Gather your materials, and offer your gold and silver; give yourselves, and resolve “to help.”
II. That to this work the Christian Church is called. Not privileged to help in rearing the first or second temple, but earnestly called to this work.
1. Called by favourable circumstances. Land taken, inhabitants overcome, and rest given. Hindrances moved, and opportunities many.
2. Called by the will of God. Expressed in his word, by his servants, and by everything around us.
3. Called by the urgency of the work. “Arise, therefore, and be doing.” Now is the time. Delay risky to yourselves and others. It is sinful in itself, and an evil example to others.
III. That a spirit of active zeal should characterise the prosecution of this work. This designed by God in bestowment of gifts and arrangements of providence. “Now,” because this done for you, “arise, therefore.”
1. The heart should be fixed on it. Not the work of accident nor compulsion. Must be your choice and purpose. Energy, aim, and sympathy must be roused and fixed. Everything within us “set.”
2. Active excitement must be associated with constant labour. Apt to fall into a state of apathy and formalism. Nothing can overcome indolence, temptation, and neglect but holy love, heavenly excitement, and burning zeal. The Church must awake to a lively, intense concern, to adopt, carry out every plan, and become a diligent, faithful, and working Church. Listen to the call, and remember the promise of God. Answer every foe with Nehemiah: “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build.”
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
1 Chronicles 22:12. The qualifications needed. The source from whence they come. The design for which they are given. Keep the law of the Lord thy God.
1. God’s will is a law. Not an opinion, creed, or counsel. Something laid down, revealed, with authority and publicity.
2. This law should be kept. “That thou mayest keep the law.” Not given for mere study, information, or speculation, but for practice in life.
3. Obedience to this law is wisdom. It secures physical health, “length of days and long life.” It improves the powers of mind, and enlarges the sphere of usefulness. It is “a crown of glory,” and the highest possible good, the summum bonum to men. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting get understanding.”
1 Chronicles 22:19. Seeking after God. I. The occasion on which this injunction was given. II. The injunction itself.
1. The great object of our life.
2. In what way we are to prosecute it. And now
(1) Avail yourselves of the opportunities afforded for public usefulness;
(2) Begin with a surrender of your whole souls to God [C. Simeon, M.A]. The Important Search. I. The object searched. “The Lord your God.” An object supremely great and glorious, the perfection of all beings, the fountain of life and glory. Seek his favour, grace, and presence. II. The method of search. Naturally without God, yet our duty and privilege to seek, find, and serve him.
1. Earnestly. “Heart and soul engaged.” No fits and starts, not half-heartedness.
2. Resolutely. “Set your heart.” Nothing accomplished without fixed purpose. God the sublimest object on which we can fix our hearts. He is merciful and loveworthy. “Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye search for me with all your heart.”
ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 22
1 Chronicles 22:1-5; 1 Chronicles 22:14-16. David prepared. “Let those things,” says an author, “which are obviously most important and necessary be done first, and the less urgent afterwards. Let not a man begin business by building and expensively furnishing a fine house. Let the land be first cultivated. Let your business, whatever its nature, be faithfully and diligently minded and well-established, as far as human industry can effect, or human foresight calculate. Be content, in the meantime, with inferior accommodation. A man should have property well realised and secured before he enters on schemes of expensive building. He must not, with sanguine infatuation, appropriate the very first proceeds of his trade to the erection of a palace to live in.”
“When we mean to build,
We first survey the plot; then draw the model;
And when we see the figure of the house,
Then must we rate the cost of the erection;
Which, if we find outweighs ability,
What do we then but draw anew the model
In fewer offices, or at least desist
To build at all? &c.” [Shakespeare].
1 Chronicles 22:6-10. A son. If we would “mend the world we should mend ourselves, and teach our children to be not what we are, but what they should be” [W. Penn].
1 Chronicles 22:12-13. Prosper. “Man’s wisdom consists in observing God’s unalterable appointments and suiting himself to them” [Scott]. Then the way of God’s precepts leads to the enjoyment of his promises. Thou meetest him that worketh righteousness.
1 Chronicles 22:18. Be doing. A pious Scotch lady, Mrs. Duncan, remarked, “I feel that my heart is apt to grow to weeds, it needs the safeguard of steady employment.” “Doing nothing is doing ill.” “Life accordingly is a delight, just in the degree that it is consecrated to action, or the conscious, volitional exercise of our noblest capabilities. Action and enjoyment are contingent upon each other; when we are unfit for work we are always incapable of pleasure; work is the wooing by which happiness is won” [L. Grindon].
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 22". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent