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CRITICAL NOTES.] This chapter and following comprise last words of David, special directions to Solomon in building the temple and succeeding to the throne.
1 Chronicles 28:1-4.—The assembly of princes. All various officials, of whom account formerly given; really the whole court. Princes, the term one under which all persons of importance might be included not comprised in any other of the six classes [Speak. Com.]. 1 Chronicles 28:2. Stood. An effort in his age and weakness. Brethren, modest and affectionate. House of rest. Contrast with movable tabernacle. Ready. Gathered materials. 1 Chronicles 28:3. War (2 Samuel 7:5-13; 1 Kings 5:5). 1 Chronicles 28:4. Judah (Genesis 49:8-10). Like me (cf. 1 Samuel 16:0).
1 Chronicles 28:5-8.—Solomon declared successor. Succession indefinite at first through Nathan, then a distinct revelation that Solomon was chosen. 1 Chronicles 28:6. Courts—i.e., temple courts (2 Chronicles 4:9). Constant (1 Kings 3:14; 1 Kings 9:4). 1 Chronicles 28:8. Now. Appeal to congregation first, then to Solomon in their presence. Keep and seek. Exhortation similar to that of Moses (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).
1 Chronicles 28:9-10.—Charge to Solomon. Know, experimentally. Search. Least failure observed (cf. Psalms 139:1-3). Seek him (cf. Psalms 9:10). Strong (ch. 1 Chronicles 22:13; cf. Psalms 27:14; Psalms 31:24). 1 Chronicles 28:10. Special duty urged.
1 Chronicles 28:11-21.—The plan of the temple. Pattern, working plan, as Exodus 25:10. Set of directions in writing. Porch before the sanctuary (2 Chronicles 3:4). Houses. Holy and most holy places. Treas. Chambers built round the wall (1 Kings 6:5). Upper chambers. Over most holy place (2 Chronicles 3:9). Inner parlours. Lower rooms of side buildings of holy place, and perhaps also of porch. 1 Chronicles 28:12. By the spirit. Literally the pattern of all that was with him in the spirit or the form of all that floated before his mind. David’s spirit, not God’s spirit spoken of [Speak. Com.]. 1 Chronicles 28:13. Courses. Explained chaps. 23–25. 1 Chronicles 28:14. Weight. Fixing proportionate weights in things of gold. Candlesticks in temple were ten (2 Chronicles 4:7); silver ones for uses not specified. Tables. Ten connected with shewbread (1 Kings 7:48); silver tables for minor purposes. Bowls for sprinkling (2 Chronicles 4:11). Cups for libations (Exodus 25:29). Basons, covered vessels, tankards. Chariot. Two cherubs on mercy-seat constituted the chariot on which Jehovah rides (cf. Psalms 18:10; Psalms 99:1). 1 Chronicles 28:19. Hand. Pattern given by one of the prophets in writing; or by divine revelation, for which hand of Jehovah is equivalent (2 Chronicles 29:15). 1 Chronicles 28:20-21. Resume address broken off in 1 Chronicles 28:10. For former part, cf. chap. 1 Chronicles 22:13. Command. Literally, for all thy words.
DAVID’S ADDRESS TO THE PRINCES.—1 Chronicles 28:1-8
An assembly convened, consisting of princes of tribes, captains, and subordinate officers of the army, stewards of the royal household, and nobles of the land. The nation represented. The occasion solemn and important. David the centre and chief actor of the scene, about to abdicate in a different way from Charles V., before his grand audience, after a life spent in military pursuits and ambitious projects. The scene portrayed worth attention. Notice—
I. The attitude which David assumed. “The king stood up upon his feet.” Probably had been sitting before; very likely recovered from sickness mentioned (1 Kings 1:1). He receives strength in age and infirmity to stand up to improve the opportunity, and to inspire his audience with his own earnestness and enthusiasm. A reverent, dignified attitude that he felt due to the occasion, indicative of the influence of a great thought over the mind of man, and the power of that influence even in old age to rouse to duty. “Forsake me not, O God, in mine old age, when I am grey-headed, until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to all them that are yet for to come” (Psalms 71:16).
II. The spirit which David manifested. “My brethren and my people.”
1. A humble spirit. “My people” whom I rule, with whom I rank myself in this great work. He is their superior, but does not forget the command “that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren.”
2. An affectionate spirit. “My brethren” whom I love, not servants whom I command. Affection and condescension to inferiors becoming in monarchs. Not less honoured, but more beloved. “Love levels all,” said Cervantes.
3. A spirit of authority. “Hear me.” The king’s circumstances, history, and experience gave weight to his authority. His message solemn, required attention, and must be obeyed, if the nation prospered. “Where the word of a king is there is power.” Court and people are bound in faithfulness to their sovereign, and to the interests of their country. Hence “Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing” (Ecclesiastes 8:4-5).
III. The ambition which David cherished. “I had it in mine heart to build, &c.” (1 Chronicles 28:2). His cherished resolve not to be great, to build a family and extend a kingdom, &c., but “to build an house” for God, a purpose which filled his heart, occupied his time, and to accomplish which he gave his gold and gathered his materials. A noble purpose of immense value in life in giving strength and direction. To have one great aim, constantly present and made the habit of mind, to make every thought and every pursuit to centre upon this aim, will secure the happiness and improvement of life.
IV. The confession which David makes. God denied him the pleasure of building. In his heart, not executed by his hand, “because thou hast been a man of war,” a confession candid and unreserved. Many things veiled in forgetfulness, passed by in silence, and never made prominent and public. This a warning to all, that sins stain character, hinder from noblest work, and give unsuitableness to its accomplishment. “The Lord hath purposed; who shall disannul it?”
“A greater power than we can contradict
Hath thwarted our intents” [Shaks.]
THE TESTIMONY OF A NOBLE LIFE.—1 Chronicles 28:4-6
David here reviews his life, and at its close testifies to the goodness and grace of God.
I. In his choice to the throne God displays his sovereignty. The different steps mentioned. The tribe of Judah, then his father’s house, and among the sons of his father he alone chosen. Tribe, family, individual. The choice not according to man’s judgment. One after another set aside. “The Lord hath not chosen these;” right one found at length. “This is he.”
II. In his acquisition of the kingdom God manifests his providence. “To be king over Israel for ever.” Trained in shepherd life under a sense of duty, dependence upon God and self-control, disciplined by Divine providence to wait and prepare for the throne, gifted by God’s grace with special characteristics of prudence, wisdom, generosity, and courage, he was elevated to be king. The recollection of this sudden exaltation from humble station deeply impressed him through life. His last words a declaration of God’s providence and mercy.
III. In his son’s succession to the throne God fulfils his promise. “He said unto me, Solomon, thy son shall build, &c.” God seen through his own life down to succession of his son—who should build the temple, be established on the throne, and be taken into special covenant with God (cf. 2 Samuel 7:12-16). Blessings entailed upon family and posterity—“the promise to you and your children.” What we do, or sincerely design to do for God, though prevented, we shall in no wise lose reward. Satisfaction to parents while they live, to have signs and assurance through Divine promise of family piety and prosperity when they are dead.
THE CHOICE OF SOLOMON.—1 Chronicles 28:5-8
David addressing the assembly traces his election to the sovereignty of God. Solomon presented in the same set speech as successor; chosen on the same principle as himself, therefore worthy of reception and obedience. Notice—
I. The method by which Solomon came to reign. “He hath chosen Solomon to sit upon the throne of the kingdom.” Divine selection all through history of father and son. Human events to David not fortuitous occurrences, but Divine acts. Hence design, goodness, power, and providence in individual life.
II. The conditions on which his government will be established. Not by his policy, armies, and fleets; but by loyal obedience to God. This the rule for nations, leaders, and king. God purposes and arranges not in disregard to our response to his commands.
1. The constant obedience of the sovereign. “I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments.” The security and perpetuity of Solomon’s reign depended upon this condition.
2. The intelligent obedience of the people. “Keep and seek for all the commandments” (1 Chronicles 28:8). Seek, inquire to know; then keep, practise what you know; all commandments. Obedience intelligent, obedience impartial, and obedience uniform, the triple conditions of temporal prosperity, of real establishment of families and nations—the only way to enjoy our inheritance and to transmit it safely to our successors. “That ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
1 Chronicles 28:1. David assembled.
1. In a critical time of national history—the king’s departure, and choice of successor.
2. To hear parting counsel of the dying monarch. Advice to Solomon, princes, and all; advice concerning present and future.
1 Chronicles 28:5-8. Solomon, my son. Scarce any of the Roman emperors had a son to succeed him; all, or most of them, till Constantine, died unnatural deaths [Trapp]. Shall build a material temple; Christ, a mystical, that is the Church, which is the house of God (1 Timothy 3:15). For this and the following promises are, some peculiar to Solomon, some to Christ, and some to both as the types and antitypes [Ibid.]. I will be his father (1 Chronicles 28:6). Solomon’s by adoption and regeneration. See 2 Corinthians 6:18. Christ’s, by eternal generation and personal union. God saith the same to all Christian princes, but then they must make it their case to build him a spiritual temple [Ibid.]. Be constant (1 Chronicles 28:7). Hebrew, strong; for he will be hard put to it. God’s promises are conditional. See 2 Samuel 7:0. As at this day. Solomon had been well instructed in the ways of God, both by father (Proverbs 4:4) and mother (Proverbs 31:1), and while young he did God’s commandments and judgments, as hinted in these words, but he was not so constant. 1 Chronicles 28:8. Keep and seek. Keep what you know already, and seek to be yet further instructed. By this latter word “seek” tollit ignorantiam illam crassam, saith Vatablus, he striketh at affected ignorance [Ibid.].
1 Chronicles 28:8, grounded on this promise is a double charge; first, to the people, and then to Solomon. Keeping and seeking the commandments of the Lord, is at once the test and the security of his people [Murphy].
A religious training. I. Given with great affection. Many sons. Solomon chosen, &c. (1 Chronicles 28:5). II. Practical in its tendency. “Keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord.” A training that deadens; this quickening intellectually and morally. III. Solemn in its sanctions. “In the sight of all Israel, the congregation of the Lord. and in the audience of our God.” IV. Benevolent in its design. To be established in our position, and to preserve and hand down our trust to others. “That ye may possess this good land, &c.”
DAVID’S CHARGE TO SOLOMON.—1 Chronicles 28:9-10; 1 Chronicles 28:20-21
Very touching and important is this charge; everything to give solemnity and perpetual interest to the scene. Solomon urged to—
I. A personal acquaintance with God. “Know thou the God of thy father”—not theoretic knowledge, Solomon plenty of that; but practical and experimental. David concerned that his son should be religious; not great, popular, and wise. Knowledge of God the foundation of all religion and usefulness. This knowledge includes—
1. An intelligent view of his nature. Impossible to know God perfectly, but belief in his existence, holiness, omniscience, and truth. The science of God, the central, the vital science—that which gives life, unity, and beauty to every branch of knowledge.
2. This knowledge obtained by obedience. Loving and serving God the way to know him. “If any man will do his will, he shall know.”
II. A practical regard to God’s service. Knowledge that is life first, and then service. Much excitement, effort, and service without personal acquaintance with God.
1. A willing service. “With a willing mind.” The hand may act without the will. Service mechanical, drudgery, unless willingly given. God requires consent—does not force nor constrain. Taskmasters force (Pharaoh). God’s service free and voluntary. “Who is willing to consecrate his service?”
2. A stedfast service. “Serve him with a perfect heart”—with an undivided mind; with the whole heart. Not “a double heart” (Heb., a heart and a heart), Psalms 12:2. No duplicity nor deception; no wavering, halting between two opinions, nor compromise (Matthew 6:24). “Ungodly professors have two hearts, two lords, two ends, two ways” (Cocceius). “Come not unto the Lord with a double heart” (Ecclesiastes 1:18).
III. The importance of the work bequeathed him to finish. “Thou art to build a house for the sanctuary.” Solomon’s whole life should be active and holy service. The temple special and inherited work.
1. Undertake cautiously. “Take heed now.” Work difficult, requiring prudence and care. Solomon young and inexperienced, and possibly might meet with indifference, if not opposition.
2. Finish it courageously. “Be strong and do it.” Do it without delay and reluctance. “Blessed is the man that findeth his work,” says Carlyle. Many find, but neglect it. The blessedness in doing it. “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
IV. The powerful inducements to the performance of this work. Solomon’s circumstances most eventful and inspiriting. Ever surrounded by influences and motives to performance of duty.
1. He is chosen to the work. “The Lord hath chosen thee to build.” Not every man is a builder. Some gather materials, and others plan and lay the foundation. God chooses and qualifies his architects in Church and State. “I have raised him up … he shall build my city” (Isaiah 45:13).
2. The people are ready to co-operate with him in the work. “The courses of the priests and the Levites shall be with thee” (1 Chronicles 28:21). Advice and help—workmen “willing and skilful” of great service. When none oppose, when “the princes and all the people are wholly at command,” then work is likely to succeed, and we should be eager to carry it on.
3. God will help him. “The Lord God, even my God, will be with thee” (1 Chronicles 28:20). God, who strengthens and prospers the father, will “not fail nor forsake the son.” These motives fit to stir up, animate true-hearted workers, and admonish to action. Avoid fear; “fear not, nor be dismayed. Cherish courage;” be strong and of good courage. Begin thy work at once, “do it.” “Arise, therefore, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee.”
“Do what thou dost, as if the earth were heaven,
And that thy last day were the judgment day:
When all’s done, nothing’s done” [Kingsley].
GOD’S RELATION TO HUMAN LIFE.—1 Chronicles 28:9
This description of God introduced as an argument for sincerity of life. He sees, knows; our hearts and actions; therefore serve him perfectly, &c. Learn—
I. That our life is exposed to God’s inspection. “The Lord searcheth all hearts.” This implies that all our deportment is open to God’s inspection. Some imagine that God is too great to regard such a creature as man. But what he created is not beneath him to notice. To Him great and small are equal. He is cognisant of an atom as of a globe; of an insect as an angel. From Him nothing hid. “Hell is naked before Him, and destruction hath no covering.” “He looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven.”
II. That our service to God should spring from sincere motives. “And understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts.” God’s attention not limited to actions and words—his province and prerogative to read and understand “imaginations” (phantases, imaged deeds) “of the thoughts.” Hence no deceiving Him by falsehood and form. He desires “truth in the inward parts,” as opposed to hypocrisy and self-deceit (Psalms 51:6). Hearts must be sincere and thoughts of God pure. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked” with heartless, outward service. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts,” &c.
III. That our welfare depends upon our conduct towards God. He is to be known and served. Our interest to obey.
1. True service will be rewarded. “If thou seek him he will be found of thee.” The smallest service no trifle to God. David’s desire to build well-pleasing to God. “Thou didst well that it was in thine heart.” The will accepted for the deed. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath.”
2. Opportunity neglected will be disastrous. “If thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.” Forsake, after knowing, obeying, and working for him. Cast off, as worthless and lost. Solomon’s interest, duty, and danger are put before him in true and impressive light by a pious and dying father. If youth give no heed to parental requests and heavenly calls, they forsake their highest interests; enter a path of folly, which leads to failure; to death without recovery; to a future without hope.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR BUILDING THE TEMPLE.—1 Chronicles 28:11-20
Evidently David wished to make a solemn and formal business, in giving instructions and handing over the plans for the Temple with elevations, measurements, apartments, and chief articles of furniture.
I. The plan of the Temple. “David gave to Solomon the pattern.”
1. Divine in its origin. He claims the divine sanction and inspiration which Moses claimed for the tabernacle of old (Exodus 25:40). From porch at one end to sanctuary at the other, nothing left to arbitrary choice, to man’s act and invention; all given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Models given in Christian life and Christian character; the Spirit will help to carry them out and guide in every detail.
2. Written in form. “The Lord made me understand in writing” (1 Chronicles 28:19). Visions and dreams pass away. Written instructions abide; often consulted and meet our necessities. The word of God is “written for our instruction” in building up Christian life and the spiritual temple. But “the hand” must be upon us to make the word effectual and the work successful.
II. The materials of the Temple. Gold and silver, “wrought stones and brass in abundance without weight.” Gathered, as we have seen, from all quarters and in different times. David’s work was difficult and thorough; lasting and worthy of imitation. He gave time and trouble, his substance, and his heart to accomplish it.
III. The furniture of the Temple. Vessels of gold and silver, candlesticks and lamps, tables and altars, &c. The porch, the holy and most holy place to be appropriately furnished. In these directions David guided by Divine will, not by his own taste. God only knows what is fit for his own house. Put nothing into it that ought not to be there; take nothing out which ought to be there. “Look that thou make them after the pattern which was shewed thee in the mount.”
DAVID’S ADDRESS TO SOLOMON
1. It was an address of a dying father to a son. May all our children read it with a feeling heart!
2. It embraces the sum total of real religion. This has two distinct parts—
(1) The first includes a knowledge of God: “Know thou the God of thy fathers.” 1st. Know him as a sin-pardoning God (Jeremiah 24:7). 2nd. Know him so as to be at peace with him (Job 22:21). 3rd. Know him so as to love and live to him. 4th. This true saving knowledge of God may be known by its peculiar properties. It is, first, experimental (Psalms 34:8; 1 Peter 2:3); second, soul-abasing (Job 42:5-6; Ephesians 3:8); third, growing (Job 1:10; 2 Peter 3:18); fourth, pure (James 3:17; 1 John 3:6); fifth, practical (1 John 2:3; John 10:4).
(2) True piety includes the serving of God “with a perfect heart, a willing mind.” 1st. God must be served; that is, worshipped and obeyed. 2nd. He must be served “with a perfect heart;” that is, with an entire and undivided heart; with a heart inflamed with love and burning with zeal for God’s glory. 3rd. “With a willing mind;” that is, with alacrity, delight, and joy.
(3) David urged this exhortation upon the attention of his son by a threefold consideration:
1. By the consideration that God is the searcher of hearts: “The Lord searcheth all hearts.” The heathens had no such exalted ideas of any of their gods.
2. That he is the rewarder of piety: “If thou seek him,” in the way he hath appointed, “he will be found of thee;” will make himself known to thee as thy Friend, and Father and God in covenant.
3. That he is the punisher of apostasy: “If thou forsake him,” desert his love and service and turn from following him, “he will cast thee off;” will withdraw his gracious and powerful presence from thee, and change his countenance and course towards thee [Rev. J. Wilson].
HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
1 Chronicles 28:9. The God of thy father.
1. The rich experience behind these words.
2. The force of parental affection in giving that experience.
3. The susceptibility of youth to profit by the teaching. Home instruction needed, may be repeated from one generation to another. Home influence never lost.
“The fond attachment to the well-known place,
Whence first we started into life’s long race,
Retains its hold with such unfailing away,
We feel it e’en in age, and at our latest day” [Cowper].
If thou seek God, &c.
1. The object of search. God lost through sin; must be sought; worthy of seeking. His friendship and favour, the best of all blessings.
2. The promise of success. “He will be found of thee.” This proved from Scripture and experience. A declaration of David’s experience.
3. The threatened displeasure. “If thou forsake him, &c.” This caution to guard and stimulate. Forsaking God to be alienated in thought and affection. The unregenerate turn their backs and wander like the prodigal. Unconverted world without God, in dark region of atheism. Those who remain in this state will be cast away. But “God,” says one, “never cast man off until they first cast Him off.”
1 Chronicles 28:9-10. Fathers and Children. In this earnest and affectionate charge we see one generation—
1. Transmitting the knowledge of God to its successor.
2. Enjoining the service of God upon its successor.
3. Indicating God’s method of dealing with its successor.
4. Bequeathing its unfulfilled intentions to its successor [Mt. Braithwaite].
1 Chronicles 28:10. For the sanctuary or for sanctification—i.e., where God may sanctify his people in holy ordinances, and be sanctified by them in holy duties [Trapp].
1 Chronicles 28:11. Place of the mercy seat, lit. the house of the mercy seat. Seat of mercy in Holy of Holies, Jesus Christ, the Christian Church and the human heart.
1 Chronicles 28:14. Gold by weight. The vessels for the holy place were of gold, as those for the priests’ court were of silver. Now, like as in the temple there were some vessels of gold, and some of silver, and all had their weight and their use; so in the Church of Christ there are diversity of vessels, and of gifts (2 Timothy 2:0) [Trapp].
1 Chronicles 28:18. Chariot a fit comparison, because God is said to sit and to dwell within them. Because a chariot is made to carry a person from place to place, an intimation that God was not fixed to them by the building of the temple, but that he would remove from them if they forsook him [Benson].
1 Chronicles 28:20-21. Learn—
1. The dignity and lustre of David’s dying hour.
2. The usefulness of David’s death, as well as life.
3. The great privilege of those interested and blessed with the dying counsels and prayers of the godly [J. Burns, D.D.].
ILLUSTRATION TO CHAPTER 28
1 Chronicles 28:2. Hear me. The death-bed of a saint ofttimes resembles the setting sun, whose rays are the brightest when it is nearest the horizon. “The tongues of dying men enforce attention, like deep harmony” [Shaks.].
“The chamber where the good man meets his fate.
Is privileged beyond the common walk
Of virtuous life, quite in the verge of heaven” [Young].
1 Chronicles 28:10. Take heed. The substance of a child’s duty and the foundation of his happiness lie in these two rules laid down in Proverbs 1:7-9, namely, to fear God and to honour his parents [Nicholls].
1 Chronicles 28:20. My God. How few like David have God and gold together [G. Villiers]. “There is much religion in the possessive pronouns” [Luther].
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 28". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27