1 Chronicles 29 Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

(Read all of 1 Chronicles 29)
This chapter relates how largely and liberally David, besides what he had before done, and his princes, offered towards defraying the expenses of building the temple, 1 Chronicles 29:1 and the joy and thankfulness that he and his people expressed on that account, attended with prayers for Solomon, and offering sacrifices unto the Lord, 1 Chronicles 29:9 and the chapter is closed, and so the book, with an account of the second unction of Solomon, the placing him on the throne, and the submission of all ranks of men unto him, and of the death of David, 1 Chronicles 29:22.

Verse 1. Furthermore, David the king said unto all the congregation,.... Having finished what he had to say to Solomon, he addressed the congregation again:

Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen; both to be king, and to build the temple

is yet young and tender; see 1 Chronicles 22:5

and the work is great; both of governing so great a people, and of building so magnificent a temple, especially the latter is meant:

for the palace is not for man; for any mortal king, though ever so great:

but for the Lord God; the Targum is, "but for the Word of the Lord God," who is the King of kings, and Lord of lords; and therefore is to be built as with the greatest exactness, according to the pattern he himself has given, so with the greatest splendour and magnificence.

Verse 2. Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God,.... According to the utmost of his ability for the building and decorating of it:

the gold for the things to be made of gold; as the candlesticks, shewbread tables, &c.

and the silver for [things] of silver; as for basins, &c.

and the brass for [things] of brass; as the brasen altar, brasen laver,

and iron for [things] of iron; for nails, hinges, &c.

and wood for [things] of wood; for rafters, ceilings, floors, &c.

onyx stones; the Targum, stones of beryl: and stones to be set; other precious stones to be set in gold and silver:

glistering stones; the Targum, emeralds; the word is used for stibium, or black lead, with which women painted their eyes; and so may signify black stones, like black lead; as white marble is after mentioned, perhaps black is here meant, or such stones Solomon paved the ways with leading to Jerusalem {y}: but as such stones are not very glistering, there seems to be no reason for such an epithet; unless the stone "phengites" should be meant, which was a clear bright stone, and served for looking glasses. Domitian the Roman emperor, when under suspicion of being murdered by persons he had offended, garnished the porticos of his palace with this stone, which was of such brightness, that by the images formed in it he could see what was behind him {z}; and so Lucian speaks {a} of Astarte having a splendid stone about her, called lucniv, which in the night gave much light to the temple, but shone weakly in the day time, and looked like fire:

and of divers colours; that is, stones of various colours, as jaspers, amethysts, &c. Kimchi interprets it of embroidered clothes, and garments of needlework, and in these precious stones were sometimes inserted:

and all manner of precious stones; as pearls, diamonds, &c. it is hard to say what all these precious stones were for; Jarchi and Kimchi think they were to decorate the walls overlaid with gold, in which they were set; it is certain they were for garnishing and beautifying the house, see 2 Chronicles 3:6

and marble stones in abundance; for pillars, tables, and pavement, as Jarchi; this was Parian marble, according to the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions; the whitest of marble {b}, found the island of Paros, and which agrees with the word here used.

{y} Joseph. Antiqu. l. 8. c. 7. sect. 4. {z} Sueton. Vit. Domitian. c. 14. Vid. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 36. c. 22. Isidor. Origin. l. 16. c. 4. {a} De Dea Syria. {b} "----Pario marmore purius." Horat. Carmin. l. 1. ode 19.

Verse 3. Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God,.... Had a good will to it, and was earnestly desirous of having it built, and that in a grand manner:

I have of my own proper good; which he had treasured up for his own use:

of gold and silver, [even that] I have given to the house of my God; to build or ornament it, or make vessels for it:

over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house; for the building of the temple, which is made mention of in the preceding chapter.

Verse 4. Even three thousand talents of gold,.... Which, according to Scheuchzer {c}, amount to 36,660,000 ducats of gold; and, according to Brerewood {d}, to 13,500,000 pounds of our money:

of the gold of Ophir; which was reckoned the best gold; not Ophir in India, which was not known till Solomon's time, but in Arabia, as Bochart {e} has shown; so Eupolemus {f}, an Heathen writer, says, that David having built ships at Achan, a city of Arabia, sent miners to Urphe (supposed to be the same with Ophir) in the island of the Red sea, abounding with gold, and from thence fetched it, See Gill on 1Ki 9:28, and that he was able to give so great a sum out of his own substance, Dr. Prideaux {g} thinks, can only be accounted for by his great returns from this traffic; since these 3000 talents, according to him, amounted to 21,600,000 pounds sterling:

and seven thousand talents of refined silver; amounting, according to Scheuchzer {h}, to 31,500,000 imperials, or rix dollars; and, according to Brerewood {i}, to 2,625,000 pounds of our money:

to overlay the walls of the houses withal; the gold was to overlay the walls of the holy and most holy place, the silver to overlay the walls of the chambers built around the temple.

{c} Physica Sacra, vol. 4. p. 631. {d} De Ponder. & Pret. Vet. Num. c. 5. {e} Phaleg. l. 2. c. 27. col. 140. {f} Apud Euseb. Evangel. Praepar. l. 9. c. 30. p. 447. {g} Connection, par. 1. p. 5, 6. {h} Ut supra. (Physica Sacra, vol. 4. p. 631.) {i} Ut supra. (De Ponder. & Pret. Vet. Num. c. 5.)

Verse 5. The gold for things of gold, the silver for things of silver,.... The one for what was to be overlaid with gold, the other for what was to be overlaid with silver:

and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers; what remained was to be made use of in employing artificers in making vessels for the temple that were needful:

and who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord; or fill his hand? {k} and give largely and liberally towards building an house for the service and worship, honour and glory, of God; and David, having set so good an example, could with the better grace recommend the good work to his nobles and people, and which had its desired effect, as follows.

{k} wdy twalml "impleat manum suam," V. L. "ut impleat manum suam," Vatablus, Piscator.

Verse 6. Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel,.... The princes of the twelve tribes:

and the captains of thousands, and of hundreds, with the rulers over the king's work; who were now assembled, 1 Chronicles 28:1

offered willingly; and cheerfully; needed no more arguments to press them to it, but at once readily communicated.

Verse 7. And gave for the service of the house of God,.... For building and adorning it, and providing proper utensils for it:

of gold five thousand talents; which, according to Scheuchzer {l}, came to 61,100,000 ducats of gold: and these, with "the 10,000 drachms"; make of our money, according to Brerewood {m}, 22,507,500 pounds; some reckon a drachm at two ducats and a half, and somewhat more {n}:

and of silver ten thousand talents; which, according to the former writer, amounted to 450,000,000 imperials, or rix dollars; and, according to the latter, they made of our money 3,750,000 pounds:

and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron; the weight of each of which were so much.

{l} Ut supra. (Physica Sacra, vol. 4. p. 631.) {m} Ut supra. (Physica Sacra, vol. 4. p. 631.) {n} Eisenschmidius apud Scheuchzer. ib. p. 635.

Verse 8. And they with whom precious stones were found,.... Such as are mentioned 1 Chronicles 29:2

gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord; to be laid up there:

by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite; who, and his sons, had the care of that treasury, 1 Chronicles 27:21.

Verse 9. Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly,.... They were not only glad that they had it to offer, but that they had hearts to do it; they found themselves quite free to do the work, and saw it was so with others, which gave them extreme pleasure:

because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord; not grudgingly, but cheerfully; not pressed and urged to it; not by constraint, but freely, and that with a pure view to the honour and glory of God:

and David the king also rejoiced with great joy; it made his heart glad exceedingly, now he was old, and just going out of the world, to see this good work in such forwardness, on which his heart had been so much set; it gave him reason to believe it would be set about in good earnest, be carried on with vigour, and brought to perfection.

Verse 10. Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation,.... To whose goodness he ascribed both the ability and willingness of him, and his people, to offer after such a manner; he knew it was God that wrought in them both to will and to do, and therefore gave him the glory of it:

and David said, blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our Father, for ever and ever; the phrase, "our father," does not belong to the God of Israel, their father by covenant and adoption, but to Israel, or Jacob, the ancestor of the Jewish nation; who is made mention of on this occasion, he being the first that spoke of building an house for God, as some Jewish writers, Jarchi and Kimchi, observe, see Genesis 28:22.

Verse 11. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty,.... That is, either God is possessed of all greatness and immensity, of dignity of nature, and of all perfections; of almighty power, of excellent glory, of superiority to all beings and of honour, and majesty, and all that grandeur, might, and honour in men, and victory over others; the majestic appearance they make, and exaltation above others they have, are all of God:

for all that is in the heaven and in the earth [is thine]; they are both made by him, and all that is in them, and therefore he has the sole right unto them:

thine is the kingdom, O Lord; of nature and Providence; he has the sole dominion over all creatures, and the sovereign disposal of all things:

and thou art exalted as head above all; men on earth, and angels in heaven.

Verse 12. Both riches and honour come of thee,.... Whatever of either the children of men have is not owing to their merits, nor to their diligence and industry, and wise conduct, but to the providence of God, Ecclesiastes 9:11 so the gods with the Heathens are said {o} to be givers of riches:

and thou reignest over all; govern the world by wisdom, and dispose all things in it for the best:

in thine hand is power and might; to do whatsoever he pleaseth:

and in thine hand it is to make great; in worldly things, and so in spiritual:

and to give strength unto all; against their enemies, and to do the will and work of God; of all which David had had an experience.

{o} ploutodotai, Hesiod. Opera, ver. 124. see ver. 316.

Verse 13. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. That he that was so great, and so much above them, should take notice of them, and bestow so many great and good things on them.

Verse 14. But who am I,.... Originally dust and ashes, a sinful creature, unworthy to receive anything from God, and of having the honour of doing anything for him:

and what is my people: subject to him, the least of all people, separated from the nations round about them, and despised by them:

that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? that they, who were a poor people, some years ago brought out of Egyptian bondage, should now be possessed of such an affluence, and have such a generous heart and liberal spirit given them, as to contribute in so large and liberal a manner as they had done; all was owing to the goodness of God to them, and the efficacy of his grace upon them:

for all things come of thee; all good things, temporal and spiritual; the Lord is the fountain of goodness, and Father of mercies:

and of thine own have we given thee; for there is nothing a man has but he has received from the Lord, and therefore can give nothing to him but his own, see Romans 11:35.

Verse 15. 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} hwqm Nya "non est expectatio sive spes," Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Michaelis.

Verse 16. O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared,.... Of gold, silver, &c. that he and his people had provided and contributed: the gold, according to Jacob Leon {r}, amounted to 59,766 tons of gold, and 46,123 gilders, each ton to be reckoned at least 1000 pounds sterling; the silver, reduced to the value of gold, made 46,337 tons, and two hundred and fifty gilders; but both, according to Witsius {s}, amounted to 20,585 tons of gold; and if the talents were talents of the sanctuary, and they double the common talents, as some say they were, it was as much more, and may well be expressed by

all this store, besides the brass, iron, &c.

to build thee an house for thine holy name; to perform holy and religious worship in it, for the glory of his name: cometh of

thine hand, and [is] all thine own: this he repeats, that God might have all the glory of all they had and did.

{r} Relation of Memorable Things in the Tabernacle and Temple, ch. 3. p. 14, 15. {s} Miscellan. tom. 2. p. 258.

Verse 17. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart,.... Searchest it, and knowest it perfectly, whether what is done is from it:

and hast pleasure in uprightness; in what is done in sincerity and uprightness of heart:

as for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; for the truth of which he could appeal to the heart searching God:

and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee; he judged by what they did, and their manner of doing it, that it was done in the uprightness of their hearts also, as his were, which gave him sensible joy and pleasure.

Verse 18. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, &c:] The ancestors of the Jewish nation, whose covenant God the Lord was, and who had ever been mindful of his promise to them, with respect to them their seed:

keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people; let the same disposition of mind always continue in them to serve the Lord their God:

and prepare their heart unto thee; incline and dispose their minds always to fear the Lord, and obey his will.

Verse 19. And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes,.... All the laws of God, moral, ceremonial, and judicial, even to observe them cordially and sincerely:

and to do all those things; he had suggested to him particularly:

and to build the palace for the which I have made provision; as before declared.

Verse 20. And David said to all the congregation,.... Consisting of princes, captains, and officers, 1 Chronicles 28:1

now bless the Lord your God; as he had done, for putting it into the power of their hands, and into their hearts, to do what they had:

and all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers; some one as the mouth of the rest put up a thanksgiving to God, as David directed, to which they all assented, and in which they all joined:

and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord and the king; the one with religious worship, the other with civil; the Syriac and Arabic versions more plainly distinguish, "they worshipped the Lord, and blessed David the king"; though some think Solomon, now made king, is meant.

Verse 21. And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord,.... David and the congregation:

and offered burnt offerings unto the Lord on the morrow after that day; not having time enough on that day to perform, at least not all of them; and these they offered on the altar David had erected in the threshingfloor of Araunah, by the order of God, where afterwards the temple was built:

[even] a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their burnt offerings; and meat offerings also, both which always went along with them:

and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel; whom they represented; these last were peace offerings, part of which the offerers had for themselves and friends to feast on, as these did, as follows.

Verse 22. And they did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness,.... Before the ark of the Lord, which was in the tabernacle David had pitched for it:

and they made Solomon the son of David king the second time; the first was upon Adonijah's rebellion, and was done in the presence only of the inhabitants of Jerusalem; but this was done by and in the presence of all the great personages in the land:

and anointed him unto the Lord to be the chief governor; under his father during his lifetime, and then to reign in his own right:

and Zadok to be priest; high priest; which office yet he did not exercise till after the death of David, when Abiathar was thrust out by Solomon.

Verse 23. Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord,.... Who had given it to him, and established him on it, and whose vicegerent he was, and over whose people he ruled:

as king instead of David; he was viceroy to him in his life time, and succeeded him at his death, when he had the full power of government:

and prospered; his reign was happy and peaceable:

and all Israel obeyed him; at once; whereas it was some time, even years, before all Israel obeyed David.

Verse 24. And all the princes and the mighty men,.... The princes of the tribes, and the officers of the army:

and all the sons likewise of King David; as many as were living: and though they were elder than Solomon,

[they] submitted to Solomon the king; or "gave the hand under" {t} him, promised obedience, and swore allegiance to him, see Genesis 24:2.

{t} txt dy Mvyw "dederunt manum sub Selomoh," Pagninus, Montanus, Michaelis.

Verse 25. And the Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly before all Israel,.... By giving him such a large share of wisdom and understanding in government:

and bestowed upon him such royal majesty; not only such wealth and riches, but such honour and reverence,

as had not been on any king before him in Israel; not on Saul, nor even on David.

Verse 26. Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. As before related in this book, and in the second book of Samuel; his reign being long and glorious.

Verse 27. And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years,.... See 1 Kings 2:11.

Verse 28. And he died in a good old age,.... Being seventy years of age:

full of days, riches, and honour; had as much of either of them as he could wish for; and having enough, he sought after, and was taken to the possession of, eternal life, durable riches, and honours, and glory, that fade not away:

and Solomon his son reigned in his stead; in full power and authority.

Verse 29. Now the acts of David the king, first and last,.... All that he did that was memorable, both before he was king, and when king in Hebron, and then in Jerusalem:

behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer; which were journals of his life and actions, begun by Samuel, and carried on by Nathan and Gad; out of which what is recorded in canonical Scripture was taken by divine direction, and preserved, while other writings are lost; or rather the book of Samuel designs the first book of Samuel, and the books of Nathan and Gad the second book of Samuel, by whom it was written.

Verse 30. With all his reign and his might,.... The whole of it, and the mighty valiant acts done by him, the battles he fought, and the victories he obtained:

and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and all the kingdoms of the countries; things that were done in his time in Israel, and in the nations round about subdued by him, as Moab, Ammon, Syria, and Philistia.