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In this chapter we read of the place David pitched upon by divine direction for building the temple on, ( 1 Chronicles 22:1), the preparation he made of artificers to build it, and of matter to build it of, as iron, brass, and wood, ( 1 Chronicles 22:2-5), the charge and instructions he gave to Solomon to set about it, ( 1 Chronicles 22:6-16) and to the princes of Israel to assist him in it, ( 1 Chronicles 22:7-19).
Ver. 1 . Then David said , etc.] Within himself, or to some principal persons about him: this is the house of the Lord God ; the place where the temple was to be built, hinted at in ( Deuteronomy 12:5) and elsewhere; the meaning is, here, or in “this” place, shall be the house of God, so Noldius f88 , for as yet there were none; but it was now made known to David that here it should be built, and so the words in ( 2 Chronicles 3:1) should be rendered, then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem, which was shown to David his father, which he prepared in the place of David, that which he bought in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite: and this is the altar for the burnt offering for Israel ; not which he had built here; but this is the place where one should be built for the people of Israel to bring their offerings to, and to be here offered for them by the priests: this he said by a divine impulse upon his mind, or which he concluded from the acceptance of his sacrifice here, signified by fire that came down from heaven and consumed it; and this being in the threshingfloor of the Jebusites, might prefigure the church of God to be built up among the Gentiles.
Ver. 2 . And David commanded to gather together the strangers that were in the land of Israel , etc.] The proselytes, as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions; that is, proselytes of the gate, who submitted to the seven precepts of Noah, were admitted to dwell in the Cities of Israel, (see Genesis 9:4) and these were ordered to be got together to be employed in building the temple, and making preparations for it; and that partly because they were better artificers than the Israelites, who were chiefly employed in husbandry and cattle, and partly that the Israelites, who were freemen, might not be put to hard service; but chiefly this was for the sake of a mystery in it, denoting that the Gentiles would be concerned in building the spiritual house and church of God, the temple was a type and figure of, (see Zechariah 6:15) and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God ; to dig them out of the quarries, and fit them for the building.
Ver. 3 . And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings , etc.] Great plenty of iron to make nails of for joining the boards together, of which the doors and gates were to be made, and for the fastening of the hinges of them: and brass in abundance without weight ; for making the altar of brass, and the laver of brass, and other vessels. Brass was much used by the Heathens in sacred things, as Macrobius observes.
Ver. 4 . Also cedar trees in abundance , etc.] To be sawed into boards and planks for the cieling, wainscotting, and flooring of the temple, and other things: for the Zidonians, and they of Tyre, brought much cedar wood to David ; from Mount Lebanon, which was chiefly in their possession; and which they did either of themselves as a free gift and present to him, or at his request, for which he paid them; and this is another thing prefiguring the help of the Gentiles in building up the church of Christ in Gospel times.
Ver. 5 . And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender , etc.] Jarchi supposes he was about twelve years of age, though he observes that the same word is used of Joshua when forty two years of age; it is probable Solomon might be now about twenty: and the house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnificent, of fame and of glory throughout all countries : and such was the temple built by Solomon; it was renowned throughout the whole earth; never was there a temple equal to it, no, not the famous temple of Diana at Ephesus, built by the assistance of many kings, and at the expense of all Asia, and was two hundred years in building: I will therefore now, make preparation for it ; seeing his son was so young, and this building to be so magnificent, though he himself was not admitted to build it: so David prepared abundantly before his death ; of which we have an after account in this chapter, and more largely in ( 1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30).
Ver. 6 . Then he called for Solomon his son , etc.] To be brought before him: and charged him to build an house for the Lord God of Israel ; which charge was given a little before his death, after he had made great preparations for this work, as appears from ( 1 Chronicles 22:5,14-16).
Ver. 7 . And David said to Solomon , etc.] When brought into his presence: my son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God ; he was disposed and inclined to it, and was once determined upon it, (see 2 Samuel 7:2,3).
Ver. 8 . But the word of the Lord came to me , etc.] The word of prophecy, as the Targum, by the mouth of Nathan the prophet: saying ; as follows, which though not expressed in the book of Samuel before referred to, is here recorded by divine inspiration: thou hast shed blood abundantly ; Kimchi thinks this refers to the blood of Uriah, and those gallant men that were slain with him, and to the priests slain by the order of Saul, which David was the occasion of, or accidental cause of, ( 1 Samuel 22:22) and to many good men among the Gentiles; though it was the intention of the Lord to consume the wicked among them, that they might not prevail over Israel: and hast made great wars : with the Philistines, Moabites, etc. thou shall not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight ; an intimation this, that the church of God, of which this house was a type, was to be built by Christ, the Prince of peace, and to be supported and maintained not by force of arms, and by spilling of blood, as the religion of Mahomet, but by the preaching of the Gospel of peace.
Ver. 9 . Behold, a son shall be born to thee , etc.] For this was said to David before the birth of Solomon, (see 2 Samuel 7:12,13 12:24) who shall be a man of rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about : and so should be at leisure for such a work, and his people enjoy great prosperity and riches, and so be capable of contributing largely and liberally to it: for his name shall be Solomon ; which signifies peace, and is one of the six persons that had their names given them before they were born, as the Jews observe f90 : and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days ; and so a proper time to begin and carry on such a work; of the fulfilment of this prophecy, (see 1 Kings 4:24,25 5:3,4).
Ver. 10 . He shall build an house for my name , etc.] For the worship of God, and for his honour and glory: and he shall be my son, and I will be his father ; (see 2 Samuel 7:13,14) and which is applied to Christ, ( Hebrews 1:5) and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever ; that is, for a long time in his posterity; and which will have its fulfilment in Christ, his antitype, in the utmost sense of the expression, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his throne for ever and ever, ( Luke 1:32,33 Hebrews 1:8).
Ver. 11 . Now, my son, the Lord be with thee , etc. Or “shall be with thee” f91 , as some; and if it be as a prayer, it was no doubt a prayer of faith; the Targum is, “may the Word of the Lord be thine help:” and prosper thee ; may success attend thee: and build the house of the Lord thy God, as he hath said of thee ; foretold he should, and therefore would assist him to do it, which was an encouragement to go about it.
Ver. 12 . Only the Lord give thee wisdom and understanding , etc.] To manage and conduct an affair of such importance, as well as to govern the people, as follows: and give thee charge concerning Israel; or, when he gives , commits the charge of them to thee, sets thee king over them: that thou mayest keep the law of the Lord thy God ; have wisdom and understanding to do that, and make that the rule of all thine actions, private and public, in thine own house, in the house of God, and in all things relative to that, and in the government of the nation.
Ver. 13 . Then shall thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes , etc.] (see 1 Kings 2:2,3) where the same things are said as here: which shows that this was spoken by David a little before his death.
Ver. 14 . Now, behold, in my trouble , etc.] Or affliction, which had attended him, through the greater part of his reign, partly through wars abroad, and partly through rebellions and insurrections at home: or, in my poverty f92 ; living in a frugal way, as if he had been a poor man, in order to lay up money for this purpose: I have prepared for the house of the Lord ; for the building of it, and for things to be used in it: an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver ; a prodigious sum, be it reckoned as it will; the gold, according to Scheuchzer was answerable to 1,222,000,000 ducats of gold; according to Waserus the talents of gold made six hundred millions of Hungarian pieces of gold, or 6000 tons of gold; our Brerewood makes them to amount to 450,000,000 pounds; but this being a sum so excessive large as what exceeds the riches of any monarch read of in history, he thinks the word “kikkar” signifies a mass or cake of gold of an uncertain value; or that this talent was of a lesser value than the Mosaic one, as there were small talents in the times of Homer f97 , as he observes, and some of different worth in various countries. The silver, taking gold to be in proportion to silver as ten to one, as it formerly was, is just of the same value with the gold; but Brerewood, who takes it to be as twelve to one, computes it at 375,000,000 pounds; but the proportion of gold to silver is now grown, as Bishop Cumberland observes f98 , to above fourteen to one.
According to Scheuchzer the silver talents amounted to 4,500,000,000 imperials or rix dollars; according to Witsius the gold and silver both amounted to 3000 and nine hundred millions of pieces of gold; but Josephus has reduced these sums very much, making them to be 10,000 talents of gold, and 100,000 of silver. Dr. Prideaux says that what is said to be given by David here, and in ( 1 Chronicles 29:3-5) and by his princes, ( 1 Chronicles 29:6-8) if valued by the Mosaic talent, exceeded the value of eight hundred million of our money, which was enough to have built the whole temple of solid silver: and of brass and iron without weight, for it is in abundance ; there was so much of both, that it was too much trouble to take the weight and value of them: timber also and stone have I prepared ; (see 1 Chronicles 22:2-4) and thou mayest add thereunto ; which might easily be obtained, there being not a sufficiency of either of them prepared for the work.
Ver. 15 . Moreover, there are workmen with thee in abundance , etc.] All the strangers in the land being gathered by the order of David, ( Chronicles 22:2) who were skilled in all manner of work, as follows: hewers and workers of stone and timber ; masons and carpenters: and all manner of cunning men for every manner of work ; joiners, carvers, etc.
Ver. 16 . Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron , etc.] That is, the cunning artificers were skilful to work in each of these, some in gold and silver, others in brass and iron: there is no number ; either of the workmen, or of these materials; which yet must be restrained to the brass and iron, for the gold and silver are numbered, but not the brass and iron, ( 1 Chronicles 22:14), arise therefore, and be doing : not that he should set about and begin the building the temple directly; but as soon as he could after he came to the throne, and not neglect and delay it: and the Lord be with thee ; as in ( 1 Chronicles 22:11) and here, as there, the Targum is, “may the Word of the Lord be thy help.”
Ver. 17 . David also commanded all the princes of Israel , etc.] His courtiers and nobles that were about him: to help Solomon his son ; by their advice, and with their purses, should he need them, and by overlooking the workmen, directing and encouraging them: saying ; as follows.
Ver. 18 . Is not the Lord your God with you ? etc.] Blessing them with wealth and riches: and hath he not given you rest on every side ? from all enemies within and without; so that they had peace and quietness, and leisure to attend the service he recommended to them: for he hath given the inhabitants of the land into my hand ; meaning the rest of the Canaanites, who before were unsubdued, as even the Jebusites in Jerusalem: and the land is subdued before the Lord, and before his people ; and the extent of it carried to its utmost bounds, as God had promised.
Ver. 19 . Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God , etc.] His honour and glory, most sincerely and cordially, and to the utmost of their power: arise ye, and build ye the sanctuary of the Lord God ; assist therein, and encourage the work as much as they were able, without delay: to bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord ; which was now in a tent of David’s erecting and pitching: and the holy vessels of God : which were in the tabernacle at Gibeon: into the house that is to be built to the name of the Lord: that so they might be together, and made use of; which in times past had been separated, and much neglected.