Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament1 CHRONICLES 22
DAVID'S PREPARATION TO BUILD THE TEMPLE
Then David said, This is the house of Jehovah God, and this is the altar of burnt-offering for Israel.
Practically all of the rest of First Chronicles is devoted to a discussion of David's extensive preparations to build the temple. There is no parallel elsewhere for what is given in this chapter, aside from obvious references to the Law of Moses, to Joshua and to Nathan's prophecy delivered to David in 2 Sam. 7. This verse indicates David's decision to have the temple built in Jerusalem, on the site purchased from Ornan the Jebusite.
This was that very place called, "one of the mountains of Moriah," upon which Abraham prepared to offer Isaac as a burnt-offering (Genesis 22:22), as confirmed by our Chronicler in 2 Chr. 3:1. "Today it is occupied by the Dome of the Rock Mosque."F1
DAVID GATHERS MATERIAL FOR THE TEMPLE'S CONSTRUCTION
And David commanded to gather together the sojourners that were in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought stones to build the house of God. And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the couplings; and brass in abundance without weight; and cedar-trees without number: for the Sidonians and they of Tyre brought cedar-trees in abundance to David. And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for Jehovah must be exceeding magnificent, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.
David commanded to gather together the sojourners
(1 Chronicles 22:2). These were the aliens, the original Canaanites, whom Israel enslaved, contrary to God's commandments. The complete record of this is found in the first chapter of Judges. (See our Vol. 2, of the Historical Books, Judges and Ruth, pp. 9-22.) 2 Sam. 20:24 indicates that David used forced labor.F2
These verses indicate that David proceeded to gather vast quantities of materials with which the temple would be constructed.
GOD DID NOT COMMAND DAVID TO DO THIS
There can be no doubt whatever that David missed the significant point in the words of God to him through the prophet Nathan (2 Sam. 7), in which it was certainly clear enough that God did not desire the erection of any earthly temple whatever. David understood, of course, that he was commanded not to build it, which by any fair interpretation of the prohibition laid upon David would also have included the extensive preparations which David made to have it done, even commanding it most emphatically to be done by Solomon. And upon the principle that any man does, what he commands others to do, David must be charged with violation of God's commandment in this particular.
The Chronicler, King David, Solomon, all the princes of Israel, and the entire nation nevertheless looked upon this temple as the most wonderful thing that ever happened to Israel. That God indeed allowed it, accommodated to it, used the temple in many ways to further the achievement of God's purpose, even sending a special manifestation of his Eternal Presence to dwell within the Holy of Holies upon the occasion of its dedication ---none of this can be denied; but God's destruction of Solomon's temple, and also his destroying the one constructed by Israel upon their return from captivity, cannot be harmonized with the proposition that the Jewish temple was, in any sense, the complete will of God.
Allowed, tolerated, used by God Himself, yes; but it still stands as a thing David conceived, promoted, commanded, planned, prepared for and projected in its entirety. From its conception in the mind of David, and throughout its entire history, the temple, in a sense, similar to pagan temples all over the world, was the conception and project of a mortal human being, not of God.
Furthermore, David was grossly mistaken about that temple's being the "house" that God promised to build for David; and he was also totally in error in his conception that Solomon was the mighty one of his posterity whose throne God would establish forever.
In this light, the following paragraph must be read as the Chronicler's true and accurate statement of the things David did and said, but not as proof that David was totally correct either in his words or deeds.
DAVID COMMANDS SOLOMON TO BUILD THE TEMPLE
Then he called for Solomon his son, and charged him to build a house for Jehovah, the God of Israel. And David said to Solomon his son, As for me, it was in my heart to build a house unto the name of Jehovah my God. But the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days: he shall build a house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever. Now, my son, Jehovah be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of Jehovah thy God, as he hath spoken concerning thee.
David charged him (Solomon) to build a house for Jehovah
(1 Chronicles 22:6,11). Throughout the Bible, the principle that one actually does what he commands others to do is fully established; and in this command, David went beyond God's Word.
Thou hast shed blood abundantly
(1 Chronicles 22:8). Great significance attaches to this verse. It presupposes that war is sinful, wrong, contrary to God's will. This cannot mean that David's wars were not justified. God commanded his people to fight wars; but here shines the eternal truth that bloodshed is inherently evil, no matter how necessary it may be at times.
Behold, a son shall be born unto thee
(1 Chronicles 22:9). The words used here show that David was referring to the words of God through Nathan (2 Samuel 7:12-14). Yes, God promised that son, all right, but David failed to understand what God said about WHEN that son would be born. It would not happen during David's lifetime, but when thou shalt sleep with thy fathers (2 Samuel 7:12).
Furthermore, the kingdom of that son would be established after David (2 Samuel 7:12); but Solomon's kingdom was established during David's lifetime. "Solomon was made king before David's death (1 Kings 1:32-40; 1 Chr. 23:1) ... there was a co-regency of four years."F3
His name shall be called Solomon
(1 Chronicles 22:9). We believe this to be a mistranslation, because all scholars agree that the Hebrew word here rendered Solomon is peace, or peaceful; and on the basis that the word Solomon is supposed to mean peaceful, the translators have incorrectly injected the proper name Solomon into this verse.
REGARDING THE NAME SOLOMON
1. For his name shall be Solomon
(1 Chronicles 22:9). It is a mistake to read these words as revealing the name that God Himself gave to that Great One who would build David a house. This clause is the word of David, not the Word of God. God indeed gave Solomon a name, but that name was Jedidah (2 Samuel 12:25). God certainly did not name Solomon twice!
2. The word in the Hebrew text is not "Solomon" (S-L-M-H), but "peace" (S-L-W-M).F4 There are two different words here; and there is no authority for changing the word PEACE to SOLOMON. The conviction of this writer is that the passage in 2 Sam. 7 is focused, not upon Solomon at all, but upon Jesus Christ the Messiah. Certainly the word PEACE is far more applicable to the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) than it is to Solomon with his legions of slave-laborers.
3. God did not name David's successor to be Solomon; Bathsheba did so. "The name corresponds to `Irenaeus' in Greek, `Friedrich' in German (Frederick in English), and `Selim' in Arabian. The name should be pronounced `Shillumah,' meaning compensation, because Solomon was given to her (Bathsheba) in the place of a child who had died."F5
He shall be my son, and I shall be his father
(1 Chronicles 22:10). This is a direct quotation of 2 Sam. 12:14. It refers to Christ,F6 fully in keeping with our interpretation of the entire passage. Solomon, a `son of God'? Ridiculous! Where, in all the Bible is any passage that supports such a notion as that? He built more pagan temples than any other man in human history.
In this light, we must discern David's mistaken interpretation of God's prophecy through Nathan. Those magnificent messianic passages of the Psalms, written by David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, may not have been fully understood, even by David himself, as an apostle stated (1 Peter 1:10-12).
Now my son,. build the house of Jehovah thy God
(1 Chronicles 22:11). Thus David, in effect, by his previous preparations, and by direct orders to his son and successor, did the very thing God had prohibited him from doing.
Of course, God forgave David for this misunderstanding and mistake. As a forerunner and type of Messiah himself, David's temple was overruled and utilized by the Lord in the ultimate achievement of the divine purpose of providing salvation to be made available for all men. God allowed it to stand under the old covenant as a type of the true temple of God, namely, the Holy Church of Jesus Christ. Such a thing was possible only because the temple incorporated so many features of the tabernacle which it replaced (As conclusively indicated in the Book of Hebrews).
Thus, God allowed to stand for the time then present David's mistake regarding the nature of God's true temple; but over and beyond David's application of God's Word through Nathan to the building of Solomon's temple, there still stood, and it still stands, the immortal prophecy of the Son of God Himself.
DAVID'S FURTHER CHARGE TO SOLOMON
Only Jehovah give thee discretion and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel; that so thou mayest keep the law of Jehovah thy God. Then shalt thou prosper, if thou observe to do the statutes and the ordinances which Jehovah charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; fear not, neither be dismayed. Now, behold, in my affliction I have prepared for the house of Jehovah a hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver, and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto. Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all men that are skilful in every manner of work: of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise and be doing, and Jehovah be with thee.
The significance here is the reference to the Law of God through Moses, a reference to Exo. 20:1, and the direct quotations from Exo. 3:4 and Josh. 1:6-9 and Deut. 31:24, thus providing incontrovertible evidence of the prior existence of the Pentateuch long centuries prior to the discovery of that allegedly `false document' in the reign of Josiah. No wonder the radical critics hate Chronicles. An example of that hatred is the following.
"This chapter is full of general and exaggerated statements. No statement suggests a trustworthy historian. That David contemplated building a temple is likely, and he might have made some preparations for it, but the Chronicler's description must have been drawn by inference ... assisted by a vivid imagination ... a careless list of such things as happened to occur to the writer."F7
Regarding the tremendous amounts of gold and silver mentioned here, Elmslie referred to the passage as hyperbole,F8 There is also the question of exactly what constituted a talent in the times of Solomon. "Any accurate calculation of the value of the silver and gold mentioned here is a hopeless task, because of the uncertainly of our data, our uncertain knowledge of the Hebrew weights of money, and our total ignorance of the relative value of those precious metals to the commodities of life."F9
The Roman historian Pliny wrote that Cyrus in his subjugation of Asia took half a million talents of silver and 34,000 pounds of gold,F10 a sum not too very far from the immense amount mentioned here.
DAVID'S COMMAND FOR THE PRINCES OF ISRAEL TO AID SOLOMON
David also commanded all the princes of Israel to help Solomon his son, [saying], Is not Jehovah your God with you? and hath he not given you rest on every side? for he hath delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand; and the land is subdued before Jehovah, and before his people. Now set your heart and your soul to seek after Jehovah your God; arise therefore, and build ye the sanctuary of Jehovah God, to bring the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of Jehovah.
Footnotes for 1 Chronicles 22
1: Broadman Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 346.
3: The New Layman's Bible Commentary, p. 489.
5: Thomas H. Weir in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, p. 2824.
6: Wycliffe Old Testament Commentary, p. 385.
7: International Critical Commentary, Chronicles, p. 255.
8: The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. 3, p. 420.
9: The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 6b, p. 355.
10: Ibid., op. cit., p. 356.