Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament1 CHRONICLES 28
This and the following chapter conclude First Chronicles and are devoted to the final words and instructions of king David, especially as they related to Solomon and the construction of the temple. David freely confessed here that God had told him, "Thou shalt not build a house for my name" (1 Chronicles 28:3); but David nevertheless proceeded to build it, making all the necessary preparations for doing so, accumulating the necessary supplies, and vigorously commanding Solomon and all Israel to build it. Throughout human history, every man has been credited with doing what he commanded others to do, a principle illustrated a hundred times in the Bible; and we must therefore accept the truth that David's actions with reference to Solomon's temple were sinful. He violated the prohibition that God laid upon him.
The inspired Chronicler has given us in these chapters a faithful and accurate record of what was said and done; but many of the things David said and did in these two chapters were not based upon what God had commanded but upon David's sincere and honest misunderstanding of the prophecy of the Lord through Nathan the prophet.
Once the die was cast and all Israel had enthusiastically accepted the idea of building a temple, God indeed accommodated to it, continuing to bless Israel, and even overruling their sins and mistakes, bending them to contribute toward the Eternal Purpose of Redemption for all mankind.
Yes, God even commanded the temple to be rebuilt under Ezra and Nehemiah; but at that stage in Israel's long and rebellious history of sin and apostasy, the heavenly command to build again the temple must be viewed as exactly the equivalent of Jesus' command for Judas Iscariot to betray him (John 13:27), or the command of God's angel to Balaam, "Go with the men" (Numbers 22:35).
Solomon's temple, in every real sense, was the project conceived and achieved by David. It was in the same category as the monarchy, used and overruled by God toward the achievement of his eternal purpose; but neither of them, in the ultimate sense, was actually the will of God, except in the sense that he permitted them.
This background review of the Jewish temple should be kept continually in mind in our study of these two chapters.
DAVID'S PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT THAT SOLOMON WOULD BUILD THE TEMPLE
And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that served the king by course, and the captains of thousands, and the captains of hundreds, and the rulers over all the substance and possessions of the king and of his sons, with the officers, and the mighty men, even all the mighty men of valor, unto Jerusalem. Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: as for me, it was in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and for the footstool of our God; and I had made ready for the building. But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build a house for my name, because thou art a man of war, and hast shed blood. Howbeit Jehovah, the God of Israel, chose me out of all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be prince; and in the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel; And of all my sons (for Jehovah hath given me many sons), he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of Jehovah over Israel. And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts; for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and mine ordinances, as at this day. Now therefore, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of Jehovah, and in the audience of our God, observe and seek out all the commandments of Jehovah your God; that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children after you for ever.
I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father
(1 Chronicles 28:6). This and the following verse positively indicate that David was here basing what he said upon his understanding of the prophecy in 2S:7; however, that prophecy said nothing at all resembling what David here declared. Solomon, in no sense whatever, was God's son, nor did God establish Solomon's throne for. ever. All that was happening in this chapter was taking place during David's lifetime, absolutely contrary to the specific declaration in 2 Sam. 7:12 that the promised Great One who would build that house for the name of God would do so, When thou (David) shalt sleep with thy fathers, and that the Promised One would be SET UP AFTER THEE (2 Samuel 7:12). Solomon was not set up after David but during David's reign; and God did not do it, as the prophecy indicated, but David did it! (See our extensive comment on this in 2 Samuel.)
DAVID'S ORDER FOR SOLOMON TO BUILD THE TEMPLE
Verses 9, 10
And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind; for Jehovah searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. Take heed now; for Jehovah hath chosen thee to build a house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.
Here, in the presence of all Israel, David laid the solemn charge upon his son Solomon to build the Jewish temple, which thus became, in every particular, what David did through his son Solomon. It should have been called David's Temple.
GOD'S OVERRULING PROVIDENCE IN THE TEMPLE'S CONSTRUCTION
Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch [of the temple], and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper rooms thereof, and of the inner chambers thereof, and of the place of the mercy-seat;
David himself did not invent this pattern, but God gave it to him, having first given it to Moses; and David learned all about it from Exo. 25:10,17-22; 31:7; 40:20; and in Num. 7:89. The statement in the next verse that David had this pattern "by the Spirit" is a reference to the fact that God's Spirit revealed all of these things to Moses.
MANY OTHER DETAILS GIVEN BY DAVID TO SOLOMON
and the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit, for the courts of the house of Jehovah, and for all the chambers round about, for the treasuries of the house of God, and for the treasuries of the dedicated things; also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of Jehovah, and for all the vessels of service in the house of Jehovah; of gold by weight for the [vessels of] gold, for all vessels of every kind of service; [of silver] for all the vessels of silver by weight, for all vessels of every kind of service; by weight also for the candlesticks of gold, and for the lamps thereof, of gold, by weight for every candlestick and for the lamps thereof; and for the candlesticks of silver, [silver] by weight for [every] candlestick and for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick; and the gold by weight for the tables of showbread, for every table; and silver for the tables of silver; and the flesh-hooks, and the basins, and the cups, of pure gold; and for the golden bowls by weight for every bowl; and for the silver bowls by weight for every bowl; and for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot, [even] the cherubim, that spread out [their wings], and covered the ark of the covenant of Jehovah. All this, [said David], have I been made to understand in writing from the hand of Jehovah, even all the works of this pattern.
The very names, descriptions and instructions regarding all of these things were derived by David from the Mosaic Law as given in the Pentateuch. Any good reference Bible lists the following references in this single paragraph to the Law of Moses: Exo. 20:16; 25:9,18-22,37; 26:31-39; 28:16; 30:1-19,34; and 36:9; Lev. 16:2,14,15; and Num. 1:47. Thus, what we have here is David's relay of the instructions Moses received from God for the building of the tabernacle accommodated to the requirements of the temple. We know that Solomon did not strictly follow David's instructions; and there were enough departures from the true pattern to justify the author of the Book of Hebrews in by-passing the Jewish Temple altogether and going back to the tabernacle for all of true symbolism supposed to be in the temple.
David said, I have been made to understand in writing from the hand of Jehovah all the works of this pattern
(1 Chronicles 28:19). These words are another reference to the Mosaic Law where David read the pattern of the tabernacle, and which pattern Solomon was supposed to follow in the construction of the temple. The proof of this is in the general correspondence of the temple in all of its truly important features to the ancient tabernacle. The variations and changes imposed upon the temple by Solomon should not be charged to David.
DAVID'S ADMONITION FOR SOLOMON
Verses 20, 21
And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed; for Jehovah God, even my God, is with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until all the work for the service of the house of Jehovah be finished. And, behold, there are the courses of the priests and the Levites, for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee in all manner of work every willing man that hath skill, for any manner of service: also the captains and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment.
The absolute sincerity and total devotion of king David in his love of God and his enthusiasm for building the temple shine in every word of these wonderful sentences. How tragic it is that his son Solomon failed so wretchedly to honor the admonition of this wonderful father.
SPECIAL NOTE ON 1 Chr. 28:5
He (God) hath chosen Solomon. to sit upon the throne of the KINGDOM OF JEHOVAH over Israel
(1 Chronicles 28:5). There is not a more preposterous statement in all the Bible than this one. David truly believed, as did all Israel, that the earthly kingdom that God had given them was the kingdom of heaven.
In a certain sense, of course, the people of Israel were a type of that `kingdom of heaven' which is the Church; but in no sense whatever was the secular, political kingdom of David and Solomon the kingdom of God. The ancient inhabitants of Canaan were not driven out of Palestine, as God commanded; but they were enslaved by Israel. (See the opening chapters of my commentary on Judges.)
"2 Sam. 20:24 indicates that David used forced (slave) labor; that passage does not say who composed the labor gangs";F1 and, although David might not have forced Israelites into his forced labor gangs, the enslaved Canaanites were certainly used; and Solomon quickly extended them to include Israelites also. There is no way that the evil, secular and political kingdom of Israel could have been the kingdom of heaven. Of course, the multitudes who were living off the sweat of other peoples' faces liked doing so; and no doubt many thought it was wonderful. (See further comment on this in our Introduction to 1 Kings 4.)
The political Jewish kingdom was never anything other than what the prophet of God called it -- "THE SINFUL KINGDOM" (Amos 9:8).
Footnotes for 1 Chronicles 28
1: Broadman Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 346.