Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament1 CHRONICLES 29
CONCLUSION OF THE REIGN OF DAVID;
DAVID GIVES HIS GREAT WEALTH FOR THE TEMPLE
And David the king said unto all the assembly, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great; for the palace is not for man, but for Jehovah God. Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for the [things of] gold, and the silver for the [things of] silver, and the brass for the [things of] brass, the iron for the [things of] iron, and wood for the [things of] wood; onyx stones, and [stones] to be set, stones for inlaid work, and of divers colors, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. Moreover also, because I have set my affection on the house of my God, seeing that I have a treasure of mine own of gold and silver, I give it unto the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, wherewith to overlay the walls of the houses; of gold for the [things of] gold, and of silver for the [things of] silver, and for all manner of work [to be made] by the hands of artificers. Who then offereth willingly to consecrate himself this day unto Jehovah?
Due to the uncertainty that prevails with respect to the numbers given here, and to our equal uncertainty as to the exact value of the talent used in these calculations, we are not able to assign any exact value to the amount in dollars of David's magnificent gift; but there is no doubt that many millions of dollars should be assigned as the value of his gift. He gave it publicly in order to inspire others to do likewise.
The big point here is not the actual cash value of David's gift, but the principle propounded here in the last sentence.
Who then offereth willingly to consecrate himself this day unto Jehovah
(1 Chr. 29:5c). This is indeed a profound proposition. What David gave and urged others to give to the house of the worship of God was, in the last analysis, unto Jehovah. How much more is it true that what men freely give to the holy Church of Jesus Christ is actually the consecration of the giver unto God in Christ.
Honestly mistaken as David certainly was about some things, his sincere love of God was the central passion of his life; and, in that light, there can be no wonder that God accepted his loving gift of the temple and continued to use it throughout Israel's history.
THE PRINCES OF ISRAEL RESPOND TO DAVID'S CHALLENGE
Then the princes of the fathers' [houses], and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers over the king's work, offered willingly; and they gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand darics, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and of iron a hundred thousand talents. And they with whom [precious] stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of Jehovah, under the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with a perfect heart they offered willingly to Jehovah: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.
The people rejoiced
(1 Chr. 29:5c). The greatest happiness that human beings may have comes from a clear conscience and generous giving to further the cause of truth and righteousness upon earth by contributions to the work of God through his church.
Ten thousand darics
(1 Chronicles 29:7). These were Persian gold coins worth about $5.00 each.F1
DAVID'S BLESSING OF JEHOVAH BEFORE THE PEOPLE
Wherefore David blessed Jehovah before all the assembly; and David said, Blessed be thou, O Jehovah, the God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Jehovah, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth [is thine]; thine is the kingdom, O Jehovah, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou rulest over all; and in thy hand is power and might; and in thy hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as all our fathers were: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is no abiding. O Jehovah our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee a house for thy holy name cometh of thy hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, that are present here, offer willingly unto thee. O Jehovah, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee; and give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for which I have made provision.
(1 Chronicles 29:1,19). Only in these two verses is this term applied to the temple. It is the Hebrew form of a Persian word used generally to designate the residence of the Persian monarch, as in Esth. 1:2,5; 2:3,8; Neh. 1:1; and in Dan. 8:2.F2
David blessed Jehovah
(1 Chronicles 29:10). We normally think of God's blessing men, not the other way around; but we learn from 1 Chr. 29:20, below, that when David commanded the people to Bless Jehovah, they did so by worshipping God and offering sacrifices, all of this being exactly what David did here. Thus we conclude that those who truly worship God indeed do bless God.
Dentan said of this paragraph, "It is an excellent illustration of the Chronicler's high conception of God, and of man's proper relation to him."F3 This is a fair example of the views of critical scholars who deny the authenticity of Chronicles, treating it as an invention of the Chronicler, and not as a record of events that really happened. We believe that David spoke the words which the writer of Chronicles attributed to him, there being no good reason whatever for denying them to David.
As we have frequently noted, the real reason behind the rejection, by some writers, of Chronicles is the effective denial it provides for the radical critics' late-dating of the Pentateuch.
Chronicles is not a fabrication. "A fabrication would have fitted more neatly (with few variations). The differences found in Chronicles are due to the independence of traditions (authorities); and recent archaeological finds further authenticate this."F4
ALL THE PEOPLE BLESS GOD BY WORSHIPPING HIM
Verses 20, 21
And David said to all the assembly, Now bless Jehovah your God. And all the assembly blessed Jehovah, the God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped Jehovah, and the king. And they sacrificed sacrifices unto Jehovah, and offered burnt-offerings unto Jehovah, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink-offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel,
And they bowed down their heads and worshipped Jehovah, and the king
(1 Chronicles 29:20). The worship of any man is sinful, even the worship of a great king like David; and this verse should be translated as in the RSV, All the assembly bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord, and did obeisance to the king.
The reason that older translations are like our version (the ASV) here is that, "The word normally translated `worship' in the O.T. means `to prostrate oneself'."F5 In those days, it was customary thus to honor kings; but in the N.T., Christians are forbidden to honor any man in such a manner. (See elaboration of this principle in my commentary on Revelation.)F6
SOLOMON MADE KING THE SECOND TIME
and did eat and drink before Jehovah on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto Jehovah to be prince, and Zadok to be priest. Then Solomon sat on the throne of Jehovah as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him. And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise of king David, submitted themselves unto Solomon the king. And Jehovah magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.
Solomon sat on the throne of Jehovah
(1 Chronicles 29:23). The Chronicler here spoke of Solomon in the terms of the popular acclaim that greeted this second coronation. Solomon was already king and had been co-regent with his father David a number of years preceding this second crowning. It cannot be accepted as a literal fact that the wicked Solomon actually sat on the throne of Jehovah.
THE DEATH OF KING DAVID
Now David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three [years] reigned he in Jerusalem. And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honor: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead. Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the history of Samuel the seer, and in the history of Nathan the prophet, and in the history of Gad the seer, with all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and over all the kingdoms of the countries.
See my Introduction to 1 and 2 Chronicles for a discussion of the extensive documentation behind what is written herein. This is an appropriate place indeed to separate 1 Chronicles from 2 Chronicles, since 2 Chronicles deals with the reign of Solomon, the rebellion of the ten northern tribes, the affairs of the divided kingdom, the rapid corruption of Israel that led to their captivity, and with their history until Cyrus' decree for the rebuilding of the temple.
Footnotes for 1 Chronicles 29
1: Wycliffe Old Testament Commentary, p. 389.
2: Albert Barnes, Chronicles, p. 366.
3: The Layman's Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, pp. 139, 140.
4: Broadman Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 360.
5: The New Bible Commentary, Revised, p. 384.
6: Vol. 12 of the New Testament Series, pp. 511-513.