David exhorts the people to the fear of the Lord. (1-10) He gives instructions for the temple. (11-21)
Verses 1-10 During David's last sickness, many chief priests and Levites were at Jerusalem. Finding himself able, David spoke of his purpose to build a temple for God, and of God's disallowing that purpose. He opened to them God's gracious purposes concerning Solomon. David charged them to cleave stedfastly to God and their duty. We cannot do our work as we should, unless we put on resolution, and fetch in strength from Divine grace. Religion or piety has two distinct parts. The first is knowledge of God, the second is worship of God. David says, Know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind. God is made known by his works and word. Revelation alone shows the whole character of God, in his providence, his holy law, his condemnation of sinners, his blessed gospel, and the ministration of the Spirit to all true believers. The natural man cannot receive this knowledge of God. But thus we learn the value of the Saviour's atonement, and of the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, and are influenced to walk in all his commandments. It brings a sinner to his proper place at the foot of the cross, as a poor, guilty, helpless worm, deserving wrath, yet expecting every thing needful from the free mercy and grace of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Having been forgiven much, the pardoned sinner learns to love much.
Verses 11-21 The temple must be a sacred thing, and a type of Christ; it must be framed by Divine teaching. Christ is the true temple, the church is the gospel temple, and heaven the everlasting temple; all are framed according to the Divine counsels, and the plan laid in the Divine wisdom, ordained before the world, for God's glory and our good. David gave this pattern to Solomon, that he might go by rule. Materials were provided for the most costly utensils of the temple. Directions were given which way to look for help in this great undertaking. Be not dismayed; God will help thee, and thou must look up to him in the first place. We may be sure that God, who owned our fathers, and carried them through the services of their day, will, in like manner, never leave us, while he has any work to do in us, or by us. Good work is likely to go on, when all concerned are hearty in furthering it. Let us hope in God's mercy; if we seek him, he will be found of us.
1 Chronicles 28:1-8 . DAVID EXHORTS THE PEOPLE TO FEAR GOD.
1. David assembled all the princes of Israel--that is, the representatives of the people, the leading men of the kingdom, who are enumerated in this verse according to their respective rank or degree of authority.
princes of the tribes--( 1 Chronicles 27:16-22 ). Those patriarchal chiefs are mentioned first as being the highest in rank--a sort of hereditary noblesse.
the captains of the companies--the twelve generals mentioned ( 1 Chronicles 27:1-15 ).
the stewards, &c.--( 1 Chronicles 27:25-31 ).
the officers--Hebrew, "eunuchs," or attendants on the court ( 1 Samuel 8:15 , 1 Kings 22:9 , 2 Kings 22:18 ); and besides Joab, the commander-in-chief of the army, the heroes who had no particular office (1 Chronicles 11:10-12:40'2 Samuel 23:8-39'). This assembly, a very mixed and general one, as appears from the parties invited, was more numerous and entirely different from that mentioned ( 1 Chronicles 23:2 ).
2. Hear me, my brethren, and my people--This was the style of address becoming a constitutional king of Israel ( Deuteronomy 17:20 , 1 Samuel 30:23 , 2 Samuel 5:1 ).
I had in mine heart--I proposed, or designed.
to build an house of rest--a solid and permanent temple.
for the footstool of our God--God seated between the cherubim, at the two extremities of the ark, might be said to be enthroned in His glory, and the coverlet of the ark to be His footstool.
and had made ready for the building--The immense treasures which David had amassed and the elaborate preparations he had made, would have been amply sufficient for the erection of the temple of which he presented the model to Solomon.
3. thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood--The church or spiritual state of the world, of which the temple at Jerusalem was to be a type, would be presided over by One who was to be pre-eminently the Prince of Peace, and therefore would be represented not so fitly by David, whose mission had been a preparatory one of battle and conquest, as by his son, who should reign in unbroken peace.
4, 5. he hath chosen Solomon--The spirit of David's statement is this:--It was not my ambition, my valor, or my merit that led to the enthronement of myself and family; it was the grace of God which chose the tribe, the family, the person--myself in the first instance, and now Solomon, to whom, as the Lord's anointed, you are all bound to submit. Like that of Christ, of whom he was a type, the appointment of Solomon to the kingdom above all his brethren was frequently pre-intimated ( 1 Chronicles 17:12 , 22:9 , 2 Samuel 7:12-14 , 2 Samuel 12:24 2 Samuel 12:25 , 1 Kings 1:13 ).
7. I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments--The same condition is set before Solomon by God ( 1 Kings 3:14 , 9:4 ).
8. Now . . . in the sight of all Israel, . . . keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord, &c.--This solemn and earnest exhortation to those present, and to all Israel through their representatives, to continue faithful in observing the divine law as essential to their national prosperity and permanence, is similar to that of Moses ( Deuteronomy 30:15-20 ).
1 Chronicles 28:9-20 . HE ENCOURAGES SOLOMON TO BUILD THE TEMPLE.
9, 10. And thou, Solomon my son--The royal speaker now turns to Solomon, and in a most impressive manner presses upon him the importance of sincere and practical piety.
know thou--He did not mean head knowledge, for Solomon possessed that already, but that experimental acquaintance with God which is only to be obtained by loving and serving Him.
11. Then David gave to Solomon . . . the pattern--He now put into the hands of his son and successor the plan or model of the temple, with the elevations, measurements, apartments, and chief articles of furniture, all of which were designed according to the pattern given him by divine revelation ( 1 Chronicles 28:19 ).
12. the pattern of all that he had by the spirit--rather, "with him in spirit"; that is, was floating in his mind.
15, 16. the candlesticks of silver--Solomon made them all of gold--in this and a few minor particulars departing from the letter of his father's instructions, where he had the means of executing them in a more splendid style. There was only one candlestick and one table in the tabernacle, but ten in the temple.
18, 19. the chariot of the cherubim--The expanded wings of the cherubim formed what was figuratively styled the throne of God, and as they were emblematical of rapid motion, the throne or seat was spoken of as a chariot ( Psalms 18:10 , 99:1 ). It is quite clear that in all these directions David was not guided by his own taste, or by a desire for taking any existing model of architecture, but solely by a regard to the express revelation of the divine will. In a vision, or trance, the whole edifice, with its appurtenances, had been placed before his eyes so vividly and permanently, that he had been able to take a sketch of them in the models delivered to Solomon.
20. Be strong and of good courage--The address begun in 1 Chronicles 28:9 is resumed and concluded in the same strain.
21. behold, the courses of the priests and Levites--They were, most probably, represented in this assembly though they are not named.
also the princes and all the people--that is, as well the skilful, expert, and zealous artisan, as the workman who needs to be directed in all his labors.