Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
David's Last Directions, and His Death - 1 Chronicles 28-29
In order to give over the throne before his death to his son Solomon, and so secure to him the succession, and facilitate his accomplishment of the great work of his reign, the building of the temple, David summoned the estates of his kingdom, the court officials, and the heroes of the people in Jerusalem. In a solemn address he designated Solomon as his divinely chosen successor on the throne, and exhorted him to keep the commandments of God, to serve the Lord with devoted heart, and to build Him a house for a sanctuary (Ch1 28:1-10). He then committed to Solomon the sketches and plans for the sacred buildings and sacred objects of various sorts, with the confident promise that he, by the help of God, and with the co-operation of the priests and of the people, would complete the work (Ch1 28:11-21). Finally, he announced, in the presence of the whole assembly, that he gave over his treasures of gold and silver to this building, and called upon the chiefs of the people and kingdom for a voluntary contribution for the same purpose; and on their freely answering this call, concluded with a solemn prayer of thanks, to which the whole assembly responded, bowing low before God and the king (29:1-20). This reverence they confirmed by numerous burnt-offerings and thank-offerings, and by the repeated anointing of Solomon to be king (Ch1 29:21 and Ch1 29:22).
1 Chronicles 28:1
David summoned the estates of the kingdom, and presented Solomon to them as his divinely chosen successor on the throne.
"All the princes of Israel" is the general designation, which is then specialized. In it are included the princes of the tribes who are enumerated in Ch1 27:16-22, and the princes of the divisions which served the king, who are enumerated in Ch1 27:1-15; the princes of thousands and hundreds are the chiefs and captains of the twelve army corps (Ch1 27:1), who are subordinate to the princes of the host: the princes of all the substance and possessions of the king are the managers of the domains enumerated in Ch1 27:25-31. וּלבניו is added to למּלך, "of the king and of his sons," because the possession of the king as a property belonging to the house (domanium) belonged also to his sons. The Vulg. incorrectly translates לבניו filiosque suos, for in this connection ל cannot be nota accus. הסּריסים עם, with (together with) the court officials. סריסים are not eunuchs, but royal chamberlains, as in Sa1 8:15; see on Gen 37:36. הגּבּורים has been well translated by the lxx τοὺς δυνάστας, for here the word does not denote properly or merely war heroes, but powerful influential men in general, who did not occupy any special public or court office. In חיל וּלכל־גּבּור all the others who were present in the assembly are comprehended.
The king rose to his feet, in order to speak to the assembly standing; till then he had, on account of his age and feebleness, sat, not lain in bed, as Kimchi and others infer from 1 Kings 1.
The address, "My brethren and my people," is expressive of condescending goodwill; cf. on אחי, Sa1 30:23; Sa2 19:13. What David here says (Ch1 28:3-7) of the temple building, he had in substance already (Ch1 22:7-13) said to his son Solomon: I, it was with my heart, i.e., I purposed (cf. Ch1 22:7) to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of Jahve, and the footstool of the feet of our God, i.e., for the ark and for the capporeth upon it, which is called "footstool of the feet of our God," because God was enthroned above the cherubim upon the capporeth. "And I have prepared to build," i.e., prepared labour and materials, Ch1 22:2-4 and Ch1 22:14.; on Ch1 28:3, cf. Ch1 22:8. - In Ch1 28:4 David states how his election to be king was of God, who had chosen Judah to be ruler (cf. Ch1 5:2); and just so (Ch1 28:5, Ch1 28:6) had God chosen Solomon from among all his many sons to be heir to the throne, and committed to him the building of the temple; cf. Ch1 22:10. The expression, "throne of the kingdom of Jahve," and more briefly, "throne of Jahve" (Ch1 29:23, or מלכוּתי, Ch1 17:14), denotes that Jahve is the true King of Israel, and had chosen Solomon as He had chosen David to be holder and administrator of His kingdom dominion. - On Ch1 22:6 and Ch1 22:7, cf. Ch1 22:10 and Ch1 17:11.; and with the condition וגו יחזק אם, cf. Kg1 3:14; Kg1 9:4, where God imposes an exactly similar condition on Solomon. הזּה כּיּום, as is done at this time; cf. Kg1 8:61, and the commentary on Deu 2:30. On this speech J. H. Mich. well remarks: "tota haec narratio aptata est ad prospositum Davidis: vult enim Salomoni auctoritatem apud principes et fratres conciliare, ostendendo, non humana, sed divina voluntate electum esse," To this David adds an exhortation to the whole assembly (Ch1 28:8), and to his son Solomon (Ch1 28:9), to hold fast their faithfulness to God.
"And now before the eyes of all Israel, of the congregation of Jahve (collected in their representatives), and into the ears of our God (so that God should hear as witness), (scil. I exhort you), observe and seek ... that ye may possess (that is, keep as possession) the good land (cf. Deu 4:21.), and leave it to your sons after you for an inheritance" (cf. Lev 25:46). - In Ch1 28:9 he turns to his son Solomon in particular with the fatherly exhortation, "My son, know thou the God of thy father (i.e., of David, who has ever helped him, Psa 18:3), and serve Him with whole (undivided) heart (Ch1 29:9, Ch1 29:19; Kg1 8:61) and willing soul." To strengthen this exhortation, David reminds him of the omniscience of God. Jahve seeks, i.e., searches, all hearts and knows all the imagination of the thoughts; cf. Psa 7:10; Sa1 16:7; Jer 11:20; Psa 139:1. מחשׁבות יצר as in Gen 6:5. With the last clauses cf. Deu 4:29; Isa 55:6, etc. יזניח, only here and Ch2 11:14; Ch2 29:19. - With Ch1 28:10 the discourse turns to the building of the temple. The exhortation ועשׂה חזק is interrupted by the giving over of the sketches and plans of the temple, and is taken up again only in Ch1 28:20.
1 Chronicles 28:11
The sketches and plans of the sacred buildings and vessels. - The enumeration begins in Ch1 28:11 with the temple house, progressing from outside to inside, and in Ch1 28:12 goes on to the courts and the buildings in them, and in Ch1 28:13. to the vessels, etc. תּבנית, model, pattern; cf. Exo 25:9; here the sketches and drawings of the individual things. ואת־בּתּיו is a contraction for בּתּיו ועת־תּבנית, and the suffix refers, as the succeeding words show, not to העוּלם, but to הבּית, which may be easily supplied from the context (Ch1 28:10). In the porch there were no houses. The בּתּים are the buildings of the temple house, viz., the holy place and the most holy, with the three-storeyed side-building, which are specified in the following words. גּנזכּיו occurs only here, but is related to גּנזים, Est 3:9; Est 4:7; Eze 27:24, and to the Chald. גּנזין, Ezr 7:20, and signifies store and treasure chambers, for which the chambers of the three-storeyed side-building served. עליּות are the upper chambers over the most holy place, Ch2 3:9; הפּנימים חדריו are the inner rooms of the porch and of the holy place, since הכּפּרת בּית, the house of the ark with the mercy-seat, i.e., the most holy place, is mentioned immediately after.
And the pattern, i.e., the description of all that was in the spirit with him, i.e., what his spirit had designed, לחצרות, as to the courts. סביב לכל־הלּשׁכות, in reference to all the chambers round about, i.e., to all the rooms on the four sides of the courts. לאצרות, for the treasures of the house of God; see on Ch1 26:20.
הך וּלמחלקות (continuation of לאצרות), "and for the divisions of the priests and Levites, and for all the work of the service, and for all vessels," - for for all these purposes, viz., for the sojourn of the priests and Levites in the service, as well as for the performance of the necessary works, e.g., preparation of the shew-bread, cooking of the sacrificial flesh, holding of the sacrificial meals, and for the storing of the vessels necessary for these purposes, the cells and building of the courts were set apart. - With Ch1 28:14 begins the enumeration of the vessels. לזּהב is co-ordinate with לכל־הלּשׁכות...לחצרות, Ch1 28:12 : he gave him the description of that which he had in mind "with regard to the golden (i.e., to the golden vessels, cf. Ch1 29:2), according to the weight of the golden, for all vessels of every service," in regard to all silver vessels according to the weight. - With Ch1 28:15 the construction hitherto employed is dropped. According to the usual supposition, the verb ויּתּן is to be supplied from Ch1 28:11 after וּמשׁקל: "and gave him the weight for the golden candlesticks and their golden lamps," זהב being in a state of free subordination to the word ונרתיהם (J. H. Mich., Berth., and others). But apart from the fact that no analogous case can be found for such a subordination (for in Ch2 9:15, which Berth. cites as such, there is no subordination, for there the first שׁחוּט זהב is the accusative of the material dependent upon ויּעשׂ), the supplying of ויּתּן gives no suitable sense; for David here does not give Solomon the metal for the vessels, but, according to Ch1 28:11, Ch1 28:12, Ch1 28:19, only a תּבנית, pattern or model for them. If ויּתּן be supplied, נתן must be "he appointed," and so have a different sense here from that which it has in Ch1 28:11. This appears very questionable, and it is simpler to take משׁקל without the article, as an accusative of nearer definition, and to connect the verse thus: "and (what he had in mind) as weight for the golden candlesticks and their lamps, in gold, according to the weight of each candlestick and its lamps, and for the silver candlesticks, in weight - כּעבודת, according to the service of each candlestick" (as it corresponded to the service of each). - In Ch1 28:16 the enumeration is continued in very loose connection: "And as to the gold (את, quoad; cf. Ew. 277, d) by weight (משׁקל, acc. of free subordination) for the tables of the spreading out, i.e., of the shew-bread (מערכת = לחם מערכת, Ch2 13:11); see on Lev 24:6), for each table, and silver for the silver tables." Silver tables, i.e., tables overlaid with silver-lamin, and silver candlesticks (Ch1 28:15), are not elsewhere expressly mentioned among the temple vessels, since the whole of the vessels are nowhere individually registered even in the description of the building of the temple. Yet, when the temple was repaired under Joash, Kg2 12:14; Ch2 24:14, and when it was destroyed by the Chaldeans, Kg2 25:15, vessels of gold and silver are spoken of. The silver candlesticks were probably, as Kimchi has conjectured, intended for the priests engaged in the service, and the tables for reception of the sacrificial flesh after it had been prepared for burning upon the altar.
Before וגו והמּזלגות we should probably supply from Ch1 28:11 : "he gave him the pattern of the forks...ולכפורי, and for the golden tankards, according to the weight of each tankard." For מזלנות and מזרקות, see on Ch2 4:22. קשׂוה, σπονδεῖα, cups for the libations, occur only in Exo 25:29; Exo 37:16, and Num 4:7. טהור זהב, in free subordination: of pure gold. כּפורים from כּפר, to cover, are vessels provided with covers, tankards; only mentioned here and in Ezr 1:10; Ezr 8:27.
And (the pattern) for the altar of incense of pure gold by weight. In the second member of the verse, at the close of the enumeration, תּבנית, from Ch1 28:11, Ch1 28:12, is again taken up, but with ל, which Berth. rightly takes to be nota accus.: and (gave him) "the model of the chariot of the cherubim of gold, as spreading out (wings), and sheltering over the ark of the covenant of Jahve." הכּרוּבים is not subordinated in the genitive to המּרכּבה, but is in explanatory apposition to it. The cherubim, not the ark, are the chariot upon which God enters or is throned; cf. Psa 18:11; Psa 99:1; Exo 25:22. The conception of the cherubim set upon the golden cover of the ark as מרכּבה is derived from the idea על־כּרוּב ירכּב, Psa 18:11. Ezekiel, it is true, saw wheels on the throne of God under the cherubim (Eze 1:15., 26), and in accordance with this the lxx and Vulg. have made a cherubim-chariot out of the words (ἅρμα τῶν Χερουβίμ, quadriga cherubim); but as against this Berth. rightly remarks, that the idea of a chariot of the cherubim does not at all appear in the two sculptured cherubim upon the ark, nor yet in our passage. לפרשׂים (without the article, and with ל) Berth. thinks quite unintelligible, and would alter the text, reading והסּככים הפּרשׂים, because the two participles should be in apposition to הכּרוּבים. But this is an error; for neither by the meaning of the words, nor by the passages, Ch2 5:8; Exo 25:20; Kg1 8:7, are we compelled to make this alteration. The two first-mentioned passages prove the opposite, viz., that these participles state for what purpose the cherubim are to serve. וסככים לפרשׂים have the signification of כּנפים פּרשׂי הכּרוּבים והיוּ, "that the cherubim might be spreading wings and protecting" (Exo 25:20), as J. H. Mich. has rightly seen. This use of ל, where in ל even without a verb the idea of "becoming something" lies, but which Berth. does not understand, has been already discussed, Ew. 217, d, and illustrated by passages, among which Ch1 28:18 is one. The reference to Exo 25:20 explains also the use of פּרשׂ without כּנפים, the author of the Chronicle not thinking it necessary to give the object of פּרשׂ, as he might assume that that passage would be known to readers of his book.
In giving over to Solomon the model of all the parts and vessels of the temple enumerated in Ch1 28:11-18, David said: "All this, viz., all the works of the pattern, has He taught by writing from the hand of Jahve which came upon me." הכּל is more closely defined by the apposition הת מלאכות כּל . That the verse contains words of David is clear from עלי. The subject of השׂכּיל is Jahve, which is easily supplied from יהוה מיּד. It is, however, a question with what we should connect עלי. Its position before the verb, and the circumstance that השׂכּיל construed with על pers. does not elsewhere, occur, are against its being taken with השׂכּיל; and there remains, therefore, only the choice between connecting it with יהוה מיּד and with בּכתב. In favour of the last, Psa 40:8, עלי כּתוּב, prescribed to me, may be compared; and according to that, עלי כּתב can only mean, "what is prescribed to me;" cf. for the use of כּתב for written prescription, the command in Ch2 35:4. Bertheau accordingly translates עלי יהוה מיּד בּכתב, "by a writing given to me for a rule from Jahve's hand," and understands the law of Moses to be meant, because the description of the holy things in Exo 25:1. is manifestly the basis of that in our verses. But had David wished to say nothing further than that he had taken the law in the Scriptures for the basis of his pattern for the holy things, the expression which he employs would be exceedingly forced and wilfully obscure. And, moreover, the position of the words would scarcely allow us to connect בּכתב with עלי, for in that case we should rather have expected יהוה מיּד עלי בּכתב. We must there take עלי along with יהוה מיּד: "writing from the hand of Jahve came upon me," i.e., according to the analogy of the phrase עלי יהוה יד היתה (Kg2 3:15; Eze 1:3; Eze 3:14, etc.), a writing coming by divine revelation, or a writing composed in consequence of divine revelation, and founded upon divine inspiration. David therefore says that he had been instructed by a writing resting upon divine inspiration as to all the works of the pattern of the temple. This need not, however, be understood to mean that David had received exemplar vel ideam templi et vasorum sacrorum immediately from Jahve, either by a prophet or by vision, as the model of the tabernacle was shown to Moses on the mount (Exo 25:40; Exo 27:8); for it signifies only that he had not himself invented the pattern which he had committed to writings, i.e., the sketches and descriptions of the temple and its furniture and vessels, but had drawn them up under the influence of divine inspiration.
1 Chronicles 28:20
In conclusion, David encourages his son to go forward to the work with good courage, for his God would not forsake him; and the priests and Levites, cunning workmen, and the princes, together with the whole people, would willingly support him. With the encouragement, Ch1 28:20, cf. Ch1 22:13; and with the promise, Ch1 28:20, cf. Deu 31:6, Deu 31:8; Jos 1:5. אלהי, my God, says David, ut in mentem ei revocet, quomodo multis in periculis servatus sit (Lav.). עבודה כּל־מלאכת, all the work-business, i.e., all the labour necessary for the building of the house of God.
והנּה is fittingly translated by Clericus, "en habes." The reference which lies in the הנּה to the classes of the priests and Levites, i.e., the priests and Levites divided into classes, does not presuppose their presence in the assembly. With the והנּה corresponds ועמּך, with thee, i.e., for assistance to thee, in the second half of the verse. The ל before לכל-naadiyb, "are all freely willing with wisdom," in the middle of the sentence introducing the subject is strange; Bertheau would therefore strike it out, thinking that, as לכל goes immediately before, and follows immediately afterwards twice, לכל here may easily be an error for כל. This is certainly possible; but since this ל is very frequently used in the Chronicle, it is a question whether it should not be regarded as authentic, "serving to bring into emphatic prominence the idea of the ndyb kl: with thee is for each business, what regards each willing person, for also all willing persons;" cf. Ew. 310, a. נדיב = לב נדיב, Ch2 29:31; Exo 35:5, Exo 35:22, usually denotes him who brings voluntary gifts, but here, him who voluntarily brings wisdom to every service, who willingly employs his wisdom and knowledge in a service. Cunning, intelligent workmen and artists are meant, Ch1 22:15; Ch2 2:6. לכל־דּבריך, "towards all thy words," i.e., as thou sayest or commandest them, the princes and the people, or callest upon them for assistance in the work.