1 Chronicles 22 – David’s Charge to Solomon
A. David gathers men, material, and a vision.
1. (2-4) David gathers men and material for building the temple.
So David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel; and he appointed masons to cut hewn stones to build the house of God. And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails of the doors of the gates and for the joints, and bronze in abundance beyond measure, and cedar trees in abundance; for the Sidonians and those from Tyre brought much cedar wood to David.
a. David commanded to gather the aliens who were in the land of Israel: 1 Kings 5:15-18 describes how these people were actually put to work in the building of the temple in Solomon’s day. There were some 70,000 slaves.
b. Cedar trees in abundance: The cedar trees of Lebanon were legendary for their excellent timber. This means David (and Solomon after him) wanted to build the temple out of the best materials possible.
i. It also means that they were willing to build this great temple to God with “Gentile” wood and using “Gentile” labor. This was a temple to the God of Israel, but it was not only for Israel. Only Jews built the tabernacle, “But the temple is not built without the aid of the Gentile Tyrians. They, together with us, make up the Church of God.” (Trapp)
ii. Payne on iron in abundance: “The king’s provision of ‘a large amount of iron’ reflects how conditions had changed during his time – known archaeologically as Iron I – due, no doubt, to the incorporation of iron-producing Philistines within the sphere of Hebrew control.”
2. (5) David’s vision for the preparation of the temple.
Now David said, “Solomon my son is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries. I will now make preparation for it.” So David made abundant preparations before his death.
a. Solomon my son is young and inexperienced: Even after David’s death, Solomon knew that he was young and inexperienced (1 Kings 3:7), so when offered a choice of anything he asked for wisdom to lead God’s people.
b. The house to be built for the LORD must be exceeding magnificent: Solomon had the same vision for the glory of the temple, and he indeed built it according to David’s vision of a magnificent, famous, and glorious building. Solomon had this vision breathed into him through his father’s influence.
i. We can almost picture the old David and the young Solomon pouring over the plans and ideas for the temple together with excitement. David knew that it was not his place to build it, but had the right vision for what the temple should be in general terms, and he passed that vision on to his son.
ii. So David made abundant preparations before his death: This indicates that David was at peace with the idea that he himself could not build the temple and was content to prepare the way for his son to build it successfully. “This is a picture of a man who through stress and storm had found his way into the quiet calm assurance of his place in the divine economy…. It is a condition of peace and power.” (Morgan)
iii. “The Chronicler was vitally concerned to ensure support for the Jerusalem temple in his day. No more fitting stimulus for dedication in this regard could then be found than in the example set by David when he made preparations for the construction of that temple in his day.” (Payne)
B. David’s exhortation to his son Solomon.
1. (6-10) David’s testimony of the call to build the temple.
Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel. And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God; but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to 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 forever.’”
a. And charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel: This was not a suggestion or an idea offered to Solomon. It was a sacred charge for him to fulfill. David knew that he could not fulfill this last great work himself; he could only do it through Solomon after David went to his reward. There was a sense in which if Solomon failed, David failed also.
i. Specifically, David wanted to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. “That the temple was to be built ‘for the Name of the LORD’ means more than his reputation or honor but ultimately for his Person.” (Payne)
b. You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name: This explanation was not previously recorded, either in 2 Samuel or in 1 Chronicles. Here we find one of the reasons why God did not want David to build the temple, and why He chose Solomon instead. God wanted a man of rest and peace to build a house to Him.
i. It wasn’t that David’s wars were wrong or ungodly, or that he often acted unrighteously when he shed blood. It was that God wanted His house built from the context of peace and rest and victory; the LORD wanted it to be built after and from the victory, not from the midst of struggle.
ii. “Principally for mystical signification, to teach us that the church (whereof the temple was a manifest and illustrious type) should be built by Christ, the Prince of peace, Isaiah 9:6; and that it should be gathered and built up, not by might or power, or by force of arms, but by God’s Spirit, Zechariah 4:6, and by the preaching of the gospel of peace.” (Poole)
2. (11-13) David warns Solomon to stay faithful to God and His word.
“Now, my son, may the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God, as He has said to you. Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
a. May the LORD be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the LORD your God: The Chronicler emphasized David’s legacy and Solomon’s mission to build the temple. This would become by far Solomon’s greatest accomplishment.
b. That you may keep the law of the LORD your God: David knew that Solomon could not be strong or courageous without obedient fellowship with God. In this place of obedient fellowship, Solomon would prosper in all that he did.
c. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed: Solomon could take courage and reject fear because God promised David that as long as his sons walked in obedience, they would keep the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:1-4).
i. This is an amazing promise. No matter what the Assyrians or the Egyptians or the Babylonians did, as long as David’s sons were obedient and followed God with all their heart and with all their soul, God would establish their kingdom. He would take care of the rest.
3. (14-16) What David did to prepare for the building of the temple.
“Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them. Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you.”
a. I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD: David took seriously his mission to prepare the way by bringing both security and treasure to Israel and his successor Solomon. With these two advantages he could build the house of the LORD.
i. The Bible tells us that Jesus – the greater Son of David – is also building a temple (Ephesians 2:19-22). He could only do this after security and treasure were won, but the greater Son of David made this peace and plundered the enemy Himself at the cross. Jesus could also say that He took much trouble to prepare for the house of the LORD and that He has prepared the building materials (His people, according to Ephesians 2:19-22).
b. One hundred thousand talents of gold: This is an enormous amount of gold. Some Bible commentators believe this large number is accurate and some feel it is a scribal error. Even allowing for possible scribal error, David clearly amassed significant resources for a temple he would never build.
i. Even so, David also told Solomon to receive these enormous resources and add to them. “Save as I have saved, out of the revenues of the state, and thou mayest also add something for the erection and splendour of this house. This was a gentle though pointed hint, which was not lost on Solomon.” (Clarke)
ii. “Cannot I put my hand on some young man’s shoulder, and say to him, ‘Thou mayest add thereto; thou hast a good voice; thou hast an active brain; begin to speak for God; there are numbers of godly men in the gospel ministry; if thou art called of God, thou mayest add thereto’?” (Spurgeon)
c. Arise and begin working, and the LORD be with you: David made all the preparation, but it was in vain if Solomon did not begin working. He had to actually do the work, and do it with the confidence that the LORD was with him.
i. David is an example of someone who works in the background, who receives none or little credit for his work, but the job cannot be done without him.
· David gathered the materials for the temple.
· David prepared some of those materials.
· David won the peace with surrounding nations that Israel needed to build the temple.
· David found and purchased the site to build the temple.
· David established the plans for the temple.
· David organized and commanded the administration and servants of the temple.
ii. Yet no one calls it “David’s temple.” It seems that all the credit, all the name, all the glory goes to Solomon. It doesn’t seem to have bothered David, because he was a man after God’s heart.
iii. “So, if you go to a country town or village, and you preach the gospel to a few poor folk, you may never have seemed very successful; but you have been preparing the way for somebody else who is coming after you.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “But this is a terrible blow at self. Self says, ‘I like to begin something of my own, and I like to carry it out; I do not want any interference from other people.’ A friend proposed, the other day, to give you a little help in your service. You looked at him as if he had been a thief. You do not want any help; you are quite up to the mark; you are like a wagon and four horses, and a dog under the wagon as well! There is everything about you that is wanted; you need no help from anybody; you can do all things almost without the help of God! I am very sorry for you if that is your opinion.” (Spurgeon)
4. (17-19) David’s command to the leaders of Israel.
David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son, saying,“Is not the LORD your God with you? And has He not given you rest on every side? For He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hand, and the land is subdued before the LORD and before His people. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the LORD God, to bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD and the holy articles of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the LORD.”
a. David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help Solomon his son: David knew that one leader – even a great leader – was not enough to get a great work done. When God calls a leader He also calls other leaders…to help.
b. Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God: This command of David’s is interesting in its context. David gave this command in the context of work, not the context of leisurely repose before God. David knew that it was possible to keep one’s heart set on seeking God even in the midst of doing a great work before the LORD.
i. “They must seek the LORD (1 Chronicles 22:19) as David had sought him (cf. 1 Chronicles 13:3; 14:10, 14). David explains how to seek (‘devote your heart and soul’; cf. REB, NEB, JB) and what it meant in practice (Build the sanctuary). As elsewhere, ‘seeking’ is an act of obedience rather than a search for guidance, and David will yet again underline its importance (1 Chronicles 28:8-9).” (Selman)
ii. “Thus Solomon came to the Jewish throne with every possible advantage. Had he made a proper use of his state and of his talents, he would have been the greatest as well as the wisest of sovereigns. But alas! How soon did this pure gold become dim! He began with an unlawful matrimonial connection; this led him to a commerce that was positively forbidden by the law of God: he then multiplied his matrimonial connections with pagan women; they turned his heart away from God, and the once wise and holy Solomon died a fool and an idolater.” (Clarke)
iii. “Did David live in vain? Can it be truly said that he failed in the grandest project of his life? Assuredly not; he did all that he was permitted to do, and by making those elaborate preparations, he was really the means of the building of the temple.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “God buries the workman, but the devil himself cannot bury the work. The work is everlasting, though the workmen die. We pass away, as star by star grows dim; but the eternal light is never-fading. God shall have the victory.” (Spurgeon)