1 Chronicles 29 COMMENTARY (Ellicott)

1 Chronicles 29
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, 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 the LORD God.


(1) Furthermore.And. David reviews his own preparations, and asks the offerings of the assembly, which are cheerfully accorded (1 Chronicles 29:1-9).

Alone.—Of all his brothers.

Young and tender.1 Chronicles 22:5.

The palace (bîrāh).—A word peculiar to the Chronicles, Nehemiah, Esther, and Daniel. It usually means the palace at Susa (comp. the Persian word bâru, “citadel”), and this is the only passage of Scripture in which it denotes the Temple. From its august associations, the word was well calculated to convey to the minds of the chronicler’s contemporaries some idea of the magnificence of the Temple of Solomon as he imagined it.

Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.
(2) Now I have prepared.And with all might have I prepared (1 Chronicles 22:14; comp. also Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 28:9).

The gold for things to be made of gold.—Literally, the gold for the gold, and the silver for the silver, &c. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 28:14.)

Onyx (shōham).—So Vulg. The LXX. keeps the Hebrew word Σοάμ. (See Gen. ii 12; Exodus 25:7; Exodus 28:9; Exodus 28:20; Job 28:16.) The uncertainty of meaning is illustrated by the fact that the LXX. in various passages translates shōham by onyx, beryl, sardius, emerald, and sapphire.

Stones to be set (’abnê millû’îm).—Stones of settings; strictly, fillings; LXX., πληρώσεως (Exodus 25:7; Exodus 35:9).

Glistering stones, and of divers colours.—Literally, stones of pûk and riqmāh. Pûk is the pigment used by Eastern ladies for darkening the eyebrows and lashes (kohl: 2 Kings 9:30). It here seems to denote the colour of the stones in question. Perhaps some kind of decorative marble is intended (comp. Isaiah 54:11). Riqmāh stones are veined or variegated marbles, or, perhaps, tesselated work (comp. Ezekiel 17:3; Judges 5:30). The LXX. renders the phrase “costly and variegated stones.”

All manner of precious stones.2 Chronicles 3:6.

Marble stones.—Stones of shàyish, a word only read here. It means white marble. The LXX. and Vulg. have Parian marble, but the Targum simply marmora, “marbles.” (Comp. Esther 1:6; Song of Solomon 5:15, where shêsh is equivalent to the present form.)

Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house,
(3) I have set my affection to the house.1 Chronicles 28:4 (he liked, rāçāh: Psalm 26:8).

I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver.—I have a personal property in gold and silver. For the word sĕgullāh, peculium, see Exodus 19:5.

I have giveni.e., I give (1 Chronicles 21:23).

Over and above (lĕma‘lāh).1 Chronicles 22:5.

All that I have prepared.—The Hebrew again omits the relative. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 15:12.)

Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal:
(4) Three thousand talents of gold.—Comp. 1 Chronicles 22:14. The sum would be about £18,000,000 sterling.

Gold of Ophir.—Indian gold, from Abhîra, at the mouth of the Indus.

Seven thousand talents of refined silver.—About £2,800,000 sterling.

To overlay.—Strictly, to besmear (Isaiah 44:18).

The houses.—The chambers (1 Chronicles 28:11; see 2 Chronicles 3:4-9). The Syriac and Arabic have “a thousand thousand talents of gold,” and “twice a thousand thousand talents of silver.”

The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?
(5) The gold for things of gold.—Literally. as for the gold, for the gold, and as for the silver for the silverScil., “I give it” (1 Chronicles 29:3)—and for every work by hand of craftsmen.

And who then is willing to consecrate his service?—Literally, And who volunteers (Judges 5:1) to fill his hand to-day for Jehovah? To fill his hand: that is, with a liberal offering (Exodus 32:29).

Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly,
(6) Then the chief of the fathers.And the princes of the clans, &c., volunteered, showed themselves liberal (nādîb: 1 Chronicles 28:21; comp. Proverbs 19:6).

Chief . . . princes . . . captains . . . rulers.—All these words represent a single Hebrew term (sārîm). Princes of the clans or houses = heads of the houses elsewhere.

With the rulers of the king’s work.—The stewards or bailiffs of the royal domains (1 Chronicles 27:25-31). The construction here is like that in 1 Chronicles 28:21. The particle rendered “with” (le) appears to mean much the same as ‘ăd, “even unto,” assigning an inclusive limit.

And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.
(7) And gave . . . of gold.—And they gave . . . gold, five thousand talents; between thirty and forty millions sterling (!).

Ten thousand drams.—Rather, Darics. The Daric (Greek, Δαρεικὸς) was a Persian gold coin, value about £1 2s., first struck by the great Darius, son of Hystaspes (B.C. 521-485). It remained current in Western Asia long after the fall of the Persian Empire. The Hebrew word (’ădarkônîm) occurs again only once, viz., at Ezra 8:27, where it clearly means Darics, and is so rendered by the Syriac (dărîkûnê). The darkôn (or darbôn) is mentioned in the Talmud as a Persian coin. The chronicler, or his authority, has evidently substituted a familiar modern term for some ancient expression of value. No real coins are mentioned in Scripture before the age of the exile.

Silver ten thousand talents.—About £4,000,000 in modern value (see 1 Kings 10:21; 1 Kings 10:27); or, according to Schrader, who argues from Assyrian data, £3,750,000. The value of the bronze and the iron must have been much greater then than now. (See Note on 1 Chronicles 22:14.)

And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the LORD, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.
(8) And they with whom precious stones were found gave them.—Literally, And with whom there was found stones, they gave unto the treasure. (Comp., for this use of the article as a relative, 1 Chronicles 29:17, 1 Chronicles 26:28; Ezra 8:25.)

The treasure of the house of the Lord.1 Chronicles 26:22. (Comp. Exodus 35:27 for a similar contribution of the princes.)

By the hand of Jehiel.—Under the charge of Jehiel (‘al yad, 1 Chronicles 25:2). Jehiel, or Jehieli, was the Gershonite clan in charge of the “treasures of the house of God” (1 Chronicles 26:21-22).

Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.
(9) Then (and) the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly.—Comp. Judges 5:1.

With perfect heart.1 Chronicles 28:9.

Wherefore David blessed the LORD before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, LORD God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
(10) Wherefore.And. David’s Prayer (1 Chronicles 29:10-19). David thanks God because his people are at one with him on the subject nearest his heart. Touching this fine utterance of a true inspiration, which the chronicler—or rather, perhaps, his authority—puts into the mouth of the aged king, we may remark that the spirit which found expression in the stirring odes of psalmists and the trumpet-tones of prophets in olden times, in the latter days, when psalmody was weak and prophecy dead, flowed forth in the new outlet of impassioned prayer.

Before all.—To the eyes of all (Genesis 23:11), and frequently.

Lord God of Israel our rather.—The connection is “Israel our father,” not “Jehovah our father.” (Comp. 1 Chronicles 29:18; 1 Chronicles 29:20; Exodus 3:6. Yet comp. also Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 64:8; Deuteronomy 32:6; Malachi 1:6; Malachi 2:10; Jeremiah 31:9.) The fatherhood of God, though thus occasionally affirmed in prophetic writings, hardly became a ruling idea within the limits of Old Testament times. (Comp. Matthew 23:9; Matthew 6:9.)

For ever and ever.—From eternity even unto eternity. (Comp. the doxologies of the first and third books of the Psalter—Psalm 41:13; Psalm 106:48—and Psalm 103:17.)

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
(11) Thine, O Lord, is the greatness.—The point of 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 seems to be that David arrogates nothing to himself; but, with the humility of genuine greatness, ascribes everything to God. As if he said, “The greatness of my kingdom, the prowess of my warriors, the splendour and majesty of my throne, are thine, for thine are all things.”

Greatness.Gĕdullāh, a late word. (Comp. Psalm 71:21; Psalm 145:3.)

Power.—Strictly, manly strength; then valour, prowess (Psalm 21:13). (Comp. Exodus 15:3.)

The glory.—Ornament, beauty, splendour (Isaiah 3:18; Isaiah 13:19; Isaiah 46:13; Psalm 96:6).

Majesty.—See Psalm 21:6; Psalm 96:6.

Victory.—Glory, splendour (1 Samuel 15:29). “Victory” is the meaning of the word in Syriac, and so the LXX. and Vulg. render here. But the Syriac version has “beauty.” or “glory.” With the whole ascription, comp. Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:12; Revelation 7:12.

All that is in the heavens . . . is thine.—The pronoun (lāk) seems to have fallen out before the following: Thine (lĕkā) is the kingdom.” (Comp. for the idea Psalm 89:11; Psalm 24:1.)

The kingdom.—The universal sovereignty (Psalm 96:10; Psalm 97:1; Psalm 22:28).

Thou art exalted as head above all.—Lit., And the self-exalted over all as head (art thou). (Comp. Numbers 16:3.) Here also the pronoun (’āttāh) may have been lost at the end. Ewald, however, explains the apparent participle as an Aramaized infinitive: “And the being exalted over all as head is thine.” (Comp. Isaiah 24:21 for the supremacy of God over all powers of heaven and earth.)

As head.—Comp. Deuteronomy 28:13; Psalm 18:43; Colossians 2:10.

Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
(12) Both riches and honour come of thee.—Literally, And the riches and the honour are from before thee. (Comp. Proverbs 3:16; 1 Kings 3:13.)

Power and might.—Power, rendered “might” in 1 Chronicles 29:2.

Might.—Rendered “power” in 1 Chronicles 29:11. And in thine hand it is to make great (1 Samuel 2:7-8; Luke 1:52).

Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
(13) Now therefore, our God, we thank thee.And now, our God, we are thanking thee, and praising (participles in the Hebrew). Môdîm, “thanking,” occurs nowhere else, though the verb is common in other forms.

Thy glorious name.The name of thy glory: here only. (Comp. Isaiah 63:14, and Psalm 72:19.)

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.
(14) But who am I?And, indeed, who am I? (answering to the Greek καὶ γάρ).

That we should be able.That we should hold in: i.e., keep strength (‘āçar kōah), a phrase confined to six passages in the Chronicles and three in Daniel (Daniel 11:6; Daniel 10:8; Daniel 10:16).

All things come of thee.For from thee is the whole (scil.) of our wealth and power. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 29:16.)

And of thine own.And out of thine own hand.

For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
(15) For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners.Psalm 39:12.

Our days on the earth are as a (the) shadow.Job 8:9; Psalm 144:4.

And there is none abiding.—Rather, and there is no hope; no outlook, no assured future, no hope of permanence. What is the ground for this plaintive turn in the thought? Merely, it would seem, to emphasise what has just been said. We, as creatures of a day, can have no abiding and absolute possession. Our good things are lent to us for a season only. As our fathers passed away, so shall we.

O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.
(16) All this store.—Strictly, multitude; and so multitude of goods, riches (Psalm 37:16).

Cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.From thine own hand it is, and thine is the whole. The whole verse is a clearer expression of the second half of 1 Chronicles 29:14. (Comp. Psalm 104:28.)

I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.
(17) Thou triest the heart.Psalm 11:4; Psalm 7:9; Psalm 26:2.

Hast pleasure in.1 Chronicles 28:4, 1 Chronicles 29:3. (Comp. also 1 Chronicles 28:9.)

Uprightness.—Or, sincerity (mêshārîm, Song of Solomon 1:4).

In the uprightness (yōsher), integrity (Deuteronomy 9:5),, a synonym of mêshārîm. Both literally mean straightness: e.g., of a road (Proverbs 2:13; Proverbs 23:31). The connexion of ideas is this: Thou that lookest upon the heart knowest that my offering has been made without grudging and without hypocrisy; my motive was not my own interest, but Thy glory. Hence my joyful thanksgiving, because of the free generosity of Thy people.

Which are present here.—Literally, Who have found themselves here (reflexive verb). (So 2 Chronicles 5:11, and other places.)

O LORD God of Abraham, 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:
(18) Israel.1 Chronicles 29:10. (See Genesis 32:28, and Exodus 3:6.)

Keep this for ever in the imagination.—Rather, preserve this for ever: to wit, “the cast (1 Chronicles 28:9) of the thoughts of the heart of thy people.” Give permanence to the frame of mind which has evinced itself in the freewill offerings of to-day.

Prepare their heart.—Or, direct (1 Samuel 7:3). (Comp. Ezekiel 4:3; Ezekiel 4:7, “direct the face towards . . .” Proverbs 16:9, “direct his going.” Comp. also 2 Chronicles 12:14; 2 Chronicles 20:33.)

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 the which I have made provision.
(19) To keep thy commandments . . . thy statutes.Deuteronomy 6:17.

The palace.1 Chronicles 29:1.

And to do all these things.And to do the whole; (scil.) of thy commandments, testimonies, and statutes (comp. 1 Chronicles 22:13; 1 Chronicles 28:7), or, to carry out all my designs.

For the which I have made provision.Which I have prepared (scil.) to build (1 Chronicles 28:2).

And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king.
(20-25) The sacrificial feast and anointing of Solomon.

(20) Now bless.Bless ye, I pray. The “now” is not a note of time, but of entreaty.

Blessed the Lord God of their fathers.—Probably using a liturgical formula, like the doxologies which close the books of the Psalter (Psalm 41:13; Psalm 72:18-19; Psalm 89:52, &c).

And bowed down their heads.—Or, and bowed. Vulg., inclinaverunt se; LXX. here, κάμψαντες τὰ γόνατα, bending the knees; but usually κνψαντες, stooping, bowing.

Worshipped.—Prostrated themselves. LXX., προσεκύνησαν. The two expressions “bowed and worshipped” are always united, as here (save in 2 Chronicles 20:18. Comp. Genesis 24:26; Exodus 12:27). The Syriac renders, “fell down and worshipped.”

And the king.—As God’s earthly representative, David receives the same tokens of reverence and homage. (Comp. 1 Kings 1:31.)

And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings unto the LORD, 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:
(21) On the morrow after that day (lĕmohŏrath hayyôm hahû); here only. (Comp. Jonah 4:7.) That is, on the day after the assembly.

A thousand bullocks . . .—Heb., Bullocks a thousand, rams a thousand, &c., according to the later mode of speech; and their libations (Psalm 16:4; Exodus 29:40; Leviticus 23:13).

And sacrifices in abundance for all Israel.—The word “sacrifices” (zĕbāhîm) occurred in a general sense at the beginning of the verse. Here, in connexion with burnt-offerings, it has the special meaning of “thank-offerings” (shĕlāmîm; Authorised Version, “peace-offerings,” Deuteronomy 12:6). See for both kinds of sacrifice, Leviticus 1:1 sqq.; Exodus 20:24; Exodus 24:5.

For all Israel.—So that every one present might partake of the sacrificial meal. (Comp. Notes on 1 Chronicles 16:2-3; Deuteronomy 12:7; 1 Samuel 1:3-8; 1 Samuel 1:13.)

And did eat and drink before the LORD on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the LORD to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest.
(22) And did eat and drink.—And they ate and drank. (Comp. the account of the feasting at David’s coronation, 1 Chronicles 12:39-40.)

And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time.—The first time is briefly noticed in 1 Chronicles 23:1. (Comp. the full account, 1 Kings 1:32-40.)

And anointed him unto the Lord to be the chief governor.And anointed (him; perhaps the suffix has fallen out) for Jehovah as prince (nāgîd, 1 Chronicles 27:16; 1 Kings 1:35).

Anointed.Judges 9:15; 2 Samuel 2:4. The expression “for Jehovah” seems to mean, according to His will. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 28:5.) Or perhaps we should render, anointed him as prince, and Zadoh as priest, to Jehovah. The king was Jehovah’s vicegerent, as Zadok was His priest. The theocratic nature of the Israelite monarchy is again insisted upon. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 17:14; 1 Chronicles 28:5.)

And Zadok to be priest.—A remarkable notice, peculiar to the Chronicles. Among other things, it vividly illustrates the almost sovereign dignity of the high priest’s office; it also explains the deposition of Abiathar (comp. 1 Kings 1:32; 1 Kings 2:26) as having been already contemplated by David.

Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.
(23) Then.—And.

Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord.—Comp. 1 Chronicles 28:5.

As king instead of David his father.—It is not meant that David abdicated. 1 Chronicles 29:23-25 are anticipative of the history of Solomon’s reign. At the same time, their introduction here is natural, not only as relating the immediate sequel of Solomon’s coronation, but also as showing how David’s last wishes in regard to his son were realised.

And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise of king David, submitted themselves unto Solomon the king.
(24) And all the princes (sārîm).—The grandees of 1 Chronicles 27:1-34; 1 Chronicles 28:1; 1 Chronicles 29:6; not members of the royal house, who are designated as “the king’s sons.”

Submitted themselves.—See marginal rendering. The Vulg. has the exegetical expansion, “dederunt manum et subjeeti fuerunt Salomoni regi.” The Hebrew phrase “put (nāthan) hand under . . .” is not met with elsewhere. (Comp. Genesis 24:2; Genesis 24:9.) It appears to be different from “give hand to . . .” in token of good faith or submission. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 30:8; Lamentations 5:6; Ezekiel 17:18.) An ancient mode of doing homage may be intended. The whole sentence may contain an allusive reference to the attempt of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5-53).

And the LORD 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.
(25) And bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.—Literally, and put upon him a glory of kingship that had not become on any king over Israel before him. The phrase “put glory upon . . .” (nāthan hôd ‘al . . .) occurs in Psalm 8:2. Only two or, counting Ish-bosheth, three kings had preceded Solomon. (Comp. 1 Kings 3:12; 2 Chronicles 1:12.)

Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel.
(26) Thus David . . . reigned.—Rather, Now David . . . had reigned.

1 Chronicles 29:26-30.—Concluding remarks upon David’s history.

Over all Israel.—This alludes to the antecedent reign over Judah only. (See 2 Samuel 5:1-5; 1 Chronicles 11:1; 1 Chronicles 12:38.)

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.
(27) And the time (Heb., the days).

That he reigned.—This verse is a duplicate of 1 Kings 2:11, omitting the words “David” at the beginning and years” at the end.

Seven years.—More exactly, seven and a-half. (See 2 Samuel 5:5.)

And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.
(28) In a good old age.Genesis 15:15.

Full of days.—From LXX. and Vulg. (πλήρης ἡμερῶνplenus dierum). Literally, satisfied with days. Syriac, “And he was satisfied with the days of his life.” (Comp. 1 Chronicles 23:1; Genesis 35:29.)

Riches and honour.1 Chronicles 29:12. Syriac, “And he was great in the riches of the world, and in the honour thereof.”

And Solomon his son reigned in his stead.—The regular formula, from 1 Kings 11:43 to the end of the history of the kings.

Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,
(29) Now the acts of David the king, first and last.—Literally, And the words (dibrê) of David the king, the former and the latter, behold they are written inthe words of Samuel the seer “(rô-eh), and in “the words of Nathan the prophet,” and in “the words of Gad the seer” (hôzeh). For “written in” the Hebrews said “written on.” (See Exodus 34:1; Isaiah 8:1.)

The acts of David.—Or, the matters, history of David. The Heb. dābār is (1) a word, (2) something spoken about, a matter, transaction, or event. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 16:37; 2 Kings 17:11; Genesis 15:1; 2 Samuel 11:18-19.) Gesenius renders here: Et res gestae regis David . . . ecce eae scriptae in libro cui titulus, Res Samuĕlis (Thesaur., p. 722). As to the sources apparently cited by the chronicler in this passage, see the remarks in the Introduction.

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.
(30) And his might.—Or, valour, prowess. (See 1 Chronicles 29:11.) His warlike achievements are intended. (Comp. 1 Kings 15:23; Judges 8:21.)

And the times that went over him.—Heb., passed over him. The seasons of good and evil fortune, the vicissitudes of his own and his people’s history. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 12:32; Psalm 31:16; Job 24:1 [=seasons of judgment]; Daniel 9:25.)

And over all the kingdoms of the countries.—Viz., those with which David had relations of friendship or war, such as the Philistines, Aramæans, Hamathites, and other surrounding peoples. (Comp. chap 14:17.)

Kingdoms of the countries.2 Chronicles 12:8; 2 Chronicles 17:10; 2 Chronicles 20:29; not elsewhere.

The Syriac adds: “Because that David did that which was good before the Lord, and departed not from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life.”

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