1 Chronicles 28:1. And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course, and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards ever all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, unto Jerusalem.
David, in his old age, and soon to die, summoned a great representative assembly of the notables of his kingdom.
1 Chronicles 28:2. Then David the king stood up upon his feet,
He was ill, and obliged to keep his bed; but; he left his couch for this solemn occasion. He did not even remain seated, although extremely weak; but he stood up upon his feet.
1 Chronicles 28:2. And said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people:
Those who read carefully will notice the sweetness of David’s style now that he is about to die. It was after the great sin of his life, and after he and his subjects had suffered because of his numbering the people, that he calls the men before him “my brethren.” He had sometimes spoken of them as his servants; but now he adopts a very humble style, and putting himself on a level with them, he says to them, “Hear me, my brethren, and my people.”
1 Chronicles 28:2-3. As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: but God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.
Admire the frankness of David in telling the people what God had said to him. There is no other biography in the world like the Bible, for it tells the faults and follies of those whose history it records. David was a man after God’s own heart; yet, as he had been used as a sword, for the defence of God’s people, and the destruction of their enemies, he could not be permitted to build the temple. He frankly tells the people all that God had said; it would not reflect any honour upon himself, but it was true, and therefore he kept nothing back. One falls in love with David for the frankness of his utterance. When a king, and an aged man, and just about to die, he tells the people all this story.
1 Chronicles 28:4. Howbeit the LORD God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel:
He delights to dwell upon the election of God. It was not by the right of primogeniture that he was chosen king; it was by the will and good pleasure of God. Judah was one of the younger tribes, and yet it was made the royal tribe. In Judah, the house of Jesse was of no great importance; yet God chose it as the royal family; and in the household of Jesse, David was the youngest, yet the Lord “liked” him, and chose him to be king over all Israel.
1 Chronicles 28:5. And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.
David seems to harp upon this sweet string of the divine choice. I wonder that so many good people are afraid of this blessed doctrine. They fight shy of it; they seem to run away at the very sound of the word “election.” Yet is it the very joy of saints. God hath chosen them, and ordained them to be his servants.
1 Chronicles 28:6-8. And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chose him to be my son, and I will be his father. Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day. Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the LORD, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the LORD your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.
Thus he talked with the great number of the nobility and chief men of his kingdom who were gathered round him.
1 Chronicles 28:9. And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father,
God is very dear to us; but perhaps under no aspect is he more tenderly near us than as the God of our father: “My son, know thou the God of thy father.”
1 Chronicles 28:9. And serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he wilt be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
What a covenant this was under which Solomon stood! Alas! he was not as true to God as he should have been; and though we hope he was not east away for ever, yet under his rule Israel began to decay, and he pierced himself through with many sorrows in his latter days.
1 Chronicles 28:10. Take heed now; for the Lord hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.
It is fine to hear this old man, in his weakness, stirring up the young man. We generally expect to see the youths full of zeal, and the old men somewhat slow; but grace can turn the tables against nature. Here the old man, feeble as to his body, is vigorous as to his spirit.
1 Chronicles 28:11. Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,
He had it all ready in his mind; and before he died, he passed over the plans of that wonderful piece of architecture to his son Solomon.
1 Chronicles 28:12-13. And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.
Everything was laid down, catalogued, and arranged so that Solomon had only to follow the plans given to him by his father, and all would be right. Think of the love of David to his God. Though he might not build the temple, he would draw the plans for it; and though he might not live to see it completed, yet he would, in his own mind, arrange all the courses of the priests and the Levites, and every detail, even to the placing of the vessels of service in the courts of the Lord’s house.
1 Chronicles 28:14-15. He gave of gold by weight for things of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; silver also for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service: even the weight for the candlestick of gold,
Or, the candelabra.
1 Chronicles 28:15. And for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, both for the candlestick, and also for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.
They were not for the burning of candles, but for oil lamps. There was a Lamp-stand, with seven lamps upon the stand; and there were ten of these in the temple. There was only one in the tabernacle; but there were ten in the temple. David arranged everything.
Those seven-branched golden candlesticks stood like pastors of the church; and the little silver candlesticks were carried about like evangelists, who go from place to place that the whole house of God may be served with light. Everything was by weight. God knows what he would have in his house, and he measures out to each one according to his need.
1 Chronicles 28:16-17. And by weight he gave gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and likewise silver for the tables of silver: also pure gold for the flesh-hooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basons he gave gold by weight for every bason; and likewise silver by weight for every bason of silver:
I like to think of David planning all these little things, first receiving instruction from God, then waiting upon God for further direction, and thinking not only about the great golden candelabra, but about the silver candlesticks, and the flesh-hooks, and the howls, and the cups, and the basons. They who love God love everything that has to do with him; they have a holy concern even for the smaller matters pertaining to the house of the Lord.
1 Chronicles 28:18-20. And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD. All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it:
Do not talk about it; do not sit down, and dream over the plans, and think how admirable they are, and then roll them up; but, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it.”
1 Chronicles 28:20. Fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee;
What a pretty touch that is! “The LORD God, even my God, will be with thee.”
1 Chronicles 28:20. He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
Therefore, be of good courage, you that are working for God, for he will not fail you, nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.
1 Chronicles 28:21. And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service!
God always finds men for his work. We sometimes see a lot of cowards run away, and we say to ourselves, “What will happen now?” Why, God will find better men than they are! And when there seems to be a paucity of really valiant men in Israel, God has them in training; and that awkward squad out there will yet become a band of brave men for the service of the house of God.
1 Chronicles 28:21. Also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment.
Thus the grand old man finished up his life by starting another to carry on the work which he was obliged to leave.