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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

1 Chronicles 29

Verses 1-30

II. THE REIGN OF DAVID CHS. 10-29

In all of Chronicles the writer assumed his readers’ acquaintance with the other Old Testament historical books. This is especially true regarding what Samuel and Kings contain. These books, or at least the information in them, appears to have been well known by the returning exiles.

"The reigns of Saul, David and Solomon over a united Israel are central to the concerns of the Chronicler, about half his narrative material being devoted to these three kings alone. Nearly all the many themes of his work are developed here, and it is in their light that the subsequent history of the people is assessed." [Note: Williamson, p. 92.]

"While it is customary to relate 1 Chronicles 10-29 exclusively to David, and to define the writer’s intentions almost exclusively with respect to him, our study indicates that the work of David and Solomon is to be considered a unity reaching its goal in the dedication of the temple." [Note: Braun, 1 Chronicles, p. 145.]

Verses 1-30

E. God’s Covenant Promises to David chs. 17-29

The dominating theme in 1 Chronicles is the Davidic Covenant, the receiving of which was the most important event in David’s life. God promised to give him an eternal kingdom, and He formalized that promise by making a covenant with him. The writer repeated three times that David’s descendants would be God’s instruments for bringing salvation to the nations.

The Chronicler referred to the Davidic Covenant seven times in his book (1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 1 Chronicles 22:8-13; 1 Chronicles 28:6-7; 2 Chronicles 6:8-9; 2 Chronicles 6:16; 2 Chronicles 7:17-18; 2 Chronicles 13:5; 2 Chronicles 21:7). Many students of Chronicles have regarded the Davidic Covenant as the heart of these books because it established David’s kingly line with promises that relate to the temple and the priesthood. The temple and the priesthood are two major themes of these books. God brought them under Davidic rule forever, as the Chronicler revealed. Another unifying theme is the steps taken toward the building of the temple.

"These include identification of the builder (ch. 17), the necessary political conditions (18-20), site (21), materials and plans (22, 28-29), and the personnel (the primary layer in 23-27)." [Note: Williamson, p. 132.]

1. The first account of God’s promises to David chs. 17-21

In some particulars, the promises God gave David related to him personally. However, other promises pertained to his descendants and, in particular, to one descendant who would do for Israel much more than David could do. In chapters 17-21 the emphasis is on the promises that related to David personally. The writer evidently wanted to establish God’s faithfulness in fulfilling these to encourage his readers to trust God to fulfill the yet unfulfilled promises concerning David’s great Son.

In 1 Chronicles 17:8, God promised David victory over his enemies. The writer recorded that victory in chapters 18-20. In 1 Chronicles 17:9-12, God promised David that He would establish a place for Israel and a place for Himself within Israel (1 Chronicles 17:12; cf. Deuteronomy 12:1-11). The Chronicler documented the selection of that place in chapter 21. These verses contain promises central to the Chronicler’s emphasis and purpose.

Verses 1-30

3. The third account of God’s promises to David chs. 28-29

A primary concern of the Chronicler, the evidence of which is his selection of material and emphases, was the promise of a King who would eventually come and rule over God’s people. God had fulfilled some of the Davidic Covenant promises in David’s lifetime. He fulfilled others in Solomon’s reign. Still others remained unfulfilled. For a third time the writer recorded the promises God gave to David. In the first case, God spoke to David (1 Chronicles 17:1-27). In the second, David spoke to Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:1-19). In the third, David spoke to Solomon and Israel’s other leaders (1 Chronicles 28:1).

David may have thought Solomon would fulfill the rest of the promises in the covenant (1 Chronicles 28:5-7). He must have realized that to do so Solomon would have to obey God faithfully (1 Chronicles 28:7). Solomon, however, was not completely obedient. Consequently, if God is faithful to His promises, a faithful Son of David had to arise. The Chronicler looked forward to this future hope.

In describing David’s plans for building the temple, the Chronicler seems to have wanted to present David as a second Moses. He also seems to have wanted to present Solomon as a second Joshua to some extent. [Note: See H. G. M. Williamson, "The Accession of Solomon in the Book of Chronicles," Vetus Testamentum 26 (1976):351-61; and Raymond B. Dillard, "The Chronicler’s Solomon," Westminster Theological Journal 43 (1981):289-300.]

The commissioning of construction 28:20-29:9

Haggai echoed David’s words of encouragement to begin building-which David addressed to Solomon and Israel’s leaders-hundreds of years later to Israel’s leaders in his day (Haggai 2:4-5). David sought to instill his own zeal for God’s glory in his hearers (1 Chronicles 29:1). The people donated a freewill offering of more gold, silver, bronze, and other materials to make Yahweh’s house reflect the glory of His greatness (cf. Haggai 2:6-9). [Note: For an answer to the argument that the references to "darics" of gold in 29:7 necessitates a late date of writing, see Harrison, p. 1157.] The Israelites of Moses’ day had been similarly generous in providing building materials for the tabernacle (Exodus 25:1-7; Exodus 35:4-9; Exodus 35:20-29).

"Often the extent to which we are prepared to put at risk our material well-being is a measure of the seriousness with which we take our discipleship. . . .

"People are closest to God-likeness in self-giving, and the nearer they approach God-likeness the more genuinely and rightly they become capable of rejoicing." [Note: McConville, p. 103.]

Verses 10-22

David’s blessing 29:10-22

"The climax of David’s reign, as portrayed by the Chronicler, has now been reached. All the preparations for building the temple have been completed, and Solomon, chosen by God as the one who shall bring the plans to fruition, is about to be proclaimed as king over all Israel. And at this point the Chronicler reveals his true heart: the proper response to such a situation is a prayer which breathes joyful faith and simple humility." [Note: Williamson, 1 and 2 . . ., p. 185.]

These were some of David’s last official words to his nation and his son Solomon. Ancient Near Easterners regarded such statements as extremely important, as indeed they were. In this address David reviewed the major lessons he had learned in life.

First, he said that everything belonged to Israel’s great God (1 Chronicles 29:11-13).

"The truth that ’everything’ we have ’comes from’ God is the foundation for the doctrine of stewardship. Its basis is this: since our property is his (Psalms 24:1), and since we hold it only temporarily and in trust (1 Chronicles 29:15-16), it should therefore be used for him (Luke 17:10 . . .)." [Note: Payne, "1, 2 Chronicles," p. 438. See also idem, The Theology of the Older Testament, pp. 434-35.]

God had made it possible for His people to build an unusually magnificent temple. He had also caused Israel to grow from a small family of insignificant shepherds to become a mighty nation (1 Chronicles 29:14-16).

Second, David saw a parallel between Israel’s growth and Yahweh’s elevation of him (1 Chronicles 29:17). God had graciously blessed both David and Israel. Their prosperity was not a result of their own merits. David also spoke of the importance of a heart devoted to God (1 Chronicles 29:17-19; cf. 1 Samuel 16:7). The people’s lavish donation revealed hearts God had touched. David prayed that that heart attitude might remain in God’s people forever.

"Three important attitudes were expected in Israel-not merely obedience but obedience with a perfect heart (1 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Chronicles 29:9; 1 Chronicles 29:17); not merely contributions to the temple for its repair and upkeep and the support of its personnel but willing contributions (1 Chronicles 29:1-9; 1 Chronicles 29:14; 1 Chronicles 29:17); and not merely temple rituals but ritual participation with joy (1 Chronicles 29:9; 1 Chronicles 29:17; 1 Chronicles 29:22)." [Note: Thompson, p. 39. On the significance of "heart" in Chronicles, see Howard, pp. 264-66.]

These emphases are even more prominent in 2 Chronicles than they are in 1 Chronicles.

Verses 23-25

Solomon’s coronation 29:23-25

Two years after David’s blessing, Solomon mounted the throne as sole king of Israel. [Note: Merrill, Kingdom of . . ., p. 248, n. 37.] The events surrounding Adonijah’s rebellion (1 Kings 1) were of no significance to the Chronicler since they had no bearing on his purpose. His interest lay in Solomon as a focus of the Davidic Covenant promises and the builder of the temple.

Verses 26-30

David’s death 29:26-30

The writer highlighted David’s greatness again and cited documentation for the sources he had used in researching David’s life and reign. The Chronicler identified 32 sources that he used in writing 1 and 2 Chronicles. Most of these were official annals, genealogical records, or prophetic records. [Note: See Howard, pp. 238-42.] Compare the summary of Moses’ life in Deuteronomy 34:7.

As the reign of David closed, God had already fulfilled many of His promises in the Davidic Covenant. Yet many remained unfulfilled. On the basis of God’s faithfulness thus far the Chronicler had built a solid base of confidence that He would also fulfill those that remained. This fulfillment motif is one he carried through his history of David and Solomon’s successors that follows in 2 Chronicles.

"The Chronicler presents not one but two great kings as the ideal for Israel. The one was David, the warrior-king, who subdued the enemies of the people of God and established a secure domain. He was now passing, and the other, Solomon, was taking his place. Solomon was a man of peace who would build up the prosperity of the nation. These two things together-victory over enemies and a reign of peace-are both essential. For Christian readers these two ideals are fulfilled in the one man, Jesus Christ. He conquers all his foes but at the same time establishes a reign of peace for his own people. In this the tandem of David and Solomon are a type of Christ. [Note: Thompson, pp. 198-99. Cf. Wilcock, pp. 140-42.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 29". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/1-chronicles-29.html. 2012.