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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 29

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2989. B.C. 1015.

David exhorts them to contribute toward building and furnishing the temple, 1 Chronicles 29:1-5 . They do contribute accordingly, 1 Chronicles 29:6-9 . He offers up solemn prayers, praises, and sacrifices to God, 1 Chronicles 29:10-21 . Solomon is enthroned, 1 Chronicles 29:22-25 . David finishes his course, 1 Chronicles 29:26-30 .

Verse 1

1 Chronicles 29:1. Furthermore, David said unto all the congregation, &c. He excites them to assist his son by divers considerations, 1st, That he was a person chosen by God for this work. 2d, That nevertheless he much needed their help, because he was but a youth. 3d, That the work itself was to be very magnificent, suitable to the Divine Majesty, who was to dwell therein, or to be represented there, by a glorious light and splendour, the symbol of his presence. And the more that was contributed toward the fabric, the more magnificent it would be, and would better answer the end designed. And, 4th, That he had set them an example, and made great preparations for, and given great donations to, the work.

Verses 2-4

1 Chronicles 29:2-4. I have prepared with all my might He did not intend to throw all the burden upon them, nor that it should be built wholly by the contributions of the people, although intended for their benefit; but he himself contributed to the erection of it to the uttermost of his power. Work for God must be done with all our might, or we shall bring nothing to pass in it. Onyx-stones, and stones to be set Diamonds, or emeralds, or rubies, or any of those precious stones which are usually set in rings or such things. Of my own proper good Of that which I had reserved as a peculiar treasure for my own use, after I had separated those things which I had devoted to God. Three thousand talents of the gold of Ophir Which was accounted the best and purest gold. By this it appears probable that the hundred thousand talents, mentioned 1 Chronicles 22:14, were of an inferior kind of gold. To overlay the walls of the house The walls of the temple with gold, and of the rooms adjoining to it with silver, beaten out into plates, and put upon the cedar and other materials in different places, as was judged most fit.

Verse 5

1 Chronicles 29:5 . Who then is willing to consecrate to this service? To offer an offering, as I have done. Hebrew, to fill his hand unto the Lord. They that engage themselves in the service of God will have their hands full: there is work enough for the whole man in that service.

Verse 9

1 Chronicles 29:9. The people rejoiced Because this was both an effect of God’s grace in them, an eminent token of God’s favour to them, and a pledge that this long-desired work would receive a certain and speedy accomplishment. David also rejoiced with great joy To see the work which his heart was so much set upon likely to go on. It is a great reviving to good men, when they are leaving the world, to see those they leave behind them zealous for the work of God.

Verses 10-11

1 Chronicles 29:10-11. David said, Blessed, &c. David was now full of days, and near his end, and it well becomes the aged children of God to have their hearts much enlarged in praise and thanksgiving. The nearer we come to the land of everlasting praise, the more we should speak the language and do the work of that world. Thine is the greatness and the power, &c. Thus David praises God with holy awe and reverence, acknowledging and adoring, 1st, His infinite perfections; not only that he is great, powerful, and glorious, &c., but that his is the greatness, power, and glory; that he has these perfections in and of himself, and is the centre and fountain of every thing that is excellent and blessed. 2d, His sovereign dominion, that he is the rightful owner and almighty possessor of all. All that is in heaven and in earth is thine And at thy disposal, by the indisputable right of creation, and as Supreme Ruler and Commander of all. Thine is the kingdom And all kings are thy subjects; and thou art to be exalted and worshipped as head above all 3d, His universal influence and agency. All that are rich and honourable among mankind have their riches and honours from God. This acknowledgment David would have the princes to take notice of, and join in, that they might not think they had merited any thing of God by their generosity; for from God they had had their riches and honour, and what they had returned to him was but a small part of what they had received from him. Whoever are great among men, it is God that makes them so; and whatever strength we have, it is God that gives it us. Let no flesh, then, glory in his presence; for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever! Amen.

Verses 13-14

1 Chronicles 29:13-14. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee The more we do for God, the more we are indebted to him for the honour of being employed in his service, and for grace to enable us in any measure to serve him. Doth he therefore thank that servant? said Jesus. No: but that servant has a great deal of reason to thank him. Who am I, and what is my people? David was the most honourable person, and Israel the most honourable people, then in the world; yet thus he speaks of himself and them, as utterly unworthy of the divine cognizance and favour. David now appeared very great in the eyes of men, presiding in an august assembly, appointing his successor, and making a noble present to the honour of God; and yet, being little and low in his own eyes, he asks, Who am I, O Lord! that we should be able to offer so willingly That thou shouldest give us both riches to make such an offering, and a willing heart to offer them, both which are the gifts and fruits of thy grace and mercy to us. God works ill his people both to will and to do, and it is a great instance of the power of his grace in us to be able to do his work willingly. Of thine own have we given thee We return only what we have received, and therefore only pay a debt, or rather, the small part of a debt due to thee. Thus we ought to give God all the glory of all the good that is at any time done by ourselves or others. Our own good works must not be the matter of our pride, nor the good works of others of our flattery, but both the matter of our praise; for certainly it is the greatest honour and pleasure in the world faithfully to serve God.

Verse 15

1 Chronicles 29:15. For we are strangers before thee, &c. Poor, despicable creatures. The land which we possess is thine, not ours; we are not the proprietors, but only thy tenants: and as our fathers once were mere strangers in it, even before men, so we at this day are no better before thee, having no absolute right in it, but only to travel through it, and sojourn in it for the short time we live in the world. This is equally true of all men, who on earth are but strangers and sojourners; while angels and saints in heaven are there at home. Our days on earth are as a shadow David’s days had as much of substance in them as most men’s: for he was upon the whole a good man, a useful man, and now an old man. He lived long, and to good purpose; and yet he puts himself in the front of those who must acknowledge that their days on the earth are as a shadow: which speaks our life a vain life, a dark life, a transient life, and a life that will have its period, either in perfect light or perfect darkness. And there is none abiding Hebrew, מקוה , mickve, expectation. We cannot expect much from earth, nor can we expect any long continuance in it. This is mentioned here as that which forbids us to boast of what we give to God and his cause, or to our poor and destitute fellow-creatures, or of the services we perform to him. We only give what we must shortly leave, and what we cannot keep to ourselves: and our services are confined to a mere scantling of time: they are the services of a short, uncertain life. What, therefore, can we pretend to merit by such gifts or services? and what right have we to boast, or think highly of ourselves, on account of them? Surely God does us a great favour that he will accept such offerings and services from us.

Verse 16

1 Chronicles 29:16. All this store cometh of thy hand, and is all thine We have it from thee as a free gift, and therefore are bound to use it for thee; and what we present to thee is but as rent or interest from thine own. In like manner we ought to acknowledge God in all spiritual things; referring every good thought, good desire, and good work to his grace, from which we receive it. Let him, that glorieth, therefore, glory in the Lord.

Verse 17

1 Chronicles 29:17. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, &c. That thou observest with what intention and disposition of mind any offering is made and work performed; and hast pleasure in uprightness Without which the most costly gift, and most laborious services, would be as nothing before thee. And hence it is that I hope thou wilt be pleased to accept what I now present to thee, being conscious that I offer it with a heart devoted to thy love and service, and with an intention to glorify thee. It is a great satisfaction to a good man to know that God tries the heart, and has pleasure in uprightness; and that whoever may misinterpret or contemn it, he is acquainted with, and approves, the way of the righteous. It was a comfort to David that God knew with what pleasure he both offered his own, and saw the people’s offering. I have seen with joy thy people offer willingly unto thee By the largeness of their offering I discern the sincerity, willingness, and generosity of their hearts toward thee: for David judged, as in reason and charity he ought, of the tree by its fruit, and of their hearts by their actions.

Verse 18

1 Chronicles 29:18. O Lord God of Abraham, &c. A God in covenant with them, and with us for their sakes. Keep this for ever, &c. Since it is from thy grace that thy people have such willing minds, continue that grace to them, that they may persist in the same generous disposition toward thee and thy worship. And grant that by our perseverance in this piety and charity, we may make good our part of the covenant, and so may not forfeit the benefit of it. And prepare their heart unto thee Or rather, as it is in the margin, stablish or confirm their heart. Thou, who hast begun a good work, confirm and carry it on by thy grace, otherwise it will languish, and this very people will prove degenerate.

Verse 19

1 Chronicles 29:19. And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart He had charged Solomon to serve God with a perfect heart, and now he prays to God to give him such a heart. He does not pray that God would make him rich, or great, or learned, but, what is infinitely more important, that he would make him sincerely and decidedly godly and righteous, devoted to God and his service, and steady and faithful therein. To keep thy commandments Which David knew would not, could not, be kept by Solomon or any man, unless his heart was renewed by the grace of God, and made right with him. And to build the palace, &c. Not only to observe the precepts of thy law in general, and do thy will in other respects, but in particular to accomplish thy design in building thee a temple, that he may perform that service with a single eye. For which I have made provision By purchasing the place, (chap. 21.,) and providing for the expenses of the work. From this prayer of David, both for Solomon and the people, we may see, that even in those days, when there was so much of ceremony and external pomp in religion, and when the church of God was in its nonage, as the apostle states, (Galatians 4:1-3,) and in bondage under the elements of the world, yet the inward grace of God, or the operation of the Spirit on the human heart, was judged absolutely necessary to enable a man to keep the commandments of God. How much more then is the grace of God necessary to enable a man to walk according to the more pure and spiritual doctrines and precepts of Christianity, to love and embrace its holy promises, and live up to its more divine and heavenly privileges.

Verse 20

1 Chronicles 29:20. David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God Adore his divine majesty, and give him thanks for all his benefits, hereby testifying your concurrence with me in what I have done and spoken. And all the congregation blessed the Lord, &c. They did as David desired, bowing down their heads in a gesture of adoration. Whoever is the mouth of the congregation to God, only those have the benefit of his ministrations who join with him, not so much by bowing down the head, as by lifting up the heart. And worshipped the Lord, and the king The Lord with religious, and the king with civil worship.

Verse 21

1 Chronicles 29:21. They sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord Before the ark which was there. In abundance for all Israel Either, 1st, On behalf of all Israel, to praise God in their names, to procure God’s presence and blessing for them all. Or, 2d, So many sacrifices, that the feasts which were, according to custom, made of the remainders of them, were abundantly sufficient for all the Israelites that were then present, and desired to partake of them.

Verse 22

1 Chronicles 29:22. And did eat and drink before the Lord Before the ark, in the courts or places as near to it as they conveniently could: or, as in God’s presence, in a solemn and religious manner, praising God for this great mercy, and entreating his blessing on this great affair. They made Solomon king the second time The first time was, when he was made king during Adonijah’s conspiracy, (1 Kings 1:34,) on which occasion it was done in great haste, and in the presence of only a few of David’s servants; but now in the presence of all the great men of Israel, the princes of the tribes, the captains of thousands and hundreds. And anointed him to be the chief governor After the death of David. Perhaps, however, David now resigned the government of the kingdom to him, as he knew he had not long to live. And Zadok to be priest It must be remembered that the high-priest had his vicegerent who might officiate in his stead. So that this action of theirs, the anointing Zadok, did not actually constitute him high- priest, but only settled the reversion of it upon him and his line after Abiathar’s death; even as David’s making Solomon king, and their anointing Solomon to be the chief governor here, did not put him into actual possession of the kingdom, but only gave him a right to it after the present king’s death: hence, notwithstanding this anointing, Abiathar continued to exercise his office till Solomon thrust him out, 1 Kings 2:27.

Verse 23

1 Chronicles 29:23. Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord On the throne of Israel, which is called the throne of the Lord, because the Lord himself was, in a peculiar manner, the king and governor of Israel. He had the founding, he had the filling of their throne, by immediate direction.

Verse 24

1 Chronicles 29:24. And all the sons likewise of David submitted themselves unto Solomon Hebrew, gave, or put the hand under Solomon, that is, owned him for their king, and themselves for his subjects, and bound themselves by oath to be true to him, which they possibly did, according to the ancient ceremony used in swearing, mentioned Genesis 24:2; Genesis 47:29; or rather, the thing is signified by a phrase, taken from that practice formerly used, though now neglected: it being usual in all nations and languages to express present things by phrases taken from ancient customs. Though, by seniority, the title of David’s other sons to the crown was prior to that of Solomon, and they might think themselves wronged by his advancement; yet, because God was pleased to make him king, and had qualified him for that high office, they all submitted themselves to him, God doubtless inclining their hearts to do so, that Solomon’s reign might from the first be peaceable.

Verse 25

1 Chronicles 29:25. The Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly Gave him great honour and reputation, together with riches and power, and all such things as render a king great and glorious. Bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king of Israel Either on David or Saul, or any of the former governors of Israel. None of his predecessors possessed such dignity and authority, or lived in such splendour and magnificence as he did.

Verse 26

1 Chronicles 29:26. Thus David reigned, &c. This sacred writer, having mentioned the anointing of Solomon, and, upon that occasion, proceeded to give a further account of Solomon’s actual settlement in his kingdom, returns to his main business, to give an account of the close of David’s reign and life. He here brings him to the end of his day, leaves him asleep, and draws the curtains about him.

Verse 28

1 Chronicles 29:28. Full of days Fully satisfied with the days which God had given him, having had the happiness of seeing his beloved son Solomon settled in his throne. Riches and honour He had enough of this world, and of the riches and honour of it; and he knew when he had enough. He was satisfied, and very willing to go to a better place.

Verse 29

1 Chronicles 29:29. They are written in the book of Samuel the seer In the two books of Samuel, as they are now called, which were written in part by Samuel while he lived, and continued after his death by Nathan and Gad. And in the book of Nathan, and the book of Gad In the public registers, or chronicles of the kingdom, which were written by Nathan and Gad, who were not only prophets, but historiographers, out of which, either they or some other prophets took, by the direction of God’s Spirit, such passages as were most important and useful for the churches in succeeding ages.

Verse 30

1 Chronicles 29:30. The times that went over him The transactions of his reign, and the changes that befell him; both his troubles and successes, the word time or times being often put for things done or happening in them. And over all the kingdoms of the countries Those countries which bordered upon, or were not far distant from the land of Canaan, the history of which was in part connected with that of the Israelites. For the sketch of the character of David, we refer our readers to our notes on 2 Samuel 24:25.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 29". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/1-chronicles-29.html. 1857.
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