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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Chronicles 29

Verse 11

1 Chronicles 29:11. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, &c.— The Talmudists paraphrase this and the next verse as follows: "Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, for thou createdst the world; and the power, for thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, and carriedst them through the Red Sea, and revealedst thyself in glory upon mount Sinai, to give the law to thy people; and obtainedst victory over Amalek, Sihon, Og, and the Canaanites, and madest the sun and the moon to stand still by the majesty of thy Spirit, till thy people were avenged of their enemies; For all things both in heaven and in earth are the work of thy hands; thou supportest and rulest all things, and thou art exalted above all the angels in heaven, as well as all the kings upon earth. The riches of the wealthy, and the glory of kings and dominions, are given them by thee: thou rulest over all; and they rule by thy power; for thou art able to multiply and strengthen all things." See Bishop Patrick, and Callimachus's hymn to Jupiter, ver. 125 in the translation.

Verse 22

1 Chronicles 29:22. Anointed him unto the Lord, to be the chief governor And anointed him chief governor for the Lord: 1:e. the governor whom the Lord had chosen to command his people: for the theocracy still continued, and the kings only reigned in the name and under the authority of God, the supreme lord and ruler of Israel. See Houbigant.

Verse 30

1 Chronicles 29:30. And the times that went over him The transactions are to be understood, which are usually denoted by the times, and which shew what was the nature of the times; a mode of speaking which is common to almost all languages. The kingdoms of the countries, is rendered by Houbigant and the LXX, the kingdoms of the land; 1:e. the kingdoms of the land of promise. See Matthew 4:8. Luke 4:5.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, Having finished his discourse to Solomon, David addresses himself to the people, to exhort them to a liberal contribution. The work was great: a palace for God deserved the utmost magnificence; we can never do enough for him. Solomon was young, and therefore their help was the more needful: beginners must be encouraged. What he himself had done should engage their liberality. He intended not to lay the chief burden on them; he had prepared with his utmost might, and led the way; for he had a hearty affection to the service, which made him so cheerful a giver, and so warm an advocate for it; and therefore he might well ask, Who is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord? not doubting but they would be as ready immediately to give, as he was to solicit. Note; (1.) That is a pleasing service to God, which is done from hearty affection to him. (2.) When our heart is right, our hand will be open; a niggard soul cannot be a child of God. (3.) God loveth a cheerful giver. (4.) When we lead the way ourselves in what is good, we can with confidence say, Be ye followers of me. (5.) It is not enough to give ourselves, but we are bound to stir up others also to every work of faith and labour of love. (6.) What we do for God, must be done without delay.—The success of his exhortation was great. Willingly the princes and people offered a sum immense! amounting, according to Brerewood's computation, to 22,607,500£. besides precious stones, and of brass and iron a prodigious weight. The people were happy that they had it to give, and hearts to offer it; and David rejoiced at a liberality which testified such real zeal for God's glory, and afforded such a promising prospect for his son. Note; (1.) What we bestow in God's service usually brings its own reward in present comfort. (2.) Every christian is happy to see a mutual emulation in good works. (3.) It is a joy to God's departing saints, to leave the world in the comfortable prospect of the growing increase of God's church.

2nd, Big with the sense of divine mercy, and filled with joy at the gracious inclinations which appeared in the people, David pours out in thankful adoration his grateful heart before God and this great congregation. Note; Praise and thanksgiving are ever our bounden duty; but they especially become departing saints of God, ready to enter on the service of everlasting praise.

1. We have here his grateful prayer. [1.] With adoration he begins, blessing the name of Israel's God, exalting his almighty power, his transcendant greatness and glory, his sovereign dominion, and universal agency and government: of him and from him came all that they possessed, and to him alone the praise of all was due. Note; When we approach God in prayer, our hearts should be impressed with a sense of his adorable perfections, that with reverence and godly fear we may bow before him. [2.] With thankfulness he ascribes to God the ability and inclination that he had given them to contribute so liberally for his service. Note; No works merit any thing at God's hands; but it is a fresh obligation upon ourselves, that we are inclined or enabled to do good. [3.] With deep humility he mentions their poor imperfect services. Though so great a king, so good a man, he speaks of himself as a worm before God; and of his people, though so rich, numerous, and great, as strangers and sojourners; as creatures of a day, whose momentary existence here below made their greatest services appear trivial before the eternal God. And what they had offered, was but out of the abundance that God had bestowed, only a part of what was lent them of the Lord. Note; (1.) They who have the deepest sense of God's perfections, will have the lowliest apprehensions of themselves. (2.) Whatever we are enabled to do for God, from him both the holy desire and the just work proceed; so that boasting is for ever excluded. (3.) The more we consider how short our moment is, the greater diligence we should use to fill it with works of faith and labours of love, which, through Jesus Christ, may redound to the praise and glory of God. [4.] He could appeal to God for the simplicity of his heart before him, as he was comfortably confident also in the people. Note; It is a solid satisfaction to have the testimony of our conscience, that in godly sincerity we have our conversation in the world. [5.] He begs, that God, as their covenant God, would ever keep alive in the hearts of the people the same gracious dispositions, and incline them to his blessed service; and that Solomon might possess an upright heart, be enabled exactly to correspond with the pattern given him to build God's palace, and, above all, to follow God's holy law, without which the temple-service could profit him nothing. Note; (1.) Our good purposes will be of no long continuance, unless he who hath excited them continues to preserve them. (2.) This must awaken our unceasing prayers for continual strength to persevere. (3.) A heart sincerely fixed upon God, is the greatest blessing that God can bestow upon us here below.

2. As the king enjoined, the people gladly gave their assent to this grateful prayer, bowing their heads in token of adoration, and withal paying their respects to the king, whom they regarded as the chief human means of their present happy state. On this occasion a great sacrifice was offered of burnt-offerings in honour of God, and peace-offerings of thanksgiving; on which the whole congregation were nobly feasted, and rejoiced before the Lord. Solomon was now a second time solemnly invested with the sovereign power, as he had been more hastily before, on Adonijah's aspiring to the throne; and Abiathar being degraded for his adherence to Adonijah, Zadok was appointed chief priest in his stead. Note; (1.) While we bow the head before God, we must lift up the heart to him. (2.) Those who in God's hands are made to us the instruments of spiritual good, we must ever love and respect. (3.) Holy joy should enliven every act of communion with God. (4.) We have now an unction from the Holy One; but we expect a second more glorious inauguration, when the Son of David shall bring his saints to sit down with him on his throne.

3rdly, We have here,
1. Solomon on the throne. It is called the Lord's throne, he being Israel's immediate king, setting up whom he pleased for his vicegerents, prescribing all their laws, and directing them in all their undertakings. Great prosperity was the natural consequence therefore, as long as the king continued faithful to him who had appointed him. All the great men of the kingdom, and David's sons, though elder than Solomon, peaceably acquiesced in the divine appointment, and swore fidelity and allegiance to him; so that he appeared with distinguished splendour, and out-shone all his predecessors. Perhaps his person was as majestic as his throne was resplendent, and commanded awe and respect from all around him. Note; Since David's son, the greater than Solomon, now sits on the throne, it should be our happiness and honour to submit to his government, and pledge to him our faithful hearts.

2. David in the grave. After a long reign, distinguished with glory, and crowned with riches and honour, the good old king, full of days, like a ripe sheaf in time of harvest, was gathered to the tomb; and went to awake up in God's likeness, in which alone he hoped to enjoy perfect felicity. For a fuller account of his life and victories, we are referred to the books of Samuel, Nathan, and Gad; either the canonical books of Samuel, the latter of which these prophets might have written, or to some authentic records that they kept, which, not being divinely inspired, or not designed to be preserved in the church, have since perished. Note; (1.) The throne and the tomb are but a step asunder. This stamps vanity on all sublunary greatness, and should quicken us to seek a more enduring kingdom. (2.) A good man, however distinguished his station, will have enough of this world, and wait with desire his dismission to that blest abode where alone true joys are to be found.

THUS died DAVID, that great prince and saint, who at once possessed every royal, religious, and political virtue. Valiant and intrepid in danger; just, clement, and wise in government; penetrated with a filial and respectful fear, and at the same time a tender and solid love for his God; sensible of the punishments and disgraces of his people, even to the offering of his own life to save them from death, 2 Samuel 24:17. A man after God's own heart, the pattern of all other princes; who always walked in the ways of the Lord, and obeyed his commandments with a perfect heart; to whom Scripture bears testimony that he can only be reproached with the crime he committed with Bath-sheba, and against Uriah, 1 Kings 15:5. But then, what repentance did this crime produce! With what pious sentiments did he confess and proclaim it in the face of all the earth! What can be more wonderful than that lenity which he testified towards Saul, and which he always preserved amid the most cruel and unjust persecutions? Being only under the law, did he not attain the summit of gospel perfection and christian philosophy? And did he not more than once deserve the crown of martyrdom, for sparing the life of his enemy when God had delivered him into his hands?

But that which is most consolatory to christians in the person and life of this prince, is, that there are remarked in them an infinite number of admirable relations with those of Jesus Christ; and that we find in them not only the promises of the birth and reign of the Saviour, but also types which represent him to us in a very sensible manner. David, born at Bethlehem, and distinguished for the beauty which shone in his aspect, is chosen from amidst his brethren, to receive regal unction from the hands of Samuel, and to govern Israel instead of Saul, cast off for his disobedience and presumption. JESUS, the well-beloved of the Father, the fairest of all the sons of men, is born in the same town of Bethlehem, and is anointed above his brethren; 1:e. is declared the Messiah and anointed of the Lord, and the first born amongst many brethren; destined to be the head and king of his church, and of the chosen people; and this by the abrogation of the first covenant, which becomes useless by the death of Jesus Christ.

Do not David's victory over Goliath, the jealousy of his brethren against him, and the persecutions which he suffered from Saul, represent to us Jesus Christ, the conqueror of the devil, of death, and of sin, by the cross; and persecuted in his person by the synagogue, and in his disciples by the Gentiles? But as David, upheld by the protection of the Lord, surmounts every danger, avoids all the snares of his enemies, and sees himself at length, in spite of all, upon the throne of his people; so the SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD remains victorious over all who attack his person and his servants, and establishes his throne upon the ruins of theirs who strive to abolish his empire.

Absalom revolts against David; who is forced to fly from Jerusalem on foot, tears in his eyes, his head covered, and abandoned by most of his people. Ahitophel in a manner delivers him up to his enemy, by giving Absalom pernicious counsel against him; all which, however, hinders not David from overcoming his adversaries, and returning to the possession of his dominions more glorious and more powerful than ever. And thus too the Saviour of the world, betrayed and delivered up by one of his disciples, quits Jerusalem loaded with his cross, to suffer upon Calvary an ignominious death: but this punishment, which his enemies considered as his destruction, and their triumph, became the victory and exaltation of Jesus: it is thereby that he is entered into his kingdom, and hath gained to himself a faithful people, a chosen inheritance: I mean the christian church, the object of his favour and his love.

Thus far Calmet has delineated the character of David. It were easy to mark out a variety of other circumstances in which the typical resemblance holds between Christ and David. But, leaving these to the reader's reflections we conclude the whole concerning this monarch in Dr. Delaney's words:
"Not to insist upon his great personal accomplishments, such as beauty, stature, strength, swiftness, and eloquence; his character is sufficiently distinguished by the nobler qualities, endowments, and events."
"Exalted from an humble shepherd to a mighty monarch, without the least tincture of pride, disdain, or envy! Nay, quite otherwise, remarkably humble in exaltation, or rather humbled by it! Exalted unenvied! Exalted himself, and equally exalting the state he ruled; raising it from contempt, poverty, and oppression, to wealth, dignity, and sway! A man experienced in every vicissitude of life, and equal to them all! Thoroughly tried in adversity, and tempted by success; yet still superior! Cruelly and unjustly persecuted; yet not to be provoked even to just revenge! In the saddest and suddenest reverse of fortune, depressed by nothing, but the remembrance of guilt; and in consequence of that, unhumbled to any thing but God."
"To sum up all; a true believer and zealous adorer of God! Teacher of his law and worship, and inspirer of his praise! A consummate and unequalled hero! A skilful captain! A steady patriot, a wise ruler; a faithful, a generous, and a magnanimous friend! And, what is yet rarer, a no less generous and magnanimous enemy! A true penitent, a divine musician, a sublime poet, and an inspired prophet! By birth a peasant; by desert a prince! In youth a hero; in manhood a monarch; and in age a saint!"

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 29". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/1-chronicles-29.html. 1801-1803.