The Word Made Fresh
1David summoned to Jerusalem all the officials in Israel; the tribal leaders, the army officers in charge of divisions, the commanders of brigades and battalions, the keepers of the king’s properties and animals and sons, along with palace officials, decorated military men and all the soldiers. 2King David rose before them and said, “Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had planned to build a temple to house the covenant chest of the LORD as a footstool for God, and I have made preparations for it. 3But God told me not to build that temple because I am a soldier, and I have shed blood. 4And yet the LORD God of Israel chose my ancestral tribe of Judah to rule Israel forever, and picked me out of all my father’s sons to be king. 5And now the LORD has given me many sons and has chosen my son Solomon to sit upon the throne of the LORD to rule over Israel. 6The LORD said, ‘Your son Solomon shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him, and I will be a father to him. 7I will establish his kingdom forever if he remains as resolved to obey my commandments and laws as he is today.’ 8Therefore in the sight of all Israel assembled before the LORD, and with God as a witness, learn and obey all the LORD’s commandments. Then you may own this good land and leave it for your children after you forever.
9“And to you, my son Solomon, obey the God of your father and serve the LORD with a single mind and a willing heart. The LORD searches every mind and understands the purpose of every thought. If you seek the LORD, the LORD will surely be found by you; if you forsake the LORD, the LORD will abandon you forever. 10So, pay attention now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a temple and a sanctuary; be strong, and do well.”
11Then David gave his son the plans for the entrance to the temple, its chambers, its treasuries, its upper rooms and its inner chambers, and the room for the covenant chest with its mercy seat. 12He gave Solomon the plans for everything he had in mind; the courts surrounding the LORD’s house, the various rooms, the treasures and the gifts dedicated to the LORD. 13He told him about the divisions of priests and Levites and their duties to serve in the LORD’s house; 14told him how much gold was on hand for the containers and vessels, and how much each should weigh; 15told him the amount of gold and silver to be used for the lampstands and the lamps to be used in the temple; 16told him the amount of gold to be used to make each table for the rows of bread and the amount of silver for the other tables; 17told him about the gold for the forks and basins and cups and bowls and how much each should weigh, as well as for the silver bowls; 18told him the weight of the refined gold to be used for the altar of incense; and his plans for a golden chariot for the cherubim that spread their wings over the LORD’s covenant chest.
19“All of this,” he said, “I have had written down at the LORD’s direction, clearly explaining all the works to me.”
20David also told Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and get to work! Don’t be afraid or dissuaded, for the LORD my God, is with you. God will not fail you or turn away from you while you are completing all the work for the service of the LORD’s house. 21Here before you are the groups of all the priests and Levites who will serve in the LORD’s house. You will have at your service every craftsman who is willing, as well as the leaders and all the people. They will be at your service and under your command.”
1-8: There is nothing like this in the earlier account in 1 Kings. There, David made Solomon king to thwart Adonijah’s attempted coup, and no mention is made of Solomon building the temple. In fact, David’s speech in these present verses most resembles Solomon’s speech at the dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8:14-21. Whereas in Solomon’s speech no reason is given as to why God wanted Solomon to build the temple, here the reason given is because David has been a warrior and has shed blood. This is the first mention of such a reason. In the original story in 2 Samuel 7:4-17 God tells David that his son, whose name is not given, will build a temple. The reason God doesn’t want David to build it in that passage is because God is building David’s “house,” and God is content to live in a tent until David’s “house,” meaning his kingdom, is established.
9-10: In 1 Kings 2 David gave Solomon his final instructions, but these two verses are quite different in content. The sole emphasis here is on serving the LORD. In 1 Kings more ink was dedicated to repaying David’s enemies.
11-18: David turns over the plans for the temple to Solomon. Nothing like this was reported in 1 Kings. There, Solomon is credited with the plans for the temple. Here, David has already drawn up the plans.
19: David says the plans came to him directly from God, putting himself in the same position as Moses. When Moses was on Mt. Sinai God gave him detailed plans for the tabernacle (see Exodus 24:9 – 31:18).
20-21: David not only gives him the plans for the temple but also the organization of the priests and Levites for service in the temple. When David says, “you will have at your service every craftsman who is willing,” he echoes the words of Moses in Exodus 36:2. Clearly the chronicler is trying to draw a comparison between David and Moses, thus elevating David to legendary status indeed.
So, David planned all along to pass the crown to Solomon? What happened to Absalom and Adonijah? The chronicler has nary a word about any problems David might have faced within his own family. David is completely in charge. The reason for painting David in such a light probably has to do with the return from exile in Babylon some centuries later, and the subsequent need to reestablish an accepted leadership among those who are seeking to rebuild Jerusalem.