Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
1 Chronicles 22:1
With this chapter commences the second section of the history of David's kingship, viz., the account of the preparations, dispositions, and arrangements which he made in the last years of his reign for the establishment of his kingdom in the future under his successors. All these preparations and dispositions had reference to the firm establishment of the public worship of the Lord, in which Israel, as the people and congregation of Jahve, might show its faithfulness to the covenant, so as to become partakers of the divine protection, and the blessing which was promised. To build the temple-this desire the Lord had not indeed granted the fulfilment of to David, but He had given him the promise that his son should carry out that work. The grey-haired king accordingly made preparations, after the site of the house of God which should be built had been pointed out to him, such as would facilitate the execution of the work by his successor. Of these preparations our chapter treats, and in it we have an account how David provided the necessary labour and materials for the building of the temple (Ch1 22:2-5), committed the execution of the work in a solemn way to his son Solomon (Ch1 22:6-16), and called upon the chiefs of the people to give him their support in the work (Ch1 22:17-19).
1 Chronicles 22:2
Workmen and materials for the building of the temple. - Ch1 22:2. In order to procure the necessary workmen, David commanded that the strangers in the land of Israel should be gathered together, and, as we learn from Ch2 2:16, also numbered. הגּרים, the strangers, are the descendants of the Canaanites whom the Israelites had not destroyed when they took possession of the land, but had reduced to bondage (Ch2 8:7-9; Kg1 9:20-22). This number was so considerable, that Solomon was able to employ 150,000 of them as labourers and stone-cutters (Kg1 5:15.; Ch2 2:16.). These strangers David appointed to be stone-cutters, to hew squared stones, גזית אבני (see on Kg1 5:18).
Iron and brass he prepared in abundance: the iron for the nails of the doors, i.e., for the folding-doors of the gates, i.e., partly for the pivots (Zapfen) on which the folding-doors turned, partly to strengthen the boards of which doors were made; as also for the מחבּרות, literally, things to connect, i.e., properly iron cramps.
The Tyrians sent him cedar trees or beams in abundance, probably in exchange for grain, wine, and fruit of various sorts, which the Phoenicians obtained from the Israelites; cf. Movers, Phnizier, iii. 1, S. 88ff. Sidonians and Tyrians are named to denote the Phoenicians generally, as in Ezr 3:7. When Solomon began to build the temple, he made a regular treaty with Hiram king of Tyre about the delivery of the necessary cedar wood, Kg1 5:15.
Ch1 22:5 gives in substance the reason of what precedes, although it is connected with it only by ו consec. Because his son Solomon was still in tender youth, and the building to be executed was an exceedingly great work, David determined to make considerable preparation before his death. ורך נער ור, puer et tener, repeated in Ch1 29:1, indicates a very early age. Solomon could not then be quite twenty years old, as he was born only after the Syro-Ammonite war (see on Sa2 12:24), and calls himself at the commencement of his reign still קטן נער (Kg1 3:7). The word נער may of itself denote not merely a boy, but also a grown youth; but here it is limited to the boyish age by the addition of ורך. Berth. wrongly compares Exo 33:11, where נער denotes not a boy, but a lad, i.e., a servant. In the succeeding clause ליהוה לבנות is to be taken relatively: and the house which is to be built to the Lord is to be made great exceedingly (למעלה, see on Ch1 14:2), for a name and glory for all lands, i.e., that it might be to the Lord for whom it should be built for an honour and glory in all lands. לו נא אכינה, I will (= therefore will I) prepare for him (Solomon), scil. whatever I can prepare to forward this great work.
1 Chronicles 22:6
Solomon commissioned to build the temple. - Ch1 22:6. Before his death (Ch1 22:5) David called his son Solomon, in order to commit to him the building of the temple, and to press it strongly upon him, Ch1 22:7-10. With this design, he informs him that it had been his intention to build a temple to the Lord, but the Lord had not permitted him to carry out this resolve, but had committed it to his son. The Keri בּני (Ch1 22:7) is, notwithstanding the general worthlessness of the corrections in the Keri, probably to be preferred here to the Keth. בּנו, for בּנו might have easily arisen by the copyist's eye having wandered to בּנו לשׁלמה, Ch1 22:6. David's addressing him as בּני is very fitting, nay, even necessary, and not contrary to the following אני. לבבי עם, it was with my heart, i.e., I had intended, occurs indeed very often in the Chronicle, e.g., Ch1 28:2; Ch2 1:11; Ch2 6:7., Ch1 9:1; Ch1 24:4; Ch1 29:10, but is also found in other books where the sense demands it, e.g., Jos 14:7; Kg1 8:17., Ch1 10:2. In עלי ויהי, There came to me the word of Jahve (Ch1 22:8), it is implied that the divine word was given to him as a command. The reason which David gives why the Lord did not allow him to build the temple is not stated in 1 Chron 17 (2 Sam 7), to which David here refers; instead of the reason, only the promise is there communicated, that the Lord would first build him a house, and enduringly establish his throne. This promise does not exclude the reason stated here and in Ch1 28:3, but rather implies it. As the temple was only to be built when God had enduringly established the throne of David, David could not execute this work, for he still had to conduct wars - wars, too, of the Lord - for the establishment of his kingdom, as Solomon also states it in his embassy to Hiram. Wars and bloodshed, however, are unavoidable and necessary in this earth for the establishment of the kingdom of God in opposition to its enemies, but are not consonant with its nature, as it was to receive a visible embodiment and expression in the temple. For the kingdom of God is in its essence a kingdom of peace; and battle, or war, or struggle, are only means for the restoration of peace, the reconciliation of mankind with God after the conquest of sin and all that is hostile to God in this world. See on Sa2 7:11. David, therefore, the man of war, is not to build the temple, but (Ch1 22:9.) his son; and to him the Lord will give peace from all his enemies, so that he shall be מנוּחה אישׁ, a man of rest, and shall rightly bear the name Shelomo (Solomon), i.e., Friederich (rich in peace, Eng. Frederick), for God would give to Israel in his days, i.e., in his reign, peace and rest (שׁקט). The participle נולד after הנּה has the signification of the future, shall be born; cf. Kg1 13:2. מנוּחה אישׁ, not a man who procures peace (Jer 51:59), but one who enjoys peace, as the following לו והניחותי shows. As to the name שׁלמה, see on Sa2 12:24. Into Ch1 22:10 David compresses the promise contained in Ch1 17:12 and Ch1 17:13.
1 Chronicles 22:11
After David had so committed to his son Solomon the building of the temple, as task reserved and destined for him by the divine counsel, he wishes him, in Ch1 22:11, the help of the Lord to carry out the work. והצלחתּ, ut prospere agas et felici successu utaris (J. M. Mich.), cf. Jos 1:8. על דּבּר of a command from on high; cf. עלי .f, Ch1 22:8. Above all, however, he wishes (Ch1 22:12) him right understanding and insight from God (וּבינה שׂכל, so connected in Ch2 2:11 also), and that God may establish him over Israel, i.e., furnish him with might and wisdom to rule over the people Israel; cf. Sa2 7:11. ולשׁמור, "to observe" = and mayest thou observe the law of Jahve; not thou must keep (Berth.), for ולשׁמור is to be regarded as a continuation of the verb. finit.; cf. Ew. 351, c, S. 840.
1 Chronicles 22:13
The condition of obtaining the result is the faithful observing of the commands of the Lord. The speech is filled with reminiscences of the law, cf. Deu 7:11; Deu 11:32; and for the exhortation to be strong and of good courage, cf. Deu 31:6; Jos 1:7, Jos 1:9, etc.
1 Chronicles 22:14
In conclusion (Ch1 22:14-16), David mentions what materials he has prepared for the building of the temple. בּעניי, not, in my poverty (lxx, Vulg., Luth.), but, by my painful labour (magna molestia et labore, Lavat.); cf. Gen 31:42, and the corresponding בּכל־כּוחי, Ch1 29:2. Gold 100,000 talents, and silver 1,000,000 talents. As the talent was 3000 shekels, and the silver shekel coined by the Maccabees, according to the Mosaic weight, was worth about 2s. 6d., the talent of silver would be about 375, and 1,000,000 talents 375,000,000. If we suppose the relative value of the gold and silver to be as 10 to 1,100,000 talents of gold will be about the same amount, or even more, viz., about 450,000,000, i.e., if we take the gold shekel at thirty shillings, according to Thenius' calculation. Such sums as eight hundred or eight hundred and twenty-five millions of pounds are incredible. The statements, indeed, are not founded upon exact calculation or weighing, but, as the round numbers show, only upon a general valuation of those masses of the precious metals, which we must not think of as bars of silver and gold, or as coined money; for they were in great part vessels of gold and silver, partly booty captured in war, partly tribute derived from the subject peoples. Making all these allowances, however, the sums mentioned are incredibly great, since we must suppose that even a valuation in round numbers will have more or less correspondence to the actual weight, and a subtraction of some thousands of talents from the sums mentioned would make no very considerable diminution. On the other hand, it is a much more important circumstance that the above estimate of the value in our money of these talents of silver rests upon a presumption, the correctness of which is open to well-founded doubts. For in that calculation the weight of the Mosaic or holy shekel is taken as the standard, and it is presumed that the talents weighed 3000 Mosaic shekels. But we find in Sa2 14:26 mention made in David's time of another shekel, "according to the kings' weight," whence we may with certainty conclude that in common life another shekel than the Mosaic or holy shekel was in use. This shekel according to the king's weight was in all probability only half as heavy as the shekel of the sanctuary, i.e., was equal in weight to a Mosaic beka or half-shekel. This is proved by a comparison of Kg1 10:17 with Ch2 9:16, for here three golden minae are reckoned equal to 300 shekels-a mina containing 100 shekels, while it contained only 50 holy or Mosaic shekels. With this view, too, the statements of the Rabbins agree, e.g., R. Mosis Maimonidis constitutiones de Siclis, quas - illustravit Joa. Esgers., Lugd. Bat. 1718, p. 19, according to which the שלחול שקל or המדינה שׁקל, i.e., the common or civil shekel, is the half of the הקדשׁ שׁקל. That this is the true relation, is confirmed by the fact that, according to Exo 38:26, in the time of Moses there existed silver coins weighing ten gera (half a holy shekel) called beka, while the name beka is found only in the Pentateuch, and disappears at a later time, probably because it was mainly such silver coins of ten gera which were in circulation, and to them the name shekel, which denotes no definite weight, was transferred. Now, if the amounts stated in our verse are reckoned in such common shekels (as in Ch2 9:16), the mass of gold and silver collected by David for the building of the temple would only be worth half the amount above calculated, i.e., about 375,000,000 or 400,000,000. But even this sum seems enormously large, for it is five times the annual expenditure of the greatest European states in our day.
(Note: According to Otto Hbner, Statistical Table of all Lands of the Earth, 18th edition, Frankf. a M. 1869, the yearly expenditure of Great Britain and Ireland (exclusive of the extra-European possessions) amounts to a little over 70,000,000; of the French Empire, to 85,000,000; of Russia, to about 78,000,000; of Austria and Hungary, to 48,500,000.)
Yet the calculation of the income or expenditure of modern states is no proper standard for judging of the correctness of probability of the statements here made, for we cannot estimate the accumulation of gold and silver in the states and chief cities of Asia in antiquity by the budgets of the modern European nations. In the capitals of the Asiatic kingdoms of antiquity, enormous quantities of the precious metals were accumulated. Not to mention the accounts of Ktesias, Diodor. Sic., and others, which sound so fabulous to us now, as to the immense booty in gold and silver vessels which was accumulated in Nineveh and Babylon (see the table in Movers, die Phnizier, ii. 3, S. 40ff.), according to Varro, in Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxxii. 15, Cyrus obtained by the conquest of Asia a booty of 34,000 pounds of gold, besides that which was wrought into vessels and ornaments, and 500,000 talents of silver; and in this statement, as Movers rightly remarks, it does not seem probable that there is any exaggeration. In Susa, Alexander plundered the royal treasury of 40,000, according to other accounts 50,000 talents, or, as it is more accurately stated, 40,000 talents of uncoined gold and silver, and 9000 talents in coined darics. These he caused to be brought to Ecbatana, where he accumulated in all 180,000 talents. In Persepolis he captured a booty of 120,000 talents, and in Pasargada 6000 talents (see Mov. loc cit. S. 43). Now David, it is true, had not conquered Asia, but only the tribes and kingdoms bordering on Canaan, including the kingdom of Syria, and made them tributary, and had consecrated all the gold and silver taken as booty from the conquered peoples, from the Syrians, Moabites, Ammonites, Philistines, Amalekites, and Hadadezer the king of Zobah (Sa2 8:11.), to Jahve. Now, in consequence of the ancient connection between Syria and the rich commercial countries of the neighbourhood, great treasures of silver and gold had very early flowed in thither. According to Sa2 8:7, the servants (i.e., generals) of King Hadadezer had golden shields, which David captured; and the ambassadors of King Toi of Hamath brought him vessels of silver, gold, and copper, to purchase his friendship.
(Note: Apropos of the riches of Syria even in later times, Movers reminds us, S. 45, of the rich temple treasures - of the statue of Jupiter in Antioch, which was of pure gold and fifteen yards high, and of the golden statues in the temple at Hierapolis - and adds: "Even Antiochus the Great had immense treasures in his possession. The private soldiers in his army had their half-boots studded with gold nails, and their cooking utensils were of silver." See the proofs, loc cit.)
The other peoples whom David overcame are not to be regarded as poor in the precious metals. For the Israelites under Moses had captured so large a booty in gold rings, bracelets, and other ornaments from the nomadic Midianites, that the commanders of the army alone were able to give 16,750 shekels (i.e., over 5 1/2 talents of gold, according to the Mosaic weight) to the sanctuary as a consecrating offering (Num 31:48.).
We cannot therefore regard the sums mentioned in our verse either as incredible or very much exaggerated,
(Note: As Berth. for example does, expressing himself as follows: "In our verse, 100,000 talents of gold, 1,000,000 talents of silver, - a sum with which the debts of the European nations might almost be paid! It is absolutely inadmissible to take these at their literal value, and to consider them as a repetition, though perhaps a somewhat exaggerated one, of actual historical statements. They can have been originally nothing else than the freest periphrasis for much, an extraordinary quantity, such as may even yet be heard from the mouths of those who have not reflected on the value and importance of numbers, and consequently launch out into thousands and hundreds of thousands, in an extremely unprejudiced way." On this we remark: (1) The assertion that with the sums named in our verse the debts of the European nations could be paid, is an enormous exaggeration. According to O. Hbner's tables, the national debt of Great Britain and Ireland alone amounts to 809,000,000, that of France to 564,000,000, that of Russia to 400,000,000, that of Austria to 354,000,000, and that of the kingdom of Italy to 258,000,000; David's treasures, consequently, if the weight be taken in sacred shekels, would only have sufficed to pay the national debt of Great Britain and Ireland. (2) The hypothesis that the chronicler, without reflecting on the value and importance of numbers, has launched out into thousands and hundreds of thousands, presupposes such a measure of intellectual poverty as is irreconcilable with evidences of intellect and careful planning such as are everywhere else observable in his writing.)
nor hold the round sums which correspond to the rhetorical character of the passage with certainty to be mistakes.
(Note: As proof of the incorrectness of the above numbers, it cannot be adduced "that, according to Kg1 10:14, Solomon's yearly revenue amounted to 666 talents of gold, i.e., to about 3,000,000 in gold; that the queen of Sheba presented Solomon with 120 talents of gold, Kg1 10:10; Ch2 9:9; and King Hiram also gave him a similar amount, Kg1 9:14; all of which sums the context shows are to be considered extraordinarily great" (Berth.). For the 666 talents of gold are not the entire annual income of Solomon, but, according to the distinct statement of the Biblical historian, are only the annual income in gold, exclusive of the receipts from the customs, and the tributes of the subject kings and tribes, which were probably more valuable. The 120 talents of the queen of Sheba are certainly a very large present, but Solomon would give in return not inconsiderable presents also. But the quantities of silver and gold which David had collected for the building of the temple had not been saved out of his yearly income, but had been in great part captured as booty in war, and laid up out of the tribute of the subject peoples. A question which would more readily occur than this is, Whether such enormous sums were actually necessary for the temple? But the materials necessary to enable us to arrive at even a proximate estimate of this building are entirely wanting. The building of a stone temple from 60 to 70 yards long, 20 yards broad, and 30 yards high, would certainly not have cost so much, notwithstanding that, as we read in Ch2 3:8., 650 talents of gold were required to gild the inner walls of the Holy Place, and at the same rate 2000 talents must have been required to gild the inside of the Sanctuary, which was three times as large; and notwithstanding the great number of massive gold vessels, e.g., the ten golden candlesticks, for which alone, even if they were no larger and heavier than the candlesticks in the tabernacle, ten talents of gold must have been required. But there belonged to the temple many subordinate buildings, which are not further described; as also the colossal foundation structures and the walls enclosing the temple area, the building of which must have swallowed up millions, since Solomon sent 70,000 porters and 80,000 stone-hewers to Lebanon to procure the necessary materials. Consul Rosen has recently indeed attempted to show, in das Haram von Jerusalem und der Tempelplatz des Moria, Botha (1866), that there is reason to suppose that the temple area was enlarged to the size it is known to have had, and surrounded by a wall only by Herod; but he has been refuted by Himpel in the Tbinger theol. Quartalschr. 1867, S. 515f., who advances very weighty reasons against his hypothesis. Finally, we must have regard to the statement in Kg1 7:51 and Ch2 5:1, that Solomon, after the building was finished, deposited the consecrated silver and gold collected by his father David among the temple treasures. Whence we learn that the treasures collected by David were not intended merely for the building of the House of God.)
Brass and iron were not weighed for abundance; cf. Ch1 22:3. Beams of timber also, and stones - that is, stones hewed and squared - David had prepared; and to this store Solomon was to add. That he did so is narrated in 2 Chr. 2.
David then turns to the workmen, the carpenters and stone-cutters, whom he had appointed (Ch1 22:2) for the building. חצבים, properly hewers, in Ch1 22:2 limited to stone-hewers, is here, with the addition ועץ אבן חרשׁי, used of the workers in stone and wood, stonemasons and carpenters. כּל־חכם, all manner of understanding persons in each work, in contradistinction to מלעכה עשׁי, includes the idea of thorough mastery and skill in the kind of labour. These workmen, whom David had levied for the building of the temple, are mentioned by Solomon, Ch2 2:6. - In Ch1 22:16 all the metals, as being the main thing, are again grouped together, in order that the exhortation to proceed with the erection of the building may be introduced. The ל before each word serves to bring the thing once more into prominence; cf. Ew. 310, a. "As for the gold, it cannot be numbered." "Arise and be doing! and Jahve be with thee" (Ch1 22:17-19).
1 Chronicles 22:17
Exhortation to the princes of Israel to assist in the building of the temple. - David supports his exhortation by calling to remembrance the proofs of his favour which the Lord had showed His people. The speech in Ch1 22:18 is introduced without לאמר, because it is clear from the preceding דויד ויצו that the words are spoken by David: "The Lord has given you peace round about; for He has given the inhabitants of the land into my hands, and the land is subdued before Jahve and before His people." The subdued land is Canaan: the inhabitants of the land are, however, not the Israelites over whom the Lord had set David as king, for the words בּידי נתן cannot apply to them, cf. Ch1 14:10., Jos 2:24; it is the Canaanites still left in the land in the time of David, and other enemies, who, like the Philistines, possessed parts of the land, and had been subdued by David. On הארץ נככּשׁה, cf. Jos 18:1; Num 32:22, Num 32:29. This safety which the Lord had granted them binds them in duty to seek Him with all their heart, and to build the sanctuary, that the ark and the sacred vessels may be brought into it. The ל in לבּית is not a sign of the accusative (Berth.), for הביא is not construed with accus. loci, but generally with אל, for which, however, so early as Jos 4:5, ל is used, or it is construed with the acc. and ה locale - הבּיתה, Gen 19:10; Gen 43:17.