Though Solomon was young and tender, he was capable of receiving instructions, which his father accordingly gave him, concerning the work for which he was designed. When David came to the throne he had many things to do, for the foundations were all out of course; but Solomon had only one thing in charge, and that was to build a house for the Lord God of Israel, 1 Chron. 22:6. Now,
I. David tells him why he did not do it himself. It was in his mind to do it (1 Chron. 22:7), but God forbade him, because he had shed much blood, 1 Chron. 22:8. Some think this refers to the blood of Uriah, which fastened such a reproach upon him as rendered him unworthy the honour of building the temple: but that honour was forbidden him before he had shed that blood; therefore it must be meant, as it is here explained, of the blood he shed in his wars (for he had been a man of war from his youth), which, though shed very justly and honourably in the service of God and Israel, yet made him unfit to be employed in this service, or rather less fit than another that had never been called to such bloody work. God, by assigning this as the reason of laying David aside from this work, showed how precious human life is to him, and intended a type of him who should build the gospel temple, not by destroying men’s lives, but by saving them, Luke 9:56.
II. He gives him the reason why he imposed this task upon him. 1. Because God had designed him for it, nominated him as the man that should do it: A son shall be born to thee, that shall be called Solomon, and he shall build a house for my name, 1 Chron. 22:9, 10. Nothing is more powerful to engage us to any service for God, and encourage us in it, than to know that hereunto we are appointed. 2. Because he would have leisure and opportunity to do it. He should be a man of rest, and therefore should not have his time, or thoughts, or wealth, diverted from this business. He should have rest from his enemies abroad (none of them should invade or threaten him, or give him provocation), and he should have peace and quietness at home; and therefore let him build the house. Note, Where God gives rest he expects work. 3. Because God had promised to establish his kingdom. Let this encourage him to honour God, that God had honour in store for him; let him build up God’s house, and God will build up his throne. Note, God’s gracious promises should quicken and invigorate our religious service.
III. He delivers him an account of the vast preparations he had made for this building (1 Chron. 22:14), not in a way of pride and vain glory (he speaks of it as a poor thing—I have, in my poverty, prepared, margin), but as an encouragement to Solomon to engage cheerfully in the work, for which so solid a foundation was laid. The treasure here mentioned of the 100,000 talents of gold, and 1,000,000 talents of silver, amounts to such an incredible sum that most interpreters either allow an error in the copy or think the talent here signifies no more than a plate or piece: ingots we call them. I am inclined to suppose that a certain number is here put for an uncertain, because it is said (1 Chron. 22:16) that of the gold and silver, as well as of the brass and iron, there was no number, and that David here includes all the dedicated things (1 Chron. 18:11) which he designed for the house of the Lord, that is, not only for the building of it, but for the treasure of it; and putting all together, it might come pretty near what is here spoken of. Hundreds and thousands are numbers which we often use to express that which is very much, when yet we would not be understood strictly.
IV. He charges them to keep God’s commandments and to take heed to his duty in every thing, 1 Chron. 22:13. He must not think by building the temple to purchase a dispensation to sin; no, on the contrary, his doing that would not be accepted, nor accounted of, if he did not take heed to fulfil the statutes which the Lord charged Moses with, 1 Chron. 22:13. Though he was to be king of Israel, he must always remember that he was a subject to the God of Israel.
V. He encourages him to go about this great work, and to go on in it (1 Chron. 22:13): “Be strong, and of good courage, Though it is a vast undertaking, thou needest not fear coming under the reproach of the foolish builder, who began to build and was not able to finish it; it is God’s work, and it shall come to perfection. Dread not, nor be dismayed.” In our spiritual work, as well as in our spiritual warfare, we have need of courage and resolution.
VI. He quickens him not to rest in the preparations he had made, but to add thereto, 1 Chron. 22:14. Those that enter into the labours of others, and build upon their advantages, must still be improving.
VII. He prays for him: The Lord give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, 1 Chron. 22:12. Whatever charge we have, if we see God giving us the charge and calling us to it, we may hope he will give us wisdom for the discharge of it. Perhaps Solomon had an eye to this prayer of his father for him, in the prayer he offered for himself: Lord, give me a wise and understanding heart. He concludes (1 Chron. 22:16), Up, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee. Hope of God’s presence must not slacken our endeavours. Though the Lord be with us, we must rise and be doing, and, if we do this, we have reason to believe he is and will be with us. Work out your salvation, and God will work in you.