The key aspect of this section is the transfer of power from David to Solomon. True to the rest of Chronicles, this section is less concerned about the political details that are recorded in the books of Samuel and Kings, and more concerned with the priestly, administrative and religious details. With the transfer of political power goes also the responsibility of building a house for God, something foreshadowed and pointed to in the Law of Moses and elsewhere. Keep in mind, however, that in the whole of redemptive history, God dwelling, or “tabernacling” in a mobile fashion with a pilgrim people is more the norm, whether it involved the visits of God to Abraham, or the wandering of the Tabernacle in the desert during the Exodus, or Jesus, the Word made flesh, who “tabernacled” with us (John 1: 14). Jesus spoke of himself as the new and enduring Temple, where we meet with God. One revealing detail, mentioned in a previous entry, is the reason for which David was not permitted to build a house for God: he was a “man of blood (I Ch. 28:30.” It would be up to Solomon, or “Son of Peace,” to build God’s house, just as Jesus, the Son of David and Prince of Peace, is God’s house, and is building God’s house today. David’s words of challenge and encouragement to Solomon (chapters 28 and 29) have inspiring applications to us who labor with God as he builds up his global human house today. We too build up God’s house by building and pursuing peace, and not by war or bloody conquest.
Note too the sources recorded in such passages as I Chronicles 28: 29: of the histories of Samuel, Nathan and Gad, we have only one source remaining: Samuel. It would be fascinating to read the other two, but we can only trust that they were left out of the canon, and therefore lost, for reasons best known to God. Some of the sources were copied whole, or in parts big enough to include such phrases as, “and the Ark is still there at the time of writing,” even though II Chronicles ends with the Babylonian Captivity, when the Ark was no longer there.
The first few chapters of II Chronicles also leave out most of the political details recorded in Kings, and focuses on priestly and spiritual details, especially God’s offer and gift of wisdom to Solomon. But the story of Solomon’s moral and spiritual decline is barely alluded to. Of more importance and application to the Chronicler’s intent are the powerful spiritual events that accompanied the dedication of the Temple. In a parallel to the Creation account of Genesis 1-2, in which Creation is prepared over a seven day period, the culmination of which is God resting, or dwelling in it, so the Temple is dedicated over a seven day period, with God’s glory filling and abiding in it. Solomon’s prayer, recorded in chapter 6, gives us some indication of the kinds of prayers and ministries that would occur in the Temple. For example, in II Chronicles 6:22-23, Solomon prays that those accused of crimes would find justice for either their innocence or their guilt, in ways we are not privy to so many centuries later. Yet a litany for the vindication of one unjustly accused, and proclaiming his innocence, seems to be recorded in Psalm 17, the culmination of which was to come at sunrise (Ps. 17: 15). Was that psalm used in the Temple for the purpose that Solomon had in mind?
PSALM 34 is an acrostic Psalm, that is, each line begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order of the Hebrew alphabet. It is a Wisdom Psalm, in that it celebrates the peace-making order and righteousness of God in the universe, and its eventual justification and triumph, even though “many are the afflictions of the righteous (v. 19).” Yet the Lord delivers him from them all. In this Psalm was seen a prophecy about Jesus, a type or a foreshadowing, by the Gospel writer John: “Not a bone of his will be broken” ( verse 20 and John 19:36). Jesus’ story of affliction, death and resurrection are the ultimate expression of the message of this psalm. So will be our resurrection. Key to confidence, wisdom and peace-making is “the fear of the Lord,” which is not a matter of fearing the punishment of God, which St. Augustine called “a servile fear,” but “a holy fear,” a fear of what we might do to our relationship with God out of callousness, carelessness and pride, same as with any other relationship that is sacred to us. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel eloquently expressed “the fear of God” as radical awe and wonder before the majesty and mysteries of God, Creation, life, truth and love that humble us and drive us to worship, and that make us value life, love, justice and mercy.
Comments are closed