“Then King Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, in Jerusalem, to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh out of the city of David, which is Zion. All the people of Israel assembled before King Solomon at the festival that is in the seventh month. All the elders of Israel came. The Levites carried the ark. They brought up the ark of Yahweh, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent. The priests and the Levites brought them up.”
This is almost word for word from 1 Kings, chapter 8. King Solomon wanted to assemble all Israel. Obviously not everyone could come. In fact, the text speaks about the ancestral leaders only. Here the biblical author does not mention the name “Ethanim” since it is no longer the name of the festival in the 7th month as in 1 Kings. Incidentally, this is nearly a year after the temple was first completed. Here there is subtle change as the Levites, and not the priests, carried the ark. However, at the end both the priests and Levites are present.
“King Solomon summoned all Israel. He summoned the commanders of the thousands and of the hundreds, the judges, and all the leaders in all Israel, with the heads of the families. Then King Solomon and the whole assembly with him went to the high place that was at Gibeon. God’s tent of meeting, which Moses the servant of Yahweh had made in the wilderness, was there. However, King David had brought the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the place that King David had prepared for it. He had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem. Moreover the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, had made was there in front of the tabernacle of Yahweh. Solomon and the assembly inquired at it. King Solomon went up there to the bronze altar before Yahweh, which was at the tent of meeting. He offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it.”
King Solomon summoned all the leaders to Jerusalem. The same people who were with King David at the end are here, the army commanders, the judges, and the family leaders. They all went up to the high place at Gibeon. Apparently Gibeon was considered the principal high place. It is hard to believe that the original tent of Moses would be there, a few hundred years after its original usage. King David had brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, but it still was in a tent that King David made, which also seems odd. Bezalel son of Uri was the artisan at the time of Moses, who did all the skilled work for the holy of holies as indicated in Exodus, chapter 31. He must have made a bronze altar that was in front of the tabernacle. However, there never was any mention of this bronze holocaust altar being transferred around before this. In fact, the emphasis was on the movement of the Ark of the Covenant. King Solomon then offered 1,000 burnt offerings on this bronze altar that somehow dated from the time of Moses. King Saul had been reprimanded by the prophet Samuel for making offerings in 1 Samuel, chapter 13. However, there does not seem to be any reprimand for King Solomon doing the same thing without the priests or Levites doing it. King Solomon offered 1,000 burnt offerings. That sounds like an enormous number of animals for one place. This may have been cumulative but there is no indication of that here. This section is loosely based on 1 Kings, chapter 3. Obviously, this was an attempt to tie the Mosaic wilderness experience to the time of King Solomon.
“Then David gave his son Solomon the plan of the vestibule of the temple, and of its houses, its treasuries, its upper rooms, and its inner chambers, and the room for the mercy seat. The plan of all that he had in mind for the courts of the house of Yahweh, all the surrounding chambers, the treasuries of the house of God, and the treasuries for dedicated gifts was there. It was laid out for the divisions of the priests and of the Levites, and all the work for the service in the house of Yahweh. All the vessels for the service in the house of Yahweh were clear. The weight of the gold for all golden vessels for each service was determined. The weight of the silver vessels for each service was determined. The weight of the golden lamp stands and their lamps, as well as the weight of gold for each lamp stand and its lamps was clear. The weight of silver for a lamp stand and its lamps, according to the use of each lamp stand in the service was determined. The weight of the gold for each table for the rows of bread, the silver for the silver tables, and the pure gold for the forks, the basins, and the cups was clear. Both the golden bowls and the weight of each and the silver bowls and the weight of each were determined. The altar of incense was to be made of refined gold, and its weight clearly determined. His plan for the golden chariot of the cherubim that spread their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of Yahweh was delineated. All this, in writing at Yahweh’s direction, he made clear to me, the plan of all the works.”
Now we have the explicit plans for the temple. Actually the temple will be built according to the plans laid out in the Pentateuch, the Law of Moses in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. However, King David had specific plans that he wanted his son to have. Nothing will be left to chance. Clearly, this biblical author wanted to show the superiority of King David over King Solomon. Once again, the room for the mercy seat plays an important role as in Exodus, chapter 35 and Leviticus, chapter 16, as it is mentioned with the general plans for the vestibule, the temple, its treasuries, its upper rooms, and its inner chambers. The Levites and the priests as well as their services were clear. The weight of all the gold and silver vessels and lamp stands was in the plans. Everything was there. This biblical author made it seem that King David got these plans directly from Yahweh, at Yahweh’s direction, the same as Moses. These were not just ideal thoughts of a king but they were the directives of Yahweh about the implementation of the Mosaic Law about worship.
“Then King David rose to his feet and said. ‘Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had planned to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and for the footstool of our God. I made preparations for building. But God said to me. ‘You may not build a house for my name. You are a warrior and have shed blood.’”
This is very reminiscent of chapter 22 in this book. Yahweh did not want King David to build the temple because as a warrior, he had shed blood. King David wanted very much to build this home for Yahweh, a place for the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh, but Yahweh had other plans.
“But that same night the word of Yahweh came to Nathan, saying. ‘Go and tell my servant King David. Thus says Yahweh. You shall not build me a house to live in. I have not lived in a house since the day I brought out Israel to this very day. I have lived in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people, saying, why have you not built me a house of cedar? Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant King David, thus says Yahweh of hosts. I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be a ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went. I have cut off all your enemies from before you. I will make for you a name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. I will appoint a place for my people Israel. I will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more. Evildoers shall wear them down no more, as they did formerly from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. I will subdue all your enemies.”
This is once again based on 2 Samuel, chapter 7. Yahweh appeared to Nathan that very night that Nathan and King David had been talking about building a house for the Ark of the Covenant. He does not appear to King David, but to the prophet Nathan. There is a clear personification of the ark with Yahweh, as if to say that Yahweh’s presence is confined to the ark. King David and Nathan were planning to build a house for Yahweh to live in. Yahweh said that he had never been in a house, but only in tents and tabernacles. However, there was a temple for Yahweh at Shiloh in 1 Samuel, chapters 1 and 3. Then the theology of God switches so that Yahweh is everywhere with King David, even from his days as a shepherd to the present. The vision of the future begins to unfold. King David will have a great name and a great house. The enemies of King David and the people of Israel will not disturb him because their enemies will be subdued.
“KIng David left the priest Zadok and his kindred, the priests before the tabernacle of Yahweh in the high place that was at Gibeon. There he offered burnt offerings to Yahweh on the altar of burnt offering regularly, morning and evening, according to all that is written in the law of Yahweh that he commanded Israel. With them were Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest of those chosen and expressly named to give thanks to Yahweh, because his steadfast love endures forever. Heman and Jeduthun had with them trumpets and cymbals for the music and instruments for sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were appointed to the gate. Then all the people departed to their homes. KIng David went home to bless his household.”
The high priest Zadok, who was a descendent of Eleazar the son of Aaron, with his family were in charge of the tabernacle that was at Gibeon, which was about 6 miles from Jerusalem. He followed the Mosaic Law about burnt offerings. Heman and Jeduthun were in charge of the cymbals and trumpets. Jeduthun’s sons were the gatekeepers, which seems like an important job. At last, all the people went home as King David returned to his house, with the Ark of the Covenant safe in Gibeon not Jerusalem. The last verse is taken literally from 2 Samuel, chapter 6. The only addition is that King David blessed his household that was not in 2 Samuel.
“They brought in the ark of God. They set it inside the tent that King David had pitched for it. They offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before God. When King David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of Yahweh. He distributed to every person in Israel, both men and women, to each a loaf of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins.”
Once again, this biblical author continued with the story and presentation of what happened as in 2 Samuel, chapter 6. They placed the Ark of the Covenant in the tent that King David had prepared. The celebration continued as King David performed the offerings and gave a blessing. Normally this was the job of the Levitical priests. In fact, Samuel had rebuked Saul for offering a burnt offering in 1 Samuel, chapter 13. King David, however, gave food to everyone, bread, meat, and raisins. It is not clear where this food came from, except that it might be the sharing of the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being.
“As the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh came to the city of David, Michal daughter of King Saul looked out of the window. She saw King David leaping and dancing. She despised him in her heart.”
Again, this is almost word for word from 2 Samuel, chapter 6. Michal, King Saul’s daughter who was married to King David, saw him leaping and dancing. She despised him because he had broken her marriage to Paltiel. At one time she had actually helped him to escape from her father in 1 Samuel, chapter 19. This biblical author does not go into the dispute between Michal, his first wife and daughter of King Saul, because she scolded David for his vulgar dancing. She felt that her family, father and brothers, had lost the throne because of King David. He in turn did not have children with her.
“King David built houses for himself in the city of David. He prepared a place for the ark of God. He pitched a tent for it. Then King David commanded that no one but the Levites were to carry the ark of God. Yahweh had chosen them to carry the ark of Yahweh and to minister to him forever.”
King David built his own houses in Jerusalem. He built more than one house for himself, notice the plural houses. The biblical author already called it the City of David. He was going to put the Ark of the Covenant in a tent. King David also declared that only the Levites could carry the Ark of God, as it is referred to. This was an emphasis on the Levites as opposed to priests. Once again, this biblical author showed his preference for the Levites, who at his time dominated, but did not at the time of King David.
“Then Solomon awoke. It had been a dream. He came to Jerusalem, where he stood before the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh. He offered up burnt offerings and offerings of well-being, providing a feast for all his servants.”
When Solomon woke up, he realized that it had been a dream. He went back to Jerusalem where he stood by the Ark of the Covenant. He offered up offerings of well-being and had a big feast with his servants. All is set for the reign of Solomon. Yahweh is on his side, with the diving right of a king.