In the Chronicler’s mind, Solomon’s purpose and legacy were to be found in the construction of the temple. As early as 1 Chronicles 22 the author recorded David’s charge to young Solomon: “Now, my son, may the LORD be with you, and may you succeed in building the house of the LORD your God, as He said about you” (1 Chron 22:11). The enthronement of Solomon is so intricately bound up with plans for constructing the temple that one can hardly speak of the former without mentioning the latter. Nonetheless, the Chronicler wished for his audience to understand that all Israel contributed to the construction of Solomon’s temple. Likewise, all of the Chronicler’s contemporaries would need to show the same diligence if they were to recapture the glory Israel enjoyed during the days of David and Solomon.
Prior to the record of Solomon’s enthronement, the Chronicler recorded in full the ceremony that officially inaugurated temple construction. First, David charged Solomon to begin constructing the temple (1 Chron 28:1-10). David’s speech, given in the presence of the leadership of Israel, recalled God’s word through the prophet Nathan when Nathan told David that God would build a legacy for him (1 Chron 17:10-14). Next, David gave Solomon the building plans (1 Chron 28:11-19). While David did not administrate the construction of the temple, according to the chronicler, he was the chief architect. David then presented Solomon with Levitical support for temple service (1 Chron 28:20-21). The Chronicler couched the detailed account of the Levites between 1 Chronicles 23 and 28 because these encouraged Solomon in the work.
While these scenes would have motivated the returned exiles to revere the second temple, the Chronicler wished for his audience to take personal ownership of their religion, too. Perhaps that is why he recorded even the leader’s contributions for building the temple. Further, more than once David had told Solomon of his personal contributions for construction. In 1 Chron 22:14, David announced his contribution of tons of gold and silver and stone. Then, 1 Chron 29:3 says, “Because of my delight in the house of my God, I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the house of my God over and above all that I’ve provided for the holy house.”
David was a leader and wanted Israel to follow his example. Having stated his personal contributions for the temple he asked, “Now who will volunteer to consecrate himself to the LORD today?” (1 Chron 29:5). For David, consecration was to be expressed in contribution—and the leaders replied in kind (1 Chron 29:6-9; Psalm 133). Yet David recognized that the ability for any to give rested in the generosity of the Lord and he confessed, “Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your own hand” (1 Chron 29:14). The Chronicler’s account of David’s contributions and confession of God’s providence was not accidental. As the Chronicler’s contemporaries learned of God’s sovereign pleasure in the fellowship of His people at the temple, they would be motivated to value their temple and the Lord.
The concluding chapters of 1 Chronicles are a beautiful portrait of God’s jealousy for His people. While this is a theme of the storyline of Scripture, the locus of God’s presence has changed with the coming of Christ. Jesus claimed to represent the temple in His own body (John 2:13-25) and the apostles referred to the corporate body of the church as the new temple (cf. 1 Cor 3:16-17; 2 Cor 6:14-7:1; 1 Pet 2:1-10). The Chronicler set forth his account in order to give the returned exiles a theological vision for maintaining the second temple. In the New Testament, the followers of Christ are commanded to build people, not buildings. The church at Ephesus lived in the shadow of the temple of Artemis (Acts 19:21-41) and Paul exhorted them, “Speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ. From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part” (Eph 4:15-16).