Handing Over The "Reigns"By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
When last we left David, he had singled out Solomon from the large group of leaders he had gathered. He now returns to addressing the entire group.
“Even though he is young and inexperienced, Solomon is the one G-d has selected for the awesome responsibility of building the Temple. I have done my best to prepare the gold, silver, lumber, and other needs, down to the precious stones. I have given all the wealth I acquired to the construction of the Temple, over and above what would have been the barest amounts required of me. I have acquired the finest gold from Ophir to coat the walls of the Temple, and gold and silver for the craftsmen to use in their work. Who among you wishes to contribute and be a part of this holy work?”
The leaders of the people and the heads of families all contributed; collectively, they donated a huge quantity of money, precious metals, building materials and precious gems. The people donated because they wanted to, not because they felt they had to, and they rejoiced to have the opportunity to do so. David also rejoiced and he blessed G-d in the presence of the entire gathering.
In his song of praise, David acknowledged G-d’s glory, might and splendor, among many other attributes. He praised G-d as majestic over every earthly ruler and the source of all prosperity. He thanked G-d for giving them the strength to raise so much wealth for the task of building His Temple; the ability to do so could only come from Him. Everything they have donated really belongs to G-d, anyway; people are temporary and their lives pass quickly. David said that G-d knows every person’s innermost thoughts and feelings and that He desires them to be sincere. G-d can see that David and his officials have all contributed joyfully to build His Temple. David further prayed that G-d direct the hearts of the nation towards Him and enable Solomon to do His will. The people praised G-d and bowed down to Him. (Verses 10-13, the first few lines of David’s praise, are recited daily as the prayer “VaYevareich David,” in the morning service.)
The next day, the people offered 1,000 sheep, 1,000 bulls and 1,000 rams as sacrifices to G-d. They ate and drank in celebration and they crowned Solomon in the eyes of the nation. (Solomon had been crowned before, but that was done in haste in response to Adoniyahu’s rebellion – see I Kings chapter 1.) At the same time, Tzadok was installed as High Priest. Solomon was a popular and successful king; all of the leaders of the nation were loyal to Solomon, as were David’s other sons. (Solomon was among the youngest of David’s children. With the exception of the aforementioned Adoniyahu, the other brothers all accepted Solomon’s rule.) G-d granted Solomon unprecedented prosperity.
David had reigned for 40 years. He ruled over part of the nation in Hebron for 7 years, and over the entire nation from Jerusalem for 33 years. He died at a ripe old age and was succeeded by his son. The entire story of David is recorded in the Book of Samuel (which was completed by Nathan and Gad after Samuel’s death), along with the important events of the days.