1 Chronicles 22:8

But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.

The "the word of the LORD came to me" is quite a common phrase, however, typically the word used for "to me" is "אֵלַ֣י" while here it is "עָלַ֤י". Indeed apart from here, I couldn't find any instance of the word of the LORD coming to (עָלַ֤) somebody instead of coming to (אֶל) somebody.

What does this imply?

(Inspired by In 1 Chronicles 22, is David lying when he says that the Lord said that he was barred from building the house of God because he was a man of war?).

2 Answers 2


These Hebrew prepositions have a large semantic range, but Hebrew עָלַ֤י is a pronomial suffix of "עַל" and "אֲנִי" meaning "upon me" or "to me", with "upon" being a more common translation target. For אֲנִי it would be translated "to me" (e.g. Joshua 18.4)

So you could translate this as "The Word of the Lord came upon me" but "The Word of the Lord came to me" is also fine. You are really stretching for shades of nuance to try to distinguish between these, but one could argue that "upon me" suggests more about being overcome with the message, but that's when you'd say "The Spirit of the Lord came upon me" rather than the Word.

In the current context, as the passage doesn't suggest any loss of control or sense of being overcome by the message, it's fine to translate it as "to". The LEB has "over". NASB and ESV use "to".


But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. (1 Chronicles 22:8 ESV)
וַיְהִי עָלַי דְּבַר־יְהוָה לֵאמֹר דָּם לָרֹב שָׁפַכְתָּ וּמִלְחָמוֹת גְּדֹלוֹת עָשִׂיתָ לֹֽא־תִבְנֶה בַיִת לִשְׁמִי כִּי דָּמִים רַבִּים שָׁפַכְתָּ אַרְצָה לְפָנָֽי

Later, David recounts the event:

“All this he made clear to me in writing from the hand of the Lord, all the work to be done according to the plan.” (1 Chronicles 28:19)
הַכֹּל בִּכְתָב מִיַּד יְהוָה עָלַי הִשְׂכִּיל כֹּל מַלְאֲכוֹת הַתַּבְנִֽית

In the second, David makes clear the word which came was in writing.

Apparently the different form was used to make the distinction between the word of the LORD which normally comes in verbal form and is written down later, and this particular word which came in writing from the hand of the LORD.

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