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Thursday, June 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 2

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-18

Chapter 2

Now Solomon determined to build a house for the name of the LORD, and a house for his kingdom. And Solomon told out [or counted out] seventy thousand men to bear burdens, and eighty thousand men to cut trees out of the forest, and three thousand six hundred men to oversee them ( 2 Chronicles 2:1-2 ).

And so the tremendous number of people that were just involved in the labor to the gathering of the materials for his own palace and for the temple that they were to build.

Solomon sent to Huram [who is also called Hiram] the king of Tyre, and he said, As you dealt with David my father, and you sent him cedars to build his own palace, even I ask you to deal so with me. Behold, I'm going to build a house in the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him the sweet incense, and to place the continual showbread, for the burnt offerings morning and evening, and on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. For this is an ordinance for ever to Israel. And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods. But who is able to build him a house, seeing the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him a house, save only to burn sacrifice before him? ( 2 Chronicles 2:3-6 )

In other words, the idea is, I'm not building a house for God to dwell in. The heaven of heavens cannot contain God. Thus, I only build a house that we might at this house burn sacrifice before God.

There are oftentimes attempts by men to localize God. They are always wrong. To think of God as being in one place more than in another place. You cannot localize God. The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. David said, "Whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there: if I descend into hell, Thou art there" ( Psalms 139:7-8 ). Can't escape from God. Nor can God be localized. And yet, so often we think of God, "Lord, we're so happy to gather tonight in Your presence to worship You. Oh yes, it's nice to be here in the presence of God this evening." Hey, you were in the presence of God when you were yelling at your wife on the way to church. You know, it isn't that when we get into this place we suddenly come into the presence of God. The presence of God is everywhere. You can't escape the presence of God. And it is always wrong when we try to think of God in a localized place. And yet, it is so often a part of our limited understanding that we always seem to think of God in a locality. "I'm going to go to church so I can be near God tonight. I feel so near to God when I'm walking through the woods. I feel so near to God when I am walking across the desert at night. I feel so near to God... " Well, it may be that you have a greater awareness of God's presence in certain localities, but that isn't an actuality. In truth, God is with you wherever you are.

It isn't that we need to come into the presence of God; it's that we need to become more aware of the presence of God wherever we may be. I think that one of the greatest needs of the Christian experience and in the Christian life is to become more conscious of God's all pervading presence. And at the times when you least feel like it, He is there. In the time when you're feeling the rottenest, He is there. In the time you're feeling most desolate, He is there. The most forsaken, He is there. And we need to become aware of His presence. But that's an attitude of my own heart. I can become aware of God's presence no matter where I am if I'll just turn my heart towards the Lord to consciously seek to be aware of His presence with me.

Now if we could only become more aware of the presence of God, we wouldn't need any preaching on holiness or on righteous living or things of this nature. Because if I were just aware of God's presence, "For in Him," Paul said, "we live, and move, and have our being" ( Acts 17:28 ). When I become aware of that, then I want to always live in a way that is pleasing unto Him. Knowing that nothing I do is hidden. Knowing that nothing I do is secret. Knowing that my life is just an open book and that consciousness of God's presence is such an important thing for my own personal life.

So Solomon recognized, "We're not building You a house, God, that You can come and live in this house and we can come and visit You at Your house. Who am I to build a house?" As he's writing to Hiram asking for these cedars to be sent from Lebanon and all. He said, "I want to build a house that we might offer our sacrifices and all, not that it's a place for God to dwell. The heaven of heavens can't contain Him. But just a place where we can come and offer our sacrifices before Him." So he is requesting that a skilled man be sent, who can, more or less, oversee all of the building. A man who is a clever artificer in the carvings and in all of the various types of arts, in castings and the whole thing, because the temple that he wanted to build unto God was to be a glorious monument unto the Lord.

And so he contracted to give unto the men, the servants that would cut the wood out of the forest and all, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, which would be a flour. Now a measure is ten bushels. So this is the amount of flour, the beaten wheat, he was to send unto them.

Twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths ( 2 Chronicles 2:10 )

And a bath is about eight gallons.

of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil ( 2 Chronicles 2:10 ).

So this was quite a vast annual fee that he was willing to pay for these skilled men.

Then Hiram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, and he said, Because the LORD hath loved his people, he hath made you king over them. Hiram also said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, and endued him with prudence and understanding, that he might build a house for the LORD, and an house for his kingdom. Now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram's my father, the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skillful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; he can carve out any manner of carving, and he can figure out every kind of device and he's just a cunning man. Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send it unto his servants ( 2 Chronicles 2:11-15 ):

So the deal was made.

And we will cut the wood out of Lebanon, as much as you shall need: and we will bring it to thee by floats by the sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem ( 2 Chronicles 2:16 ).

So they cut these cedars out of Lebanon. And they made these great rafts, the floats of these cedar logs. And they floated them down the Mediterranean Sea to the only port at that time in Israel, which was the port of Joppa. And then from Joppa they carried them overland to Jerusalem, which is a distance of about thirty miles. Maybe forty miles. So it was quite a task, and no wonder they needed seventy thousand men to help move these logs. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 2". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-chronicles-2.html. 2014.
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