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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 1

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-17

A. Solomon’s Wisdom and Prosperity ch. 1

Solomon had some serious weaknesses that the writer of Kings pointed out. However, the Chronicler presented a generally positive picture of this great ruler because Solomon did well regarding Yahweh worship at the temple. His people’s spiritual life was one of Solomon’s primary concerns. He devoted himself to making worship and fellowship with God possible for the Israelites. In this he was similar to the promised ideal King.

One of Solomon’s first official acts as king was to worship Yahweh (2 Chronicles 1:3). This happened at Gibeon where the central sanctuary stood. David had taken the ark into Jerusalem, but the Mosaic tabernacle at Gibeon was still a legitimate place of worship. It was the only place where the priests could offer sacrifices on the bronze altar that apparently remained from the wilderness wanderings. The writer emphasized the legitimacy of Solomon’s act of worship (2 Chronicles 1:3-6). Other "high places" were contaminated by association with Baal worship and were, therefore, under God’s ban, even if the Israelites used them to worship Yahweh (cf. Numbers 33:52; Deuteronomy 12:2).

"The second book [of Chronicles] begins, theologically and not just geographically, at Gibeon, for ’the bronze altar . . . was there’ (2 Chronicles 1:5 a). The previous two chapters focus on what God does; these two [i.e., chs. 1 & 2] turn our attention to what man will do in response." [Note: Michael Wilcock, The Message of Chronicles, p. 122.]

Solomon requested the wisdom he needed to understand and obey the Mosaic Law by which Israel’s kings were to shepherd the nation (2 Chronicles 1:10; cf. Deuteronomy 4:5-8; Deuteronomy 17:18-20; Matthew 7:7; James 1:5). Solomon’s heart was right, as David’s had been. He wanted to serve God faithfully and to honor Him above himself. He was off to a good start as Israel’s shepherd.

"Solomon’s repeated reference to his father, David, shows that he was in a sense praying in David’s name. That is, he was relying on his relationship as David’s son for favor with God." [Note: J. A. Thompson, 1, 2 Chronicles, p. 205.]

"The central teaching of chapter 1 . . . lies in Solomon’s selfless prayer for wisdom, which was the precise characteristic that his father David had already invoked for him (1 Chronicles 22:12)." [Note: J. Barton Payne, "1, 2 Chronicles," in I Kings-Job, vol. 4 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 441.]

"The right place to begin was with God. His favor and direction alone could give health and peace to the nation. Once again, therefore, the king is portrayed in a favorable light not in order to obscure his sins but in order to make the point that the good things he did are what we should imitate." [Note: Thompson, p. 202.]

Verses 1-31

III. THE REIGN OF SOLOMON CHS. 1-9 (cont. from 1 Chron.)

The Chronicler’s main interest in David’s reign in 1 Chronicles focused on the Davidic Covenant with God’s promises to David and his descendants, including instructions for building the temple. In recounting the events of Solomon’s reign, the writer proceeded to emphasize the temple that Solomon built. Almost everything he mentioned about Solomon ties in with the temple somehow. The writer of Kings, on the other hand, emphasized many different aspects of Solomon’s reign, though his interest was particularly Solomon’s fidelity to the Mosaic Covenant (1 Kings 1-11). In the rest of 2 Chronicles the writer likewise pointed out how the kings who succeeded Solomon cared for the temple and perpetuated temple worship.

When the Chronicler wrote his history, there was controversy over the second temple (i.e., the temple that Ezra built). Some of the residents in and around Jerusalem opposed its construction (Ezra 4:4-24; Haggai 1:2-4). If the returned exiles were to renew their (Mosaic) covenant relationship with God, they had to have a temple. There they could obey the laws regarding expiation of sin, worship, and fellowship with God (cf. Exodus 25:8).

Furthermore, when the Chronicler lived, the Israelites realized that God had not fulfilled the promises concerning David’s son completely in Solomon’s day, or during any of his successors’ reigns. They looked for a Messiah to appear who would be both a king and a priest. The prophets had given revelation that such a person would come someday. He would be a perfect king who would rule the whole world, not just Israel (Psalms 2; et al.). Moreover he would be a priest, not of the Aaronic order, but of the order of Melchizedek (Psalms 110; et al.). David was the first king of Israel who served as a faithful priest after this order. He personally offered sacrifices and led the people in worship as well as in government. David’s successors on the throne did the same things. The prophets promised that Messiah would build a house (temple) for God. He would give attention to His people’s worship of God and their fellowship with God. He would be a man of peace compared to David, who was a man of war (1 Chronicles 22:7-9). David’s rule was the kind of rule the coming King would establish. Consequently, the writer of Chronicles measured all David’s successors by the standard of David and his kingdom.

Concern for temple worship marked David’s rule (cf. 1 Chronicles 17-29). The King who would fulfill God’s covenant promises to David would have to possess similar zeal for temple worship (cf. John 2:17). The writer viewed Solomon as a second David and compared him to David, as Joshua compares to Moses. [Note: See Raymond B. Dillard, 2 Chronicles, pp. 1-7; and H. G. M. Williamson, "The Accession of Solomon in the Books of Chronicles," Vetus Testamentum 26 (1976):351-61.] The Chronicler reviewed the histories of David’s successors to see if any one of them was that King. He showed in 2 Chronicles that none was. He was yet to come.

When Solomon began to rule, he stepped onto a political stage in the ancient Near East that God had prepared. There were no major empires reaching out to conquer surrounding territories, because the empires of the time had internal problems that demanded their attention. Some of them were experiencing harassment from their neighbors. Consequently, Solomon was free to solidify David’s gains in an atmosphere of peace.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 1". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/2-chronicles-1.html. 2012.
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