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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

2 Chronicles 8

Verses 1-11

1. Solomon’s political success 8:1-11

God blessed Solomon by giving him good relations with King Hiram of Tyre (2 Chronicles 8:1). Hiram evidently returned the cities Solomon had previously given to him (2 Chronicles 8:2; cf. 1 Kings 9:10-14). Then Solomon developed these towns. Solomon also captured more territory and fortified many cities.

"It seems safe to say that, following this action, Israel controlled more territory than at any other time in its history. In his day, Solomon was probably the most powerful and influential ruler in the Middle East." [Note: Leon J. Wood, Israel’s United Monarchy, p. 326.]

Moreover, he controlled the native Canaanite population (2 Chronicles 8:8). 2 Chronicles 8:3, which is very brief, is the only reference in Chronicles to Solomon’s military activity. Everywhere else his image is that of a peaceful king (1 Chronicles 22:9).

Verses 1-31

E. Solomon’s Successes chs. 8-9

This section of the text is similar to 1 Chronicles 18-21. Those chapters showed how God kept His promises to David that the Chronicler recorded in 1 Chronicles 17:8-12. These chapters (8-9) show how God kept His promise to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 1:12 and 2 Chronicles 7:17-18.

Verses 12-16

2. Solomon’s religious success 8:12-16

Solomon was faithful to perform what the Mosaic Law required in ritual worship. In this he succeeded, though in his heart he departed from the Lord. The Chronicler gave him credit where credit was due and did not draw attention to his failings.

"This verse [2 Chronicles 8:16] represents an important literary mark in the story of the Chronicler, concluding the long section that began at 2 Chronicles 2:1. A similar phrase to ’so the temple of the LORD was finished’ occurs in 2 Chronicles 29:35, as the Chronicler concluded his account of the restoration of the temple service under Hezekiah." [Note: Thompson, p. 240.]

Verses 17-28

3. Solomon’s economic success 8:17-9:28

God gave Solomon wisdom and wealth as He had promised (2 Chronicles 1:12). The location of Ophir (2 Chronicles 8:18) is uncertain. Scholars have suggested India, Somalia on the east coast of Africa, West Arabia, and South Arabia.

The Queen of Sheba attested to Solomon’s wisdom (2 Chronicles 9:1-12). God’s purpose for Israel was that His people should draw the nations to Yahweh (Exodus 19:5-6). We see Israel realizing this purpose partially in this queen’s visit to Solomon. She came to listen to him, and she brought gifts to him (cf. Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 60:3; Isaiah 60:5-6; Haggai 2:7).

"Negotiations with Solomon concerning trade in aromatic resins were to be expected. Frankincense and myrrh were in high demand for use in pharmacopoeia and cosmetics, embalming and religious offerings (Isaiah 60:6; Jeremiah 6:20). Frankincense and myrrh ranked alongside gold for trade and as gifts for a king." [Note: Ibid., p. 242.]

"The Queen of Sheba who came to Jerusalem with much wealth and found that she had only imagined the half of the king’s wisdom gives a dramatic picture of the hope that the Chronicler, along with the prophets, had vested in the Davidic kingship." [Note: John Sailhamer, First and Second Chronicles, pp. 79-80.]

"The impression made upon the Queen of Sheba shows the power that belongs to the children of God to bring God to those who are, figuratively speaking, ’far off’." [Note: McConville, p. 148.]

Other Gentile nations also contributed greatly to Solomon’s wealth (2 Chronicles 9:22-24). God brought this wealth to Solomon because of his obedience. Nevertheless, Solomon only partially fulfilled God’s promises. Their complete fulfillment awaited the appearance of the perfectly obedient Son of David.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 8". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/2-chronicles-8.html. 2012.