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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 ( 4:4-24f>; 1:2-4f>). 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. 25:8f>).
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 ( 22:7-9f>). 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. 2:17f>). 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.
3. Solomon’s economic success 8:17-9:28
God gave Solomon wisdom and wealth as He had promised ( 1:12f>). The location of Ophir ( 8:18f>) 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 ( 9:1-12f>). God’s purpose for Israel was that His people should draw the nations to Yahweh ( 19:5-6f>). 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. 2:3f>; 60:3f>; 60:5-6f>; 2:7f>).
"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 ( 60:6f>; 6:20f>). 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 ( 9:22-24f>). 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.
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 17:8-12f>. These chapters (8-9) show how God kept His promise to Solomon in 1:12f> and 7:17-18f>.
4. Solomon’s death 9:29-31
The Chronicler omitted any reference to Solomon’s apostasy that resulted in the division of the kingdom (cf. 11:9-11f>). By doing so, he was not trying to whitewash Solomon’s record. The Book of Kings was available to the postexilic community as were other records of Solomon’s reign, to which he referred his readers ( 9:29f>). Iddo was a seer (cf. 12:15f>) and prophet ( 13:22f>) whose ministry apparently consisted primarily in writing books. No references to him depict him as involved in any other event. The writer chose to present only those aspects of Solomon’s career in which he provided a positive example of trust and obedience and consequent blessing. His purpose was to encourage his readers with a good example and to build hope for the future King, not to lament the past. The purpose of Chronicles thus emerges quite clearly. It was to preach a message for the present generation from the earlier historical records. It was not primarily to provide a parallel or supplementary historical record to what existed in Samuel and Kings.
Solomon modeled the ultimate Davidic temple builder. He was wise and prosperous. He built and dedicated the glorious temple, and he received the wealth of the Gentiles who sought his wisdom. [Note: Cf. Jeffrey Townsend, "The Purpose of 1 and 2 Chronicles," Bibliotheca Sacra 145:575 (July-September 1987):288.] David’s ultimate Son would do all of these things too. Solomon proved not to be the Son of David who would rule forever. Nevertheless, his reign helped the Jews of the restoration period know what they needed to do, and to what they could look forward.
"The Chronicler’s aim in his portrayal of Solomon is to show how God governed the events of history to impart to the kingdom of Israel, at least once, a splendour [sic] which was fit to symbolize his own. . . . The Kings and Chronicles accounts, taken together, become another testimony-alongside the whole biblical picture of David-to the way in which God deigns to use great sinners in the work of his kingdom, so much so that the OT’s latest picture of Solomon does not even remember his sins." [Note: McConville, p. 110.]
"The study of typology is an approach to the Bible that can readily be abused. But nothing could be more biblical than to hold that the Davidic monarchy is a type of the rule of Christ." [Note: Wilcock, p. 141.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 9". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/
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