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Solomon began his reign strengthened by God and given great exaltation (v.1). At Solomon's word all the chief men of Israel went up to the high place at Gibeon, where the tabernacle was at the time. There is no scriptural objection to this high place at the time, for it rather speaks of the place of exaltation given to the tabernacle. However, when Solomon had built the temple there was no more reason for the tabernacle: rather, the ark and all the tabernacle furniture was brought to the temple, signifying that all the truths of the tabernacle were incorporated into the temple, the place of God's choosing (ch.5:5). After this, worship in the high places was disobedience to God, yet Solomon built high places for foreign gods (1 Kings 11:7-8). But 2 Chronicles passes over the failures of Solomon, since the focus of the book is on God's sovereign grace sustaining the king who was a picture of Christ.
At this time, however, the ark was not in the tabernacle, but in a tent that David had pitched for it at Jerusalem (v.4). The bronze (or copper) altar that was made by Bezaleel (Exodus 27:1-2) was in its proper place in front of the tabernacle (v.5), and Solomon and Israel met the Lord there. The altar symbolised his meeting the Lord in grace because of the value of the sacrifice placed on the altar but there was inconsistency in the ark not being present, for the ark speaks of Christ as the Sustainer of the throne of God, therefore of absolute authority. Grace and authority should always be together, but God bore with this inconsistency until the temple was built, then all was in proper order again.
Young as Solomon was, he showed true devotion to the Lord in offering 1,000 burnt offerings on the altar (v.6). Thus, his reign began well. The same night God appeared to him to give him the opportunity of asking what God should give him (v.7). His response was good, for he first showed a humble attitude of thankfulness for the great mercy God had shown to David his father and toward Solomon also in making him king. He asked that the Lord's promise to David might be established. that is, the promise of David's seed reigning over Israel (v.9). This desire for the fulfilment of God's word shows a heart dependent on God, which was specially true in Solomon's younger years.
Being impressed with the size of Israel's population, Solomon felt his own insufficiency for the responsibility of ruling over them, so that he asked for wisdom and knowledge, so that he might go out and come in before the people (v.10). This prayer was good and God commended Solomon for asking for wisdom and knowledge, rather than for riches or honour or for the destruction of his enemies (v.11). Therefore, God told him his prayer was answered favourably, so that he was given wisdom and knowledge. But God added to this that He would give him riches, wealth and honour also, greater than any other king before or after him (v.12).
Yet, let us observe the reason that Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge: - "that I may go out and come in before this people." No doubt he remembered what scripture said of David: "All Israel and Judah loved David because he went out and came in before them" (1 Samuel 18:16). This was a good testimony before others. Solomon was concerned about this, as we too ought to be. Yet he did not evidently realise that David's good testimony was the result of much deeper exercise of heart than of concern about his testimony. Nor should we think primarily about how we affect others. Should we not first consider how we should please the Lord?
The Lord graciously answered Solomon's request for wisdom and knowledge, and in all history there has not been another like him in intellectual wisdom and knowledge. He also told him He would give him riches and honour. But Solomon would have been wiser to ask much more than this. Far instance, if he had known Scripture well he might have known that it would be a special temptation for a king to multiply wives and horses, and to greatly multiply riches, as Deuteronomy 17:14-20 indicates, and if he had prayed to be preserved from these evils, his history might have been much different. Perhaps he had not readDeuteronomy 17:1-20; Deuteronomy 17:1-20, but he ought to have read in the five books of Moses every day of his life, as Deuteronomy 17:18-19 tells us.
SOLOMON'S WEALTH AND POWER
Returning to Jerusalem, Solomon began his prosperous reign in gathering wealth that exceeded all the kingdoms of the earth. 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen were gathered for the protection of his kingdom early in his reign. Not that he needed all this, for God was his protector and such peace was established in his days that these chariots and horsemen were not used for war. But of course other nations would not so likely challenge him when he was well prepared.
He had such stores of silver and gold that they became as common as stones in Jerusalem (v.15), and cedar trees became as common as the sycamores. The cedars were imported from Lebanon. Also mentioned is that he imported horses from Egypt and Keveh, as well as chariots from Egypt. Solomon also made a great business of buying and selling horses and chariots, - buying from Egypt and selling to the Hittites and kings of Syria. Thus of course his wealth greatly increased.
Actually, in this traffic with Egypt Solomon was disobedient to God. Nevertheless, God used even this disobedience for His own glory, for in Chronicles nothing is said about this matter being disobedience. The emphasis is rather on the fact that Solomon's wealth, increased as it was by Gentile traffic, is a picture of the greater wealth and splendour of the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus, whose glory will be increased by tribute from the whole world (which is pictured by Egypt). Zechariah 14:16 bears witness to this future recognition of Christ by the nations.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 1". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent