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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 1

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Second Chronicles Chapter 1

2 Chronicles is actually a continuation of 1 Chronicles. It has to do with the reign of Solomon in Israel. Toward the end of the book, it deals with the 12 tribes of Israel breaking into 10 tribes of Israel and 2 tribes making up Judah. This takes place before the Babylonian captivity. It was, probably, compiled by Ezra from records he found, when he returned from exile. 1 and 2 Kings cover the same period of time. Kings was written before the exile, and Chronicles was written after the return. The two tribes that made up Judah had a form of religion which, possibly, centered in the temple in Jerusalem, but they had wandered away from God, Himself. There is very little mention in this of the ten tribes. This book is basically about the tribe of Judah.

2 Chronicles 1:1 "And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God [was] with him, and magnified him exceedingly."

We must remember, that Solomon was quite young, when he began to reign. Many scholars believe he was as young as twelve years old. David was alive for a short period of Solomon’s reign and, possibly, guided him in the beginning. When God is for you, who can be against you? His strength lay in the fact that God was guiding everything he did. At this point in time, Solomon put his faith in God and not in his own abilities. God was with Solomon, and he grew in the sight of God and man.

2 Chronicles 1:2 "Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers."

These were the same people that David had encouraged to give for the construction of the temple, and they responded greatly. The temple had not been built at this time. The ark was in Jerusalem, but the tabernacle was still in Gibeon. Solomon had brought them together, so there would be unity of purpose.

2 Chronicles 1:3 "So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high place that [was] at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness." The congregation, that was with Solomon, was the leaders of the various groups of people. Solomon led them to the spot where the tabernacle was located. At this time, there was no other central place of worship. The ark had been moved to Jerusalem, but the other things of the tabernacle, that Moses had brought from the wilderness, were at Gibeon. Solomon wanted to honor and give thanks to God in the only way he knew how.

2 Chronicles 1:4 "But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjath-jearim to [the place which] David had prepared for it: for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem."

When David brought the ark to Jerusalem and erected a tent to protect it, he was saying this would be the place where the LORD would dwell with His people. The ark symbolized the presence of God. 169 Temporarily, the ark was separated from the brasen altar that they used for burnt sacrifices.

2 Chronicles 1:5 "Moreover the brasen altar, that Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, he put before the tabernacle of the LORD: and Solomon and the congregation sought unto it."

There had to be a central place to sacrifice unto the LORD. The brasen altar was the original one that Bezaleel had made for the tabernacle in the wilderness. Solomon would know that this altar was acceptable to God. This was a large group of people who went with Solomon to worship and sacrifice to God, as we see in the size of the sacrifice.

2 Chronicles 1:6 "And Solomon went up thither to the brazen altar before the LORD, which [was] at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it."

When it says, Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings it means he carried the animals to be sacrificed. The priests did the actual act of the burning of the sacrifice. It was Solomon’s offering, however. It was as if Solomon could not offer enough in his own sight. He was grateful to God for this great honor He had bestowed upon him.

2 Chronicles 1:7 "In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee."

It was either in a vision, or a dream, and it does not matter which. The message is the same. God was so pleased with Solomon at this point, that He offered to grant him a wish.

2 Chronicles 1:8 "And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead."

Solomon did not immediately ask for his wish. He first thanked God for His goodness to David and to him. It had to be very humbling for God to choose him, when he had older brothers, whom God could have put in the office of king. He could not understand, but did appreciate the confidence God had placed in him.

2 Chronicles 1:9 "Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude."

The twelve tribes were a very large number of people. Just those who David had gathered together for the twelve different watches, were a tremendous number. 24,000 times 12 is 288,000, and they were just those in service to the king. At this time, the 12 tribes would have been several million people. Solomon had learned his lesson from David, and was not about to number them. His statement showed a fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham. Solomon wanted to rule in the manner God would have him rule.

2 Chronicles 1:10 "Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, [that is so] great?"

Solomon was aware that he was not capable of ruling so great a people without supernatural wisdom and knowledge from God. This, then, was his request. He wanted to be a good ruler. He knew with the power of God working in his life, he could be that leader. He asked for wisdom to lead his people. In 1 Kings 3:9, his request was expressed that he might have an understanding heart to judge thy people. He wanted to be able to discern between good and evil. In a sense, that is the same thing. If he had the gift of wisdom from God, he would have this ability.

2 Chronicles 1:11 "And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king:"

This request had to please God. It was very unselfish. God knew from this, that Solomon had a pure heart. He loved God and His people more than he loved himself. The word "because" is strong here. The blessings Solomon did receive hinged on this word.

2 Chronicles 1:12 "Wisdom and knowledge [is] granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that [have been] before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like."

Saul and David had reigned before Solomon, and they had been very wealthy. It is hard to believe that he could have even more than they had. Solomon would become so wealthy and build such magnificent things, that even the Queen of Sheba would come to see, if it was true. She came partially because of the great wisdom he possessed, as well. Wisdom and knowledge is the greatest gift, aside from salvation, that any person could ever receive. The riches, wealth, and honor are a by-product of wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom is a gift from God, and knowledge is accumulated learning. The gift of knowledge, here, is a quickening of his ability to learn and retain knowledge. This is similar to what the Holy Spirit does as our Teacher and our Guide.

2 Chronicles 1:13 "Then Solomon came [from his journey] to the high place that [was] at Gibeon to Jerusalem, from before the tabernacle of the congregation, and reigned over Israel."

Solomon had been empowered of God to rule over Israel justly. The tabernacle was of the congregation. It was a place where they could go and feel they had been in contact with God. It was their place of contact. The tabernacle was to benefit the people.

2 Chronicles 1:14 "And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem."

One of the best ways to avoid war, is for your enemies around you to realize that you would win, if they attacked you. This show of force, would help bring peace. David had defeated many of these enemies before his death, and had set up taxes against those defeated. There would be a constant flow of wealth to the king of Israel, because of these defeated foes, who had to pay tribute. 171

2 Chronicles 1:15 "And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem [as plenteous] as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that [are] in the vale for abundance."

God had blessed Israel with plentiful crops. Their neighbors needed grain. They gave cedar trees in abundance to Israel, and Israel gave them grain. We have been studying in 1 Chronicles about the vast amount of gold and silver, that David had gathered for the building of the temple. Solomon would gather even more, it seems. The wealth of Solomon would be widely known in the world of that day. Without the expense of war, the wealth grew mightily. Sycamore trees are abundant in Israel. The cedars were floated in for building purposes, because the wood does not decay easily.

2 Chronicles 1:16 "And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price."

All things that the king desired were purchased for him. He had so much wealth, that he could have all things his heart desired.

2 Chronicles 1:17 "And they fetched up, and brought forth out of Egypt a chariot for six hundred [shekels] of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so brought they out [horses] for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, by their means."

A shekel is a half ounce of silver. This means that each chariot cost 300 ounces of silver, or $1,500.00 at $5.00 per ounce, our present price. The horse cost 75 ounces of silver, or $375.00, at $5.00 per ounce. Notice, Solomon’s generosity to the kings of the Hittites and of Syria.

2 Chronicles 1 Questions

1. What does 2 Chronicles cover?

2. What tribe is covered in this book?

3. Who compiled the book?

4. What other book in the Bible is about the same thing?

5. How was Solomon strengthened in his kingdom?

6. How old do many scholars believe Solomon was, when he began to reign?

7. Who did Solomon gather to him in 2 Chronicles 1:2?

8. Where was the tabernacle at this time?

9. Where did Solomon and the representatives of the congregation go to sacrifice?

10. Where was the ark at this time?

11. The ark symbolized the ___________ of God.

12. The brasen altar at Gibeon had been built by ____________.

13. How many offerings did Solomon offer on the brasen altar?

14. When did God appear to Solomon?

15. What did God offer Solomon?

16. What did Solomon do, even before he asked for anything?

17. What did Solomon ask for?

18. How did Solomon describe the people he was leading?

19. How did God answer the request of Solomon?

20. What all did Solomon receive of God?

21. When Solomon left Gibeon, what did he do?

22. How many chariots did Solomon have?

23. How many horsemen did he have?

24. What is the easiest way to have peace, besides from God?

25. Where did Solomon get his horses?

26. How much did a chariot cost?

27. What is a shekel?

28. How much did a horse cost?

29. Who did Solomon give horses to?

Verses 1-6

2Ch 1:1-6

Introduction

I. THE UNITED KINGDOM FROM SOLOMON TO THE DIVISION (2 Chronicles 1-10)

2 Chronicles 1:1-6

SOLOMON AT GIBEON; GOD APPEARS IN A DREAM

"And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and Jehovah his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly. And Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every prince in all Israel, the heads of the fathers’ houses. So Solomon and all the assembly with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the tent of meeting of God, which Moses the servant of God had made in the wilderness. But the ark of God had David brought up from Kiriath-jearim to the place that David had prepared for it; for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem. Moreover the brazen alter that Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, was there before the tabernacle of Jehovah: and Solomon and the assembly sought unto it. And Solomon went up thither to the brazen altar before Jehovah, which was at the tent of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt-offerings upon it."

"The brazen altar that Bezalel ... had made" (2 Chronicles 1:5). Continually throughout Chronicles we find an acute consciousness of all that was written in the Pentateuch in the times of Moses. The references here are from Exodus 17:10; Exodus 28:1-8; Exodus 31:2.

"Solomon offered a thousand burnt-offerings upon it" (2 Chronicles 1:6). This means that Solomon provided the burnt-offerings, not that he offered them personally, a duty that pertained to the priests. "This altar is mentioned as assurance that Gibeon was the proper place for sacrifice and worship."

By beginning his record of Solomon’s reign in this manner, the Chronicler apparently sought to focus the attention of Israel upon their ancient heritage of the favor and blessing of God, and upon his deliverance of them from Egypt by the hand of Moses.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 1:1. This and several verses following corresponds with 1 Kings 3:1-15. Was strengthened denotes that Solomon was established on his throne. It sometimes happens that a man may take his place on the throne, but be in an uncertain condition because of some disturbance in the nation. It was not so with Solomon for all elements of the nation were favorable to him.

2 Chronicles 1:2. Solomon spake. The second word is one with several meanings. It is rendered in the A. V. the most frequently by "speak" and "answer." In a few instances it is translated "command." The present verse merely says that Solomon spake to the people. We must conclude, therefore, that what he said included what was necessary to inform the people of the king’s desire of them,

2 Chronicles 1:3. See my comments at 1 Kings 8:2 on "high places." The temple had not yet been built, so it was necessary to go to the tabernacle that was at Gibeon.

2 Chronicles 1:4. The ark had been separated from the tabernacle at the battle with the Philistines. (1 Samuel 4.) It never was in its original place again, but was taken from place to place; first among the Philistines, then with the Israelites. It was at Kirjath-jearim for at least 20 years. (1 Samuel 7:2.) David finally moved it to Jerusalem and put it in a tent that he had pitched for it in the district of the city called Mount Zion or City of David. (2 Samuel 6.)

2 Chronicles 1:5. The brazen altar was originally located before the tabernacle, just as it is described here. The statement indicates that a general disturbance had been made of the tabernacle and its furniture. This was caused by the Philistines, but we have no specific information of when it was done.

2 Chronicles 1:6. The altar represented the major part of the congregational worship of the Jews. Solomon respected it by going to Gibeon to offer sacrifices upon it. His reign was just beginning and he was in the state of sincere devotion to God that led him for several years. It was fitting that he begin the great career with a season of public devotions, hence the statement in V. 3 that all the congregation went up.

Verses 7-13

2Ch 1:7-13

2 Chronicles 1:7-13

GOD’S APPEARANCE TO SOLOMON IN A DREAM

"In that night did God appear to Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast showed great lovingkindness to David my father, and hast made me king in his stead. Now, O Jehovah God, let thy promise unto David my father be established; for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thy heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, nor honor, nor the life of them that hate thee, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give unto thee riches, and honor, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee; neither shall any after thee have the like. So Solomon came from the high place that was at Gibeon, from before the tent of meeting, unto Jerusalem; and he reigned over Israel."

"That night God appeared unto Solomon" (2 Chronicles 1:7). First, we should dispose of the critical suggestion that this is a contradiction of the statement in 1 Kings 3:5 that, "Jehovah appeared unto Solomon that night in a dream." Curtis (Madsen) commented that, "The dream has disappeared, and the revelation is a more direct one." Such a comment is totally in error. There’s not a word here about the dream’s disappearance, nor any suggestion that the revelation was in any manner `more direct’ than what was mentioned in 1Kings. The very fact of the appearance having been at night made it unnecessary to add the fact that all Israel already knew, namely, that the appearance was in a dream.

The Chronicler’s account here is more brief than that in Kings; and, "The principal point of omission was the conditional promise of long life to Solomon," This omission was probably because the Chronicler knew that Solomon’s wickedness had voided that promise. "Otherwise there is no essential difference of any importance in the parallel accounts."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 1:7. God did not tell Solomon he might have anything he wished as is so commonly taught; he merely asked him what he wished. Had Solomon asked for something that was displeasing to the Lord we have no indication that it would have been granted.

2 Chronicles 1:8-9. The gratitude of Solomon first fixed his attention on the favor that God had shown David his father. His prayer accordingly was connected with the promise contained in that favor, and he wished the kingdom to be confirmed on him.

2 Chronicles 1:10. Solomon realized that the favor shown to his father would avail him very little if he must depend solely on his own strength. He asked for wisdom and knowledge. The first has special reference to the natural skillfulness of the mind, the second to the information that might be acquired by such a mind. Go out and come in refers to his dealings with the people. To judge the people means to guide them in the vast numbers of interests that would come up.

2 Chronicles 1:11-12. God never gives to man that which would be wrong for him to have. Solomon was promised a number of things he did not ask for. The principle underlying the whole situation pertains to the chief motive that was controlling Solomon. Riches and the other things named were not wrong in themselves, else God would not have given them. But it would have been wrong for them to be the chief motive of Solomon’s reign. As an illustration of the thought, Christians may find much pleasure in the association with acquaintances in the general assembly, but it would be wrong were that the primary motive that brought them together.

2 Chronicles 1:13. See my comments at 1 Kings 3:2 on high places, one of which is mentioned in connection with Solomon at Gibeon. The capital of his kingdom was Jerusalem, hence he had to leave the tabernacle to be in the proper city.

Verses 14-17

2Ch 1:14-17

2 Chronicles 1:14-17

SOLOMON’S WICKED MULTIPLICATION OF HIS HORSES

"And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, that he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. And the king made silver and gold to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the lowland, for abundance. And the horses which Solomon had were brought out of Egypt; the king’s merchants received them in droves, each drove at a price. And they fetched up and brought out of Egypt a chariot for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty; and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means."

It is evident to this writer that some have missed altogether the Chronicler’s intention. The allegation that, "It was contrary to the Chronicler’s purpose to convey a too unfavorable impression of Solomon," has often been cited; but how could that be true, in the light of this very first chapter, where practically the first thing Solomon did was to violate in the most contemptuous and wholesale manner the divine prohibition in Deuteronomy?

"Thou shalt surely set a king over thee ... Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to ... multiply horses." - Deuteronomy 17:15-16.

This shameful violation of God’s word by Solomon has been remarkably confirmed by archaeological discoveries in recent times. There were many of these `chariot cities’; and, "At Megiddo, southeast of Mount Carmel, has been excavated the ruins of a single extensive stone stable capable of housing about four hundred horses."

"This passage (2 Chronicles 1:14-17) is very nearly identical with 1 Kings 10:26-29."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 1:14. Smith’s Bible Dictionary says a chariot was "a vehicle used either for warlike or peaceful purposes." Solomon did not have any wars, therefore he used the chariots for peaceful purposes. He wished to have some of them at hand and these he kept in Jerusalem. Others were kept in cities set apart for the purpose.

2 Chronicles 1:15. These statements are for comparison to indicate the wealth of Solomon. The sycamore was a species of fig tree and abounded in that country. The cedar was a valuable and highly prized tree, but Solomon was able to have them in as great number as the common sycamore tree.

2 Chronicles 1:16. Bringing these horses out of Egypt was contrary to Deuteronomy 17:16, but the Lord was very lenient and tolerated it for the present. The linen yarn was obtained at a price. One word used to translate the last one is "worth." The thought here is that the linen was paid for at its full value. Smith’s Bible Dictionary says this: "Egyptian byssus, a flax that grew on the banks of the Nile, was exceedingly soft and dazzling in whiteness. This linen has been sold for twice its weight in gold."

2 Chronicles 1:17. Paying such a price for a chariot and a horse indicates the wealth of Solomon. In paying such a price for these things, the standard of value was set, and the kings of Syria and the other foreign nations had to pay the same if they wished to purchase them.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 1". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-chronicles-1.html.
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