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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 8

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Second Chronicles Chapter 8

2 Chronicles 8:1 "And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house,"

This is, probably, at the 24th year of his reign as king. He did not begin the house of the LORD, until 4 years after he began to reign. He was 7 years building the house of the LORD. It was actually 20 years after he began the work on the temple and his own house, that everything was completed.

2 Chronicles 8:2 "That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there."

Hiram had acquired 20 cities from Solomon in payment for the cedars he had provided for the buildings in Jerusalem. Hiram had never been pleased with these cities, and now, it appears that he had given them back to Solomon. They were pretty worthless in the condition they were in. Solomon, now, takes them and restores them for the people. We are not told whether Solomon gave Hiram something else in place of the cities, or not.

2 Chronicles 8:3 "And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, and prevailed against it."

This is either a city, or an area at the border of Lebanon.

2 Chronicles 8:4 "And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath."

Now, we see why he had done this. He is safeguarding his borders. This Tadmor was built about 140 miles northeast of Damascus. The store cities were scattered throughout the territory.

2 Chronicles 8:5 "Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars;"

These were both in the land of Ephraim. These two cities were allotted to the Kohathite Levites. They were well fortified. It is almost as if he was building outskirt cities, to keep the enemy from ever making it into Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 8:6 "And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion." The way to have peace is by having a very strong army that is well equipped,. then, let the enemies know of this strength. This is what Solomon was doing. He was showing strength in the outer areas. Baalath was in the land of Dan. These store cities were for several purposes. They were out posts to keep the enemies away. They were, also, a place to collect the tribute and taxes for Solomon. Solomon was the wealthiest man that ever lived, so he could equip his men with the finest chariots and other things they needed. He, also, had the wealth to build all of the well fortified cities.

2 Chronicles 8:7 "[As for] all the people [that were] left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which [were] not of Israel,"

2 Chronicles 8:8 "[But] of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day."

Solomon allowed them to live, but under the condition they would pay tribute to him. They were bondservants to Solomon. Many of them were allowed to live in their homes they had before, there was a tax levied upon everything they did, however.

2 Chronicles 8:9 "But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they [were] men of war, and chief of his captains, and captains of his chariots and horsemen."

The children of Israel were thought of as brethren of Solomon. They held the important positions such as leaders. The army was made up of Israelites. They had no hired soldiers. He gave a rank of captain to those he could.

2 Chronicles 8:10 "And these [were] the chief of king Solomon’s officers, [even] two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people."

These 250 men were over the soldiers of Israel. They were not the rulers over the servants. The different tribes were represented in these 250. These were the men that would lead them to war, if there was a war. At that time, they were occupied with keeping the peace.

2 Chronicles 8:11 "And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because [the places are] holy, whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come."

Solomon had married an Egyptian woman. She was not a Hebrew. When Solomon experienced the presence of God in the temple in Jerusalem, he realized that the city of Jerusalem was the city of God. Solomon built this Egyptian wife a house, which was located out of Jerusalem. He realized she was not a believer in the One True God.

2 Chronicles 8:12 "Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch,"

We know that there were daily sacrifices to the LORD. Solomon saw that the animals for the sacrifices were available and ready. This altar seemed to be at the entrance of the porch. This altar was a brasen altar.

2 Chronicles 8:13 "Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, [even] in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles."

There were three times a year that all the males had to appear at the temple. The Feast of Unleavened Bread overlapped Passover. The Feast of Weeks is the same as Pentecost. The Feast of Tabernacles was right after the Feast of Trumpets. The offerings had been re-established as they had been given to Moses on the way to the promised land. Solomon had been instructed by David on the need to observe these times.

2 Chronicles 8:14 "And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded."

It appears that, David had already set up the various duties of the various families before his death. He was led by the writings of Moses in his decisions he had made. Solomon did not change any of the arrangements David had set up, because he knew David was a man of God. We studied all of this in detail in an earlier lesson.

2 Chronicles 8:15 "And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures."

All of this is covered in detail in 1 Chronicles chapter 24, 25 and 26. The king, mentioned here, is David. Each family of the Levites were chosen for a specific ministry. This was re-established by David before his death. Solomon honored the wishes of his father.

2 Chronicles 8:16 "Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. [So] the house of the LORD was perfected."

This is showing that Solomon was focused in on the detailed information David had left for him. He wanted the temple to be perfect. He did not let up on the work for a moment, until everything was exactly the way it had been planned.

2 Chronicles 8:17 "Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth, at the sea side in the land of Edom."

This was located near the Red Sea. David had conquered Edom, and this area was, now, part of Israel. They were some of those who paid tribute to Solomon.

2 Chronicles 8:18 "And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought [them] to king Solomon."

Solomon had built a navy. Hiram had sent sailors to help man the ships. The following verses help clear this passage up. 1 Kings 9:26 "And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which [is] beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom." 1 Kings 9:27 "And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon." 1 Kings 9:28 "And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought [it] to king Solomon." There are 30 talents difference in the weight in the two Scriptures, but that is unimportant. These Scriptures are speaking of the same thing. Remember, a talent weighs 125 pounds, or 1,500 ounces. At the very least this gold at $400.00 per ounce would figure. Over $252,000,000.00. Solomon, indeed, was the wealthiest king {besides Jesus} that ever lived on the earth.

2 Chronicles 8 Questions

1. How many years after Solomon began, did he finish the house of the LORD and his own house?

2. What year of his reign would this have been?

3. How many of these years was he building the LORD’s house?

4. What are the cities mentioned in 2 Chronicles 8:2?

5. What does Solomon do to the cities to make them worthwhile? 6. Why had he built the store cities?

7. How is a good way to have peace?

8. Baalath was in the land of _____.

9. What were some of the purposes for the outer cities?

10. What people were left in the land, when their armies were defeated?

11. What did Solomon require of them?

12. What were the men of Israel required to do?

13. How many chief officers did king Solomon have?

14. What were they occupied with doing?

15. Why did Solomon build a house out of the city for Pharaoh’s daughter?

16. What was this woman to Solomon?

17. The city of Jerusalem was the city of ______.

18. Where had Solomon built an altar for burnt offerings?

19. What was the altar made of?

20. What were the three times a year the males were required to worship in the temple?

21. What other times did Solomon offer sacrifices?

22. Unleavened Bread and __________ overlap.

23. The Feast of Weeks is the same as _________.

24. Feast of Tabernacles is just after what feast?

25. Who had allotted services for each family of the Levites, that Solomon honored?

26. What is said about the house of the LORD in 2 Chronicles 8:16?

27. Why was Edom part of Israel?

28. How much gold did they take from Ophir?

29. A talent weighs ______ pounds.

30. Approximately, how much would that shipment of gold be worth at $400.00 per ounce gold?

Verses 1-6

2Ch 8:1-6

2 Chronicles 8:1-6

CONCLUDING SUMMARY OF SOLOMON’S REIGN;

REGARDING HIS EXTENSIVE BUILDING PROGRAM

"And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of Jehovah, and his own house, that the cities which Huram had given to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell in them. And Solomon went to Hamath-Zobah, and prevailed against it. And he built Tadmore in the wilderness, and all the store-cities which he built in Hamath. Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fortified cities with walls, gates, and bars; and Baalath, and all the store-cities that Solomon had, and the cities for the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build for his pleasure in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion."

The 20th Century Christian, as a general rule, could have little or no interest in Solomon’s building program, which, in the matter of his huge horse business, to say nothing of anything else, was a violation of God’s word!

"And all that Solomon desired to build for his pleasure in Jerusalem ... Lebanon ... in all ... his dominion" (2 Chronicles 8:6). Again we have the Chronicler’s word that Solomon recognized no other limitation except his own undisciplined desires. (Read our comment under 2 Chronicles 7:11.) The Chronicler has mercifully spared us the details concerning these multiple pleasure-houses Solomon built all over Palestine.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 8:1. Solomon was 20 years building the two houses. House of the Lord means the temple, and his own house was the palace for the king.

2 Chronicles 8:2. Solomon offered some cities to Huram (Hiram) king of Tyre. They did not please him, and although he seemed to accept them at first, he would not keep them, so he returned them to Solomon. That is the meaning of restored to Solomon in this verse. These cities evidently were not very desirable, and that is the reason the king of Tyre objected to them. Solomon then improved them for occupancy by Israelites.

2 Chronicles 8:3. Solomon never engaged in warfare, yet this verse says he prevailed against the city of Hamathzobah. That means his authority was such that he overcame all opposition and took possession.

2 Chronicles 8:4-5. When cities already in existence are said to be built, it means they are improved and fortified.

2 Chronicles 8:6. Store cities were those in which he kept his chariots and horses, and other valuable products that were brought in from Egypt and Ophir. They were kept in these cities that were rendered suitable for safety, and convenient for use when desired.

Verses 7-10

2Ch 8:7-10

2 Chronicles 8:7-10

SOLOMON’S MERCILESS ENSLAVEMENT OF THE RESIDUAL CANAANITES

"As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, that were not of Israel; of their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, of them did Solomon raise a levy of bondservants unto this day. But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they were men of war, and chief of his captains, and rulers of his chariots and his horsemen. And these were the chief officers of king Solomon, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people."

"Solomon raised a levy of bondservants" (2 Chronicles 8:8). These descendants of the original Canaanites whom Israel had displaced, were first conscripted and enslaved for building the temple and the king’s house, some 153,600 of them (2 Chronicles 2:1-2); but the significance of this mention of them is that, after the completion of Solomon’s building program, they were permanently enslaved. No doubt these were used as waiters and servants of that vast concourse of people who attended the feast of the dedication.

It is not hard to understand why the Israelites considered this an ideal arrangement indeed, and why, even down to the times of Christ, the Jews desired absolutely nothing, either in heaven or on earth, except the restoration of that godless slave-state of king Solomon, to which restoration their expected Messiah was vainly supposed by them to devote his entire resources! The reason they rejected Christ was their realization that he would never cooperate in such a restoration.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 8:7-8. Pay tribute means they were compelled to pay taxes in the sense of tariff, for the support of the government whose protection they were enjoying. They were compelled also to do bodily service for Solomon’s kingdom.

2 Chronicles 8:9-10. Solomon never made war against any nation. There are needs, however, other than military, for soldiers’ services. One thing, "to be prepared" is one way of avoiding actual military actions, and doubtless the keeping of this "standing army" of 250 chief men with the great numbers under their command, was one of God’s means of effecting the reign of peace predicted for Solomon.

Verse 11

2Ch 8:11

2 Chronicles 8:11

THE REMOVAL OF PHARAOH’S DAUGHTER FROM THE HOLY PLACES

"And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house he had built for her; and he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of Jehovah hath come."

Solomon had married the daughter of Pharaoh quite early in his reign (1 Kings 3:1), and the action mentioned here evidently took place at an early time in Solomon’s reign when he still retained some sensitivity to the implications of the Word of God. "This daughter of Pharaoh was the daughter of Hor-Psibkhannu, the last Pharaoh of the weak Twenty-First Dynasty. Her idolatries eventually led to the apostasy of Israel (1 Kings 11:1 ff)”

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 8:11. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (1 Kings 11:3.) But a man will normally love only one woman in the way a husband should love his wife. The one whom Solomon thus loved was the daughter of Pharaoh. She is the heroine of the Song of Solomon. While he was engaged in the work of the two great buildings, he hept his beloved wife in Mount Zion, the most highly esteemed spot in Jerusalem. This was to be temporary, however, until he had the place prepared where she was to have her permanent residence. (1 Kings 3:1; 1 Kings 7:8.) That was in connection with one of the buildings that were built in the vicinity of Mount Moriah, in the eastern part of Jerusalem and thus different from Mount Zion which was in the south part of the city. On this subject see my comments on 2 Chronicles 3:1-2. Since Pharaoh’s daughter was an alien, Solomon did not consider it proper for her to reside in the most sacred spot in the city, the spot that was connected so affectionately with the memory of his father, and also the special regard for the Lord. It is strange that he would be so concerned for the dignity of God’s institutions when the residence of his wife was under consideration, and yet was led to accept her as his wife, contrary to the will of God. It is another instance that shows the predominance of the flesh over the spirit.

Verses 12-13

2Ch 8:12-13

2 Chronicles 8:12-13

SOLOMON’S OFFERING THE COMMANDED SACRIFICES

"Then Solomon offered burnt-offerings unto Jehovah on the altar of Jehovah which he had built before the porch, even as the duty of every day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the set feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles."

There are some uncertainties here. There seems to be an implied disapproval of Solomon’s actions in offering all these sacrifices, which certainly were offered upon an unauthorized altar; and the word even in 2 Chronicles 8:13 most certainly suggests that what Solomon did here was sinful in usurping ritualistic functions that pertained to the priests. Francisco, however, insists that, "Solomon was directing the activities and was not personally involved." We accept this opinion as accurate, because we cannot possibly imagine that this pleasure-mad monarch would have had the self-discipline required for doing what is stated in these verses.

Of course, the specific mention of all these sacrifices which are elaborately spelled out in the Pentateuch is further proof of its Mosaic authorship, and of king Solomon’s thorough acquaintance with it a full half millennium before modern radical critics would date it if they could.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 8:12-13. After a certain rate every day has reference to the established requirements of the law. Solomon was attentive to observe the specific demands laid down by Moses, as well as the extra sacrifices he offered on special occasions. His example teaches us that a person cannot substitute his own voluntary services for the specific requirements of God. Three times in the year referred to the three yearly feasts when all males of the Israelites were required to go to Jerusalem. Those occasions are not always identified by the same names, due to the various activities connected with them. For clarification of the subject I shall follow each expression in italics with corresponding ones for the same periods. Unleavened bread; the passover. Feast of weeks; pentecost. Feast of tabernacles; the day of atonement.

Verses 14-15

2Ch 8:14-15

2 Chronicles 8:14-15

SOLOMON CONFIRMED DAVID’S INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE LEVITES

"And he appointed, according to the ordinance of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their offices, to praise, and to minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required; the doorkeepers also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded. And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasure."

David’s commandments regarding the duties of the priests and the Levites, in many particulars, were derived from instructions in the Pentateuch, but that does not apply to his innovative introduction of all kinds of mechanical instruments of music.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 8:14. After the various activities connected with the dedication had been ended, Solomon put the regular services in their proper order again. The courses or turns of the priests had been arranged by David (1 Chronicles 24:1-19), and Solomon observed the arrangement respectfully. The porters were janitors or gatekeepers, and they also served by courses or turns.

2 Chronicles 8:15. Priests and Levites are mentioned as separate groups. That is because all priests were of the tribe of Levi, while not all Levites could be priests; only the family of Aaron had that right.

Verse 16

2Ch 8:16

2 Chronicles 8:16

CONCLUSION OF WORK ON THE TEMPLE

"Now all the works of Solomon were prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of Jehovah, and until it was finished. So the house of Jehovah was completed."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 8:16. Was prepared means the work was completed. The verse is a summing up of the work of Solomon, telling us that his great task was brought to completion.

Verses 17-18

2Ch 8:17-18

2 Chronicles 8:17-18

SOLOMON’S NAVY

"Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth, on the seashore in the land of Edom. And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they came with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and fetched from thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon."

"Ezion-geber, and Eloth" (2 Chronicles 8:17). "These two places were near each other at the northern extremity of the Gulf of Aqabah."

"Four hundred and fifty talents of gold" (2 Chronicles 8:18). One can always count on the nit-pickers to contrast this with the statement in Kings that the amount was four hundred and twenty talents. Maybe sea-port taxes, sailors’ wages, and other expenses were deducted in the King’s account! Such variations are unimportant.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 8:17-18. Solomon wished to import this gold from Ophir because it was reputed to be of unusual fineness. As the sea travel in those waters was somewhat uncertain, Huram (Hiram) sent some of his men to serve as guides in the adventure.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 8". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-chronicles-8.html.
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