June 3, 2003
Solomon's buildings, #2Ch 8:1-6. The heathen who remained in the land he maketh tributaries; but the Israelites rulers, #2Ch 8:7-11. His yearly solemn sacrifices: he appointeth to the priests and Levites their places, #2Ch 8:12-16. The navy fetcheth gold from Ophir, #2Ch 8:17,18. (Poole)
In this chapter we are told, I. What cities Solomon built,
II. What workmen Solomon employed, #2Ch 8:7-10.
III. What care he took about a proper settlement for his wife, #2Ch 8:11.
IV. What a good method he put the temple service into, #2Ch 8:12-16.
V. What trading he had with foreign countries, #2Ch 8:17-18. (MH)
V. 1, Solomon was 20 years building the temple and building his own house.
V. 2, Solomon had given these cities to Hiram, king of Tyre, for furnishing him with wood and gold; all that Solomon had desired. (1 Kings 9:11.) However, Hiram did not like the twenty cities, so he gave them back to Solomon. Evidently, the cities were in disrepair, so Solomon builds them up.
3-6. And Solomon went to Hamath-zobahHamath was on the Orontes, in Coele-Syria. Its king, Toi, had been the ally of David; but from the combination, Hamath and Zobah, it would appear that some revolution had taken place which led to the union of these two petty kingdoms of Syria into one. For what cause the resentment of Solomon was provoked against it, we are not informed, but he sent an armed force which reduced it. He made himself master also of Tadmor, the famous Palmyra in the same region. Various other cities along the frontiers of his extended dominions he repaired and fitted up, either to serve as store-places for the furtherance of his commercial enterprises, or to secure his kingdom from foreign invasion (see JFB on "2Ch 1:14"; see JFB on "1Ki 9:15"). (JFB)
1) v. 3 is the only warlike expedition we read of Solomon. Though Hamathzobah had been subdued, it evidently rebelled. He prevailed in this military expedition, and there was no more war.
2) though Solomon meant peace, he would not have peace at the cost of compromise. He warred when he had to, which prevented him from having to again.
Though Christians are to be peace makers, peace cannot be made that the expense of compromise.
3) vv. 4-6, again, though a man of peace, he prepared for war. Peace must not mean passivism. Peace means prepaired for just conflict, and conflict if needed. Peace is held through strength.
4) v. 6, he build cities for his horsemen and chariots, though both horses and chariots were forbidden to Israel's kings.
5) v. 6, the problem was that Solomon was enabled to build whatever he desired to build throughout all the land of his dominion. This ability permitted him to fulfill his heart's desire, and it seems the Lord left him to reveal those desires. See Ecclesiastes 2:10.
20 years he was busy building the house of the Lord and his own house. Now, he has time on his hands.
In the conquest of the land, Israel left many Canaanites among them, people they were commanded to drive them from the land, either kill or remove them. (Psalms 106:34.)
According to Judges 1, Israel did not do as commanded by the Lord and remove all the Canaanites from the land. Because they refused to obey the Lord, and made leagues with the inhabitants, did not overthrow their altars, He said He would leave them among His people as thorns in their sides as judgment against their disobedience, Judges 2. It is interesting that the people, upon hearing that the Lord would leave the Canaanites among them, lifted up their voice and wept, Judges 2:4. But they did nothing to correct their disobedience. They wept over the results, but did not change, and cast themselves upon His mercy.
Neither Saul nor David tried to deal with the problem. Saul did a dumb thing in trying to destroy the only pagan tribe left among them that they had made a league with, the Gibeonites. He must have saw them as a peaceful people, an easy conquest. He could make a name for himself without having to move against the stronger groups that had been left in Israel.
V. 8, the children of Israel chose the ease of servants to do their work over doing what God commanded ease over obedience.
Ver. 8. Them did Solomon make to pay tribute.] Not for a toleration of their heathenish superstitionsas our William Rufus dealt by the Jews here, nor to use them as the Pope still doth the Jews in his dominions, to suck from the meanest, and to be suckedor rather squeezed as full spongesby the greatest; but for state service, and haply to gain them to God. (Trapp)
In other words, Solomon did not do as the Muslims do when they put a nation under subjection. The subjected people either pay a tax or are killed. According to Trapp, the goal of Solomon's subjection was to see them "gained to God".
V. 9, the servants did the work rather than Israel.
Question: Would Israel have been more careful if they had had to do the building? If we get something without work, how much do we appreciate it?
Solomon made his people leaders, not workers. 2 Chronicles 2:18.
V. 11, the first mention of his open turning from God. He knew it was wrong. Women, the same weakness his dad had. This marriage was to unite the two kingdoms, but that did not make it right. Solomon had the promise of God's protection and supply if he would remain true to the Lord.
However, JFB points out that she a proselyte, but her maid-servants were probably still heathen, so Solomon did not want to defile David's palace that had been sanctified for and by the ark. In fact, the ark may have still been there, for it did not move into the temple for a few more years.
Because the places are holy.] And she not yet too holy, but retaining some of her Egyptian profanenesses: vel propter multiplices huius sexus immunditles legales. Solomon had, against the law of God, married this and other strange wives, for political ends no doubt, and as hoping that by his wisdom he should reclaim them, or at least rule them. He did so at first, as we see in this instance. For we may not think that Solomon did this out of superstition, as the monks at this day pare and sweep the rooms of their monasteries wherein women have been, as if they were unclean creatures, but out of the reverential fear of God, and a religious respect to the ark. Howbeit afterwards, overcome by the importunities of his strange wives, he yielded to them shamefully. Watch, therefore, and beware. (Trapp)
In this section, we see Solomon using the temple he built, as he obeyed the many commands concerning sacrifices and offerings. It was not just for show, but for use. It is too bad that he was not as faithful obeying the commands of God in other areas, such as horses and women.
Solomon was the builder of the temple, and was known for the particular wisdom God had given to him, yet he changed nothing. Though he was in authority and great power, he was under authority. He followed the law concerning the offerings (did not try to offer them himself, as did Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 26:19, 20), and he followed his father's instructions concerning the orders of David his father.
V. 15, being under authority and in authority, those under him departed not from the commandment of the king. We cannot expect those under us to be in subjection if we are not in subjection ourselves. Every person has an authority to whom to answer. 2 Corinthians 5:10.
Special mention is made that those in charge were also faithful over the treasures, the treasure cities or the treasures dedicated to the Lord.
V. 16, the materials, stones, wood, &c., had been prepared, and the money gathered for the expenses, and in seven years, it was all assembled into the glorious house of the Lord.
V. 17, Solomon personally visited Eziongeber and Eloth to inspect his navy. Note that his navy was not for fighting, but for trade.
V. 18, the amount of gold here is 30 talents short of what is recorded in 1 Kings 9:28. Evidently, the 30 went to the expenses of the trip.
Israel had no seamen nor gold in itself, so Solomon made business deals with Huram, who had the seamen. Their business venture was profitable, returning with a good amount of gold. 1 talent = 125 lbs, so they returned with 56,250 lbs of gold, or 900,000 ozs, $270,000,000 at $300 per oz. I would say that they had a profitable trip. However, the flood of gold into Solomon's kingdom no doubt dropped the value of gold dramatically.