January 28, 2003, April 23, 2003
2 Chronicles 1
The Argument-This second book contains in brief the contents of the two books of the kings: that is, from the reign of Solomon to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity. In this story some things are told in more detail than in the books of the kings and therefore help greatly in the understanding of the prophets. Three things are chiefly to be considered here: First, that when the godly kings saw the plagues of God prepared against their country for sin, they turned to the Lord and by earnest prayer were heard, and the plagues removed. Secondly, while the good rulers always loved the prophets of God and were zealous to set forth his religion throughout their dominions, it offended God greatly that the wicked hated his ministers, deposed them and set up idolatry and attempted served God according to the fantasy of men. Thus we have the chief acts from the beginning of the world to the rebuilding of Jerusalem in the 32nd year of Darius, in total 3568 years and six months. (Geneva)
INTRODUCTION TO 2 CHRONICLES
This book begins with the reign of Solomon and the building of the temple, and continues the history of the kings of Judah thenceforward to the captivity and so concludes with the fall of that illustrious monarchy and the destruction of the temple. That monarchy of the house of David, as it was prior in time, so it was superior in worth and dignity to all those four celebrated ones of which Nebuchadnezzar dreamed. The Babylonian monarchy I reckon to begin in Nebuchadnezzar himselfThou art that head of gold, and that lasted but about seventy years; The Persian monarchy, in several families, about 130; the Grecian, in their several branches, about 300; and 300 more went far with the Roman. But as I reckon David a greater hero than any of the founders of those monarchies, and Solomon a more magnificent prince than any of those that were the glories of them, so the succession was kept up in a lineal descent throughout the whole monarchy, which continued considerable between 400 and 500 years, and, after a long eclipse, shone forth again in the kingdom of the Messiah, of the increase of whose government and peace there shall be no end. This history of the Jewish monarchy, as it is more authentic, so it is more entertaining and more instructive, than the histories of any of those monarchies. We had the story of the house of David before, in the first and second books of Kings, intermixed with that of the kings of Israel, which there took more room than that of Judah; but here we have it entire. Much is repeated here which we had before, yet many of the passages of the story are enlarged upon, and divers added, which we had not before, especially relating to the affairs of religion; for it is a church-history, and it is written for our learning, to let nations and families know that then, and then only, they can expect to prosper, when they keep in the way of their duty to God: for all along the good kings prospered and the wicked kings suffered. The peaceable reign of Solomon we have (#2Ch 1:1-9:31), the blemished reign of Rehoboam (#2Ch 10:1-12:16), the short but busy reign of Abijah (#2Ch 13:1-22), the long and happy reign of Asa (#2Ch 14:1-16:14), the pious and prosperous reign of Jehoshaphat (#2Ch 17:1-20:37), the impious and infamous reigns of Jehoram and Ahaziah (#2Ch 21:1-22:12), the unsteady reigns of Joash and Amaziah (#2Ch 24:1-25:28), the long and prosperous reign of Uzziah (#2Ch 26:1-23), the regular reign of Jotham (#2Ch 27:1-9), the profane and wicked reign of Ahaz (#2Ch 28:1-27), the gracious glorious reign of Hezekiah (#2Ch 29:1-32:33), the wicked reigns of Manasseh and Amon (#2Ch 33:1-25), the reforming reign of Josiah (#2Ch 34:1-35:27), the ruining reigns of his sons, #2Ch 36:1-23. Put all these together, and the truth of that word of God will appear, Those that honour me I will honour, but those that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. The learned Mr. Whiston, in his chronology, suggests that the historical books which were written after the captivity (namely, the two books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah) have more mistakes in names and numbers than all the books of the Old Testament besides, through the carelessness of transcribers: but, though that should be allowed, the things are so very minute that we may be confident the foundation of God stands sure notwithstanding.
INTRODUCTION TO 2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 1
In the close of the foregoing book we read how God magnified Solomon and Israel obeyed him; God and Israel concurred to honour him. Now here we have an account,
I. How he honoured God by sacrifice (#2Ch 1:1-6) and by prayer, #2Ch 1:7-12.
II. How he honoured Israel by increasing their strength, wealth, and trade, #2Ch 1:13-17. (MH)
INTRODUCTION TO SECOND CHRONICLES
This, and the preceding, were but one book originally, but divided into two because of the size of it, so that this is only a continuation of the former history; that ends at the death of David; this begins with the reign of Solomon, goes through that, and the reigns of all the kings of the house of David; of the kings of Judah only, after the separation of the ten tribes, quite down to the captivity of Judah in Babylon, and reaches to the deliverance of the Jews from thence by Cyrus, and contains an history of four hundred and seventy nine years. It treats not at all of the kings of Israel, after the separation, only of the kings of Judah, through whom the line of the Messiah was drawn; and though it omits several things recorded of them in the book of Kings, yet it gives abundance of anecdotes not to be met with there, which are of great use and advantage in history to know.
INTRODUCTION TO 2 CHRONICLES 1
This chapter relates, how that Solomon being confirmed in his kingdom, went to Gibeon to sacrifice #2Ch 1:1-6, that the Lord appeared there to him, and what passed between them, #2Ch 1:7-10 and that when he returned from thence to Jerusalem, he increased in splendour, wealth, and riches, #2Ch 1:13-17. (Gill)
V. 1, Solomon was probably about sixteen or eighteen years old when he was established as king. V. 1 tells us that he was strengthened in his kingdom... Solomons brother, Adonijah, had attempted to usurp the kingdom before Solomon was installed. When David heard of Adonijahs effort, he immediately installed Solomon as king. Solomon actually had two installations: his fathers and then a public one. After his installation, Solomon was strengthened, or established in the office.
V. 2, in the second year of his reign, making Solomon eighteen or twenty years old, Solomon gathered all the leading men of the nation together for a solemn sacrifice to the Lord.
Vv. 3-6, Solomon started by recognizing only one High Place. Though the ark had been brought to Jerusalem by David, all of the rest of Moses tabernacle was still at Gibeon. In order to serve the Lord properly and make the proper offerings and sacrifices, one still had to go to that tabernacle. Solomons fall starts when he starts building and recognizes other high places in order to please his wives.
1. All his great men must thus far be good men that they must join with him in worshipping God. He spoke to the captains and judges, the governors and chief of the fathers, to go with him to Gibeon, #2Ch 1:2,3. Authority and interest are well bestowed on those that will thus use them for the glory of God, and the promoting of religion. It is our duty to engage all with whom we have influence in the solemnities of religion, and it is very desirable to have many join with us in those solemnitiesthe more the better; it is the more like heaven. Solomon began his reign with this public pious visit to Gods altar, and it was a very good omen. Magistrates are then likely to do well for themselves and their people when they thus take God along with them at their setting out. (MH)
Great man, particularly the magistrates would do well not only to privately and publicly practice the Christian religion, but promote it among the people also. If for no other reason but a selfish motive, to have social tranquility under their period of authority.
We are seeing to day that the more the civil government works at removing the Christian religion, the more social turmoil is coming about. However, one wonders if the social turmoil is planed in order to justify a stronger central government to control that turmoil.
Vv. 7-12, Solomons prayer
V. 7, in the night after the sacrifice, God appeared unto Solomon, and ask him, Ask of me what you will.
At this point of his life, Solomon was probably at the most only about 20 years old. What would the average 20 year old ask for? We should note that this takes place in a dream, which gave Solomon no time to think over his answer. He thus answers out of the abundance of his heart, and his answer shows that he was overwhelmed with the responsibility he now faces as ruler of Gods people and over a kingdom that grew greatly under David, his father.
Davids instruction to his son Solomon is found:
1 Chronicles 22:11 Now, my son, the LORD be with thee; and prosper thou, and build the house of the LORD thy God, as he hath said of thee. 12 Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God.
Note here that it is the Lord who 1) gives prosperity, 2) gives wisdom and understanding and 3) gives the desire and power to keep the law of the Lord God. Question: Why did He not give the desire and power to Solomon to keep the law? As I mentioned in 1 Chronicles 29:18, 19: The question arises why does God allow things to degenerate if it all depends upon His grace? All we can say is, everything is wording according to his good pleasure:
Solomons request shows that he knew the word of God, he knew the dealings of God with his father, and he had meditated on both the word of God and the promises of God that were made to his father. His prayer was simply a basic request that God would perform the promises He had made to David concerning himself:
1) v. 8, he knew about and reminded God of His mercy to David his father.
2) v. 8, he knew that God is the one who established him on his fathers throne.
3) v. 9, he knew about and reminded God of His promise to David his father.
4) v. 9, he asked God to fulfill the promise He had made to David.
5) v. 9, he again recognizes that God was the one who established him.
6) v. 9, he refers back to the promise made to Abraham, like the dust of the earth in multitude, Genesis 13:16. However, we know that Solomon and national Israel was not the end of Abrahams promise from God. The end of that promise was and now is the Gospel Church.
7) v. 10, I believe holds the key of this chapter, and really of Solomons life. Note Solomons request to God, which was made while he was sleeping (showing that he spoke out of the abundance of his heart):
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 basically asked God to fulfill His promises to David concerning himself. In other words, Solomons request was according to the already revealed will of God for him, and God answered that request.
Our prayers are hindered, if not outright rejected by God, because rather than praying according to the revealed will of God from His word, we ask for things according to our own will to consume upon our own lusts:
James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
James uses Elias as an example of power in prayer, 5:17, 18. When we look at the circumstances of Elias (Elijah) we find that he simply prayed according to the will of God. 1 Kings 17:1. Israel had seriously violated Gods law, and the promise for that violation was drought, Deuteronomy 28:24, &c. After three years, the Lord told Elijah to pray, and the Lord would send the rain. 1 Kings 18.
All of that to say this: Young Solomon had just been to the tabernacle at Gibeon and made tremendous sacrifices and offerings. After that big day at the tabernacle and according to his 3 verse request made in his sleep, we can safely assume that Solomon went to bed meditating on his youth, meditating on the vastness of the kingdom that had been given to him (over the objections of his brother) by God, the promises of God made to Abraham, the promises of God made to his father concerning Davids son, himself, and his need for the Lords provision. (He was not ignorant of what his father had written in places like Psalms 5:1, 19:14, 49:3, 104:34, &c.)
Psalms 4:1 ¶ <<To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David.>> Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. 2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. 3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. 4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.
Psalms 63:1 ¶ <<A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.>> O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 3 ¶ Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
Solomon when to bed with these things heavy on his heart and meditating on the Lord and His promises. So when he was asked by the Lord what he would desire, he simply asked God to fulfill His promises that he had been meditating on. His requests were not drawn out of thin air, but had meditation on the word of God behind them.
Asking according to the revealed will of God, God fulfilled Solomons request abundantly, even above all he could ask or think, (Eph. 3:20) as we see from the opening of the Book of Proverbs:
1 ¶ The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
Vv. 11, 12, Gods answer.
1) God acknowledges that in Solomons sleep, he spoke from his heart. His heart, at this point, was pursuing godliness above all else.
2) Solomon heart here was not set on riches, wealth, honour, power over his enemies, nor on long life.
3) at this young age, 20 or younger, his heart was set on judging righteous judgment over those whom God had put under him.
4) God not only granted him his hearts desire, but all of the other things that the world holds important, so that there never was a king like him either before or after. Thus there has never been any ruler with more riches, wealth or honour than what was given to Solomon by God. (Evidently, as he grew older, his awe over Gods sovereignty and goodness was overcome by his own lusts.)
Yet Christ said that He was the greater than Solomon. Christs statement must be true, for all of creation belongs to Him, and renders all glory and honour to Him.
We are given the same choice as was Solomon. In fact, we are told to get wisdom:
Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
And our wisdom is defined:
Deuteronomy 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
We can have the wisdom of Solomon, if we will ask (seek it) and do what as commanded by Gods word:
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
May we honestly seek Gods wisdom, and do as His wisdom instructs us to do.
Solomon prayed according to the revealed will of God. Do we? We can expect Gods marvelous answer if we will follow Solomons, Elijahs and multitudes of other saints example. We must meditate on Gods word to where the thoughts of our head upon our bed are grounded in His word, and then pray according to the revealed will of God.
If God would appear to us in a dream, what would we be meditating on that would control our request? Would those meditations result in requests made according to the revealed will of God?
It is to Solomons praise that he did not start his governmental duties until after he had give due honour to God: first at Gibeon, then in building the temple.
However, right from the start, Solomon entered into a prohibited practice he multiplied horses and chariots to himself. (Deuteronomy 17:16.)This may have been more of a financial endeavor more than anything. The Egyptian breed of horses was highly valued, and the Syrians, who valued the Egyptian horses, had to import them through Judah. We see from this passage that Solomons trade in horses may have been quite profitable for him. (JFB)
Though David gathered wives to himself, he never gathered horses.
However, the profit motive did not justify his gathering of horses and chariots contrary to Gods word. It seems he also profited from the trade in linen-yarn out of Egypt.
Silver and gold became abundant in Jerusalem, and thus lost its value.