corner graphic

Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

2 Chronicles 1

 

 

Verse 1

I.

(a) The sacrifice at Gibeon, and Solomon’s dream (2 Chronicles 1:1-13). (b) The king’s chariots and horsemen, wealth and commerce (2 Chronicles 1:14-17).

(1) And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom.—Or, showed himself strong over his kingdom; firmly grasped the reins of power, and showed himself a strong ruler. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 17:1; also 2 Chronicles 12:13; 2 Chronicles 13:21; 2 Chronicles 21:4.) The chronicler omits all that is related in 1 Kings 1, 2, as not falling within the scope of his narrative. Comp. with this opening sentence 1 Kings 2:46, “And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.”

And the Lord his God was with him.—Comp. 1 Chronicles 11:9; 1 Chronicles 9:20.

Magnified him exceedingly.—1 Chronicles 29:25; 1 Chronicles 22:5.


Verse 2

(2) Then Solomon spake unto all Israel.—Or, commanded all Israel (1 Chronicles 21:17; 2 Samuel 16:11; 2 Kings 1:11; Vulg., prœcepit).

To the captains of thousands . . . chief of the fathers.—This is an apposition, explaining what is meant by “all Israel” in the first clause, viz., the national representatives. The account in Kings allows only one verse for the sacrifice, and so omits to mention that the princes took part in it (1 Kings 3:4). The fact, however, is likely in itself. (Comp. the similar assemblies under David, 1 Chronicles 13:1; 1 Chronicles 23:2; 1 Chronicles 28:1.)

Every governor.—Heb. nûsî’, prince, emir of a tribe, or chief of a clan. (Comp. Genesis 23:6; Numbers 7:10; 1 Kings 8:1.)

The chief of the fathers.—The heads of the clans. This defines the preceding phrase.


Verses 2-6

(2-6) Solomon and the national assembly repair to the Mosaic tabernacle at Gibeon, and sacrifice upon the great altar of burnt offering. (Comp. 1 Kings 3:4, which the present section supplements and explains.)


Verse 3

(3) The tabernacle of the congregation of God.—Rather, God’s tent of meeting; viz., with man (Exodus 25:22; Exodus 27:21; Numbers 17:4). Solomon repaired to Gibeon because “that was the great high place” (1 Kings 3:4). We learn from our text why Gibeon stood pre-eminent above the other high places. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 6:31 sqq.; 1 Chronicles 16:39 sqq.)


Verse 4

(4) But.—Or, But indeed, but no doubt (’ăbâl) (2 Chronicles 19:3; 2 Chronicles 33:17). For the transfer of the ark see 1 Chronicles 13, 15; 2 Samuel 6.

To the place which David had prepared.—Into that David had prepared for it (the article as relative: comp. 1 Chronicles 26:28).

Pitched.—Or, spread (1 Chronicles 15:1).


Verse 5

(5) Moreover the brasen altar . . . he put before the tabernacle of the Lord.—Rather, And the brasen altar . . . was there before the dwelling of Jehovah. In Hebrew, shâm is “there”; and sâm, “he put.” Some MSS., supported by the LXX. and Vulg., read the former; most of the MSS. and the Syr., Arab., and Targ., the latter. The former reading is preferable, as it is not likely that David found the brazen altar separated from the Mosaic sanctuary, and restored it to its place. The sentence further explains why Solomon resorted to Gibeon. The presence of the old brazen altar constituted it the legitimate place of sacrifice. With perfect consistency, the chronicler accounted for David’s not going to Gibeon (1 Chronicles 21:28-30).

That Bezaleel the son of Uri . . . had made—See Exodus 31:2; Exodus 31:9; Exodus 38:1-8; Exodus 27:1-8.

And Solomon and the congregation sought unto it.—Rather, And Solomon and the assembly sought Him—i.e., the Lord. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 13:3; 1 Chronicles 15:13; 1 Chronicles 21:30.) The old versions translate as A. V.


Verse 6

(6) And Solomon went up thither to the “brasen altar.—So Vulg. incorrectly. Rather, And Solomon offered there on the brasen altar; so LXX. and Syriac.

Before the Lord.—The altar stood before the entry of the Lord’s dwellingplace (Exodus 40:6). (Comp. Judges 20:23; Judges 20:26.)

Which was at the tabernacle of the congregation.—Which altar belonged to the tent of tryst. In 1 Kings 6:22 the golden altar is said in like manner to belong to the Holy of holies, before which it stood. (The Vulg. seems to have read “the brasen altar, before the Lord’s tent of meeting”; comp. 2 Chronicles 1:3.)

And offered.—He offered (I say). The verb is repeated before its object for clearness’ sake.


Verse 7

(7) In that night did God appear unto Solomon.—Kings, “In Gibeon did Jehovah appear unto Solomon in a dream of the night.” Our text fixes the night as that which followed the sacrifices; the parallel passage explicitly states that it was in a dream that God appeared.

Ask what I shall give thee.—Rather, Ash thou! what shall I give thee? So Kings.


Verses 7-13

(7-13) God’s revelation to Solomon by night. (Comp. 1 Kings 3:5-15.)


Verse 8

(8) Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David.—Literally, Thou, thou hast done great kindness with David. (The regular phrase; comp. Luke 1:72.) From this point the relation here is briefer on the whole than that of Kings. The greater part of the long verse (1 Kings 3:6) is omitted, and the variations between the two texts become numerous, though the general sense is the same in each.

And hast made me to reign in his stead.—Comp. 1 Kings 3:7; and the similar language of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria (B.C. 681-668): “Ever since Asshur, Samas, Bel, Nebo . . . made me, Esarhaddon, sit securely on the throne of my father” (Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, 3:15, Colossians 2).


Verse 9

(9) Now, O Lord God, let thy promise unto David my father be established.—A reminiscence of 1 Chronicles 17:23.

Over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.—Over a people numerous as the dust of the earth. This last clause freely corresponds with 1 Kings 3:8. (Comp. the common title of Assyrian monarchs, “king of multitudes,” sar kissâti.)


Verse 10

(10) Give me now wisdom and knowledge.—Now wisdom and knowledge give thou me; a petition co-ordinate with that of 2 Chronicles 1:9 : “Now, O Lord God,” &c. The clause answers to 1 Kings 3:9. The word rendered “knowledge” (madda’) is late, and occurs besides only in Daniel 1:4; Daniel 1:17; Ecclesiastes 10:20.

That I may go out and come in before this people.—See 1 Kings 3:7; Numbers 27:17; Deuteronomy 31:2.

For who can judge.—The simple impf.; Kings has, “who is able to judge?”

This thy people, that is so great (gâdôl).—Kings: “This thy numerous (kôbçd) people.” For the king as judge comp. 1 Samuel 8:20.


Verse 11

(11) Because this was in thine heart.—For this phrase see 1 Chronicles 22:7.

Wealth, or honour.—Added by chronicler. Wealth (nĕkâsîm) is a late word, common in the Targums, and in Syriac (neksîn). The phrase “riches, wealth, and honour” occurs in Ecclesiastes 6:2.

Long life.—Many days.

But (and) hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge . . . king.—An expansion of what we find in Kings: “And hast asked discernment for thyself, to hear judgment.” The verb hast asked is expressed in better idiom than in Kings.


Verse 12

(12) Wisdom and knowledge.—The wisdom and the knowledge, viz., which thou hast asked for.

Is granted unto thee.—The Hebrew expression is found only here and in Esther 3:11. The parallel passage gives three verses for this one (1 Kings 3:12-14).

And I will give thee.—Kings, “I have given.” The perfect tense (I will certainly give) is more idiomatic than the chronicler’s simple imperfect.

Such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee . . . the like.—Rather, Such as hath not been to the kings before thee, and after thee shall not be. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 29:25 and Note.) The Assyrian kings were fond of similar comparisons between themselves and their predecessors. Kings: “That there hath not been (i.e., shall not be) a man like thee among the kings, all thy days,” a different promise. The conditional promise, “And if thou wilt walk in my ways . . . I will lengthen thy days” (1 Kings 3:14), is hero omitted, although 2 Chronicles 1:11 has mentioned long life; perhaps because Solomon fell short of it. But comp. 2 Chronicles 7:17 seq. Of course the omission may be a mere abridgment.


Verse 13

(13) Then Solomon came from his journey to the high place that was at Gibeon to Jerusalem.—Heb., And Solomon came to the high place that was in Gibeon to Jerusalem. Clearly we should read, “from the high place,” with the LXX. and Vulgate. The difficulty is as old as the Syriac version, which reads, “And Solomon came to the great high place [reading bûmsâ—i.e., βῶμος—with Dr. Payne Smith] that is in Gibeon the city, which is on the east of Jerusalem, from before the tabernacle.”

From before the tabernacle of the congregation.—See 2 Chronicles 1:3; 2 Chronicles 1:6. Perhaps “to (or at) the high place that was at G-ibeon,” was originally a marginal gloss upon this expression. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 1:3.) The reading, “And Solomon came to Jerusalem from before the tent of tryst,” would be quite intelligible without this addition.

And reigned over Israel.—Syr., over all Israel. (Comp. 1 Kings 4:1.) But the remark, “and he reigned over Israel,” is by no means “superfluous” (Bertheau), inasmuch as it naturally introduces the following sketch of the reign, which carries us on from God’s promise to its fulfilment.

The chronicler does not notice the sacrifices which, on his return, Solomon offered before the ark at Jerusalem (1 Kings 3:15), nor the story of the king’s wise judgment which there follows (1 Kings 3:16-28). It is unreasonable to seek any other ground of such omissions than the free and legitimate exercise of the compiler’s discretion in the choice of his own materials. That he did not depreciate the sanctuary on Mount Zion as a place of sacrifice, is evident from 1 Chronicles 21:18 to 1 Chronicles 22:1.


Verse 14

(14) And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen.—Word for word as in 1 Kings 10:26; see the Notes there.

Which he placed.—And he placed, or bestowed them (wayyanhîhem) (2 Chronicles 9:25). Kings 50100 reads, “and he brought them into the chariot cities” (wayyanhem). The difference turns on the pointing only, and the versions there support our text; LXX., “he put; “Vulg., disposuit; Targum, ’ashrinnûn, “he lodged them;” Syriac, “he left them.” The chariots (rekeb; see 1 Chronicles 18:4; 1 Chronicles 19:6) and horsemen were, of course, military. The “chariot cities” probably lay in the south towards Egypt. The Simeonite Beth-marcaboth (house of chariots), and Hazar-susim (court of horses) may have been included amongst them. (See 1 Chronicles 4:31.)


Verses 14-17

(14-17) Solomon’s “riches, and wealth, and honour” illustrated (comp. 1 Kings 10:26-29). In the parallel passage of Kings, this short section closes the account of Solomon’s wealth and glory. 2 Chronicles 9:25-28 is very similar; a fact which will not surprise those who bear in mind that the chronicler is careless of repetition.


Verse 15

(15) Silver and gold . . . stones . . . cedar trees.—Each of these words has the definite article in the Hebrew.

And gold.—Not in 1 Kings 10:27, with which the rest of the verse coincides; nor in 2 Chronicles 9:27. The Syriac omits it here also, but the other versions have it, and the phrase is a natural heightening of the hyperbole.

The sycomore trees that are in the vale.—(Comp. 1 Chronicles 27:28.) The Syriac reads instead. “As the sand which is on the seashore.”


Verse 16

(16) And Solomon had horses brought out . . .—Rather, And the outcome (export) of horses for Solomon was from Egypt, and the company of the king’s merchants—a company (of horses) they would fetch at a price. The same is read in Kings, only that the word company (miqwç) is there spelt in the ancient fashion (miqwçh), and two words are transposed (“they would fetch a company”). Miqweh means gathering, collection (Genesis 1:10 [of the waters]). The repetition of this term constitutes a kind of artless play on words, such as is common in the Old Testament. (Comp. Genesis 15:2; Judges 15:16.) Both here and in Kings the Vulg. renders the word as a proper name, “from Coa.” So also the LXX. in Kings “from Thekkoue” (Tekoa); and the Syriac of Chronicles, “from the city of the Aphelâvç.” These variations only prove that the text was felt to be obscure. The “linen yarn” of the Authorised version is a guess based upon the likeness of the word miqweh to qaw, “rope,” and tiqwâh, “line” (Joshua 2:18), and upon the fact that much linen was made in Egypt.


Verse 17

(17) And they fetched up, and brought forth out of Egypt.—Literally, And they caused to come up and to come out. Kings has: “And there came up and came out a chariot from Egypt.” The rest of the verse is identical there and here.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 1:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-chronicles-1.html. 1905.

Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology