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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

2 Chronicles 6

 

 

Verse 1

VI.

2. KING SOLOMON BLESSES HIS PEOPLE AND HIS GOD
(2 Chronicles 6:1-11.) (Comp. 1 Kings 8:12-21.)

This section also is in verbal agreement with the parallel account, with a few slight exceptions.

(1) The thick darkness.—‘Araphel, which is explained as caligo nubium, “gloom of clouds.” (See Exodus 20:21; Deuteronomy 4:11; Psalms 18:9. Comp. the Greek, ὅρφνη.) The Targum on 1 Kings 8:12 reads Jerusalem, but this is probably a gloss.


Verse 2

(2) But I have built.—And I, on my part, have built. Kings, “I have built” (bânôh bânîthî); scil., as “Thou didst indicate.” This seems original. So the Syr. here, mebnô b’nîth, but not LXX. and Vulg.

Habitation.—Zĕbûl, a poetic word, occurring only five times. (Comp. Habakkuk 3:11.)

And a place.—And, added here, weakens the force of the poetic parallelism.

A place for thy dwelling.—(Exodus 15:17) another poetic expression.

For ever.—(Through) ages. So only in this account and Psalms 61:5.


Verse 3

(3) And the king.—The verse is word for word as in Kings.

Turned.—Turned round (1 Chronicles 10:14).

Stood.—Was standing.


Verse 4

(4) Who hath with his hands fulfilled . . . David.—Literally, who spake (“promised,” 2 Chronicles 6:10), by his mouth with David my father, and by his hands fulfilled. (See 1 Chronicles 11:2; 1 Chronicles 17:4-14.) The only variant in this verse is hands for hand. The unpointed text of Kings might be read in either way. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 6:15, infr.)


Verse 5

(5) My people out of the land of Egypt.—Kings, “My people Israel out of Egypt.” (Comp 2 Chronicles 5:10.) The Syr. and Arab. have Israel here also.

Neither chose I any man to be a ruler (nâgîd) over my people Israel.—Neither this sentence nor the following is found in the parallel passage, where the second half of 2 Chronicles 6:6 forms the last clause of the preceding verse (1 Kings 8:16). The Syriac and Arabic here follow Kings as often. There is nothing in the language against the supposition that the words originally formed part of the older text.

Neither chose I any man.—Saul was originally the people’s, not God’s, choice. Holy Scripture nowhere teaches that the vox populi is identical with the vox Dei. (See 1 Samuel 8:5, and Bishop Wordsworth’s Note.)


Verse 6

(6) But (and) I have chosen Jerusalem.—Some MSS. omit this verse.


Verse 9

(9) Notwithstanding thou shalt not build.—Only thou, thou shalt not build; with stress on the pronoun.

But thy son.—Heb., for thy son; so LXX.; Kings, “but;” and so some MSS. and the Syriac, Vulg., and Arabic here. Otherwise the whole verse is as in Kings.


Verse 10

(10) The Lord . . . his word.—And Jehovah hath established, or ratified, his word. Literally, caused to rise up.

Spoken—i.e., promised.

Set.—Seated. (No variant from Kings.)


Verse 11

(11) And in it have I put the ark.—And I have set there the ark, abridged from 1 Kings 8:21, “and I have set there a place for the ark.” So Syriac and Arabic, “and I have prepared a place for the ark.”

Wherein is the covenant.—The two tables of the Law. (See 2 Chronicles 5:10.)


Verse 12

3. THE KING UTTERS THE PRAYER OF CONSECRATION (2 Chronicles 6:12-42).
(Comp. 1 Kings 8:22-53.)

The whole is given as in Kings, save that one verse (2 Chronicles 6:13) is added, and the peroration (2 Chronicles 6:40-42) is quite different.

(12) Stood.—Took his place. It is not implied that he remained standing. (Comp. 1 Samuel 17:51; 2 Chronicles 6:3, supr.)

Spread forth his hands.—Towards heaven (Kings). Syriac and Arabic have both.


Verse 13

(13) For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold.—This verse is not in Kings. But it may once have followed 1 Kings 8:22. At least, marks of the chronicler’s individual style are not apparent in it.

Scaffold.—Literally, pan (kîyôr; see 2 Chronicles 4:6). The “scaffold” looked like a “laver” turned upside down, and was doubtless hollow underneath. (Comp. Nehemiah 9:4 for an analogous structure.)

Kneeled down upon his knees, and spread forth his hands.—An attitude of prayer which may be seen figured upon the monuments of ancient Egypt.

Toward heaven (ha-shâmấy’mâh).—The chronicler has used the exact form for the less precise hashâmấayim of 1 Kings 8:22.


Verse 14

(14) In the heaven nor in the earth.—Abridged from “in the heaven above, and upon the earth beneath” (Kings). Syriac, “Thou art the Lord that sittest in heaven above, and Thy will (pl.) is done on earth beneath;” apparently a curious reminiscence of the Lord’s Prayer. The Assyrians also spoke of their gods as “without an equal” (sânina la isû, “a rival he has not”).

Which keepest covenant and shewest mercy.—Literally, keeping the covenant and the mercy; i.e., the covenanted mercy. (Comp. Isaiah 55:3.)

With thy servant.—Heb., for; so in 2 Chronicles 6:16. (The verse is word for word as in Kings.)

And spakest with thy mouth. . . .—2 Chronicles 6:4.


Verse 16

(16) Now therefore.—And now. So in 2 Chronicles 6:17.

Keep that which thou hast promised—i.e., Thy further promise. See the fulfilment of the former promise, as described in 2 Chronicles 6:10, supr.

There shall not fail thee.—See margin. Authorised Version follows LXX., οὐκ ἐκλείψει σοι; and Vulg., “non deficiet ex te.”

To sit.—Heb., sitting; LXX., καθήμενος.

Yet so that.—Only if; assigning a single condition; provided that. . . . LXX., πλὴν ἐὰν φυλάξωσιν; Vulg., “ita tamen si custodierint.”

Take heed to.—Heb., keep (2 Chronicles 6:14-16).

In my law.—The only variant from 1 Kings 8:25. The chronicler has avoided a seeming tautology, as elsewhere. Syriac, “before me in the Law.”


Verse 17

(17) Be verified.—1 Chronicles 17:23. LXX. and Syriac add, “I pray” (Heb., nâ), as in Kings.

Thy word.—Or promise (2 Chronicles 6:10; 2 Chronicles 6:15, supr.)

Unto thy servant David.—Heb., to thy servant, to David. Kings, “to thy servant David my father.” So Syriac here.


Verse 18

(18) But will God in very deed.—Or, what? will God, &c.—The LXX. imitates the Hebrew ὅτι εἰ ἀληθῶς κατοικήσει; Vuig., “ergone credibile est ut habitet Deus?”

With men.—Not in Kings. Syriac, “with his people, Israel;” Arabic, “with his people.” (Comp. Revelation 21:3.)


Verse 19

(19) Have respect therefore.—But turn thou unto. The Authorised Version follows the LXX. and Vulg., ἐπιβλέψῃ); “ut respicias.”

Before thee.—Kings adds, “to-day.” So LXX., Syriac, Arabic here.


Verse 20

(20) Upon.—Unto or toward. “Day and night” (as in Psalms 1:2); Kings, “night and day” (as in Isaiah 27:3); for which the chronicler has substituted a more usual phrase. The Syriac and Arabic follow Kings.

Prayeth.—Shall pray, scil., at any time.

Toward this place.—The margin is wrong, though supported by the Syriac, Arabic, and Vulg. The Temple of Jerusalem was, and is, the Kebla of the Jew. (Comp. Daniel 6:10, and 2 Chronicles 6:34 infr., which is a kind of paraphrase of this expression.)


Verse 21

(21) Supplications.—Tahănûnîm, a word chiefly poetic and late, which nowhere appears in Kings, and only here in Chronicles. Kings has the older synonym tĕhinnâh.

Hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven.—Yea thou—thou shalt hear from the place of thy dwelling, from the heavens. For “from,” in both places, Kings has “unto,” an unusual pregnant construction, which is probably original.


Verse 22

(22) If a man sin.—Kings, “whatever a man sin.”

And an oath be laid upon him.—And he (i.e., his neighbour or, indefinitely, people) lay an oath upon him. (See Exodus 22:11.)

And the oath come before thine altar.—And he (the offender) enter upon an oath before thine altar. (Comp. Ezekiel 17:13.) But all the versions have, “and he come, and swear before thine altar,” a difference which involves merely the prefixing of one letter (w) to the Hebrew word rendered “oath.”


Verse 23

(23) From heaven.—In Kings we have not the preposition. Perhaps the meaning there is “to heaven,” as in 2 Chronicles 6:30. The chronicler has substituted a more ordinary expression, which, indeed, is found in all the versions of Kings. Similarly in 2 Chronicles 6:25; 2 Chronicles 6:30; 2 Chronicles 6:33; 2 Chronicles 6:35; 2 Chronicles 6:39.

By requiting the wicked.—So as to requite a wicked man. Kings, “so as to find guilty” (also the Syriac here). The latter is probably original. “To find guilty a guilty man” corresponds to “justifying a just one,” in the next clause.

By justifying.—So as to justify; or pronounce righteous.


Verse 24

(24) And if thy people Israel be put to the worse.—See margin. Kings has a different construction, “when thy people Israel are smitten.” (Comp. 2 Chronicles 6:26.)

Because they have sinned.—When or if they sin (so also in 2 Chronicles 6:26). LXX., ἐὰν ἁμάρτωσίν. Vuig., “peccabunt enim tibi,” as a parenthesis. Syriac and Arabic, “when.” Kings, if (’asher) they sin, a rarer usage.


Verse 27

(27) Then hear thou from heaven.—Rather, (to) heaven or (in) heaven, as in Kings. (Comp. Note on 2 Chronicles 6:23.) The versions read “from heaven.”

When thou . . . way.—For thou pointest them to the good way. A construction only found here. Comp. Psalms 27:11, where we see the simple accusation as in Kings, which is probably right here also, ’el (to) being an error for ’eth (so the versions). Making this change, the verse coincides with 1 Kings 8:36.


Verse 28

(28) If their enemies besiege them.—If his enemies (Kings, “enemy”) besiege him. (So in 2 Chronicles 6:34.)

In the cities of their land.—See margin, which correctly renders the Hebrew text. But the expression “in the land of his gates” is strange. LXX. has, “if the enemy afflict him before their cities;” Vulg., “et hostes, vastatis regionibus, portas obsederint civitatis;” Syriac and Arabic, “when enemies press them hard in their land and in their cities.” Perhaps “in the land (at) his gates” is right (Bertheau).


Verse 29

(29) When.—Or if, as in LXX. Hebrew, ‘asher. (See Note on 2 Chronicles 6:24.)

His own sore (plague) and his own grief.—Kings, “the plague of his own heart.” So Syriac and Arabic. The phrase of the chronicler looks like a gloss on this.

In this house.—The margin is right.


Verse 30

(30) Every man.—The man. Distributive use of the article.

Whose heart thou knowest.—Because thou knowest his heart. So Syriac and Arabic. The Vulg., “which thou knowest him to have in his heart” (as if eth meant with, here).

The children of men.—All has dropped out. So some MSS., Syriac, Arabic, and Kings.


Verse 31

(31) To walk in thy ways.—An explanatory remark added by the chronicler.


Verse 32

(32) Moreover concerning the stranger.—In this verse, 1 Kings 8:41-42, are run together, probably by an error of transcription.

But is come.—And shall come.

For thy great name’s sake.—Kings, “for thy name sake (for they will hear of thy great name and thy mighty hand and thy stretched-out arm), and shall come and pray towards this house.” So nearly the Syriac and Arabic here.


Verse 33

(33) Then.—(And) Kings omits; but compare 2 Chronicles 6:30; 2 Chronicles 6:27; 2 Chronicles 6:23, which have the particle. So also some MSS., as well as the LXX., and Syriac, of Kings.

People.—The peoples.

And fear thee.—Better without and; as in Kings, “that they may fear thee.” So Syriac.


Verse 34

(34) Toward this city.—Literally, the way of this city. So in 2 Chronicles 6:38, “the way of their land.”


Verse 35

(35) Maintain their cause.—Do (i.e., accomplish) their right. Vulg., “avenge” (them).


Verse 36

(36) Their enemies.—An enemy.

And they carry them away.—See margin. LXX., αἰχμαλωτεύσουσιναὐτοὺς οἱ αἰχμαλωτεύοντες αὐτοὺς.


Verse 37

(37) Yet if they bethink themselves.—Compare-margin. If they take it to heart, i.e., repent (Deut. iv- 39).

We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly.—Comp. the same three verbs in Psalms 106:6; Daniel 9:5 (Kings puts the conjunction before the second verb). There is a climax, “we have slipped (or missed the mark), we have done crookedly, we have been godless.”


Verse 38

(38) In the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives.—Kings, “in the land of their enemies who carried them captives.” The Syriac has, “in the cities of their captors who carried them captive.” Perhaps their captivity is a corruption of their captors; or the relative (’asher), rendered whither, may refer to land, meaning the hostile nation, “in the land of their captivity which carried them captive.”


Verse 39

(39) Their supplications.—Kings, sing.; and so some MSS., LXX., Syriac, and Arabic. The plural is found nowhere else, and is probably incorrect here.

And forgive thy people.—This is the first clause of 1 Kings 8:50; and from this point to the end of Solomon’s Prayer, the two texts are wholly dissimilar.


Verse 40

(40-42) THE PERORATION.

(40) Let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open.—Comp. 2 Chronicles 6:20, supr., and 2 Chronicles 7:15; also 1 Kings 8:52.

And let thine ears be attent.—Attentive, listening (qas‘s‘ûbôth). The same phrase recurs (2 Chronicles 7:15), which is, in fact, a repetition of the whole verse in the shape of a Divine promise, Qas‘s‘ûbôth occurs, besides, only in the late Psalms 130:2.

The prayer that is made in this place.—See margin. “The prayer of this place” is a strange phrase, only occurring here and in 2 Chronicles 7:15.


Verse 41

(41) Now therefore.—And now added by chronicler.

O Lord God.—Iahweh ’ĕlôhîm. This rare divine title occurs thrice in these two verses, but nowhere else in the prayer. The chronicler uses it as least eight times, but it does not appear at all in the books of Kings. In the Psalm we read simply Iahweh.

Into thy resting place.—Nûah. A late word, found besides only in Esther 9:16-18 (nôah). In the Psalm it is mĕnûhâh, a common word.

The idea that the sanctuary is God’s resting-place is not in keeping with the spirit of the prayer. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 6:18; and the frequent expression, “Hear Thou from heaven thy dwelling place.”)

Let thy priests, O Lord God.—Psalms 132:9. The Divine name is added here.

Salvation.—Or, prosperity. The psalm has, “with righteousness;” but the other idea occurs a little after in 2 Chronicles 6:16.

Rejoice in goodness.—Be glad at the good. A paraphrase of “shout for joy” in the psalm.


Verse 42

(42) O Lord God.—Not in the psalm. The temple invocation is used as in the priest’s blessing (Numbers 6:24-26).

Turn not away the face of thine anointed—i.e., deny not his request (1 Kings 2:16). Psalms 132:10 :—

“For the sake of David Thy servant,

Turn not away the face of Thine Anointed.”

The members of the couplet are transposed, and the language of the first is modified by the chronicler, so as to bring in the phrase, “the mercies of David,” that is, Jehovah’s mercies promised to David (Isaiah 55:3; Psalms 89:49).

Remember (zokrâh)—Only here and five times in Nehemish.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 6:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-chronicles-6.html. 1905.

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