May 9 Reading: II Chronicles 1-3 Commentary
“Solomon son of David established himself firmly over his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.” (I Chronicles 1:1)
II Chronicles 1 – Solomon Asks for Wisdom
After David’s death Solomon firmly established himself over the kingdom. Why was he able to do that? Because “the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great” (v. 1). So in essence, it wasn’t all Solomon’s doing. God made it happen.
Early on in his reign, Solomon went to a high place (a place of worship) in Gibeon (v. 5). While there, he offered one thousand burnt offerings to the Lord (v. 6). And that night, he had a special visit from the Lord (v. 7).
At that encounter, God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (v. 7). It was an open request line. Solomon could have asked for anything he wanted and God would have given it to him.
What did Solomon ask for? He told God,
“You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (v. 8-10)
God was so pleased with Solomon’s request that he made him the wisest man who ever lived. Additionally, God gave Solomon all those things he hadn’t asked for (wealth, possessions and honor) out of selfish ambition (v. 11-12)(also see I Kings 3:1-15).
How wealthy was Solomon? One indication is found in verse 15. We read that Solomon made the kingdom so wealthy that “silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones” (v. 15)
II Chronicles 2 – Solomon’s Preparations for the Temple
The building of the temple was a massive undertaking. It required great planning (much of which David had done) and man-power. Solomon hired over 153,000 men to work as carriers, stonecutters and foremen on the project (vv. 1-2). These men were all foreigners that were living in the land (vv. 17-18).
The task caught the attention of foreign leaders as well, who realized there was something special about the God of Israel. They could see his hand of blessing on the nation. Whether or not they sincerely recognized him as their Lord we are unsure of.
But King Hiram of Tyre surely knew that God was with and had blessed Solomon. When Solomon asked him for materials and help with building the temple (vv. 3-8), Hiram responded this way:
“Because the Lord loves his people, he has made you their king…Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth! He has given King David a wise son, endowed with intelligence and discernment, who will build a temple for the Lord and a palace for himself” (vv. 11-12).
So, to that end, the king provided Solomon with all kinds of materials and manpower for building the temple. He even sent a skilled craftsman (Huram-Abi) “trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen” (v. 14). This man would work with David’s skilled workers to execute the design of the temple that Solomon desired.
It really is ironic that resources and manpower came to build God’s temple from a foreign and probably ungodly nation. It just goes to show that God can use anyone to accomplish his plan.
II Chronicles 3 – The Temple Is Built
The temple was an impressive structure. Solomon went to great lengths to make it something that honored the Lord through its design and beauty. When you read all that went in to it, you can only imagine it to be something of great magnificence.
What stands out most from the chronicler’s account and the original description in I Kings 6, is the amount of gold put into the structure. He overlaid the ceiling beams, doorframes, walls and doors with gold (v. 7). There was gold in the Most Holy Place (v. 8). The cherubim in the Most Holy Place were made of gold (v. 10). Simply put, gold was everywhere!
The video below gives a good representation of Solomon’s temple.
King Solomon knew he needed wisdom more than anything in order to lead the people. So what did he do to obtain it? He asked God in prayer. Do you lack because you do not ask? If that is so, know that God is waiting to hear your request and answer according to His will.
What other points would you want to know about in our II Chronicles 1-3 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.