2 Chronicles

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2 Chronicles

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Introduction

The Second Book of Chronicles takes up the history of the monarchy where the First Book breaks off. It begins with the account of the reign of Solomon from the special viewpoint of the Chronicler. The portrait of Solomon is an idealized one; he appears as second only to David. The great achievement of the building of the temple and the magnificence of Solomon’s court are described in detail while the serious defects of his reign are passed over without comment. All this is in keeping with the Chronicler’s purpose of stressing the supreme importance of the temple and its worship. He wishes to impress on his readers the splendor of God’s dwelling and the magnificence of the liturgy of sacrifice, prayer and praise offered there. Judah’s kings are judged by their attitude toward the temple and its cult. To this ideal of one people, united in the worship of the one true God at the temple of Jerusalem founded by David and Solomon, the restored community would have to conform.

In treating the period of divided monarchy, the Chronicler gives practically all his attention to the kingdom of Judah. His omission of the northern Israelite kings is significant. In his view, the northern tribes of Israel were in religious schism as long as they worshiped Yahweh in a place other than the temple of Jerusalem. The Chronicler makes no mention of the important sanctuaries of Yahweh at Dan and Bethel-as though they had never existed. Nevertheless he retains the ancient ideal of “all Israel” (a phrase occuring forty-one times in Chronicles) as the people of God. The condition he places for a united people is that “the whole congregation of Israel” worship the Lord only in his temple at Jerusalem. This explains his praise of Kings Hezekiah and Josiah for striving, after the fall of Samaria, to unite the remnants of the northern tribes of Israel into the kingdom of Judah.

At the end of the fifth century B.C., during the Chronicler’s own time, “the people of the land” were the descendants of the people of all the tribes (including Judah) who had not gone into exile. These had become intermingled with aliens and had evolved a religion of Yahweh very different from the Judaism that developed during the Babylonian exile. Thus, religious and political cooperation between the returned exiles and these “people of the land” was out of the question for the Chronicler. This he clearly shows in the last part of his work, the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

The Second Book of Chronicles is divided as follows:

  1. The Reign of Solomon ( 2 Chron 1:1- 9:31)
  2. The Monarchy before Hezekiah ( 2 Chron 10:1- 27:9
  3.  Reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah ( 2 Chron 28:1- 36:1)

4.  End of the Kingdom ( 2 Chron 36:2-23)

 

Chapter 1

1

Solomon, son of David, strengthened his hold on the kingdom, for the LORD, his God, was with him, constantly making him more renowned.

2

He sent a summons to all Israel, to the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, the judges, the princes of all Israel, and the family heads;

3

and, accompanied by the whole assembly, he went to the high place at Gibeon, because the meeting tent of God, made in the desert by Moses, the LORD’S servant, was there.

4

(The ark of God, however, David had brought up from Kiriath-jearim to Jerusalem, where he had provided a place and pitched a tent for it.)

5

The bronze altar made by Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, he put in front of the LORD’S Dwelling 1 on the high place. There Solomon and the assembly consulted the LORD,

6

and Solomon offered sacrifice in the LORD’S presence on the bronze altar at the meeting tent; he offered a thousand holocausts upon it.

7

That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Make a request of me, and I will grant it to you.”

8

Solomon answered God: “You have shown great favor to my father David, and you have allowed me to succeed him as king.

9

Now, LORD God, may your promise to my father David be fulfilled, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.

10

Give me, therefore, wisdom and knowledge to lead this people, for otherwise who could rule this great people of yours?”

11

God then replied to Solomon: “Since this has been your wish and you have not asked for riches, treasures and glory, nor for the life of those who hate you, nor even for a long life for yourself, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge in order to rule my people over whom I have made you king,

12

wisdom and knowledge are given you; but I will also give you riches, treasures and glory, such as kings before you never had, nor will those have them who come after you.”

13

Solomon returned to Jerusalem from the high place at Gibeon, from the meeting tent, and became king over Israel.

14

He gathered together chariots and drivers, so that he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand drivers he could station in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.

15

The king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones, while cedars became as numerous as the sycamores of the foothills.

16

2 Solomon also imported horses from Egypt and Cilicia. The king’s agents would acquire them by purchase from Cilicia,

17

and would then bring up chariots from Egypt and export them at six hundred silver shekels, with the horses going for a hundred and fifty shekels. At these rates they served as middlemen for all the Hittite and Aramean kings.

18

Solomon gave orders for the building of a house to honor the LORD and also of a house for his own royal estate.

 

 



1 [5] The bronze altar . . . the LORD’s Dwelling: the Chronicler justifies Solomon’s worship at the high place of Gibeon. He pictures the LORD’s Dwelling, i.e., the Mosaic meeting tent, and the bronze altar made at Moses’ command ( Exodus 31:1-9) as still at Gibeon after David had removed the ark of the covenant from there to a new tent in Jerusalem ( 1 Chron 15:1, 25; 16:1). The altar made by Bezalel is described as being of acacia wood plated with bronze ( Exodus 27:1, 2). Solomon later made an all-bronze altar for the temple in Jerusalem ( 2 Chron 4:1).

2 [16-17] Egypt . . . Cilicia: it seems likely that the horses came from Cilicia and the chariots from Egypt. Some read the source of these data in 1 Kings 10:28-29 as containing the name (Musur) of a mountain district north of Cilicia, rather than of Egypt; but the author of Chronicles surely understood Egypt; cf 2 Chron 9:28.