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This was a fun section of Scripture to teach on Sunday night.  Below are my notes, which I expanded upon for the class.  It will help if you open the previous post on Chronicles and click on the link to the pdf showing the chiasm of 2 Chronicles 1-9.  We are following the organization of that chiasm in our exploration of these verses.  The only section left to discuss next time is the center of that chiasm D and D’ on that pdf.

 

2 Chronicles 1:1-17, 9:13-28

Dillard summarizes these two sections saying, “Thematically … both deal with the broad subject of Solomon’s kingdom: his consolidation of rule within (1:1, 13) and the recognition of his rule without (9:13-14, 22-24).  More narrowly both are concerned with his wealth and wisdom.”  My English Bible headings for 2 Chronicles 1 are: “Solomon Worships at Gibeon,” “Solomon Prays for Wisdom,” and “Solomon Given Wealth.”  They called the section in chapter 9: “Solomon’s Wealth.”  2 Chronicles 9:22-23 mentions his wisdom.

Compare these sections: 2 Chronicles 1:14-17 and 9:25-28.  “Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen.  He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.  And the king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah.  And Solomon’s import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king’s traders would buy them from Kue for a price.  They imported a chariot from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver, and a horse for 150.  Likewise through them these were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria” (2 Chron 1:14-17).

“And Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots, and 12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.  And he ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt.  And the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah.  And horses were imported for Solomon from Egypt and from all lands” (2 Chron 9:25-28).

Thus both passages mention Solomon having “12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.”  Also, both passages mention “And the king made silver [and gold in the former passage] as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah.”  And both also mention Solomon’s import of horses from Egypt and other nations.  This recapitulation is a hint as to this chiastic structure of the unit.  This is an even stronger hint when one considers where this information is found in ‘full form’ in Kings.

In Kings the ‘full form’ of this is in 1 Kings 10:26-29 in the conclusion of the story of Solomon where we might expect to find this summary concerning horses.  Thus not only would we naturally expect this kind of information in the conclusion but Kings does include it in the conclusion of its story.  So when the Chronicler repeats it in his introduction to this unit we should be surprised – thus a stronger hint as to the structure of the passage.

The inclusion of this material in 2 Chronicles 1 is prompted by the promise that God made to Solomon a couple verses earlier: “I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like” (2 Chron 1:12).

The author of Kings was apologetic for Solomon visiting the high place of Gibeon because of the constant rebukes in Kings of the various Southern kings who did not get rid of worship on the high places.  Chronicles does not show this concern, but does mention the tabernacle and Bezalel’s altar being there, which makes this a legitimate place for worship.  The mention of Bezalel at this point is on purpose since Solomon will be a new Bezalel – Solomon will be given wisdom to build the temple just as God had given Bezalel wisdom to build the tabernacle.  Kings had not mentioned that the tabernacle and Bezalel’s altar were at the high place at Gibeon.

You might be surprised to know that this Bezalel/Oholiab model, which names are only mentioned in Exodus and Chronicles, is used by the apostle Paul in the New Testament.  Indeed, Paul uses a phrase borrowed from the LXX translation of Exodus in reference to Bezalel for himself.  The idea in 1 Corinthians 3:10 is that Paul and Apollos are like Bezalel and Oholiab because Paul was ”a wise master builder” (cf. Exodus 35:32, 35).

Solomon also foreshadows Jesus in this scene because Solomon is the king and he receives revelation in a dream (like a prophet) and he is officiating at the tabernacle (like a priest he offered a thousand burnt offerings on the bronze altar).  Of course, Jesus is the one greater than Solomon in all His wisdom as the true prophet/priest/king mediator between God and man.    

The account here in Chronicles is largely the same as that of Kings even in many of the details.  We have not focused here on those things that they have in common.    

2 Chronicles 2:1-16, 8:17-9:12

The second story and the second-to-last story share the identical wording about YHWH’s love for Israel, which occurs only once in Kings – 1 Kings 10:9.  The Chronicler includes this in Hiram’s letter to Solomon.  Thus just like we saw in the A portion of the chiasm, the Chronicler took something from the latter half and added it to the first half.

2 Chronicles 2 itself is a chiasm apart from the opening line according to Dillard.  2 Chronicles 2:2 and 17-18 concern ”Conscription of laborers” and the middle section is Solomon’s letter (2 Chron 2:3-10) and Hiram’s letter (2 Chron 2:11-16).  Notice the overlap since 2 Chronicles 2:17-18 in the chiasm of the whole unit are the opening portion of the next section whereas they are the closing portion of the chapter in this chiasm.  That is, these two verses are a hinge ending 2 Chronicles 2 and beginning 2 Chronicles 2:17-5:1.

It is in 2 Chronicles 2 that we see Solomon acting as the new Bezalel and we are introduced to Huram-abi as the new Oholiab.  Huram-abi’s father was a man of Tyre.  Hiram, the king of Tyre, sent this skilled worker to help Solomon with the building of the temple.  Huram-abi’s mother is said to be ”the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan.”  That is, he is a new Oholiab as Oholiab’s mother also was a woman from the tribe of Dan.  Huram-abi’s skills listed in this chapter are the same as that of Bezalel and Oholiab in Exodus.  And also unlike Kings, Huram-abi is involved in the project from the beginning like Oholiab.  I noted last time that Kings said that Huram-abi’s mother was a widow from Naphtali.  Chronicles has changed this detail so that you do not miss the way that Oholiab is a model for Huram-abi.

We also noted before that Hiram blessed YHWH God of Israel because Solomon had wisdom to ”build a temple for YHWH and a royal palace for himself.”  This too is different than Kings, which wants to stress how Solomon is wise in general.  Solomon’s wisdom in Chronicles is for the purpose of building the temple.

Another difference we didn’t already note is the list in 2 Chronicles 2:4 – ”for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him, and for the regular arrangement of the showbread, and for burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed feasts of YHWH our God, as ordained forever for Israel.”  This list reflects the interest of the Chronicler and resembles some cultic functions listed in 1 Chronicles 23:28-32 plus the rest are mentioned elsewhere by the Chronicler.

Now Hiram’s praise of YHWH God should be compared to that of the Queen of Sheba in the parallel story.  Hiram said, ”Because YHWH loves His people, He has made you king over them,” and ”Blessed be YHWH God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, who has discretion and understanding, who will build a temple for YHWH and a royal palace for himself.”  The Queen of Sheba said, ”Blessed be YHWH your God, who has delighted in you and set you on His throne as king for YHWH your God!  Because your God loved Israel…He has made you king.”

Both Gentiles blessed YHWH God for making Solomon the king of Israel – note the Chronicler’s understanding of kingship – it is the throne of YHWH God.

2 Chronicles 2:17-5:1

So just after noting these Gentile rulers blessing God it is worth pointing something out about the next section.  The use of Gentile labor to build the temple is a foreshadowing of the temple being built today of Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus.  These verses in Chronicles say, ”Then Solomon counted all the resident aliens who were in the land of Israel, after the census of them that David his father had taken, and there were found 153,600.  Seventy thousand of them he assigned to bear burndens, 80,000 to quarry in the hill country, and 3,600 as overseers to make the people work.”  (This is something that Israel was not allowed to do to sojourners in their midst (cf. my sermon text yesterday from Exodus) but it was something that they could do to the Canaanites under the ban whom they could not kill.)

In pressing foreigners into service of the religion of Israel, Solomon was acting as a new Joshua.  Joshua had done the same with the Gibeonites.  As Joshua 9:27 reads: ”But Joshua made them that day cutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of YHWH, to this day, in the place that He should choose.”  That place YHWH chose by the time of our story in Chronicles was where the temple was to be built.  And now Solomon is putting foreigners to work on this temple.

The messianic expectation involved Gentile nations that would honor God and Gentiles who would be pressed into the service of the temple.  The fulfillment is far greater since when Jesus came His body was the temple and since His body on earth is now the church Gentiles who trust in Jesus are included with Jews who trust in Jesus in the temple that He is building.

The most striking thing about the temple building narrative here in Chronicles is its relative shortness.  The book of Kings took 46 verses to describe the building of the temple whereas it is covered in 17 verses in Chronicles.  This is astounding since Chronicles has consistently expanded upon what we find in Kings when it comes to the topic of the temple.  Perhaps not so surprisingly, although it is mentioned a couple times the building of Solomon’s palace is not narrated.  There are only a couple things mentioned in Chronicles that we don’t find in Kings.

One of the additions in Chronicles is to tell us that the temple mount is Mount Moriah where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac (2 Chron 3:1).  This is the only place in Scripture that identifies the temple site with that story.

All that said, Dillard explains the brevity of the building narrative as a function of the Chronicler expecting we know Kings and that the details were not very important in his day when the second temple (a much less impressive structure) was in use and that the legitimacy of this site for the temple was more important.

2 Chronicles 4:1-5:1 involve the temple furnishings.  Among note are the way that the Chronicler tells us that the sea and the basins are for ritual cleansing of both the priests and the sacrificial tools.  Adding this information shows us that they have the same role as the tabernacle’s laver.  Here again the Chronicler is showing the parallels of the building of the tabernacle and that of the temple.  

The building narrative concludes: ”Thus all the work that Solomon did for the house of YHWH was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, and stored the silver, the gold, and all the vessels in the treasuries of the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:1).  A very similar verse ends the parallel section: ”Thus was accomplished all the work of Solomon from the day the foundation of the house of YHWH was laid until it was finished.  So the house of YHWH was completed” (2 Chron 8:16).

2 Chronicles 8:1-16

The other major parallel between these two sections is the description of forced foreign labor – ”All the people who were left of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of Israel, from their descendants who were left after them in the land, whom the people of Israel had not destroyed—these Solomon drafted as forced labor, and so they are to this day” (2 Chron 8:7-8).  Notice the similarity again between what it said in Joshua and here – Solomon is being described as a new Joshua.  Remember too that Solomon’s prayer was at Gibeon, the ancestral home of the Gibeonites.

This section involves other construction than the temple, but in addition to the ‘it is finished’ formula for the temple here the passage also mentions this: ”Then Solomon offered up burnt offerings to YHWH on the altar of YHWH that he had built before the vestibule, as the duty of each day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the three annual feasts – the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of weeks, and the Feast of Booths.  According to the ruling of David his father, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their service, and the Levites for their offices of praise and ministry before the priests as the duty of each day required, and the gatekeepers in their divisions at each gate, for so David the man of God had commanded.  And they did not turn aside from what the king had commanded the priests and Levites concerning any matter and concerning the treasuries” (2 Chron 8:12-15).

That they did not turn aside from Solomon’s commands makes him sound like Joshua in Joshua 1 and that David is called ”the man of God” makes him sound like Moses.  And that Solomon was offering up these sacrifices makes him sound like a priest again.  This might be surprising given the Chronicler’s interest in the Levites and how Solomon is of the tribe of Judah, but remember the precedent that David set in organizing the Levites.  So even in the context of describing other building projects the Chronicler wants to stress the temple and the things of the temple.

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