2 Chronicles 1 – “Solomon’s Prosperous Rule”

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Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Solomon assembles the people at the Tent of Meeting in Gibeon and offers a thousand sacrifices. He has a dream, and in it God grants him wisdom and success. The chapter ends with a description of Solomon’s great wealth and the affluence he engenders in Jerusalem.

II. Photo
Solomon and his people live in opulence: “The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as plentiful as the sycamores in the Shephelah.” (v. 15)

III. Important Verses
v. 1: Solomon son of David took firm hold of his kingdom, for the LORD his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.
v. 3: Then Solomon, and all the assemblage with him, went to the shrine at Gibeon, for the Tent of Meeting, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness, was there.
v. 6: There Solomon ascended the bronze altar before the LORD, which was at the Tent of Meeting, and on it sacrificed a thousand burnt offerings.
vv. 7-12: That night, the LORD appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask, what shall I grant you?” Solomon said to God, “You dealt most graciously with my father David, and now You have made me king in his stead. Now, O LORD God, let 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. Grant me then the wisdom and the knowledge to lead this people, for who can govern Your great people?”  God said to Solomon, “Because you want this, and have not asked for wealth, property, and glory, nor have you asked for the life of your enemy, or long life for yourself, but you have asked for the wisdom and the knowledge to be able to govern My people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you, and I grant you also wealth, property, and glory, the like of which no king before you has had, nor shall any after you have.”
v. 15: The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as plentiful as the sycamores in the Shephelah.
v. 18: Then Solomon resolved to build a House for the name of the LORD.

IV. Outline
1-6. Solomon assembles the people at Gibeon and offers 1,000 offerings
7-12. Solomon’s dream: God grants him wisdom, wealth, and glory
13. Solomon’s return to Jerusalem
14-15. Solomon’s prosperous rule
16-17. The horse and chariot trade
18. Solomon resolves to build the temple

V. Comment
2 Chronicles begins with an account of Solomon’s success as a ruler. Klein observes that “the division [of Chronicles] into two books appears first in the LXX and has been standard in Hebrew Bibles since the 15th century.” (“Chronicles, Book of 1-2” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. I, pp. 992-1002) Collins notes that the book’s style is similar to its predecessor. He writes: “The account of Solomon’s reign is idealized in a way similar to that of David, and focuses on the building of the temple. It begins with Solomon’s dream at Gibeon, in which he asks for wisdom. The choice of Gibeon is justified by the statement that the tent of meeting was there (in 1 Kgs 3:4 it was “the great high place”). Nothing is said of Solomon’s elimination of his rivals (1 Kings 2). Neither is there any mention of his dubious display of wisdom between the two prostitutes who claimed the same child (1 Kgs 3:16-28). Solomon is presented in Chronicles as a model of piety, and so his worthiness for building the temple is not jeopardized.” (450)

Collins mentioned the disparity between the account of Solomon’s ascension to the throne  in 1 Kgs 2 and 2 Chr 1. While Solomon is willingly accepted by the people in our chapter, 1 Kgs 2:25-46 recounts how he has to imperiously solidify his rule:
And Solomon instructed Benaiah son of Jehoiada, who struck Adonijah down; and so he died.
To the priest Abiathar, the king said, “Go to your estate at Anathoth! You deserve to die, but I shall not put you to death at this time, because you carried the Ark of my Lord GOD before my father David and because you shared all the hardships that my father endured.” So Solomon dismissed Abiathar from his office of priest of the LORD — thus fulfilling what the LORD had spoken at Shiloh regarding the house of Eli.
When the news reached Joab, he fled to the Tent of the LORD and grasped the horns of the altar — for Joab had sided with Adonijah, though he had not sided with Absalom. King Solomon was told that Joab had fled to the Tent of the LORD and that he was there by the altar; so Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go and strike him down.” Benaiah went to the Tent of the LORD and said to him, “Thus said the king: Come out!” “No!” he replied; “I will die here.” Benaiah reported back to the king that Joab had answered thus and thus, and the king said, “Do just as he said; strike him down and bury him, and remove guilt from me and my father’s house for the blood of the innocent that Joab has shed. Thus the LORD will bring his blood guilt down upon his own head, because, unbeknown to my father, he struck down with the sword two men more righteous and honorable than he — Abner son of Ner, the army commander of Israel, and Amasa son of Jether, the army commander of Judah. May the guilt for their blood come down upon the head of Joab and his descendants forever, and may good fortune from the LORD be granted forever to David and his descendants, his house and his throne.” So Benaiah son of Jehoiada went up and struck him down. And he was buried at his home in the wilderness. In his place, the king appointed Benaiah son of Jehoiada over the army, and in place of Abiathar, the king appointed the priest Zadok.
Then the king summoned Shimei and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and stay there — do not ever go out from there anywhere else. On the very day that you go out and cross the Wadi Kidron, you can be sure that you will die; your blood shall be on your own head.” “That is fair,” said Shimei to the king, “your servant will do just as my lord the king has spoken.” And for a long time, Shimei remained in Jerusalem.
Three years later, two slaves of Shimei ran away to King Achish son of Maacah of Gath. Shimei was told, “Your slaves are in Gath.” Shimei thereupon saddled his ass and went to Achish in Gath to claim his slaves; and Shimei returned from Gath with his slaves. Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and back, and the king summoned Shimei and said to him, “Did I not adjure you by the LORD and warn you, ‘On the very day that you leave and go anywhere else, you can be sure that you will die,’ and did you not say to me, ‘It is fair; I accept’? Why did you not abide by the oath before the LORD and by the orders which I gave you?” The king said further to Shimei, “You know all the wrong, which you remember very well, that you did to my father David. Now the LORD brings down your wrongdoing upon your own head. But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.”
The king gave orders to Benaiah son of Jehoiada and he went out and struck Shimei down; and so he died. Thus the kingdom was secured in Solomon’s hands.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
De Vries, Simon J. “1 and 2 Chronicles,” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 11 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989).

Klein, Ralph W. “Chronicles, Book of 1-2” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. I, pp. 992-1002

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