2 Chronicles 6 – “Solomon’s Dedicatory Address and Prayer”

caterpillarsHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Solomon speaks to the people about his family’s being chosen to build the temple. He then turns to God and asks for Him to dwell in the temple and be responsive to the prayers of the populace.

II. Photo
Solomon asks God to be attentive to the needs of the people: “So, too, if there is a famine in the land, if there is pestilence, blight, mildew, locusts, or caterpillars…may You hear in Your heavenly abode, and pardon…” (vv. 28, 30)

III. Important Verses
vv. 4-6: [Solomon] said,“Blessed is the LORD God of Israel, who made a promise to my father David and fulfilled it. For He said, ‘From the time I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I never chose a city from among all the tribes of Israel to build a House where My name might abide; nor did I choose anyone to be the leader of my people Israel. But then I chose Jerusalem for My name to abide there, and I chose David to rule My people Israel.’”
vv. 16-17: And now, O LORD God of Israel, keep that promise that You made to Your servant, my father David, ‘You shall never lack a descendant in My sight sitting on the throne of Israel if only your children will look to their way and walk in the [path] of My teachings as you have walked before Me.’ Now, therefore, O God of Israel, let the promise that You made to Your servant, my father David, be confirmed.
vv. 32-33: “Or if a foreigner who is not of Your people Israel comes from a distant land for the sake of Your great name, Your mighty hand, and Your outstretched arm, if he comes to pray toward this House, may You hear in Your heavenly abode and grant whatever the foreigner appeals to You for. Thus all the peoples of the earth will know Your name and revere You, as does Your people Israel; and they will recognize that Your name is attached to this House that I have built.”

IV. Outline

1-2. Declaration
3-11. Solomon’s address
    3. Blessing
    4-6. God chose David and Jerusalem
    7-11. Solomon was chosen to build the temple
12-40. Solomon’s prayer
    13. Solomon kneels and raises his hands
    14-15. Hymnic/historical praise
    16-17. Petition: God should keep His promise to David
    18-21. Petition: God should dwell in the temple and listen to prayer
    22-39. Petitions to be answered in dire situations; Confessions
        22-23. Proper judment
        24-25. Victory over enemies
        26-27. Drought
        28-31. Famine/ personal maladies
        32-33. Foreigners shall be answered if they rever God
        34-39. Salvation from enemies
    40. Petition
    41-42. Entrance hymn

V. Comment
Chapter 6 consists of two sections, Solomon’s address to the people (vv. 3-11) and his prayer to God (vv. 12-40). His prayer is a medley of praise, petition, and confession. Due to the fact that 2 Chr 6 is almost identical to 1 Kgs 8:12ff, it is important to speak about the different types of minor discrepancies between the two books. De Vries enumerates 6 types of minute discrepancies (258): (1) alternative pointings, (2) alternative spellings, (3) transpositions, (4) omissions and additions, (5) altered grammatical forms, and (6) altered vocabulary. Each type can be found in our chapter:

  1. Alternative pointings – These are words that can either be spelled with “full” or “defective” spellings. An example is the word yoshev in v. 16, which does not have a waw in 1 Kgs 8:25.
  2. Alternative spellings – An example is yede‘u in v. 29 and 1 Kgs 8:43 which says yede‘un.
  3. Transpositions – These are when a waw is transferred from one word to another. An example is he‘ewinu werasha‘nu in v. 37 and wehe‘winu rasha‘nu in 1 Kgs 8:47.
  4. Omissions and additions – An example of a minor omission is the word na’, which is present in 1 Kgs 8:26 but missing in v. 17 of our chapter.
  5. Altered grammatical forms – One example is the word wehabbayit in 1 Kgs 8:48 which is changed to the late postexilic form welabbayit in v. 38 of our chapter.
  6. Altered vocabulary – An example of altered vocabulary is the phrase “the covenant that the LORD made with the Israelites” in v. 11 of our chapter and “the covenant which the LORD made with our fathers” in v. 21 of 1 Kgs 8.

What is the significance of these types of changes? While many of them can be attributed to the process of transmission, De Vries makes an important point. He writes: “[Wherever] the Kings text and the Chronicles text are very similar, [the Chronicler] shows whatever degree of freedom he desires to use. He may stick closely to his Vorlage [= base text], cite it very loosely or paraphrase, or ignore it altogether. This is not ‘exegesis,’ as Willi claims. [The Chronicler] is writing his own book. If it so happens that Kings is saying exactly, or almost exactly, what [the Chronicler] desires to say, he will let Kings say it for him, reserving the freedom to alter it where he will. [The Chronicler] would not deny that [what is written] in Samuel-Kings is true history. It is only that [the Chronicler] is recreating that history, retelling it as it should have happened.” (259)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
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).
Photo taken from http://neatorama.cachefly.net/misscellania/caterpillars.jpg

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