2 Chronicles 8 – “Securing the Land; A Sea Venture”

ancient-wallHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Solomon embarks on an ambitious building campaign, builds a palace for Pharaoh’s daughter, and administers the temples service. He then sends his men to distant lands, and they bring back a large stockpile of gold.

II. Photo
Solomon embarks on an ambitious building campaign: “He built Tadmor in the desert and all the garrison towns that he built in Hamath.” (v. 4)

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-2: At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon constructed the House of the LORD and his palace — Solomon also rebuilt the cities that Huram had given to him, and settled Israelites in them.
vv. 7-9: All the people that were left of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, none of whom were of Israelite stock — those of their descendants who were left after them in the land, whom the Israelites had not annihilated — these Solomon subjected to forced labor, as is still the case. But the Israelites, none of whom Solomon enslaved for his works, served as soldiers and as his chief officers, and as commanders of his chariotry and cavalry.
v. 11: Solomon brought up Pharaoh’s daughter from the City of David to the palace that he had built for her, for he said, “No wife of mine shall dwell in a palace of King David of Israel, for [the area] is sacred since the Ark of the LORD has entered it.”
vv. 17-18: At that time Solomon went to Ezion-geber and to Eloth on the seacoast of the land of Edom.  Huram sent him, under the charge of servants, a fleet with a crew of expert seamen; they went with Solomon’s men to Ophir, and obtained gold there in the amount of 450 talents, which they brought to King Solomon.

IV. Outline
1-6. Resettling the cities; Construction
7-10. Forced labor
11. The palace for Pharaoh’s daughter
12-15. Solomon administers the temple service
16. Conclusion
17-18. A sea venture sponsored by King Huram

V. Comment
Chapter 8 describes what some might call Solomon’s “sanctification” of the land. He settles many cities, removes Pharaoh’s daughter from David’s palace, and administers the temple service. A sea venture is described in vv. 17-18: “At that time Solomon went to Ezion-geber and to Eloth on the seacoast of the land of Edom.  Huram sent him, under the charge of servants, a fleet with a crew of expert seamen; they went with Solomon’s men to Ophir, and obtained gold there in the amount of 450 talents, which they brought to King Solomon.” What is the meaning of “Ophir gold”? As has been previously mentioned in the comment to 1 Chr 29, Baker writes that Ophir was “a maritime nation which was a source of gold from at least the reign of Solomon (1 Kgs 9:28; 22:49; 2 Chr 8:18). It also provided fine wood and precious stones (1 Kgs 10:11; 2 Chr 9:10; Job 28:16). All of these were delivered to Israel by ship through the port of Ezion-geber on the Red Sea. The gold seems to have been of a particularly high quality since in some of the passages it is used in conjunction with more specific Hebrew terms for fine, choice gold (Job 22:24; Ps 45:10[—Eng 45:9]; Isa 13:12). Ophir became so associated with this rare metal that the name Ophir itself, without any further qualifier, is to be understood as “gold” in Job 22:24. Gold from this source is also known from an extrabiblical inscription from Israel.” (“Ophir (Place)” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. V, pp. 26-27) Baker also points out that the whereabouts of biblical Ophir remain unknown. While some (including Josephus) associate it with India, it was most likely a site in eastern Africa or western Arabia.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Baker, David W. “Ophir (Place)” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. V, pp. 26-27.
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).

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