2 Chronicles 9 – “The Queen of Sheba; Solomon’s Wisdom and Wealth; Solomon’s Death”

SpicesHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The queen of Sheba visits Solomon and gives him an abundance of gifts. The chapter then describes Solomon’s great wisdom and wealth, and concludes with his death.

II. Photo
Solomon impresses the queen of Sheba: “She presented the king with 120 talents of gold, and a vast quantity of spices and precious stones. There were no such spices as those which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.” (v. 9)

III. Important Verses
vv. 1-2: The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, and came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with hard questions, accompanied by a very large retinue, including camels bearing spices, a great quantity of gold, and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she spoke to him of all that she had on her mind. Solomon had answers for all her questions; there was nothing that Solomon did not know, nothing to which he could not give her an answer.
v. 8: [She said:] “Blessed is the LORD your God, who favored you and set you on His throne as a king before the LORD. It is because of your God’s love for Israel and in order to establish them forever that He made you king over them to execute righteous justice.”
v. 9: She presented the king with 120 talents of gold, and a vast quantity of spices and precious stones. There were no such spices as those which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon
v. 15: King Solomon made 200 shields of beaten gold — 600 shekels of beaten gold for each shield
vv. 17-19: The king also made a large throne of ivory, overlaid with pure gold. Six steps led up to the throne; and the throne had a golden footstool attached to it, and arms on either side of the seat. Two lions stood beside the arms, and twelve lions stood on the six steps, six on either side. None such was ever made for any other kingdom.
vv. 22-23: King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in wealth and wisdom. All the kings of the earth came to pay homage to Solomon and to listen to the wisdom with which God had endowed him.
v. 26: He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt.
vv. 30-31: Solomon reigned forty years over all Israel in Jerusalem. Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David; his son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.

IV. Outline
1-12. Solomon impresses the queen of Sheba; The two exchange gifts
13-28. Solomon’s wealth and glory
13-14. Annual import
15. Golden shields
17-19. Ivory throne
20-21. Other objects
22. Surpassing wealth and wisdom
23-24. Foreign admireres
25. Horses
26. Area of rulership
27-28. Further wealth
29-31. Summary statement; Death

V. Comment
Chapter 9 describes the visit of the queen of Sheba, Solomon’s great wisdom and wealth, and Solomon’s death. It has been shown that the David and Solomon are portrayed more piously in the books of Chronicles than in the books of Samuel and Kings, and this chapter is no exception. Dillard writes: “Chap. 9 closely follows the parallel account in 1 Kgs 10:1–28, 11:41–43 apart from some minor modifications. The major change from the parallel material is the omission of 1 Kgs 11:1–40, a passage which reports Solomon’s straying due to his foreign wives, the LORD’s subsequent anger and determination to wrest most of the kingdom from him, the raising of adversaries who freed Edom and Aram from Israelite sovereignty, and the rebellion of Jeroboam. All of these matters are out of accord with the Chronicler’s portrayal of Solomon’s glorious, peaceful, and righteous reign; the Chronicler prefers to conclude his account of Solomon by introducing the note, not paralleled at this point in Kings (cf. 1 Kgs 5:1), that Solomon ruled from the Euphrates to the border of Egypt (9:26).” (70)

Some of the more condemnatory verses that Dillard was referring to are 1 Kgs 11:1-8: King Solomon loved many foreign women in addition to Pharaoh’s daughter — Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Phoenician, and Hittite women, from the nations of which the LORD had said to the Israelites, “None of you shall join them and none of them shall join you, lest they turn your heart away to follow their gods.” Such Solomon clung to and loved. He had seven hundred royal wives and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned his heart away. In his old age, his wives turned away Solomon’s heart after other gods, and he was not as wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD his God as his father David had been. Solomon followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Phoenicians, and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
Solomon did what was displeasing to the LORD and did not remain loyal to the LORD like his father David. At that time, Solomon built a shrine for Chemosh the abomination of Moab on the hill near Jerusalem, and one for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites. And he did the same for all his foreign wives who offered and sacrificed to their gods.

Dillard attempts to explain why the accounts of Chronicles and Kings are so disparate: “The concluding portions of the Solomon narrative in Kings and Chronicles are a study in contrasts. Where the one reports Solomon’s lack of wisdom shown in his apostasy with his gentile wives, the other ends with Solomon’s wisdom displayed before a gentile woman (9:1–12) and admired by the nations (9:22–26). Where the one reports the tokens of divine displeasure seen in the announcement of the division of the kingdom and in the disintegration of the empire through successful rebellions (1 Kgs 11:9–40), the other brings Solomon to his death in tranquility, enjoying the submission of his vassals, the honor of other nations, and ruling over his empire at its maximal extent (9:22–26). The compiler of Kings wrote a tract for exiles, answering to the ‘why’ for the great exile and captivity, judgment to which even David and Solomon contributed; the Chronicler provided a description of the past in terms of his aspirations for the future.” (74-75)

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).
Dillard, Raymond B. “2 Chronicles” (Waco Texas: Word Books, 1988).
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