2 Chronicles 8


Solomon’s Achievements (8:1 –9:31)

Solomon’s Projects and Administration

      • It took Solomon 20 years to build Yahweh’s house and his own house. At the end of that time, Solomon rebuilt the cities that Hiram had given him and settled Israelites in them. Then he went to Hamath Zobah and seized it. He built up Tadmor in the wilderness as well as all the storage cities that he had built in Hamath. He made Upper Beth Horon and Lower Beth Horon fortified cities with walls and barred gates. He also built up Baalath, all the storage cities, and the cities for his chariots and horses. He built whatever he wanted in Jerusalem, Lebanon, and throughout his entire kingdom.

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible writes, “According to 1 Kings 9:11-14, Solomon had given these cities to Hiram, perhaps as collateral for a loan (1 Kings 9:14). The Chronicler would then be describing their subsequent reversion to Israelite control. Hiram I was king of Tyre c. 969-936 BC (or 980-950 BC)…”

        • HCSB adds, “First Kg 9:12 said Hiram was not pleased with the 20 Galilean cities that Solomon had given him. Apparently Hiram returned the cities to Solomon and this is what Solomon did with them.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “This verse is the only reference in Chronicles of Solomon’s military accomplishments; he was known as a man of peace (1 Chr 22:9). The kingdoms of David and Solomon extended to Hamath-zobah in the far north on the Orontes River. King Toi, the ruler of Hamath, sought David’s support against Hadadezer, king of Zobah (1 Chr 18:9-10). Hadadezer was also referred to as the king of Zobah-Hamath (1 Chr 18:3). Solomon conducted an expedition against this territory to maintain the stability of his kingdom’s northern border.”

        • The same source continues, “The Chronicler describes the northern reaches of Solomon’s kingdom. Tadmor later became Palmyra, an oasis city in Syria along the desert trade routes with Mesopotamia, 120 miles northeast of Damascus. It is not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible. At some point, it came to be identified with the list of fortified cities in Solomon’s kingdom (cp 1 Kgs 9:18, where Tamar/Tadmor indicates a city in southeast Judah). Upper and Lower Beth-horon sit astride a ridge rising from the Valley of Aijalon to the plateau north of Jerusalem. Fortifications protected the route connecting Jerusalem to the major coastal trade route. Some cities were used for storage and for military cavalry. Large building complexes at Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer contained long rooms divided into three sections with two rows of pillars. They might have been used as stables and storehouses, or they might have provided barracks for a professional army.”

      • There were still several non-Israelite peoples living in the land- including Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. They were descendants of the nations whom the Israelites had not destroyed. Solomon conscripted them for his labor crews, and they continue in that role to this very day. But Solomon didn’t consign Israelites as forced labor. They served as soldiers, officers, and commanders of his chariots and charioteers. They were also King Solomon’s chief officials- there were a total of 250 who supervised the people.

        • Once again we encounter the question of whether or not Solomon imposed forced labor on the Israelites. Again, this passage appears to explicitly deny it. However, we’ve already discussed the difficulties with this in 1 Kings 5 and 1 Kings 9. The interested reader may refer to those chapters for details.

      • Solomon moved Pharaoh’s daughter up from the City of David to the house that he had built for her, saying, “My wife must not live in the house of King David of Israel because the places Yahweh’s ark has entered are holy.”

        • NET Bible clarifies, “The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Solomon’s alliance with Egypt through his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter is mentioned repeatedly in Kings (1 Kgs 3:1; 9:16, 24; 11:1). Solomon’s ability to marry into Egyptian royal family shows the extent of his kingdom and international influence. Solomon provided her with a personal residence to show that he regarded her as the most important of his wives. It also preserved the sanctity of David’s palace, probably because Pharaoh’s daughter was pagan.”

        • Guzik adds, “This marriage to a princess of Egypt was the first of Solomon’s many unwise marriages (1 Kings 11:1-3). These unwise marriages launched the spiritual downfall of Solomon…With this, Solomon admitted that his wife was an unbeliever and unholy – yet he married her just the same. This led Solomon along a remarkably wicked path (1 Kings 11:4-8).”

Public Worship Established at the Temple

      • Then Solomon offered burnt offerings to Yahweh on Yahweh’s altar which Solomon had built in front of the porch of the house, following the daily requirement for offerings in accordance with Moses’ commandment for Sabbaths, new moon festivals, and the three annual feasts: the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths. As his father David had decreed, Solomon appointed the divisions of priests for their duties, the Levites for their responsibility to lead the praise and help the priests with their daily duties, and the divisions of the gatekeepers to serve at their assigned gates. This was what David, the man of God, had ordered. They did not deviate from the king’s commands pertaining to the priests, Levites, and the treasuries.

        • Guzik remarks, “In accordance with the commanded morning and evening sacrifices (according to the daily rate as mentioned in Numbers 28:1-8) Solomon administrated the burnt offering for Israel. He also observed the other sacrifices commanded by the Law of Moses…Solomon carried forth the administration for the temple service as it was originally organized by King David (1 Chronicles 24).”

      • All of the work ordered by Solomon was completed, from the day the foundation of Yahweh’s house was laid until it was finished. So Yahweh’s house was completed.

Solomon’s Fleet

      • Then Solomon went to Ezion Geber and Elath on the coast of Edom. Hiram sent him ships with crews of experienced seamen. They sailed with Solomon’s men to Ophir and brought back 17 tons of gold to King Solomon.

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible says, “Israel forms the land bridge (and thus hosts the trade routes) connecting the Mediterranean lands with the kingdoms on the Red Sea and into Asia. Solomon profited from his control of these routes and his maritime partnership with Hiram, king of Tyre. The Tyrians (a people of Phoenician stock) were renowned for their seamanship…Ophir was probably in southwest Arabia or on the Horn of Africa.”

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