2 Chronicles 9

2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 9

The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon

      • When the Queen of Sheba heard about Solomon’s fame she came to test him with difficult questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with a great display of pomp, bringing with her camels carrying spices, a very large quantity of gold, and precious stones. She visited Solomon and talked with him about everything that was on her mind. So Solomon answered all of her questions; there was nothing too difficult for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw for herself Solomon’s wisdom, the house he had built, the food on his table, the organization of his officials, the attending servants in their attire, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he offered at Yahweh’s house, it took her breath away. She told the king, “The report I heard in my own country of your words and your wisdom is true! I didn’t believe it until I came and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, I wasn’t even told the half of it! Your wisdom far exceeds the report I heard. How happy are your men and servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom. May Yahweh your God be blessed! He delighted in you and placed you on Israel’s throne. Because of the love of your God for Israel and His desire to establish them forever, he made you king over them to carry out justice and righteousness.” Then she gave the king 4 ½ tons of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. The quantity of spices that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon has never been matched. Hiram’s servants and Solomon’s servants brought gold from Ophir as well as sandalwood and precious stones. The king used the sandalwood to make walkways for Yahweh’s house and the king’s house, as well as harps and lyres for the singers. No one had seen anything like them in the land of Judah before that. King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she wanted and asked for. He gave her more than she had brought him. Then she and all her attendants returned to her own country.

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “This section closely follows 1 Kings 10:1-13. Sheba, or Saba, corresponds roughly to modern Yemen and was a mercantile kingdom that traded in luxury goods from East Africa and India. The queen’s visit may have had commercial trade purposes (see 2 Chron 9:1, 9) prompted by Solomon’s naval activities in the south of the Red Sea, but her visit is presented primarily as a quest for wisdom (vv. 1, 6). Solomon is acknowledged as excelling in both wisdom and wealth (see 1:12). The Gentile queen recognizes Solomon’s greatness is from Yahweh (see 9:8; see 2:12) and that Solomon sits on God’s throne as his king (cf 1 Kings 10:9, ‘the throne of Israel’). For the Chronicler, the Davidic kingdom is the earthly expression of God’s eternal kingdom (see 1 Chron 17:14; 28:5; 2 Chron 13:8). Recognition (esp from a Gentile monarch) that God was the actual King of Israel could only encourage the postexilic community, when no descendant of David was on the throne.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “Ancient Sheba (roughly modern day Yemen) was noted for its important female rulers and wealthy economy based on trade in frankincense and myrrh. An ancient tradition suggests that the queen of Sheba came from Cush (Ethiopia), perhaps because of Sheba son of Raamah, a descendant of Cush (Gen 10:7; 1 Chr 1:9).”

        • NET Bible points out some differences between the Chronicler’s account and the parallel text in 1 Kings 10:

          • Did Solomon use the wood to make supports or walkways? “Heb ‘tracks.’ The parallel text in 1 Kgs 10:12 has a different term whose meaning is uncertain: ‘supports,’ perhaps ‘banisters’ or ‘parapets.’”

        • Was it the amount of sandalwood that had not been seen in Judah before or the sandalwood walkways and instruments? 1 Kings 10 seems to say the former. However, the Chronicler’s account seems to indicate the latter: “Heb ‘there was not seen like these formerly in the land of Judah.’”

Solomon’s Wealth

      • Solomon received 25 tons of gold annually, not including the revenues that came from merchants and traders. All the Arabian kings and the governors of the land also brought gold and silver to Solomon. King Solomon made 200 large shields from hammered gold with 15 pounds of gold used in each shield. He made 300 small shields of hammered gold with about 8 pounds of gold in each shield. The king put them in the House of the Lebanon Forest.

        • The Biblical measurement of gold is given in talents. Using this measurement, Solomon receives 666 talents annually. This leads to the following point which Guzik elaborates upon, “This speaks not only to the great wealth of Solomon, but it also makes him the only other person in the Bible associated with the number 666…The other Biblical connection to 666 is the end-times world dictator and opponent of God and His people often known as the Antichrist (Revelation 13:18). In fact, the Revelation passage specifically says that the number 666 is the number of a man, and the man may be Solomon…This isn’t to say that Solomon was the Antichrist or that the coming Antichrist will be some strange reincarnation of Solomon. But it may indicate that the Antichrist may not be someone purely evil from the very beginning. Instead, he may be like Solomon – a good man corrupted.”

        • Guzik continues, “Guzik adds, “Solomon received more than 666 talents of gold a year. The 666 talents was just his beginning salary…The writer of 1 Kings gives us a warning signal here. He assumes that we know of the instructions for future kings of Israel in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. He assumes we know verse 17 of that passage, which says: nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself. God blessed Solomon with great riches, but Solomon allowed that blessing to turn into a danger because he disobediently multiplied silver and gold for himself.”

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The House of the Lebanon Forest was Solomon’s palace, which contained great quantities of cedar (see 1 Kings 7:2). The gold shields were lost as booty to Pharaoh Shishak by Solomon’s son Rehoboam (2 Chron 12:9).”

        • I also noticed that the quantity of gold used in the small shields differs here from the parallel in 1 Kgs 10:17. The Chronicler’s account has the small shields weighing about twice what the 1 Kings source lists. It appears that different units of measure are used in the two sources- 1 Kings using 3 minas and 2 Chron using 300 shekels. However, NET Bible says notes that the Masoretic text here in 2 Chron doesn’t have any unit of measurement specified, “The Hebrew text has simply ‘300,’ with no unit of measure given.”

      • The king also made a large ivory throne and overlaid it with pure gold. The throne had 6 steps leading up to it, a footstool of gold attached to it, and 2 armrests with a lion standing beside each armrest. There were 12 statues of lions on the 6 steps, one lion at each end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made in any other kingdom.

        • NET Bible points out that instead of a golden footstool, “The parallel text of 1 Kgs 10:19 has instead ‘and the back of it was rounded on top.’”

      • All of King Solomon’s cups were made of gold and all of the utensils in the House of the Lebanon Forest were made of pure gold. Nothing was made of silver because silver wasn’t considered valuable in Solomon’s time. The king had a fleet of large trading ships manned by Hiram’s servants that sailed the sea. Once every 3 years the fleet returned with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.

        • NET Bible includes a couple of textual notes: “Heb ‘for ships belonging to the king were going [to] Tarshish.’ This probably refers to large ships either made in or capable of traveling to the distant western port of Tarshish.” (I’ve sided with the NET Bible’s translation of this verse). And, monkeys or peacocks, take your pick: “The meaning of this word is unclear; some suggest it refers to ‘baboons.’ NEB has ‘monkeys,’ NASB, NRSV ‘peacocks,’ and NIV ‘baboons.””

      • King Solomon was wealthier and wiser than any of the kings of the earth. All the kings on the earth wanted to visit Solomon to hear his God-given wisdom. Year after year visitors brought gifts: items of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.

      • Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his horses and chariots and 12,000 horses. He kept them in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates River in the north to the land of the Philistines as far as the border of Egypt. The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as abundant as sycamore fig trees are in the Judean foothills. Solomon acquired horses from Egypt and from all the countries.

        • NET Bible notes, “The parallel text of 1 Kgs 10:26 reads ‘fourteen hundred chariots.’”

Summary of Solomon’s Reign

      • The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, from start to finish, are recorded in “The Annals of Nathan the Prophet,” “The Prophecy of Ahijah from Shiloh,” and “The Visions of Iddo the Seer” concerning Nebat’s son Jeroboam. Solomon ruled over all of Israel from Jerusalem for 40 years. Then Solomon rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.

        • ESV Study Bible says, “This is from 1 Kings 11:41-43, but with additional reference to Ahijah the Shilonite (see 1 Kings 11:29-40) and Iddo the seer (traditionally identified with the unknown prophet in 1 Kings 13). Although the Chronicler omits the accounts of Solomon’s apostasy and the rebellions he faced in his declining years (1 Kings 11), the allusion to the words of these prophets directs the reader to the account in Kings, where a more critical portrayal of Solomon is preserved. As with his presentation of David, the Chronicler’s focus here is on the positive achievement of Solomon’s reign and its abiding significance for his community…”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “The Chronicler apparently used prophetic anthologies or annals as part of his source material; the works of individual prophets may have been incorporated into larger collections. These sources no longer exist. Nathan and Ahijah were active during the reigns of David and Solomon…”

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