The Word Made Fresh
1Solomon, son of David, settled into his rule over the kingdom. The LORD his God was with him and helped him to become a great king.
2Solomon summoned all the army commanders of brigades and battalions, judges and leaders, and family heads from all over Israel. 3They went together to the hilltop shrine at Gibeon because the LORD’s meeting tent that Moses had made in the wilderness was located there. 4David had brought the LORD’s covenant chest from Kiriath-Jearim to the tent he had prepared for it in Jerusalem, 5but the bronze altar Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur had made was at Gibeon in front of the LORD’s sanctuary, so Solomon and the people he had gathered went there to seek guidance. 6Solomon approached the bronze altar of the LORD and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.
7That night God appeared to him and said, “Ask what I should give you.” 8Solomon told God, “You have loved and supported my father steadfastly, and have appointed me his successor as king. 8Continue your support of my father David, LORD God, for now you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10Grant me the wisdom and knowledge I will need to lead this people, for who can rule them without your support?”
11God answered, “Because you have asked for this instead of asking for great possessions and wealth and honor, or for me to do away with those who hate you, and since you haven’t even asked for a long life, but only for wisdom and knowledge to be able to rule these people over whom I have made you king, 12I will give you wisdom and knowledge. I will also give you wealth, great possessions, and honor, more than any who have ruled before you or will rule after you.” 13Then Solomon returned from the hilltop shrine at Gibeon and began his reign over Israel in Jerusalem.
14He acquired chariots and horses; fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses. He placed them in chariot cities around the kingdom, and in Jerusalem where the king’s throne was seated. 15Under his rule silver and gold were as plentiful in Jerusalem as were stones, and cedar as plentiful as the sycamores of the Shephelah. 16His horses were brought in from Egypt and Kue; his traders acquired them at Kue at the full price. 17They imported chariots for six hundred silver pieces each and horses for a hundred fifty each; then exported them to the kings of the Hittites and the Arameans.
1: Solomon’s reign begins. God is with him, and he prospers.
2-6: He assembles the leaders of the nation at Gibeon where the sanctuary tent of Moses is located. Remarkably, even the altar that Bezalel had made in the time of Moses is still in use, but the ark of the covenant David has removed to Jerusalem. Solomon offers a thousand burnt offerings on it. It sounds like an impressive beginning, doesn’t it?
7-13: Solomon’s pilgrimage to Gibeon is also recorded in 1 Kings 3:3-15. In that account Solomon had been king for several years and had married the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Gibeon is only one of the “high places” on which the people sacrificed, and no mention was made in 1 Kings that the tabernacle and the bronze altar were there. The chronicler seems to be interested in cutting Solomon a little slack as had been done for David in 1 Chronicles. Another difference from the 1 Kings account is that God’s appearance to Solomon there was in a dream; the 2 Chronicles version doesn’t mention that it was a dream, making it read as though God personally appears to Solomon. Another difference: in the former account Solomon asks for “an understanding mind,” “able to discern between good and evil.” In the present account he asks for “wisdom and knowledge.” The basic story is the same, though: Solomon is at Gibeon making sacrifices; he dreams that God asks him what he wants; he replies that he wants the ability to rule well; God is pleased with his request and grants it, and also promises him material and other worldly success; Solomon returns to Jerusalem and settles into the task of ruling the country.
14-17: Solomon builds up the military by adding significant numbers of chariots, the ancient counterpart to today’s mechanized cavalry. He buys from Egypt and sells to Aram and to the Hittites in Asia Minor. Jerusalem is enjoying an economic boom.
So, we begin 2 Chronicles with David’s son Solomon on the throne. It will be interesting to see how this account of Solomon’s reign differs from the account in 1 Kings 2-11. Solomon is off to a good start, though. He realizes that he will need God’s direction if he is to be a successful leader. Remember that David has defeated all of Israel’s enemies and Solomon has no military experience. He has led a protected life up until now. Let’s see how long that lasts.