The Word Made Fresh
1It took Solomon twenty years to build the LORD’s house and his own house. 2Then he also rebuilt the towns Huram had given him and settled some of the people of Israel there.
3He went against Hamath-Zobah and took it, 4and he built Tadmor plus all the storage facilities in Hamath. 5He built upper and lower Beth-Horon and fortified them with walls, gates, and bars. 6He also built Baalath and all his storage towns, plus the towns for his chariots and his cavalry, and whatever else Solomon wanted to build in Jerusalem and Lebanon and anywhere in his kingdom. 7All the people left of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites 8Solomon drafted into forced labor as is still done today. 9He did not force any of the people of Israel to do his work, however. They were soldiers, officers, and commanders of his chariots and cavalry, 10and two hundred fifty of them were put in positions of authority over the people.
11Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter from the city of David to the house he had built for her. He said, “My wife shall not live in the house of king David of Israel; those places which have housed the covenant chest are sacred.”
12Solomon continued to offer burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar he had built in front of the temple entrance 13as each day required. And he made offerings in accordance with the rules Moses had set forth for sabbaths, new moons and the three annual festivals – Unleavened Bread, Weeks, and Booths. 14And, in keeping with the arrangements made by his father David, he assigned priests to their divisions for their work, and the Levites to their positions of worship and work alongside the priests as each day required. Also, the gatekeepers were appointed to their sections for the several gates because David, the man of God, had ordered it. 15The priests and Levites did not take lightly anything the king commanded regarding everything, including the treasuries. 16So, all the work of Solomon was finished, from the day the foundation of the LORD’s house was laid until it was completed.
17Then Solomon traveled to Ezion-Geber and Eloth on the seashore in the land of Edom. 18Huram provided him with attendants, ships, and sailors. They went to Ophir, along with Solomon’s attendants, and imported from there seventeen tons of gold and brought it back for king Solomon.
1-2: After all the building Solomon did in Jerusalem, he rebuilt the cities King Huram had given him, and settled Israelite citizens there. This is completely different from the report in 1 Kings 9:10-14 where it is said that Solomon gave King Hiram twenty cities in Galilee, and Hiram was not impressed with them. This version of the story puts Solomon in a much better light.
3-10: 1 Kings does not mention the capture of Beth-Zobah and this, in fact, is apparently the only military action ascribed anywhere to Solomon, but he probably did not personally take part in the battle. Solomon engaged in extensive building projects all over the country, including Lebanon, which was part of Israel during his reign. He used forced labor, but the chronicler (and the earlier account in 1 Kings) claims that he did not draft Israelites, only other people living in the land.
11: 1 Kings 9:24 reports that Solomon built a house for Pharaoh’s daughter, but here we are also told the reason: she cannot be allowed to live in David’s compound where the ark of God has been kept. The reason was because she was a worshiper of the gods of Egypt.
12-15: 1 Kings 9:25 reports that Solomon brought offerings three times a year. The chronicler, however, expands Solomon’s religious involvement considerably, having him doing so every day, with double offerings on Sabbaths and at New Moon observances as well as the three annual festivals. And here the festivals are named – the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Passover), the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Booths (Succoth). The chronicler also reports that Solomon appoints priests according to David’s commands. The priesthood and the worship life of Israel are, as we have already noted, of primary interest to the chronicler.
16: In summary, the chronicler brackets everything Solomon does around the building of the temple.
17-18: Interesting: In 1 Kings (9:26-28), Solomon is said to have built a fleet of ships at Ezion-Geber at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea. The chronicler, however, reports that King Huram supplies the ships and the sailors, sails them down the Red Sea to Ophir (exact location unknown), and brings back gold for Solomon. The relationship between Solomon and Huram (Hiram) is a complicated one and there are implications that Huram was in some way subservient to Solomon. If Lebanon was part of Israel at the time, logically Tyre may have been as well since it is located on the Mediterranean Sea in present-day Lebanon. Still, it makes more sense that the ships at Ezion-Geber should belong to Huram rather than Solomon because the Tyreans were a sea-faring people.
This is the chronicler’s attempt to flesh out the accomplishments of Solomon. In I Kings, after the temple is built, Solomon’s many wives are mentioned, and we were told that he accommodated their worship of other gods. To be brief, in 2 Chronicles Solomon accomplishes very little after building the temple and the royal palace. Of course, we’ll learn about his great wisdom, an achievement made possible by lots of free time, in chapter 9. His father David did all the work. Solomon gets to enjoy the fruit of his father’s labors.