Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.(2 Chronicles 1:18). The account of these is introduced by 1:18: "Solomon thought to build." אמר with an infinitive following does not signify here to command one to do anything, as e.g., in 1 Chronicles 21:17, but to purpose to do something, as e.g., in 1 Kings 5:5. For יהוה לשׁם, see on 1 Kings 5:17. למלכוּתו בּית, house for his kingdom, i.e., the royal palace. The building of this palace is indeed shortly spoken of in 2 Chronicles 2:11; 2 Chronicles 7:11, and 2 Chronicles 8:1, but is not in the Chronicle described in detail as in 1 Kings 7:1-12.
(2:1). With 2 Chronicles 2:1 begins the account of the preparations which Solomon made for the erection of these buildings, especially of the temple building, accompanied by a statement that the king caused all the workmen of the necessary sort in his kingdom to be numbered. There follows thereafter an account of the negotiations with King Hiram of Tyre in regard to the sending of a skilful architect, and of the necessary materials, such as cedar wood and hewn stones, from Lebanon (2 Chronicles 2:2-15); and, in conclusion, the statements as to the levying of the statute labourers of Israel (2 Chronicles 2:1) are repeated and rendered more complete (2 Chronicles 2:16, 2 Chronicles 2:17). If we compare the parallel account in 1 Kings 5:5., we find that Solomon's negotiation with Hiram about the proposed buildings is preceded (1 Kings 5:5) by a notice, that Hiram, after he had heard of Solomon's accession, had sent him an embassy to congratulate him. This notice is omitted in the Chronicle, because it was of no importance in the negotiations which succeeded. In the account of Solomon's negotiation with Hiram, both narratives (2 Chronicles 2:2-15 and 1 Kings 5:16.) agree in the main, but differ in form so considerably, that it is manifest that they are free adaptations of one common original document, quite independent of each other, as has been already remarked on 1 Kings 5:5. On 2 Chronicles 2:2 see further on 1 Kings 5:15.
And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.
And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me.(2 Chronicles 2:2-9). Solomon, through his ambassadors, addressed himself to Huram king of Tyre, with the request that he would send him an architect and building wood for the temple. On the Tyrian king Huram or Hiram, the contemporary of David and Solomon, see the discussion on 2 Samuel 5:11. According to the account in 1 Kings 5, Solomon asked cedar wood from Lebanon from Hiram; according to our account, which is more exact, he desired an architect, and cedar, cypress, and other wood. In 1 Kings 5 the motive of Solomon's request is given in the communication to Hiram, viz., that David could not carry out the building of the proposed temple on account of his wars, but that Jahve had given him (Solomon) rest and peace, so that he now, in accordance with the divine promise to David, desired to carry on the building (1 Kings 5:3-5). In the 2 Chronicles 2:2-5, on the contrary, Solomon reminds the Tyrian king of the friendliness with which he had supplied his father David with cedar wood for his palace, and then announces to him his purpose to build a temple to the Lord, at the same time stating that it was designed for the worship of God, whom the heavens and the earth cannot contain. It is clear, therefore, that both authors have expanded the fundamental thoughts of their authority in somewhat freer fashion. The apodosis of the clause beginning with כּאשׁר is wanting, and the sentence is an anacolouthon. The apodosis should be: "do so also for me, and send me cedars." This latter clause follows in 2 Chronicles 2:6, 2 Chronicles 2:7, while the first can easily be supplied, as is done e.g., in the Vulg., by sic fac mecum.
Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel."Behold, I will build." הנּה with a participle of that which is imminent, what one intends to do. לו להקדּישׁ, to sanctify (the house) to Him. The infinitive clause which follows (וגו להקטיר) defines more clearly the design of the temple. The temple is to be consecrated by worshipping Him there in the manner prescribed, by burning incense, etc. סמּים קטרת, incense of odours, Exodus 25:6, which was burnt every morning and evening on the altar of incense, Exodus 30:7. The clauses which follow are to be connected by zeugma with להקטיר, i.e., the verbs corresponding to the objects are to be supplied from הקטיר: "and to spread the continual spreading of bread" (Exodus 25:30), and to offer burnt-offerings, as is prescribed in Numbers 28 and 29. וגו זאת לעולם, for ever is this enjoined upon Israel, cf. 1 Chronicles 23:31.
And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.In order properly to worship Jahve by these sacrifices, the temple must be large, because Jahve is greater than all gods; cf. Exodus 18:11; Deuteronomy 10:17.
No one is able (כּוח עצר as in 1 Chronicles 29:14) to build a house in which this God could dwell, for the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. These words are a reminiscence of Solomon's prayer (1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 6:18). How should I((Solomon) be able to build Him a house, scil. that He should dwell therein? In connection with this, there then comes the thought: and that is not my purpose, but only to offer incense before Him will I build a temple. הקטיר is used as pars pro toto, to designate the whole worship of the Lord. After this declaration of the purpose, there follows in Deuteronomy 10:6 the request that he would send him for this end a skilful chief workman, and the necessary material, viz., costly woods. The chief workman was to be a man wise to work in gold, silver, etc. According to 2 Chronicles 4:11-16 and 1 Kings 7:13., he prepared the brazen and metal work, and the vessels of the temple; here, on the contrary, and in 2 Chronicles 2:13 also, he is described as a man who was skilful also in purple weaving, and in stone and wood work, to denote that he was an artificer who could take charge of all the artistic work connected with the building of the temple. To indicate this, all the costly materials which were to be employed for the temple and its vessels are enumerated. ארגּון, the later form of ארגּמן, deep-red purple, see on Exodus 25:4. כּרמיל, occurring only here, 2 Chronicles 2:6, 2 Chronicles 2:13, and in 2 Chronicles 3:14, in the signification of the Heb. שׁני תּולעת, crimson or scarlet purple, see on Exodus 25:4. It is not originally a Hebrew word, but is probably derived from the Old-Persian, and has been imported, along with the thing itself, from Persia by the Hebrews. תּכלת, deep-blue purple, hyacinth purple, see on Exodus 25:4. פּתּוּהים פּתּח, to make engraved work, and Exodus 28:9, Exodus 28:11, Exodus 28:36, and Exodus 39:6, of engraving precious stones, but used here, as כּל־פּתּוּח, 2 Chronicles 2:13, shows, in the general signification of engraved work in metal or carved work in wood; cf. 1 Kings 6:29. עם־החכמים depends upon לעשׂות: to work in gold ..., together with the wise (skilful) men which are with me in Judah. הכין אשׁר, quos comparavit, cf. 1 Chronicles 28:21; 1 Chronicles 22:15.
But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?
Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide.The materials Hiram was to send were cedar, cypress, and algummim wood from Lebanon. אלגוּמים, 2 Chronicles 2:7 and 2 Chronicles 9:10, instead of אלמגּים, 1 Kings 10:11, probably means sandal wood, which was employed in the temple, according to 1 Kings 10:12, for stairs and musical instruments, and is therefore mentioned here, although it did not grow in Lebanon, but, according to 1 Kings 9:10 and 1 Kings 10:11, was procured at Ophir. Here, in our enumeration, it is inexactly grouped along with the cedars and cypresses brought from Lebanon.
Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants,The infinitive וּלהכין cannot be regarded as the continuation of לכרות, nor is it a continuation of the imperat. לי שׁלח (2 Chronicles 2:7), with the signification, "and let there be prepared for me" (Berth.). It is subordinated to the preceding clauses: send me cedars, which thy people who are skilful in the matter hew, and in that my servants will assist, in order, viz., to prepare me building timber in plenty (the ו is explic). On 2 Chronicles 2:8 cf. 2 Chronicles 2:4. The infin. abs. הפלא is used adverbially: "wonderfully" (Ew. 280, c). In return, Solomon promises to supply the Tyrian workmen with grain, wine, and oil for their maintenance - a circumstance which is omitted in 1 Kings 5:10; see on 2 Chronicles 2:14. להטבים is more closely defined by העצים לכרתי, and ל is the introductory ל: "and behold, as to the hewers, the fellers of trees." חטב, to hew (wood), and to dress it (Deuteronomy 29:10; Joshua 9:21, Joshua 9:23), would seem to have been supplanted by חצב, which in 2 Chronicles 2:2, 2 Chronicles 2:18 is used for it, and it is therefore explained by העצים כּרת. "I will give wheat מכּות to thy servants" (the hewers of wood). The word מכּות gives no suitable sense; for "wheat of the strokes," for threshed wheat, would be a very extraordinary expression, even apart from the facts that wheat, which is always reckoned by measure, is as a matter of course supposed to be threshed, and that no such addition is made use of with the barley. מכּות is probably only an orthographical error for מכּלת, food, as may be seen from 1 Kings 5:11.
Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.
And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.
Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the LORD hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them.The answer of King Hiram; cf. 1 Kings 5:7-11. - Hiram answered בּכתב, in a writing, a letter, which he sent to Solomon. In 1 Kings 5:7 Hiram first expresses his joy at Solomon's request, because it was of importance to him to be on a friendly footing with the king of Israel. In the Chronicle his writing begins with the congratulation: because Jahve loveth His people, hath He made thee king over them. Cf. for the expression, 2 Chronicles 9:8 and 1 Kings 10:9. He then, according to both narratives, praises God that He has given David so wise a son. ויּאמר, 2 Chronicles 2:12, means: then he said further. The praise of God is heightened in the Chronicle by Hiram's entering into Solomon's religious ideas, calling Jahve the Creator of heaven and earth. Then, further, חכם בּן is strengthened by וּבינה שׂכל יודע, having understanding and discernment; and this predicate is specially referred to Solomon's resolve to build a temple to the Lord. Then in 2 Chronicles 2:13. he promises to send Solomon the artificer Huram-Abi. On the title אבי, my father, i.e., minister, counsellor, and the descent of this man, cf. the commentary on 1 Kings 7:13-14. In 2 Chronicles 2:14 of the Chronicle his artistic skill is described in terms coinciding with Solomon's wish in 2 Chronicles 2:6, only heightened by small additions. To the metals as materials in which he could work, there are added stone and wood work, and to the woven fabrics בּוּץ (byssus), the later word for שׁשׁ; and finally, to exhaust the whole, he is said to be able כּל־מח ולחשׁב, to devise all manner of devices which shall be put to him, as in Exodus 31:4, he being thus raised to the level of Bezaleel, the chief artificer of the tabernacle. עם־חכמיך is dependent upon לעשׂות, as in 2 Chronicles 2:6. The promise to send cedars and cypresses is for the sake of brevity here omitted, and only indirectly indicated in 2 Chronicles 2:16. In 2 Chronicles 2:15, however, it is mentioned that Hiram accepted the promised supply of grain, wine, and oil for the labourers; and 2 Chronicles 2:16 closes with the promise to fell the wood required in Lebanon, and to cause it to be sent in floats to Joppa (Jaffa), whence Solomon could take it up to Jerusalem. The word צרך, "need," is a ἅπαξ λεγ. in the Old Testament, but is very common in Aramaic writings. רפסדות, "floats," too, occurs only here instead of דּבבות, 1 Kings 5:9, and its etymology is unknown. If we compare 1 Kings 5:13-16 with the parallel account in 1 Kings 5:8-11, we find that, besides Hiram's somewhat verbose promise to fell the desired quantity of cedars and cypresses on Lebanon, and to send them in floats by sea to the place appointed by Solomon, the latter contains a request from Hiram that Solomon would give him לחם, maintenance for his house, and a concluding remark that Hiram sent Solomon cedar wood, while Solomon gave Hiram, year by year, 20,000 kor of wheat as food for his house, i.e., the royal household, and twenty kor beaten oil, that is, of the finest oil. In the book of Kings, therefore, the promised wages of grain, wine, and oil, which were sent to the Tyrian woodcutters, is passed over, and only the quantity of wheat and finest oil which Solomon gave to the Tyrian king for his household, year by year, in return for the timber sent, is mentioned. In the Chronicle, on the contrary, only the wages or payment to the woodcutters is mentioned, and the return made for the building timber is not spoken of; but there is no reason for bringing these two passages, which treat of different things, into harmony by alterations of the text. For further discussion of this and of the measures, see on 1 Kings 5:11.
Huram said moreover, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.
And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father's,
The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father.
Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants:
And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem.
And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them; and they were found an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred.In 2 Chronicles 2:17 and 2 Chronicles 2:18 the short statement in 2 Chronicles 2:2 as to Solomon's statute labourers is again taken up and expanded. Solomon caused all the men to be numbered who dwelt in the land of Israel as strangers, viz., the descendants of the Canaanites who were not exterminated, "according to the numbering (ספר occurs only here) as his father David had numbered them." This remark refers to 1 Chronicles 22:2, where, however, it is only said that David commanded the strangers to be assembled. But as he caused them to be assembled in order to secure labourers for the building of the temple, he doubtless caused them to be numbered; and to this reference is here made. The numbering gave a total of 153,000 men, of whom 70,000 were made bearers of burdens, 80,000 חצב, i.e., probably hewers of stone and wood בּהר, i.e., on Lebanon, and 3600 foremen or overseers over the workmen, את־העם להעביד, to cause the people to work, that is, to hold them to their task. With this cf. 1 Kings 5:15., where the number of the overseers is stated at 3300. This difference is explained by the fact that in the Chronicle the total number of overseers, of higher and lower rank, is given, while in the book of Kings only the number of overseers of the lower rank is given without the higher overseers. Solomon had in all 550 higher overseers of the builders (Israelite and Canaanite), - cf. 1 Kings 9:23; and of these, 250 were Israelites, who alone are mentioned in 2 Chronicles 8:10, while the remaining 300 were Canaanites. The total number of overseers is the same in both accounts, - 3850; who are divided in the Chronicle into 3600 Canaanitish and 250 Israelitish, in the book of Kings into 3300 lower and 550 higher overseers (see on 1 Kings 5:16). It is, moreover, stated in 1 Kings 5:12. that Solomon had levied a force of 30,000 statute labourers from among the people of Israel, with the design that a third part of them, that is, 10,000 men, should labour alternately for a month at a time in Lebanon, looking after their own affairs at home during the two following months. This levy of workmen from among the people of Israel is not mentioned in the Chronicle.
And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work.