Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Solomon's City-Building, Statute Labour, Arrangement of Public Worship, and Nautical Undertakings - 2 Chronicles 8
The building of the temple was the most important work of Solomon's reign, as compared with which all the other undertakings of the king fall into the background; and these are consequently only summarily enumerated both in the book of Kings and in the Chronicle. In our chapter, in the first place, we have, (a) the building or completion of various cities, which were of importance partly as strongholds, partly as magazines, for the maintenance of the army necessary for the defence of the kingdom against hostile attacks (2 Chronicles 8:1-6); (b) the arrangement of the statute labour for the execution of all his building works (2 Chronicles 8:7-11); (c) the regulation of the sacrificial service and the public worship (2 Chronicles 8:12-16); and (d) the voyage to Ophir (2 Chronicles 8:17, 2 Chronicles 8:18). All these undertakings are recounted in the same order and in the same aphoristic way in 1 Kings 9:10-28, but with the addition of various notes, which are not found in our narrative; while the Chronicle, again, mentions several not unimportant though subordinate circumstances, which are not found in the book of Kings; whence it is clear that in the two narratives we have merely short and mutually supplementary extracts from a more elaborate description of these matters.
And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house,The city-building. - 2 Chronicles 8:1. The date, "at the end of twenty years, when Solomon ... had built," agrees with that in 1 Kings 9:10. The twenty years are to be reckoned from the commencement of the building of the temple, for he had spent seven years in the building of the temple, and thirteen years in that of his palace (1 Kings 6:38; 1 Kings 7:1).
That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there.2 Chronicles 8:2 must be regarded as the apodosis of 2 Chronicles 8:1, notwithstanding that the object, the cities which ... precedes. The unusual position of the words is the result of the aphoristic character of the notice. As to its relation to the statement 1 Kings 9:10-13, see the discussion on that passage. בּנה, 2 Chronicles 8:2, is not to be understood of the fortification of these cities, but of their completion, for, according to 1 Kings 9:10, 1 Kings 9:13, they were in very bad condition. ויּושׁב, he caused to dwell there, i.e., transplanted Israelites thither, cf. 2 Kings 17:6. The account of the cities which Solomon built, i.e., fortified, is introduced (2 Chronicles 8:3) by the important statement, omitted in 1 Kings 9:"Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, and prevailed against it." על חזק, to be strong upon, that is, prevail against, conquer; cf. 2 Chronicles 27:5. Hamath-zobah is not the city Hamath in Zobah, but, as we learn from 2 Chronicles 8:4, the land or kingdom of Hamath. This did not lie, any more than the city Hamath, in Zobah, but bordered on the kingdom of Zobah: cf. 1 Chronicles 18:3; and as to the position of Zobah, see the Commentary on 2 Samuel 8:3. In David's time Hamath and Zobah had their own kings; and David conquered them, and made their kingdoms tributary (1 Chronicles 18:3-10). Because they bordered on each other, Hamath and Zobah are here bound together as a nomen compos. עליה יחזק signifies at least this, that these tributary kingdoms had either rebelled against Solomon, or at least had made attempts to do so; which Solomon suppressed, and in order to establish his dominion over them fortified Tadmor, i.e., Palmyra, and all the store cities in the land of Hamath (see on 1 Kings 9:18.); for, according to 1 Kings 11:23., he had Rezon of Zobah as an enemy during his whole reign; see on that passage.
And Solomon went to Hamathzobah, and prevailed against it.
And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath.
Also he built Bethhoron the upper, and Bethhoron the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars;Besides these, he made Upper and Nether Beth-horon (see on 1 Chronicles 7:24) into fortified cities, with walls, gates, and bars. מצור ערי is the second object of ויּבן, and וגו חומות is in apposition to that. Further, he fortified Baalah, in the tribe of Dan, to defend the kingdom against the Philistines, and, according to 1 Kings 9:15-17, Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer also, - which are omitted here, while in 1 Kings 9:17 Upper Beth-horon is omitted, - and store cities, chariot cities, and cavalry cities; see on 1 Kings 9:15-19.
And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion.
As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which were not of Israel,On the arrangement of the statute labour, see on 1 Kings 9:20-23. - This note is in Chr. abruptly introduced immediately after the preceding. 2 Chronicles 8:7 is an absolute clause: "as regards the whole people, those." מן־בּניהם (2 Chronicles 8:8) is not partitive: some of their sons; but is only placed before the אשׁר: those of their sons (i.e., of the descendants of the whole Canaanite people) who had remained in the land, whom the Israelites had not exterminated; Solomon made a levy of these for statute labourers. The מן is wanting in 1 Kings, but is not to be struck out here on that account. Much more surprising is the אשׁר after שׂראל מן־בּני, 2 Chronicles 8:9, which is likewise not found in 1 Kings, since the following verb נתן לא is not to be taken relatively, but contains the predicate of the subject contained in the words ישׂ מן־בּני. This אשׁר cannot be otherwise justified than by supposing that it is placed after ישׂ בני מן, as in Psalm 69:27 it is placed after the subject of the relative clause, and so stands for ישׂ בני מן בן אשׂר: those who were of the sons of Israel (i.e., Israelites) Solomon did not make ... The preplacing of בּניהם מן in 2 Chronicles 8:8 would naturally suggest that ישׂ בני מן should also precede, in order to bring out sharply the contrast between the sons of the Canaanites and the sons of Israel.
But of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day.
But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they were men of war, and chief of his captains, and captains of his chariots and horsemen.שׁלישׁיו ושׁרי should be altered into ושׁלישׁיו שׂריו as in 1 Kings 9:22, for שׁלישׁים are not chariot combatants, but royal adjutants; see on Exodus 14:7 and 2 Samuel 23:8. Over the statute labourers 250 upper overseers were placed. נציבים שׂרי, chief of the superiors, i.e., chief overseer. The Keth. נציבים, praefecti, is the true reading; cf. 1 Chronicles 18:13; 2 Chronicles 17:2. The Keri has arisen out of 1 Kings 9:23. These overseers were Israelites, while in the number 550 (1 Kings 9:23) the Israelite and Canaanite upper overseers are both included; see on 2 Chronicles 2:17. בּעם refers to כּל־העם, 2 Chronicles 8:7, and denotes the Canaanite people who remained.
And these were the chief of king Solomon's officers, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people.
And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come.The remark that Solomon caused Pharaoh's daughter, whom he had married (1 Kings 3:1), to remove from the city of David into the house which he had built her, i.e., into that part of his newly-built palace which was appointed for the queen, is introduced here, as in 1 Kings 9:24, because it belongs to the history of Solomon's buildings, although in the Chronicle it comes in very abruptly, the author not having mentioned Solomon's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1). The reason given for this change of residence on the part of the Egyptian princess is, that Solomon could not allow her, an Egyptian, to dwell in the palace of King David, which had been sanctified by the reception of the ark, and consequently assigned to her a dwelling in the city of David until he should have finished the building of his palace, in which she might dwell along with him. המּה is, as neuter, used instead of the singular; cf. Ew. 318, b. See also on 1 Kings 3:1 and 1 Kings 9:24.
Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch,The sacrificial service in the new temple. Cf. 1 Kings 9:25, where it is merely briefly recorded that Solomon offered sacrifices three times a year on the altar built by him to the Lord. In our verses we have a detailed account of it. אז, at that time, scil. when the temple building had been finished and the temple dedicated (cf. 2 Chronicles 8:1), Solomon offered burnt-offerings upon the altar which he had built before the porch of the temple. He no longer now sacrifices upon the altar of the tabernacle at Gibeon, as in the beginning of his reign (2 Chronicles 1:3.).
Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles."Even sacrificing at the daily rate, according to the direction of Moses." These words give a supplementary and closer definition of the sacrificing in the form of an explanatory subordinate clause, which is interpolated in the principal sentence. For the following words וגו לשּׁבּתות belong to the principal sentence (2 Chronicles 8:12): he offered sacrifices ... on the sabbaths, the new moons, etc. The ו before בּדבר is explicative, and that equals viz.; and the infin. להעלות, according to the later usage, instead of infin. absol.; cf. Ew. 280, d. The preposition בּ (before דּבר) is the so-called b essentiae: consisting in the daily (rate) to sacrifice (this); cf. Ew. 299, b. The daily rate, i.e., that which was prescribed in the law of Moses for each day, cf. Leviticus 23:37. למּועדות is further explained by the succeeding clause: on the three chief festivals of the year.
And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded.He ordered the temple service, also, entirely according to the arrangement introduced by David as to the service of the priests and Levites. He appointed, according to the ordinance of David his father, i.e., according to the ordinance established by David, the classes of the priests (see on 1 Chronicles 24) to that service, and the Levites to their stations (משׁמרות as in 2 Chronicles 7:6), to praise (cf. 1 Chronicles 25), and to serve before the priests (1 Chronicles 23:28.), according to that which was appointed for every day, and the doorkeepers according to their courses, etc. (see 1 Chronicles 27:1-19). With the last words cf. Nehemiah 12:24.
And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures.This arrangement was faithfully observed by the priests and Levites. The verb סוּר is here construed c. accus. in the signification to transgress a command (cf. Ew. 282, a), and it is therefore not necessary to alter מצות into ממּצות. על־הכּהנים depends upon מצות: the king's command concerning the priests and the Levites, i.e., that which David commanded them. וגו לכל־דּבר, in regard to all things, and especially also in regard to the treasures; cf. 1 Chronicles 26:20-28. - With 2 Chronicles 8:16 the account of what Solomon did for the public worship is concluded: "Now all the work of Solomon was prepared until the (this) day, the foundation of the house of Jahve until its completion; the house of Jahve was finished." מלאכת is explained by מוּסד. היּום is the day on which, after the consecration of the completed temple, the regular public worship was commenced in it, which doubtless was done immediately after the dedication of the temple. Only when the regular worship according to the law of Moses, and with the arrangements as to the service of the priests and Levites established by David, had been commenced, was Solomon's work in connection with the temple completed, and the house of God שׁלם, integer, perfect in all its parts, as it should be. The last clause, בית י שׁלם, is connected rhetorically with what precedes without the conjunction, and is not to be regarded as a subscription, "with which the historian concludes the whole narrative commencing with 2 Chronicles 2:1" (Berth.); for שׁלם does not signify "ended," or to be at an end, but to be set thoroughly (perfectly) in order.
Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was perfected.
Then went Solomon to Eziongeber, and to Eloth, at the sea side in the land of Edom.Voyage to Ophir. Cf. 1 Kings 9:26-28, and the commentary on that passage, where we have discussed the divergences of our narrative, and have also come to the conclusion that Ophir is not to be sought in India, but in Southern Arabia. By אז the date of this voyage is made to fall in the period after the building of the temple and the palace, i.e., in the second half of Solomon's reign.
And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.