2Chronicles 1:1 ¶ And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.
This book does not continue chronologically from the first one. It jumps back in time to shortly after Solomon became king. The writer notes that Solomon, the son of David, became firmly established in his kingdom because the LORD “his God” was with him and caused him to be greatly honored.
I think it is important to note that the LORD is identified as Solomon’s God. That indicates to me that as he started his reign, Solomon’s faith in the LORD was obvious from how he lived. How did the LORD accomplish making the king great? I think by blessing him very obviously for all to see.
2Chronicles 1:2 Then Solomon spake unto all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers.
2Chronicles 1:3 So Solomon, and all the congregation with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness.
2Chronicles 1:4 But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjathjearim to the place which David had prepared for it: for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem.
2Chronicles 1:5 Moreover the brasen altar, that Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, he put before the tabernacle of the LORD: and Solomon and the congregation sought unto it.
2Chronicles 1:6 And Solomon went up thither to the brasen altar before the LORD, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it.
Solomon spoke to all the military, religious and civic leaders among the people and evidently asked them join him at Gibeon (5-7 miles NW of Jerusalem) to make offerings before the LORD at the tabernacle of the congregation that Moses had made in the wilderness.
It is noted that the ark was no longer at the tabernacle because David had moved it to the special tent he had made for it in Jerusalem. He had put the brazen altar made by Bezaleel in the wilderness in front of the tabernacle in Gibeon. It was there that Solomon went and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it to the LORD.
Guzik notes that the tabernacle and altar were over 500 years old by this time.
2Chronicles 1:7 In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee.
2Chronicles 1:8 And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead.
2Chronicles 1:9 Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.
2Chronicles 1:10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?
That night God appeared to Solomon and asked him what he would like for Him to give him. In 1Kings we learn that this appearance was in a dream. Solomon’s response must have been through his subconscious spirit, but it was no less real. Solomon responded by acknowledging how God had shown great mercy to his father David and had made him the next king. The account in 1Kings notes that Solomon knew such mercy was in recognition of David’s commitment to live before the LORD in truth and righteousness with his whole heart.
1 Kings 3:6 “And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee….”
Solomon then asked that the LORD to fulfill the promise He had made to David since He had made him king over such a great nation. I believe this to be a reference to God’s promise to establish the throne of David forever.
1 Kings 2:4 “That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.”
Solomon then asked the LORD for wisdom and knowledge to be able to govern such a great nation with right judgment. Again, the account in 1Kings adds a little more.
1 Kings 3:9 “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”
Wisdom, knowledge and understanding all go hand-in-hand when it comes to righteous governance. Solomon wanted to be able to discern between good and bad so that he could make right judgments.
2Chronicles 1:11 And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king:
2Chronicles 1:12 Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.
God was pleased with Solomon’s answer. He told Solomon that because he had not asked for riches, wealth, honor, destruction of his enemies or for long life, he would not only give him the wisdom and knowledge he requested, but he would also give him the things for which he did not ask—riches, wealth and honor. The LORD declared that no king before or after him would have such blessing.
So what is the difference in riches and wealth? When I looked at the Hebrew, it seemed to indicate that wealth was a continual accumulation of riches.
The account in 1Kings tells us that the LORD’s promise to give Solomon a long life was dependent upon his obedience to the LORD.
1 Kings 3:14 “And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.”
This episode in Solomon’s life provided the foundation for a poem the LORD gave me several years ago. It is included at the end of this chapter.
2Chronicles 1:13 ¶ Then Solomon came from his journey to the high place that was at Gibeon to Jerusalem, from before the tabernacle of the congregation, and reigned over Israel.
2Chronicles 1:14 And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
2Chronicles 1:15 And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the vale for abundance.
2Chronicles 1:16 And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price.
2Chronicles 1:17 And they fetched up, and brought forth out of Egypt a chariot for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so brought they out horses for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, by their means.
Solomon returned to Jerusalem and assumed his throne. He gathered together his chariots—1400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen—and placed them in the chariot cities. Silver and gold became as plenteous as rocks in Jerusalem and cedar trees became as plenteous as the sycomore trees in the lowlands. He purchased and brought horses and chariots out of Egypt for 150 shekels of silver and 600 shekels of silver respectively. Many of these were then resold to the kings of the Hittites and Syrians.
JFB adds this historical note: “As the Syrians, who were fond of the Egyptian breed of horses, could import them into their own country only through Judea, Solomon early perceived the commercial advantages to be derived from this trade, and established a monopoly. His factors or agents purchased them in the markets or fairs of Egypt and brought them to the ‘chariot cities,’ the depots and stables he had erected on the frontiers of his kingdom….”
Despite the obvious economic bounty incurred from Solomon’s actions, I can’t help but be reminded that the LORD had specifically declared through Moses that the kings of Israel were note to accumulate horses or even go to Egypt.
Deuteronomy 17:15–16 “…one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.”
There is a discrepancy between the King James and some of the other translations regarding verse 16. What the KJV identifies as linen yarn, other translations identify as a reference to Kue or Cilicia. There is support for both, and neither is significant to important theological truth.
“What Shall I Give Thee?”
“What shall I give thee?
God inquired of Solomon one day.
What if He asked me the very same thing?
I wondered what would I say.
Would I ask for an understanding heart?
To know the bad from the good?
Would I ask to be clay in the Potter’s hands?
For the strength to do what I should?
To be known as God’s friend?
To be free from pride?
To possess a heart that is pure?
The choices are many.
Which one is best?
I want to be very sure.
The more that I pondered,
The shining light of truth began to dawn.
He couldn’t give more than He already had—
His precious only Son.
As an heir with Christ, there is nothing I lack.
I have everything that I need.
The choices I make show the value I place
On my gift from the King of kings.
He gave me the Spirit to teach me
And empower me from above.
It’s up to me to obey Him
And submit to Him in love.
I’d never trade with King Solomon
For his wisdom, wealth and fame.
I have so much more that is mine to claim
In Jesus’ holy name.
So, thank you, dear Lord for your patience and love,
For Your mercy and Your grace.
Please help me to humbly serve You with joy
TilI I see You face to face.