2 Chronicles 8 (New Living Translation)
Solomon’s Many Achievements
1 It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord’s Temple and his own royal palace.
Bob the Builder? Not in this chapter! SOLOMON the Builder! He energetically settled new cities and built storage cities, fortifications, chariot cities, and cities of the cavalry.
At the end of that time, 2Solomon turned his attention to rebuilding the towns that King Hiram had given him, and he settled Israelites in them.
A problem comes in reconciling the mention of the cities that Hiram gave to Solomon, because 1 Kings 9:11-14 indicates that they were given by Solomon to Hiram. “While textual disturbance is possible, it seems more probable that they had been returned to Solomon, either because they were unacceptable (1 Kings 9:12-13) or because they had been collateral for a loan (1 Kings 9:14).” (Selman)
3 Solomon also fought against the town of Hamath-zobah and conquered it. 4 He rebuilt Tadmor in the wilderness and built towns in the region of Hamath as supply centers. 5 He fortified the towns of Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, rebuilding their walls and installing barred gates. 6 He also rebuilt Baalath and other supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm.
7 There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 8 These were descendants of the nations whom the people of Israel had not destroyed. So Solomon conscripted them for his labor force, and they serve in the labor force to this day. 9 But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for his labor force. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, officers in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers. 10 King Solomon appointed 250 of them to supervise the people.
Solomon used the people of neighboring conquered nations as slave labor in his building projects. Israelites were used in the building of the temple and the king’s palace, but usually as the overseers of the forced labor.
11 Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. He said, “My wife must not live in King David’s palace, for the Ark of the Lord has been there, and it is holy ground.”
“To build a house for Pharaoh’s daughter outside the Holy City is to open its gates sooner or later to Pharaoh’s gods.”
–G. Campbell Morgan (English evangelist and scholar, died in 1945)
12 Then Solomon presented burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar he had built for him in front of the entry room of the Temple. 13 He offered the sacrifices for the Sabbaths, the new moon festivals, and the three annual festivals—the Passover celebration, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters—as Moses had commanded.
14 In assigning the priests to their duties, Solomon followed the regulations of his father, David. He also assigned the Levites to lead the people in praise and to assist the priests in their daily duties. And he assigned the gatekeepers to their gates by their divisions, following the commands of David, the man of God. 15 Solomon did not deviate in any way from David’s commands concerning the priests and Levites and the treasuries.
16 So Solomon made sure that all the work related to building the Temple of the Lord was carried out, from the day its foundation was laid to the day of its completion.
After reading much in these chapters prior about the extraordinary celebration as the temple was dedicated, this portion brings us round to the on-going regular worship. No community can exist on great occasions alone. The temple was built to be the center of routine worship for Israel. Solomon is meticulous and makes sure all the ordinary, daily activities are done correctly. This orderly organization was a reflection of his great wisdom and an answer to his prayer for help in leading the kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 3).
So much of our lives is lived in the routine! Up — work — home — dinner — bed. Yet even in these “days of small things” (Zechariah 4:10), our hearts can be praising and thanking God for the blessings of the day, and we can be witnessing to those in our circle of influence about the kindness of our Lord Jesus.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
17 Later Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Elath, ports along the shore of the Red Sea in the land of Edom. 18 Hiram sent him ships commanded by his own officers and manned by experienced crews of sailors. These ships sailed to Ophir with Solomon’s men and brought back to Solomon almost seventeen tons of gold.
This is new for Israel. Although we think of their land as bordering the Mediterranean, ancient Israelites were not known as sailors or sea faring people. That skill belonged to the Phoenicians. Ezion-geber and Elath have often been identified as ports at the north end of the Gulf of Aqaba; from there ships could sail to the Red Sea and beyond. Modern scholars are uncertain as to the location of Ophir and all its gold.
HERE. This song was popular in Israel during Solomon’s building phase! Maybe it can encourage us today!
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.