2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 8
The External Glory of Solomon's Reign.
SOLOMON'S PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND SERFS. — V. 1. And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the Lord, the building of the Temple taking seven years, and his own house, whose erection took thirteen years, v. 2. that the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, those in Northwestern Galilee, which had been granted to Huram by Solomon, but refused by the Phenician king as unsuitable for the purposes of his chief industries, 1 Kings 9, 11, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there, he colonized these cities with people of his own nation. V. 3. And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, probably a confederacy of two Syrian kingdoms on, and east of, the Orontes, and prevailed against it, he overcame the forces of the confederacy whose rulers had in some way provoked his resentment. V. 4. And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, later the famous Palmyra of Queen Zenobia, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath, the fortified towns along the northern frontier, either to further his commercial enterprises or to secure himself against an attack from the north. V. 5. Also he built Beth-horon the Upper and Beth-horon the Nether, on the Philistine frontier, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars; v. 6. and Baalath, in the same territory, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, some of which were situated in the rich grazing lands in the south, and the cities of the horsemen, where his cavalry was stationed, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem and in Lebanon, where he is believed to have had a summer home, and throughout all the land of his dominion. V. 7. 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, descendants of the Canaanite nations that occupied the land before the conquest, v. 8. but of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel, contrary to the original command of the Lord, consumed not, whom the Lord, therefore, left in the country as a perpetual snare to Israel, Judg. 2, 1-3, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day, reduced them to the condition of serfs. V. 9. But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work, they were not forced to perform menial tasks; but they were men of war and chief of his captains and captains of his chariots and horsemen, they held positions of honor in the army. V. 10. And these were the chief of King Solomon's officers, the overseers belonging to Israel only, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people. So Solomon showed himself a wise administrator in all the affairs of his kingdom, interested in the welfare and security of his people. His kingdom is a type of the kingdom of Christ with its spiritual, heavenly, eternal blessings.
SOLOMON'S WORSHIP AND NAVIGATION. — V. 11. And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the City of David unto the house that he had built for her, a special building of his palace for his chief wife; 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. She had lived in some part of the lower city since her marriage to Solomon, because the king deemed it improper for a former heathen, particularly with servants who were still heathen, to live on the premises where the Tabernacle of David had once stood, which had been hallowed by the presence of the Ark of the Covenant. In a similar manner we set our churches apart from ordinary use, preferably solely for the administration of the means of grace. V. 12. Then Solomon, through the priests ordained for that ministry, offered burnt offerings unto the Lord on the altar of the Lord which he had built before the porch, just east of the great entrance portico leading to the Sanctuary, v. 13. 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, above all, the great festivals, three times in the year, even in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles, for all of which the sacrifices were exactly prescribed in the books of Moses. V. 14. And he appointed, according to the order of David, his father, 2 Chron. 24, 25. 26, the courses of the priests to their service, their divisions and the sequence of their ministry having been established by David in solemn assembly, and the Levites to their charges, 1 Chron. 25, 1, to praise and minister before the priests, by assisting them in the various tasks of the Temple, as the duty of every day required; the porters also by their courses at every gate, 1 Chron. 9, 7; 26, 1; for so had David, the man of God, commanded. V. 15. And they departed not from the commandment of the king, that is, of David, unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, in regulating the courses and fixing the tasks, or concerning the treasures, in applying the available precious metals and votive gifts to the construction and adornment of the Temple. V. 16. 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, this including the entire fitting up and arrangement of the Temple for divine worship. So the house of the Lord was perfected, made ready in all its parts for the consecrated use for which it was intended. V. 17. Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, at the head of the Elanitic Gulf of the Red Sea, and to Eloth, another port on the same gulf, at the sea side in the land of Edom. Solomon was shrewd enough to see that his country needed more commercial enterprises if it was to become powerful among the nations. V. 18. And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea, seasoned and experienced mariners; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, the location of which is unknown, though it is generally placed on the southeastern coast of Africa, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold (almost $9,000,000), and brought them to King Solomon. That was the regular load of his navy. But all this wealth is as nothing beside the heavenly and eternal glory which the Second Solomon, Jesus Christ, gives to those who are faithful to Him to the end.