Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
III. History of Solomon's Kingship - 2 Chronicles 1-9
The kingship of Solomon centres in the building of the temple of the Lord, and the account of that begins in 2 Chron 2 with a statement of the preparations which Solomon made for the accomplishment of this great work, so much pressed upon him by his father, and concludes in 2 Chron 7 with the answer which the Lord gave to his consecrating prayer in a vision. In 2 Chron 1, before the history of the temple building, we have an account of the sacrifice at Gibeon by which Solomon inaugurated his reign (Ch2 1:1-13), with some short notices of his power and riches (Ch2 1:14-17); and in 2 Chron 8 and 9, after the temple building, we have summary statements about the palaces and cities which he built (Ch2 8:1-11), the arrangement of the regular religious service (Ch2 8:12-16), the voyage to Ophir (Ch2 8:17, Ch2 8:18), the visit of the queen of Sheba (Ch2 9:1-12), his riches and his royal magnificence and glory (2 Chron 9:13-28), with the concluding notices of the duration of his reign, and of his death (Ch2 9:29, Ch2 9:30). If we compare with this the description of Solomon's reign in 1 Kings 1-11, we find that in the Chronicle not only are the narratives of his accession to the throne in consequence of Adonijah's attempted usurpation, and his confirming his kingdom by punishing the revolter (1 Kings 1 and 2), of his marriage to the Egyptian princess (Kg1 3:1, Kg1 3:2), his wise judgment (Kg1 3:16-28), his public officers, his official men, his royal magnificence and glory (1 Kings 4:1-5:14), omitted, but also the accounts of the building of his palace (Kg1 7:1-12), of his idolatry, and of the adversaries who rose against him (1 Kings 11:1-40). On the other hand, the description of the building and consecration of the temple is supplemented by various important details which are omitted from the first book of Kings. Hence it is clear that the author of the Chronicle purposed only to portray more exactly the building of the house of God, and has only shortly touched upon all the other undertakings of this wise and fortunate king.
2 Chronicles 1:1
The sacrifice at Gibeon, and the theophany. - Ch2 1:1-6. When Solomon had established himself upon his throne, he went with the princes and representatives of the congregation of Israel to Gibeon, to seek for the divine blessing upon his reign by a solemn sacrifice to be offered there before the tabernacle. Ch2 1:1 forms, as it were, the superscription of the account of Solomon's reign which follows. In וגו ויּתחזּק = Solomon established himself in his kingdom, i.e., he became strong and mighty in his kingdom, the older commentators saw a reference to the defeat of Adonijah, the pretender to the crown, and his followers (1 Kings 2). But this view of the words is too narrow; we find the same remark made of other kings whose succession to the throne had not been questioned (cf. Ch2 12:13; Ch2 13:21; Ch2 17:1, and Ch2 21:4), and the remark refers to the whole reign-to all that Solomon undertook in order to establish a firm dominion, not merely to his entry upon it. With this view of the words, the second clause, "his God was with him, and made him very great," coincides. God gave His blessing to all that Solomon did for this end. With the last words cf. Ch1 29:25.
We have an account of the sacrifice at Gibeon (Ch2 1:7-13) in Kg1 3:4-15 also. The two narratives agree in all the main points, but, in so far as their form is concerned, it is at once discernible that they are two independent descriptions of the same thing, but derived from the same sources. In 1 Kings 3 the theophany-in our text, on the contrary, that aspect of the sacrifice which connected it with the public worship-is more circumstantially narrated. While in Kg1 3:4 it is briefly said the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, our historian records that Solomon summoned the princes and representatives of the people to this solemn act, and accompanied by them went to Gibeon. This sacrifice was no mere private sacrifice-it was the religious consecration of the opening of his reign, at which the estates of the kingdom were present as a matter of course. "All Israel" is defined by "the princes over the thousands ..., the judges, and all the honourable;" then לכל־שׂראל is again taken up and explained by the apposition האבות ראשׁי: to all Israel, viz., the heads of the fathers'-houses. ל is to be repeated before ראשׁי. What Solomon said to all Israel through its representatives, is not communicated; but it may be gathered from what succeeds, that he summoned them to accompany him to Gibeon to offer the sacrifice. The reason why he offered his sacrifice at the בּמה, i.e., place of sacrifice, is given in Ch2 1:3. There the Mosaic tabernacle stood, yet without the ark, which David had caused to be brought up from Kirjath-jearim to Jerusalem (Ch1 13:1-14 and 15). In לו בּהכין the article in ba represents the relative אשׁר = בּאשׁר or לו הכין אשׁר בּמקום; cf. Jdg 5:27; Rut 1:16; Kg1 21:19; see on Ch1 26:28. Although the ark was separated from the tabernacle, yet by the latter at Gibeon was the Mosaic altar of burnt-offering, and on that account the sanctuary at Gibeon was Jahve's dwelling, and the legal place of worship for burnt-offerings of national-theocratic import. "As our historian here brings forward emphatically the fact that Solomon offered his burnt-offering at the legal place of worship, so he points out in Ch1 21:28-30 :1, how David was only brought by extraordinary events, and special signs from God, to sacrifice on the altar of burnt-offering erected by him on the threshing-floor of Ornan, and also states how he was prevented from offering his burnt-offering in Gibeon" (Berth.). As to Bezaleel, the maker of the brazen altar, cf. Exo 31:2 and Exo 37:1. Instead of שׂם, which most manuscripts and many editions have before לפני, and which the Targ. and Syr. also express, there is found in most editions of the 16th century, and also in manuscripts, שׁם, which the lxx and Vulgate also read. The reading שׁם is unquestionably better and more correct, and the Masoretic pointing שׂם, posuit, has arisen by an undue assimilation of it to Exo 40:29. The suffix in ידרשׁהוּ does not refer to the altar, but to the preceding word יהוה; cf. אלהים דּרשׁ, Ch1 21:30; Ch1 15:13, etc.
The theophany, cf. Kg1 3:5-15. In that night, i.e., on the night succeeding the day of the sacrifice. The appearance of God by night points to a dream, and in Kg1 3:5-15 we are expressly informed that He appeared in a vision. Solomon's address to God, Ch2 1:8-10, is in Kg1 3:6-10 given more at length. The mode of expression brings to mind Ch1 17:23, and recurs in Ch2 6:17; Kg1 8:26. מדּע, with Pathach in the second syllable, elsewhere מדּע (Ch2 1:11, Ch2 1:12), occurs elsewhere only in Dan 1:4, Dan 1:17; Ecc 10:20.
The divine promise. Here עשׁר is strengthened by the addition נכסים, treasures (Jos 22:8; Ecc 5:18; Ecc 6:2). תּשׁפּט אשׁר, ut judicare possis. In general, the mode of expression is briefer than in Kg1 3:11-13, and the conditional promise, "long life" (Kg1 3:14), is omitted, because Solomon did not fulfil the condition, and the promise was not fulfilled. In Ch2 1:13 לבּמה is unintelligible, and has probably come into our text only by a backward glance at Ch2 1:3, instead of מהבּמה, which the contents demand, and as the lxx and Vulgate have rightly translated it. The addition, "from before the tabernacle," which seems superfluous after the preceding "from the Bamah at Gibeon," is inserted in order again to point to the place of sacrifice at Gibeon, and to the legal validity of the sacrifices offered there (Berth.). According to Kg1 3:15, Solomon, on his return to Jerusalem, offered before the ark still other burnt-offerings and thank-offerings, and prepared a meal for his servants. This is omitted by the author of the Chronicle, because these sacrifices had no ultimate import for Solomon's reign, and not, as Then, supposes, because in his view only the sacrifices offered on the ancient brazen altar of burnt-offering belonging to the temple had legal validity. For he narrates at length in Ch1 21:18, Ch1 21:26. how God Himself directed David to sacrifice in Jerusalem, and how the sacrifice offered there was graciously accepted by fire from heaven, and the threshing-floor of Araunah thereby consecrated as a place of sacrifice; and it is only with the purpose of explaining to his readers why Solomon offered the solemn burnt-offering in Gibeon, and not, as we should have expected from 1 Chron 21, in Jerusalem, that he is so circumstantial in his statements as to the tabernacle. The last clause of Ch2 1:13, "and he was king over Israel," does not belong to the section treating of the sacrifice at Gibeon, but corresponds to the remark in Kg1 4:1, and forms the transition to what follows.
2 Chronicles 1:14
Solomon's chariots, horses, and riches. - In order to prove by facts the fulfilment of the divine promise which Solomon received in answer to his prayer at Gibeon, we have in Kg1 3:16-28 a narrative of Solomon's wise judgment, then in 2 Chron 4 an account of his public officers; and in Ch2 5:1-14 the royal magnificence, glory, and wisdom of his reign is further portrayed. In our Chronicle, on the contrary, we have in Ch2 1:14-17 only a short statement as to his chariots and horses, and the wealth in silver and gold to be found in the land, merely for the purpose of showing how God had given him riches and possessions. This statement recurs verbally in Kg1 10:26-29, in the concluding remarks on the riches and splendour of Solomon's reign; while in the parallel passage, 2 Chron 9:13-28, it is repeated in an abridged form, and interwoven with other statements. From this we see in how free and peculiar a manner the author of the Chronicle has made use of his authorities, and how he has arranged the material derived from them according to his own special plan.
(Note: The assertion of Thenius on Kg1 10:26., that he found this section in his authorities in two different places and in different connections, copied them mechanically, and only towards the end of the second passage remarked the repetition and then abridged the statement, is at once refuted by observing, that in the supposed repetition the first half (Ch2 9:25-26) does not at all agree with Kg1 10:26, but coincides with the statement in Kg1 5:6-7.)
For the commentary on this section, see on Kg1 10:26-28.
Ch2 1:14, Ch2 1:15, with the exception of one divergence in form and one in matter, correspond word for word to Kg1 10:26 and Kg1 10:27. Instead of ויּנחם, he led them (Kings), there stands in Ch2 1:15, as in Ch2 9:25, the more expressive word ויּנּיהם, "he laid them" in the chariot cities; and in Ch2 1:15 ואת־הזּהב is added to את־הכּסף, while it is omitted from both Kg1 10:27 and also Ch2 9:27. It is, however, very suitable in this connection, since the comparison "like stones" has reference to quantity, and Solomon had collected not only silver, but also gold, in quantity.
Ch2 1:16, Ch2 1:17 coincide with Kg1 10:28-29, except that מקרא is used for hw'q;mi, and ותּצא ותּעלה is altered into ויּוציאוּ ויּעלוּ. For the commentary on these verses, see Kg1 10:28.