Wednesday, August 21, 2013

CLXVII - II Chronicles

We have just finished I Chronicles.  It ended with the death of the beloved king David.  This post will begin the book of II Chronicles.  For a general recount of the two books of Chronicles, please refer back to post CLX.  II Chronicles contains the story of the kings of Israel, beginning with Solomon.  It discusses the 400 years after King David.  This book parallels both books of Kings, but it includes at least five references found no place else in the Bible:

Abijah's devout address
Asa's neglect of the Lord
Jehoshaphat's foolish alliances
Cause of Uzziah's leprosy
Manasseh's captivity and restoration

This second book contains the History of Israel, starting with the rule of King Solomon. It carefully describes how Solomon built the temple. Israel split into two kingdoms during the rule of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. Two tribes accepted Rehoboam as their king. They became the kingdom called Judah. The other 10 tribes refused to accept Rehoboam as their king. They became the kingdom called Israel, selecting Jeroboam as their king.  This book records the history of Judah until the time of Ezra.

This book seems to have three main parts:  Solomon's reign, the disastrous precedent set by Rehoboam, and the History of the kings of Judah from Rehoboam to Zedekiah.

One major difference you will find in studying this book as opposed to that of the Kings is that this book, as opposed to the books of Kings, dedicates itself mainly to the kings of Judah, and mentioning the kings of Israel only as it pertains to their direct contact to Judah's kings.

Chapter 1  -  Solomon begins his reign

The first six verses of chapter 1 requires a brief explanation.  It states that in Solomon's second year as king, he gathered all of the leaders in Israel to go with him to Gibeon, as Solomon wanted to meet with God at His tabernacle.  The purpose was to humbly ask God to help him reign over Israel, as Solomon realized he was too young and inexperienced for such an important task.

Gibeon was about seven miles north of Jerusalem, and that was where the tabernacle was located.  It was the same tabernacle that contained the Ark of the Covenant when Moses led Israel through the wilderness several generations earlier.  During the time of Moses, the Ark was always in the tabernacle.  But remember?:  The Israelites removed the Ark from the tabernacle to take it into battle with them against the Philistines.  Israel lost that battle and the Philistines took the Ark with them.  It caused the Philistines so much trouble, they sent it back to Israel to the small town of Kiriath Jearim, where it stayed until king David brought it to Jerusalem.  {Researchers say the Ark stayed at Kiriath Jearim for as long as 100 years.  But some say perhaps only 20 years.}  But the tabernacle was still seven miles away in Gibeon.  {I don't know why David made a different tent for the Ark in Jerusalem instead of bringing the original tabernacle from Gibeon.}  So at that time there were two places for worshiping God:  The Ark in Jerusalem and the tabernacle in Gibeon.

Solomon made this a major worship service.  He himself burnt a thousand sacrifices.  It notes that Zadok was the chief priest in Gibeon at that time.  In verse 7 God appears to Solomon and asked him what he would like God to give him.  In verse 10 Solomon asks God to give him wisdom and understanding so he could accomplish those things commissioned to him by his father David.  God was impressed by this request.  Solomon could have asked for long life, wealth, power, anything imaginable.  But he asked for wisdom.  No wonder God was impressed.  {I believe wisdom can only come from God, and that is one thing we should all ask of Him.}  So God granted Solomon's request, and abundantly.  To this day in the 21st century, Solomon is still famous for his wisdom.  During his lifetime he was world-renowned.  Leaders visited him from all parts of the populated earth just to hear him impart words of wisdom.  {Wisdom is rather difficult to define.  It is not intelligence or knowledge.  But rather the ability to put knowledge into practice for the good of all concerned, plus the ability to make accurate discernment of the words and actions of ones fellow man, leading to the proper assessment of their true meanings.  In today's time, understanding the "hearts of men" would make things much easier for us.  I could comment extensively on the level of deceit that is practiced and sometimes even heralded, but I must not allow myself to get too sidetracked.}  So impressed was God, that He not only gave Solomon wisdom that he asked for, but He gave him all of those things he did NOT ask for.  Verses 14-17 gives us just a hint of the wealth Solomon had accumulated.  Note verse 15 where it says that he "made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones".  {This tells me that Solomon shared the wealth among the citizens.  Any of you readers remember the Shah of Iran?  His failure to share the wealth was his downfall.  But there are many more examples of that.}  This passage mentions that he had 1400 chariots and 12,000 horses.  He purchased horses from Egypt and Kue (generally considered to be in the southern part of present-day Turkey).  These horses bred in Egypt were especially large and strong, custom made to pull chariots in battle situations.  Note that Solomon was cunning in business.  The last verse of this chapter says he purchased from Egypt and resold them to the Hittites and the Arameans.  Solomon's savvy in international trade made his wealth impossible to measure.

Chapter 2  -  Preparations for the Temple

We have earlier studied the preparations and the actual building of the Temple.  No expense or effort was spared in order to achieve the splendor and magnificence suitable for God's house.  Remember, David did a lot of preparation work for Solomon.  There was a total of 153,600 foreigners in Israel assigned to the more difficult labor for the project.  70,000 were to carry the heavy loads, 80,000 were to cut stone, and 3600 were to serve as overseers of the labor force.  Solomon, like his father was very organized.  The Scripture continues on to tell of the deal Solomon made with king Hiram of Tyre.  (Tyre was a city in the larger territory of Phoenicia.  Hiram was an ally of David, and receptive to helping Solomon.)  There were skilled laborers in Israel, but Solomon wanted the best for the Temple, so he hired the craftsmen from Phoenicia, famous for their skill in all disciplines of craft.

Chapter 3  -  The building of the Temple

David is the one who chose the location for the Temple.  Mount Moriah was the location that Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac, as told back in Genesis.  Solomon started the actual building of the Temple on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign.  The remainder of this chapter repeats the dimensions and much of the detail of the building process and the materials used, although not quite the detail used in Kings.  Interesting to note that the Temple was started 408 years after the Exodus from Egypt.  It took Solomon seven years to complete the Temple.

Chapter 4  -  The Furnishings for the Temple

Again, although not as much detail as provided in the book of I Kings, this chapter gives the description of the Temple's furnishings and the materials used.  You might find it interesting to see the exhaustive list of the many furnishings made for the Temple.  As a reminder, Huram was meticulous, as he hand-made clay molds for most of these objects prior to making the actual furnishings, whether it was made of gold, silver, bronze, or brass.  {There is a rendering of the finished Temple posted at CXXV, back when we were studying I Kings in March of this year.}  The magnificence of this building and its furnishings is too elaborate and extravagant to describe.  There were tons of gold and silver used, and too much bronze to count.

Next post  -  The Ark is brought to the Temple

No comments:

Post a Comment