Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.
The sacrifice at Gibeon, and the theophany. - 2 Chronicles 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. 2 Chronicles 1:1 forms, as it were, the superscription of the account of Solomon's reign which follows. In וגו ויּתחזּק equals 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. 2 Chronicles 12:13; 2 Chronicles 13:21; 2 Chronicles 17:1, and 2 Chronicles 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. 1 Chronicles 29:25.
We have an account of the sacrifice at Gibeon (2 Chronicles 1:7-13) in 1 Kings 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 1 Kings 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 2 Chronicles 1:3. There the Mosaic tabernacle stood, yet without the ark, which David had caused to be brought up from Kirjath-jearim to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 13:1-14 and 15). In לו בּהכין the article in ba represents the relative אשׁר equals בּאשׁר or לו הכין אשׁר בּמקום; cf. Judges 5:27; Ruth 1:16; 1 Kings 21:19; see on 1 Chronicles 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 1 Chronicles 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. Exodus 31:2 and Exodus 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 Exodus 40:29. The suffix in ידרשׁהוּ does not refer to the altar, but to the preceding word יהוה; cf. אלהים דּרשׁ, 1 Chronicles 21:30; 1 Chronicles 15:13, etc.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee.
The theophany, cf. 1 Kings 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 1 Kings 3:5-15 we are expressly informed that He appeared in a vision. Solomon's address to God, 2 Chronicles 1:8-10, is in 1 Kings 3:6-10 given more at length. The mode of expression brings to mind 1 Chronicles 17:23, and recurs in 2 Chronicles 6:17; 1 Kings 8:26. מדּע, with Pathach in the second syllable, elsewhere מדּע (2 Chronicles 1:11, 2 Chronicles 1:12), occurs elsewhere only in Daniel 1:4, Daniel 1:17; Ecclesiastes 10:20.
And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead.
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.
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?
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:
The divine promise. Here עשׁר is strengthened by the addition נכסים, treasures (Joshua 22:8; Ecclesiastes 5:18; Ecclesiastes 6:2). תּשׁפּט אשׁר, ut judicare possis. In general, the mode of expression is briefer than in 1 Kings 3:11-13, and the conditional promise, "long life" (1 Kings 3:14), is omitted, because Solomon did not fulfil the condition, and the promise was not fulfilled. In 2 Chronicles 1:13 לבּמה is unintelligible, and has probably come into our text only by a backward glance at 2 Chronicles 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 1 Kings 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 1 Chronicles 21:18, 1 Chronicles 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 Chronicles 21, in Jerusalem, that he is so circumstantial in his statements as to the tabernacle. The last clause of 2 Chronicles 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 1 Kings 4:1, and forms the transition to what follows.
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.
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.
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.
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 1 Kings 3:16-28 a narrative of Solomon's wise judgment, then in 2 Chronicles 4 an account of his public officers; and in 2 Chronicles 5:1-14 the royal magnificence, glory, and wisdom of his reign is further portrayed. In our Chronicle, on the contrary, we have in 2 Chronicles 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 1 Kings 10:26-29, in the concluding remarks on the riches and splendour of Solomon's reign; while in the parallel passage, 2 Chronicles 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 1 Kings 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 (2 Chronicles 9:25-26) does not at all agree with 1 Kings 10:26, but coincides with the statement in 1 Kings 5:6-7.)
For the commentary on this section, see on 1 Kings 10:26-28.
2 Chronicles 1:14, 2 Chronicles 1:15, with the exception of one divergence in form and one in matter, correspond word for word to 1 Kings 10:26 and 1 Kings 10:27. Instead of ויּנחם, he led them (Kings), there stands in 2 Chronicles 1:15, as in 2 Chronicles 9:25, the more expressive word ויּנּיהם, "he laid them" in the chariot cities; and in 2 Chronicles 1:15 ואת־הזּהב is added to את־הכּסף, while it is omitted from both 1 Kings 10:27 and also 2 Chronicles 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.
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.
And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king's merchants received the linen yarn at a price.
2 Chronicles 1:16, 2 Chronicles 1:17 coincide with 1 Kings 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 1 Kings 10:28.
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.