2 Chronicles 1:2
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2-6) Solomon and the national assembly repair to the Mosaic tabernacle at Gibeon, and sacrifice upon the great altar of burnt offering. (Comp. 1Kings 3:4, which the present section supplements and explains.)

(2) Then Solomon spake unto all Israel.—Or, commanded all Israel (1Chronicles 21:17; 2Samuel 16:11; 2Kings 1:11; Vulg., prœcepit).

To the captains of thousands . . . chief of the fathers.—This is an apposition, explaining what is meant by “all Israel” in the first clause, viz., the national representatives. The account in Kings allows only one verse for the sacrifice, and so omits to mention that the princes took part in it (1Kings 3:4). The fact, however, is likely in itself. (Comp. the similar assemblies under David, 1Chronicles 13:1; 1Chronicles 23:2; 1Chronicles 28:1.)

Every governor.—Heb. nūsî’, prince, emir of a tribe, or chief of a clan. (Comp. Genesis 23:6; Numbers 7:10; 1Kings 8:1.)

The chief of the fathers.The heads of the clans. This defines the preceding phrase.

1:1-17 Solomon's choice of wisdom, His strength and wealth. - SOLOMON began his reign with a pious, public visit to God's altar. Those that pursue present things most eagerly, are likely to be disappointed; while those that refer themselves to the providence of God, if they have not the most, have the most comfort. Those that make this world their end, come short of the other, and are disappointed in this also; but those that make the other world their end, shall not only obtain that, and full satisfaction in it, but shall have as much of this world as is good for them, in their way. Let us then be contented, without those great things which men generally covet, but which commonly prove fatal snares to the soul.The narrative here corresponds with 1 Kings 3:4; but is very much fuller. We learn from the present passage:

(1) that Solomon's sacrifice at Gibeon was a great public festivity, to which he collected vast numbers of the people;

(2) that it was made upon the brass altar of Bezaleel, which

(3) stood before the tabernacle; and

(4) that Solomon's vision was on the night of his sacrifice. Consult the marginal references

2-5. Then Solomon spake unto all Israel—The heads, or leading officers, who are afterwards specified, were summoned to attend their sovereign in a solemn religious procession. The date of this occurrence was the second year of Solomon's reign, and the high place at Gibeon was chosen for the performance of the sacred rites, because the tabernacle and all the ancient furniture connected with the national worship were deposited there. Zadok was the officiating high priest (1Ch 16:39). It is true that the ark had been removed and placed in a new tent which David had made for it at Jerusalem [2Ch 1:4]. But the brazen altar, "before the tabernacle of the Lord," on which the burnt offerings were appointed by the law to be made, was at Gibeon. And although David had been led by extraordinary events and tokens of the divine presence to sacrifice on the threshing-floor of Araunah, Solomon considered it his duty to present his offerings on the legally appointed spot "before the tabernacle," and on the time-honored altar prepared by the skill of Bezaleel in the wilderness (Ex 38:1). Then Solomon spake, to wit, concerning his intention of going to Gibeon, and that they should attend him thither, as the next verse shows.

Then Solomon spake unto all Israel,.... To their representatives about going to Gibeon to sacrifice, as the next words show: so Jarchi and Kimchi observe:

to the captains of thousands, and of hundreds, to the judges, and to every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers; whom he had convened on this occasion; though some think this is the same congregation gathered by his father, by whom he was anointed and made king, and that he spoke of this to them before they broke up, 1 Chronicles 28:1 which seems not so probable, since it was after the death of his father, after he had been king some time, and even after his marriage with Pharaoh's daughter, that what follows was done, see 1 Kings 3:1.

Then Solomon {a} 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.

(a) That is, he proclaimed a solemn sacrifice and commanded that all should attend.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. every governor] R.V. every prince.

the chief of the fathers] R.V. the heads of the fathers’ houses.

Verse 2. - This verse and the following four supersede the one verse, 1 Kings 3:4; and the five together give us, of course, a much fuller view of the events of the sacrifice. Our present verse purports to show the representative components of "all Israel" in a fourfold classification. Captains of thousands and of hundreds (see first 1 Chronicles 13:1; 1 Chronicles 27:1; 1 Chronicles 28:1; and then Exodus 18:21, 25; Numbers 31:14, 48, 52, 54; Deuteronomy 1:15; 1 Samuel 8:12; 1 Samuel 17:18; 1 Samuel 18:13; 1 Samuel 22:7; 2 Samuel 18:1; 2 Kings 11:9, 15, 19). The judges. The office and the person of the judge were held in high honour among the Jewish people from the first, and perhaps, also, with a noteworthy uniformity, even in the more degenerate periods of their history. Their commencement in patriarchal simplicity can be easily imagined, and receives illustration from such passages as Job 29:7, 8, 9; Job 32:9. Their more formal development may be considered to date from the crisis related in Exodus 18:14-24. And the allusions to the judge and his office thenceforward sustain our impression of the honour in which they were held, arising, no doubt, largely from the deep-felt necessity for them, the more society crystallized (Numbers 25:5; Deuteronomy 16:18; Deuteronomy 19:17; Deuteronomy 21:2; Joshua 8:33; 1 Chronicles 23:24; 1 Chronicles 26:29; 2 Chronicles 19:8-10). In 1 Chronicles 23:24 we are told how David set apart "six thousand Levites" to be "officers and judges." Every governor. The word employed here (נָשִׂיא) is rendered by five different words in our Authorized Version: "prince" (Genesis 17:20, passim), "ruler" (Exodus 16:22, passim), "captain" (Numbers 2:3, passim), "chief" Numbers 3:24, passim), and "governor" in the present passage only. It is evidently a term of generic signification, used of a king (1 Kings 11:34; Ezekiel 12:10); of leaders of the Ishmaelites (Genesis 17:20); of the captains of the tribes of Israel (Numbers 7:11); of the chiefs of families (Numbers 3:24); while the use of it (Genesis 23:6) to set forth the position of Abraham as one raised to eminence so high and undisputed that it might be clearly said to be God's doing, is sufficient to determine its central signification. The chief of the fathers; i.e. the heads of the fathers. The first occurrence of the expression, "the heads of their fathers' houses" (Exodus 6:14), and of "the heads of the fathers of the Levites according to their families" (Exodus 6:25), sufficiently explains the original and perfectly natural meaning of the phrase. The great importance and significance of the position of the heads "of families" and "of houses" and" of fathers" in early patriarchal times must necessarily have declined by the time of Solomon, when the nation had received so much more of civil form and system. But the name remained, and the family and social position did not fail to make themselves felt, and finally the official recognition of them in David's time is evidenced by 1 Chronicles 27:1, and in Solomon's time both by the present passage and 2 Chronicles 5:2 with its parallel 1 Kings 8:1. Our present use of the expression ought probably to show it, in close apposition with the foregoing words, "to all Israel" (wrongly translated "in all Israel" in the Authorized Version), and which itself is a repetition of the "to all Israel" in the beginning of the verse. Although the existing Hebrew pointing of the verse does not favour the supposition, it may be that the writer means to emphasize Solomon's summons as made both to the kingdom as such, and to the people also as a united people. We are not, indeed, told here, in so many words, what it was that Solomon said "to all Israel." But there can be no doubt as to his object, as betrayed in the first clause of the following verse. 2 Chronicles 1:2The 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.

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