2 Chronicles 8:4
And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath.
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(4) And he built Tadmor in the wilderness.—That is, Palmyra, in the wilderness, on the traders’ route between the coast and Thapsacuson the Euphrates. See 1Kings 9:18, where Tamar or Tammor of the Heb. text is explained by the margin to mean Tadmor; and the epithet, “in the wilderness,” seems certainly to identify the two names. That Solomon was the founder of Palmyra is the tradition of the country to this day.

And all the store cities, which he built in Hamath.1Kings 9:19 mentions these cities, but not their locality. They were no doubt “places of arms,” and served as outposts against the hostile neighbouring kingdom of Zobah-Damascus. (See 1Kings 11:23-25.) So far as they lay on the caravan route, they would serve also as victualling stations. (Comp. 2Chronicles 32:28.)

8:1 - 18 Solomon's buildings and trade. - It sometimes requires more wisdom and resolution to govern a family in the fear of God, than to govern a kingdom with reputation. The difficulty is increased, when a man has a hinderance instead of a help meet in the wife of his bosom. Solomon kept up the holy sacrifices, according to the law of Moses. In vain had the altar been built, in vain had fire come down from heaven, if sacrifices had not been constantly brought. Spiritual sacrifices are required of us, which we are to bring daily and weekly; it is good to be in a settled method of devotion. When the service of the temple was put into good order, it is said, The house of the Lord was perfected. The work was the main matter, not the place; the temple was unfinished till all this was done. Canaan was a rich country, and yet must send to Ophir for gold The Israelites were a wise people, but must be beholden to the king of Tyre for men that had knowledge of the seas. Grace, and not gold, is the best riches, and acquaintance with God and his law, the best knowledge. Leaving the children of this world to scramble for the toys of this world, may we, as the children of God, lay up our treasure in heaven, that where our treasure is, our hearts also may be.Hamath-zobah - Usually identified with the "great Hamath" Amos 6:2; the capital of Coele-Syria; but probably a town of Zobah otherwise unknown, which revolted from Solomon, and was reduced to subjection. 3-6. And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah—Hamath was on the Orontes, in Cœle-Syria. Its king, Toi, had been the ally of David; but from the combination, Hamath and Zobah, it would appear that some revolution had taken place which led to the union of these two petty kingdoms of Syria into one. For what cause the resentment of Solomon was provoked against it, we are not informed, but he sent an armed force which reduced it. He made himself master also of Tadmor, the famous Palmyra in the same region. Various other cities along the frontiers of his extended dominions he repaired and fitted up, either to serve as store-places for the furtherance of his commercial enterprises, or to secure his kingdom from foreign invasion (see on [426]2Ch 1:14; [427]1Ki 9:15). Of this and the following verses, See Poole "1 Kings 9:17", &c. And built Tadmor in the wilderness,.... Of which See Gill on 1 Kings 9:18.

and all the storehouses which he built in Hamath; a country in Syria, which he made himself master of, and where he laid up store of provision and ammunition to keep it, should any attempt be made to rescue it out of his hands. According to an Arabic writer (a), Solomon in the twenty fourth year of his reign having demolished Antioch, built seven cities, of which Tadmor was one.

(a) Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. dyn. 3. p. 53.

And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the {c} store cities, which he built in Hamath.

(c) Meaning of munitions and treasures for the war.

4. Tadmor in the wilderness] Palmyra (Bädeker, p. 364) is meant, a city on an oasis N.E. of Damascus half way between Damascus and the Euphrates. Apart from this passage of Chron. it first appears in history in b.c. 34, when it was threatened with attack by Mark Antony. This silence of history for a thousand years casts a doubt on the belief that Tadmor (Palmyra) is as old as the time of Solomon, and the doubt is strengthened by a reference to the parallel passage (1 Kings 9:18), for there (1) the text (C’thib) has “Tamar,” with “Tadmor” as marginal reading (K’ri), and (2) Tamar (Tadmor) is associated with Gezer, Bethhoron, and Baalath, cities either in Judah or on its borders. Probably therefore the marginal reading Tadmor in 1 Kin. is due to the influence of 2 Chr., and the text of 1 Kin. (“Tamar”) is correct. The city built by Solomon was probably a Tamar in the south of Judah.Verse 4. - Tadmor in the wilderness. Tadmor, one with the classical Palmyra, lay in the desert of Syria, about half-way between the rivers Orontes and Euphrates, and distant from Damascus about a hundred and forty miles to its east-north-east. Stanley ('Sinai and Palestine,' p. 8, note 1) says, "Is it quite certain that 'Tadmor' and 'Palmyra' are words derived from the (palms)? A palm is in Hebrew tamar... and in Greek... phoenix." Solomon was probably not the originator, but rather re-builder, of the place. Its fame was great under Zenobia, the Queen of Odenathus; she was taken captive by the Emperor Aurelian, A.D. 273, when the city was subdued. It is now little better than the haunt of a few Arabs Splendid ruins remain, specially of the great temple of the sun. The Hebrew text of 1 Kings 9:18 has apparently Tamer, or Tamar, and it has been suggested by Movers on that passage that possibly a Tamar in the south, and that is found in the neighbourhood of some of the other places, such as Baalath, Beth-heron, and Gezer, all in the south (Ezekiel 47:19; Ezekiel 48:28; ch. 20:2), is intended. Our text, however, in the present place offers no choice, while that in Kings (compare Chethiv and Keri) is doubtful. And finally, our writer is here evidently in the neighbourhood of Hamath, which of course best suits Tadmor. Although there is an apparent disjointedness between this and the parallel, closer notice may rather bring confirmation of substantial agreement between them. For instance, the store cities here spoken of as belonging to Hamath (but not individually named here and not corresponding with those that are named in Kings) are accounted for by the words, "and in Lebanon," in 1 Kings 9:19. The Lord's answer to Solomon's dedicatory prayer. Cf. 1 Kings 9:1-9. The general contents, and the order of the thoughts in the divine answer in the two texts, agree, but in the Chronicle individual thoughts are further expounded than in the book of Kings, and expressions are here and there made clear. The second clause of 2 Chronicles 7:11 is an instance of this, where "and all the desire of Solomon, which he was pleased to do," is represented by "and all that came into Solomon's heart, to make in the house of the Lord and in his own house, he prosperously effected." Everything else is explained in the Com. on 1 Kings 9.
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