Seekers Sunday Schoool
Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church
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2 Chronicles
Solomon's Worship, Wisdom, and Wealth
Solomon's Preparation, Construction, and Dedication of the Temple
Preparations for Building the Temple
Solomon Builds the Temple
The Temple's Furnishings
The Ark Brought to the Temple
Solomon Blesses the People
Solomon's Prayer of Dedication
The Dedication of the Temple
The Lord Appears to Solomon
Solomon in All His Splendor; Solomon's Death
The Division of the Kingdom
King Rehoboam
King Abijah
King Asa
King Jehoshaphat
King Jehoram
King Ahaziah
Usurpation of Queen Athaliah
King Joash
King Amaziah
King Uzziah
King Jotham
King Ahaz
King Hezekiah
King Manasseh
King Amon
King Josiah
King Jehoahaz
King Jehoiakim
King Jehoiachin
King Zedekiah
The Babylonian Captivity
The Decree of Cyrus

Solomon's Preparation, Construction, and Dedication of the Temple
2 Chronicles 2:1-7:22

Preparations for Building the Temple

2 Chronicles 2:1-18

  • Solomon decided to build a temple for God and a house for himself. (v. 1)
  • Solomon assigned workers for the projects. (v. 2)
  • Remember that the major planning for the Temple had already been accomplished by David (designing the architecture, gathering the supplies, and enlisting the personnel). Solomon was left with with the task of organizing the labor force.
  • Solomon sent a letter to Huram (also called Hiram in 1 Kings, 2 Samuel, and 1 Chronicles), the king of Tyre, asking for cedar. (v. 3)
  • Huram is a friend of David who helped with the construction of David's palace. (see 1 Chronicles 14:1)
  • Solomon describes to Huram the temple he is going to build. (v. 4-5)
  • Notice that verse 4 tells of the Temple sacrifices are to be forever. This is why the Jews look forward to the restoration of the Temple, so they can resume Temple sacrifices. Also remember that animal sacrifices are symbols of Christ.
  • Note that in verse 5, Solomon declares that God is greater than all other gods.
  • Solomon declares that God is to great to be contained in a house, but he's building a temple anyway. This is an oft-repeated observation about God's omnipresence. (v. 6)
  • Temples were common in religion in this area of the ancient world. Perhaps God's initial reluctance to have a temple built for him (see 2 Samuel 7:5, e.g.) was because temple worship was closely related to Canaanite worship. Archeologists have uncovered many of the temples of Canaan and Mesopotamia. The difference, as demonstrated by Solomon's letter, is that Israel had a unique conception of what her temple meant. Typically, temples were regarded as the literal house for the god - Solomon plainly states that God is different in that no house can hold Him and that the Temple is to serve as a focal point for worship - a place for humans to approach God, not as a literal focal point for God's presence.
  • Solomon asks Huram to send skilled workers as well as materials. (v. 7-9)
  • Solomon promises to compensate the workers. (v. 10)
  • They had to get skilled workers from neighboring countries because the Israelites were an agricultural people.
  • There is a discrepancy in the amount Solomon paid as reported in 2 Chronicles when compared to the report in 1 Kings and 2 Kings. These differences are not insignificant, but they are not important, either. They are perhaps due to copyist error or another explainable reason.
  • The payments constituted a heavy drain on the economy of Israel. They eventually exhausted the kingdom when Solomon's private building projects are considered.
  • Huram responded to Solomon's letter with a letter of his own. (v. 11)
  • Huram praises God, Israel, David, and Solomon and agrees that building a temple is a good idea. (v. 11-12)
  • Huram sends a skilled worker and requests payment. (v. 13-15)
  • It's important to note that, even while doing God's work, it's important to keep man's needs in mind. Solomon paid Huram's people fairly in the process of their helping build the temple.
  • Note that in verse 12, Solomon is described as having discretion and understanding, and in verse 13, Huram-abi is described as having understanding. Is understanding more common than discretion? What is the difference?
  • Huram tells Solomon that he'll be sending the material to Joppa by raft, where it can be picked up and brought to Jerusalem. (v. 16)
  • Solomon took a census of all non-Israelites and set them to work. (v. 17-18)

Solomon Builds the Temple

2 Chronicles 3:1-17

  • In the fourth year of his reign, Solomon began building the Temple at Mount Moriah. It took over seven years to complete the construction. (v. 1-2)
  • Remember that Mount Moriah is the place where Abraham had been willing, almost 1,100 years before, to sacrifice his son Isaac.
  • The Temple is described in the rest of this chapter. (v. 3-17)
  • The temple would be ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet high. It was roughly twice the size of the tabernacle and had a vestibule or porch thirty feet long.
  • The cherubims mentioned in verse 11 are not to be confused with the cherubim on the Ark. These overshadowed the Ark.
  • A veil separated the two rooms in the Temple, just as in the tabernacle. This is similar to the veil in Herod's Temple that was split when Jesus was crucified (Matthew 27:51).
  • The Holy of Holies could only be entered once a year by the High Priest.
  • More details about the Temple construction can be found in 1 Kings 6 and 7.
  • The pillars were named Jakin (which probably means "he establishes") and Boaz (which probably means "in him is strength."). (v. 17)

The Temple's Furnishings

2 Chronicles 4:1-5:1

  • This section describes the Temple's furnishings.
  • In verse 3, the sea is described as being circled by oxen (bulls). In the parallel passage in 1 Kings 7:24, they are called gourds. The Hebrew for oxen and gourds is similar, and this discrepancy is often attributed as a copyist mistake. I could also be a reference to the round-shaped head of the oxen.
  • In verse 5, there is another discrepancy between the number of baths - 3,000 in this passage and 2,000 in the parallel passage of 1 Kings 7:26. As there is simply not enough room for 3,000 baths in these dimensions, this must be attributed to a copyist mistake.
  • Note that in verse 18, the bronze was so plentiful that the weight of the bronze could not be found out.
  • Solomon brought the items that David had dedicated. (2 Chronicles 5:1)
  • Many of the Temple furnishings and articles are often interpreted in ways symbolic to Christ. Other commentaries indicate that the details of the architecture are not to be examined so closely to give every detail a significance as related to Christ. The most important thing about the Temple is that it is an attempt to bring people close to God, just as Christ is an attempt to bring people closer to God. How much deeper you want to delve into the significance of the architecture of the Temple is up to you.

The Ark Brought to the Temple

2 Chronicles 5:2-14

  • Solomon gathered all the elders and heads of the tribes in Jerusalem. (v. 2)
  • Everyone came. (v. 3)
  • The Levites carried the ark and all of the holy utensils (including the tent) from the tabernacle. (v. 4-5)
  • There were so many sacrifices that they could not be counted. (v. 6)
  • The priests brought the ark to its resting place in the inner sanctuary. (v. 7)
  • When verse 7 indicates that the ark is there to "this day," it is not referring to the day that Chronicles was written, but instead to the day the original source material from 1 Kings 8 was written, from which this passage is quoted.
  • The ark continued the two tablets that Moses put in there. (v. 10)
  • What happened to the manna and Aaron's rod?
  • They had a musical worship service. I think God likes music. (v. 11-13)
  • The glory of the Lord filled the house. Notice that, in Exodus 40:35, Moses had the same problem. (v. 14)
  • The glory of the Lord also appeared as a cloud at Christ's first coming (Matthew 17:5)

Solomon Blesses the People

2 Chronicles 6:1-11

  • This chapter is almost verbatim from 1 Kings 8.
  • Solomon declares that he's built a house for God. (v. 1-2)
  • Solomon blesses all of Israel. (v. 3)
  • Solomon declares that God has kept the promise that David's son would build a temple. (v. 4)
  • Solomon reiterates that God has never asked for a city or a house or a ruler until now. (v. 5)
  • God has chose Jerusalem and David. (v. 6)
  • Solomon reminds the people that David wanted to build the temple, but God wouldn't let him do it, instead David's son would do it. (v. 7-9)
  • In Solomon, this promise is fulfilled. (v. 10)
  • Solomon declares that he's placed the ark in the temple. (v. 11)

Solomon's Prayer of Dedication

2 Chronicles 6:12-42

  • Solomon stood in front of everyone and prayed. (v. 12-13)
  • Solomon's kneeling in verse 13 is a public acknowledgment that Solomon is God's servant, administering a kingdom not his own.
  • Solomon praises God, saying that he is better than any other gods. (v. 14)
  • Solomon remembers that God kept his promise to David. (v. 15)
  • Solomon asks God to continue keeping his word. (v. 16-17)
  • Solomon declares that God cannot be contained even in heaven, much less can he be contained in the temple. (v. 18)
  • Solomon asks God to bless the temple. (v. 19-20)
  • Solomon asks God to forgive his people when they pray toward the temple. (v. 21)
  • See Daniel 6:10 for an example of a devout Jew praying towards Jerusalem.
  • Solomon asks God to be just. (v. 22-23)
  • Solomon asks God to restore the people to their land when they are defeated by enemies. This is especially important considering the audience of Chronicles was the Israelites returned from exile. (v. 24-25)
  • Solomon asks that God bless foreigners when they seek him - the temple was a missionary project as well. (v. 32-33)
  • Solomon asks God to be with his people when they go to war. (v. 34-35)
  • Solomon asks for mercy from God when his people find themselves in captivity. (v. 36-39)
  • Solomon concludes his prayer by asking God to come to the temple, which is a quote of Psalms 132:8-10. (v. 40-42)
  • Note that much of the prayer is centered on the temple, on doing things in the temple, or while facing towards the temple/city.
  • I think much of this prayer is for the benefit of the original audience - the Israelites who had just returned from exile. It offers hope for restoration.
  • Lessons for life: This is a good model prayer. It shows giving thanks to God. It asks for blessings. It reminds us of our need to repent.
  • This prayer is the longest prayer recorded in the Bible.
  • Verses 18-21 is the meat of the prayer, the rest of the prayer is an expansion on these verses.
  • Solomon concludes by asking for three things: acceptance of his prayer, grace and joy for the priests, and favor for himself based on God's great love for David.
  • This is not a prayer of petition only. Look at the other things mentioned in the prayer: attributes of God - uniqueness (v. 14), lovingkindness (v. 14), transcendence (v. 18), omnipresence (v. 18), justice (v. 23), forgiveness (vv. 25, 27, etc.), omniscience (v. 30), grace (v. 33), and mercy (vv. 38, 39). Besides all these, the Lord's omnipotence and holiness are implied throughout.
  • The subject of Solomon's prayer is prayer itself. This prayer could have been intended as a lesson about prayer, as an example.
  • This prayer shows implicitly that prayer, not sacrifice, is the intended main function for the temple. Remember that the temple is about giving people a focal point to find themselves close to God.
  • Note that Solomon was kneeling when he offered his prayer. This is a good way to approach God in prayer.

The Dedication of the Temple

2 Chronicles 7:1-10

  • When Solomon finished praying, fire from heaven consumed the offerings and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. This is the same thing that happened to Moses after building the tabernacle in Exodus 40:34-35. (v. 1)
  • Even the priests could not enter the temple because of it being filled with the glory of the Lord. (v. 2)
  • All the people marveled at the greatness of God. (v. 3)
  • An important verse: "The Lord is good. His mercy endures forever." (v. 3) It is important for us, as Christians, to affirm this.
  • The king and the people offered many sacrifices. (v. 4-5)
  • The priests and Levites took their posts and began a musical worship service while all the people stood. (v. 6)
  • Solomon consecrated the middle of the court for giving sacrifices, because the alter was not sufficiently large to hold all the sacrifices. (v. 7)
  • The date mentioned in verse 8 serves as an anchor to tell us that this took place at the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths).
  • Eventually, everyone went home happy. (v. 10)

The Lord Appears to Solomon

2 Chronicles 7:11-22

  • Solomon finished building the temple and the palace. (v. 11)
  • The Lord appeared to Solomon at night and confirmed that He has chosen the temple as a place of sacrifice. (v. 12)
  • The Lord tells Solomon that if the people follow God's ways, God will bless them. If they turn away from God, God will uproot them. (v. 13-22)
  • Verse 14 may be the "key verse" of 2 Chronicles. It is important to note that this text is originally specifically directed to the people of Israel. Can we extrapolate it as a promise to our nation? Perhaps. It is a verse that has been applied to many nations that have a biblical heritage. It is a formula for national blessing. But we have to be careful to keep this verse in context - it is not a magic formula for us to tailor-fit to any situation. We have to be careful not to be guilty of "scripture twisting" to fit this to whatever we want. McGee tells us that if we want to literally claim the blessings promised in verse 14, we need to also look at verse 15 and head to Jerusalem to make it happen.
  • Look carefully at the terms in verse 14: "humble themselves ... pray ... seek my face ... turn." There are distinctions and a sequence here. It is deliberate. And it is difficult. This sequence of events is a provides a common theme for Israel's history and for the Christian life.
  • Verse 16 seems to imply that the temple would stand for all time. We know it is destroyed in 586 B.C., which shows that God's promise was conditioned on Israel's faithfulness and obedience.
  • The warnings in verses 19 and 20 are specifically against idolatry. Remember that God demands that we place no other gods before him. God is to reign supreme in our lives.

Last update: July 6, 2003

© 2002-2003 Greg Cohoon

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