October 13, 2015.
Daily Reading: II Chronicles 1-5.
Background: The book of II Chronicles is a continuation of the first book. See the background information for I Chronicles.
Concepts and Connections.
Solomon’s prayer and wealth: After the death of David, his son Solomon takes the throne as he had been appointed, and the Lord was with him, making him exceedingly great. Indeed, Solomon would lead Israel into their golden age, when peace, wisdom and wealth flowed freely for the children of Israel. Here we see Solomon’s wise request that lead to this wealth and prosperity. He and the assembly go up the the high place at Gibeon where the tent of meeting was, and there they offered 1,000 burnt offerings on the bronze altar before the Lord. That night, God appeared to Solomon and said “Ask what I shall give you.” This must have been a daunting question for Solomon. Imagine, the Almighty, Creator of the universe, comes to you and says “What do you want?” Solomon could have asked for anything. Riches, pleasures, long life. Anything. He decides not to ask for worldly pleasures, however, but rather for wisdom and knowledge to lead the people of God. Solomon’s mind was on the people and the responsibility he had towards them, which shows the wisdom and maturity he already had even before asking for wisdom here. This search for wisdom seems to have been taught to him by his father (see Proverbs 4:1-9). The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s request, so much that He not only gave him great wisdom and knowledge, but also riches, possessions and honor, more so than any king who had come before him or who would come after him. This wealth is evident in the very next section as we see the very outline of Israel’s golden age. It is said that silver and gold were as common as stone in that time.
Solomon prepares to build the temple: Before David died, he had made much preparation for the building of the temple. Now that Solomon was reigning, the time had finally come to begin the world. Solomon appoints 70,000 men to bear burdens and 80,000 men to quarry in preparation of the building, and appoints 3,600 to oversee their work. He then sends to Hiram, king of Tyre, just as David his father did when he was building his house (see I Chronicles 14), to send both supplies and skilled men to help him build the house of the Lord. We see the humility of Solomon here, as he notes that though he build a house for the Lord, no house could ever contain Him, for not even the highest heaven could contain Him. Hiram was happy to help Solomon and sent him a skilled man with understanding named Huram-abi, to facilitate the building. It was going to be a big undertaking, but the results would indeed be magnificent. More more notes about this section, see I Kings 5.
Building the house of the Lord: In this chapter, we are given a record of the building of the house of the Lord. Solomon built the house in Jerusalem where the Lord had appeared to David after he had sinned in taking the census (see I Chronicles 21:18-27). The measurements for the house, vestibule, Most Holy Place, two cherubim and the pillars are given here, along with other details concerning them. Note the amount of gold that is used in creating the house. It seems that anything that could be overlaid with gold was, and things that couldn’t were lined with gold. The house of the Lord would be one of the crowning achievements for king Solomon.
Making the inside of house of the Lord: This chapter continues the record of Solomon’s building of the house of the Lord, highlighting the furnishings of the house of the Lord. First we see the altar, figures of gourds, and baths (the sea) that were made for the house of the Lord. Then the golden lamp stands, tables and court. Hiram comes into play here (perhaps by proxy of the skilled man he sent noted in chapter 2), skillfully making the things recorded here. Note that these things were made according to the patter of those for the tabernacle, as the house of the Lord would serve as a permeant dwelling tabernacle (see Exodus 25-27).
The ark brought to the house of the Lord: After all the work for the house of the Lord was completed, it was time to bring the ark of the covenant, which represented the presence of God, to its final resting place. It seems that Solomon had learned a crucial lesson from his father on moving the ark, as everything was done according to the word of the Lord, and so many sacrifices were made along the way that they couldn’t be counted (see II Samuel 6, I Chronicles 15). The ark is placed in the Most Holy Place and the priests come out as the Levitical singers taken their place to sing and play before the Lord, raising up a song of praise to the Lord for His steadfast love that endures forever (see Psalm 136). Then the house of the Lord is filled with a cloud, just as the tent of meeting was when it was erected by Moses (see Exodus 40:35), showing the Lord’s tangible presence and acceptance of the house that was built for Him. The glory of the Lord was so thick that the priest could not stand to minister because of the cloud. What a wonderful scene this must have been for the people of God.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalm 111-113.
His steadfast love endures forever.