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Martin Selman: The final section of Solomon’s reign (chs. 8-9) concentrates on the theme of praise for all that God has done for Solomon (see especially 9:8). This unit is clearly connected with the opening section about Solomon (2 Ch. 1-2), both of which deal with Solomon’s achievements and reputation. The chief difference is that whereas the earlier chapters describe Solomon’s preparations in response to God’s revelation at Gibeon, now that work is fulfilled. The real subject of chapters 8-9, therefore, is what God achieved through Solomon, rather than Solomon’s own achievements.

A. C. Gaebelein: The activities of the King included the fortification of certain cities. (See 1 Kings 9:0.) First the cities are mentioned which Huram restored to Solomon. These are the cities which Solomon had previously given to him for security. 1 Kings 9:10-14 explains this statement which otherwise would be obscure. All the strangers, the Canaanites, dwelling in the land were put into subjection and had to pay tribute to Solomon. They were the servants. “But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they were men of war, and chief of his captains and captains of his horsemen and chariots.” it foreshadows the age in which all will be put in subjection under Him who will be King to rule in righteousness (Isaiah 32:1 ; Hebrews 2:8). Then His own people will serve Him, for they “shall be willing in the day of His power” (Psalms 110:3). The only mention made of the daughter of Pharaoh in Chronicles is in this chapter (verse 11). He married her in the beginning of the reign. Her removal to the house Solomon had built for her now took place. On the typical meaning of Pharaoh’s daughter see 1 Kings 3:1. The worship in the house was then carried on in a perfect way. At the appointed times all was done and all David, the man of God, had commanded was carried out (verse 14). There was no departure from the commandment of the king, so the house of the Lord was perfected. It foreshadows a perfect obedience and worship which the earth will see when the true King has come. Then, as it was in Solomon’s day, the King’s commandment will be the absolute rule for everything (verse 15).

Iain Kunkel: Verses 1 and 16 are a frame suggesting both that

(a) the expanding rule and associated building works and administrative structures were blessings associated with obedience in building the temple, and that

(b) the central purpose of all was to support the building and ongoing maintaining of the “house of the Lord” and the worship there.

Mark Boda: The focus of the Chronicler’s account largely shifts to Solomon’s “secular” pursuits, that is, pursuits not directly related to the Temple and its services. For the Chronicler these pursuits are not provided for mere historical interest. Rather, it is essential to his portrayal of Solomon as the ideal royal figure whose obedience and faithfulness were divinely blessed by success: building projects, military prowess, economic achievement, international fame, and border expansion. The account of Solomon ends with the summary notice that is typical of the Chronicler’s method.

J.A. Thompson: Chapters 8–9 describe four glorious aspects of Solomon’s reign:

• his power,

• his worship of God,

• his wealth, and

• his wisdom.


A. (:1-6) Cities Built by Solomon

Iain Duguid: Since the northern border of Israelite land was commonly labeled as “Lebo-hamath” (2 Chron. 7:8) and David had previously controlled the city-states of Hamath and Zobah in northern Syria (1 Chron. 18:3–10), Solomon’s action was possibly to reassert Israelite hegemony (as Jeroboam II did in 2 Kings 14:25). This gave Solomon control along the main trade route to Mesopotamia, while “Tadmor,” 125 miles (200 km) northeast of Damascus, was a major oasis on the shorter desert route, later named Palmyra. The building of “store cities” supported the gathering of revenue (including grain, oil, wine, etc.; e.g., 2 Chron. 32:28; 1 Chron. 27:25–31), enabling the maintenance of governmental and defense forces.

Another strategic location was along the ridge of the Valley of Aijalon that led to the plateau of the northern approach to Jerusalem, forming the major route linking Jerusalem with the coast. The “fortified cities” of “Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon,” approximately 10 and 11 miles (16 and 18 km) northwest of Jerusalem, had earlier been settled as pasturelands on the border between Benjamin and Ephraim (1 Chron. 6:68; 7:24; cf. Josh. 10:10–11; 16:5; 18:13–14). The location of “Baalath” is uncertain, contenders being near Gezer (Josh. 19:44) or, less likely, suggested by its association in 1 Kings 9:18 MT with the southeastern “Tamar,” in the land allocated to Simeon in the southeast (Josh. 19:8), or equated with “Baalah,” that is, Kiriath-jearim (1 Chron. 13:6).

1. (:1-2) Cities from Huram

“Now it came about at the end of the twenty years in which Solomon had built the house of the LORD and his own house 2 that he built the cities which Huram had given to him, and settled the sons of Israel there.”

David Guzik: It took Solomon seven years to build the temple and 13 years to build his palace. At the end of these twenty years his kingdom was secure, stable, and blessed.

Thomas Constable: God blessed Solomon by giving him good relations with King Huram (Hiram) of Tyre (vv. 2, 18). Huram evidently returned the cities that Solomon had previously given (or mortgaged) to him (v. 2; cf. 1 Kings 9:10-14). Then Solomon developed these towns. Solomon also captured more territory and fortified many cities (vv. 3-6).

“It seems safe to say that, following this action, Israel controlled more territory than at any other time in its history. In his day, Solomon was probably the most powerful and influential ruler in the Middle East.” (Leon Wood)

Moreover, Solomon controlled the native Canaanite population (v. 8).

Matthew Henry: Though Solomon was a man of great learning and knowledge, yet he spent his days, not in contemplation, but in action, not in his study, but in his country, in building cities and fortifying them, in a time of peace preparing for a time of war, which is as much a man’s business as it is in summer to provide food for winter.

Andrew Hill: it may be possible to harmonize the reports in one of two ways.

(1) Perhaps Kings and Chronicles refer to two different occasions in which cities are exchanged as a part of agreements arranged between Hiram and Solomon.

(2) Chronicles may be the sequel to the Kings’ account in that Hiram held the twenty cities temporarily as collateral for the timber supplied to Solomon until such time as a “cash” payment (of gold) could be made.

2. (:3-6) Cities for Military and Economic Dominion

a. (:3) Hamath-zobah

“Then Solomon went to Hamath-zobah and captured it.”

Frederick Mabie: Solomon’s taking of Hamath Zobah and his subsequent building of storage cities (cf. vv. 4-6) indicate a significant expansion of Israelite political control and economic hegemony achieved through the control of trade routes and the receipt of tribute payments and tax revenue. Solomon’s geographical hegemony extended north, deep into northern Syria, and bordered the west bank of the Euphrates River to the northeast. The name of this area (Hamath Zobah) suggests that Hamath had gained prominence over the Aramean (or perhaps Neo-Hittite) kingdom of Zobah. David’s earlier conflict with Zobah is noted in 1 Chronicles 18:3-6 (2Sa 8:3-8).

b. (:4) Tadmor and Storage Cities in Hamath

“And he built Tadmor in the wilderness

and all the storage cities which he had built in Hamath.”

c. (:5) Upper and Lower Beth-horon

“He also built upper Beth-horon and lower Beth-horon,

fortified cities with walls, gates, and bars;”

August Konkel: Upper Beth Horon and Lower Beth Horon sit astride a ridge, which rises from the Valley of Aijalon and extends to the plateau north of Jerusalem. Fortifications were important to protect the route that connected Jerusalem to the major coastal trade route. Certain cities served for storage and for military cavalry. Large building complexes at Hazor, Beth Shemesh, and Megiddo consist of a long room, with two rows of pillars dividing it into three sections. They may have been used as stables and storehouses, or may have been barracks for a professional army. Baalath, originally assigned to the tribe of Dan (Josh 15:9), is probably the city also known as Kiriath Jearim, on the western boundary of Judah.

d. (:6) Baalath and Other Storage Cities

“and Baalath and all the storage cities that Solomon had,

and all the cities for his chariots and cities for his horsemen,

and all that it pleased Solomon to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land under his rule.”

Ron Daniel: How was this accomplished? Solomon exercised the proper priorities: start locally, then expand. This basic business and biblical principle is often ignored by new ministries and ministers. Wanting to take the world for Jesus Christ, they try to do everything at once. “We’ll have a building project, a radio station, vacation Bible school, a jail ministry, community evangelism outreaches…” But because they do too much too soon, they don’t have the finances, the resources, or the personnel to accomplish everything. They get spread too thin and quickly burn out.

J.A. Thompson: It is evident also that Solomon controlled the major trade routes to Mesopotamia—the main overland route via Hamath and the shorter desert route via Tadmor (possibly Palmyra). Control of these trade routes was important for Solomon’s commercial endeavors and therefore his wealth. The mention of store cities (v. 4) would fit this picture of trade.

Iain Duguid: The summary statement portrays blessing, as there is not only a dynasty but a “dominion,” an area and people being ruled. David had been active with “building” in Jerusalem (1 Chron. 11:8–9); now Solomon was “building” throughout the “dominion.” The motif of “building” as a sign of blessing following obedient trust, sometimes after repentance, continues with subsequent kings (2 Chron. 11:5–23; 17:12; 26:2–10; 27:2–4; 32:5; 33:13–15).

Andrew Hill: The emphasis on store cites and chariot cities (1 Chron. 8:6) highlights the priority Solomon gives to the related activities of trade and military defense. The summary statement (8:6c) lauding Solomon’s achievements indicates he has both the political power and the economic resources to build at will throughout his empire.

B. (:7-10) Labor Force Enlisted by Solomon

1. (:7-8) Forced Foreign Laborers

“All of the people who were left of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of Israel, 8 namely, from their descendants who were left after them in the land whom the sons of Israel had not destroyed, them Solomon raised as forced laborers to this day.”

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: The descendants of the Canaanites who remained int the country were treated as war-prisoners, being obliged to “pay tribute, or to serve as galley-slaves” (2 Chron. 2:18), while the Israelites were employed in no works but such as were of an honorable character.

2. (:9-10) Leaders from the Sons of Israel

“But Solomon did not make slaves for his work from the sons of Israel; they were men of war, his chief captains, and commanders of his chariots and his horsemen. And these were the chief officers of King Solomon, two hundred and fifty who ruled over the people.”

David Guzik: Israelites were used for the work of building the temple and Solomon’s palace, but they were not forced labor (1 Kings 5:13-14). They were often used in the management of the forced labor (who ruled over the people).

Andrew Hill: This passage distinguishes clearly between Solomon’s treatment of his own countrymen and the subjugated non-Israelite people groups (8:8). Vanquished and disposed peoples were commonly used as slave labor for building projects in the ancient Near East. The writer emphasizes how Solomon puts fellow countrymen in positions of leadership (2 Chron. 8:9–10). The writer of Kings mentions that Solomon also conscripts Israelites as part of the forced labor levy (1 Kings 5:13). These workers are apparently considered another category of “civil servant” since they work only one month in three and are classified as “conscripted laborers” (mas), whereas non-Israelite laborers are classified as “state slaves” (mas ʿobed).

Peter Wallace: Pattern of Solomon’s kingdom expansion

Israel benefited greatly from the reign of Solomon.

– Their king built up the fortification for their defense.

– Their king provided store cities to guard against famine (a sort of social welfare program).

– Their king conscripted the idolaters among them for forced labor, but gave positions of power and influence to his fellow Israelites.

For centuries, this was viewed as the proper way for a king to function.

– The king protects his people from their enemies.

– The king provides for the poor, and prepares against the day of trouble.

– The king rewards his followers, but keeps potential enemies under his thumb.


“Then Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house which he had built for her; for he said, ‘My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy where the ark of the LORD has entered.’”

J.A. Thompson: The Chronicler assumed his readers knew of Solomon’s diplomatic marriage with pharaoh’s daughter (1 Kgs 9:16), who lived with him in Jerusalem. Solomon built a palace for her lest her close proximity to the temple while living in the king’s palace might somehow defile the temple and the ark.

Thomas Constable: Solomon probably should not have entered into a treaty with Pharaoh by marring his daughter, in view of God’s previous warnings about the negative spiritual influence of foreign wives. Building her a house of her own in Jerusalem seems to have been a compromise: having her yet keeping her at a distance.

“Compromise is pathetic in that it always witnesses a conviction of what is the high and the true, and attempts to ensure its realization while yielding to the low and the false. It is evil, for its invariable issue is that the low and the false ultimately gain the ascendance and the high and the true are abandoned. To build a house for Pharaoh’s daughter outside the Holy City is to open its gates sooner or later to Pharaoh’s gods.” (G. Campbell Morgan)

Iain Duguid: This is the sole mention in Chronicles of Solomon’s having a foreign wife, and also the only reference to Pharaoh’s daughter. While in Kings this marriage and others are a cause for criticism of Solomon, here it is an opportunity to affirm his piety.

J. Wolfendale: (quoted in Biblical Illustrator):

Consider Solomon’s marriage with an Egyptian princess–

I. As a matter of policy. It sprang from–

1. A desire to counteract the influence of Hadad (1 Kings 11:14-20).

2. The wish to obtain support for his new dynasty and recognition from one of older fame and greater power.

3. Anxiety to strengthen himself by foreign alliances.

II. As a source of moral perplexity. What must be done with her? Solomon felt that a broad distinction must be made between the worship of Jehovah and idolatry.

III. As the beginning of trouble. The policy advantageous at first, but ultimately proved hollow and impolitic. The reign which began so gloriously ended in gross darkness and fetish worship.

Mark Boda: The final verse in this section (8:11) serves as a segue between the account of Solomon’s foreign slaves (8:7-10) and that of his support of the Temple services (8:12-16). Here the Chronicler expands the short reference to Solomon’s construction of a house for his Egyptian wife (1 Kgs 9:24) by adding a statement by the king linking the project to his passion for the holiness of a site associated with the Ark (8:11). This is the only time the Chronicler links a foreign marriage to Solomon, a link that is key to the criticism of Solomon in his source in Kings (1 Kgs 3, 11), and ironically the Chronicler uses this link to present Solomon as a king passionate for ritual purity. This addition aids the transition between 8:2-11 and 8:12-16, where Solomon’s passion for proper worship ritual will be emphasized further. The account in 1 Kings (1 Kgs 3:1-2; 9:16) reveals that Solomon married the daughter of Pharaoh and was given the town of Gezer as a dowry. This marriage suggests an alliance between Egypt and Israel, a political dimension that is played down in the Chronicler’s account.


A. (:12-13) Administration of Religious Rites — Required Offerings and Feasts

“Then Solomon offered burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of the LORD which he had built before the porch; 13 and did so according to the daily rule, offering them up according to the commandment of Moses, for the sabbaths, the new moons, and the three annual feasts– the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths.”

Raymond Dillard: The author expands his source (1 Kgs 9:25) with emphasis on the detailed observance of the Mosaic commands (Lev 23:1–37; Num 28–29) and Davidic prescriptions (1 Chr 23–26); he specifies the three annual feasts mentioned in Kings and adds the observance of weekly sabbaths and the new moon. The text is ambiguous regarding the extent of the king’s participation; it could cover any degree of involvement from simply decreeing the observances to personal officiation in the worship.

B. (:14-15) Administration Religious Personnel — Priests and Levites

“Now according to the ordinance of his father David, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their service, and the Levites for their duties of praise and ministering before the priests according to the daily rule, and the gatekeepers by their divisions at every gate; for David the man of God had so commanded. 15 And they did not depart from the commandment of the king to the priests and Levites in any manner or concerning the storehouses.”

L. M. Grant: Priesthood has to do with worship, which is too often neglected amongst God’s people while they use the word “worship” for any kind of Christian activity. But true worship is heart adoration of the Father and the Son and it is important that definite time should be taken for this most precious feature of Christian life. The Levites were servants, so this emphasizes the service of obedient activity as to the Lord. Christians too often make service more important than worship so that, worship becomes practically side-tracked. But both are of great value in their place. The gatekeeper’s picture the genuine care that is so necessary in keeping out of the assembly what ought to be out and allowing in what ought to be in. This proper care has been ignored in the great majority of churches today, so as to have believers and unbelievers mixed together, and sinful practices not only tolerated but justified. If one seeks to be a true gatekeeper, he is accused of being intolerant, legal minded and unloving. But God appreciates the genuine care that His saints show for the true welfare of the Church of God and for the honour of His name.

Andrew Hill: The report of the perpetual offerings made to Yahweh as part of the worship of the Jerusalem temple expands the reference to Solomon’s observance of the pilgrimage festivals three times a year (cf. 1 Kings 9:25). The Torah required a burnt offering morning and evening with incense (Num. 28:1–8). The burnt offering symbolized God’s gift of atonement for sin and the consecration of Israel wholly to God. Burning incense represented the prayers of God’s people (Ps. 141:2; Rev. 5:8). Solomon’s obedience to the law of Moses legitimizes the Jerusalem temple and the new altar opposite its portico as the primary location for the worship of Yahweh (as was the case formerly for the altar in Gibeon, cf. 2 Chron. 1:3–5).


“Thus all the work of Solomon was carried out from the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was completed.”

Mark Boda: The expansions in 8:12-16 (as with the one in 8:11) are all related to the construction of the Temple and the institution of its services. Thus, even when the Chronicler finally does move out of the realm of the Temple project, as he does in chapters 8-9, he cannot help but mention the Temple and its services. This is a reflection of his agenda not only to highlight their importance in the life of Israel but also to remind his readers that all the success Solomon experienced in the “secular” realm is to be traced to his exhaustive and enduring attention to the “sacred” realm symbolized by the Temple and its services.

Andrew Hill: The emphasis of 2 Chronicles 8 is Solomon’s faithfulness in following through on all of David’s preparations and seeing the temple building project to completion (cf. 8:16).

Matthew Henry: Solomon, though a wise and great man and the builder of the temple, did not attempt to amend, alter, or add to what the man of God had, in God’s name, commanded, but closely adhered to that, and used his authority to have that duly observed; and then none departed from the commandment of the king concerning any matter, 2 Chron. 8:15. He observed God’s laws, and then all obeyed his orders. When the service of the temple was put into this good order, then it is said, The house of the Lord was perfected, 2 Chron. 8:16. The work was the main matter, not the place; the temple was unfinished till all this was done.

Iain Duguid: This is the sole mention in Chronicles of Solomon’s having a foreign wife, and also the only reference to Pharaoh’s daughter. While in Kings this marriage and others are a cause for criticism of Solomon, here it is an opportunity to affirm his piety.

J.A. Thompson: This verse represents an important literary mark in the story of the Chronicler, concluding the long section that began at 2:1. A similar phrase to “so the temple of the Lord was finished” occurs in 29:35, as the Chronicler concluded his account of the restoration of the temple service under Hezekiah.