Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament2 CHRONICLES 8
CONCLUDING SUMMARY OF SOLOMON'S REIGN;
REGARDING HIS EXTENSIVE BUILDING PROGRAM
And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of Jehovah, and his own house, that the cities which Huram had given to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there. And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, and prevailed against it. And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store-cities, which he built in Hamath. Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fortified cities, with walls, gates, and bars; and Baalath, and all the store-cities that Solomon had, and all the cities for his chariots, and the cities for his horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build for his pleasure in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
The 20th Century Christian, as a general rule, could have little or no interest in Solomon's building program, which, in the matter of his huge horse business, to say nothing of anything else, was a violation of God's word!
And all that Solomon desired to build for his pleasure in Jerusalem . Lebanon ... in all ... his dominion
(2 Chronicles 8:6). Again we have the Chronicler's word that Solomon recognized no other limitation except his own undisciplined desires. (Read our comment under 2 Chr. 7:11, above.) The Chronicler has mercifully spared us the details concerning these multiple pleasure-houses Solomon built all over Palestine.
SOLOMON'S MERCILESS ENSLAVEMENT OF THE RESIDUAL CANAANITES
As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, that were not of Israel; of their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, of them did Solomon raise a levy [of bondservants] unto this day. 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 rulers of his chariots and of his horsemen. And these were the chief officers of king Solomon, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people.
Solomon raised a levy of bondservants
(2 Chronicles 8:8). These descendants of the original Canaanites whom Israel had displaced, were first conscripted and enslaved for building the temple and the king's house, some 153,600 of them (2 Chronicles 2:1-2); but the significance of this mention of them is that, after the completion of Solomon's building program, they were permanently enslaved. No doubt these were used as waiters and servants of that vast concourse of people who attended the feast of the dedication.
It is not hard to understand why the Israelites considered this an ideal arrangement indeed, and why, even down to the times of Christ, the Jews desired absolutely nothing, either in heaven or on earth, except the restoration of that godless slave-state of king Solomon, to which restoration their expected Messiah was vainly supposed by them to devote his entire resources! The reason they rejected Christ was their realization that he would never cooperate in such a restoration.
THE REMOVAL OF PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER FROM THE HOLY PLACES
And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that 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, whereunto the ark of Jehovah hath come.
Solomon had married the daughter of Pharaoh quite early in his reign (1 Kings 3:1), and the action mentioned here evidently took place at an early time in Solomon's reign when he still retained some sensitivity to the implications of the Word of God. "This daughter of Pharaoh was the daughter of Hor-Psibkhannu, the last Pharaoh of the weak Twenty-First Dynasty. Her idolatries eventually led to the apostasy of Israel (1 Kings 11:1ff)"F1
SOLOMON'S OFFERING THE COMMANDED SACRIFICES
Verses 12, 13
Then Solomon offered burnt-offerings unto Jehovah on the altar of Jehovah, which he had built before the porch, even as the duty of every day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the set feasts, three times in the year, [even] in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.
There are some uncertainties here. There seems to be an implied disapproval of Solomon's actions in offering all these sacrifices, which certainly were offered upon an unauthorized altar; and the word even in 2 Chr. 8:13 most certainly suggests that what Solomon did here was sinful in usurping ritualistic functions that pertained to the priests. Francisco, however, insists that, "Solomon was directing the activities and was not personally involved."F2 We accept this opinion as accurate, because we cannot possibly imagine that this pleasure-mad monarch would have had the self-discipline required for doing what is stated in these verses.
Of course, the specific mention of all these sacrifices which are elaborately spelled out in the Pentateuch is further proof of its Mosaic authorship, and of king Solomon's thorough acquaintance with it a full half millennium before modern radical critics would date it if they could.
SOLOMON CONFIRMED DAVID'S INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE LEVITES
Verses 14, 15
And he appointed, according to the ordinance of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their offices, to praise, and to minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required; the doorkeepers also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded. And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures.
David's commandments regarding the duties of the priests and the Levites, in many particulars, were derived from instructions in the Pentateuch, but that does not apply to his innovative introduction of all kinds of mechanical instruments of music.
CONCLUSION OF WORK ON THE TEMPLE
Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of Jehovah, and until it was finished. [So] the house of Jehovah was completed.
Verses 17, 18
Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth, on the seashore in the land of Edom. And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they came with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and fetched from thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.
Ezion-geber, and Eloth
(2 Chronicles 8:17). These two places were near each other at the northern extremity of the Gulf of Aqabah.F3
Four hundred and fifty talents of gold
(2 Chronicles 8:18). One can always count on the nit-pickers to contrast this with the statement in Kings that the amount was four hundred and twenty talents. Maybe sea-port taxes, sailors' wages, and other expenses were deducted in the King's account! Such variations are unimportant.
Footnotes for 2 Chronicles 8
1: Wycliffe Old Testament Commentary, p. 398.
2: Broadman Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 374.
3: International Critical Commentary, Chronicles, p. 355.