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2 Chronicles 2:1-18 – Initial Preparations for the Temple

Summary

Solomon's preparations for the construction of the temple, as described in correspondence between Solomon and Hiram/Huram, complete the extensive preparations initiated by his father, David, in 1 Chronicles 22.

Analysis

The construction of the temple dominates the Chronicler's presentation of Solomon. The many alterations in the source material (1 Kings 5) are designed to present Solomon as the chosen temple builder (1 Chronicles 28:6, 10; 29:1) in complete control of the temple's construction. The most important alterations, additions, and omissions would include:

  • In Kings, Hiram the king of Tyre contacts Solomon after hearing of his anointing (1 Kings 5:1). Here, Solomon immediately contacts Huram following worship at Gibeon and the recruitment of the temple workers. Nothing is more important than building the temple.
  • In Kings, Hiram initiates contact with Solomon, probably in order to continue the profitable trade relations already established with David (1 Kings 5:1). Here, Solomon, the chosen temple builder, needs no such prompting and so makes the first move (2 Chronicles 2:3).
  • In Kings, Hiram sets the terms in an arrangement that is completely businesslike. Here, Solomon dictates the terms (2:7-10) to a religiously motivated (though Gentile) Huram (vv. 11-12).
  • In Kings, Solomon pays on the installment plan "year by year" (1 Kings 5:11). Here, Solomon pays a lump sum (2 Chronicles 2:10).
  • In Kings, Solomon's description of the temple is terse (1 Kings 5:5). Here, it resonates with glory and grandeur, and incorporates the cultic functions of the priests (vv. 3-5).
  • In 1 Kings, the correspondence is a businesslike affair between equals (compare the "treaty" in 5:12, omitted in Chronicles). Here, Huram deferentially refers to both David and Solomon as "my lord" (2:13-14).
  • In Kings, the treaty between Hiram and Solomon is the stated reason for God's bestowal of wisdom upon Solomon (v. 12). Here, mention of the treaty and bestowal of wisdom are omitted lest they detract from God's bestowal of wisdom upon Solomon for his dedication to the temple.

2 Chronicles 2:1-18

Preparations for Building the Temple

2*Solomon decided to build a temple for the name of the Lord, and a royal palace for himself. 2*Solomon conscripted seventy thousand labourers and eighty thousand stonecutters in the hill country, with three thousand six hundred to oversee them.

Alliance with Huram of Tyre

3 Solomon sent word to King Huram of Tyre: ‘Once you dealt with my father David and sent him cedar to build himself a house to live in. 4I am now about to build a house for the name of the Lord my God and dedicate it to him for offering fragrant incense before him, and for the regular offering of the rows of bread, and for burnt-offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed festivals of the Lord our God, as ordained for ever for Israel. 5The house that I am about to build will be great, for our God is greater than other gods. 6But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him? 7So now send me an artisan skilled to work in gold, silver, bronze, and iron, and in purple, crimson, and blue fabrics, trained also in engraving, to join the skilled workers who are with me in Judah and Jerusalem, whom my father David provided. 8Send me also cedar, cypress, and algum timber from Lebanon, for I know that your servants are skilled in cutting Lebanon timber. My servants will work with your servants 9to prepare timber for me in abundance, for the house I am about to build will be great and wonderful. 10I will provide for your servants, those who cut the timber, twenty thousand cors of crushed wheat, twenty thousand cors of barley, twenty thousand baths* of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.’

11 Then King Huram of Tyre answered in a letter that he sent to Solomon, ‘Because the Lord loves his people he has made you king over them.’ 12Huram also said, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, who will build a temple for the Lord, and a royal palace for himself.

13 ‘I have dispatched Huram-abi, a skilled artisan, endowed with understanding, 14the son of one of the Danite women, his father a Tyrian. He is trained to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, and in purple, blue, and crimson fabrics and fine linen, and to do all sorts of engraving and execute any design that may be assigned him, with your artisans, the artisans of my lord, your father David. 15Now, as for the wheat, barley, oil, and wine, of which my lord has spoken, let him send them to his servants. 16We will cut whatever timber you need from Lebanon, and bring it to you as rafts by sea to Joppa; you will take it up to Jerusalem.’

17 Then Solomon took a census of all the aliens who were residing in the land of Israel, after the census that his father David had taken; and there were found to be one hundred and fifty-three thousand six hundred. 18Seventy thousand of them he assigned as labourers, eighty thousand as stonecutters in the hill country, and three thousand six hundred as overseers to make the people work.

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v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

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