2 Chronicles 8:17-9:31 – Solomon’s Wisdom and Wealth
SummaryThe Chronicler's portrait of Solomon closes as it had begun, with special emphasis upon Solomon's wisdom and wealth.
The Chronicler has omitted most of 1 Kings 11, which deals with Solomon's apostasy, in order to focus upon Solomon's wisdom and wealth as rewards for his construction of the temple. The primary vehicle for the Chronicler's presentation of Solomon's wisdom is the visit of the Queen of Sheba (modern Yemen), drawn from 1 Kings 10:1-13 (2 Chronicles 9:1-12). Both texts employ a series of negatives to exalt the king:
- "there was nothing hidden from Solomon that he could not explain to her" (9:2)
- "not even half of the greatness of your wisdom had been told to me" (v. 6)
- "there were no spices such as those that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon" (v. 9)
- "there never was seen the like of them before in the land of Judah" (v. 11)
In addition, there are some very subtle changes, undetectable in the somewhat periphrastic NRSV, which may be attributed to the Chronicler's special interest in glorifying Solomon:
- A literal translation of the last half of verse 1 reads, "she came to Solomon and spoke with him," suggesting the regents are at least equals; Kings has "to him."
- The omission of the word "all" from 1 Kings 10:4 ("when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon…") could imply that this wisdom was somehow limited.
- The addition of "the greatness of your wisdom" (v. 6) to 1 Kings 10:6 again may indicate the Chronicler's emphasis.
- God sets Solomon on "his [God's] throne as king for the LORD your God" (v. 8), not "Israel's" throne (1 Kings 10:9). The reference to Israel being established "forever" is very telling and stresses one of the Chronicler's twin tenets, namely, that it is God's throne and God's kingdom that God will establish forever (see 1 Chronicles 17:14).
Solomon's esteem and wealth are further displayed in verses 13-28 where a collection of passages portrays "all the kings of the earth" bringing Solomon tribute, swelling the royal coffers annually with over twenty-five tons of gold (666 talents, v. 13). His death notice rounds off the Chronicler's portrayal of Solomon (vv. 29-31).