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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

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Commentary on 2 Chronicles

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1.1–9.31 :

Solomon’s reign. Chronicles presents a much more favorable depiction of Solomon than the books of Samuel and Kings, omitting any passages which reflect poorly upon him. In general, Chronicles portrays Solomon as a near mirror‐image of David. Solomon’s reign is marked by the realization of David’s cultic preparations and economic growth. Thus, the continuity between David and Solomon in Chronicles is greater than in Samuel‐Kings.

1.1–13 :

Solomon travels to Gibeon. In the “incubation” story of 1 Kings 3.4–14 Solomon makes a private pilgrimage to Gibeon in the hope of receiving divine communication. Chronicles views this pilgrimage as a sign of Solomon’s devotion to the cultus and, thereby, having national‐religious significance. In line with the tendency to create greater continuity between David and Solomon, Solomon’s actions parallel those of David; see 1 Chron. 11.4–8 and esp. 13.1–5 .

1 :

David’s prayers on behalf of Solomon have materialized (1 Chron. 28.20 ).

3 :

1 Kings ( 3.2–3 ) acknowledges that Israel offered local sacrifices prior to the construction of Solomon’s Temple; Chronicles consistently avoids mention of any such possibility. The Tabernacle and altar were, for Chronicles, the mobile “chosen place” for cultic activity, in accordance with Lev. 17.8; Deut. 12.4–28 . For this reason Chronicles claims that Gibeon was the site of the Mosaic Tabernacle (and sacred appurtenances), whereas 1 Kings 3.4 states only that the “great altar”—i.e., one of many—was there (see 1 Chron. 16.39 ). For Chronicles, but not for Kings, Leviticus as well as Deuteronomy was authoritative; this explains the revision here. Rabbinic tradition (m. Zevaḥ. 14.4–7; t. Zevaḥ. 13.19 ) reconciles the divergent biblical traditions (Lev. ch 17, Deut. ch 12, 1 Kings, Chronicles) by arguing that prior to the construction of the Temple, local cultic slaughter was permitted so long as there was no central tabernacle housing both the “great altar” and the Ark (as in Chronicles’ description of Gibeon); when such existed, as in the rabbinic understanding of the Shiloh Tabernacle (see Josh. 18.1; 1 Sam. 3.3 ), sacrificial activity was permitted only at the central site. This accounts for David’s sacrifices, in Jerusalem, at 1 Chron. 16.2 . As previously noted, Chronicles omits reference to the dynastic struggle during David’s old age. Chronicles also defers mention of Solomon’s marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter (1 Kings 3.1 ) until 8.11 . The reasons are twofold. First, Chronicles seeks to convey the impression that Solomon’s first act as monarch pertained to religious, Temple‐related matters. Second, Solomon’s marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter is a “political” one, intended to consolidate his position; only after this stability is assured does Solomon, according to 1 Kings, go to Gibeon. Chronicles, however, maintains that Solomon’s rule was divinely ordained and had never been in doubt; hence, the diplomatic motive behind this marriage was irrelevant.

13 :

Chronicles omits Solomon’s sacrifice before the Ark upon his return to Jerusalem; cf. 1 Kings 3.15 . This probably reflects Chronicles’ slant concerning cult centralization even before the construction of the Temple; see, however, 1 Chron. 16.2 .

1.14–17 :

Economic growth. Almost identical wording appears at the close of Solomon’s life in 2 Chron. 9.27–28 (= 1 Kings 10.23–28 ); it is not unusual for Chronicles to rearrange source material for literary or ideological reasons. While some scholars see this use of inclusio (2 Chron. 1.14–17ǁ2 Chron. 9.27–28 ) as nothing more than a literary device, others maintain Chronicles here portrays God’s promise as being realized without delay, such that the entire period of Solomon’s reign was marked by economic prosperity. There is no hint here of the hardships endured during the course of this economic boom; see 10.1 . Note that Chronicles omits 1 Kings 3.16–28 , Solomon’s first successful adjudication, because Chronicles maintains that Solomon’s wisdom was manifest, first and foremost, in executing the Temple project; see 2 Chron. 2.11 .

1.18–2.17 :

Preparation of work force and Solomon’s negotiations with Huram. There are many differences between this ch and 1 Kings ch 2 . Kings calls the king Hiram, while in Chronicles he is Huram. In Kings Hiram establishes diplomatic contact with Solomon, to continue the beneficial (and lucrative; see below) relations which he had enjoyed with David; he therefore does this only after Solomon’s rule has been fully stabilized. By contrast, Chronicles claims that Solomon initiates the diplomacy shortly after his visit to Gibeon and his conscription of Temple workers; his alacrity demonstrates his commitment to executing the construction of the Temple. Second, the negotiations in 1 Kings are based on a quid pro quo; Solomon pays for needed services, while the terms of payment are dictated by Huram. In Chronicles Solomon unilaterally dictates the terms, while Hiram is presented as a “believing,” monotheistic Gentile, whose motive for assisting Solomon is largely, or even exclusively, religious. Third, the cost in Kings involves yearly provisions for Hiram’s household; Chronicles speaks of a one‐time payment. Fourth, in 1 Kings Solomon’s description of the planned Temple is terse and businesslike; Chronicles’ Solomon describes the magnitude of the Temple project in superlative terms and spells out the specific cultic activities (integrating Priestly perspectives) to take place in the Temple. Fifth, by having Huram use the expression “my lord” to Solomon (v. 14 ), Chronicles portrays Solomon as the dominant monarch; see 8.1–6n. Finally, according to 1 Kings 5.26 , the wisdom that God bestowed upon Solomon is demonstrated by Solomon’s execution of a treaty with Hiram. Chronicles makes no reference to this treaty nor to its constituting the realization of Solomon’s wisdom. As noted above, Chronicles maintains that Solomon’s wisdom was manifest primarily in connection with the Temple building, and only secondarily in other spheres. Chronicles’ omission of the treaty reflects two factors. Since Chronicles presents Solomon as the most powerful and wealthy monarch in the region, there is no reason for Solomon to limit himself by a political treaty. Second, Chronicles’ omission reflects an ideological stance of Chronicles, according to which a truly believing individual must trust in the LORD’S ability to provide for all needs, making treaties with foreigners (and wicked Israelites) superfluous and even improper.

2.3 :

The addition of details of the sacrifices reflect Chronicles’ incorporation of the Priestly perspective found in Leviticus and elsewhere.

5 :

Chronicles expresses the divine transcendence; the Temple does not actually “house” the LORD (contrast 1 Kings 8.13 ). This formulation may be informed by Deuteronomy’s “name theology,” according to which only the LORD’S name is localized at the Temple (see, e.g., Deut. 12.5, 11 ).

10–13 :

Huram’s reply: The implication of Huram’s readiness to assist Solomon is that if a foreigner—albeit righteous—recognizes the importance of the Israelite Temple, how much more so should be the response of all Israelites/Jews.

11 :

A patent formulation of the view that the wisdom granted Solomon was realized primarily in the building of the Temple, not in domestic and international leadership.

12–14 :

The materials listed are reminiscent of the Tabernacle account in Exod. 25.3–7; 35.5–9 ; see the “continuity theme” in 1 Chron. ch 21 . This motif also explains the name and tribal background of the chief Temple craftsman. Whereas 1 Kings 7.14 assigns his mother to the northern tribe of Naphtali, Chronicles claims that his mother was from the northern tribe of Dan, while his father was a Tyrian; the (half‐)Danite lineage of Huramabi thus parallels the Tabernacle account in Exodus wherein one of the head artisans, Oholiab, was a Danite (Exod. 31.6 ). The Tyrian origin of the craftsman’s father troubled Jewish exegetes. Josephus (Ant.) and some medieval commentators argued that his father was Jewish, by taking “Tyre” to refer to the mainland Tyre, apportioned to Asher (Josh. 19.29 ), rather than the Phoenician city. Others suggested that his father was originally from the fort‐city of Ser, which formed part of Naphtali, but subsequently moved to Tyre. The Chronicler’s statement here reflects his relatively moderate position on intermarriage and lineage; see introduction.

16–17 :

Solomon again prepares the work force. Significantly, he uses only aliens for the work force; Kings is ambivalent on this matter (cf. 1 Kings 5.27; 9.21 ). In addition, Chronicles has omitted the covenant between Solomon and Hiram (1 Kings 5.26 ).

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