Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 1; 1 Kings 4

Click on this link for translations of this Bible study.

When we began our study of 1 Chronicles, I noted two books of the Bible were titled “Chronicles.” They are the chronicles of Israel’s history as a people and nation. Scholars agree they were most likely written during the post-exilic era (the years following Israel’s Babylonian exile); together, the Chronicles give us vital information. 1 Chronicles was a parallel account of events recorded in 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. The history record in 2 Chronicles parallels events detailed in 1 Kings 3 and 1 Kings 4.

For interpretation, I suggest that 1 Kings and 2 Kings are a record of historical events written from man’s viewpoint. By contrast, I believe 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles were written from God’s perspective. 

1 Chronicles concluded with King David urging Israel to accept Solomon as king and support him in the greatest undertaking of his life, building a Temple for the LORD in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 29:1-25).  With modest fanfare, David “died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead” (1 Chronicles 29:28).

2 Chronicles 1 (note – 1 Kings 3:4-15)

 

A Call to Worship and The Sacrifices Solomon Offered (2 Chronicles 1:1-6)

2 Chronicles 1 opened with Solomon sitting on his father’s throne “and the LORD God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly” (2 Chronicles 1:1). The young king began his reign by summoning “all Israel,” including the captains of his military, and governors, to gather at “Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness” (2 Chronicles 1:3). David had removed the Ark of God to a tabernacle he had prepared in Jerusalem. The ancient Mosaic tabernacle and altar remained in Gibeon (2 Chronicles 1:5-6). At Gibeon, Solomon “offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it” (2 Chronicles 1:6).

 

The LORD’s Proposal and Solomon’s Prayer (2 Chronicles 1:7-10)

As recorded in 1 Kings 3, God appeared to Solomon at Gibeon “and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee” (2 Chronicles 1 1:7). What an incredible opportunity! The LORD told Solomon, “Name your heart’s desire, and I will perform it!”

Let’s consider God’s proposal for a moment. Were the LORD to grant you an opportunity to ask for something, for anything, and it would be given, what would you request? Would you ask for riches?  Possessions?  Power? Popularity?  Fame? A sincere answer to that question reveals a lot about your spiritual character. No doubt, Solomon’s answer to the LORD’s proposition would put us all to shame! 

The young king did not request things that carnal, worldly-minded men pursue. Instead, his request revealed a heart of sincere humility. Solomon intreated, “Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great?” (2 Chronicles 1:10)

 

Solomon’s Request (2 Chronicles 1 1:11-12)

The LORD knew Solomon’s heart and motives (2 Chronicles 1:11) and commended him. He promised to reward him with not only wisdom and knowledge but also “riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like” (2 Chronicles 1:12). 

 

The LORD’s Blessings and Solomon’s Diligence (2 Chronicles 1 1:13-17)

God was faithful to His promise to bless Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:13-17). When the king returned to Jerusalem, he began gathering 1400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen for his military (2 Chronicles 1:14). The wealth of Israel became so vast that silver and gold were as plentiful as stones, and cedar trees as common as sycamore trees (cedar being the preferred wood for construction, 2 Chronicles 1:15).

Evidencing the wisdom with which God promised to bless him, Solomon’s kingdom became powerful, and Israel controlled the trade routes out of Egypt. The young king began trading in chariots and horses that were sent to kings of other nations (2 Chronicles 1:16-17).

1 Kings 4

Solomon’s Administers and their Offices (1 Kings 4:1-19)

1 Kings 4 records the names of Solomon’s officers (1 Kings 4:1-6), beginning with Azariah, the high priest (1 Kings 4:2). The names of others who assisted Solomon are recorded, including scribes who handled his correspondence with other nations (4:3), and a court clerk who kept a record of the affairs of state (1 Kings 4:3). There was also Solomon’s military captain (1 Kings 4:4), priests who were his advisors (1 Kings 4:4b), a principal officer, and head of the officers 1 Kings (4:5). The steward of his household was named (1 Kings 4:6a), and the man charged with overseeing those who paid tribute (that is, indentured servants to the king, 1 Kings 4:6b).

Twelve officers, each representing a district in Israel, were charged with providing household provisions to support the king’s court (1 Kings 4:7-19). Taxes were also levied on the people and nations that paid Israel tribute.

 

The Extent of Solomon’s Kingdom and the Provisions for His Court (1 Kings 4:20-28)

The taxes collected by Solomon went to support massive construction projects that included his palace, the Temple, and the city walls (1 Kings 4:20-28). Because Israel and the people were enjoying unprecedented prosperity, there was plenty of revenue for the government (1 Kings 4:26-28). Nevertheless, as we will see later, the taxation burden inevitably oppressed the people. Following Solomon’s death, the people demanded reduced taxes (1 Kings 12:1-4).

 

The International Fame of Solomon’s Wisdom (1 Kings 4:29-34)

God kept his promise, and He “gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore” (1 Kings 4:29). The king’s fame increased, and the people of the east marveled that his wisdom and knowledge exceeded that of the men of the east orient (1 Kings 4:30-31).

Three thousand proverbs were attributed to Solomon (many are recorded in the Book of Proverbs), and 1,005 songs (1 Kings 4:32). His knowledge of botany and biology excelled all men, and people and rulers from all the known world came to Jerusalem seeking an audience with Solomon (1 Kings 4:33-34; note, Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31).

Closing thoughts –

Solomon requested wisdom and understanding, and the LORD gave the young king all humanity desires.

Christ, in His Sermon on the Mount, admonished His followers, “Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” (Matthew 6:31). The LORD then exhorted, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). 

What about you? What are you seeking? Upon what have you set your desires and affections? In other words, if you were granted one wish, what would it be?

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

* You can subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of www.HeartofAShepherd.com.