Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
2 Chronicles 2:1
(1:18). The account of these is introduced by 1:18: "Solomon thought to build." אמר with an infinitive following does not signify here to command one to do anything, as e.g., in Ch1 21:17, but to purpose to do something, as e.g., in Kg1 5:5. For יהוה לשׁם, see on Kg1 5:17. למלכוּתו בּית, house for his kingdom, i.e., the royal palace. The building of this palace is indeed shortly spoken of in Ch2 2:11; Ch2 7:11, and Ch2 8:1, but is not in the Chronicle described in detail as in Kg1 7:1-12.
(2:1). With Ch2 2:1 begins the account of the preparations which Solomon made for the erection of these buildings, especially of the temple building, accompanied by a statement that the king caused all the workmen of the necessary sort in his kingdom to be numbered. There follows thereafter an account of the negotiations with King Hiram of Tyre in regard to the sending of a skilful architect, and of the necessary materials, such as cedar wood and hewn stones, from Lebanon (Ch2 2:2-15); and, in conclusion, the statements as to the levying of the statute labourers of Israel (Ch2 2:1) are repeated and rendered more complete (Ch2 2:16, Ch2 2:17). If we compare the parallel account in Kg1 5:5., we find that Solomon's negotiation with Hiram about the proposed buildings is preceded (Kg1 5:5) by a notice, that Hiram, after he had heard of Solomon's accession, had sent him an embassy to congratulate him. This notice is omitted in the Chronicle, because it was of no importance in the negotiations which succeeded. In the account of Solomon's negotiation with Hiram, both narratives (Ch2 2:2-15 and Kg1 5:16.) agree in the main, but differ in form so considerably, that it is manifest that they are free adaptations of one common original document, quite independent of each other, as has been already remarked on Kg1 5:5. On Ch2 2:2 see further on Kg1 5:15.
2 Chronicles 2:3
(2:2-9). Solomon, through his ambassadors, addressed himself to Huram king of Tyre, with the request that he would send him an architect and building wood for the temple. On the Tyrian king Huram or Hiram, the contemporary of David and Solomon, see the discussion on Sa2 5:11. According to the account in 1 Kings 5, Solomon asked cedar wood from Lebanon from Hiram; according to our account, which is more exact, he desired an architect, and cedar, cypress, and other wood. In 1 Kings 5 the motive of Solomon's request is given in the communication to Hiram, viz., that David could not carry out the building of the proposed temple on account of his wars, but that Jahve had given him (Solomon) rest and peace, so that he now, in accordance with the divine promise to David, desired to carry on the building (Kg1 5:3-5). In the Ch2 2:2-5, on the contrary, Solomon reminds the Tyrian king of the friendliness with which he had supplied his father David with cedar wood for his palace, and then announces to him his purpose to build a temple to the Lord, at the same time stating that it was designed for the worship of God, whom the heavens and the earth cannot contain. It is clear, therefore, that both authors have expanded the fundamental thoughts of their authority in somewhat freer fashion. The apodosis of the clause beginning with כּאשׁר is wanting, and the sentence is an anacolouthon. The apodosis should be: "do so also for me, and send me cedars." This latter clause follows in Ch2 2:6, Ch2 2:7, while the first can easily be supplied, as is done e.g., in the Vulg., by sic fac mecum.
"Behold, I will build." הנּה with a participle of that which is imminent, what one intends to do. לו להקדּישׁ, to sanctify (the house) to Him. The infinitive clause which follows (וגו להקטיר) defines more clearly the design of the temple. The temple is to be consecrated by worshipping Him there in the manner prescribed, by burning incense, etc. סמּים קטרת, incense of odours, Exo 25:6, which was burnt every morning and evening on the altar of incense, Exo 30:7. The clauses which follow are to be connected by zeugma with להקטיר, i.e., the verbs corresponding to the objects are to be supplied from הקטיר: "and to spread the continual spreading of bread" (Exo 25:30), and to offer burnt-offerings, as is prescribed in Num 28 and 29. וגו זאת לעולם, for ever is this enjoined upon Israel, cf. Ch1 23:31.
In order properly to worship Jahve by these sacrifices, the temple must be large, because Jahve is greater than all gods; cf. Exo 18:11; Deu 10:17.
No one is able (כּוח עצר as in Ch1 29:14) to build a house in which this God could dwell, for the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. These words are a reminiscence of Solomon's prayer (Kg1 8:27; Ch2 6:18). How should I (Solomon) be able to build Him a house, scil. that He should dwell therein? In connection with this, there then comes the thought: and that is not my purpose, but only to offer incense before Him will I build a temple. הקטיר is used as pars pro toto, to designate the whole worship of the Lord. After this declaration of the purpose, there follows in Deu 10:6 the request that he would send him for this end a skilful chief workman, and the necessary material, viz., costly woods. The chief workman was to be a man wise to work in gold, silver, etc. According to Ch2 4:11-16 and Kg1 7:13., he prepared the brazen and metal work, and the vessels of the temple; here, on the contrary, and in Ch2 2:13 also, he is described as a man who was skilful also in purple weaving, and in stone and wood work, to denote that he was an artificer who could take charge of all the artistic work connected with the building of the temple. To indicate this, all the costly materials which were to be employed for the temple and its vessels are enumerated. ארגּון, the later form of ארגּמן, deep-red purple, see on Exo 25:4. כּרמיל, occurring only here, Ch2 2:6, Ch2 2:13, and in Ch2 3:14, in the signification of the Heb. שׁני תּולעת, crimson or scarlet purple, see on Exo 25:4. It is not originally a Hebrew word, but is probably derived from the Old-Persian, and has been imported, along with the thing itself, from Persia by the Hebrews. תּכלת, deep-blue purple, hyacinth purple, see on Exo 25:4. פּתּוּהים פּתּח, to make engraved work, and Exo 28:9, Exo 28:11, Exo 28:36, and Exo 39:6, of engraving precious stones, but used here, as כּל־פּתּוּח, Ch2 2:13, shows, in the general signification of engraved work in metal or carved work in wood; cf. Kg1 6:29. עם־החכמים depends upon לעשׂות: to work in gold ..., together with the wise (skilful) men which are with me in Judah. הכין אשׁר, quos comparavit, cf. Ch1 28:21; Ch1 22:15.
The materials Hiram was to send were cedar, cypress, and algummim wood from Lebanon. אלגוּמים, Ch2 2:7 and Ch2 9:10, instead of אלמגּים, Kg1 10:11, probably means sandal wood, which was employed in the temple, according to Kg1 10:12, for stairs and musical instruments, and is therefore mentioned here, although it did not grow in Lebanon, but, according to Kg1 9:10 and Kg1 10:11, was procured at Ophir. Here, in our enumeration, it is inexactly grouped along with the cedars and cypresses brought from Lebanon.
The infinitive וּלהכין cannot be regarded as the continuation of לכרות, nor is it a continuation of the imperat. לי שׁלח (Ch2 2:7), with the signification, "and let there be prepared for me" (Berth.). It is subordinated to the preceding clauses: send me cedars, which thy people who are skilful in the matter hew, and in that my servants will assist, in order, viz., to prepare me building timber in plenty (the ו is explic). On Ch2 2:8 cf. Ch2 2:4. The infin. abs. הפלא is used adverbially: "wonderfully" (Ew. 280, c). In return, Solomon promises to supply the Tyrian workmen with grain, wine, and oil for their maintenance - a circumstance which is omitted in Kg1 5:10; see on Ch2 2:14. להטבים is more closely defined by העצים לכרתי, and ל is the introductory ל: "and behold, as to the hewers, the fellers of trees." חטב, to hew (wood), and to dress it (Deu 29:10; Jos 9:21, Jos 9:23), would seem to have been supplanted by חצב, which in Ch2 2:2, Ch2 2:18 is used for it, and it is therefore explained by העצים כּרת. "I will give wheat מכּות to thy servants" (the hewers of wood). The word מכּות gives no suitable sense; for "wheat of the strokes," for threshed wheat, would be a very extraordinary expression, even apart from the facts that wheat, which is always reckoned by measure, is as a matter of course supposed to be threshed, and that no such addition is made use of with the barley. מכּות is probably only an orthographical error for מכּלת, food, as may be seen from Kg1 5:11.
2 Chronicles 2:11
The answer of King Hiram; cf. Kg1 5:7-11. - Hiram answered בּכתב, in a writing, a letter, which he sent to Solomon. In Kg1 5:7 Hiram first expresses his joy at Solomon's request, because it was of importance to him to be on a friendly footing with the king of Israel. In the Chronicle his writing begins with the congratulation: because Jahve loveth His people, hath He made thee king over them. Cf. for the expression, Ch2 9:8 and Kg1 10:9. He then, according to both narratives, praises God that He has given David so wise a son. ויּאמר, Ch2 2:12, means: then he said further. The praise of God is heightened in the Chronicle by Hiram's entering into Solomon's religious ideas, calling Jahve the Creator of heaven and earth. Then, further, חכם בּן is strengthened by וּבינה שׂכל יודע, having understanding and discernment; and this predicate is specially referred to Solomon's resolve to build a temple to the Lord. Then in Ch2 2:13. he promises to send Solomon the artificer Huram-Abi. On the title אבי, my father, i.e., minister, counsellor, and the descent of this man, cf. the commentary on Kg1 7:13-14. In Ch2 2:14 of the Chronicle his artistic skill is described in terms coinciding with Solomon's wish in Ch2 2:6, only heightened by small additions. To the metals as materials in which he could work, there are added stone and wood work, and to the woven fabrics בּוּץ (byssus), the later word for שׁשׁ; and finally, to exhaust the whole, he is said to be able כּל־מח ולחשׁב, to devise all manner of devices which shall be put to him, as in Exo 31:4, he being thus raised to the level of Bezaleel, the chief artificer of the tabernacle. עם־חכמיך is dependent upon לעשׂות, as in Ch2 2:6. The promise to send cedars and cypresses is for the sake of brevity here omitted, and only indirectly indicated in Ch2 2:16. In Ch2 2:15, however, it is mentioned that Hiram accepted the promised supply of grain, wine, and oil for the labourers; and Ch2 2:16 closes with the promise to fell the wood required in Lebanon, and to cause it to be sent in floats to Joppa (Jaffa), whence Solomon could take it up to Jerusalem. The word צרך, "need," is a ἅπαξ λεγ. in the Old Testament, but is very common in Aramaic writings. רפסדות, "floats," too, occurs only here instead of דּבבות, Kg1 5:9, and its etymology is unknown. If we compare Kg1 5:13-16 with the parallel account in Kg1 5:8-11, we find that, besides Hiram's somewhat verbose promise to fell the desired quantity of cedars and cypresses on Lebanon, and to send them in floats by sea to the place appointed by Solomon, the latter contains a request from Hiram that Solomon would give him לחם, maintenance for his house, and a concluding remark that Hiram sent Solomon cedar wood, while Solomon gave Hiram, year by year, 20,000 kor of wheat as food for his house, i.e., the royal household, and twenty kor beaten oil, that is, of the finest oil. In the book of Kings, therefore, the promised wages of grain, wine, and oil, which were sent to the Tyrian woodcutters, is passed over, and only the quantity of wheat and finest oil which Solomon gave to the Tyrian king for his household, year by year, in return for the timber sent, is mentioned. In the Chronicle, on the contrary, only the wages or payment to the woodcutters is mentioned, and the return made for the building timber is not spoken of; but there is no reason for bringing these two passages, which treat of different things, into harmony by alterations of the text. For further discussion of this and of the measures, see on Kg1 5:11.
2 Chronicles 2:17
In Ch2 2:17 and Ch2 2:18 the short statement in Ch2 2:2 as to Solomon's statute labourers is again taken up and expanded. Solomon caused all the men to be numbered who dwelt in the land of Israel as strangers, viz., the descendants of the Canaanites who were not exterminated, "according to the numbering (ספר occurs only here) as his father David had numbered them." This remark refers to Ch1 22:2, where, however, it is only said that David commanded the strangers to be assembled. But as he caused them to be assembled in order to secure labourers for the building of the temple, he doubtless caused them to be numbered; and to this reference is here made. The numbering gave a total of 153,000 men, of whom 70,000 were made bearers of burdens, 80,000 חצב, i.e., probably hewers of stone and wood בּהר, i.e., on Lebanon, and 3600 foremen or overseers over the workmen, את־העם להעביד, to cause the people to work, that is, to hold them to their task. With this cf. Kg1 5:15., where the number of the overseers is stated at 3300. This difference is explained by the fact that in the Chronicle the total number of overseers, of higher and lower rank, is given, while in the book of Kings only the number of overseers of the lower rank is given without the higher overseers. Solomon had in all 550 higher overseers of the builders (Israelite and Canaanite), - cf. Kg1 9:23; and of these, 250 were Israelites, who alone are mentioned in Ch2 8:10, while the remaining 300 were Canaanites. The total number of overseers is the same in both accounts, - 3850; who are divided in the Chronicle into 3600 Canaanitish and 250 Israelitish, in the book of Kings into 3300 lower and 550 higher overseers (see on Kg1 5:16). It is, moreover, stated in Kg1 5:12. that Solomon had levied a force of 30,000 statute labourers from among the people of Israel, with the design that a third part of them, that is, 10,000 men, should labour alternately for a month at a time in Lebanon, looking after their own affairs at home during the two following months. This levy of workmen from among the people of Israel is not mentioned in the Chronicle.