Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
Solomon's City-Building, Statute Labour, Arrangement of Public Worship, and Nautical Undertakings - 2 Chronicles 8
The building of the temple was the most important work of Solomon's reign, as compared with which all the other undertakings of the king fall into the background; and these are consequently only summarily enumerated both in the book of Kings and in the Chronicle. In our chapter, in the first place, we have, (a) the building or completion of various cities, which were of importance partly as strongholds, partly as magazines, for the maintenance of the army necessary for the defence of the kingdom against hostile attacks (Ch2 8:1-6); (b) the arrangement of the statute labour for the execution of all his building works (Ch2 8:7-11); (c) the regulation of the sacrificial service and the public worship (Ch2 8:12-16); and (d) the voyage to Ophir (Ch2 8:17, Ch2 8:18). All these undertakings are recounted in the same order and in the same aphoristic way in 1 Kings 9:10-28, but with the addition of various notes, which are not found in our narrative; while the Chronicle, again, mentions several not unimportant though subordinate circumstances, which are not found in the book of Kings; whence it is clear that in the two narratives we have merely short and mutually supplementary extracts from a more elaborate description of these matters.
2 Chronicles 8:1
The city-building. - Ch2 8:1. The date, "at the end of twenty years, when Solomon ... had built," agrees with that in Kg1 9:10. The twenty years are to be reckoned from the commencement of the building of the temple, for he had spent seven years in the building of the temple, and thirteen years in that of his palace (Kg1 6:38; Kg1 7:1).
Ch2 8:2 must be regarded as the apodosis of Ch2 8:1, notwithstanding that the object, the cities which ... precedes. The unusual position of the words is the result of the aphoristic character of the notice. As to its relation to the statement Kg1 9:10-13, see the discussion on that passage. בּנה, Ch2 8:2, is not to be understood of the fortification of these cities, but of their completion, for, according to Kg1 9:10, Kg1 9:13, they were in very bad condition. ויּושׁב, he caused to dwell there, i.e., transplanted Israelites thither, cf. Kg2 17:6. The account of the cities which Solomon built, i.e., fortified, is introduced (Ch2 8:3) by the important statement, omitted in 1 Kings 9: "Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, and prevailed against it." על חזק, to be strong upon, that is, prevail against, conquer; cf. Ch2 27:5. Hamath-zobah is not the city Hamath in Zobah, but, as we learn from Ch2 8:4, the land or kingdom of Hamath. This did not lie, any more than the city Hamath, in Zobah, but bordered on the kingdom of Zobah: cf. Ch1 18:3; and as to the position of Zobah, see the Commentary on Sa2 8:3. In David's time Hamath and Zobah had their own kings; and David conquered them, and made their kingdoms tributary (Ch1 18:3-10). Because they bordered on each other, Hamath and Zobah are here bound together as a nomen compos. עליה יחזק signifies at least this, that these tributary kingdoms had either rebelled against Solomon, or at least had made attempts to do so; which Solomon suppressed, and in order to establish his dominion over them fortified Tadmor, i.e., Palmyra, and all the store cities in the land of Hamath (see on Kg1 9:18.); for, according to Kg1 11:23., he had Rezon of Zobah as an enemy during his whole reign; see on that passage.
Besides these, he made Upper and Nether Beth-horon (see on Ch1 7:24) into fortified cities, with walls, gates, and bars. מצור ערי is the second object of ויּבן, and וגו חומות is in apposition to that. Further, he fortified Baalah, in the tribe of Dan, to defend the kingdom against the Philistines, and, according to Kg1 9:15-17, Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer also, - which are omitted here, while in Kg1 9:17 Upper Beth-horon is omitted, - and store cities, chariot cities, and cavalry cities; see on Kg1 9:15-19.
2 Chronicles 8:7
On the arrangement of the statute labour, see on Kg1 9:20-23. - This note is in Chr. abruptly introduced immediately after the preceding. Ch2 8:7 is an absolute clause: "as regards the whole people, those." מן־בּניהם (Ch2 8:8) is not partitive: some of their sons; but is only placed before the אשׁר: those of their sons (i.e., of the descendants of the whole Canaanite people) who had remained in the land, whom the Israelites had not exterminated; Solomon made a levy of these for statute labourers. The מן is wanting in 1 Kings, but is not to be struck out here on that account. Much more surprising is the אשׁר after שׂראל מן־בּני, Ch2 8:9, which is likewise not found in 1 Kings, since the following verb נתן לא is not to be taken relatively, but contains the predicate of the subject contained in the words ישׂ מן־בּני. This אשׁר cannot be otherwise justified than by supposing that it is placed after ישׂ בני מן, as in Psa 69:27 it is placed after the subject of the relative clause, and so stands for ישׂ בני מן בן אשׂר: those who were of the sons of Israel (i.e., Israelites) Solomon did not make ... The preplacing of בּניהם מן in Ch2 8:8 would naturally suggest that ישׂ בני מן should also precede, in order to bring out sharply the contrast between the sons of the Canaanites and the sons of Israel.
2 Chronicles 8:9
שׁלישׁיו ושׁרי should be altered into ושׁלישׁיו שׂריו as in Kg1 9:22, for שׁלישׁים are not chariot combatants, but royal adjutants; see on Exo 14:7 and Sa2 23:8. Over the statute labourers 250 upper overseers were placed. נציבים שׂרי, chief of the superiors, i.e., chief overseer. The Keth. נציבים, praefecti, is the true reading; cf. Ch1 18:13; Ch2 17:2. The Keri has arisen out of Kg1 9:23. These overseers were Israelites, while in the number 550 (Kg1 9:23) the Israelite and Canaanite upper overseers are both included; see on Ch2 2:17. בּעם refers to כּל־העם, Ch2 8:7, and denotes the Canaanite people who remained.
2 Chronicles 8:11
The remark that Solomon caused Pharaoh's daughter, whom he had married (Kg1 3:1), to remove from the city of David into the house which he had built her, i.e., into that part of his newly-built palace which was appointed for the queen, is introduced here, as in Kg1 9:24, because it belongs to the history of Solomon's buildings, although in the Chronicle it comes in very abruptly, the author not having mentioned Solomon's marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh (Kg1 3:1). The reason given for this change of residence on the part of the Egyptian princess is, that Solomon could not allow her, an Egyptian, to dwell in the palace of King David, which had been sanctified by the reception of the ark, and consequently assigned to her a dwelling in the city of David until he should have finished the building of his palace, in which she might dwell along with him. המּה is, as neuter, used instead of the singular; cf. Ew. 318, b. See also on Kg1 3:1 and Kg1 9:24.
2 Chronicles 8:12
The sacrificial service in the new temple. Cf. Kg1 9:25, where it is merely briefly recorded that Solomon offered sacrifices three times a year on the altar built by him to the Lord. In our verses we have a detailed account of it. אז, at that time, scil. when the temple building had been finished and the temple dedicated (cf. Ch2 8:1), Solomon offered burnt-offerings upon the altar which he had built before the porch of the temple. He no longer now sacrifices upon the altar of the tabernacle at Gibeon, as in the beginning of his reign (Ch2 1:3.).
"Even sacrificing at the daily rate, according to the direction of Moses." These words give a supplementary and closer definition of the sacrificing in the form of an explanatory subordinate clause, which is interpolated in the principal sentence. For the following words וגו לשּׁבּתות belong to the principal sentence (Ch2 8:12): he offered sacrifices ... on the sabbaths, the new moons, etc. The ו before בּדבר is explicative, and that = viz.; and the infin. להעלות, according to the later usage, instead of infin. absol.; cf. Ew. 280, d. The preposition בּ (before דּבר) is the so-called b essentiae: consisting in the daily (rate) to sacrifice (this); cf. Ew. 299, b. The daily rate, i.e., that which was prescribed in the law of Moses for each day, cf. Lev 23:37. למּועדות is further explained by the succeeding clause: on the three chief festivals of the year.
He ordered the temple service, also, entirely according to the arrangement introduced by David as to the service of the priests and Levites. He appointed, according to the ordinance of David his father, i.e., according to the ordinance established by David, the classes of the priests (see on 1 Chron 24) to that service, and the Levites to their stations (משׁמרות as in Ch2 7:6), to praise (cf. 1 Chron 25), and to serve before the priests (Ch1 23:28.), according to that which was appointed for every day, and the doorkeepers according to their courses, etc. (see 1 Chron 27:1-19). With the last words cf. Neh 12:24.
This arrangement was faithfully observed by the priests and Levites. The verb סוּר is here construed c. accus. in the signification to transgress a command (cf. Ew. 282, a), and it is therefore not necessary to alter מצות into ממּצות. על־הכּהנים depends upon מצות: the king's command concerning the priests and the Levites, i.e., that which David commanded them. וגו לכל־דּבר, in regard to all things, and especially also in regard to the treasures; cf. Ch1 26:20-28. - With Ch2 8:16 the account of what Solomon did for the public worship is concluded: "Now all the work of Solomon was prepared until the (this) day, the foundation of the house of Jahve until its completion; the house of Jahve was finished." מלאכת is explained by מוּסד. היּום is the day on which, after the consecration of the completed temple, the regular public worship was commenced in it, which doubtless was done immediately after the dedication of the temple. Only when the regular worship according to the law of Moses, and with the arrangements as to the service of the priests and Levites established by David, had been commenced, was Solomon's work in connection with the temple completed, and the house of God שׁלם, integer, perfect in all its parts, as it should be. The last clause, בית י שׁלם, is connected rhetorically with what precedes without the conjunction, and is not to be regarded as a subscription, "with which the historian concludes the whole narrative commencing with Ch2 2:1" (Berth.); for שׁלם does not signify "ended," or to be at an end, but to be set thoroughly (perfectly) in order.
2 Chronicles 8:17
Voyage to Ophir. Cf. Kg1 9:26-28, and the commentary on that passage, where we have discussed the divergences of our narrative, and have also come to the conclusion that Ophir is not to be sought in India, but in Southern Arabia. By אז the date of this voyage is made to fall in the period after the building of the temple and the palace, i.e., in the second half of Solomon's reign.