In 1 Chronicles, the author gave an account of the history of humankind from Adam to the great King David. His goal was to tell of God’s special choice of Israel and the Golden Age they enjoyed under the rule of David. The author walked the returned exiles through the annals of their history to give them a theological vision. He wanted them to know that their covenant-keeping God had brought them back to the Promised Land so that they could continue with Him in the shadow of their ancestors.
The opening words of 2 Chronicles, “Solomon son of David strengthened his hold on his kingdom. The LORD his God was with him and highly exalted him” (2 Chron 1:1), point the reader forward in the history of Israel. As the author underscored the place of King David and his military might in 1 Chronicles, in 2 Chronicles he directed his readers to consider Solomon and the construction of the temple. Among the features of Solomon’s early reign, the Chronicler called attention first to Solomon’s request for wisdom (2 Chron 1:1-13). The account differs from 1 Kings 3 in that it includes the Lord’s appearance to Solomon on the same night that Solomon offered great sacrifices at the tent of meeting. This account links Solomon’s request for wisdom with his leadership in temple construction.
The Chronicler then described Solomon’s great wealth (2 Chron 1:14-17). In the author’s hyperbolic language, post-exilic Israel was reminded of their great past: “The king made silver and gold as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar as abundant as sycamore in the Judean foothills” (2 Chron 1:15). Though abundantly wealthy, Solomon sought support from Hiram, king of Tyre (2 Chron 2:1-16). Hiram had provided David materials for David’s palace (1 Chronicles 14) but Solomon was not just building a royal palace—he was constructing the special meeting place between God and man. Of interest to the Chronicler was Solomon’s word to King Hiram. Solomon proposed that since Israel’s God was greater than all gods, the temple bearing the name of the Lord had to be appropriate to His stature (2 Chron 2:5).
Having written of the plans for the temple and the supplies used for construction, the Chronicler detailed the phases of temple construction (2 Chron 2:17-5:1). Israel’s place of worship was moved from Gibeon to Jerusalem: “Solomon began to build the LORD’s temple in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the site David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” (2 Chron 3:1; 1 Chron 21:27-22:1). Solomon’s work force, including help from King Hiram of Tyre, constructed the ornate locale of God’s special presence among His people.
Once the temple was built, Solomon ordered the ark to be transferred from the tent of meeting to the most holy place (2 Chron 5:2-14). So glorious was the scene that once the ark was set in the most holy place of the temple, the entire edifice, like the tabernacle of Moses’ day, was filled with a cloud of the Lord’s presence (Exod 40:34-38). The Levites sang the praise of the Lord, saying, “For He is good; His faithful love endures forever” (2 Chron 5:13).
The temple Solomon built had to, at least to some degree, reflect the opulence of the Lord. In the storyline of Scripture, Solomon’s zeal for the temple serves as a model for how the followers of Christ are to use their spiritual gifts to edify fellow believers in Christ. Paul wrote to the Ephesians that God have members of the church to work together in service for mutual edification that they might be built up into the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:11-13).