The Chronicler was an inspirational writer. He used the history of Israel during the Golden Age of David and Solomon to inspire his audience to adopt a theological vision similar to that of their ancestors. In 2 Chronicles 8-9 the author expounded this theme one final time, going to great lengths to show Solomon’s wealth and wisdom.
The Chronicler’s concern for the temple began as early as 1 Chronicles 17. In 2 Chronicles 8-9, he concluded the account of the temple by describing the worship activities Solomon initiated there. Solomon deployed the divisions of the Levites according to the stipulations David had established for them (2 Chron 8:14). And thus, “all of Solomon’s work was carried out from the day the foundation was laid, for the LORD’s temple until it was finished. So the LORD’s temple was completed” (2 Chron 8:16). These words may have caused a bit of grief in the heart of the Chronicler’s audience. Their temple was petite in comparison to Solomon’s edifice (Ezra 3:10-13; Hag 2:1-5). Nonetheless, the Chronicler established a theological vision for his audience. God had not changed; the people should seek Him in the temple of their day.
As the author set forth in the first eight chapters of 2 Chronicles, Solomon employed his wealth and wisdom in the construction of the temple. The Chronicler detailed these by first noting that Solomon’s wisdom impressed foreign dignitaries like the queen of Sheba who would come to investigate reports of Solomon’s greatness (2 Chron 9:1-12). Solomon was impressive. The queen remarked, “The report I heard in my own country about your words and about your wisdom is true. But I didn’t believe their reports until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, I was not even told half of your great wisdom!” (2 Chron 9:5-6). And Solomon’s wealth provided a tangible expression of his wisdom (2 Chron 9:13-28). Concerning his wealth and wisdom, the Chronicler wrote, “King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the world in riches and wisdom. All the kings of the world wanted an audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart (2 Chron 9:22-23).
The Chronicler had little more to say concerning the great King Solomon. A detailed account of Solomon’s weakness for foreign women, which led to his demise (1 Kings 11)would have darkened the vision he wished to impress in the mind of his deflated audience. They had experienced the Lord’s punitive discipline for the idolatry, not only of Solomon but of generations who followed him. In the near term, the author was looking to inspire his fellow Israelites toward faithfulness in the land, devotion to their temple, and cultic observance. The Chronicler thought of salvation in these terms (Deuteronomy 28-30).
Moses prophesied that after the exile, when the people would cry out for deliverance, the Lord would bring the people back to the land and cause them to prosper more than their fathers. Even more, Moses proposed that at that time, “The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love Him with all your heart and all your soul, so that you will live” (Deut 30:6). The Chronicler never mentioned this; it was for a time after him. Later in the storyline of Scripture, God sent forth His Son (Gal 4:4), the One greater than even Solomon. Jesus chastised those who demanded a sign from Him, stating that the Queen of Sheba—who came from a great distance to hear Solomon’s wisdom—would rise up and judge those who refused to accept His teaching (Matt 12:42//Luke 11:31). All those circumcised in heart, by the Spirit (Rom 2:29), heed the words of Jesus.