(ii) SOLOMON’S WISDOM, WEALTH, AND GLORY. HIS DEATH.
(a) THE VISIT OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA (2 Chronicles 9:1-12).
Comp. 1 Kings 10:1-13.
The Hebrew text coincides with Kings, allowing for a few characteristic alterations, the chief of which will be noticed.
(1) And when the queen of Sheba heard.—Now the queen of Sheba had heard. Kings, was hearing.
The fame of Solomon.—Kings, adds a difficult phrase (“as to the name of Jehovah”) which the chronicler omits.
Hard questions.—Riddles, enigmas. LXX., αἰνίγμασιν (Judges 14:12).
At Jerusalem.—An abridgment but not an improvement of Kings. The Syr. agrees with the latter.
Gold in abundance.—The chronicler has substituted a favourite expression for the “very much gold” of Kings.
Thou exceedest the fame.—Literally, Thou kast added to the report. Kings, more fully, “Thou hast added wisdom and weal to the report.”
To be king for the Lord thy God.—A further insistance on the idea that Solomon was but the vicegerent of Jehovah. The clause is added by the chronicler, but need not be called “an evidently wilful alteration” (Thenius).
To establish.—This phrase is wanting in the Hebrew of Kings, but is probably original, as the LXX. there has it.
Great abundance.—See Note on 2 Chronicles 9:1. Here lārōb is substituted for the ancient harbēh.
Neither was there any such spice.—Or, there had not been such spicery, i.e., in Jerusalem. A defect in the chronicler’s MS. authority probably occasioned this deviation from the phrase which we find in the older text, “There came no more such abundance of spicery” (1 Kings 10:10).
Brought algum trees.—See 2 Chronicles 2:8. LXX., ξύλα πεύκιυα; Vulg., “ligna thyina;” Syriac, “acacia (?) wood” (’eshkor‘ō); Kings, “brought from Ophir almug trees in great abundance.” In the Mishna ’almûg is “coral;” and the Rabbis ascribe a red colour to the algum wood. The Pterocarpus Santalinus has blood-red wood with black streaks, is fragrant, and is used in works of art, as well as for burning. The tree called Valgu or Valgum is the Santalum album, which produces white and yellow sandalwood. Thenius doubts whether the algum wood of Solomon was not the teak (Cytharexylon Tectona), which abounds in East India, and is a hard, yellow-streaked, strongly-scented wood, used in India for temple building.
And there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.—A shortened paraphrase of, “There came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day” (Kings). “The land of Judah” is a phrase which indicates how utterly the northern kingdom was excluded from the redactor’s thought.
She turned.—Hāphak, for pānāh of Kings, which is more usual in this sense.
(13) Now the weight of gold.—See 1 Kings 10:14, with which this verse coincides.
For the second half of the phrase Kings has, “and the merchandise of the pedlars.”
The kings of Arabia.—Kings, “the kings of the mixed tribes;” that is, the Bêdâwîs, bordering on and mingling with Israel. (Comp. Exodus 12:38.) The difference depends on the vowel pointing only. (Comp. Jeremiah 25:24, where both words occur; and Ezekiel 30:5.)
Governors.—Pachôth, i.e., pashas. Thenius is wrong in supposing this word to be a token of the “later composition of the section.” (See Note on 2 Kings 18:24.)
Brought.—Were bringing = used to bring. (Comp. 2 Chronicles 9:23-24.)
Beaten gold.—Rather, according to Gesenius, mixed or alloyed gold. But the word (shahût, i.e., shatûah) seems to mean gold beaten out, gold-leaf. So LXX., ἐλατούς.
Went to.—He put on, i.e., he plated the “targets,” which were large oblong shields, with gold. (Comp. Amos 8:10, “And I will put upon all loins sackcloth.”) So in 2 Chronicles 9:16.
Three hundred shekels of gold.—Kings, three manehs of gold. The maneh or mina (Assyrian, mana), was 1-60th part of a talent, and was equivalent to fifty or sixty shekels. Either the reading of our text is an error of transcription (sh’losh mē’ôth for sh’losheth manîm), or the word shekels is wrongly supplied in our version, and we ought rather to read drachms (100 drachms = 1 mina). The Syriac reads, “And three minas of gold wrought on the handle of one shield;” so also the Arabic.
For the remainder of this and the following verse see 1 Kings 10:19-20. The chronicler has made two, slight verbal corrections in 2 Chronicles 9:19.
Passed all.—Was great above all.
Harness—i.e., weapons and armour. Compare Macbeth’s
“At least we’ll die with harness on our back.”
A rate year by year.—Literally, a year’s matter in a year. Solomon’s vassal kings are intended.
The remainder of the verse coincides with 1 Kings 10:26.
Having already given an account of Solomon’s chariots and horses, and his importation of the latter from Egypt, in 2 Chronicles 1:14-17, an account which is identical with 1 Kings 10:26-29, the chronicler naturally avoids mere repetition of that passage in 2 Chronicles 9:25-28.
(29) Now the rest of the acts of Solomon.—Or, story, history; literally, words. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 29:29.)
First and last.—Or, the former and the latter. Instead of this, Kings has, “and all that he did, and his wisdom.”
In the book.—Or, history. For the sources named here, see the Introduction. Kings has simply, “are they not written in the book of the history of Solomon? “His name conveyed the idea of peace to the Hebrew ear. But there is no doubt that it was originally identical with Shalman (Assyrian Salmânu), the name of a god. Tiglath-pileser II. mentions a Salamânu king of Moab. This name exactly corresponds to Solomon.
Ahijah the Shilonite.—See 1 Kings 11:29-39; 1 Kings 14:2-18.
Iddo.—Hebrew, Ie‘dî or Ie‘dô. This seer is not mentioned in Kings. (See 2 Chronicles 12:15; 2 Chronicles 13:22 for further references to his works.)
Over all Israel—i.e., the undivided nation.
He was buried.—They buried him. Kings has, “he was buried.” The two texts are otherwise identical.