Solomon Furnishes the Temple – 2 Chronicles 4-5

Moses Consecrates Aaron and His Sons and Offer...

Moses Consecrates Aaron and His Sons and Offers Their Sin Offering (illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Solomon had an altar made of bronze. Depending on the size of the cubit in 2 Chronicles 4:1, it could have been as big as 30 ft. long, 30 ft. wide, and 15 ft. high! To this, one commentator we read concerning this chapter, said: “What was wrong with this? Ten cubits was a height of something like fifteen feet, which required that steps would have to be used by the priests in making sacrifices upon it; and God had specifically commanded Israel, “Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto my altar'” (Exodus 20:26).

This commentator also said that there were “also countless concessions to paganism, as seen in the images of the bulls (politely called oxen here) placed under the layer. The bulls, calves, oxen, whatever they were called, were the usual images under which the old Canaanite fertility god Baal was worshiped. Even the Jewish historian Josephus condemned Solomon for what he did in this (Antiquities of the Jews p. 255).”

Could it be that Solomon had sinned so greatly in furnishing the Temple? Let us take the commandment not to go up steps to the altar. If you read Exodus 20:26, it actually says “And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.’” This problem was alleviated, however, in Exodus 28:42, when God told Moses “You shall make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked flesh. They shall reach from the hips to the thighs; and they shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they go into the tent of meeting or when they come near the altar…”

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments, painting by Rembrandt (1659) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for the oxen, the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) forbade making a graven image – but as an object of worship. These twelve oxen that held up the “sea” were obviously representative of the twelve tribes. They were in no way part of the act of worship. Also, we know that later, the “glory of the Lord” filled the Temple after the dedication. So obviously, God approved of the construction and the furnishings.

The “sea” in verse 10 was a large circular water tank used by priests for ceremonial cleansing, just like the bronze basin of Exodus 30:18-21. In chapter 5, the ark of the covenant was brought into the “Most Holy Place” under the wings of the cherubim. Verse 10 says that there was nothing inside the ark except the two tablets (it had once contained Aaron’s rod and a jar of manna).

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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2 Chronicles – The Events of the Days

The Book of 2 Chronicles starts out in verse 1 saying “Solomon the son of David established himself in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.” It ends in chapter 36 with the proclamation of Cyrus, inviting the exiles to return to Judea and rebuild. This spans a time period of about 430 years. The capstone chapter is chapter 34, which begins the reign of King Josiah and his dramatic reforms and restoration.

During the eighteenth year of King Josiah's reign, he held a great Passover festival to celebrate the restored Temple 2 Chronicles 35:1-27)

During the eighteenth year of King Josiah’s reign, he held a great Passover festival to celebrate the restored Temple 2 Chronicles 35:1-27)

As the temple was being repaired, the priest Hilkiah found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. Then Shaphan the scribe read it to Josiah. When the great king realized the extent of the utter failure of his people in serving the Lord, he became extremely upset (2 Chronicles 34:19-24). At his bidding, Hilkiah went to Huldah the prophetess, who issued the news of the dire fate that awaited the people. Thus began a period of great change that put off the wrath of the Lord until Josiah’s death in 2 Chronicles 35. But the evil returned under the reign of his son, Jehoiakim (2 Chronicles 36:1-5).

Key events of 2 Chronicles

Solomon’s wisdom and prosperity  (2 Chronicles  1)
The building of the Temple (2 Chronicles 3–5:1)
Ark transported to the Temple (2 Chronicles 5:2–12)
God’s glory fills the temple (2 Chronicles 5:13–14)
Solomon blesses the people and consecrates the temple (2 Chronicles 6)
Fire from the Lord consumes the sacrifices (2 Chronicles 7:1–7)
Feast of Tabernacles and covenant confirmation (2 Chronicles 7:8–22)
Queen of Sheba visits (2 Chronicles 9:1–12)
Death of Solomon (2 Chronicles 9:29–31)

Division of the kingdom (2 Chronicles 10:1–11:23)
Reign of Rehoboam (Judah) (2 Chronicles 12:13–16)
War between Judah and Israel (2 Chronicles 13:1–22)
Asa’s reforms (2 Chronicles 15:8–19)
Asa defeats Syria (2 Chronicles 16:1–10)
Expansion of Judah (2 Chronicles 17:10–19)
Jehoshaphat’s alliance with Ahab and the death of Ahab (2 Chronicles 18:1–34)
Jehoshaphat’s reforms and his reign (2 Chronicles 19:1–20:37)

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Nehemiah 13 – Nehemiah’s Final Reforms

When Nehemiah had asked the king for leave to go to Jerusalem, Artaxerxes had made him give a time when he would return to him.  In verse 6, we find that he had done so in the thirty-second year of the king’s reign – a journey that would take far more than a month to make, in each direction.  And he well may have been gone for several years.  When he came back to Jerusalem, he found that Tobiah the Ammonite had been given a chamber in the house of God (verse 4 and 7)!  Nehemiah angrily threw all of his possessions out, and had the chambers cleansed and restored (verses 8-9).

English: Building the Wall of Jerusalem; as in...

English: Building the Wall of Jerusalem; as in Nehemiah; illustration from Sunrays quarterly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He also found that the people had not been giving the Levites their portion as commanded (verses 10-13), and that the Sabbath was being profaned (verses 15-22).  Nehemiah promptly sets those things right, appointed treasurers over the storehouses, set guards at the city gates before the Sabbath to keep people from bringing loads of wares in, and warned those lodging outside the city in wait they he would “lay hands on them” if they continued to do so.  Nehemiah was fed up.  The Lord had restored their Temple and the Wall and they were out of captivity – now they were sinking deeply into sin again!  Then, in verses 23-28, we find that the people were again marrying the foreigners and idol-worshipers that had been forbidden in the Law.  In Ezra 9 and 10, we find Ezra confronting this problem (see Ezra 9:1-2).  Apparently, his measures had not been effective.  Notice that in Ezra 9:3, Ezra tore his garments and pulled out his hair when he found out about it.  In verse 25 of this chapter, Nehemiah, upon learning of it, confronted the guilty and beat them and pulled their hair out!

In verse 30-31, Nehemiah ends the book on a positive note, listing the reforms he had made when he returned.  He was merely reporting a better condition of the state of affairs, and asking God to remember him for the good he had done.  Nehemiah always gave the glory to the Lord  – especially for the rebuilding of the wall.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Ezra 6 – The Decree of Darius

Chapters 4 and 5 refer to both the building of the Temple and the construction of the wall; and discuss the opposition that the Jews ran into – despite Cyrus’s decree.  The reign of Cyrus ended upon his death in 530 BC, and the construction of the Temple was halted due to that opposition for more than 15 years.  In chapter 6, by the time that Darius became king, the record of the decree of Cyrus was in question as to whether it had actually taken place.  So Darius made a decree that it would be searched for.  Verses 3-12 detail the additional orders that Darius decreed concerning the construction, once the record of the decree of Cyrus was found.

English: Tomb of Cyrus the Great

English: Tomb of Cyrus the Great (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verses 13-22 mark the completion of the Temple (as verse 15 notes that it was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius, that would be about 515 BC).  Then the text describes its dedication and the celebration of Passover.   Verse 14 emphasizes that completion of the Temple was really influenced by the will of God, speaking through His prophets Haggai (Haggai 1:1-11) and Zechariah (Zechariah 1:7-17).

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Ezra 3 – Rebuilding the Temple

In verse 1, by Israel’s calendar, the seventh month was Tishri (about September).  It was the month of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:26–32), and then came the Feast of Booths (Leviticus 23:33–43), celebrating the exodus.  It was important to build the altar first, as it was the first thing done when the people first entered the land after the exodus (Deuteronomy 27:1-8); and it was built at the site of the old altar (verse 3), and they began sacrificing at once.  In verse 7, they gave money to the masons and carpenters, and to the Sidonians and the Tyrians for the cedars of Lebanon to be brought.

Day of Atonement

Day of Atonement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Temple project began in the  second year (about 537 BC). The second month, in verse 8, was Ziv (1 Kings 6:1) and is in the spring.  It was the same time of year that Solomon began construction of the original temple (2 Chronicles 3:2).  In verses 10-11, the people shouted with joy at the laying of the foundation.  But in verses 12-13, some of the very old remembered the first temple, and they did not believe that the new one would be as awesome and beautiful as the first (see Haggai 2:2-9).  So the sounds of weeping and joy could not be distinguished from each other.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

1 Kings 8:1 – 9:9 – Ark Brought Into Temple

Sometime after the completion of construction of the temple, Solomon has the ark of the covenant, the tent of meeting (tabernacle), and all the holy vessels within brought from the old city of David so that the ark could be brought into the temple.  Like in the tabernacle (see Exodus 40), the inner sanctuary – or most holy place – is where the ark would be kept.  Only the priests could enter there (verse 6), and only they could “take up” the ark (verse 3).  Missing from the description of the contents of the ark are Aaron’s rod (Numbers 17:10-11) and the jar of manna (Exodus 16:32-34) that we are told were kept there at one time (Hebrews 9:1-5).  We are not told what had become of them.  After the priest’s came out, a cloud filled the temple as the glory of the Lord described in Exodus 40:34-38 – so that the priests were not able to even stand (verses 10-11).

English: image of Solomon and the covenant of ...

English: image of Solomon and the covenant of the ark, painted in 1747 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Solomon’s speech and his prayer to the Lord make up the rest of the chapter.  The prayer is beautiful and significant in that the people would eventually need all of the petitions of this prayer to be granted.  Solomon acknowledges in verses 27 and 29-30 that  God cannot be contained in an earthly dwelling, but that as the Lord had said, His name shall dwell there – the word “name” in biblical terms meaning all that constitutes the character and essence of all that He is.  And in place toward which His eyes are open.

The prayer consists of several petitions concerning granting mercy to the people when they repent of their sins during and after times including war, famine, drought, exile, and captivity – that the Lord would once again regard them as His people after repentance and “maintain their cause” (verse 49).  The Lord answers Solomon in 9:1-9 with a promise and a warning of what would happen if they turn aside, with a particular emphasis on warning against idolatry in verse 9.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.