Solomon's choice of wisdom, His strength and wealth.
- SOLOMON began his reign with a pious, public visit to God's altar. Those that pursue present things most eagerly, are likely to be disappointed; while those that refer themselves to the providence of God, if they have not the most, have the most comfort. Those that make this world their end, come short of the other, and are disappointed in this also; but those that make the other world their end, shall not only obtain that, and full satisfaction in it, but shall have as much of this world as is good for them, in their way. Let us then be contented, without those great things which men generally covet, but which commonly prove fatal snares to the soul.
2 Chronicles 1:1-6 . SOLEMN OFFERING OF SOLOMON AT GIBEON.
2-5. Then Solomon spake unto all Israel--The heads, or leading officers, who are afterwards specified, were summoned to attend their sovereign in a solemn religious procession. The date of this occurrence was the second year of Solomon's reign, and the high place at Gibeon was chosen for the performance of the sacred rites, because the tabernacle and all the ancient furniture connected with the national worship were deposited there. Zadok was the officiating high priest ( 1 Chronicles 16:39 ). It is true that the ark had been removed and placed in a new tent which David had made for it at Jerusalem ( 2 Chronicles 1:4 ). But the brazen altar, "before the tabernacle of the Lord," on which the burnt offerings were appointed by the law to be made, was at Gibeon. And although David had been led by extraordinary events and tokens of the divine presence to sacrifice on the threshing-floor of Araunah, Solomon considered it his duty to present his offerings on the legally appointed spot "before the tabernacle," and on the time-honored altar prepared by the skill of Bezaleel in the wilderness ( Exodus 38:1 ).
6. offered a thousand burnt offerings--This holocaust he offered, of course, by the hands of the priests. The magnitude of the oblation became the rank of the offerer on this occasion of national solemnity.
2 Chronicles 1:7-13 . HIS CHOICE OF WISDOM IS BLESSED BY GOD.
7. In that night did God appear unto
2 Chronicles 1:14-17 . HIS STRENGTH AND WEALTH.
14. Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen--His passion for horses was greater than that of any Israelitish monarch before or after him. His stud comprised fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses. This was a prohibited indulgence, whether as an instrument of luxury or power. But it was not merely for his own use that he imported the horses of Egypt. The immense equestrian establishment he erected was not for show merely, but also for profit. The Egyptian breed of horses was highly valued; and being as fine as the Arabian, but larger and more powerful, they were well fitted for being yoked in chariots. These were light but compact and solid vehicles, without springs. From the price stated [ 2 Chronicles 1:17 ] as given for a chariot and a horse, it appears that the chariot cost four times the value of a horse. A horse brought a hundred fifty shekels, which amounts to about $100, while a chariot brought six hundred shekels, equal to about $400. As an Egyptian chariot was usually drawn by two horses, a chariot and pair would cost about $600. As the Syrians, who were fond of the Egyptian breed of horses, could import them into their own country only through Judea, Solomon early perceived the commercial advantages to be derived from this trade, and established a monopoly. His factors or agents purchased them in the markets or fairs of Egypt and brought them to the "chariot cities," the depots and stables he had erected on the frontiers of his kingdom, such as Bethmarcaboth, "the house of chariots," and Hazarsusah, "the village of horses" ( Joshua 19:5 , 1 Kings 10:28 ).
17. brought . . . for all the kings of the Hittites--A branch of this powerful tribe, when expelled from Palestine, had settled north of Lebanon, where they acquired large possessions contiguous to the Syrians.