Today we begin the book of 2 Chronicles. It recounts the history that was covered in 1 and 2 Kings. Like 1 Chronicles, it records the history of the southern kingdom of Judah, and it is written from a priestly perspective. It was written after the return from the Babylonian exile, and is meant to show the faithfulness of God to His people. The book begins with the reign of Solomon (1:1). We see that even during the united kingdom, worship was somewhat disjointed. The Ark of God was in the City of David in the tent David had set up (v. 4 – see 2 Sam 6:12, 17). The Tent of Meeting was in Gibeon (v. 3) along with the altar of burnt offering (v. 5). We see that like David before him, Solomon acted as priest to God (v. 6).
Verses 7-12 recounts God appearing to Solomon at Gibeon (see 1 Kings 3:5-14). Verses 14-17 repeat 1 Kings 10:26-29. In chapter 2, we see the preparation for the building of the Temple. The chronicler omits the fact that Solomon drafted forced labor from his own people (see 1 Kings 5:13-14), but he does tell us that the 150,000 workers (2:2) were “resident aliens” from the land (v. 17). This may refer to slaves or to converts from the nations. We also see more of the communication between Solomon and Hiram (compare vv. 3-16 with 1 Kings 5:1-9).
Chapter 3 speaks of the building of the Temple, albeit in far less detail than 1 Kings 6. In 3:1, we see that the Temple Mount is actually Mount Moriah, which is mentioned only here and in Genesis 22:2. It is the mountain upon which Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac. It is a place where the willing heart matters, not the actual offering. We also see that it is the spot where David said the Temple would be built (1 Chr 22:1), which is the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. It is where God led David to sacrifice in order to stop the pestilence that was punishment for David’s census (see 1 Chr 21). It is a place where David insisted his offering must cost him something. Abraham was ready to offer everything he had as an act of worship. David was unwilling to offer worship that cost him nothing. This is exactly the worship that God required at the Temple.
Chapter 4 records the creation of the Temple furnishings, again in far less detail than in 1 Kings 7:15-50. We see the vessels of the court were made of bronze, and that the vessels closest to God’s presence in the Holy of Holies were made of gold. This represents the purity required to come into God’s presence. It also represents that costly worship God requires. We see the gourds (4:3), the flowers (v. 5,21), and the pomegranates (v. 13), all reminders of God’s original dwelling place with man in the Garden of Eden. In 5:1, we see the building of the Temple is completed.