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2 Chronicles 9


(LXX versing)
Visit of the Queen of Sheba The Queen of Sheba's Praise of Solomon The Visit of the Queen of Sheba The Visit of the Queen of Sheba Solomon in His Glory
9:1-9 9:1-4 9:1-4 9:1-4
9:5-9 9:5-9 9:5-8
9:10-11 9:10-11 9:10-11 9:10-11
9:12 9:12 9:12 9:12
Solomon's Wealth and Power Solomon's Great Wealth Solomon's Wealth and Grandeur King Solomon's Wealth
9:13-16 9:13-16 9:13-21 9:13-16 9:13-19
9:17-21 9:17-21 9:17-19
9:20-21 9:20-24
9:22-24 9:22-24 9:22-28 9:22-24
9:25-28 9:25 9:25-28 9:25-28
Death of Solomon Summary of Solomon's Reign The Death of Solomon
9:29-30 9:29-31 9:29-31 9:29-31 9:29-31
Death of Solomon

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


1Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with difficult questions. She had a very large retinue, with camels carrying spices and a large amount of gold and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was on her heart. 2Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was hidden from Solomon which he did not explain to her. 3When the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, the house which he had built, 4the food at his table, the seating of his servants, the attendance of his ministers and their attire, his cupbearers and their attire, and his stairway by which he went up to the house of the Lord, she was breathless. 5Then she said to the king, "It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. 6Nevertheless I did not believe their reports until I came and my eyes had seen it. And behold, the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You surpass the report that I heard. 7How blessed are your men, how blessed are these your servants who stand before you continually and hear your wisdom. 8Blessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you, setting you on His throne as king for the Lord your God; because your God loved Israel establishing them forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and righteousness." 9Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold and a very great amount of spices and precious stones; there had never been spice like that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

9:1 "the queen of Sheba" This is paralleled in 1 Kgs. 10:1-13. The best guess on the location of "Sheba" (BDB 985) is southwest Arabia. The area was known as "Saba" (ABD, vol. 5, pp. 1170-1171). This would be the modern country of Yemen. The real purpose of her visit was probably economic. She wanted to secure trade deals and land routes involving Solomon's new fleet of ships at Ezion-geber and Eloth (cf. 1 Kgs. 9:26; 2 Chr. 8:17-18). This would connect goods f rom Africa and India. Josephus, Antiq. 8.6.5., incorrectly says she was Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia. Modern archaeology has confirmed that it also controlled a portion of Ethiopia (cf. Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 470).

"to test Solomon" Apparently Solomon solved her riddles (cf. Jdgs. 14:12). 2 Chronicles 9:2 does not refer to all areas of knowledge.

9:2-6 She was very impressed (i.e., "breathless," 2 Chr. 9:4) with Solomon's

  1. wisdom (i.e., factual, practical, and problem solving)
  2. building designs
  3. administration
  4. servants (i.e., dress and procedures)
NASB, NEB  "his stairway"
NKJV  "his entry way"
NRSV, NJB, NET, LXX, Peshitta  "his burnt offerings"
JPSOA  "the procession"

The UBS Text Project, p. 455, gives the NASB translation a "B" rating (some doubt).

  1. and his stairway ‒ ועליתו (BDB 751)
  2. and his burnt offerings ‒ ועלותיו

The parallel in 1 Kgs. 10:5 has "and his burnt offerings" ‒ ועלתו (BDB 750)

The NASB seems to fit the context best and refers to a royal procession to the store houses of the temple (i.e., "upper chambers," cf. 2 Chr. 3:9,51) or to a special place for the king to worship in the temple.

9:5 "a true report" Here, the word "true" (BDB 54) refers to the rumors about Solomon's wisdom and wealth.

The VERB form (BDB 52, KB 63, Hiphil PERFECT) occurs in 2 Chr. 9:6. Hebrew, as Greek, usually adds a PREPOSITION to clarify the "belief" (i.e., "believe that. . ." or "believe in. . ."). One wonders which use of this word clarifies the Queen of Sheba's faith statements in 2 Chr. 9:8. Did she come to be a believer in Israel's God?



NASB, NKJV, JPSOA  "your men"
NRSV, NJB  "your people"
REB, TEV  "your wives"
Peshitta  "your servants"

The MT has "your men" (BDB 35), which matches the parallel in 1 Kgs. 10:8.

9:8 She recognized that Solomon's greatness was based on the blessing of YHWH.

  1. who delighted in you
  2. who set you on the throne (cf. 1 Chr. 28:5)
  3. who represented YHWH as king (i.e., it was YHWH's throne; He was king, cf. 1 Sam. 8:7; 1 Chr. 28:5)
  4. who loved Israel
    1. established their Davidic king forever (cf. 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17)
    2. used Solomon to establish a just society
    3. used Solomon to establish a righteous society (i.e., as a witness of YHWH's character to the nations)

This phrase is also found in the mouth of Huram/Hiram, King of Tyre, in 2 Chr. 2:11. This is a major theological affirmation of the fulfillment of YHWH's promises to

  1. David, cf. 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17
  2. the Patriarchs


"justice" See NIDOTTE, vol. 4, pp. 837-845.


9:9 These gifts were for several purposes.

  1. to recognize Solomon's greatness
  2. to establish trade deals and routes
  3. to show the merchandise she could provide

10The servants of Huram and the servants of Solomon who brought gold from Ophir, also brought algum trees and precious stones. 11From the algum trees the king made steps for the house of the Lord and for the king's palace, and lyres and harps for the singers; and none like that was seen before in the land of Judah.

9:10-12 These verses describe two of the imports of Solomon's fleet.

  1. algum wood (see UBS, Fauna and Flora of the Bible, p. 88, also known as "sandalwood"), which was from southern India. Solomon used it in
    1. steps for the temple and his palace
    2. several musical instruments
  2. precious stones (but the kind is unspecified)
NASB, NRSV, NJB  "steps"
NKJV  "walkway"
TEV  "stairs"
JPSOA  "ramps"
REB  "stands"
LXX  "ascents"
Peshitta  "stools"
KJV  "terraces"

The MT has "highway" (BDB 701) but the BDB suggests it is a corruption of "supports" (BDB 703, cf. 1 Kgs. 10:12). However, this textual variation is not mentioned in the UBS Text Project.

It has been suggested that the word refers to another type of musical instrument because of the immediate context (i.e., Tyndale OT Series, 2 Chronicles, p. 353).

It has also been speculated that based on an Assyrian root, it means "gateway."

12King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire which she requested besides a return for what she had brought to the king. Then she turned and went to her own land with her servants.

9:12 Solomon reciprocated the queen's gifts by giving her even more (i.e., all she desired).

  1. commercial trade deals
  2. some of Solomon's treasures
  3. a male child (i.e., Ethiopian and Jewish tradition; descendants of this child were leaders in Ethiopia until WW II)

13Now the weight of gold which came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, 14besides that which the traders and merchants brought; and all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon. 15King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold, using 600 shekels of beaten gold on each large shield. 16He made 300 shields of beaten gold, using three hundred shekels of gold on each shield, and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.

9:13-21 These verses describe the opulent income and things Solomon produced from his imports (2 Chr. 9:21).

  1. 666 talents of gold per year from his fleet of ships, 2 Chr. 9:13-14
  2. 200 large ceremonial or decorative shields of gold, for "the house of the forest of Lebanon" (i.e., Solomon's palace), 2 Chr. 9:15-16
  3. a throne of ivory, precious wood inlaid with ivory carvings and covered in gold, a series of six steps, and a footstool of gold connected to the throne, 2 Chr. 9:17-18a (cf. 1 Kgs. 10:18-21)
  4. in the throne room were several lion statues, also covered with gold, 2 Chr. 9:18b-19
  5. all the vessels of Solomon's throne room and "the house of the forest of Lebanon," were of gold, 2 Chr. 9:20
  6. the ships of Tarshish every three years brought
    1. gold
    2. silver
    3. ivory (i.e., elephants, BDB 1042)
    4. apes (BDB 880)
    5. peacocks (BDB 1067)

Tarshish may refer to a type of ship and not a seaport (Jewish Study Bible, p. 178).


NASB, NRSV, JPSOA  "that which traders and merchants brought"
NKJV  "besides what the traveling merchants brought"
TEV  "in addition to the taxes paid by the traders and merchants"
NJB  "beside what tolls and foreign trade brought in"
REB  "in addition to the tolls levied on merchants and on traders"
Peshitta  "besides the taxes from the cities and the traffic which the merchants brought"

The UBS Text Project, p. 456, gives the NASB form a "B" rating (some doubt). The same textual issue is also found in 1 Kgs. 10:15.

The NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 601, lists Solomon's sources of revenue.

  1. internally from taxation
  2. externally from
    1. tolls/tariffs on merchants
    2. tribute from Arabic sheiks in the Negev
    3. tribute collected from provincial governors
      (1) possibly vassal states, cf. 2 Sam. 8:1-14
      (2) royal appointees (cf. 1 Kgs. 4:7,27-28)

9:14-15 The weight of gold is not specified in the MT. Most translations assume a "shekel" but the 1 Kgs. 10:16-17 parallel has "minas."


9:16 "the house of the forest of Lebanon" This was the name for Solomon's palace because of the paneling and covering of cedar (cf. 1 Kgs. 7:2; 10:17,21; 2 Chr. 9:16,20).

17Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with pure gold. 18There were six steps to the throne and a footstool in gold attached to the throne, and arms on each side of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms. 19Twelve lions were standing there on the six steps on the one side and on the other; nothing like it was made for any other kingdom. 20All King Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; silver was not considered valuable in the days of Solomon. 21For the king had ships which went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish came bringing gold and silver, ivory and apes and peacocks.

9:18 "footstool" This root (BDB 461) is used only here. The VERB form (BDB 461) means "to subdue." Apparently this piece of furniture was where servants and visitors knelt at the king's feet.

NASB, LXX  "attached to"
NKJV, NRSV, TEV, NJB, JPSOA  "fastened to"
REB  "encased in"

This VERB (BDB 28, KB 31) usually means "to grasp," "to take possession." Possibly its use here (Hophal PARTICIPLE) reflects a different root (i.e., Akkadian), "to cover," as in Job 26:9 (i.e., Piel stem). If so, the meaning in this context would be "overlaid" or "encased" in gold. This fits the context well. Most of the temple and Solomon's palace were covered in gold.

9:20 Solomon's palace is described in 1 Kgs. 7:1-12. Apparently silver had no value because gold was so plentiful.

9:21 "once every three years" The ships of Tarshish may have been large ocean-going vessels that traveled long distances for rare, expensive, and exotic goods. This trip would last over a year, one way (see Josephus, Antiq. 8.7.2). It must be remembered that in Jewish thought a part of a time designation was counted as a whole (i.e., Jesus in the tomb 3 days). So, this could be parts of two years and one whole year.

These exotic animals were an ANE way to show wealth and power (cf. 1 Kgs. 10:22).

22So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. 23And all the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart. 24They brought every man his gift, articles of silver and gold, garments, weapons, spices, horses and mules, so much year by year.

9:22-24 Solomon's fame spread throughout the ANE. Many countries sent gifts.

  1. silver and gold articles
  2. garments (i.e., an ANE item of wealth and luxury)
  3. weapons (or decorated armor, BDB 676)
  4. spices (new or rare)
  5. horses (cf. 2 Chr. 9:28)
  6. mules (a royal mount)

The items usually used to denote wealth in the ANE are

  1. precious metals
  2. precious jewels
  3. festive clothes
  4. food stocks

9:23 "of the earth" the Hebrew term "earth" has a wide semantic range.

  1. a piece of ground, field
  2. a country, region
  3. all the earth

Here, #2 fits best and refers to all the kingdom under Solomon's influence (cf. 1 Kgs. 4:21).


25Now Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 26He was the ruler over all the kings from the Euphrates River even to the land of the Philistines, and as far as the border of Egypt. 27The king made silver as common as stones in Jerusalem, and he made cedars as plentiful as sycamore trees that are in the lowland. 28And they were bringing horses for Solomon from Egypt and from all countries.

9:25-28 These verses describe the military power and extent of his vast kingdom. All of this wealth, wisdom, and power were gifts from YHWH (cf. 2 Chr. 1:11-12).

9:25 "4,000 stalls for horses and chariots and 12,000 horsemen" This number corresponds to 1 Kgs. 10:20 and 2 Chr. 1:14. The same numbers in 1 Kgs. 4:26 are the same for the number of "horsemen," but the number of "horses" is inflated to "40,000." See discussion at 2 Chr. 8:11 about the number problems in the historical books.

It is surprising how the Chronicles emphasizes Solomon's wealth and power, when Deut. 17:14-17 restricts all of this.

  1. do not multiply horses
  2. do not get horses from Egypt (cf. 2 Chr. 1:16)
  3. do not multiply wives
  4. do not multiply silver and gold

The rabbis say the words "for himself" explain the restrictions but in context, this seems dubious.

9:26 This was the upper limit of YHWH's promise to Abraham (cf. Gen.15:18; Exod. 23:31; Deut. 1:7-8).

29Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, from first to last, are they not written in the records of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat? 30Solomon reigned forty years in Jerusalem over all Israel.

9:29-31 These verses are the typical summary information found at the conclusion of a king's reign. It involves a list of written resources used to document Solomon's reign.

  1. writings of Nathan the prophet
  2. writings of Ahijah the Shilonite (cf. 1 Kgs. 11:29-30; 12:15)
  3. visions of Iddo the seer, about Jeroboam, son of Nebat (Josephus says this is the unnamed prophet of 1 Kgs. 13:1-10)

"prophet. . .seer" For the different words used to describe this OT office/gift, see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE DIFFERENT HEBREW TERMS FOR PROPHET.

9:30 "reigned forty years" This was the same length as David's reign.


31And Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David; and his son Rehoboam reigned in his place.

9:31 "slept with his fathers" This is a Hebraic idiom for death. The OT Israelite believed in a shadowy, conscious afterlife with a future resurrection (i.e., Dan. 12:2).



This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. Why is the reign of Solomon connected so often to the reign of David?
  2. What about these Davidic kings would a post-exilic community in Judah take as encouragement?
  3. Why are the theological affirmations of both Huram/Hiram (2 Chr. 2:12) and the Queen of Shebe (2 Chr. 9:8) significant?

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