Second Chronicles 2 Commentary
Solomon’s view of the Creator God is quite impressive here. “The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him.” Yet the temple remained important as the LORD had decided to dwell there by His word: the Ten Commandments. The saint who sits down to read the scriptures can be sure of the presence of the LORD. The LORD resides in His word and by His word.
But as we have constantly seen from the history of the nation of Israel, having the word of the LORD is one thing. Obeying it is another thing. The latter is more important than the former. The Law is kept by obedience. The presence is kept by obedience. In fact, breaking the Law is equivalent to failure to keep the Law, or failure to keep the presence.
In essence, Solomon is telling Hiram that the temple of the Creator God is simply a place of obedience. The LORD had commanded Israel to offer sacrifices before His presence endlessly. But let this place of obedience to the Great God be awesome! This understanding is quite advanced!
Yet the chapter ends on a very worrying note.
There are 153,600 foreigners in Israel. All of them are enslaved by Solomon. How dare Solomon thinks of building the LORD a house using slave labor! How different is this enslavement of foreigners from the enslavement that Israel experienced in Egypt? Solomon is a disaster in the making; even by the standards of the very Law for which he was building the temple.
These lines warn the saint to watch themselves as there is always a possibility of sin even in the process of doing good.
Solomon should have known better. Not every foreigner was in Israel as a slave of war. Many had come to Israel seeking greener pastures because the LORD had prospered Israel. The reason would possibly be similar to the reason Jacob found himself in Egypt, several centuries before Solomon.
The message is simple: don’t enslave those that the LORD puts under your care. It could be in your home or workplace, or even in church.
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