“And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.”
-2 Chronicles 9:24
King Solomon was a wise ruler. His wisdom was the foundation upon which his riches were established. God told him, because you haven’t asked for riches, wealth, or honor but have asked for wisdom, I in turn will give you the desires of your heart (2 Chron. 1:11). Throughout the entire book of 2 Chronicles we notice a repetitive emphasis on Solomon’s gold, or the gold in the temple, or the gold in Palace of the Forest of Lebanon, etc. Gold, the closest thing to an objective, intrinsic value of worth, has been heavily desired by all peoples from all over the world throughout all centuries, (we see this even in creation Gen. 2:12 all the way through and up to consummation Rev. 21:21). Still further, gifting someone with gold is an extremely king-like veneration and a sign of great respect and honor. Evidently Solomon received these gifts of gold as a sign of his wisdom before all peoples by all peoples! Specifically I want to look at a story in 2 Chronicles 9 (and then branch off of it) where the Queen of Sheba (a Gentile woman from Sheba, about 1200 miles South of Jerusalem, or modern day Yemen) visits Solomon with gifts of gold, 125 talents to be exact, which is about 4 tons of gold! We read that she came to visit Solomon because of his fame and wisdom in answering difficult questions (9:1, 3, etc) and gave unto him spices gold and precious stones as an homage to the king. She continues to esteem Solomon and his great work of building the temple and accomplishing great trades with other countries via naval routes (v. 4). She goes on to say “How happy must your people be” (v. 7) “for you love the LORD your God”…and rule with “righteousness and justice” (v. 8b). This echoes the words of Psalm 72 saying “He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment [or justice]” (v. 2) and “rule from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the land” (v. 8). The Queen of Sheba affirms this firstly by appearing from the ends of the land, as she was the furthest the land went toward the south, and secondly by affirming the righteous and just rule of Solomon whose God is the LORD.
From the Queen of Sheba we go to the men of Hiram (king of Tyre, another Gentile nation under Solomon’s care at this time of their history) who “brought gold” as a tribute to the temple of the LORD (9:10).
Going further we read of the kings of Arabia (all the region East and South of Israel) bringing “gold and silver” to Solomon (v. 14b)
Now a question arise: Why did all the rulers, governors, kings, queens, etc come to Solomon? And why not go to other kings?
The answer is found in verse 22-23 which says because “king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom that God had put in his heart.”
It was because of Solomon’s excellent wisdom in theological, economical, political, and even practical subjects that they sought him! They needed advice on how to run their own countries and make them as prosperous as Israel! He was a beacon of light to the surrounding nations who said “For surely this great nation is wise and [an] understanding people” (Deuteronomy 4:6) for they “[teach] statutes and judgments just as the LORD [their] God commanded…” (Deut 4:5), for “what great nation is there that has a god so nigh [unto them] as [their] God?” (Deut 4:7)
Continuing and tying this with the King of all Kings and Wisdom (logos) Itself personified we read “And they [Gentile nations in specific] brought [to Solomon, the king] every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.” Solomon enjoyed these prestiges year after year as all peoples would bring him gifts and their reverent homage. Yet he had one problem…he was a man, and as a man he was a sinner, despite his great wisdom, honor, fame and wealth. As a matter of fact he violated all three specific commands given for the king recorded in Deuteronomy 17:16, 17 (1. accumulated horses from Egypt, 2. had many wives, 3. accumulated much gold beyond his needs), a warning given so that his kingdom can stand! However we read in the very next verse in 2 Chronicles 9:25 that “Solomon had 4000 stalls for horses and chariots, 12000 horses” which he imported from “Egypt” (v. 28) a pagan country that God saved Israel from. Why would the wise and wealthy Solomon do business with a nation in which the Israelites were in bondage to for over 400 years? Deuteronomy 7:5 called for their destruction not their up-building!
So how is this related to Christ? We see that in Matthew’s gospel chapter 2:1 and continuing the “Magi” or wise men came “from the East” (probably a far away land for we read they returned to “their country” in verse 12) to see the King (not Herod but Jesus) so that they may “worship Him”. We observe great similarities with this story and the story in 2 Chronicles 9. (As a side note, it will be worthy to mention that all the Kingly Psalms which were given as a charge to Solomon (ex. 2, 45, 72, 110, etc) have a direct and prophetical reference to Christ’s rule over all the nations being actually inaugurated in his bodily advent (Matthew 12:29) and sealed in His coming in judgment in 70 AD (Revelation 11:15). Thus, we kill two birds with one stone, namely, establishing the truth of postmillennialism by proving Christ’s rule over all nations and debunking an argument against Exclusive Psalmody by proving that Christ is clearly in the Psalms!)
- Gentile men who were wise (v. 1) came to the King.
- Offering gift of gold and incense and myrrh. (v. 11)
- Paying the King great homage by worshipping Him (v. 2b)
- Going to Jesus (Solomon) instead of other kings Herod (Hiram, kings of Arabia, etc) (v. 2-3)
These are almost the exact events which happened under Solomon, except that Christ, even as a babe, was worthy of such Kingship, for there was “no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22), unlike Solomon. He did not accumulate for himself 1. Horses 2. Women or 3. Gold. He did however go into Egypt so as to fulfill all that Israel (and Solomon) had failed to do. In Israel’s 40 years of wandering they could not keep the Law as a means of salvation but it was there to condemn them and cause them to turn unto the Gospel (not neglecting the three-fold use of the law). Solomon too “reigning 40 years” (2 Chronicles 9:30) was not able to keep the Law as a means of salvation but was to be reminded to trust in the promises of God. However Christ entered the desert for 40 days and was found to be scrupulously obedient to the Old Covenantal Law, He denied food (bread) because He Himself contained it. He rejected the kingdoms because they were already His. He rebuked Satan for his demand of worship because He deserved it exclusively! Immediately after His temptation he went out to Gentile countries near Capernaum to affirm his kingship and saying “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand”, a kingdom in which Christ is King, and deserving of all the homage of all the peoples of the Earth from “every tribe, nation and tongue” (Revelation 7:9), which includes America!