2 Chronicles 8:17
Then Solomon went to Ezion-geber and to Eloth on the coast of Edom.
Solomon's Burnt OfferingsJ. Parker, D. D.2 Chronicles 8:12-18
The First Merchant-ShipsT. Whitelaw 2 Chronicles 8:17, 18


1. Solomon - who constructed a navy of ships (1 Kings 9:26). The first mention of ship-building by the Israelites. An advance in civilization, it is doubtful whether this was in harmony with the calling of the Israelites as a theocratic people, whose business it was to keep themselves distinct from other nations.

2. Hiram - who sent the Israelitish monarch ships by the hands of his servants. Either Hiram sent to Eloth ship-carpenters, who built ships for Solomon (Bahr), or he built ships at Tyre, and sent them by the hands of sailors to join in Solomon's expedition (Bertheau). If the latter, they must either have rounded the continent of Africa (Bertheau), or been carried by land transport across the Isthmus of Suez (Keil). The former would not have been impossible had the circumnavigation of Africa been at that time known. This, however, is doubtful, as Herodotus (4:42) mentions Pharaoh Necho of the twenty-sixth dynasty ( B.C. 612) as the first to prove that Africa was entirely surrounded by water, with the exception of the small isthmus connecting it with Asia. This he did by sending Phoenician seamen in ships from the Arabian Gulf to seek their way to Egypt through the Pillars of Hercules and the Mediterranean Sea. Hence the latter method was more probably adopted for conveying Hiram's ships to the Gulf of Arabia - a method of transporting vessels known to the ancients. Herodotus (7:24) states that, while Xerxes cut a passage through the Isthmus of Mount Athos, he need not have done so, since without difficulty he might have carried his ships across the land. Thucydides (4:8) mentions that in this way the Peloponnesians conveyed eighty ships across the Leucadia-isthmus. (For additional examples, see Exposition.)


1. Ezion-geber, a camping-station on the desert march of Israel (Numbers 33:35; Deuteronomy 2:8); afterwards the place where Jehoshaphat's ships were wrecked (1 Kings 22:48). When the town was built is unknown. Its name imports "the backbone of a man" (Gesenius); the Greeks called it Berenice (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 8:6. 4).

2. Near Eloth, the Ailane of Josephus, the Ailath of the Greeks, and the Elana of the Romans, the modern Akaba, on the eastern bay of the Gulf of Akabah. Whether Ezion-geber was also on the east side of the gulf or on the west is uncertain, as no trace of it now exists.

3. On the shore of the Red Sea. The Yam Suf was the eastern arm of the Arabian Gulf, or the Gulf of Akabah. At the present day navigation is perilous in the vicinity of Elath in consequence of the sharp and rocky coast and the easily excited storms.

4. In the land of Edom. Mount Seir, Edom, Idumaea, the Mount of Esau (Deuteronomy 2:5; Joel 3:19; Isaiah 24:5; Obadiah 1:21); in the Assyrian inscriptions, Udumu or Udumi (Schrader, 'Die Keilinsehriften,' p. 149); a desolate region extending from the head of the Elanitic Gulf to the foot of the Dead Sea, described by Robinson as "a rolling desert, the surface [of which] was in general loose gravel and stones, everywhere furrowed and torn with the beds of torrents ... now and then a lone shrub of the ghudah [being] almost the only trace of vegetation" ('Biblical Researches,' 2:502, 551).

III. THE SAILORS BY WHOM THEY WERE MANNED. Servants of Hiram, who had knowledge of the sea. The Phoenicians the earliest navigators of the ocean. An inscription of Queen Hatasu, of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty, queen regnant first with Thothmes II. and afterwards with Thothmes III., has preserved a record of the construction by that royal lady of a navy on the Red Sea, and of a voyage of discovery to the land of Arabia in vessels manned by Phoenician seamen (Brugsch, 'Egypt,' 1:351, etc.; 'Records of the Past,' 10:11, etc.).

IV. THE COUNTRY TO WHICH THEY STEERED. Ophir. By eminent authorities (Lassen, Ritter, Bertheau) located in India, this gold-producing region was probably in Arabia (Knobel, Keil, Ewald, Bahr) - the land of Pun, to which the ships of Hatasu sailed for costly treasures.


1. Gold. Whether the four hundred and fifty talents were the cargo of one voyage or of all the voyages cannot be determined. Reckoning a talent at £5475 sterling, the amount would be £2,463,750, or nearly two and a half millions. This precious metal was amongst the treasures fetched from the land of Pun by Hatasu's fleet.

2. Precious stones. Learnt from a later statement (2 Chronicles 9:10). These also were obtainable in the land of Pun.

3. Algum trees. (2 Chronicles 9:10). What these were is unknown; probably they corresponded with the balsam-wood or "incense trees" brought from Pun by Hatasu's ships. It was manifestly rare and costly, as Solomon made of it "terraces to the house of the Lord and the king's palace, as well as harps and psalteries for singers;" "and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah." So said Hatasu's scribes of her cargo. "Never has such a convoy [been made] like this one by any king since the creation of the world." Learn:

1. Man's dominion over nature - he can affront the perils of the sea.

2. The advantages (from a secular point of view) of navigation - in increasing the world's wealth and comfort, in extending man's knowledge and power, and in binding the nations into a mutually dependent and helpful brotherhood.

3. The dangers (from a spiritual point of view) of foreign exploration, in fostering the lust of conquest and possession, and in bringing God's people into contact with heathen nations. - W.

As the duty of every day required.
To some Christians "the sense of duty" and kindred phrases sound unattractive and suspicious. Yet it is dangerous even to minimise the sense of duty. A man who makes no terms with conscience, but does what God commands, will find his love grow stronger. A Christian's sense of duty is not the same as the sense of duty of one who has no faith. Natural religion would teach a man to be honest, sober, and industrious, but Christ's teaching goes far beyond this. Religious duties; purity of heart; forgiveness of others, etc. But it is in the realm of supernatural help, prayer, and the sacraments that the greatest divergence is seen. "As the duty of every day required." Words such as these suggest that unless we are living a life of prayer, unless we are partaking of the life of Christ in the means He left for us to use, we are undutiful. What we claim for our religion is this —

1. The personal love of Christ will make us more severe with ourselves in performing "hard, unwelcome" duties of every day.

2. It will also claim from us earnest prayer, belief in the grace of the Holy Spirit, etc.

(W. R. Hutton, M. A.).

Amorites, David, Geber, Hiram, Hittites, Hivite, Hivites, Huram, Israelites, Jebusites, Levites, Ophir, Perizzites, Pharaoh, Solomon
Baalath, Beth-horon, Edom, Eloth, Ezion-geber, Hamath, Hamath-zobah, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Ophir, Tadmor, Upper Beth-horon
Border, Coast, Edom, Elath, Eloth, Ezion, Eziongeber, Ezion-geber, E'zion-ge'ber, Geber, Seashore, Sea-shore, Shore, Solomon
1. Solomon's buildings
7. The remaining Canaanites, Solomon makes tributaries, but the Israelites rulers
11. Pharaoh's daughter removes to her house
12. Solomon's yearly solemn sacrifices
14. He appoints the priests and Levites to their places
17. The navy fetches gold from Ophir

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Chronicles 8:17-18

     4333   gold
     5407   merchants
     5587   trade

The Duty of Every Day
'Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the Lord ... Even after a certain rate every day.'--(A.V.) 'Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the Lord, even as the duty of every day required it.'--2 Chron. viii. 12-13 (R. V.). This is a description of the elaborate provision, in accordance with the commandment of Moses, which Solomon made for the worship in his new Temple. The writer is enlarging on the precise accordance of the ritual with the regulations laid down in the law. He expresses,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Seven Seas According to the Talmudists, and the Four Rivers Compassing the Land.
"Seven seas (say they) and four rivers compass the land of Israel. I. The Great Sea, or the Mediterranean. II. The sea of Tiberias. III. The sea of Sodom. IV. The lake of Samocho... The three first named among the seven are sufficiently known, and there is no doubt of the fourth:--only the three names of it are not to be passed by. IV. 1. The Sibbichaean. The word seems to be derived from a bush. 2. ... 3. ... V. Perhaps the sandy sea. Which fits very well to the lake of Sirbon, joining the commentary
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The remarkable change which we have noticed in the views of Jewish authorities, from contempt to almost affectation of manual labour, could certainly not have been arbitrary. But as we fail to discover here any religious motive, we can only account for it on the score of altered political and social circumstances. So long as the people were, at least nominally, independent, and in possession of their own land, constant engagement in a trade would probably mark an inferior social stage, and imply
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The comparative indifference with which Chronicles is regarded in modern times by all but professional scholars seems to have been shared by the ancient Jewish church. Though written by the same hand as wrote Ezra-Nehemiah, and forming, together with these books, a continuous history of Judah, it is placed after them in the Hebrew Bible, of which it forms the concluding book; and this no doubt points to the fact that it attained canonical distinction later than they. Nor is this unnatural. The book
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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