2 Chronicles 9:21
For the king had the ships of Tarshish that went with Hiram's servants, and once every three years the ships of Tarshish would arrive bearing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
ApesD. Davies.2 Chronicles 9:21
Apes and PeacocksD. Davies.2 Chronicles 9:21
PeacocksD. Davies.2 Chronicles 9:21
Gold and SilverW. Clarkson 2 Chronicles 9:13-20, 27
The Glory of SolomonT. Whitelaw 2 Chronicles 9:13-31
Grandeur Without GodlinessW. Clarkson 2 Chronicles 9:21-31

These words and those that precede them are as suggestive by reason of what is absent from them as by that which is contained in them. They are significant of -

I. GRANDEUR WITHOUT GODLINESS. The historian is drawing his records of the reign of Solomon to a close; and, in taking his view (or his review) of it, he has much to say of the splendours of his throne and of his surroundings; of the multitude of his horses and chariots, with their stalls and stables; of his store of gold and silver; of his apes and peacocks; of his ships and his cedars; but he says nothing of his service of Jehovah; nothing of the gratitude he showed to God for the very bountiful blessings he had bestowed upon him, and the high estate to which he had raised him, and the special gifts of mind with which he had endowed him. Hem there is a painful absence, a silence that speaks only too forcibly. When Solomon came to review his own life and to examine his own career in the light of early influence and special privilege, he must have felt constrained to be silent, or, if he spoke at all, to use the language of confession. There had been much grandeur but little godliness in his reign. And what had been the proved value of it?

1. The delight it had ministered to him had been of a less noble and less elevating kind, if not actually ignoble and injurious.

2. It bad led his mind away from sources of joy which would have been far worthier in themselves and far more beneficial in their influence.

3. It had raised a standard of excellency before the eyes of his subjects which can have had no enlarging and elevating effect upon their minds.

4. It must have awakened the cupidity of surrounding sovereigns and the envy of many among his subjects.

5. It must have been in painful, not to say guilty, contrast with much poverty in many hundreds of Hebrew homes.

6. It entailed a heavy penalty on the people in the shape of burdensome taxes. Grandeur without godliness is a serious sin and a profound mistake. It is as guilty as it is foolish. And so we find the man who "passed all the kings of the earth" in wealth and in a certain order of wisdom (ver. 22), going down into fault and failure because he lost that "fear of God" which he ought to have understood was "the beginning of wisdom." Unfaithfulness to the principles he learned in youth sent him down into his grave "prematurely old," his kingdom weakened, his character corrupted, his reputation bearing upon its face a dark and ineffaceable stain. How unspeakably preferable is -

II. SIMPLICITY AND SACRED SERVICE. Rather than have grandeur without godliness, who would not live in obscurity with a name that does not travel beyond his "native hills," in a home unfamiliar with ivory and gold, living on homeliest fare and dressed in plainest raiment, with the love of the heavenly Father in the heart, the sense of his abiding favour in the soul, Christ's happy and holy service for the heritage of the life, and his nearer presence the promise of the future? Before honour is humility, before grandeur is godliness, before gold and silver is a noble and a useful life. - C.

And apes, and peacocks.
(to children): — We learn from this passage —


II. WHAT EVEN WISE MEN WILL DO, WHEN THEY HAVE MORE MONEY THAN THEY KNOW HOW TO USE. Such was Solomon's position; apes and peacocks were costly, and so he had a special desire to have s goodly number about him.

(D. Davies.)


1. He cannot speak.

2. He cannot learn.

3. He has no foresight or forethought. It is wonderful how deceptive appearances can be.

II. THE APE IS ONLY A CARICATURE OF A MAN, AND DOES NOT IMITATE HIM IN HIS BETTER MOVEMENTS OR HABITS; SO YOU GENERALLY FIND THAT IF A CHILD OR MAN APES ANOTHER, HE APES HIM ONLY IN HIS FAILINGS. I saw a boy the other day, who could not have been more than eleven, vigorously puffing the end of a cigar that he had picked up somewhere. He evidently thought he looked like a man, but I need not tell you how disgusted I felt, and wished that he could imitate the man in a more manly way. He stupidly aped a gentleman whose failing was that he smoked at all. Learn to be natural. Let the one desire of your life be to be true. Never put on a false look or try to live under false pretences.

(D. Davies.)

The peacock has a beautiful tail, and in this respect no bird can match him. But the more you know about him the less you think of his tail. He can only screech hideously when he tries to sing. He is also a very gluttonous and a very selfish and destructive character. The beautiful bird has nothing to commend it except its beautiful feathers. Its characteristic failing is vanity.

I. I want you to remember that THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE IN THE WORLD LIKE THAT PEACOCK. Everything depends upon their dress, or their outward appearance. But if you get to know their disposition and their conduct, you will very often cease to be charmed with their dress.

II. I want you TO GUARD YOURSELVES AGAINST ATTACHING TOO MUCH IMPORTANCE TO APPEARANCES. God does not. Learn that the truest ornament is "a meek and gentle spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price."

(D. Davies.)

Ahijah, David, Huram, Iddo, Jeroboam, Nathan, Nebat, Nehemiah, Ophir, Rehoboam, Solomon, Tarshish
Arabia, Egypt, Euphrates River, House of the Forest of Lebanon, Jerusalem, Ophir, Sheba, Shephelah, Tarshish
Apes, Baboons, Bearing, Bringing, Carrying, Gold, Hiram's, Huram, Ivory, King's, Manned, Monkeys, Peacocks, Returned, Sailing, Servants, Ships, Silver, Tarshish, Tarshish-ships, Trading
1. The queen of sheba admires the wisdom of Solomon
13. Solomon's revenue in gold
15. His targets and shields
17. The throne of ivory
20. His vessels
23. His presents
25. His chariots and horse
26. His tributes
29. His reign and death

Dictionary of Bible Themes
2 Chronicles 9:21

     4339   ivory
     5517   seafaring
     5587   trade
     7236   Israel, united kingdom

2 Chronicles 9:13-21

     4333   gold

2 Chronicles 9:20-21

     4303   metals
     5407   merchants

The Great Gain of Godliness
'And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon. 26. And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. 27. And those officers provided victual for king Solomon, and for all that came unto king Solomon's table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing. 28. Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

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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