Good News Translation (GNB)
10

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba

(2 Chr 9.1–12)

101

10.1–10:
Mt 12.42
Lk 11.31
The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame,10.1 Probable text (see 2 Chr 9.1) Solomon's fame; Hebrew Solomon's fame concerning the name of the LORD. and she travelled to Jerusalem to test him with difficult questions. 2She brought with her a large group of attendants, as well as camels loaded with spices, jewels, and a large amount of gold. When she and Solomon met, she asked him all the questions that she could think of. 3He answered them all; there was nothing too difficult for him to explain. 4The queen of Sheba heard Solomon's wisdom and saw the palace he had built. 5She saw the food that was served at his table, the living quarters for his officials, the organization of his palace staff and the uniforms they wore, the servants who waited on him at feasts, and the sacrifices he offered in the Temple. It left her breathless and amazed. 6She said to King Solomon, “What I heard in my own country about you10.6 you; or your deeds. and your wisdom is true! 7But I couldn't believe it until I had come and seen it all for myself. But I didn't hear even half of it; your wisdom and wealth are much greater than what I was told. 8How fortunate are your wives!10.8 Some ancient translations wives; Hebrew men. And how fortunate your servants, who are always in your presence and are privileged to hear your wise sayings! 9Praise the LORD your God! He has shown how pleased he is with you by making you king of Israel. Because his love for Israel is eternal, he has made you their king so that you can maintain law and justice.”

10She presented to King Solomon the gifts she had brought: more than four tonnes of gold and a very large amount of spices and jewels. The amount of spices she gave him was by far the greatest that he ever received at any time.

11(Hiram's fleet, which had brought gold from Ophir, also brought from there a large amount of juniper wood and jewels. 12Solomon used the wood to build railings in the Temple and the palace, and also to make harps and lyres for the musicians. It was the finest juniper wood ever imported into Israel; none like it has ever been seen again.)

13King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she asked for, besides all the other customary gifts that he had generously given her. Then she and her attendants returned to the land of Sheba.

King Solomon's Wealth

(2 Chr 9.13–28)

14Every year King Solomon received almost 23 tonnes of gold 15in addition to the taxes10.15 Some ancient translations taxes; Hebrew men. paid by merchants, the profits from trade, and tribute paid by the Arabian kings and the governors of the Israelite districts.

16Solomon made 200 large shields, and had each one overlaid with almost seven kilogrammes of gold. 17He also made 300 smaller shields, overlaying each one of them with almost two kilogrammes of gold. He had all these shields placed in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon.10.17 Hall of the Forest of Lebanon: See 7.2–3.

18He also had a large throne made. Part of it was covered with ivory and the rest of it was covered with the finest gold. 19-20The throne had six steps leading up to it, with the figure of a lion at each end of every step, a total of twelve lions. At the back of the throne was the figure of a bull's head, and beside each of the two arms was the figure of a lion. No throne like this had ever existed in any other kingdom.

21All of Solomon's drinking cups were made of gold, and all the utensils in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. No silver was used, since it was not considered valuable in Solomon's day. 22He had a fleet of ocean-going ships sailing with Hiram's fleet. Every three years his fleet would return, bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.

23King Solomon was richer and wiser than any other king, 24and the whole world wanted to come and listen to the wisdom that God had given him. 25Everyone who came brought him a gift — articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. This continued year after year.

26

10.26:
1 Kgs 4.26
Solomon built up a force of 1,400 chariots and 12,000 cavalry horses. Some of them he kept in Jerusalem and the rest he stationed in various other cities. 27During his reign silver was as common in Jerusalem as stone, and cedar was as plentiful as ordinary sycomore in the foothills of Judah. 28
10.28:
Deut 17.16
The king's agents controlled the export of horses from Musri10.28 Probable text Musri; Hebrew Egypt. and Cilicia,10.28 Musri and Cilicia: Two ancient countries in what is now south-east Turkey, which were centres of horse breeding in Solomon's time. 29and the export of chariots from Egypt. They supplied the Hittite and Syrian kings with horses and chariots, selling chariots for 600 pieces of silver each and horses for 150 each.

11

Solomon Turns Away from God

111

11.1:
Deut 17.17
Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides the daughter of the king of Egypt he married Hittite women and women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Sidon. 2
11.2:
Ex 34.16
Deut 7.3–4
He married them even though the LORD had commanded the Israelites not to intermarry with these people, because they would cause the Israelites to give their loyalty to other gods. 3Solomon married 700 princesses and also had 300 concubines. They made him turn away from God 4and by the time he was old they had led him into the worship of foreign gods. He was not faithful to the LORD his God, as his father David had been. 5He worshipped Astarte the goddess of Sidon, and Molech the disgusting god of Ammon. 6He sinned against the LORD and was not true to him as his father David had been. 7On the mountain east of Jerusalem he built a place to worship Chemosh, the disgusting god of Moab, and a place to worship Molech, the disgusting god of Ammon. 8He also built places of worship where all his foreign wives could burn incense and offer sacrifices to their own gods.

9-10Even though the LORD, the God of Israel, had appeared to Solomon twice and had commanded him not to worship foreign gods, Solomon did not obey the LORD, but turned away from him. So the LORD was angry with Solomon 11and said to him, “Because you have deliberately broken your covenant with me and disobeyed my commands, I promise that I will take the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your officials. 12However, for the sake of your father David I will not do this in your lifetime, but during the reign of your son. 13And I will not take the whole kingdom away from him; instead, I will leave him one tribe for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have made my own.”

Solomon's Enemies

14So the LORD caused Hadad, of the royal family of Edom, to turn against Solomon. 15-16Long before this, when David had conquered Edom, Joab the commander of his army had gone there to bury the dead. He and his men remained in Edom six months, and during that time they killed every male in Edom 17except Hadad and some of his father's Edomite servants, who escaped to Egypt. (At that time Hadad was just a child.) 18They left Midian and went to Paran, where some other men joined them. Then they travelled to Egypt and went to the king, who gave Hadad some land and a house and provided him with food. 19Hadad won the friendship of the king, and the king gave his sister-in-law, the sister of Queen Tahpenes, to Hadad in marriage. 20She bore him a son, Genubath, who was brought up by the queen in the palace, where he lived with the king's sons.

21When the news reached Hadad in Egypt that David had died and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to the king, “Let me go back to my own country.”

22“Why?” the king asked. “Have I failed to give you something? Is that why you want to go back home?”

“Just let me go,” Hadad answered the king. And he went back to his country.11.22 One ancient translation And he went back to his country; Hebrew does not have these words.

As king of Edom, Hadad was an evil, bitter enemy of Israel.11.22 One ancient translation As kingIsrael; in Hebrew this sentence, with some differences, comes at the end of verse 25.

23God also caused Rezon son of Eliada to turn against Solomon. Rezon had fled from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah, 24and had become the leader of a gang of outlaws. (This happened after David had defeated Hadadezer and had slaughtered his Syrian allies.) Rezon and his men went and lived in Damascus, where his men made him king of Syria. 25He was an enemy of Israel during the lifetime of Solomon.

God's Promise to Jeroboam

26Another man who turned against King Solomon was one of his officials, Jeroboam son of Nebat, from Zeredah in Ephraim. His mother was a widow named Zeruah. 27This is the story of the revolt.

Solomon was filling in the land on the east side of Jerusalem and repairing the city walls. 28Jeroboam was an able young man, and when Solomon noticed how hard he worked, he put him in charge of all the forced labour in the territory of the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim. 29One day, as Jeroboam was travelling from Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah, from Shiloh, met him alone on the road in the open country. 30Ahijah took off the new robe he was wearing, tore it into twelve pieces, 31and said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, because the LORD, the God of Israel, says to you, ‘I am going to take the kingdom away from Solomon, and I will give you ten tribes. 32Solomon will keep one tribe, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen to be my own from the whole land of Israel. 33I am going to do this because Solomon has rejected me and has11.33 Some ancient translations Solomon has… and has; Hebrew they have… and have. worshipped foreign gods: Astarte, the goddess of Sidon; Chemosh, the god of Moab; and Molech, the god of Ammon. Solomon has11.33 Some ancient translations Solomon has; Hebrew They have. disobeyed me; he has done wrong, and has not kept my laws and commands as his father David did. 34But I will not take the whole kingdom away from Solomon, and I will keep him in power as long as he lives. This I will do for the sake of my servant David, whom I chose and who obeyed my laws and commands. 35I will take the kingdom away from Solomon's son and will give you ten tribes, 36but I will let Solomon's son keep one tribe, so that I will always have a descendant of my servant David ruling in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen as the place where I am worshipped. 37Jeroboam, I will make you king of Israel, and you will rule over all the territory that you want. 38If you obey me completely, live by my laws, and win my approval by doing what I command, as my servant David did, I will always be with you. I will make you king of Israel and will make sure that your descendants rule after you, just as I have done for David. 39Because of Solomon's sin I will punish the descendants of David, but not for all time.’ ”

40And so Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but he escaped to King Shishak of Egypt and stayed there until Solomon's death.

The Death of Solomon

(2 Chr 9.29–31)

41Everything else that Solomon did, his career and his wisdom, are all recorded in The History of Solomon. 42He was king in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 43He died and was buried in David's City, and his son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.

12

The Northern Tribes Revolt

(2 Chr 10.1–19)

121Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all the people of northern Israel had gathered to make him king. 2When Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had gone to Egypt to escape from King Solomon, heard this news, he returned from12.2 Some ancient translations (and see 2 Chr 10.2) returned from; Hebrew remained in. Egypt. 3The people of the northern tribes sent for him, and then they all went together to Rehoboam and said to him, 4“Your father Solomon treated us harshly and placed heavy burdens on us. If you make these burdens lighter and make life easier for us, we will be your loyal subjects.”

5“Come back in three days and I will give you my answer,” he replied. So they left.

6King Rehoboam consulted the older men who had served as his father Solomon's advisers. “What answer do you advise me to give these people?” he asked.

7They replied, “If you want to serve this people well, give a favourable answer to their request, and they will always serve you loyally.”

8But he ignored the advice of the older men and went instead to the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers. 9“What do you advise me to do?” he asked. “What shall I say to the people who are asking me to make their burdens lighter?”

10They replied, “This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's waist!’ 11Tell them, ‘My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with a whip; I'll flog you with a horsewhip!’ ”

12Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to King Rehoboam, as he had instructed them. 13The king ignored the advice of the older men and spoke harshly to the people, 14as the younger men had advised. He said, “My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with a whip; I'll flog you with a horsewhip!” 15It was the will of the LORD to bring about what he had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh. This is why the king did not pay any attention to the people.

16

12.16:
2 Sam 20.1
When the people saw that the king would not listen to them, they shouted, “Down with David and his family! What have they ever done for us? People of Israel, let's go home! Let Rehoboam look out for himself!”

So the people of Israel rebelled, 17leaving Rehoboam as king only of the people who lived in the territory of Judah.

18Then King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of the forced labour, to go to the Israelites, but they stoned him to death. At this, Rehoboam hurriedly got into his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem. 19Ever since that time the people of the northern kingdom of Israel have been in rebellion against the dynasty of David.

20When the people of Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned from Egypt, they invited him to a meeting of the people and made him king of Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to David's descendants.

Shemaiah's Prophecy

(2 Chr 11.1–4)

21When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he called together 180,000 of the best soldiers from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. He intended to go to war and restore his control over the northern tribes of Israel. 22But God told the prophet Shemaiah 23to give this message to Rehoboam and to all the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin: 24“Do not attack your own brothers, the people of Israel. Go home, all of you. What has happened is my will.” They all obeyed the LORD's command and went back home.

Jeroboam Turns Away from the LORD

25King Jeroboam of Israel fortified the town of Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there for a while. Then he left and fortified the town of Penuel. 26-27He said to himself, “As things are now, if my people go to Jerusalem and offer sacrifices to the LORD in the Temple there, they will transfer their allegiance to King Rehoboam of Judah and will kill me.”

28

12.28:
Ex 32.4
After thinking it over, he made two bull calves of gold and said to his people, “You have been going long enough to Jerusalem to worship. People of Israel, here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt!” 29He placed one of the gold bull calves in Bethel and the other in Dan. 30And so the people sinned, going to worship in Bethel and in Dan.12.30 One ancient translation in Bethel and in Dan; Hebrew in Dan. 31Jeroboam also built places of worship on hilltops, and he chose priests from families who were not of the tribe of Levi.

Worship at Bethel is Condemned

32

12.32–33:
Lev 23.33–34
Jeroboam also instituted a religious festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival in Judah. On the altar in Bethel he offered sacrifices to the gold bull calves he had made, and he placed there in Bethel the priests serving at the places of worship he had built. 33And on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, the day that he himself had set, he went to Bethel and offered a sacrifice on the altar in celebration of the festival he had instituted for the people of Israel.