1 Kings 9 (New International Version)
The LORD Appears to Solomon
1 When Solomon had finished building the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do,
The task Solomon had had before him the entire time of his reign (commentators say he had ruled 24 years by now) was completed. At last he could relax! But that attitude can be dangerous to one’s faith walk . . .
2 the LORD appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 The LORD said to him:
“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
4 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, 5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’
Matthew 7:24-25 (NLT)
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.”
6 “But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 8 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 9 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the LORD brought all this disaster on them.’”
Matthew 7:26-27 (NLT)
“But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
Solomon — Which will you choose?
Solomon’s Other Activities
10 At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built these two buildings—the temple of the LORD and the royal palace— 11 King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram king of Tyre, because Hiram had supplied him with all the cedar and juniper and gold he wanted. 12 But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the towns that Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them. 13 “What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?” he asked. And he called them the Land of Kabul (Kabul sounds like the Hebrew for good-for-nothing), a name they have to this day. 14 Now Hiram had sent to the king 120 talents (that is, about 4 1/2 tons) of gold.
from Peculiar Treasures, A Biblical Who’s Who,
by Frederick Buechner
Hiram, King of Tyre, was in the lumber business, and when Solomon, King of Israel, decided he wanted to build the Temple in Jerusalem, Hiram let him have all the cedar and cypress he needed. He also charged such a cutthroat price for it that in order to pay up, Solomon had to tax his people blind and increase tolls on all the major highways.
Twenty years later, however, when the job was done and Hiram submitted his final bill, Solomon got a little of his own back by paying it in the form not of cash but of twelve Galilean cities whose turn-in value is suggested by the fact that when Hiram saw them, he called the Cabul, which means No Place. According to the historian Josephus, Solomon followed this up by proposing a riddle contest which Hiram lost hands down. As a result he had to give Solomon an enormous prize.
Josephus reports that Hiram bided his time for a while but then got hold of a friend named Abdemon who made hash of Solomon’s riddles in about twenty-five minutes, and at the end of that round it was Solomon who had to cough up an enormous prize for Hiram.
Unfortunately neither Josephus nor the Book of Kings reports what new heights the friendship rose to after that.
15 Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted to build the LORD’s temple, his own palace, the terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer.
Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer were three prominently fortified cities in the days of Solomon. “Recent work has demonstrated that these three cities had certain characteristics in common with regard particularly to their fortifications attributable to the Solomonic era . . . Most distinctive are the gate complexes, which are identical in plan and virtually of the same dimensions in all three cities.” (Patterson and Austel)
i. “Hazor was strategically placed in the north (c. three miles north of the Sea of Galilee), being situated at the juncture of the two major highways approaching from the north. It became Israel’s chief bulwark against northern invaders until it was destroyed in the eighth century by Tiglath-pileser III.” (Patterson and Austel)
ii. “Megiddo was the great fortress that controlled on the major passes from the Plain of Sharon on the coast into the Valley of Jezreel through the Carmel range. It figures in prophecy as the staging area for the last great battle (Armageddon) in which Christ will defeat the forces of the Antichrist.” (Patterson and Austel)
iii. “Gezer, on the road from Joppa to Jerusalem, had been a powerful Canaanite city. Though it was included in the tribal territory of Ephraim, it was not occupied by the Israelites until the time of Solomon. Then it was given to Solomon as a wedding gift by Pharaoh to his daughter.” (Patterson and Austel)
16 (Pharaoh king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer. He had set it on fire. He killed its Canaanite inhabitants and then gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. 17 And Solomon rebuilt Gezer.) He built up Lower Beth Horon, 18 Baalath, and Tadmor in the desert, within his land, 19 as well as all his store cities and the towns for his chariots and for his horses—whatever he desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and throughout all the territory he ruled.
20 There were still people left from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (these peoples were not Israelites). 21 Solomon conscripted the descendants of all these peoples remaining in the land—whom the Israelites could not exterminate—to serve as slave labor, as it is to this day. 22 But Solomon did not make slaves of any of the Israelites; they were his fighting men, his government officials, his officers, his captains, and the commanders of his chariots and charioteers. 23 They were also the chief officials in charge of Solomon’s projects—550 officials supervising those who did the work.
24 After Pharaoh’s daughter had come up from the City of David to the palace Solomon had built for her, he constructed the terraces.
25 Three times a year Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar he had built for the LORD, burning incense before the LORD along with them, and so fulfilled the temple obligations.
26 King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea. 27 And Hiram sent his men—sailors who knew the sea—to serve in the fleet with Solomon’s men. 28 They sailed to Ophir and brought back 420 talents (that is, about 16 tons) of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon.
Ophir . . . a true mystery. No one knows where exactly it was in ancient times, although various Biblical scholars, archaeologists, and others have suggested places: southern Arabia, Africa (Vasco de Gama’s exploring companion thought it was Zimbabwe; John Milton in Paradise Lost placed Ophir in Mozambique), the Solomon Islands (named thus because Alvaro Mendana, who discovered them in 1568, believed them to be Ophir), even Peru or the Philippines or Australia!
I get tired just reading about all the work that Solomon had his people do — building temples and palaces and stables and cities, constructing terraces and city walls, working with wood and stone, laboring in ships and in gold mines —
Think I’ll put my feet up — it is Friday soon, isn’t it??
HERE are Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”