[1Kings 2 - 11]

Solomon’s kingdom is established

[1Kings 2:12-46] Adonijah petitions Bathsheba to speak to Solomon on his behalf, which she does, but according to David’s last instructions to Solomon, he judges him and he is put to death. Solomon then removes Abiathar from the priesthood. Joab, in fear for his life, takes refuge in the tabernacle, grasping the horns on the altar as Adonijah had done before him. When summoned to go before Solomon, Adonijah says he will die there. And so he does, for Solomon has him executed at the altar for his treason and killing of innocent people, then replaces him with Benaiah, and Abiathar with Zadok. According to the final commandment from his father concerning persons to be judged, Shimei is confined to Jerusalem. After some time, Shimei breaks the rules of his confinement and is consequently executed. With Adonijah the usurper, Joab the general of David’s army who took Adonijah’s side, as did Abiathar the high priest at the time, and Shimei who was considered to be a dangerous man, all dealt with, there remains no threat to the throne and the safety of Solomon’s kingdom is established.

Solomon asks for wisdom

[1Kings 3; 2Chr 1:1-13] Solomon marries the Pharaoh’s daughter and continues his reign with much devotion to God. Following many sacrifices at Gibeon, God appears to Solomon in a dream and offers him anything he desires. Because of his young age, Solomon asks for an understanding heart to judge his people. This is granted along with the addition of riches and honour. Wisdom is quickly demonstrated when judging a case between two harlots arguing over who is the mother of a baby. All Israel hears of this judgement and respect Solomon, for they can see the wisdom of God is in him.

Riches and honour follow

[1Kings 4; 2Chr 1:14-18] God’s promise of riches and honour is soon realised and the extent of Solomon’s dominion is recorded along with the provisions and presents given him. His wisdom and knowledge exceeds those to the east and west of him, and that of people known for their own wisdom and philosophies. Hence, Solomon’s fame becomes recognised by all nations around him. Solomon speaks three thousand proverbs and composes one thousand and five songs. People are sent by kings from all nations to hear his wisdom and knowledge first hand.

The trade-pact with King Hiram; work on the temple begins

[1Kings 5:1-12; 2Chr 2] King Hiram, a supporter and admirer of David, sends messengers to Solomon who are then sent back with a request for cedars from Lebanon, and workers with the skills Israel doesn’t possess for hewing timber. In return, Solomon would provide provisions for Hiram’s household. The pact is agreed, cedars and firs are sent from Lebanon, and abundant provisions supplied to Hiram. This exchange continues amicably year after year.

Solomon Builds the Temple

[1Kings 5:13-7:51; 2Chr 3-4] Work starts on the temple construction, with many workers, conscripted from all the tribes of Israel [1Ki 5:13-18], used in laying the stone foundations and preparing stone and timber for the building. Solomon spends seven years building the temple, for which we are given detail concerning its dimensions, the porch, windows and chambers, walls and flooring, the oracle and cherubim and the doors and carved work. (An account is given of Solomon’s other building projects, including his own house which takes thirteen years to build.) A renowned worker in brass is sent for from King Hiram to complete all the brass-work in the temple. That is two pillars of brass, the molten sea (a very large brass vessel of water) and other furniture, utensils and ornaments.

Dedication of the temple

[1Kings 8:1-9:9; 2Chr 5-7] The ark is now brought into the temple and placed in the oracle of the house, the most holy place. When the priests leave the holy place the glory of the Lord fills it. Solomon makes a speech to the people concerning the building of the temple and how he came to be engaged in it. He then offers a prayer requesting that whatever supplication is made at anytime, on any account, by Israelites or strangers, it might be accepted. He then blesses the people, offers a great number of sacrifices and makes a feast for the people who, when dismissed, return to their homes full of joy. Then God appears to Solomon in a dream for a second time (the first being at Gibeon when Solomon first became king) in answer to his prayer at the dedication of the temple.

Solomon’s building and trading operations

[1Kings 9:10-28; 2Chr 8] Solomon gives King Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee and in return, despite being displeased with the cities, he gives Solomon sixty talents of gold. Solomon had imposed taxes on the people to help fund the temple and his other building works, but this levy also pays for places that Solomon now builds or repairs. There are still many Canaanites living in Israel, all of whom Solomon makes bondsmen. He also maintains a standing army, many servants and military and civil leaders. Solomon builds a navy and is helped by Hiram who sends him men experienced in shipping. With this navy he is able to trade and bring great riches to his kingdom.

The queen of Sheba and Solomon’s wealth

[1Kings 10; 2Chr 9:1-12] The queen of Sheba had heard of Solomon’s greatness and wisdom. Not believing it all, she comes to see for herself, bringing much riches with her. What she finds exceeds her expectations. She presents him with a great sum in gold, as well as spices and precious stones. In return, Solomon gives the queen things she desires and gifts of his own choosing with which she returns to her own country. Solomon has a considerable income and makes extravagant use of it to increase the magnificence of his court. His riches exceed that of all other kings of the earth. Year after year, people come to hear Solomon’s wisdom, known to be from God, and bring him presents. His riches continue to grow and he amasses an army of chariots and horsemen.

Solomon’s downfall

[1Kings 11; 2Chr 9:13-31] Solomon’s extravagance includes his many women, who are now taken from other nations, contrary to the law given by Moses [Ex 34:16] and instruction before entering Canaan [Deu 7:3-4] . He has seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, as well as princesses. In his old age, some of these women begin to turn his heart away from God, and he worships other gods and builds places for his wives to worship them. For this evil, God appears to Solomon for the third time (the first when Solomon asked for wisdom to judge his people [1Ki 3:6] , and the second in answer to Solomon’s prayer and supplication after the temple had been built [1Ki 8:29-50] ) and tells him his kingdom will be taken from him, not in his time for the sake of his father David, but in his son’s time. So God raises adversaries against Solomon in Hadad, Rezon (descendants from the time when David and Joab defeated David’s enemies [1Chr 18, 19]), and in the person of Jeroboam, a servant of Joash who, seeing he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge over the house of Joseph. These would be the conscripts from Manasseh and Ephraim [1Ki 5:13-18] . Jereboam later receives a prophecy that he will rule ten tribes of Israel. Solomon gets to know of this and seeks to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam flees to Egypt until Solomon’s death. Solomon had reigned for forty years in Israel when he dies, and is buried in Zion, to be succeeded by his son Rehoboam.
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