We see Solomon’s kingdom structure today. He was a firm believer in sharing the burden, both of command and support.
I’m going to start off by saying that this section does NOT excite me. I find it rather dry but as I was complaining about it to the Lord, He reminded me that, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). So let’s see where He takes us today.
While reading through this list there were a few familiar names. A couple of them confused me as to why they were there. It could be that this list represents the whole time Solomon was king, not just a specific time.
The first familiar name is Zadok. He was the priest. But Abiathar is mentioned as a priest too. He was removed from this office after Adonijah was dealt with. He was told to go home and not come back.
The third familiar name is Nathan. He isn’t in a position but two of his sons are. Was he of the tribe of Levi? Is this a different Nathan than the one who served David? Is David’s Nathan still serving in some capacity?
The name Beh-hur is familiar but not for biblical reasons. I know the name from movies; especially the one titled by the same name. This is NOT the same ‘character’ the movie was written about. The movie’s Ben-hur was from the time of the Romans which is still a LONG way away.
The last familiar name made my eyes pop open. This man is listed in the group of men responsible for providing for the king’s household each month. That man is Shimei. Solomon had him confined to Jerusalem for three years before Shimei broke his promise to stay in Jerusalem. Then he was executed. So did he coordinate his tribe’s month contribution from Jerusalem? Who took over after his death? David identified him as a disreputable man so why did Solomon trust him with this task? This is probably another one of those questions I will have to wait to have answered.
Something that I did take from today’s reading is how Solomon divided the workload among all the people. He was from the tribe of Judah but that tribe wasn’t taxed with caring for him on their own. Each tribe took one month and had eleven months to prepare for their one month. We will see shortly how taxing that month was. Solomon’s household was HUGE because of how many wives, concubines and probably children he had. They ALL ate well on what the people provided.
On this note, I personally do not like the fact that the people were required to provide this support without payment in kind. Was this their taxes? Did they have to pay beyond this support? I certainly hope not. Solomon had MORE than enough money to buy his own ‘groceries’ but he expected the people to do so instead. Was this something his father David did? Was it a normal thing for a king? I don’t know how to react to this without knowing if this was standard. Standard or not, as an individual who is responsible for my own bills, I don’t like it.
Siting here thinking about this a little longer, I was thinking about what Solomon was providing for the people. Wouldn’t that safety and infrastructure be worth something in return? We will see shortly the results of his provision too.
Father God, thank You for pushing me to look beyond the surface of Your word. Thank You for pointing out things I never thought about or had skimmed over. I know what You showed me sparked more questions than answers but that is a good thing too. It keeps me searching.
The wisdom You gave Solomon provided him a foundation for his leadership. You gave his kingdom peace and gave him time to continue his learning in safety. And I trust YOU showed him how to care for his household too so I will stop complaining. Don’t ever let me lose my curiosity, even if I ask the wrong questions some times.