We get to see some of the other things Solomon did during his time on the throne. A lot of his time was spent in building and repairing.
I’m having trouble deciding if the works being described here happened during the twenty years Solomon was building the House of the Lord or right after he finished it. I feel like these things should follow the building of the Temple and palace because Solomon probably focused on these tasks during their construction. But were the day to day demands on Solomon connected with building these two great structures enough to keep him busy? Was there enough of a work force to tend to the other tasks mentioned while the two great structures were being built?
The reason for my question is contained in two places:
- “At the end of twenty years, in which Solomon built the house of the Lord and his own house” (verse 1)
- “Thus was accomplished all the work of Solomon from the day the foundations of the House of the Lord was laid until it was finished. So the House of the Lord was completed. Then Solomon went to…” (verses 16-17a).
So I don’t know if all Solomon’s building accomplishments were during the 20 years of building the two main pieces or if the cities and such were afterwards. The last verses make it look like he went sea faring after the 20 years of building. Either way he was BUSY! Or at least his people were.
God blessed Solomon with wisdom and apparently a mind that would not sit idle. I am NOT impressed as to how he acquired his labor force. I pray he treated them well instead of the cruelty that United States slave era was noted for. I honestly don’t know any ‘good reports’ of slavery and I cringe knowing all our histories are filled with it. Slavery in one form or another still happens today. Man’s inhumanity to man will continue until Jesus returns. This doesn’t excuse it in the least but sin explains it.
But the building projects that Solomon undertook with his labor force were MANY. Israel was at peace with those around her but Solomon still worked on fortification projects. He knew peace would not last forever and he apparently wanted Israel to be strong when war time returned. The best offense is a strong defense mentality? He built at least two “fortified cities with walls, gates and bars” (verse 5b). He also built cities to serve as storehouses and bases for his chariots. This kept Israel’s resources distributed throughout the nation so attacking one place would not endanger all Israel’s ability to sustain her people.
As I was rereading our text I was intrigued by Solomon’s decision to move Pharaoh’s daughter to a different house. Solomon didn’t want a non-Israelite living anywhere where the Ark of the Lord had been or where it would be. When he made his palace he included a dwelling just for her that was on the backside of his house and separated from anything holy. Had she ever lived in the palace of David? Or did Solomon have her placed somewhere separate all along? Where was she living while her house was being built? Apparently it was somewhere in Jerusalem. She apparently hadn’t renounced her gods.
For at least a time, Solomon held fast to the requirements of the Law. Our writer counts the daily sacrifices as those the “Solomon offered” to the Lord “as the duty of each day required, offering according to the commandments of Moses” (verse 13a). We see that they are all observed by Solomon. Each of the sacrifices commanded by God were kept by Solomon; none were neglected. I wonder if this means that he attended them personally each day and on each occasion. I can see him being in attendance at the special sacrifices but the daily ones, I’m not so sure.
Solomon followed David’s appointments of the different roles for the Temple that he had set down before his death. Solomon didn’t change a thing that David had written from the gatekeepers to the high priest office.
The wealth and influence of Solomon did not end at the borders of Israel. With the help of Hiram it even extended across the sea to Ophir. MUCH gold made its way back across the sea to the coffers of King Solomon. And this was just part of the wealth God blessed Solomon with.
I wonder how many different things Solomon could do. Did he engage in artistic pursuits? Was building his best skill? Did he engage in designing things even while David was alive? Or was this passion a result of the wisdom God gave him?
I don’t have ANYTHING near the wisdom Solomon had. But I do enjoy using the wisdom and talents God gave me. There are still some skills I really wish I had. Playing the piano and being able to hear and sing harmony is another. Until God sees fit to give me these I will keep honing the ones He has blessed me with. I like to sing, write in several different formats, sew, and design visual things (quilt designing being one).
Father God, thank You for the talents You have given me. Help me use them in service to You and to others. I don’t have all but what I have I will use well and treat with care. Thank You for the opportunities You have given me too to use the talents You placed in me.