After Solomon cleaned up his father David’s lose ends, he goes about the business of setting up his monarchy, his government. This is Israel’s golden years. God’s promises are being fulfilled. The temple will finally be built. It all starts with a solid foundation. Let’s dig in….
1 Kings 4 – Solomon’s Cabinet
King Solomon now ruled over all Israel, 2 and these were his high officials:
Azariah son of Zadok was the priest.
3 Elihoreph and Ahijah, the sons of Shisha, were court secretaries.
Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian.
4 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was commander of the army.
Zadok and Abiathar were priests.
5 Azariah son of Nathan was in charge of the district governors.
Zabud son of Nathan, a priest, was a trusted adviser to the king.
6 Ahishar was manager of the palace property.
Adoniram son of Abda was in charge of forced labor.
7 Solomon also had twelve district governors who were over all Israel. They were responsible for providing food for the king’s household. Each of them arranged provisions for one month of the year. 8 These are the names of the twelve governors…
Solomon’s Prosperity and Wisdom
20 The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They were very contented, with plenty to eat and drink. 21 Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River in the north to the land of the Philistines and the border of Egypt in the south. The conquered peoples of those lands sent tribute money to Solomon and continued to serve him throughout his lifetime.
22 The daily food requirements for Solomon’s palace were 150 bushels of choice flour and 300 bushels of meal; 23 also 10 oxen from the fattening pens, 20 pasture-fed cattle, 100 sheep or goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roe deer, and choice poultry.
24 Solomon’s dominion extended over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River, from Tiphsah to Gaza. And there was peace on all his borders. 25 During the lifetime of Solomon, all of Judah and Israel lived in peace and safety. And from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, each family had its own home and garden.
26 Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his chariot horses, and he had 12,000 horses.
27 The district governors faithfully provided food for King Solomon and his court; each made sure nothing was lacking during the month assigned to him. 28 They also brought the necessary barley and straw for the royal horses in the stables.
29 God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore. 30 In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite and the sons of Mahol—Heman, Calcol, and Darda. His fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations. 32 He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. 33 He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish. 34 And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.1 Kings 4 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
The year is c. 967 BC, and Israel is the most powerful nation on earth. Here we have Solomon’s government — his cabinet and governors. If you clicked on over to read the names of the governors, you may have noticed that the geographic areas didn’t exactly follow tribal boundaries. This was non-traditional and a very wise move.
Verse 20 is a fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis.
It’s the golden age of Israel. Its boundaries went all they up to the Euphrates River in what is today Iraq. Solomon became known as the wisest man on earth. His fame started to spread — and that’s without CNN or social media.
It’s interesting that the author of this historical account, which is thought to be the Prophet Jeremiah, mentions the two kingdoms yet to be — Israel and Judah — that’s how he knew them. This separation will happen with Solomon’s sons. At this time, Israel is united and at peace.
Next, he starts to build the temple…
1 Kings 5 – Preparations for Building the Temple
King Hiram of Tyre had always been a loyal friend of David. When Hiram learned that David’s son Solomon was the new king of Israel, he sent ambassadors to congratulate him.
2 Then Solomon sent this message back to Hiram:
3 “You know that my father, David, was not able to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord his God because of the many wars waged against him by surrounding nations. He could not build until the Lord gave him victory over all his enemies. 4 But now the Lord my God has given me peace on every side; I have no enemies, and all is well. 5 So I am planning to build a Temple to honor the name of the Lord my God, just as he had instructed my father, David. For the Lord told him, ‘Your son, whom I will place on your throne, will build the Temple to honor my name.’
6 “Therefore, please command that cedars from Lebanon be cut for me. Let my men work alongside yours, and I will pay your men whatever wages you ask. As you know, there is no one among us who can cut timber like you Sidonians!”
7 When Hiram received Solomon’s message, he was very pleased and said, “Praise the Lord today for giving David a wise son to be king of the great nation of Israel.” 8 Then he sent this reply to Solomon:
“I have received your message, and I will supply all the cedar and cypress timber you need. 9 My servants will bring the logs from the Lebanon mountains to the Mediterranean Sea and make them into rafts and float them along the coast to whatever place you choose. Then we will break the rafts apart so you can carry the logs away. You can pay me by supplying me with food for my household.”
10 So Hiram supplied as much cedar and cypress timber as Solomon desired. 11 In return, Solomon sent him an annual payment of 100,000 bushels of wheat for his household and 110,000 gallons of pure olive oil. 12 So the Lord gave wisdom to Solomon, just as he had promised. And Hiram and Solomon made a formal alliance of peace.
13 Then King Solomon conscripted a labor force of 30,000 men from all Israel. 14 He sent them to Lebanon in shifts, 10,000 every month, so that each man would be one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of this labor force. 15 Solomon also had 70,000 common laborers, 80,000 quarry workers in the hill country, 16 and 3,600 foremen to supervise the work. 17 At the king’s command, they quarried large blocks of high-quality stone and shaped them to make the foundation of the Temple. 18 Men from the city of Gebal helped Solomon’s and Hiram’s builders prepare the timber and stone for the Temple.1 Kings 4 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
- Tyre was the southernmost city in Lebanon to the north of Israel. It’s just ruins now.
- The picture above is of cedars of Lebanon.
- Notice the bold passage, verse 5. Solomon was building the temple, not to house God, but to honor Him. No building can ever hold God. He could never be held in a earthly structure.
- God used Gentiles to help build the Temple.
- Not a single workman died, got sick or injured. For an endeavor this size, that is amazing. It could only be the hand of God.
- It was wise to have the men who were bringing the wood from Lebanon work in monthly shifts. Work one month, then spend 2 months at home.
- They built a solid foundation. Check out the video at the bottom of the archeological dig at the City of David which shows the foundation stones. Notice how huge they are. As we go along, I’ll find some more archeological videos. I am aware of a recent discovery from the Herod’s Temple period.
A Solid Foundation
Our solid foundation is fear of the Lord. That’s awe, respect, love and obedience.
When you become a born-again believer, you become one of the foundation stones of the church….
4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests.1 Peter 2:4-5 NLT
As a Believer, You become a Temple of the Holy Spirit!
16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NLT