Solomon had been a good king for Israel so far to this point. He had reorganized his kingdom, wiping out those who would have brought strife from within. He had established peace with their neighboring nations. He had built the temple, as the Lord desired. And he was living as a righteous leader of the people, who trusted in God. He ruled with wisdom and desired to do right. This chapter continues the story of Solomon, after the building and dedication of the temple.
1 And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the Lord, and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he was pleased to do,
2 That the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.
3 And the Lord said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
4 And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:
5 Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.
6 But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:
7 Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:
8 And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and to this house?
9 And they shall answer, Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the Lord brought upon them all this evil.
The Lord appeared again to Solomon, as he did in a dream when He offered him wisdom. He told Solomon that he had heard his prayers and accepted the house built in His name. More specifically, in verse 3, the Lord told Solomon that he hallowed the temple. To hallow is to make holy, to consecrate, to purify or to sanctify. Without this act by the Lord, the temple could not have been a place where sacred rituals and promises could have been made by the children of Israel. It would have just been a beautiful building made by men. The Lord makes temples the places of holiness that they are, by the sanctifying power of his Holy Spirit.
The Lord promised Solomon that his kingdom would be established forever, if Solomon (and his people) would live righteously and keep the commandments. Likewise, if Solomon, or his descendants, turned from the Lord to other gods, Israel would be taken from the land of promise, and the temple would no longer be found acceptable to the Lord. Instead, Israel would be made an example to all the people, of consequences that happen when those who are blessed by the Lord, turn from Him to other gods.
10 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord, and the king’s house,
11 (Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee.
12 And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not.
13 And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day.
14 And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold.
Solomon finished building the temple and the palace after twenty years. When he was done, he gave Hiram, king of Tyre, twenty cities in Galilee, for all the work he had done. Hiram did not find the cities acceptable, and they became known as the land of Cabul, which means something like dirty. He sent gold to Solomon. I don’t know why he sent gold, when he found the cities as undesirable as he did, but it seems he did not having anything against Solomon for this.
15 And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the Lord, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.
16 For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon’s wife.
17 And Solomon built Gezer, and Beth-horon the nether,
18 And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,
19 And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
20 And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel,
21 Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.
22 But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen: but they were men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen.
23 These were the chief of the officers that were over Solomon’s work, five hundred and fifty, which bare rule over the people that wrought in the work.
Solomon had used a levy on those who were not Israelites, to build the temple, his palace, fortifications and the wall of Jerusalem, and to build and restore several cities, including Gezer. Gezer had previously been destroyed by fire when taken by Pharaoh of Egypt. Pharaoh had given the land to his daughter, the wife of Solomon, as a gift. The levy was not something new, especially to those who lived among them when they could have been destroyed by the Israelites. They had previously been spared and allowed to remain, so long as they gave service to the Israelites. Cities were built by Solomon, to store and maintain all that he had, such as chariots and horses. The men of Israel, became his army, his servants, and rulers of the land. He had 550 men, who ruled over the people who served him.
24 But Pharaoh’s daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo.
Pharaoh’s daughter went to live in the house that Solomon built for her. Then, Solomon began work on the fortifications.
25 And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar which he built unto the Lord, and he burnt incense upon the altar that was before the Lord. So he finished the house.
Three times a year, Solomon went to the temple and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.
26 And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion-geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.
27 And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.
28 And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.
Solomon built a navy of ships, with some of the men of Hiram as shipmen along with the servants of Solomon. They brought Solomon gold from Ophir.
I think the important part of this chapter, is that the Lord made a covenant with Solomon, as he had with his father, David. This promise is often repeated in the scriptures, which is that the righteous followers of the Lord, will be blessed in the land, and those who choose to harden their hearts and turn away, will be cursed and cast off. I believe this promise holds true for all disciples of Christ today. If we are truly striving to come unto Christ and live as He would have us live, he will bless our lands, our places of worship, and our lives individually. I have a great hope in these promises, as the time we live in seems to be more and more wicked. I know that if more people could see the value in coming unto Christ, and try to turn away from worldly things, this world would be a better place. I also know that the scriptures teach us things will continue to get harder and more wicked as we grow closer to the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I pray that I may continue to love the word of God and strive to follow the teachings of the Lord, so that I will not be cut off from Him, but receive the blessings offered by my own covenants with the Lord.