Sunday, Oct 22nd

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1 Kings 9

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Certain groups within the fake-church of charismaticism, believe it is their right to demand wealth from God, even though their theology and behaviour is far from godly. In this chapter God Himself tells Solomon the demands He makes of His people. If they obeyed Him the land would prosper. And if Solomon (and every subsequent king) was faithful to Him, He would give him earthly peace and be with him. With this came amazing wealth for Solomon, as a reward.

We should not take this to mean Solomon’s wealth is also ours. On the other hand, faithful servants of the Lord can expect God to help them in life, and this can mean wealth for some. Wealth or not depends on God’s mercy and grace, not on anything we might do for God. In itself wealth or a good living is not to be taken as proof of God’s presence with a person, or necessarily of His special favour, but both may occur together in a Christian’s life. God will favour whom He will, not as an automatic result of what we do for God. The most important gift of all is His presence.

Sadly, Christians who are used to having a good living will think they are being punished by God if their wealth, status, goods, etc., are taken away, such is their past dependence on what they have had. But, wealth or not is an illusion when it comes to God’s presence. As with Job, God can remove everything a man has, NOT to punish him, but in order to fan the flames of faith, even if the person is unaware it is dying or static.

 

If the person responds well to his new condition, God will ensure his safety and life, and may restore him to something better... but ‘something better’ is not necessarily equal to money or goods; the best end result is God’s presence and love in the person’s life, with or without the trappings of wealth and position. When he or she accepts such a situation, God might then give some wealth back... but not necessarily. In Solomon’s case God promised such wealth and position at the very start of his reign, and his wealth increased phenomenally, year-on-year, on condition he was faithful. But, more importantly, God was with him. This must be our desire.

 

Verses 1&2

  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.

When all the work on the Temple and palace was finished, Jehovah appeared to Solomon for the second time. The first time was when Solomon was in the hill-top Levitical city of Gibeon, about five miles from Jerusalem. In this text it seems that God was actually seen (ra’ah) by Solomon, probably in the Person of the Son. This was the night after the feast days were completed.

Verses 3-5

  1. 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.

  2. 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:

  3. 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.

Thus, Solomon’s reign was established by God and given His holy commendation, though we should understand that all promises of God are dependent on our responses. That is, His promises are always conditional; ‘If you do this, I will do that’.

God assures Solomon that He had heard his prayers and requests. He has hallowed or consecrated the Temple for His own purposes and intends to stay in the Temple (see previous notes on what this means, re His ‘Name’), forever watching over Israel. Note the condition: “if thou wilt walk before me”. Exactly the same condition applies to Christians today. Modern human lawgivers often reward evil with concessions, but God does not.

If Solomon lived an holy life, as did his father, David, obeying God in every detail (no requirements of God are optional!), then God said He would maintain the throne of Israel forever. Failure to keep to this condition is why modern Israel is now suffering attack upon attack. Yet, we may not suppose that God has thereby cast off Israel. He has prophesied that one day He will restore Israel – and this can only happen by way of mass conversions to true worship as taught in the New Testament.

In Christian lives God will withdraw His holy presence and help when we disobey, but He never casts us away from Himself; He cannot because of His promise to keep us in His sight forever, because of our inheritance given by Christ.

Verses 6-9

  1. 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:

  2. 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:

  3. 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?

  4. 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 has given Solomon His solemn promise. Now comes the condition: If Solomon or his ‘children’ (who includes the nation) do not keep His commandments and laws, and instead worship idols/false gods, God would cast off Israel from the land He gave to them, and He would even destroy the Temple, thus bringing hate and scorn upon Israel.

This happened twice, for the given reason, though both Temples were magnificent. Foreigners who see the destruction would shake their heads and ‘hiss’, wondering why Israel’s God had done this thing. Though, in both cases, it was a foreign army that destroyed the Temples, everyone knew that the ruination came from the God of Israel. This is how we ought to view ruination of Christians, whose refusal to be holy brings many woes upon their heads.

As God says to Solomon, onlookers can only say that the Israelites brought the destruction upon their own heads, by disobeying the Lord Who saved them from slavery in Egypt. What a way to spurn their national saviour! To add insult to injury they would even start to worship false gods! In this statement, made before any such idol-worship occurred, Jehovah is uttering a prophecy of things to come. God knew Israel and its kings would disobey Him at some point.

We should understand that the principles behind God’s prophecy are with us today. Idol-worship can take many forms and each is anathema to the Lord – examples are mixing men’s philosophies with true religion, attending and believing/sympathising-with cultic teachings (Mormon, JWism, Roman Catholicism, and so on), and sectist worship (bad churches based on deliberate heresy), and much more... anything that causes us to move away from genuine worship of the only true God. In modern days this is why Christians are being attacked from every side and treated like dirt: they do not walk in God’s ways or live holy lives.

Verses 10-14

  1. 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,

  2. (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.

  3. And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not.

  4. 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.

  5. And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold.

It took twenty years for Solomon to complete all his building projects (which included two separate houses, one for himself and the other for his Egyptian wife, both of which were within the huge palace complex), plus the walls around the city and rebuilding of many other cities.

The projects were not possible without the help of king Hiram of Tyre, who gave Solomon everything he asked for. Though Solomon had already paid handsomely for the labour and building materials, including much gold, Solomon decided to reward Hiram with a gift of twenty cities sited in Galilee. Hiram travelled to Galilee to view the cities, but he was not pleased with them. Hence, he called the area ‘Cabul’ (Phoenician for ‘displeased’). In Chronicles, we find that he returned the cities to Solomon. It is possible that Hiram was not pleased because they were all in a state of disrepair and had no inhabitants; Solomon later repaired them and sent people to live in them. Also, Hiram was interested in merchant income, not agriculture.

We are not told exactly why Hiram refused the gifts, but it could possibly be that Tyre was extremely rich and its people were merchants, who lived in a busy port area in lavish homes. The twenty cities were in desert and hills, with no obvious merchantable qualities. At any rate, there is no indication that Hiram thought less of Solomon (despite his dismay, he still called Solomon his “brother”) – he simply did not want cities in disrepair with no obvious use. An indication of his continued friendliness is his gift to Solomon of sixty talents of gold. This may have been 100 times six (thus, 600); the term “sixscore” is an ancient reference to ‘one hundred’. That is 600 round discs of solid gold. The actual value is not stated in the text, but see final paragraph.

Verses 15-21

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. And Solomon built Gezer, and Bethhoron the nether,

  4. And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,

  5. 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.

  6. And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel,

  7. 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.

We now see why Solomon had a huge building program: First mentioned are the Temple, his own palace, Millo (some of the Jerusalem fortifications with a house built-in) and walls, plus Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer, which were run-down. (Hazor, ‘castle’, could be one of four sites); Megiddo was north of Jerusalem, eleven miles from Nazareth.

The rebuilding of Gezer (a Levitical city bordering on the land of Ephraim) might seem strange, because Solomon’s father-in-law, the Pharaoh, destroyed it with fire, killing all the Canaanite inhabitants, before giving the city to his daughter (Solomon’s wife) as a gift. Thus, Pharaoh had expanded Solomon’s properties by removing the idolaters and making it ready for rebuilding.

After starting with God’s house and worship, then rebuilding derelict cities so as to increase revenue, Solomon rebuilt other places, all the while exhibiting greatness, using levies – bonded workers, and money raised from taxes. He rebuilt ‘Bethhoron the nether’, so called because there were two cities of that name in Ephraim – Upper Beth-horon which was on top of a mountain of Ephraim, and Lower Beth-horon, built lower down (nether) the mountain. Then there were towns in the desert: Baalath (a town in Dan) and Tadmor (‘palm tree’, built after an earlier conquest by Solomon), a fertile place in the Syrian desert. These would provide accommodation and work for inhabitants, plus extra income for Solomon.

Added to these cities were the cities used to store food, chariots and horsemen, numbering many thousands, and many more places not mentioned by name. In his land were tribes of defeated non-Hebrew nations – Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites – who were levied by Solomon to provide work and income for Israel, as bondservants, working the land, labouring, etc. They were thus kept in bondage because of their idolatry. Even today, believers who refuse to live holy lives can be downgraded by God to know misery, or slavery to their problems.

Verses 22-24

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

No Israelite in the former Canaanite cities were made bondsmen, so were not levied. Instead, they became soldiers, servants, and high-ranking officers in both civil and military service. In Israel itself, Solomon gave 550 men rule over his projects. Solomon’s Egyptian wife moved from her dwelling in old Jerusalem and into her own house in the palace complex, before Solomon built the Millo.

Verses 25-28

  1. 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.

  2. And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.

  3. And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.

  4. And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

After the Temple was built, Solomon instructed that burnt and peace offerings were made on the new altar, which also burnt incense. Not one to sit back, Solomon also developed a large navy with war galleys operating out of Eziongeber on the Red Sea. This was the last place the Hebrews reached after the initial exodus. It was not far from Eloth. Thus, both places were in the north-east (Israel side) of the Red Sea, in Edom, the land of Esau’s descendants.

The new navy contained men given by Hiram to Solomon for the purpose. They were seasoned sailors who joined Solomon’s sailors to form a fleet. The fleet was also used as merchant ships – which sailed to Ophir in Southern Arabia, where goods were exchanged for gold. The first consignment brought in 420 talents, which were sent to Solomon for his royal treasury. (Today, a talent of gold would be worth, at over 34 kilograms each, well over one and a half million US dollars per disc, thus the gold he acquired on this one trip alone came to almost half a billion dollars. His total wealth over the years was extraordinary and unsurpassed).

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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