1 Kings 9


Solomon’s Post Building Accomplishments (9:1-28)

The Lord Appears to Solomon

      • When Solomon had finished building the house of Yahweh, the king’s house, and everything that he wanted to build, Yahweh appeared to Solomon a second time in the same way He had appeared to him at Gibeon. Yahweh said to him:

        • I have heard the prayer and plea that you have made before Me. I have consecrated this house that you have built by putting My name there forever. My eyes and heart will be there forever. As for you, if you walk before Me like your father David did- with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing all that I have commanded and obeying My decrees and laws- then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever. Just as I promised your father David: ‘You will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’”

        • Guzik notes, “This was some 24 years after Solomon came to the throne. The temple and the palace work at Jerusalem were finished. Now Solomon had to deal with life after completing his greatest accomplishment.”

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The first occasion on which God appeared to Solomon (3:4-15) marked the beginning of his rise to greatness. The second appearance marks the end of his upward mobility, and points ahead to disaster.”

        • On “my eyes and heart will be there forever,” the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible says, “The Lord’s commitment to the temple and his mindfulness of its location are dependent on Solomon and his people living up to their responsibilities…”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “The Lord answered Solomon’s prayer by reviewing the conditions of the covenant. Obedience would bring prosperity and the Lord’s blessing; disobedience could mean utter disaster, including destruction of the city and Temple, and deportation of God’s people (see Deut 28:36-37, 63-68). Although God’s covenant was irrevocable, receiving its blessing depended upon faithfulness to its terms (Ps 89:24-37).”

      • But if you or your descendants turn away from Me and don’t obey My commandments and decrees that I have given you, and go off to serve and worship other gods, then I will remove Israel from the land I have given to them, and I’ll reject this house that I have consecrated for My name, and Israel will become a proverb and an object of ridicule among all the other nations. This house will become a heap of ruins. Everyone who passes by it will be appalled and will hiss, saying, ‘Why did Yahweh do this to this land and to this house?’ People will answer, ‘Because they abandoned Yahweh their God who brought their ancestors out of Egypt and embraced other gods, serving and worshiping them. That’s why Yahweh brought all of this disaster on them.’”

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “Although the place of the temple as a focal point for prayer has been assured by God, as Solomon had asked…and there was also a favorable response to his request about the future of the dynasty…, the future of the temple and the dynasty depends on the obedience of Solomon and future generations of Israelites. The particular focus here is on the issue of idolatry: the people must not go and serve other gods and worship them. Disobedience will lead to loss of the Promised Land, and the magnificent temple will become a heap of ruins to be scoffed at by those passing by (cf Deut 29:22-28; Lam 1:12; 2:15). Israel will in fact be transformed from a nation proverbial for its wisdom…into itself a nation that it a proverb and a byword. This word pair comes directly from the list of covenant curses in Deuteronomy 28… a chapter that lies behind so much of the prayer of 1 Kings 8:22-53. This prayer has assumed the inevitability of sin (esp 8:46), making clear that the ‘if’ in 9:6 cannot be anything other than a ‘when’ in reality (8:46); obedience will eventually give way to apostasy…”

Solomon’s Agreement with Hiram

      • At the end of 20 years, during which Solomon had built the two houses- the house of Yahweh and the king’s house- King Solomon gave King Hiram of Tyre 20 cities in the region of Galilee, because Hiram had supplied him with all the cedar, cypress, and gold that he wanted. Hiram had sent the king 9,000 pounds of gold. But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given to him, he wasn’t pleased with them. He said, “My brother, what kind of cities are these that you have given to me?” He called them the land of Kabul, as they are still called today.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “In Solomon’s business agreement with King Hiram, he exchanged wheat and olive oil for timber and gold (5:10-11). When Solomon became indebted to Hiram, he gave him twenty towns in… Galilee as compensation. However, Hiram was dissatisfied with the towns so he returned them to Solomon’s control (see 2 Chr 8:2). The two friends settled upon other means of compensation and remained active allies and trading partners (1 Kgs 9:26-28; 10:22).”

        • On Hiram addressing Solomon as “my brother,” NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible writes, “Ancient Near Eastern treaties and letters indicate that this term expresses agreement of understanding between two equal parties, both kings (cf 20:3…)”

        • On “Kabul,” NET Bible adds, “The significance of the name is unclear, though it appears to be disparaging. The name may be derived from a root, attested in Akkadian and Arabic, meaning ‘bound’ or ‘restricted.’ Some propose a wordplay, pointing out that the name ‘Cabul’ sounds like a Hebrew phrase meaning, ‘like not,’ or ‘as good as nothing.’”

        • Guzik points out, “Hiram was indeed a friend to both David and Solomon, but the land of Israel was given to Israel by divine decree. Trading Israel’s land for a glorious temple and palace was not a good deal.”

Solomon’s Forced Labor

      • The following is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon conscripted to built the house of Yahweh, his own house, the terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had attacked and captured Gezer. He set it on fire and killed all the Canaanites who lived there. Then, he gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter, who had married Solomon. Solomon rebuilt Gezer, Lower Beth Horon, Baalath, Tadmor in the wilderness, all the store cities that belonged to him, the cities for his chariots and the cities for his horsemen, and whatever Solomon wanted to build in Jerusalem, Lebanon, or anywhere else in the land he had dominion over. There were still non-Israelite people living in the land- including Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, and Jebusites. Their descendants remained in the land because the Israelites had been unable to completely destroy them. Solomon conscripted them into forced labor, and they continue in that role to this day. Solomon didn’t consign Israelites to forced labor- they served as his soldiers, his officials, his commanders, his captains, and commanders of his chariots and horsemen. They were also the chief officials over Solomon’s projects: 550 officials supervising the workers.

        • Again we run into the issue of whether or not Solomon conscripted Israelites as forced labor. This passage seems to clearly indicate that he didn’t. However, as we noted in our discussion in chapter 5, the answer may not be so cut and dry. Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says, “This exemption, however it may have continued in theory, must virtually have been set aside in the later days of Solomon. (See 1Kings 12:4.) They are here described as occupying the position of a dominant race—as warriors, servants about the person of the king, princes, and officers in the array—like the free vassals under a feudal monarchy. But as the absolute power of the king increased, and with it, perhaps, the wealth and arrogance of his favourites and greater officers, the condition of the Israelites at large might be removed from serfship more in name than in reality…Certainly, in later times we find, both from the history and the prophetical books, that there was such a thing as serf ship of the poor to the princes. (Jeremiah 34:8-11; Nehemiah 5:11.)”

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible writes, “Excavations at these sites have revealed extensive building projects dating to the Solomonic era. Each was fortified by a nearly identical six-chambered gate, flanked by massive stone towers connected to a casemate wall. The casemate system was made up of an exterior wall measuring 5 feet thick and an interior wall measuring 4 feet thick. The space between the walls could be used as living quarters…In addition to fortification systems, excavators discovered a large complex of storehouses (or horse stables) from the tenth century BC and two royal palaces at Megiddo…Most scholars identify this pharaoh as Siamun (979-960 BC)…”

Solomon’s Other Activities

      • Solomon built the terrace as soon as Pharaoh’s daughter moved up from the City of David to the house that Solomon had built for her.

      • Three times a year Solomon offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar he had built for Yahweh, and he burned incense before Yahweh along with them. So he finished the house.

        • Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers says, “This verse seems by the last words to be a kind of note or postscript to the description of the completion and consecration of the Temple. To the record of the great inaugural sacrifice it adds a notice of the solemn renewal of the royal offering, both of victims and of incense, three times in a year—no doubt at the three great feasts, the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. As has been already said (see Note on 1Kings 8:63), there is no reason to suppose that on these occasions, or on any others, Solomon personally usurped the priesťs office.”

      • King Solomon built a fleet of ships at Ezion Gezer, which is located near Eloth in the land of Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea. Hiram sent his fleet and some of his sailors, who knew the sea well, to serve with Solomon’s men. They went to Ophir and acquired 16 tons of gold which they brought back to Solomon.

        • On Ophir, NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible notes, “Most often thought to be east Africa, perhaps along the Somali coast. The items attributed to Ophir in the Biblical text are also known to originate from Arabia and Yemen, which lie opposite. Other proposals range from India to coastal Africa (including Punt and Nubia; ‘Nub’ means gold). Gold sourced from Ophir is noted in various ancient Near Eastern documents and receipts, including a notation on an eighth-century BC ostracon discovered at Tel Qasile (Tel Aviv).”

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