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Solomon’s Many Achievements

It took Solomon twenty years to build the Lord’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time, Solomon turned his attention to rebuilding the towns that King Hiram[a] had given him, and he settled Israelites in them.

Solomon also fought against the town of Hamath-zobah and conquered it. He rebuilt Tadmor in the wilderness and built towns in the region of Hamath as supply centers. He fortified the towns of Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, rebuilding their walls and installing barred gates. He also rebuilt Baalath and other supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses[b] could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm.

There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These were descendants of the nations whom the people of Israel had not destroyed. So Solomon conscripted them for his labor force, and they serve as forced laborers to this day. But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for his labor force. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, officers in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers. 10 King Solomon appointed 250 of them to supervise the people.

11 Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. He said, “My wife must not live in King David’s palace, for the Ark of the Lord has been there, and it is holy ground.”

12 Then Solomon presented burnt offerings to the Lord on the altar he had built for him in front of the entry room of the Temple. 13 He offered the sacrifices for the Sabbaths, the new moon festivals, and the three annual festivals—the Passover celebration, the Festival of Harvest,[c] and the Festival of Shelters—as Moses had commanded.

14 In assigning the priests to their duties, Solomon followed the regulations of his father, David. He also assigned the Levites to lead the people in praise and to assist the priests in their daily duties. And he assigned the gatekeepers to their gates by their divisions, following the commands of David, the man of God. 15 Solomon did not deviate in any way from David’s commands concerning the priests and Levites and the treasuries.

16 So Solomon made sure that all the work related to building the Temple of the Lord was carried out, from the day its foundation was laid to the day of its completion.

17 Later Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Elath,[d] ports along the shore of the Red Sea[e] in the land of Edom. 18 Hiram sent him ships commanded by his own officers and manned by experienced crews of sailors. These ships sailed to Ophir with Solomon’s men and brought back to Solomon almost seventeen tons[f] of gold.

Visit of the Queen of Sheba

When the queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions. She arrived with a large group of attendants and a great caravan of camels loaded with spices, large quantities of gold, and precious jewels. When she met with Solomon, she talked with him about everything she had on her mind. Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba realized how wise Solomon was, and when she saw the palace he had built, she was overwhelmed. She was also amazed at the food on his tables, the organization of his officials and their splendid clothing, the cup-bearers and their robes, and the burnt offerings[g] Solomon made at the Temple of the Lord.

She exclaimed to the king, “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements[h] and wisdom is true! I didn’t believe what was said until I arrived here and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, I had not heard the half of your great wisdom! It is far beyond what I was told. How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom! Praise the Lord your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne as king to rule for him. Because God loves Israel and desires this kingdom to last forever, he has made you king over them so you can rule with justice and righteousness.”

Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds[i] of gold, great quantities of spices, and precious jewels. Never before had there been spices as fine as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

10 (In addition, the crews of Hiram and Solomon brought gold from Ophir, and they also brought red sandalwood[j] and precious jewels. 11 The king used the sandalwood to make steps[k] for the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and to construct lyres and harps for the musicians. Never before had such beautiful things been seen in Judah.)

12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba whatever she asked for—gifts of greater value than the gifts she had given him. Then she and all her attendants returned to their own land.

Solomon’s Wealth and Splendor

13 Each year Solomon received about 25 tons[l] of gold. 14 This did not include the additional revenue he received from merchants and traders. All the kings of Arabia and the governors of the provinces also brought gold and silver to Solomon.

15 King Solomon made 200 large shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than 15 pounds.[m] 16 He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than 7 1⁄2 pounds.[n] The king placed these shields in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.

17 Then the king made a huge throne, decorated with ivory and overlaid with pure gold. 18 The throne had six steps, with a footstool of gold. There were armrests on both sides of the seat, and the figure of a lion stood on each side of the throne. 19 There were also twelve other lions, one standing on each end of the six steps. No other throne in all the world could be compared with it!

20 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day!

21 The king had a fleet of trading ships of Tarshish manned by the sailors sent by Hiram.[o] Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.[p]

22 So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king on earth. 23 Kings from every nation came to consult him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. 24 Year after year everyone who visited brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.

25 Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his horses and chariots, and he had 12,000 horses.[q] He stationed some of them in the chariot cities, and some near him in Jerusalem. 26 He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates River[r] in the north to the land of the Philistines and the border of Egypt in the south. 27 The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah.[s] 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt[t] and many other countries.

Summary of Solomon’s Reign

29 The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Record of Nathan the Prophet, and The Prophecy of Ahijah from Shiloh, and also in The Visions of Iddo the Seer, concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat. 30 Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 31 When he died, he was buried in the City of David, named for his father. Then his son Rehoboam became the next king.

The Northern Tribes Revolt

10 Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had gathered to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of this, he returned from Egypt, for he had fled to Egypt to escape from King Solomon. The leaders of Israel summoned him, and Jeroboam and all Israel went to speak with Rehoboam. “Your father was a hard master,” they said. “Lighten the harsh labor demands and heavy taxes that your father imposed on us. Then we will be your loyal subjects.”

Rehoboam replied, “Come back in three days for my answer.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”

The older counselors replied, “If you are good to these people and do your best to please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”

But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”

10 The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’”

12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to hear Rehoboam’s decision, just as the king had ordered. 13 But Rehoboam spoke harshly to them, for he rejected the advice of the older counselors 14 and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He told the people, “My father laid[u] heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!”

15 So the king paid no attention to the people. This turn of events was the will of God, for it fulfilled the Lord’s message to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh.

16 When all Israel realized[v] that the king had refused to listen to them, they responded,

“Down with the dynasty of David!
    We have no interest in the son of Jesse.
Back to your homes, O Israel!
    Look out for your own house, O David!”

So all the people of Israel returned home. 17 But Rehoboam continued to rule over the Israelites who lived in the towns of Judah.

18 King Rehoboam sent Adoniram,[w] who was in charge of forced labor, to restore order, but the people of Israel stoned him to death. When this news reached King Rehoboam, he quickly jumped into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19 And to this day the northern tribes of Israel have refused to be ruled by a descendant of David.

Footnotes

  1. 8:2 Hebrew Huram, a variant spelling of Hiram; also in 8:18.
  2. 8:6 Or and charioteers.
  3. 8:13 Or Festival of Weeks.
  4. 8:17a As in Greek version (see also 2 Kgs 14:22; 16:6); Hebrew reads Eloth, a variant spelling of Elath.
  5. 8:17b As in parallel text at 1 Kgs 9:26; Hebrew reads the sea.
  6. 8:18 Hebrew 450 talents [15.3 metric tons].
  7. 9:4 As in Greek and Syriac versions (see also 1 Kgs 10:5); Hebrew reads and the ascent.
  8. 9:5 Hebrew your words.
  9. 9:9 Hebrew 120 talents [4,000 kilograms].
  10. 9:10 Hebrew algum wood (also in 9:11); perhaps a variant spelling of almug. Compare parallel text at 1 Kgs 10:11-12.
  11. 9:11 Or gateways. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  12. 9:13 Hebrew 666 talents [23 metric tons].
  13. 9:15 Hebrew 600 [shekels] of hammered gold [6.8 kilograms].
  14. 9:16 Hebrew 300 [shekels] of gold [3.4 kilograms].
  15. 9:21a Hebrew Huram, a variant spelling of Hiram.
  16. 9:21b Or and baboons.
  17. 9:25 Or 12,000 charioteers.
  18. 9:26 Hebrew the river.
  19. 9:27 Hebrew the Shephelah.
  20. 9:28 Possibly Muzur, a district near Cilicia.
  21. 10:14 As in Greek version and many Hebrew manuscripts (see also 1 Kgs 12:14); Masoretic Text reads I will lay.
  22. 10:16 As in Syriac version, Latin Vulgate, and many Hebrew manuscripts (see also 1 Kgs 12:16); Masoretic Text lacks realized.
  23. 10:18 Hebrew Hadoram, a variant spelling of Adoniram; compare 1 Kgs 4:6; 5:14; 12:18.

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