‘At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built the temple of the LORD and his own palace, Solomon rebuilt the villages that Hiram had given him, and settled Israelites in them. Solomon then went to Hamath Zobah and captured it. He also built up Tadmor in the desert and all the store cities he had built in Hamath. He rebuilt Upper Beth Horon and Lower Beth Horon as fortified cities, with walls and with gates and bars, as well as Baalath and all his store cities, and all the cities for his chariots and for his horses—whatever he desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon and throughout all the territory he ruled. There were still people left from the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites (these people were not Israelites). Solomon conscripted the descendants of all these people remaining in the land—whom the Israelites had not destroyed—to serve as slave labour, as it is to this day. But Solomon did not make slaves of the Israelites for his work; they were his fighting men, commanders of his captains, and commanders of his chariots and charioteers. They were also King Solomon’s chief officials—two hundred and fifty officials supervising the men.’ 2 Chronicles 8:1-10
Solomon’s Other Activities
It took Solomon seven years to build the temple and thirteen years to build his palace. At the end of these twenty years, his kingdom was secure, stable, and blessed.
This didn’t stop him from continuing to build though, he went on to build new cities, storage cities, fortifications, chariot cities, and cities of the cavalry.
Selman, in his commentary, says the following.
‘A problem comes in reconciling the mention of the cities that Hiram gave to Solomon because 1 Kings 9:11-14 indicates that they were given by Solomon to Hiram. While textual disturbance is possible, it seems more probable that they had been returned to Solomon, either because they were unacceptable, 1 Kings 9:12-13, or because they had been collateral for a loan, 1 Kings 9:14.’
It appears when Solomon conquered a nation he put them under slave labour, the forced labourers were Canaanites, 1 Kings 5:15-18 / 1 Kings 9:15-22, the very people God had asked Israel to totally destroy when entering the promised land, but Israel failed to do so, Joshua 16:10 / Judges 1:29. The Israelites were used to help build the temple but they weren’t forced to do so, 1 Kings 5:13-14.
‘Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the City of David to the palace he had built for her, for he said, “My wife must not live in the palace of David king of Israel, because the places the ark of the LORD has entered are holy.” On the altar of the LORD that he had built in front of the portico, Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings to the LORD, according to the daily requirement for offerings commanded by Moses for the Sabbaths, the New Moons and the three annual festivals—the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. In keeping with the ordinance of his father David, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their duties, and the Levites to lead the praise and to assist the priests according to each day’s requirement. He also appointed the gatekeepers by divisions for the various gates, because this was what David the man of God had ordered. They did not deviate from the king’s commands to the priests or to the Levites in any matter, including that of the treasuries. All Solomon’s work was carried out, from the day the foundation of the temple of the LORD was laid until its completion. So the temple of the LORD was finished. Then Solomon went to Ezion Geber and Elath on the coast of Edom. And Hiram sent him ships commanded by his own men, sailors who knew the sea. These, with Solomon’s men, sailed to Ophir and brought back four hundred and fifty talents of gold, which they delivered to King Solomon.’ 2 Chronicles 8:11-28
After all the building work was complete, it was time for people to move in, this would include Pharaoh’s daughter, 1 Kings 9:23-28, one of his many wives, 1 Kings 11:1-3.
It’s incredible to think that Solomon openly admits his wife was an unbeliever and unholy, yet, he marries her anyway, and as we know this didn’t go well, 1 Kings 11:4-8.
Three times a year three feasts were celebrated and sacrifices were made, the feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles, Numbers 28:1-8. Notice Solomon arranged the whole temple service according to how David wanted it, 1 Chronicles 24.
Ezion Geber was on the shore of the Red Sea and Hiram’s men served as sailors along with Solomon’s men, Numbers 33:35-36 / Deuteronomy 2:8. Some believe that from Ezion Geber, Solomon sent his ships on voyages to Ophir to get gold.
The people of Hiram’s kingdom were very knowledgeable of the sea. The Israelites, however, were a farming culture of people. In the construction of the ships, it was only natural that Hiram’s men construct the ships and provide guidance in sailing the seas for Solomon, 1 Kings 9:26-28.
No one knows exactly where Ophir was located, some suggest Africa, others suggest Arabia, Job 22:24, and some suggest India, 1 Kings 10:22.
Go To 2 Chronicles 9