Have you ever made a life-altering mistake? Well, King Solomon did & it infected his kingdom & the Israelites. What did he do? He disobeyed God. Let’s dig in…
2 Chronicles 8 – 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, 2 Solomon turned his attention to rebuilding the towns that King Hiram had given him, and he settled Israelites in them.
3 Solomon also fought against the town of Hamath-zobah and conquered it. 4 He rebuilt Tadmor in the wilderness and built towns in the region of Hamath as supply centers. 5 He fortified the towns of Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, rebuilding their walls and installing barred gates. 6 He also rebuilt Baalath and other supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm.
7 There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 8 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. 9 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, 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, ports along the shore of the Red Sea 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 of gold.2 Chronicles 8 NLT
2 Chronicles 9 – 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. 2 Solomon had answers for all her questions; nothing was too hard for him to explain to her. 3 When the queen of Sheba realized how wise Solomon was, and when she saw the palace he had built, 4 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 Solomon made at the Temple of the Lord.
5 She exclaimed to the king, “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements and wisdom is true! 6 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. 7 How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom! 8 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.”
9 Then she gave the king a gift of 9,000 pounds 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 and precious jewels. 11 The king used the sandalwood to make steps 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 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. 16 He also made 300 smaller shields of hammered gold, each weighing more than 7 1⁄2 pounds. 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. Once every three years the ships returned, loaded with gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
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. 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 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. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt 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.2 Chronicles 9 NLT
What Was Solomon’s Big Mistake?
In Deuteronomy 17, God has specific guidelines for a king…
16 “The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the Lord has told you, ‘You must never return to Egypt.’ 17 The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself.Deuteronomy 17:16-17 NLT
Interestingly enough, the instructions go further…
18 “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. 20 This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.Deuteronomy 17:18-20 NLT (bold emphasis added)
In other words, the king — the leader of Israel — should READ THE WORD OF GOD DAILY! Furthermore, for as long as he lives! And OBEY ALL the terms! Not some, not just the ones he liked, no, ALL the terms. Consequently, look what happened. Solomon accumulated exactly what God said not to: horses, wives and gold. By the way, Ezra left out the part that Solomon had 1000 wives and concubines. 300 more than his father, David! Check out the story in 1 Kings 11.
His first wife, the Egyptian, did not want to let go of her idols and fake gods. Solomon didn’t feel right having her living in his father’s palace where the Ark of the Covenant was for a while. He considered it a holy place and she wasn’t holy enough.
Ezra wrote Chronicles to encourage the Israelites returning from exile. They had 70 years to ponder on their sins of idolatry and corruption. He wanted to keep the account of just the positive things. His many pagan wives brought their pagan gods with them and eventually, Solomon turned his heart from God to the false gods. That is EXACTLY what happened to the Christian church in the 4th century when Constantine, the Roman emperor, introduced pagan practices to the church so the Roman pagans would feel comfortable. Albeit, Solomon DID follow ALL the instructions regarding worship and the priests. He got the ritualistic part right, but he failed on the intimate things. Moreover, God sees EVERYTHING.
It’s all Meaningless!
Horses, women and gold cannot buy happiness, as Solomon ultimately realizes towards the end of his life when he wrote Ecclesiastes (listen to the podcast playlist). Though Ecclesiastes is a book full of wisdom like Proverbs, it has a more personal tone as Solomon reveals that wealth, women and partying is all meaningless, meaningless or vanity, vanity (depending on your version)! Considering God gave Solomon what he asked for — wisdom — he didn’t use it when it came to his personal life.
Only JESUS quenches our thirsty souls! We search the world to try and quench our yearnings and only end up worse off than when we started.
We ALL Make Mistakes!
We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God! No amount of gold or good works can buy your way out of hell. But, listen to this quote from one of the Bible study plans in the free YouVersion Bible app…
But there’s something more precious than gold – the evidence of our faith in Christ. Gold cannot buy us life, Jesus gives us life in eternity and His Kingdom and promises. With faith in Christ. we enjoy all the blessings of God, we overcome trials and temptations, we forgive and are forgiven and we are confident of the future.International Christian Assembly
Prayer: God, we thank You for giving us a living hope. Thank You for the gift of salvation that is more precious than gold. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Do YOU have THE Living Hope? Have you accepted Jesus’ gift of Salvation that’s more precious than gold? No? Then what are you waiting for? It’s time to…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
No Longer a Slave to Fear
Top image by Moody Publishers from FreeBibleImages.org.