Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Reign of King Solomon (pt1)

the following info (from pgs 986-991 of Insight on the Scriptures Vol. 2) gives an overview of the material prosperity and building accomplishments of King Solomon. The spiritual and physical blessings in store under the Messianic Kingdom (foreshadowed by Solomon's reign) will be in pt 2.

Illustration of the temple (pg 750, Insight Vol. 1)

King Solomon
(Sol′o·mon) [from a root meaning “peace”].
Son of King David of the line of Judah; king of Israel from 1037 to 998 B.C.E.
Jehovah had declared to David, before Solomon’s birth, that a son would be born to him and that his name would be Solomon, and that this one would build a house to His name.

Building Projects
In the fourth year of his reign, in the second month of the year (the month Ziv [April-May]), in 1034 B.C.E., Solomon began to build the house of Jehovah on Mount Moriah. (1Kings 6:1) The building of the temple was peacefully quiet; the stones were fitted before being brought to the site, so that no sound of hammers or axes or of any tools of iron was heard. (1Kings 6:7) King Hiram of Tyre cooperated in supplying timbers of cedar and juniper trees in exchange for wheat and oil. (1Kings 5:10-12; 2Chronicles 2:11-16) He also furnished workmen, including an expert craftsman named Hiram, the son of a Tyrian man and a Hebrew woman. (1Kings 7:13, 14) Solomon conscripted for forced labor 30,000 men, sending them to Lebanon in shifts of 10,000 a month. Each group returned to their homes for two-month periods. Besides these, there were 70,000 burden bearers and 80,000 cutters. These last-named groups were non-Israelites.—1Kings 5:13-18; 2Chronicles 2:17, 18.

Inner view of the temple...the inside walls were made of cedar engraved with carvings of cherubs, palm trees, and blossoms; the walls and ceiling were overlaid with gold and studded with gems. (pg 751, Insight Vol. 1)

Groundplan of the temple and inner courtyard (pg 751, Insight Vol. 1)

Inauguration of the temple
The tremendous building project occupied seven and a half years, being concluded in the eighth month, Bul, in 1027 B.C.E. (1Kings 6:37, 38) It appears that it took some time afterward to bring in the utensils and to get everything arranged, for it was in the seventh month, Ethanim, at the time of the Festival of Booths, that the sanctification and inauguration of the temple were carried out by Solomon. (1Kings 8:2; 2Chronicles 7:8-10) Therefore it must have taken place in the seventh month of 1026 B.C.E., 11 months after completing the building, rather than a month before the structure was completed (in 1027 B.C.E.), as some have thought.

Government buildings
During the 13 years after completing the temple, Solomon built a new royal palace on Mount Moriah, immediately to the S of the temple, so that it was near the temple’s outer courtyard, but on lower ground. Near this he built the Porch of the Throne, the Porch of Pillars, and the House of the Forest of Lebanon. All these buildings were on the descending terrain between the summit of the temple hill and the low spur of the City of David. He also built a house for his Egyptian wife. —1Kings 7:1-8; 3:1; 9:24; 11:1; 2Chronicles 8:11.

Nationwide building
After completing his governmental building projects, Solomon set out on a nationwide construction program ... He built up and fortified Gezer (which Pharaoh had taken from the Canaanites and presented as a gift to his daughter, Solomon’s wife), as well as Upper and Lower Beth-horon, Baalath, and Tamar; he also constructed storage cities, chariot cities, and cities for horsemen. The entire realm, including the territory E of the Jordan, benefited from his building works. He further fortified the Mound, which David had built. He “closed up the gap of the City of David.” (1Kings 11:27) This may have reference to his building or extending “Jerusalem’s wall all around.” (1Kings 3:1) He strongly fortified Hazor and Megiddo; archaeologists have discovered portions of strong walls and fortified gates that they believe to be the remains of Solomon’s works in these cities, now in ruins.—1Kings 9:15-19; 2Chronicles 8:1-6.

(illustration and diagram -pg 21 "See the Good Land")

His Riches and Glory
Solomon engaged extensively in trade. His fleet, in cooperation with Hiram’s, brought in great quantities of gold from Ophir, as well as “algum” timbers and precious stones. (1Kings 9:26-28; 10:11; 2Chronicles 8:17, 18; 9:10, 11) Horses and chariots were imported from Egypt, and traders from all over the world of that time brought their goods in abundance. Solomon’s annual revenue of gold came to be 666 talents (c. $256,643,000), aside from silver and gold and other items brought in by merchants. (1Kings 10:14, 15; 2Chronicles 9:13, 14) Additionally, “all the kings of the earth” brought gifts yearly from their lands: gold and silver articles, balsam oil, armor, horses, mules, and other riches. (1Kings 10:24, 25, 28, 29; 2Chronicles 9:23-28) Even apes and peacocks were imported in ships of Tarshish. (1Kings 10:22; 2Chronicles 9:21) Solomon came to have 4,000 stalls of horses and chariots (1Kings 10:26 says 1,400 chariots) and 12,000 steeds (or, possibly, horsemen).—2Chronicles 9:25.

There was no king in all the earth who possessed the riches of Solomon. (1Kings 10:23; 2Chronicles 9:22) The approach to his throne exceeded in magnificence anything in other kingdoms. The throne itself was of ivory overlaid with fine gold. It had a round canopy behind it; six steps led up to it, with six lions on each side, and two lions stood beside the throne’s armrests. (1Kings 10:18-20; 2Chronicles 9:17-19) For his drinking vessels only gold was used; it is specifically stated that “there was nothing of silver; it was considered as nothing at all in the days of Solomon.” (2Chronicles 9:20) There were harps and stringed instruments in Solomon’s house and in the temple that were made from algum timbers such as had never been seen before in Judah.—1Kings 10:12; 2Chronicles 9:11.

His household food supply
The daily food for Solomon’s royal household amounted to “thirty cor measures [6,600 L; 188 bu] of fine flour and sixty cor measures [13,200 L; 375 bu] of flour, ten fat cattle and twenty pastured cattle and a hundred sheep, besides some stags and gazelles and roebucks and fattened cuckoos.” (1Kings 4:22, 23) Twelve deputies supervised the supplying of food, one deputy for each month of the year. They each had supervision of a portion of the land; for this purpose it was not divided according to the tribal boundaries but according to agricultural growing regions. Included in the supplies was provender for Solomon’s many horses.—1Kings 4:1-19, 27, 28.

Solomon's Domain (pg 748, Insight Vol. 1)

Prosperity of his rule
Jehovah blessed Solomon with wisdom, glory, and riches as long as he remained firm for true worship, and the nation of Israel likewise enjoyed God’s favor. David had been used to subdue Israel’s enemies and to establish the kingdom firmly to its outer boundaries. The account reports: “As for Solomon, he proved to be ruler over all the kingdoms from the River [Euphrates] to the land of the Philistines and to the boundary of Egypt. They were bringing gifts and serving Solomon all the days of his life.” (1Kings 4:21) During Solomon’s reign there was peace, and “Judah and Israel were many, like the grains of sand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing.” “And Judah and Israel continued to dwell in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree, from Dan to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.”—1Kings 4:20, 25