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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

2022.03.23 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 9:10–28

Read 1 Kings 9:10–28

Questions from the Scripture text: In what year of Solomon’s reign does this happen (1 Kings 9:10; cf. 1 Kings 6:1, 1 Kings 7:1)? What had Solomon built? Who had supplied whom (1 Kings 9:11)? With what? How much? Now what did Solomon give Hiram? What does Hiram do in 1 Kings 9:12? With what result? How does he communicate this to Solomon (1 Kings 9:13)? What does he call the cities? But what had Hiram sent Solomon (1 Kings 9:14)? How had Solomon built the two houses and Israel’s defenses (1 Kings 9:15)? What two defense structures? What three defense cities? Who had taken these border towns from whom and given them to whom (1 Kings 9:16)? What other types of cities did Solomon build (1 Kings 9:17-19)? What else did he build (end of 1 Kings 9:19)? From which peoples did Solomon raise forced laborers (1 Kings 9:20-21)? From whom did he raise no forced labor (1 Kings 9:22)? How did they serve instead (1 Kings 9:22-23)? Who came up from where to what in 1 Kings 9:24? What else did Solomon do (1 Kings 9:25, cf. Exodus 23:14–17)? What did this orthodox procedure “finish”? What else did Solomon build where (1 Kings 9:26)? Who provided maritime expertise (1 Kings 9:27)? In what did their trade expeditions result (1 Kings 9:28)? 

Yahweh had listened to Solomon’s request not only about the temple (1 Kings 9:3) but also in an ongoing way about his throne (1 Kings 9:4-5). That answered prayer came with a warning (1 Kings 9:6-9) that will start coming into play already in 1 Kings 11:1–8, but in the passage before us (and in chapter 10), we see the Lord faithfully keeping His promise (even though Solomon’s imperfections show through in a couple spots). 

The Lord has given Solomon an upper hand with respect to Tyre, with respect to the Philistines, with respect to Egypt, and certainly with respect to the remnant of the Canaanites. Furthermore, the Lord established orthodox religious practice (outwardly at least) under Solomon, as well as lucrative trade. In short, Yahweh had established Solomon’s throne, just as promised.

The Lord gave Solomon an upper hand with respect to Tyre. The 120 talents (9,000 lbs) of gold that Solomon had received (1 Kings 9:14, probably not sequential as NKJV’s interpolated “then” suggests) was more than the crop exchange in 1 Kings 5:9–11 could pay for, so Solomon paid it off with twenty border towns (1 Kings 9:11). They weren’t particularly good towns (1 Kings 9:12), but the comparative strength of Solomon can be seen in Hiram’s inability to respond with anything more forceful than a complaint (1 Kings 9:13) in which he calls Solomon “brother.” Our passage mentions Solomon’s defense installations (1 Kings 9:15-19), and that together with the joint trade operations for which Hiram needed Solomon (1 Kings 9:26-28) put Tyre at Jerusalem’s mercy.

The Lord gave Solomon an upper hand with respect to Pharaoh. Lest we think that Solomon was the junior partner in his political marriage, Pharaoh pays a huge dowry (1 Kings 9:16) to get Solomon to take her as wife. True, Solomon is well-pleased with her and lavishly generous with her (1 Kings 9:24, cf. 1 Kings 3:1, 1 Kings 11:1). But for our purposes in this passage, the point is that even Pharaoh was deferential toward the Son of David.

The Lord gave Solomon an upper hand with respect to the Philistines. 1 Kings 9:15-19 describes not only military installations like the wall of Jerusalem and the defensive berm called the Millo, but also fortified outpost cities like Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Lower Beth Horon, Baalath, and Tadmor. His chariots and cavalry were so huge (by God’s mercy to him, despite his unlawfulness of stockpiling them, Deuteronomy 17:16) that they needed multiple cities of their own (1 Kings 9:19). 

And a significant contingent of the Israelite population were needed as officers to staff them (1 Kings 9:22). With such defenses and standing army, the Philistines who had been a constant pain throughout the period of the judges, Saul, and David have now become a military afterthought.

The Lord gave Solomon an upper hand with respect to the remnant of the Canaanites. (1 Kings 9:20). These were left over as a failure from the conquest of the land (1 Kings 9:21a), but under Solomon they were brought into a permanent servitude (verse 21b). Israel were now firmly established as the ruling class (1 Kings 9:22-23). 

In addition to military prosperity, the Lord established Solomon by establishing orthodox religious practice under him (1 Kings 9:25). There were three feasts a year that all were required to attend (cf. Exodus 23:14–17, Exodus 34:18–24; Leviticus 23; Deuteronomy 16:16–17. From the rest of the Old Testament, it appears that this almost never occurred. Solomon’s heart will depart from the Lord, and the people’s hearts are just as fickle, but in God’s mercy, the nation enjoys a brief season of observing these ordinances of the Lord.

Finally, the Lord established Solomon economically. With Tyre underneath him as the experts of the sea, Solomon establishes Israel as the great naval power (1 Kings 9:26-27) to go with their already-prime location at the crossroads of all land trade. The result is a joint trade operation that yields 31,500 pounds of gold (or maybe even 63,000 if the 420 talents is Hiram’s “half,” or even more if what Hiram takes home is a “junior” share!). Whatever the exact figures were, the point is pretty clear: the Lord had marvelously established Solomon economically, just as much as He had established him politically, militarily, organizationally, and religiously.

The Lord keeps His promises. The passage seems at first like a loosely assembled encyclopedia entry about various aspects of the reign of an ancient near-eastern king. But upon closer examination, it is testimony that just as the Lord had promised in 1 Kings 9:4-5, He surely and abundantly fulfills. The story of the passage is not just of one ancient near-eastern king, but of the story of the King of kings’s sure and abundant faithfulness to all His promises!

To what promises of the Lord do you especially cling? What in His character makes you sure of them? What in His past work makes you sure of them? How fully/richly will He keep them?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are not only perfectly wise and loving and powerful, but also perfectly faithful. We praise You that Your promises are all “yes” and “amen” because of the perfection of Your faithfulness. We praise You that You have secured all of Your good promises to us sinners by Your righteous Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. But we are all the more ashamed of our worry and unbelief, because we see now that they are sins against Your character, Your Word, and even Your Son Who has secured the promises for us. So, even according to Your promise, forgive our sins and by Your Spirit grow our faith—for we ask it in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP89A “The Lovingkindness of the LORD” or TPH245 “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

 

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