Don't forget...

Eleventh in the Solomon Series

If we want to know what Solomon looked like, we have a description in the Song of Solomon (Song 5:10-15). He had a very fine appearance: light skin with red tones, thick black hair, blue eyes — probably, since they are like doves eyes by the rivers of waters — reflecting the color of the water. He had an agreeable face and strong hands and legs; an upright figure, like the cedars of Lebanon.

He was a type of Christ in his legendary wisdom and reign of peace. It is written: He loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father" (1 Ki 3:3).

However, somewhere along the way as he spoke 3,000 proverbs, wrote 1,005 songs, exposited the innerworkings of the natural world, and was visited by people from all over and the kings of the earth who wanted to hear his wisdom (1 Ki 4:29-24), he began walking away from the law. He forgot it.

He began gathering horsemen and chariots: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. (2 Ch 1:14)

In Matthew Henry's commentary on 2 Chronicles, we are reminded about what Moses instructed Israel regarding any future king:

He gathered chariots and horsemen. Shall we praise him for this? We praise him not; for the king was forbidden to multiply horses, Deu. 17:16. I do not remember that ever we find his good father in a chariot or on horseback; a mule was the highest he mounted. We should endeavor to excel those that went before us in goodness rather than in grandeur.

A review of Deuteronomy 17 lists some things that a future king of Israel must not do:

  • He shall not multiply horses to himself…
  • Neither shall he multiply wives to himself…
  • neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. (Deut 17:16-17)

Instead, he should:

  • write him a copy of this law in a book out of [that which is] before the priests the Levites:
  • And it shall be with him, and
  • he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them… (Deut 17:18-19)

Yes, the man who would be king of Israel should not only read God's Word, he should also write a copy of it. He would need his OWN copy. What we write, we are better able to remember.

He must keep it close at hand and read it daily to maintain a healthy fear of the LORD, to safeguard against sin, and to know God's law in order to perform it.

It seems likely, based on reading the Proverbs, that King Solomon had written himself a copy of the books of Moses. However, perhaps at some point he set it aside. He did not read it frequently enough, for we learn that he had lots and lots of horses, wives and gold:

  • …Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. (1 Ki 4:26)
  • …he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. (1 Ki 11:3)
  • And all king Solomon's drinking vessels [were of] gold... it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. (1Ki 10:21) ...Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold (1 Ki 10:14)

So, the first thing we can learn from our Solomon study is to always have a Bible nearby, and to read it daily, even if we have read it for decades, even if we don't feel like it, no matter how busy we are.

We should also write or type the Words of God, to help our ability to recall its guidance quickly and accurately. Copy and paste does not count!

Born to build

Tenth in the Solomon Series

Solomon was born to build. His father charged him: Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do [it]. (1 Ch 28:10)

Most importantly he built the temple that replaced the foldable tabernacle in the life of Israel's worship of God, but he also built: his own palace, a palace for his Egyptian wife, cities, fenced cities, store cities, chariot and horsemen cities (see 2 Ch 8:1-6). He built houses and their settings and surroundings — he planted vineyards, made gardens and orchards, made pools of water for his trees. (Ec 2:4-6)

His predisposition for building is seen in his writing style. In the Proverbs we see a penchant for measuring and balancing thought with thought, to display just the right insight, or to make us consider what is being taught — the Lord's angle.

Even in the Song of Solomon, he speaks about building a chariot, and the description of his beloved is ticked off in a listing, orderly even though passionately observed. One aspect, her neck, reminds Solomon of a tower: Thy neck [is] like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. (Sng 4:4). Only a builder could draw such a comparison and consider it a praise!

The beloved is brought to a banqueting house, and the couple is within in a city in some scenes, even amidst all the imagery of nature in their song. Solomon loved buildings.

The design for the construction of the temple was given by the Holy Spirit to David, and Solomon could have related these instructions to a foreman, but chose to be his own foreman. Throughout the narrative of the progress of the construction, the Bible says he was hands on:

  • Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem (2Ch 3:1a)
  • he overlaid it (the porch) within with pure gold. (vs 4b)
  • And the greater house he cieled with fir tree (vs 5a)
  • he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty (vs 6a)
  • He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof, and the doors thereof, with gold (vs 7a)

There is a continuous telling of Solomon's direct involvement:

  • And he made the vail [of] blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon. (vs 14)
  • And he reared up the pillars before the temple (vs 17a)
  • he made an altar of brass (2 Ch 4:1a)
  • he made a molten sea (vs 2a)
  • He made also ten lavers (vs 6a)
  • And he made ten candlesticks of gold (vs 7a)
  • He made also ten tables (vs 8a)
  • he made the court of the priests, and the great court (vs 9a)

We understand he did not build or make these things alone or without many foremen, yet he speaks of what his hands wrought (Ecc 2:11). His oversight was personal; it was management by walking around, a popular business method; he was the builder.

Today, on the worldwide web, many references are made to the desire of the Masons, a cultish organization and religion, to rebuild Solomon's temple. As well there are many references to a visible portion of the western wall of the temple that was built to replace Solomon's temple, known as the Wailing Wall. Many Jews greatly desire their temple's restoration. And the temple holds fascination for Christians. Many believe it will be rebuilt again to accommodate the Antichrist at the end of days.

The temple is not the focus of our Solomon study. Instead, we want to know how this favored master builder and type of Christ became dark in his desires and pursuits. Without reading anything into Scripture, we want consider Solomon's ventures as they relate to our own need for warning and instruction. We will look at his trajectory to glory and follow the path of the falling star to the place where he lamented the meaninglessness of all he had built.

Hating Solomon

Ninth in the Solomon Series

In the course of reading what others have written about Solomon, I have found that some hate him for his sins. One commentator, James Burton Coffman, has much criticism of Solomon and all his work, stating, for example, that Solomon's design of the cherubim was all wrong:

In this is seen Solomon's utter disregard of the pattern which God gave Moses for the Tabernacle. It will be recalled that in those heavenly instructions, the cherubim were miniatures, designed as a decoration for the covering of Ark of the Covenant; but here they were made large enough to fill up the entire breadth of the Holy of Holies half way to the ceiling. It is perfectly clear to any unbiased observer that Solomon was doing his own thing here and not the will of God. (ref)

Yet, we see in 1 Chronicles 28:18-20 that David gave Solomon specific guidance on how to construct all aspects of the temple. He gave him…the weight of the refined gold for the altar of incense. He also gave him the plan for the chariot, that is, the cherubim of gold that spread their wings and shelter the ark of the covenant of the LORD. "All this," David said, "I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan." David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished."

Would Solomon have chosen a different measure of gold or dimension for the cherubim than his father instructed "in writing from the hand of God"? If he had taken liberties with David's design instructions, would the Lord have approved of his work by filling the temple in the form of a cloud, to show himself present at its dedication?

Another commentary on by Adam Clarke accuses: "Solomon had many advantages, and no man ever made a worse use of them." That must be an overstatement!

As we begin our study of Solomon's reign and legacy, it is good to know that Nathan the prophet spoke these words of God to David concerning his son, Solomon, "I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took [it] from Saul, whom I put away before thee." (2Sa 7:15, 16)

If God did not take his mercy from Solomon, should we?

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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