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?

Losing Divine Protection

Eighth in the Solomon Series

Shimei was a Benjamite who joined Absalom in his rebellion against King David. Absalom was David's third son whose mother was a daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, a region of Syria. As David took foreign wives, his domestic peace was under threat. Was this a good way to be cordial with nearby neighbors?

How can we make good decisions about ruling the domain God has given to us? We cannot always know the best steps to take, but as we are faithful to God's rules, our way will be protected. And protection is nearly as good as specific guidance.

When David sinned with Bathsheba, God made it plain that his sin would lead to hostility within his home: Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give [them] unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. (2Sa 12:10, 11)

Absalom was the son who fulfilled this prophecy by lying with his father's concubines inside a tent that was in full view of the public.

Thus, when Shimei as a rebel in Absalom's revolt hurled curses, dirt and stones on David, David did not object. He knew God was justly punishing him for his sin and chose to endure the abuse. Shimei came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men [were] on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou [art taken] in thy mischief, because thou [art] a bloody man. (2 Sa 16:5b-8)

However, God did preserve David, and then Shimei begged for pardon. (See 2 Sam 19:16-23)

David granted the pardon, but did not forget Shimei's abusive insults and deep hatred for him. He warned Solomon about Shimei, Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou [art] a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood. (1 Ki 2:9)

Solomon gave Shimei the option to live in Jerusalem, but stated that if he strayed beyond the city boundaries (where he could gather rebels to foment a revolution) he would die. After three years, when two of Shimei's servants ran away, he pursued them to bring him back, but leaving Jerusalem led to his death by Benaiah's execution.

Our repentance must be carefully guarded. If we don't show appreciation for our pardon by staying within the bounds of God's rules, we will lose our divine protection.

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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