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Monday, July 30 2012
Israel In History and Prophecy: Solomon
The United Kingdom Of David And Solomon
The Kingdom of Israel, under a human king, was first united by King David after his victory over King Saul in the Civil War (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Civil War). It remained united (in the same time that it also reached its greatest political and territorial extent - see the map) only through the reigns of David and his son Solomon. Why?
Empires decline and decompose for various reasons, however the most-common factor (including as happened to Rome; see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Whatever Happened To Those Romans?) has always been that the taxpayers, and those who have to live with the hometown inadequacies resulting from the classic "guns or butter" rule of economics (i.e. from a limited national budget, immense expenditures squandered on a worldwide invasion force, while infrastructure and the economy itself are crumbling at home), plus the inevitable grievous cost in the blood of the aggressor's children sent away, from their God-given homeland, to rule over and kill other people's children, in their God-given homelands; see The Boundary Law), become unwilling to tolerate their nationalistic malignancy any further. At some point, even if military defeat or stalemate doesn't come first, the people always reach the point when they say enough. In the end, it was for that reason that the Israelite people rebelled against the crippling cost of their own empire of vanity i.e. "12:3 That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 12:4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee" (1 Kings 12:3-4 KJV).
Those crippling expenditures (that the LORD warned the Israelites would happen if they got a mere human leader for themselves; see 1 Samuel 8:10-22) peaked during the time that the LORD patiently waited for Solomon to become a fully-dedicated man of God, as his father David had been. Solomon was naturally wise, even as a young man; the LORD then gave Solomon even more wisdom, in the obvious hope that Solomon would turn wholly to the LORD (something that Solomon never did, as we will read), but like Satan, who corrupted his wisdom when he misdirected it to vanity ("28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee" Ezekiel 28:17 KJV), Solomon's famous wisdom became deeply flawed - morally vain.
Notice that at the beginning of his reign, Solomon had married an idol-worshipping daughter of an Egyptian Pharaoh, and that Solomon himself worshipped at the pagan "high places."
"3:1 And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. 3:2 Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days. 3:3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. 3:4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar. 3:5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee." (1 Kings 3:1-5 KJV)
The LORD (see Who Is The LORD?) nevertheless blessed Solomon and his kingdom. The LORD gave Solomon every possible means, intellectually and politically, as an incentive to become a wholly-devoted man of God - who destroys idols at every opportunity, not ever tolerates them, let alone bows down to them.
"3:6 And Solomon said, Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
The Empire Of Solomon
Solomon was handed the gift of a strong, prosperous, united kingdom of Israel. The result was that Solomon wasn't only a King of his own people; he was an Emperor over other people (i.e. "Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt") and the people of Israel basked in the narcotic-like glow of their imperial glory, just as the Romans did, not merely like Israel, but to Israel, centuries later.
"4:1 So king Solomon was king over all Israel." (1 Kings 4:1 KJV)
During his life-long moral slide, Solomon's God-given "wisdom and understanding" nevertheless made him a world-respected (i.e. the carnal world, as Solomon descended deeper into it) source of teaching in many things i.e. "there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom." In the time of Solomon, Jerusalem became not only a military, political and economic capital, but an intellectual capital as well. During that time, Jerusalem had it all.
"4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 4:30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 4:31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. 4:32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. 4:33 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. 4:34 And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom." (1 Kings 4:29-34 KJV)
Solomon was given to construct the Temple of the LORD (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Temple Of The LORD) that his father David had made the preparations for (see the Fact Finder question below).
"6:1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD." (1 Kings 6:1 KJV)
By that time, Solomon should have become strong enough to no longer be influenced by the vanity and idolatry of other people. He wasn't. Notice that he spent only seven years building the Temple of the LORD, but thirteen years for a palace for himself and the Pharaoh's daughter.
"7:1 But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house." (1 Kings 7:1 KJV)
During the reign of Solomon, Jerusalem had become the economic center of the known world. Economic power is one matter, but gross personal opulence and extravagance became Solomon's wasteful and vain way e.g. pure gold cups and an ivory throne. Solomon still had his great wisdom, but his opportunity to start using it in a wise way was running out.
"10:14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, 10:15 Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffic of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country.
The famous visit of the Queen of Sheba occurred at the peak of Solomon's reign.
"10:1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.
Solomon began his reign as a young idol worshipper with an unbeliever wife; his reign ended in the same way, multiplied by a thousand. The patience of the LORD expired. The Israelite Empire would not only be deflated, but the kingdom of Israel itself would be divided into two kingdoms (as we will cover in a subsequent study in this series).
"11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 11:2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. 11:5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 11:6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
Solomon died and "was buried in the city of David his father."
"11:41 And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? 11:42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 11:43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead." (1 Kings 11:41-43 KJV)
Fact Finder: King David was a righteous and obedient servant of the LORD - but not perfect. What arrogant mistake did David make that caused him to purchase the site where the Temple would be built?
This Day In History, July 30
30 B.C.: Mark Antony, claimant to the Roman leadership while involved with Cleopatra (see The Cleopatra Connection), committed suicide when faced with defeat by his rival Octavian (Octavian is known in the Holy Bible as Caesar Augustus; see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).
579: Pope Benedict I died during a siege of Rome by the Lombards (see also The Struggle For The Papacy and listen to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy; see also A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad and A Biography Of Abraham: Abrahamic Religions).
762: Caliph Al-Mansur commissioned the beginning of the construction of the city of Baghdad, Iraq (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad and A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram).
1178: Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor (see The Holy Roman Empire) known as Barbarossa, was crowned King of Burgundy.
1502: During his fourth exploratory voyage (all of his voyages were in and around the Caribbean area), Christopher Columbus landed at Guanaja in the Bay Islands of Honduras.
1578: British explorer Martin Frobisher landed at Anne Warwick Island in the Canadian Arctic while trying to discover a Northwest Passage. While there, the ship's chaplain conducted the first Thanksgiving service in the New World (see also Thanksgiving).
1629: 10,000 people died in an earthquake in Naples, Italy.
1656: Charles X of Sweden defeated the Poles at the Battle of Warsaw, two days after invading the country.
1793: John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, began clearing the lakeshore (Lake Ontario) site for the city of York, today known as Toronto. He called it York in honor of the Duke of York's victories in Europe during the war against Napoleon.
1898: Otto von Bismarck died at age 83. He was the founder and first Chancellor of the German Empire, the "First Reich" (see The Holy Roman Empire).
1933: The Vatican, under Pope Pius XI, signed a concordat with Nazi Germany, protecting the rights of the Roman Church under the Third Reich (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1945: The Japanese submarine I-58 sank the U.S. cruiser Indianapolis with a loss of 883 men. It was returning to the U.S. after having just delivered the material for the atomic bomb that would later be dropped on Japan.
1962: The Trans-Canada Highway, the largest national highway in the world, was officially opened.
1974: During the Watergate criminal investigation, President Richard Nixon released subpoenaed White House recordings, as ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court.
1975: Union leader / convicted gangster Jimmy Hoffa disappeared from the parking lot of a restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He was never seen again.
1980: The Knesset (Parliament) of Israel passed the Jerusalem Law, also known as "Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel" (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Capital Of Judah, A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate, A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).
2003: The last original-design Volkswagen Beetle was manufactured, at a Volkswagen plant in Mexico.