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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

1 Kings 9

Verses 1-9

Answer From the LORD

When Solomon has finished building (1 Kings 9:1), the LORD appears to him again (1 Kings 9:2). It will be the twenty-fourth year of his government. He has been building for twenty years (1 Kings 9:10). He has built the temple in seven years, which he began in the fourth year of his reign, and then he has built his house in thirteen years. He is here in the second part of his government and the decline of his government has already begun. The freshness of the beginning is no longer there. Things have come into Solomon’s life that will lead him to a fall.

The LORD appears for the second time to Solomon. He previously appeared to him in Gibeon, now He appears to him, as it seems, in Jerusalem. At His first appearance He told Solomon to ask what he wanted. Now, after so many years of prosperity, He lets him know what his responsibility is.

The LORD returns to his prayer from the eleventh year of his reign, the prayer at the dedication of the temple. Now, thirteen years later, the answer comes. The LORD first says to him that he has heard his prayer and supplication. It is a great encouragement for everyone who prays and supplicates to know that God hears prayer. The LORD reminds Solomon that He sanctified the temple by establishing His Name there forever (cf. Deuteronomy 12:11). Solomon also asked if the eyes of the LORD will always be focused on it (1 Kings 8:29). The answer of the LORD goes further. He says that His eyes and His heart will always be there.

Then He reminds Solomon of his responsibility. The throne of Solomon will be established when he stays in the ways of the LORD. There is an “if” in 1 Kings 9:4 and 1 Kings 9:6, both for Solomon and for the whole people. That is the side of responsibility. God warns that they will keep His commandments and will not follow any other gods. If they do not listen, He must cut them off from the land, and He will cast out His temple so that it becomes a mockery (Deuteronomy 28:37; Deuteronomy 28:45Deuteronomy 28:63).

All who will see the destroyed temple will ask why (Deuteronomy 29:23-Ezekiel :). The answer is: because the people have left the LORD. How about the promises, then, is God’s business and not the business of an unfaithful people.

The words that Solomon prayed for the people in view of their deviation now come to him personally. What one proclaims oneself, returns to one’s own head. That should not change the preaching, but keep the preacher. It comes down to the fact that someone must be what he preaches. All the kings after him have experienced that. It also applies to us, because the kingdom is also entrusted to us.

Verses 10-14

Cities for Hiram

Solomon gives after finishing the two houses he has built twenty cities to Hiram, King of Tyre. Possibly Solomon borrowed gold and gave twenty cities as security. With this he made God’s inheritance smaller. They are cities in the promised land and Hiram cannot appreciate them. It seems that Hiram returned the cities, probably because Solomon paid his debt (2 Chronicles 8:2).

Hiram did help with the building of the temple, but he has no interest in it, nor in the cities that Solomon gave him. He even despises the cities, which is evident from the name he gives to them. “Kabul” literally means “as good as nothing”. Someone can be at work for the people of God, the church, by working on a certain work, but still have no interest for it. There is then a participation, but there is no relation, there is no taste of the heavenly land.

Verses 15-24

The Buildings of Solomon

Solomon has built a lot. He strengthens cities and builds new ones. Everything he desires to build (1 Kings 9:1; 1 Kings 9:19), that he builds. This building spirit goes further than just building the temple and his palace. These are buildings that are according to God’s will. The desire to build other buildings does not have to be wrong at first. It seems, however, that he has gone too far in his building-lust and that in the end it does not give him any peace (Ecclesiastes 2:4-1 Kings :). It may be that we already have a warning here that his heart is no longer completely focused on the LORD. Thus we too can begin in the Spirit, but end in the flesh (Galatians 3:3).

His lust to build also means an enormous burden for the people who have to contribute to this in the form of taxes, under which they sigh (1 Kings 12:4). This will not happen when the Lord Jesus reigns in Zion, for He says: “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

What the Pharaoh does (1 Kings 9:16), the Israelites should have done. Wherever Solomon builds, he encounters remaining Canaanites. The time of extermination is over, that should have happened under Joshua. It can also be the same in the church. The time for action may be over and the only thing that sometimes remains is to bear the consequences.

But Solomon does make the enemies slaves of the Israelites. This does not apply to the children of God’s people. They are warriors to fight for the LORD, and servants to serve the LORD. The number and function of the supervisors is given.

1 Kings 9:24 points back to a previous event (1 Kings 3:1) and rectifies what happened there. With the departure of Pharaoh’s daughter from the city of David, there is room for the building of the Millo, which is done by Solomon. The Millo is a fortress near Jerusalem.

Verse 25

The Offerings of Solomon

This verse also points back to 1 Kings 3 and rectifies what happened there, though under the LORD’s tolerance, not in the right way (1 Kings 3:2-Numbers :). As prescribed Solomon offers three times a year: “the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Booths” (2 Chronicles 8:13). He offers not on the golden altar, but on the bronze altar, not in the temple, but before the temple.

The last part of the verse – “so he finished the house” – means that by bringing the sacrifices before the LORD he does full justice to the house. The house is finished with a view to bring sacrifices. That may appeal to us. The church is a spiritual house to bring spiritual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5). If we do that, together with others, we do full justice to the house .

Verses 26-28

The Fleet of Solomon

Hiram also helped Solomon with the building of ships and delivered crew familiar with the sea. The ships are only mentioned here as means of transport for gold, which is taken from Ofir.

There are still two places in Scripture of which the names are linked to gold: Havilah (Genesis 2:11) and Sheba (Psalms 72:15; 1 Kings 10:10; Isaiah 60:6; Ezekiel 27:22). Havilah reminds us of paradise and Sheba determines us at the time of the empire of peace. Through the gold that Solomon gets from Ophir, the idea arises that the early days of Solomon can be compared to the glory of paradise and that of the empire of peace.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Kings 9". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/1-kings-9.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.