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FURTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF SOLOMON
After Solomon had completed the building of the temple and his own house, he rebuilt the cities that Hiram had given him and settled some of the children of Israel there (vv.1-2). Solomon also gave Hiram some cities, though Hiram was not pleased with them (1 Kings 9:12-13). While we read of no wars in Solomon's time because his reign symbolises that of the Lord Jesus in the age to come, yet verse 3 tells us that Solomon went to Hamath Zobah and seized it, just as Christ will bring cities and nations into subjection to Him without bloodshed. Verses 5 and 6 speak of his building various cities, storage cities and fortified cities, some for his cavalry. Thus he was prepared for war, which is an important way of preserving peace. It is true that God had said that a king should not multiply horses (Deuteronomy 17:16), but Solomon is not reproved for this here, for again his actions serve as a picture of the future glory of Christ, rather than as exposing his own unfaithfulness, as is done in 1 Kings.
The Gentiles who had been left in the land, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jubusites, were put by Solomon under forced labour (vv.7-8). This reminds us that in the millennial age some Gentiles will be required to submit to the Lord Jews, even though unwillingly (Psalms 18:43-45). Not so with the children of Israel, who will "be volunteers in the day of Your power" (Psalms 110:3). Thus "Solomon did not make the children of Israel servants for his work," that is, slaves. They were rather given higher positions such as men of war, captains of his officers, captains of his chariots and his cavalry. Others were chiefs of the officers who ruled over the people (vv.9-10). Thus, Solomon was a remarkable organiser, giving work to Israelites that they appreciated, and this becomes a faint picture of the wonderful organisation of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus in the millennium.
Solomon's first wife was the daughter of Pharaoh king of Egypt. God had not forbidden a marriage with an Egyptian, though marriage with women of Canaan was clearly forbidden. Yet Solomon realised that his wife was not entitled to live in the house of David because the ark had been there and Egyptians had no proper relationship to the ark of God. So David built a house for his Egyptian wife (v.11). Chronicles does not mention his many other wives of Canaanitish origin, for Solomon's marriage to these was disobedience to God, and Chronicles deals with God's work of grace in Israel, not Solomon's work of disobedience.
Solomon's offerings to the Lord are then noted, the daily burnt offerings, offerings for the Sabbaths and New Moons and for the three particular feasts of the Lord which were to be attended by all the men of Israel, ¾ the Feast of Unleavened Bread (the Passover), the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and the Feast of Tabernacles. The other three feasts are not mentioned, and whether they were kept at all we are not told. It may be that only that is mentioned which was commendable on the part of Solomon, while the rest is left without comment.
The divisions of the priests and Levites were appointed also, as David had done, and gatekeepers were stationed at each gate. These three characteristics of activity are of vital consequence for believers today.
Priesthood has to do with worship, which is too often neglected amongst God's people while they use the word "worship" for any kind of Christian activity. But true worship is heart adoration of the Father and the Son and it is important that definite time should be taken for this most precious feature of Christian life. The Levites were servants, so this emphasises the service of obedient activity as to the Lord. Christians too often make service more important than worship so that, worship becomes practically side-tracked. But both are of great value in their place. The gatekeeper's picture the genuine care that is so necessary in keeping out of the assembly what ought to be out and allowing in what ought to be in. This proper care has been ignored in the great majority of churches today, so as to have believers and unbelievers mixed together, and sinful practices not only tolerated but justified. If one seeks to be a true gatekeeper, he is accused of being intolerant, legal minded and unloving. But God appreciates the genuine care that His saints show for the true welfare of the Church of God and for the honour of His name.
The order that Solomon maintained therefore in the beginning of his reign is an example of the order that should always characterise the state of the Church of God. Verse 16 tells us, "Now all the work of Solomon was well ordered from the day of the foundation of the house of the Lord until it was finished." Are our lives well ordered? Are our assemblies well ordered? If so, it is a contrast to the great confusion that spreads everywhere in the world and in professing Christendom. In fact, today confusion is invading the testimony of many who have at one time been faithful servants of God. May the Lord preserve us by His grace.
Verse 17 speaks of Solomon going to the extreme south of the land to Ezion Geber and Elath on the gulf that leads to the Red Sea. Hiram sent him ships. It seems that they must have transported these overland to Ezion Geber, for from there the ships went to Ophir, which is evidently in Arabia, to bring 450 talents of gold to Solomon. The friendliness of Hiram toward Solomon is a lovely picture of the glad response of Gentiles to the Lord Jesus when He reigns in a coming day, such as is indicated inIsaiah 60:3; Isaiah 60:3, "The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising." In fact, more than this, "Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you. The multitude of camels shall cover your land, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah. All those from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall proclaim the praises of the Lord" (Isaiah 60:5-6). Solomon's wealth was thus increased, so that his kingdom was the most magnificent of any that had been on earth, and since that time there has never been any like it.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 8". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Seventh Sunday after Easter