Day 145 (May 25): Solomon builds towns and ships, Sheba impressed with Solomon’s wisdom and success, Solomon lavishes in wealth, Solomon acquires horses and chariots

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Chronicles 8:1-18

1 Kings 9:15-10:29

2 Chronicles 9:13-28

2 Chronicles 1:14-17

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 9:27): Hiram certainly did a lot of work for Solomon.  Why is he so loyal to Solomon?

A. Two options: one is that he is really being loyal to God’s chosen leader, so he is really being faithful to God not Solomon.  The other is that he desired the favor of the king who clearly made him wealthy, even if they had some disagreements over HOW good the properties were.  As we have mentioned, it was not a good idea to be on the king’s bad side.

Q. (1 Kings 10:1-13, 2 Chronicles 9:1-12): After reading this once, I thought this is a great story, but nothing I don’t already know.  But, on a second read, I thought about the lavish gifts exchanged between Solomon, Sheba and Hiram.  Rob, you were right when you said that Solomon was a diplomat.  But, with his wisdom, I would think that it would not be just for his gain, but for mutual gain of the one’s he’s befriending and also, just because he’s a god-loving person and wants to give them the mutual respect that friends give one another.

A. Yes indeed.  And Solomon’s gain is the gain of his nation.  What an image of saying that Solomon’s influence made gold and silver as worthless as stone!

Q. (1 Kings 10:19): Why lions?  Because they are king of the land?  With all of this adornment on his throne, I hope he doesn’t forget that there is a much bigger king above him.

A. Alas, he will in a way.  The lion, is, naturally king of the land.  In those days lions could still be found in the Middle East, so seeing one wasn’t out of the question.  The lion is also the symbol of Judah’s house (Judah was the lion’s cub of Jacob back in Genesis 49).

Q. (1 Kings 10:22): Apes and peacocks?  My footnote says baboons and peacocks.  Why would Solomon want them?

A. We’re not exactly sure what the Hebrew means here, either monkeys or peacocks, because it’s the only place in the Bible where it is used.  I presume they were used for pets or perhaps Solomon had a zoo or something like it to entertain guests.  People still keep all of those things as pets today — sadly for the apes and monkeys — and VERY sadly for the people who live near a person with a peacock.  I’ve been near one and they are incredibly noisy and annoying!

Q. (1 Kings 10:23): Did Israel have a commodity to trade or are they just making their fortune from all of these gifts.  The nation is recognized because it’s where the Lord resides in the temple and for Solomon’s wisdom?

A. It is, but clearly there were things that the people were trading as well, probably woodcraft, metal workings/jewelry, foodstuffs (remember the fertile soil in the land), and aquaculture (since part of the land is by the sea).  But what is making all of these things desirable is Solomon himself.

Q. (2 Chronicles 1:14-17): Why is Solomon building such a big army right now?  Is it the size of the force helps intimidate the enemy?

A. Most likely.  Solomon’s about to have some enemies.  It’s down hill from here.

Day 144 (May 24): Temple is dedicated with a big celebration, God fills temple with glory, God is pleased with temple, God tells Solomon the fate of his descendants, Hiram disappointed with towns Solomon gave him

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

1 Kings 8:54-66

2 Chronicles 7:1-10

1 Kings 9:1-9

2 Chronicles 7:11-22

1 Kings 9:10-14

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 8:54-66): I can’t imagine a festival this big or long.  Not to mention the clean-up and exhaustion. It doesn’t tell us how many people attended, but I would imagine it was a bunch.  President Obama’s inaugurations were estimated at 1.8 million for his first term and 1 million for his second.

A. I’m sure the nation’s event planners made a fortune.  No, seriously, there were regular gatherings like this one to Jerusalem (the story tells us that the people would have been coming to the city anyway to celebrate the Festival of Shelters/Tabernacles, described in Leviticus 23).  So this basically was an expanded version of an already existing festival.  Since David had established Jerusalem as his throne, it was very likely that people had been coming to the city in large numbers for many years.  The same will be true in Jesus’ day: one of the things that historians tell us about the Passover that was being celebrated during Jesus’ last week was that there were probably close to a million pilgrims in and around the city for the festival.  There is no reason to assume it didn’t also happen in a more ancient time.

Q. (1 Kings 9:1-9): So we find out that God is very pleased with the Lord’s temple that Solomon built.  God follows this praise with a challenging charge.  Solomon has a pretty tall order:  If he obeys God and keeps His commands, a descendant of David will always be on the throne.  That is a lot of weight for one man to carry.  Solomon has a good start.

A. Yes he does.  (Not going to tell you here).

Q. (1 Kings 9:10-14): This seems to be another foreshadowing of consequences Solomon will face from not giving his best or better to Hiram who had given so much of himself to build the temple.

A. That does seem to be a pretty nasty move, doesn’t it?  Not a good sign.

Day 141 (May 21): Solomon shows wisdom in his judgment, Solomon prepares for temple construction, Solomon builds the Lord’s temple, lavish temple interior designed

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

1 Kings 3:16-28

1 Kings 5:1-18

2 Chronicles 2:1-18

2 Chronicles 3:1-14

1 Kings 6:14-38

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 3:16-28): This well-known story almost seems like a parable.

A. I can see why you would say that, but it does match things that we know about the society at the time: part of what Moses established was a series of rulers/courts for the people to come and see justice as these women are seeking.  There may be some “parabolic” elements to it, but the author has something greater in mind that will come into view later.  I won’t spoil what yet, but I promise to bring it to your attention when we get there in a few days.

O. (5:13-15): It’s extremely hard to imagine a labor force that large — 153,600 — to build a temple.  But how many times have you been on a tour of some historic building and just wondered how many people it took to build it with all of it’s intricate details and many of them have elaborate paintings.  And this one is for God.  Just for fun, I looked up the top U.S. employers.  Check it out at http://www.statisticbrain.com/u-s-largest-employers/ Keep in mind the employees of these large companies are scattered all over.  Solomon’s laborers were concentrated in a few spots.  My husband retired from the Navy last year.  His last tour was on an aircraft carrier, which holds about 5,000 sailors.  It’s hard to imagine that many people on one ship.  But, Solomon had a crew that would fill about 31 U.S. Navy ships.

Q. (2 Chronicles 2:1-18): The 2 Chronicles account is much more detailed than the 1 Kings account.

A. Yes.  Some places Kings give the “fuller” story, and in some places its Chronicles.

Q. (1 Kings 6:2-10): This is a great visual description of the temple plans.  Will we learn what activities went on in the temple?  Solomon just mentioned to King Hiram that God was too great to have just a temple built for Him.  And that it could at least be a place to burn offerings.  Was he telling a fact or just being humble?

A. The Temple will be treated as exactly as the Tabernacle was in the wilderness: it will have the same sections and divisions as the Tabernacle: an outer court for sacrifices, an inner court for the priests, and the Holy of Holies, where the Ark will reside.  Once that happens, the people will come to the Temple to make their sacrifices and offerings.

Q. (2 Chronicles 3:3-14): I guess Solomon is dictating the size and design of the temple.  In the desert, God dictated the design for the Tabernacle.  Is this because God was teaching the Israelites what he desired and now that it’s been over 400 years since the Tabernacle was built, the Israelites have learned what God desires for a place of offering?

A. While the instructions were not “dictated” as they were to Moses, there is no reason to assume that God did not give Solomon the vision for the Temple.  I don’t know the scale, but the Temple dimensions correspond proportionally to the Tabernacle, so that is part of the plan as well.  Basically the Temple is in every way a suitable replacement for the Tabernacle.

Q. (1 Kings 6:28-29): I can’t imagine so much being overlayed with gold!  Is there any information about the whereabouts of the Temple now?  And speaking of past, sacred worshiping venues, what happened to the Tabernacle and its contents?

A. The Temple has been destroyed and rebuilt a couple of times over the centuries — I won’t say more right now, that’s part of the story.  But the area of the Temple mount is surely known to this day: a portion of the western wall — called the Wailing Wall — still stands to this day, and is a sacred place for Jews to visit in Jerusalem.  Mount Moriah is also currently the home to the Dome of the Rock erected around 700 AD, one of the sacred sites of Islam, which, as you might imagine, has created some tension over the years.  So the sight itself is well known, but as to the temple itself, hang on.  Let’s get it built first and dedicated (cool story!) before we start talking about where it is today.