2 Chronicles 8:1-10 NLTse (1) It took Solomon twenty years to build the LORD’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time, (2) Solomon turned his attention to rebuilding the towns that King Hiram had given him, and he settled Israelites in them. (3) Solomon also fought against the town of Hamath-zobah and conquered it. (4) He rebuilt Tadmor in the wilderness and built towns in the region of Hamath as supply centers. (5) He fortified the towns of Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, rebuilding their walls and installing barred gates. (6) He also rebuilt Baalath and other supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm. (7) There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. (8) These were descendants of the nations whom the people of Israel had not destroyed. So Solomon conscripted them for his labor force, and they serve in the labor force to this day. (9) But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for his labor force. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, officers in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers. (10) King Solomon appointed 250 of them to supervise the people.
In a way this type of government seems rather normal to this world, at least in the Hollywood scheme. One group makes up the military, and another group makes up the work force. The author didn’t specifically mention slave labor, but we can pretty much imagine that’s what the other races of people served as.
From a Biblical aspect, we have to look at this story as the introduction to the chapter, and the introduction to a new story. When divisions and slave labor are involved on the spiritual level, we know we have something we need to pay attention to, By now we should also know, to get the full spiritual lesson, we have to turn the page back to look at how the previous story ended.
In the previous chapter, God appeared to Solomon and talked to him after the dedication of the temple. God told Solomon, He heard his prayer, and would honor the temple, under certain conditions.
“As for you, if you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty. For I made this covenant with your father, David, when I said, ‘One of your descendants will always rule over Israel.’ “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the decrees and commands I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot the people from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make it an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled. They will ask, ‘Why did the LORD do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’ “And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why he has brought all these disasters on them.'” (2 Chronicles 7:17-22 NLTse).
It seems everything with God is conditional. This part of the story takes us back to another condition God set with the Israelites before they stepped foot on the promised land. “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you. When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. You must not intermarry with them. Do not let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters, for they will lead your children away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and he will quickly destroy you. This is what you must do. You must break down their pagan altars and shatter their sacred pillars. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols. For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure. (Deuteronomy 7:1-6 NLTse).
Of course that condition included the warning about marrying Pagan women. God saw how those women would lead people away. It seems rather strange think, what the world viewed as the weaker sex in those days was able to exert such control. That also sheds light on the fact, when the Israelites were a major force in Egypt, they had little or no influence on the Egyptians. When the Israelites were the dominating force in the promised land, those weaker races had a dominating influence on Isreael. At least on the religious side of life.
Solomon Moved Pharaoh’s Daughter
2 Chronicles 8:11-18 NLTse (11) Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. He said, “My wife must not live in King David’s palace, for the Ark of the LORD has been there, and it is holy ground.” (12) Then Solomon presented burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar he had built for him in front of the entry room of the Temple. (13) He offered the sacrifices for the Sabbaths, the new moon festivals, and the three annual festivals–the Passover celebration, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters–as Moses had commanded. (14) In assigning the priests to their duties, Solomon followed the regulations of his father, David. He also assigned the Levites to lead the people in praise and to assist the priests in their daily duties. And he assigned the gatekeepers to their gates by their divisions, following the commands of David, the man of God. (15) Solomon did not deviate in any way from David’s commands concerning the priests and Levites and the treasuries. (16) So Solomon made sure that all the work related to building the Temple of the LORD was carried out, from the day its foundation was laid to the day of its completion. (17) Later Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Elath, ports along the shore of the Red Sea in the land of Edom. (18) Hiram sent him ships commanded by his own officers and manned by experienced crews of sailors. These ships sailed to Ophir with Solomon’s men and brought back to Solomon almost seventeen tons of gold.
It seems Solomon took God’s warning to heart, but compromised. Solomon didn’t get rid of the Pagan influences, but made them serve as slaves. Solomon didn’t end relationships with all the Pagan wives he married, but moved his first wife out of the city. Did Solomon use that slave labor to build Pharaoh’s daughter a new palace?
What is the common thread between God’s talk with Solomon, slave labor, Pharaoh’s daughter, burnt offerings, and Solomon’s efforts to follow God? Are they a contrast, parallel lessons, or both? We also see an alliance between king Hiram of Tyre and Solomon. What does that have to do with the story?
Tyre normally points to one thing, money. What did Jesus say about money? “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:24-34 NLTse).
Once again, we have to look at as much of the story as possible to get more of the message, and the spiritual lesson behind it. Did Jesus just happen to mention Solomon when He taught people not to depend too much on money, and not to worry about every little thing? Was Jesus teaching a deeper lesson than what is on the surface? In other words, did Jesus present two lessons, money, and worrying about details? Are they related?
We have to look at them as one story. Jesus had a reason for using that sequence. Only people who pay attention will see the connection. King Hiram is mentioned in the introduction and summation in 2 Chronicles chapter 8. In the beginning, Hiram gave Solomon a list of cities. Who originally gave Israel cities and set boundaries? God. Now Solomon is expanding territories based on gifts from a Pagan king. Is that good or bad?
Solomon is also expanding trade with Hiram’s help. In other words, establishing another alliance. Did Solomon establish that new alliance with or without God?
Jesus talked about people wasting a lot of time worrying about things outside their control. Wasn’t that what Solomon was doing? He didn’t have total control over the kingdom God gave him, but he was willing to expand territories and responsibilities. Was that the wisest thing to do?
Jesus reminded us how God blessed Solomon. But was that enough for the king? Was Solomon looking for more on his own? Let’s put this picture together. Solomon built a temple for God to live in, while at the same time, expanded his territories. Does that sound about right? Was Solomon restricting God, and at the same time, expanding his influence? Consider that thought on a spiritual level for a moment.
We see a distinctive link to Jesus’ sermon and this story based on, of course Solomon, and the subject, money. We don’t necessarily see the subject of money in 2 Chronicles chapter 8 until we look at the connection in Matthew’s Gospel. Unless of course we have God’s Spirit guiding us. It’s kind of ironic to see Jesus talking about how people worry, and linking it to Solomon, who we see increasing his wealth, and of course, number of things to worry about. Then there is the general concept of Solomon people have. A rich king without a worry in the world. Was that the general life style Solomon led? Did Solomon marry all those women to protect his nation, or for his own pleasure? It doesn’t matter. There is no way 700 wives are not going to cause problems, and a lot of headaches. The more Solomon tried to get away on his own to pray and think, the more problems he faced. That’s nothing more than a natural course of events.
At first Solomon inherited everything from his father. Later God added to those blessings. That should have been more than enough for any rational thinking man. But this world is plagued with irrational, money driven people who will never have enough. To them this world is like a game of Monopoly. Winner takes all.