God Appears to Solomon Again
9 After King Solomon had finished building the Temple and the palace and everything else he wanted to build, 2 the Lord appeared to him again, as he had in Gibeon. 3 The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer. I consecrate this Temple which you have built as the place where I shall be worshiped forever. I will watch over it and protect it for all time. 4 If you will serve me in honesty and integrity, as your father David did, and if you obey my laws and do everything I have commanded you, 5 I will keep the promise I made to your father David when I told him that Israel would always be ruled by his descendants. 6 But if you or your descendants stop following me, disobey the laws and commands I have given you, and worship other gods, 7 then I will remove my people Israel from the land that I have given them. I will also abandon this Temple which I have consecrated as the place where I am to be worshiped. People everywhere will ridicule Israel and treat her with contempt. 8 This Temple will become a pile of ruins, and everyone who passes by will be shocked and amazed. ‘Why did the Lord do this to this land and this Temple?’ they will ask. 9 People will answer, ‘It is because they abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt. They gave their allegiance to other gods and worshiped them. That is why the Lord has brought this disaster on them.’”
Solomon’s Agreement with Hiram
10 It took Solomon twenty years to build the Temple and his palace. 11 King Hiram of Tyre had provided him with all the cedar and pine and with all the gold he wanted for this work. After it was finished, King Solomon gave Hiram twenty towns in the region of Galilee. 12 Hiram went to see them, and he did not like them. 13 So he said to Solomon, “So these, my brother, are the towns you have given me!” For this reason the area is still called Cabul. 14 Hiram had sent Solomon almost five tons of gold.
Further Achievements of Solomon
15 King Solomon used forced labor to build the Temple and the palace, to fill in land on the east side of the city, and to build the city wall. He also used it to rebuild the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. (16 The king of Egypt had attacked Gezer and captured it, killing its inhabitants and setting fire to the city. Then he gave it as a wedding present to his daughter when she married Solomon, 17 and Solomon rebuilt it.) Using his forced labor, Solomon also rebuilt Lower Beth Horon, 18 Baalath, Tamar in the wilderness of Judah, 19 the cities where his supplies were kept, the cities for his horses and chariots, and everything else he wanted to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and elsewhere in his kingdom. 20-21 For his forced labor Solomon used the descendants of the people of Canaan whom the Israelites had not killed when they took possession of their land. These included Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, whose descendants continue to be slaves down to the present time. 22 Solomon did not make slaves of Israelites; they served as his soldiers, officers, commanders, chariot captains, and cavalry.
23 There were 550 officials in charge of the forced labor working on Solomon’s various building projects.
24 Solomon filled in the land on the east side of the city, after his wife, the daughter of the king of Egypt, had moved from David’s City to the palace Solomon built for her.
25 Three times a year Solomon offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar he had built to the Lord. He also burned incense to the Lord. And so he finished building the Temple.
26 King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Eziongeber, which is near Elath on the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba, in the land of Edom. 27 King Hiram sent some experienced sailors from his fleet to serve with Solomon’s men. 28 They sailed to the land of Ophir and brought back to Solomon about sixteen tons of gold.
The Visit of the Queen of Sheba
10 The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, and she traveled to Jerusalem to test him with difficult questions. 2 She brought with her a large group of attendants, as well as camels loaded with spices, jewels, and a large amount of gold. When she and Solomon met, she asked him all the questions that she could think of. 3 He answered them all; there was nothing too difficult for him to explain. 4 The queen of Sheba heard Solomon’s wisdom and saw the palace he had built. 5 She saw the food that was served at his table, the living quarters for his officials, the organization of his palace staff and the uniforms they wore, the servants who waited on him at feasts, and the sacrifices he offered in the Temple. It left her breathless and amazed. 6 She said to King Solomon, “What I heard in my own country about you and your wisdom is true! 7 But I couldn’t believe it until I had come and seen it all for myself. But I didn’t hear even half of it; your wisdom and wealth are much greater than what I was told. 8 How fortunate are your wives! And how fortunate your servants, who are always in your presence and are privileged to hear your wise sayings! 9 Praise the Lord your God! He has shown how pleased he is with you by making you king of Israel. Because his love for Israel is eternal, he has made you their king so that you can maintain law and justice.”
10 She presented to King Solomon the gifts she had brought: almost five tons of gold and a very large amount of spices and jewels. The amount of spices she gave him was by far the greatest that he ever received at any time.
(11 Hiram’s fleet, which had brought gold from Ophir, also brought from there a large amount of juniper wood and jewels. 12 Solomon used the wood to build railings in the Temple and the palace, and also to make harps and lyres for the musicians. It was the finest juniper wood ever imported into Israel; none like it has ever been seen again.)
13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she asked for, besides all the other customary gifts that he had generously given her. Then she and her attendants returned to the land of Sheba.
King Solomon’s Wealth
14 Every year King Solomon received over twenty-five tons of gold, 15 in addition to the taxes paid by merchants, the profits from trade, and tribute paid by the Arabian kings and the governors of the Israelite districts.
16 Solomon made two hundred large shields and had each one overlaid with almost fifteen pounds of gold. 17 He also made three hundred smaller shields, overlaying each one of them with nearly four pounds of gold. He had all these shields placed in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon.
18 He also had a large throne made. Part of it was covered with ivory and the rest of it was covered with the finest gold. 19-20 The throne had six steps leading up to it, with the figure of a lion at each end of every step, a total of twelve lions. At the back of the throne was the figure of a bull’s head, and beside each of the two armrests was the figure of a lion. No throne like this had ever existed in any other kingdom.
21 All of Solomon’s drinking cups were made of gold, and all the utensils in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. No silver was used, since it was not considered valuable in Solomon’s day. 22 He had a fleet of ocean-going ships sailing with Hiram’s fleet. Every three years his fleet would return, bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.
23 King Solomon was richer and wiser than any other king, 24 and the whole world wanted to come and listen to the wisdom that God had given him. 25 Everyone who came brought him a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. This continued year after year.
26 Solomon built up a force of fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand cavalry horses. Some of them he kept in Jerusalem and the rest he stationed in various other cities. 27 During his reign silver was as common in Jerusalem as stone, and cedar was as plentiful as ordinary sycamore in the foothills of Judah. 28 The king’s agents controlled the export of horses from Musri and Cilicia, 29 and the export of chariots from Egypt. They supplied the Hittite and Syrian kings with horses and chariots, selling chariots for 600 pieces of silver each and horses for 150 each.