2 Chr 8.1-18 tells us that after twenty years the kingdom of Solomon was secure. It took seven years to build the Temple and thirteen years to build his palace. He also built cities which Huram (Hiram) gave back to him because they were unsuitable for him (1 Kings 9.11). He captured Hamath-zobal, built Tadmor in the wilderness and all the storage cities which he built in Hamath. He strengthened upper Beth-horon and lower Beth-horon in the border with the Philitines. He fortified many cities and storage cities, cities for his chariots and horsemen in Israel, Jerusalem and in all the land.
Solomon also raised forced laborers from the descendants of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites that remained in the land under his rule. However, he did not make the children of Israel work as forced laborers because they were the warriors, captains and commanders and they managed the forced labor.
Solomon also married the daughter of Pharaoh Horemheb. She was a pagan and her house may have been in the area of Golgotha because many Egyptian artifacts were found there outside the city gates. This marriage was not to the credit of Solomon and it marked the beginning of Solomon’s decline. He moved her because he did not think it was proper far a pagan to be in a place that had a kedusha on it (his palace).
Solomon administered the korbanot according to the Torah and also made sure the priestly divisions were there for the Temple services (avodah). He was also involved in sea trade, which was unusual for the people of Israel. Huram supplied the ships and seamen because the Israelites were not known as sailors or had the skills. With this ability, Solomon was able to go to Ophir and obtain 450 talents of gold. Nobody knows where Ophir was but there are several candidates for it like India or Arabia.
2 Chr 9.1-31 tells us about the visit of the Queen of Sheba and more of Solomon’s achievements. Sheba is where Yemen is today and was a wealthy kingdom at the time. It was about 1500 miles south of Israel and probably came to negotiate a treaty as a part of a trade delegation. She tested him with hard questions, having heard of his wisdom.
After seeing the splendor and luxury of everything that Solomon had built, she was left “breathless” (v 4). She saw his ministers and what they wore and his stairway (2 Kings 11.11-19). Now, she was accustomed to luxury but she had not seen anything like this. Yeshua used this queen as an example of someone who seeks the Lord and wants answers. She came from a great distance, through hardship and dangers, to get to Solomon and have her questions answered. She had gifts to offer and came to question and learn. She saw the riches of the king and did not leave right away. She also told the king everything that was on her heart.
In 2 Chr 9.11 we find that Solomon built steps, or raised pavements with beautiful designs, for the Temple and the king’s palace from “algum.” This is spelled “almug” in 1 Kings 10.11-12 and this was an aromatic wood. We also learn that Solomon obtained 666 talents of gold every year in 2 Chr 9.13. He is the only other person in Scripture associated with this number. It is the number “of a man” in Rev 13.18 (in Greek, which is related to the False Messiah. Now, if 666 is the number “of a man” (in Greek) could that be alluding to Solomon in Rev 13.18? We are not saying he is the False Messiah but it could be alluding to the fact that the False Messiah may start out as a wise and good king, who then turns from Yehovah to idolatry. This verse is also telling us that Solomon was not following the instructions (Torah) in Deut 17.14-20 about multiplying gold and silver to himself. Now, it is true, that God said he would bless Solomon with riches because he didn’t ask for them in 2 Chr 1.11, but Solomon allowed himself to be corrupted by them.
Solomon also had a very interesting throne that alludes to Jewish eschatology. It was ivory overlaid with gold and there were six steps that led to the throne. The two arms had two lions standing by them, and twelve lions were standing on the six steps, six on each side. The six steps that led to the throne alludes to the 6000 years that will lead to the throne of Messiah in the Messianic Kingdom. The lions standing next to the arms allude to the kingly tribe of Judah and royal power and strength. The twelve lions represent the twelve tribes he rules over.
Solomon was greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom and he died after ruling forty years, and the golden age of Israel comes to an end. Powers in the north and south are rising and Israel is in the middle, which makes it the battle ground.
Some scholars believe that he began to rule when he was only twenty, and that means he did not live a very long life. David was seventy when he died. Yehovah said in 1 Kings 3.4 that if Solomon walked in God’s ways he would lengthen his days. When we look at what Solomon did in his life in regards to multiplying wives, gold, silver and horses to himself, along with his idolatrous practices, it is no wonder why he died relatively young.
There are scholars who say Solomon died in unbelief, while others say he repented at the end of his life and wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes. The book explains how he had experienced just about everything you could experience and how empty and vain it all was. His conclusion, “when all has been heard is; fear God and keep the commandments, because this applies to everyone.” In any case, we learn that material wealth and grandeur damaged Solomon and the people of Israel, and rebellion was underneath and at work, ready to break out after his death.
2 Chr 10.1-19 introduces us to Solomon’s son Rehoboam (people are enlarged). All the people came to Jerusalem to make him king. Jeroboam (the people contend) was told by a prophet that he was going to rule over a portion of a divided Israel (1 Kings 11.26-40). So, he was interested in who the successor was going to be.
The people complained about the heavy taxation and forced servitude during Solomon’s reign, but they should have been complaining about the idolatry he placed among them, but they don’t. God warned Israel about what a king would do in 1 Sam 8.10-18. The elders made a serious mistake by not demanding spiritual reforms from Rehoboam. It looks like idolatry and the rebellion of Solomon against the Lord and the Torah didn’t bother them.
So Rehoboam listened to the older elders who served Solomon, and they told him to be kinder to the people than his father was, but he rejected their advice. Then he listened to the younger advisors and he took their advice to make their burdens heavier. These younger advisors may have been some of David’s other sons (like Jerimoth in 11.18), or his friends. This is like today when we go “advice shopping.” We ask different people until we find someone who tells us what we want to hear. These “advisors” were people who grew up with Rehoboam (v 10) and were about as spoiled as Rehoboam was. They were surrounded by luxury and remained hardened to the complaints of the people. Young people never listen to the advice of the elders even today. So, Rehoboam did not listen to the people and showed himself to be an unwise ruler. However, this series of events was from Yehovah (v 15).
In 1 Kings 11.29-43 it tells us about a prophecy to Jeroboam. He would be given ten tribes to rule over because of what Solomon had done. Solomon tries to kill Jeroboam, but he fled to Egypt until the death of Solomon. Israel is now in rebellion and the people reject the dynasty of David.
2 Chr 11.1-12 tells us that Shemaiah gave a prophecy that avoided a civil war. He told the two remaining tribes of Judah and Benjamin to stand down and not go to war against the ten northern tribes with Jeroboam. He told them that these events were “from me” so they listened to the Word of Yehovah in this matter through Shemaiah, and built cities for defense in Judah.
2 Chr 11.13-17 tells us that the priests and Levites in the land stood with Rehoboam from all their districts, and the Temple was in the south as well. As a result, Jeroboam appoints false priests in the high places for idolatry in Bethel and Dan (1 Kings 12.31, 13.33; 2 Chr 13.4-12). What Jeroboam did is called “Replacement Theology” because he replaced the true place of worship, the true priesthood with others who were not Levites, and the true time of worship with other festivals. That is exactly what Christianity, Judaism, Messianic Judaism, the Hebrew Roots Movement and the Sacred Name Movement has done, along with all the other religions and denominations all over the world. It is Replacement Theology.
In 2 Chr 11.18-23 Rehoboam marries Mahalath (lyre), the daughter of Jerimoth (elevation), an unknown son of David, and Abihail (might), the daughter of Eliab (God is my father), David’s brother. He had eighteen wives and ten concubines. evidently he did not learn from the mistakes of his father. He had fewer wives that Solomon because he could not support anymore since the kingdom was divided now, but his behavior broke the Torah command in Deut 17.17. He also appointed Abijah (my father is Yehovah), the son of Maacah (crushed) to be his successor (v 22). He also dispersed his sons throughout the kingdom so that they would not form an alliance against Abijah.
In 2 Chr 12.1-6 it tells us about Rehoboam and his people and how they turned away from the Torah and was chastised by Yehovah. Shishak, the Pharaoh of Egypt, came against Jerusalem with people without number. Josephus says it was about 100,000 infantry. He was taking advantage of the civil unrest in Israel (2 Chr 10.16). He took the fortress at Sukkot first and cut off any help. He then used it as a base to come against Jerusalem.
Then Shemaiah the prophet came again and he spoke to all the princes of Judah because they were gathered in Jerusalem because of Shishak. They were told that they had forsaken the Lord, so he forsook them to Shishak. As a result, they repented and humbled themselves and the Lord said he would not destroy Jerusalem, but allow Shishak some success. Judah would become servants of Egypt (pay tribute) so that they would learn the difference in serving Yehovah, and from serving the kingdoms of this world.
Some deliverance was given to Judah but Shishak took away the treasures of the Temple, the king’s palace and the golden shields Solomon had made. Rehoboam replaced these shields with shields of bronze, trying to keep up appearances. The golden shields were worth millions in today’s money and now Egypt had them. How many times have we masqueraded around with cheaper spiritual substitutes and imitations of the real “gold” that we could have had from Yehovah?
Rehoboam had more humbling to do, even after 2 Chr 12.6-8. God knew there was more work to be done. After this, Yehovah turned away so as to not destroy him completely, and conditions were good in Judah. So Rehoboam, because of God’s mercy, survived Shishak and reigned for seventeen years in Jerusalem. Then it mentions his mother Naamah (pleasant) the Ammonitess, a non-Jew. She was one of the many wives of Solomon. Now, here is an important concept that we are going to discuss. In the southern kingdom of Judah, the mother of the king was “Queen Mother” and not the wife of the king. She was called the “Givorah” or “Great Lady” and dominated the king’s harem, acted as an advisor to her son the king and had immeasurable influence in society. In Part 3 we will look into this concept a little deeper.