King Solomon was off to a good start ruling Israel.
These were the leaders in his government: Azariah son of Zadok - the priest;
Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha - secretaries; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud - historian;
Benaiah son of Jehoiada - commander of the army; Zadok and Abiathar - priests;
Azariah son of Nathan - in charge of the regional managers; Zabud son of Nathan - priest and friend to the king;
Ahishar - manager of the palace; Adoniram son of Abda - manager of the slave labor.
Solomon had twelve regional managers distributed throughout Israel. They were responsible for supplying provisions for the king and his administration. Each was in charge of bringing supplies for one month of the year.
These are the names: Ben-Hur in the Ephraim hills;
Ben-Deker in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh, and Elon Bethhanan;
Ben-Hesed in Arubboth - this included Socoh and all of Hepher;
Ben-Abinadab in Naphoth Dor (he was married to Solomon's daughter Taphath);
Baana son of Ahilud in Taanach and Megiddo, all of Beth Shan next to Zarethan below Jezreel, and from Beth Shan to Abel Meholah over to Jokmeam;
Ben-Geber in Ramoth Gilead - this included the villages of Jair son of Manasseh in Gilead and the region of Argob in Bashan with its sixty large walled cities with bronze-studded gates;
Ahinadab son of Iddo in Mahanaim;
Ahimaaz in Naphtali (he was married to Solomon's daughter Basemath);
Baana son of Hushai in Asher and Aloth;
Jehoshaphat son of Paruah in Issachar;
Shimei son of Ela in Benjamin;
Geber son of Uri in Gilead - this was the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and also of Og king of Bashan; he managed the whole district by himself.
Judah and Israel were densely populated - like sand on an ocean beach! All their needs were met; they ate and drank and were happy.
Solomon was sovereign over all the kingdoms from the River Euphrates in the east to the country of the Philistines in the west, all the way to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and were vassals of Solomon all his life.
One day's food supply for Solomon's household was: 185 bushels of fine flour 375 bushels of meal 10 grain-fed cattle 20 range cattle 100 sheep and miscellaneous deer, gazelles, roebucks, and choice fowl.
Solomon was sovereign over everything, countries and kings, west of the River Euphrates from Tiphsah to Gaza. Peace reigned everywhere.
Throughout Solomon's life, everyone in Israel and Judah lived safe and sound, all of them from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south - content with what they had.
Solomon had forty thousand stalls for chariot horses and twelve thousand horsemen.
The district managers, each according to his assigned month, delivered food supplies for King Solomon and all who sat at the king's table; there was always plenty.
They also brought to the designated place their assigned quota of barley and straw for the horses.
God gave Solomon wisdom - the deepest of understanding and the largest of hearts. There was nothing beyond him, nothing he couldn't handle.
Solomon's wisdom outclassed the vaunted wisdom of wise men of the East, outshone the famous wisdom of Egypt.
He was wiser than anyone - wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, wiser than Heman, wiser than Calcol and Darda the sons of Mahol. He became famous among all the surrounding nations.
He created three thousand proverbs; his songs added up to 1,005.
He knew all about plants, from the huge cedar that grows in Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows in the cracks of a wall. He understood everything about animals and birds, reptiles and fish.
Sent by kings from all over the earth who had heard of his reputation, people came from far and near to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.
Four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's rule over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, Solomon started building The Temple of God.
The Temple that King Solomon built to God was ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet high.
There was a porch across the thirty-foot width of The Temple that extended out fifteen feet.
Within The Temple he made narrow, deep-silled windows.
Against the outside walls he built a supporting structure in which there were smaller rooms:
The lower floor was seven and a half feet wide, the middle floor nine feet, and the third floor ten and a half feet. He had projecting ledges built into the outside Temple walls to support the buttressing beams.
The stone blocks for the building of The Temple were all dressed at the quarry so that the building site itself was reverently quiet - no noise from hammers and chisels and other iron tools.
The entrance to the ground floor was at the south end of The Temple; stairs led to the second floor and then to the third.
Solomon built and completed The Temple, finishing it off with roof beams and planks of cedar.
The supporting structure along the outside walls was attached to The Temple with cedar beams and the rooms in it were seven and a half feet tall.
The word of God came to Solomon saying,
"About this Temple you are building - what's important is that you live the way I've set out for you and do what I tell you, following my instructions carefully and obediently. Then I'll complete in you the promise I made to David your father.
I'll personally take up my residence among the Israelites - I won't desert my people Israel."
Solomon built and completed The Temple.
He paneled the interior walls from floor to ceiling with cedar planks; for flooring he used cypress.
The thirty feet at the rear of The Temple he made into an Inner Sanctuary, cedar planks from floor to ceiling - the Holy of Holies.
The Main Sanctuary area in front was sixty feet long.
The entire interior of The Temple was cedar, with carvings of fruits and flowers. All cedar - none of the stone was exposed.
The Inner Sanctuary within The Temple was for housing the Chest of the Covenant of God.
This Inner Sanctuary was a cube, thirty feet each way, all plated with gold. The Altar of cedar was also gold-plated.
Everywhere you looked there was pure gold: gold chains strung in front of the gold-plated Inner Sanctuary
- gold everywhere - walls, ceiling, floor, and Altar. Dazzling!
Then he made two cherubim, gigantic angel-like figures, from olivewood. Each was fifteen feet tall.
The outstretched wings of the cherubim (they were identical in size and shape) measured another fifteen feet. He placed the two cherubim, their wings spread, in the Inner Sanctuary. The combined wingspread stretched the width of the room, the wing of one cherub touched one wall, the wing of the other the other wall, and the wings touched in the middle.
The cherubim were gold plated.
He then carved engravings of cherubim, palm trees, and flower blossoms on all the walls of both the Inner and the Main Sanctuary.
And all the floors of both inner and outer rooms were gold plated.
He constructed doors of olivewood for the entrance to the Inner Sanctuary; the lintel and doorposts were five-sided.
The doors were also carved with cherubim, palm trees, and flowers, and then covered with gold leaf.
Similarly, he built the entrance to the Main Sanctuary using olivewood for the doorposts but these doorposts were four-sided.
The doors were of cypress, split into two panels, each panel swinging separately.
These also were carved with cherubim, palm trees, and flowers, and plated with finely hammered gold leaf.
He built the inner court with three courses of dressed stones topped with a course of planed cedar timbers.
The foundation for God's Temple was laid in the fourth year in the month of Ziv.
It was completed in the eleventh year in the month of Bul (the eighth month) down to the last detail, just as planned. It took Solomon seven years to build it.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)