After Solomon had completed building The Temple of God and his own palace, all the projects he had set his heart on doing,
God appeared to Solomon again, just as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.
And God said to him, "I've listened to and received all your prayers, your ever-so-passionate prayers. I've sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always.
As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I've set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments,
then I'll back your kingly rule over Israel, make it a sure thing on a solid foundation. The same guarantee I gave David your father I'm giving you: 'You can count on always having a descendant on Israel's throne.'
"But if you or your sons betray me, ignoring my guidance and judgments, taking up with alien gods by serving and worshiping them,
then the guarantee is off: I'll wipe Israel right off the map and repudiate this Temple I've just sanctified to honor my Name. And Israel will become nothing but a bad joke among the peoples of the world.
And this Temple, splendid as it now is, will become an object of contempt; visitors will shake their heads, saying, 'Whatever happened here? What's the story behind these ruins?'
Then they'll be told, 'The people who used to live here betrayed their God, the very God who rescued their ancestors from Egypt; they took up with alien gods, worshiping and serving them. That's what's behind this God-visited devastation.'"
At the end of twenty years, having built the two buildings, The Temple of God and his personal palace,
Solomon rewarded Hiram king of Tyre with a gift of twenty villages in the district of Galilee. Hiram had provided him with all the cedar and cypress and gold that he had wanted.
But when Hiram left Tyre to look over the villages that Solomon had given him, he didn't like what he saw.
He said, "What kind of reward is this, my friend? Twenty backwoods hick towns!" People still refer to them that way.
This is all Hiram got from Solomon in exchange for four and a half tons of gold!
This is the work record of the labor force that King Solomon raised to build The Temple of God, his palace, the defense complex (the Millo), the Jerusalem wall, and the fortified cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.
Pharaoh king of Egypt had come up and captured Gezer, torched it, and killed all the Canaanites who lived there. He gave it as a wedding present to his daughter, Solomon's wife.
So Solomon rebuilt Gezer.
Baalath, and Tamar in the desert, back-country
storehouse villages, and villages for chariots and horses. Solomon built widely and extravagantly in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and wherever he fancied.
The remnants from the original inhabitants of the land (Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites - all non-Israelites),
survivors of the holy wars, were rounded up by Solomon for his gangs of slave labor, a policy still in effect.
But true Israelites were not treated this way; they were used in his army and administration - government leaders and commanders of his chariots and charioteers.
They were also the project managers responsible for Solomon's building operations - 550 of them in charge of the workforce.
It was after Pharaoh's daughter ceremonially ascended from the City of David and took up residence in the house built especially for her that Solomon built the defense complex (the Millo).
Three times a year Solomon worshiped at the Altar of God, sacrificing Whole-Burnt-Offerings and Peace-Offerings, and burning incense in the presence of God. Everything that had to do with The Temple he did generously and well; he didn't skimp.
And ships! King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber, located near Elath in Edom on the Red Sea.
Hiram sent seaworthy sailors to assist Solomon's men with the fleet.
They embarked for Ophir, brought back sixteen tons of gold, and presented it to King Solomon.
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)