So Solomon finished building the Temple of the LORD, as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do.
Then the LORD appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had done before at Gibeon.
The LORD said to him, "I have heard your prayer and your request. I have set apart this Temple you have built so that my name will be honored there forever. I will always watch over it and care for it.
As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, always obeying my commands and keeping my laws and regulations,
then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: 'You will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.'
"But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey my commands and laws, and if you go and worship other gods,
then I will uproot the people of Israel from this land I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have set apart to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations.
And though this Temple is impressive now, it will become an appalling sight for all who pass by. They will scoff and ask, 'Why did the LORD do such terrible things to his land and to his Temple?'
And the answer will be, 'Because his people forgot the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead. That is why the LORD has brought all these disasters upon them.'"
Now at the end of the twenty years during which Solomon built the Temple of the LORD and the royal palace,
Solomon gave twenty towns in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre as payment for all the cedar and cypress lumber and gold he had furnished for the construction of the buildings.
Hiram came from Tyre to see the towns Solomon had given him, but he was not at all pleased with them.
"What kind of towns are these, my brother?" he asked. "These towns are worthless!" So Hiram called that area Cabul -- "worthless" -- as it is still known today.
Hiram had sent Solomon nine thousand pounds a of gold.
This is the account of the forced labor that Solomon conscripted to build the LORD's Temple, the royal palace, the Millo, b the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.
(The king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer, killing the Canaanite population and burning it down. He gave the city to his daughter as a wedding gift when she married Solomon.
So Solomon rebuilt the city of Gezer.) He also built up the towns of Lower Beth-horon,
Baalath, and Tamar c in the desert, within his land.
He built towns as supply centers and constructed cities where his chariots and horses d could be kept. He built to his heart's content in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout the entire realm.
There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.
These were descendants of the nations that Israel had not completely destroyed. e So Solomon conscripted them for his labor force, and they serve in the labor force to this day.
But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for forced labor. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, government officials, officers in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers.
He also appointed 550 of them to supervise the various projects.
After Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh's daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her, he constructed the Millo.
Three times each year Solomon offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to the LORD on the altar he had built. He also burned incense to the LORD. And so he finished the work of building the Temple.
Later King Solomon built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, a port near Elath f in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea. g27
Hiram sent experienced crews of sailors to sail the ships with Solomon's men.
They sailed to Ophir and brought back to Solomon some sixteen tons h of gold.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)