1 Kings 9



The Lord Appears to Solomon (9:1–9)

(2 Chronicles 7:11–22)

1–2 After Solomon had finished building both the temple and his royal palace, God appeared to him a second time, just as He had appeared to him earlier at Gibeon (see 1 Kings 3:4–15). Thirteen years had passed since the temple had been completed—it had taken that long to build the palace (1 Kings 7:1)—and only now God was appearing to Solomon in apparent response to his prayer of thirteen years earlier. Why had God “delayed" so long?

First, God didn’t delay His response. According to 2 Chronicles 7:1–3, God responded at the time of the temple’s dedication by sending fire from heaven—a dramatic sign of God’s approval and acceptance. But God had an important reason for appearing to Solomon at this time: Solomon was at a spiritual crossroads in his life. He was at the peak of his fame and accomplishment. But there was evidence that he had come more and more to love the things of the world and was in danger of falling into idolatry (1 Kings 11:1–4). Thus God wanted to warn Solomon; not only Solomon’s welfare but also the welfare of all Israel was at stake. As does the leader, so do the followers. If Solomon stopped walking in God’s ways, the covenant blessings that Israel was enjoying (Leviticus 26:3–13) would be turned to curses (Leviticus 26:14–39) and God would withdraw His Name, His presence, from the land.

The writer of 2 Chronicles also records this appearance of the Lord to Solomon, but he adds one of the bestknown verses in all of Scripture. “In the event of a national disaster,” the Lord said to Solomon, “if my people, whoare calledby my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). If we—both as individuals and as communities—will turn from our sin, God has promised to forgive us and to heal our land. Down through the centuries, believers have prayed for their own nations during times of difficulty, and they have based their prayers on this great promise of God. And this promise remains as important for us today as it was in the time of Solomon. The promise of healing for the land is not limited just to physical restoration but it includes spiritual revival as well. Spiritual revival is something we must all be praying for in every land and in every age. And in this passage God tells us the conditions that must be met in order for revival to take place.

3–5 God told Solomon that He had consecrated the temple (verse 3)—that is, He had made it holy, set apart for His use;46 He had done this byputting His Name there forever—that is, as long as Israel continued to keep God’s covenant.47 God again exhorted Solomon to walk before Him in integrity of heart (verse 4)—that is, with one heart, with his whole heart (Deuteronomy 6:5). If he did so, God’s promise to David that he would always have an heir on the throne would be fulfilled (see 1 Kings 2:4; 8:25).

6–9 Then God repeated His warning—the same warning He had given Israel countless times before: if Solomon or his sons began serving other gods, then God would cut off Israel from the land; He would drive the Israelites out of the land and send them into exile. Then Israel would become an object of ridicule and contempt among the peoples of the earth (verse 7). The very foreigners who were meant to be drawn to Israel’s God by the happiness and prosperity of the Israelites would now be repelled. They would be amazed at the foolishness of a people who would forsake a God who had done so much for them!

What went wrong with Solomon? God knew that his heart was becoming divided (Matthew 6:24). Solomon’s love of worldly things was slowly growing (1 John 2:15–17). Solomon’s gradual slide into worldliness was imperceptible to him, but not to God.48 And so God, in an act of grace, warned Solomon about what was happening. Solomon did not heed God’s warning. O that we might always heed God’s voice when He seeks to warn us, so that we might not be cut off from His covenant blessings!

We may well be amazed at Solomon’s fall: How could such a wise and godly man fall into such idolatry and sin? But let us not be amazed. The more successful in ministry we become, the greater the danger to our spiritual lives. What happened to Solomon has happened to innumerable leaders ever since—including Christian leaders. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Solomon’s Other Activities (9:10–28)

(2 Chronicles 8:1–18)

10–14 Here the writer mentions Solomon’s further dealings with Hiram. Hiram had sent four tons of gold to Solomon (verse 14), and in payment (or as surety) Solomon gave to Hiram twenty towns in Galilee in northern Israel (verse 11). Hiram called the towns the Land of Cabul, which means “good-for-nothing land” (verse 13). Later Hiram gave the towns back to Solomon (2 Chronicles 8:1–2); in return, Solomon presumably paid back the gold he had gotten from Hiram.

15–24 These verses give an account of some of Solomon’s additional building projects and also his use of slave labor. The slave laborers were taken from the original Canaanite peoples living in the land whom the Israelites had been unable to exterminate (verse 21)—or destroy . . . totally,as Moses had commanded the Israelites to do (Deuteronomy 7:1–2).

One building project was the reconstruction of the Canaanite town of Gezer, which Pharaoh had destroyed and then given to his daughter, Solomon’s wife (1 Kings 3:1). Solomon also built supporting terraces (verses 15,24); these terraces were designed to support the walls of Jerusalem, which ran along the top of steep slopes.

25 Solomon was faithful in celebrating the three annual festivals, which all male Israelites were required to attend (Exodus 23:14–17). Additional details concerning Solomon’s religious activities are described in 2 Chronicles 8:12–15.

26–28 With the help of Hiram, Solomon built up a fleet of sailing ships in order to enhance Israel’s commerce and wealth. On one trading trip to Ophir (location uncertain), Solomon obtained approximately fifteen tons of gold! (verse 28).