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 petition. I have set this Temple apart to be holy—this place you have built where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.
“As for you, if you will follow me with integrity and godliness, as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations,
then I will establish the throne of your dynasty over Israel forever. For I made this promise to your father, David: ‘One of your descendants will always sit on the throne of Israel.’
“But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the commands and decrees I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods,
then I will uproot Israel from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make Israel an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations.
And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled and will gasp in horror. They will ask, ‘Why did the LORD do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’
“And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the LORD has brought all these disasters on them.’”
It took Solomon twenty years to build the LORD ’s Temple and his own royal palace. At the end of that time,
he gave twenty towns in the land of Galilee to King Hiram of Tyre. (Hiram had previously provided all the cedar and cypress timber and gold that Solomon had requested.)
But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the towns Solomon had given him, he was not at all pleased with them.
“What kind of towns are these, my brother?” he asked. So Hiram called that area Cabul (which means “worthless”), as it is still known today.
Nevertheless, Hiram paid Solomon 9,000 pounds of gold.
This is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon conscripted to build the LORD ’s Temple, the royal palace, the supporting terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.
(Pharaoh, 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 in the wilderness within his land.
He built towns as supply centers and constructed towns where his chariots and horses could be stationed. He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his 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 whom the people of Israel had not completely destroyed. So Solomon conscripted them as slaves, and they serve as forced laborers 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 and captains in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers.
Solomon appointed 550 of them to supervise the people working on his various projects.
Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. Then he constructed the supporting terraces.
Three times each year Solomon presented burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he had built for the LORD . He also burned incense to the LORD . And so he finished the work of building the Temple.
King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, a port near Elath in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea.
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 of gold.