Summary of 1 Kings 4:1-28:
Solomon ruled over all of the Israel. He had 12 district governors who had to supply provisions to him and his household. Israel prospered and was large in territory. Solomon was wise.
Summary of 2 Chronicles 1:14-17:
Solomon accumulated chariots and horses, 1400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He was rich. He began to trade in horses with the Egyptians, Hittites, and Arameans.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 24, Day 4: 1 Kings 4:1-28; 2 Chronicles 1:14-17:
9) Part personal question. My answer: He divided Israel into 12 districts and divided up the tasks equally of providing for the king and the royal household. He trained and supervised those to help him rule his kingdom. He was wise. Solomon divided up responsibilities, which I think we all do in a family, and offered training, which is what parents do.
10) Everyone was able to enjoy the fruits of their labor in safety.
11) Part personal Question. My answer: You forget the Lord during peace and prosperity. It is He who gave you the ability to produce wealth. We may become prideful. Remember God in all that you do and that everything is from Him. Give Him the credit when you get promoted at work or do something good.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 24 Day 4: 1 Kings 4:1-28; 2 Chronicles 1:14-17:
Finally, we get to see Israel at peace after all the wars and hardships we’ve read about. It’s good to know God has great plans at the end of our personal wars.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 24, Day 4: 1 Kings 4:1-28; 2 Chronicles 1:14-17:
Commentary 1 Kings 4:1-28:
Solomon selected, trained, empowered, and supervised leaders. Solomon’s government was structured much like modern nations. He had officials who served as ministers or department secretaries over their specific areas of responsibility and were responsible for taxation. The districts were not strictly separated by tribal borders but often according to mountains, land, and region.
Taxes were paid in grain and livestock, which were used to support the royal court and the central government. Each governor was responsible for one month of the year — not overwhelming to any one district.
The reign of Solomon was a golden age for Israel as a kingdom. The population grew robustly, the nation and were were prosperous, allowing plenty of leisure time and pursuit of good pleasures. David did all the work. Israel’s neighbors were weak during this time as well, contributing to their good fortune.
Why so much food?
- The amount of food was extravagant: some estimate that this much food every day could feed 15,000 to 36,000 people. It supplied considerably more than Solomon’s household, large as it was.
- Fatted oxen are pen-fed cattle in contrast to open grazing varieties.
- Solomon was gluttonous.
Each man under his vine and his fig tree: This was a proverbial expression for a time of peace and prosperity in Israel (Isaiah 36:16, Micah 4:4, Zechariah 3:10), indicating safety from both internal and external enemies.
The famous stables of Solomon show what a vast cavalry he assembled for Israel. 2 Chronicles 9:25 is a parallel passage and has 4,000 chariots instead of 40,000 – the smaller number seems correct and the larger number is probably due to copyist error.
Solomon did not take God’s word as seriously as he should. In Deuteronomy 17:16, God spoke specifically to the future kings of Israel: But he shall not multiply horses for himself. One may argue if 20 or 100 horses violates the command to not multiply horses, certainly forty thousand stalls of horses is multiplying horses.
Each man according to his charge
Each man according to his charge: Spurgeon preached a sermon on this verse (which is lost in the NIV translation), focusing on the idea that we each have a charge to fulfill in the Kingdom of God, and we should be diligent to perform it and be expectant in being supplied for this duty.
“In Solomon’s court all his officers had a service to carry out, ‘every man according to his charge.’ It is exactly so in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we are truly his, he has called us to some work and office, and he wills us to discharge that office diligently. We are not to be gentlemen-at-ease, but men-at-arms; not loiterers, but laborers; not glittering spangles, but burning and shining lights.” (Spurgeon)
In the glory years of Solomon’s kingdom, he used the great wisdom God gave until he fell away from his devotion and worship of God (1 Kings 11:1-11).
Solomon became a prominent and famous man even among kings. In a strong sense, this is the fulfillment of the great promises to an obedient Israel described in Deuteronomy 28.
Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. (Deuteronomy 28:1)
Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you. (Deuteronomy 28:10)
In a sense, these blessings came upon Solomon more for David’s obedience than for his own. David was far more loyal and intimate with God than Solomon; yet God outwardly blessed Solomon more for David’s sake than He blessed David himself.
Commentary 2 Chronicles 1:14-17:
When we think of Solomon’s great wealth, we also consider that he originally did not set his heart upon riches. He deliberately asked for wisdom to lead the people of God instead of riches or fame. God promised to also give Solomon riches and fame, and God fulfilled His promise.
Solomon gave an eloquent testimony to the vanity of riches as the preacher in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He powerfully showed that there was no ultimate satisfaction through materialism — a lesson we all should take to heart. We don’t have to be as rich as Solomon to learn the same lesson.
Solomon presided over a prosperous and wealthy kingdom. Yet the Chronicler is also warning us here. He assumes that we know of the instructions for future kings of Israel in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. He assumes we know verse 17 of that passage, which says: nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself. God blessed Solomon with great riches, but Solomon allowed that blessing to turn into a danger because he disobediently multiplied silver and gold for himself.
Keveh (also known as Cilicia) was “in what is now southern Turkey, at the east end of the Mediterranean, was a prime ancient supplier of horses.” (Payne)
Steps in Solomon’s downfall
- Solomon disobeyed by multiplying horses for the service of his kingdom and he obtains them from the Egyptians (1 Kings 4:26, 10:28-29).
- Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter (1 Kings 3:1).
- Solomon married many other foreign women (1 Kings 11:1-4).
- Solomon built temples to the gods of his wives for their use (1 Kings 11:7-8).
- Solomon began to worship these other gods himself (1 Kings 11:4-5).