1 Kings 9 – “God Speaks to Solomon; Solomon’s Building Campaign”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God exhorts Solomon to obey him. Solomon does business with king Hiram, enslaves many foreigners, and fortifies his cities.

II. Photo
Solomon enslaves his enemies: “All the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites who were not of the Israelite stock — those of their descendants who remained in the land and whom the Israelites were not able to annihilate — of these Solomon made a slave force, as is still the case.” (vv. 20-21)

III. Important Verses
4-5: As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked before Me, wholeheartedly and with uprightness, doing all that I have commanded you [and] keeping My laws and My rules, then I will establish your throne of kingship over Israel forever, as I promised your father David, saying, ‘Your line on the throne of Israel shall never end.’
6-7: But if you and your descendants turn away from Me and do not keep the commandments [and] the laws which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will sweep Israel off the land which I gave them; I will reject the House which I have consecrated to My name; and Israel shall become a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
8-9: And as for this House, once so exalted, everyone passing by it shall be appalled and shall hiss. And when they ask, ‘Why did the LORD do thus to the land and to this House?’ they shall be told, ‘It is because they forsook the LORD their God who freed them from the land of Egypt, and they embraced other gods and worshiped them and served them; therefore the LORD has brought all this calamity upon them.’”
11: Since King Hiram of Tyre had supplied Solomon with all the cedar and cypress timber and gold that he required — King Solomon in turn gave Hiram twenty towns in the region of Galilee.
20-21: All the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites who were not of the Israelite stock — those of their descendants who remained in the land and whom the Israelites were not able to annihilate — of these Solomon made a slave force, as is still the case.

IV. Outline

1-9. God’s message to Solomon
    1-2. Introduction
    3. God has heard the prayer
    4-5. Promise
    6-9. Warning
10-11. Solomon gives Hiram 20 cities
12-13. Hiram’s dissatisfaction; Etiological note
14. Hiram pays Solomon in gold
15. Solomon’s building campaign
16. A note about Gezer
17-19. Solomon fortifies his towns
20-22. Solomon enslaves the foreigners, not the Israelites
23. Solomon’s prefects
24. The millo is built
25. Offerings at the temple
26-28. Solomon and Hiram send a fleet to Ophir

V. Comment
Verses 26-28 describe Solomon’s sea ventures: “King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion-geber, which is near Eloth on the shore of the Sea of Reeds in the land of Edom. Hiram sent servants of his with the fleet, mariners who were experienced on the sea, to serve with Solomon’s men. They came to Ophir; there they obtained gold in the amount of four hundred and twenty talents, which they delivered to King Solomon.” What is the meaning of “Ophir gold”? Baker writes that Ophir was “a maritime nation which was a source of gold from at least the reign of Solomon (1 Kgs 9:28; 22:49; 2 Chr 8:18). It also provided fine wood and precious stones (1 Kgs 10:11; 2 Chr 9:10; Job 28:16). All of these were delivered to Israel by ship through the port of Ezion-geber on the Red Sea. The gold seems to have been of a particularly high quality since in some of the passages it is used in conjunction with more specific Hebrew terms for fine, choice gold (Job 22:24; Ps 45:10[—Eng 45:9]; Isa 13:12). Ophir became so associated with this rare metal that the name Ophir itself, without any further qualifier, is to be understood as “gold” in Job 22:24. Gold from this source is also known from an extrabiblical inscription from Israel.” (“Ophir (Place)” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. V, pp. 26-27) Baker also points out that the whereabouts of biblical Ophir remain unknown. While some (including Josephus) associate it with India, he feels that it was most likely a site in eastern Africa or western Arabia.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
De Vries, Simon John. “1 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 12 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
Longe, Burke O. “1 Kings with an Introduction to Historical Literature” Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 9 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1984).
Photo taken from http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/files/imagecache/fiction/files/fiction/print/20080828_slaves.jpg

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