4 King Solomon was king over all Israel, and these were his high officials: Azariah the son of Zadok was the priest; Elihoreph and Ahijah the sons of Shisha were secretaries; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was in command of the army; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers; Zabud the son of Nathan was priest and king’s friend; Ahishar was in charge of the palace; and Adoniram the son of Abda was in charge of the forced labor.
Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, who provided food for the king and his household. Each man had to make provision for one month in the year. These were their names: Ben-hur, in the hill country of Ephraim; Ben-deker, in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, and Elonbeth-hanan; Ben-hesed, in Arubboth (to him belonged Socoh and all the land of Hepher); Ben-abinadab, in all Naphath-dor (he had Taphath the daughter of Solomon as his wife); Baana the son of Ahilud, in Taanach, Megiddo, and all Beth-shean that is beside Zarethan below Jezreel, and from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah, as far as the other side of Jokmeam; Ben-geber, in Ramoth-gilead (he had the villages of Jair the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead, and he had the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, sixty great cities with walls and bronze bars); Ahinadab the son of Iddo, in Mahanaim; Ahimaaz, in Naphtali (he had taken Basemath the daughter of Solomon as his wife); Baana the son of Hushai, in Asher and Bealoth; Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar; Shimei the son of Ela, in Benjamin; Geber the son of Uri, in the land of Gilead, the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and of Og king of Bashan. And there was one governor who was over the land.
Solomon’s Wealth and Wisdom
Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy. Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.
Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty cors of fine flour and sixty cors of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty pasture-fed cattle, a hundred sheep, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fattened fowl. For he had dominion over all the region west of the Euphrates from Tiphsah to Gaza, over all the kings west of the Euphrates. And he had peace on all sides around him. And Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon. Solomon also had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. And those officers supplied provisions for King Solomon, and for all who came to King Solomon’s table, each one in his month. They let nothing be lacking. Barley also and straw for the horses and swift steeds they brought to the place where it was required, each according to his duty.
And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.
1 Kings 4 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Have you ever worked for or been part of a committee that was not well organized? More than likely yes and you know the headache and turmoil it can hold. Without something well organized it tends to flounder. There is no direction as people make decisions on the fly and there usually comes a point where you can’t wait to either quit or have your term come to an end. The flipside is being part of a team or committee where things were well organized. The leader had the forward-thinking of all that needed to be accomplished, thought through the process and even if not, was able to make decisions in the moment that kept the enthusiasm going to reach the goal.
Leading people or a group is no easy task. As a leader, it really does come down to follow through and vision. Wisdom is required to make the right or best decisions. As a spiritual leader, it takes a commitment to prayer and God in what tasks He has in mind. We must be on the same page as Him; take ourselves and our own desires out of the mix and follow through.
Success as a spiritual leader is based upon our commitment to Christ.
This is what makes chapter 4 so fascinating. We have a snapshot of how Solomon reigned and how God was honoring his request for wisdom and discernment. Solomon’s reputation as a leader and king would reach other throne rooms who heard and witnessed how he ran the kingdom. What we see is he was incredibly well organized. In his God-given wisdom, he appointed officials, governors, and managers to lead. His delegation of these positions would set the kingdom to run smoothly. Some struggle with delegation as they want control over everything. But as Solomon sought wisdom, God directed him toward the leaders to choose and this freed him up to lead in his areas of responsibility as King. All of this organization was effective and wise.
Is there a place where you are currently leading? How committed are you first of all to God and seeking His direction? This is imperative. It is a daily coming before him with the responsibility He has given you and seeking His direction. How well have you delegated tasks? For some their ability to let go of control is their own wrestling match, but a good leader does just that. You can’t do everything although sometimes it is tried. There is so much freedom in having others work alongside you as a leader to accomplish the task and goal.
Leadership is a God-given gift. God has placed us where we are to bring glory to His name regardless of what sector we may be working. A massive part of this is our reliance on Him and following through. It is leading by a committed Christian example and letting our witness on all fronts be a testimony to the grace of God and inspire others to do the same.
1 Kings 4 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
This was the golden age for Israel as we read in verses 20-21…
The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore; they ate and drank, and were happy. 21 Solomon’s kingdom included all the nations from the Euphrates River to Philistia and the Egyptian border. They paid him taxes and were subject to him all his life.1 Kings 4:20-21 GNB
A big reason for this was the wisdom God had granted Solomon and his decisions to keep a tight reign over his responsibilities. He was organized and structured. Solomon was renowned both in Israel as well as internationally.
The picture that’s painted may cause us to envision a culture where everyone is sitting back to leisurely enjoy the pleasures of life. That was not the case at all.
Each of those deputies for a month in turn provided food for King Solomon and for everyone who came to King Solomon’s table. They neglected nothing. 28 Each man brought the barley and the straw for the chariot teams and the other horses to the required place according to his assignment.1 Kings 4:27-28 HCSB
As I mentioned earlier, Solomon ran a tight ship. Every one of his officials and advisors had responsibilities that were important for the kingdom’s future. The text here describes a culture of cooperation, diligence, and unity. Let’s just think about that for a moment. As we step back and gaze at the Church today at large, do we find the same? Do we see lots of people with different skills being diligent with their gifts in order to carry out the plan according to the assignment given by God, or, do we see people who want to be served and catered to?
Can you imagine if one of these deputies would have come to Solomon and said, “I don’t think I’m going to provide food this round because I’m too busy.”
“Solomon, I don’t like the music… I don’t like the food selections… I can’t work with that person, he is annoying.”
Each carried out the plan according to his assignment. They neglected nothing. I believe the gritty, hard-nosed attitude described in this chapter is lacking in the Church today. One day we will come before God and face the reality of whether or not we took the assignment given to us and accomplished it to the best of our ability with the tools we were provided. Some will quit. Some will complain. Some will persevere. Which one are you?