8 At the end of twenty years, in which Solomon had built the house of the LORD and his own house, Solomon rebuilt the cities that Hiram had given to him, and settled the people of Israel in them.
And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah and took it. He built Tadmor in the wilderness and all the store cities that he built in Hamath. He also built Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, fortified cities with walls, gates, and bars, and Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had and all the cities for his chariots and the cities for his horsemen, and whatever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion. All the people who were left of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of Israel, from their descendants who were left after them in the land, whom the people of Israel had not destroyed—these Solomon drafted as forced labor, and so they are to this day. But of the people of Israel Solomon made no slaves for his work; they were soldiers, and his officers, the commanders of his chariots, and his horsemen. And these were the chief officers of King Solomon, 250, who exercised authority over the people.
Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house that he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, for the places to which the ark of the LORD has come are holy.”
Then Solomon offered up burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of the LORD that he had built before the vestibule, as the duty of each day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses for the Sabbaths, the new moons, and the three annual feasts—the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Booths. According to the ruling of David his father, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their service, and the Levites for their offices of praise and ministry before the priests as the duty of each day required, and the gatekeepers in their divisions at each gate, for so David the man of God had commanded. And they did not turn aside from what the king had commanded the priests and Levites concerning any matter and concerning the treasuries.
Thus was accomplished all the work of Solomon from the day the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was completed.
Then Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Eloth on the shore of the sea, in the land of Edom. And Hiram sent to him by the hand of his servants ships and servants familiar with the sea, and they went to Ophir together with the servants of Solomon and brought from there 450 talents of gold and brought it to King Solomon.
2 Chronicles 8 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The movement toward sin always begins with one step. One thing that God is not pleased with will lead to another step then another and before long we are lost in our willfulness. The frightening thing is often we justify what decisions we’ve made. Compounding to this dangerous train of thought our conscience becomes seared. We may even ask God to bless what we’ve chosen to go against His will.
Just one verse shows the beginning of the end for Solomon.
“Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the City of David to the palace he build for her… ‘My wife…'”2 Chronicles 8:11
Solomon justified this marriage even though forbidden by God because it was a military alliance with Egypt. The fact he decided to build for her a palace outside the city gates, and actually for many others whom he would marry, shows he knew in this initial step it was not right to do so. These women all worshiped false gods and would influence him and the rest of Israel in time.
What’s even more ironic is he went before the altar of the Lord and offered a sacrifice after this union. Meaning, he asked for God’s blessing on his rebellion. He knew this marriage was not pleasing to Him and blatantly against God’s Law but went through with it regardless. In time he would have 700 wives and 300 concubines, all of which seemingly were pagan. My how the slippery slope of sinful waywardness can take hold of an individual. 1 Kings 11 goes as far to state “Solomon loved many foreign women…” These women would turn his heart cold toward God and he would actually serve their gods as well.
Here’s what’s so fascinating to consider. Solomon followed God’s instructions to a T when it came to building the Temple. There was nothing he did not do or follow in how that was to be constructed. Yet on the personal side of things, he paid zero attention to the laws of God and warnings. Here God had shown up to him in several remarkable ways with blessing and warning and he disregarded the latter. “I’ll sin now and ask forgiveness later,” could have been his thought. Unfortunately for Solomon that asking forgiveness was too late as in time he obviously didn’t recognize the sin any longer.
This is a warning for all of us to guard all areas of our lives. We may be following in most things but it takes just one area where we give in that can lead to being outside of His will. If our hearts go unchecked, if our willfulness drives us, we can find ourselves far from the plans of God that began with simply one step.
2 Chronicles 8 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.Psalms 20:7 NASB
“Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never again return that way.’ 17 “He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.Deuteronomy 17:16-17 NASB
As Solomon acquired more cities and gathered more resources, we read that he needed more space for storage. Specifically, for horses and chariots. What’s interesting about that is God had instructed that kings should not multiply horses for themselves. The temptation was to trust in the horses instead of God as outlined in Psalms 20.
Furthermore, the very next command God gives for kings is found in verse 17 of Deuteronomy 17. He shall not multiply wives for himself. Why? Because his heart will turn away. The second part of that verse speaks to wealth – specifically silver and gold. The last verse of 2 Chronicles 8 talks about the immense amount of gold Solomon acquired (17 tons, in fact) from his deal with Huram.
So essentially, in one chapter, Solomon has broken three of the commands directed toward kings from the Deuteronomy passage above. This was a problem. As Hank has written, all the while he is continuing to offer sacrifices before God knowing that he has strayed. The alternative, of course, would be to cease from this worship activity which wouldn’t be good either. And this leads me to my point.
Many times we stray. Often, it is a daily struggle. The temptation the enemy works on us is to just go ahead and throw in the towel in all aspects of life. If you cheated your diet by eating one cookie, you might as well hit the buffet. If you fell to lustful thoughts in the morning, you might as well look up graphic images later in the afternoon. The scenarios are endless. Fill in the blank. It’s an all or nothing attitude.
I will at least give Solomon some credit. He didn’t stop worshiping the Lord even though he was making terrible choices. It may have been that he was ignorant (unlikely) or that he was simply hoping God would approve his decisions. Whatever the case, he needed conviction. We all need conviction. This is something I ask God for often – sometimes hourly. I believe He will give us insight to where we are going astray and help us repent of our behavior. It’s vital to our relationship with our Father.