April 5th

1 Kings 4-7

  • 4:20-34—We tend to think of David as the best of the kings of Israel, but I think this mostly because there are more stories about David than Solomon in the Christian bible. In Jewish religious texts, especially the Talmud, and in their cultural memory, Solomon is always remembered as the greatest of the kings- with good reason. Under Solomon’s rule Israel reached a level of wealth, prosperity, and economic and military power that it would never see again. This is only time in its history when Israel actually occupies all of the territory promised to them by God in Exodus and Deuteronomy and it’s by far the most peaceful period of Israel’s history. Solomon is also the king who builds the Temple- this Temple will be destroyed centuries later by the Babylonians, and a new one will eventually be constructed, but it never matches the splendor of Solomon’s temple.
  • 5:5 – Note that when David was in power, he wanted to build a house for God but God stopped him because that was not what he was calling David to.
  • 5:6—Remember what I said about forests in the Middle East a few days ago? Lebanon was famous for its cedar- the cedar forests of Lebanon are celebrated in the Old Testament and in numerous other ancient texts, including the Epic of Gilgamesh. Google “Cedars of God” to see what the Lebanese cedar forests looked like- one small area of the forest still exists today.
  • King Solomon’s temple most likely looked something like this:

temple

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