The name of God was greatly honoured during the first part of my reign. The wisdom and righteousness revealed by me bore witness to all nations of the excellency of the attributes of the God whom I served.
For a time, Israel was as the light of the world, showing forth the greatness of God. Not in the surpassing wisdom, the fabulous riches, the far-reaching power and fame that were mine, lay the real glory my early reign; but in the honour that I brought to the name of the God of Israel through a wise use of the gifts of Heaven.
As the years went by and my fame increased, I sought to honour God by adding to mental and spiritual strength, and by continuing to impart to others the blessings he received.
None understood better than I that it was through the favour of God that I had come into possession of power and wisdom and understanding, and that these gifts were bestowed that I might give to the world a knowledge of the King of kings.
I took an especial interest in natural history, but my research were not confined to any one branch of learning. Through a diligent study of all created things, both animate and inanimate, I gained a clear conception and understanding of the Creator.
In the forces of nature, in the mineral and the animal world, and in every tree and shrub and flower, I saw a revelation of God’s wisdom; and as I sought to learn more and more, my knowledge of God and his love for Him constantly increased.
My divinely inspired wisdom found expression in songs of praise and in many proverbs. “1Ki 4:32 I spoke three thousand proverbs, and my songs were one thousand and five.
33 I also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; I spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish.
1Ki 4:34 And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of my wisdom, came to hear my wisdom.
In my proverbs are outlined principles of holy living and high endeavour, principles that are heaven-born and that lead to godliness, principles that should govern every act of life.
It was the wide dissemination, spreading, circulation of these principles, and the recognition of God as the One to whom all praise and honour belong, that made my early reign a time of moral uplift as well as of material prosperity.
Listen to the following thoughts I wrote on the value of wisdom:
Pro 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;
Pro 3:14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold.
Pro 3:15 She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
Pro 3:16 Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor.
Pro 3:17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace.
Pro 3:18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her.
Pro 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10.
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” Proverbs 8:13.
O that in later years I had heeded these wonderful words of wisdom! O that I who had declared, “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge” (Proverbs 15:7), and who had myself taught the kings of the earth to render to the King of kings the praise they desired to give to an earthly ruler, had never with a “perverse mouth,” in “pride and arrogancy,” taken to myself the glory due to God alone!
The long-cherished plan of David to erect a temple to the Lord, Solomon wisely carried out. For seven years Jerusalem was filled with busy workers engaged in levelling the chosen site, in building vast retaining walls, in laying broad foundations,—“great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones,”—in shaping the heavy timbers brought from the Lebanon forests, and in erecting the magnificent sanctuary. 1 Kings 5:17.
Simultaneously with the preparation of wood and stone, to which task many thousands were bending their energies, the manufacture of the furnishings for the temple was steadily progressing under the leadership of Hiram of Tyre, “a cunning man, endued with understanding, … skillful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson.” 2 Chronicles 2:13, 14.
Thus as the building on Mount Moriah was noiselessly upreared with “stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building,” the beautiful fittings were perfected according to the patterns committed by David to his son, “all the vessels that were for the house of God.” 1 Kings 6:7; 2 Chronicles 4:19.
These included the altar of incense, the table of shewbread, the candlestick and lamps, with the vessels and instruments connected with the ministrations of the priests in the holy place, all “of gold, and that perfect gold.” 2 Chronicles 4:21.
The brazen furniture, —the altar of burnt offering, the great laver supported by twelve oxen, the lavers of smaller size, with many other vessels,—“in the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah.” 2 Chronicles 4:17. These furnishings were provided in abundance, that there should be no lack.
Of surpassing beauty and unrivalled splendour was the palatial building which I and my associates erected for God and His worship.
Garnished with precious stones, surrounded by spacious courts with magnificent approaches, and lined with carved cedar and burnished gold, the temple structure, with its broidered hangings and rich furnishings, was a fit emblem of the living church of God on earth.
This church which through the ages has been building in accordance with the divine pattern, with materials that have been likened to “gold, silver, precious stones,” “polished after the similitude of a palace.” 1 Corinthians 3:12; Psalm 144:12.
Of this spiritual temple Christ is “the chief Cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” Ephesians 2:20, 21.
At last, the temple planned by my father King David, and built by me his son, was completed. “All that came into my heart to make in the house of the Lord,” I had “successfully accomplished .” 2 Chronicles 7:11.
And now, in order that the palace crowning the heights of Mount Moriah might indeed be, as David had so much desired, a dwelling place “not for man, but for the Lord God” (1 Chronicles 29:1), there remained the solemn ceremony of formally dedicating it to Jehovah and His worship.
The spot on which the temple was built had long been regarded as a consecrated place. It was here that Abraham, the father of the faithful, had revealed his willingness to sacrifice his only son in obedience to the command of Jehovah.
Here God had renewed with Abraham the covenant of blessing, which included the glorious Messianic promise to the human race of deliverance through the sacrifice of the Son of the Most High. See Genesis 22:9, 16-18.
Here it was that when David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to stay the avenging sword of the destroying angel, God had answered him by fire from heaven. See 1 Chronicles 21. And now once more the worshipers of Jehovah were here to meet their God and renew their vows of allegiance to Him.
The time chosen for the dedication was a most favourable one—the seventh month, when the people from every part of the kingdom were accustomed to assemble at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
This feast was pre-eminently an occasion of rejoicing. The labours of the harvest being ended and the toils of the new year not yet begun, the people were free from care and could give themselves up to the sacred, joyous influences of the hour.
At the appointed time the hosts of Israel, with richly clad representatives from many foreign nations, assembled in the temple courts. The scene was one of unusual splendour. I, Solomon, with the elders of Israel and the most influential men among the people, had returned from another part of the city, whence they had brought the ark of the testament.
From the sanctuary on the heights of Gibeon had been transferred the ancient “tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle” (2 Chronicles 5:5)
These cherished reminders of the earlier experiences of the children of Israel during their wanderings in the wilderness and their conquest of Canaan, now found a permanent home in the splendid building that had been erected to take the place of the portable structure.
In bringing to the temple the sacred ark containing the two tables of stone on which were written by the finger of God the precepts of the Decalogue, I had followed the example of my father David.
Every six paces I sacrificed. With singing and with music and with great ceremony, “the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place.” Verse 7.
As they came out of the inner sanctuary, they took the positions assigned them. The singers—Levites arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps—stood at the east end of the altar, and with them a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets. See Verse 12.
“It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endures forever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.” Verses 13, 14.
Realizing the significance of this cloud, I Solomon declared: “The LORD said He would dwell in the dark cloud.
2Ch 6:2 I have surely built You an exalted house, And a place for You to dwell in forever.” “The LORD said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You an exalted house, And a place for You to dwell in forever.”
Psa 99:1 The LORD reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved! Psa 99:2 The LORD is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples. Psa 99:3 Let them praise Your great and awesome name—He is holy. Psa 99:4 The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. Psa 99:5 Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His footstool—He is holy.
“In the midst of the court” of the temple had been erected a platform upon this I stood and with uplifted hands blessed the vast multitude before me.
In the midst of the court; I knelt down on my knees before all the assembly of Israel, and spread out my hands toward heaven.
2Ch 6:14 and he said: “LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or on earth like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts.
2Ch 6:15 You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day.
2Ch 6:16 Therefore, LORD God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk in My law as you have walked before Me.’
2Ch 6:17 And now, O LORD God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David. 2Ch 6:18 “But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! 2Ch 6:19 Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You: 2Ch 6:20 that Your eyes may be open toward this temple day and night, toward the place where You said You would put Your name, that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. 2Ch 6:21 And may You hear the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive.
Solomon’s beautiful prayer.