Tenth in the Solomon Series
Solomon was born to build. His father charged him: Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do [it]. (1 Ch 28:10)
Most importantly he built the temple that replaced the foldable tabernacle in the life of Israel's worship of God, but he also built: his own palace, a palace for his Egyptian wife, cities, fenced cities, store cities, chariot and horsemen cities (see 2 Ch 8:1-6). He built houses and their settings and surroundings — he planted vineyards, made gardens and orchards, made pools of water for his trees. (Ec 2:4-6)
His predisposition for building is seen in his writing style. In the Proverbs we see a penchant for measuring and balancing thought with thought, to display just the right insight, or to make us consider what is being taught — the Lord's angle.
Even in the Song of Solomon, he speaks about building a chariot, and the description of his beloved is ticked off in a listing, orderly even though passionately observed. One aspect, her neck, reminds Solomon of a tower: Thy neck [is] like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. (Sng 4:4). Only a builder could draw such a comparison and consider it a praise!
The beloved is brought to a banqueting house, and the couple is within in a city in some scenes, even amidst all the imagery of nature in their song. Solomon loved buildings.
The design for the construction of the temple was given by the Holy Spirit to David, and Solomon could have related these instructions to a foreman, but chose to be his own foreman. Throughout the narrative of the progress of the construction, the Bible says he was hands on:
- Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem (2Ch 3:1a)
- he overlaid it (the porch) within with pure gold. (vs 4b)
- And the greater house he cieled with fir tree (vs 5a)
- he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty (vs 6a)
- He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof, and the doors thereof, with gold (vs 7a)
There is a continuous telling of Solomon's direct involvement:
- And he made the vail [of] blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon. (vs 14)
- And he reared up the pillars before the temple (vs 17a)
- he made an altar of brass (2 Ch 4:1a)
- he made a molten sea (vs 2a)
- He made also ten lavers (vs 6a)
- And he made ten candlesticks of gold (vs 7a)
- He made also ten tables (vs 8a)
- he made the court of the priests, and the great court (vs 9a)
We understand he did not build or make these things alone or without many foremen, yet he speaks of what his hands wrought (Ecc 2:11). His oversight was personal; it was management by walking around, a popular business method; he was the builder.
Today, on the worldwide web, many references are made to the desire of the Masons, a cultish organization and religion, to rebuild Solomon's temple. As well there are many references to a visible portion of the western wall of the temple that was built to replace Solomon's temple, known as the Wailing Wall. Many Jews greatly desire their temple's restoration. And the temple holds fascination for Christians. Many believe it will be rebuilt again to accommodate the Antichrist at the end of days.
The temple is not the focus of our Solomon study. Instead, we want to know how this favored master builder and type of Christ became dark in his desires and pursuits. Without reading anything into Scripture, we want consider Solomon's ventures as they relate to our own need for warning and instruction. We will look at his trajectory to glory and follow the path of the falling star to the place where he lamented the meaninglessness of all he had built.