Ninth in the Solomon Series
In the course of reading what others have written about Solomon, I have found that some hate him for his sins. One commentator, James Burton Coffman, has much criticism of Solomon and all his work, stating, for example, that Solomon's design of the cherubim was all wrong:
In this is seen Solomon's utter disregard of the pattern which God gave Moses for the Tabernacle. It will be recalled that in those heavenly instructions, the cherubim were miniatures, designed as a decoration for the covering of Ark of the Covenant; but here they were made large enough to fill up the entire breadth of the Holy of Holies half way to the ceiling. It is perfectly clear to any unbiased observer that Solomon was doing his own thing here and not the will of God. (ref)
Yet, we see in 1 Chronicles 28:18-20 that David gave Solomon specific guidance on how to construct all aspects of the temple. He gave him…the weight of the refined gold for the altar of incense. He also gave him the plan for the chariot, that is, the cherubim of gold that spread their wings and shelter the ark of the covenant of the LORD. "All this," David said, "I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan." David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished."
Would Solomon have chosen a different measure of gold or dimension for the cherubim than his father instructed "in writing from the hand of God"? If he had taken liberties with David's design instructions, would the Lord have approved of his work by filling the temple in the form of a cloud, to show himself present at its dedication?
Another commentary on studylight.org by Adam Clarke accuses: "Solomon had many advantages, and no man ever made a worse use of them." That must be an overstatement!
As we begin our study of Solomon's reign and legacy, it is good to know that Nathan the prophet spoke these words of God to David concerning his son, Solomon, "I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took [it] from Saul, whom I put away before thee." (2Sa 7:15, 16)
If God did not take his mercy from Solomon, should we?