Our reading begins today with 1 Kings 4. After the record of Solomon’s officials (4:1-19), we read of the prosperity of Israel under Solomon. Note that the people of Israel were “as many as the sand by the sea” (v. 20). This is a fulfillment of what God promised Abraham (see Gen 22:17). The kingdom expanded under Solomon as far north as the Euphrates River, as far southwest as the border of Egypt. This is in fulfillment to what God promised Abraham (Gen 15:18). We see in verses 22-28 that God indeed blessed Solomon according to His promise (3:13), and in verses 29-34 that He granted Solomon the wisdom he desired (3:9, 12).
In chapter 5 we see that Hiram honored David by honoring Solomon (5:1). He agrees to provide the lumber Solomon would need for the Temple (vv. 6-10), and Solomon provided for him and his family (v. 11). This alliance is a credit to Solomon’s great wisdom (v. 12). In verses 13-15, we are told that Solomon forced men of Israel into labor for the building of the Temple. This is likely the impetus for the kingdom’s divide when the people ask his son Rehoboam to “lighten the hard service” Solomon put them to (see 12:4).
In chapter 6, Solomon begins the building of the Temple (6:1). Note that the writer gives us a time stamp in relation to the Exodus. The Temple is built in similar proportions to the Tabernacle (though about twice as large – v. 2). As he is building, God appears to Solomon and again speaks of the blessings being conditioned on Solomon’s obedience (vv. 11-13 – see 3:14). Note the extravagance of the Temple as described here. The cherubim evoke images of heaven (vv. 23-28). The palm trees and flowers bring to mind the Garden of Eden (note that there are cherubim there, too – see Ezek 28:13-14). It took seven years for the building of the Temple (vv. 37-38).
Having completed the Temple, Solomon now turns his attention to his palace (7:1). It took longer to build the palace which was considerably larger than the Temple (v. 2). Notice the extravagance of the palace. Then we are given a description of the Temple furnishings. Note the similar description of the bronze worker to Bezalel whom God called to build the Tabernacle (v. 14 – see Ex 31:2-3). In verses 48-50 we see that Solomon makes anew the furnishings used in the daily sacrifices and ministry unto God..
We see in these chapters a meticulous recounting of all that was involved in the building and furnishing of the Temple. The books of Kings were likely written during the Babylonian captivity. We see that this shows the detailed records that were kept by Israel, likely the same records that the Chronicler used to write after the return from exile. God works in history, even through the details.