From 2 Chronicles 9-12
Solomon has taken Pharaoh’s daughter as his wife. I said a few days back this is a promise of future trouble. Today we learn about another influence that can lead people astray.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
13 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, 14 besides that which the explorers and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the land brought gold and silver to Solomon. (2 Chr 9:13–14)
Solomon amassed vast amounts of wealth. In part the wealth was a sign of the LORD’s favour and blessing. It is not always so, but it can be. Having too much wealth is also a temptation that can lead to idolatry, sin and death.
15 King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels of beaten gold went into each shield. 16 And he made 300 shields of beaten gold; 300 shekels of gold went into each shield; and the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. (2 Chr 9:15–16)
The ‘House of the Forest of Lebanon’ is the exotic name for Solomon’s palace in Jerusalem, adjacent to the temple, given this designation because of the amount of Lebanese cedar used in its construction. (Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.) Gold is fairly heavy and its soft. Im not sure they would have used these in war. More likely the golden shields were used for decoration around the house.
17 The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with pure gold. 18 The throne had six steps and a footstool of gold, which were attached to the throne, and on each side of the seat were armrests and two lions standing beside the armrests, 19 while twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps. Nothing like it was ever made for any kingdom. (2 Chr 9:17–19)
The throne seems designed more for communicating his authority that it does for making him comfortable. It has a footstool. A place to rest his feet. A place where people come before him and acknowledge him as king. Armrests with lions. Lions communicate power and authority. There are twelve, perhaps representing the twelve tribes of Israel and their role over the earth.
20 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. Silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon. 21 For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram. Once every three years the ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. 22 Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. (2 Chr 9:20–22)
Even his drinking vessels were made of gold. How easy it would be for Solomon to show off his wealth to visitors. How easy to boast of his riches (e.g. 2 Ki 20.12-13). But these will be taken away from the kingdom and used to boast of another kings conquests (Dan 5.2).
Afterwards Solomon will pass away and Rehoboam his son will take reign in his place. As you may remember Rehoboam tried to impose a heavy and cruel burden on the people of Israel. When he did, they rebelled and the kingdom split into Judah and Israel.
Jeroboam, the king of Israel, falls into idolatry because he does not want his people to worship at the temple. So the remaining priests and levites in Israel’s cities leave for Judah.
Rehoboam did evil in the sight of the LORD, he did not seek him and abandoned his law. His people follow suit. How quickly things can change. In response the LORD sends the Egyptians as punishment. Rehoboam and Judah humble themselves before the LORD. The LORD’s wrath turned but they still remained under Egyptian rule. Rehoboam eventually passes away and his son Abijah reigns in his place.
Story of Israel
Chronicles does not depict Solomon falling away from the LORD. But we know he does from the book of Kings. The reason for his falling away though is not assigned with his wealth. Rather his foreign wives turned his heart away from the LORD (1 Ki 11.1-11). The scriptures don’t describe Solomon having a problem with wealth as an idol. The following proverb is probably his;
4 Do not toil to acquire wealth;
be discerning enough to desist.
5 When your eyes light on it, it is gone,
for suddenly it sprouts wings,
flying like an eagle toward heaven. (Prov 23.4-5)
You cannot serve God and money. There were some in Israel who had this problem. Their pursuit of wealth led them to dishonest gain.
4 Hear this, you who trample on the needy
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
5 saying, “When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
6 that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals
and sell the chaff of the wheat?”
7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
8 Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and everyone mourn who dwells in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?” (Amos 8:4–8)
You cannot serve God and money.
Story of Jesus
Jesus takes the same stance against turning wealth into an idol. People are meant to serve the LORD only, to have a different understanding of what true wealth is.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Mt 6:19–24)
You cannot serve God and money. Serve the LORD. He is our treasure. Give him your heart.
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