2 Chronicles 8:1-18; 1 Kings 9:15-10:13; 2 Chronicles 9:1-12; 1 Kings 10:14-29; 2 Chronicles 9:13-28; 2 Chronicles 1:14-17
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Today in Second Chronicles chapter 8 we learn that Solomon married the Egyptian Pharaoh's daughter, which was not pleasing to God and was contrary to God's Law of not marrying foreigners (in large part because they worshiped foreign gods) as you'll recall from Deuteronomy 7:3-4. The Chronicler overall paints a very rosy portrait of both David and Solomon, ignoring many aspects of their sins that we read about in Samuel and Kings. But, it's interesting the Chronicler mentioned this marriage. Solomon married likely for a military alliance with Egypt. Solomon's marrying of foreign wives ultimately led to his turning his heart away from God, as we read in 1 Kings 11:1-11. Interestingly, we see that Solomon won't allow his Egyptian wife to live in David's palace in verse 11: "Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh's daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. He said, "My wife must not live in King David's palace, for the Ark of the LORD has been there, and it is holy ground."" And so he builds her a brand new palace! Think Solomon knew something was amiss with this situation before God if he wouldn't let his Egyptian wife live in David's palace? What about us in our lives today - when we sin, do we try to "cover it up" or "build a pretty palace" to maybe try to distract ourselves or God from our sin? Should we instead just simply confess our sin to God and repent?
At the very end of Second Chronicles chapter 8 today we read these interesting verses 17-18: "Later Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Elath, ports in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea. Hiram sent him ships commanded by his own officers and manned by experienced crews of sailors. These ships sailed to the land of Ophir with Solomon's men and brought back to Solomon almost seventeen tons of gold." You will see the port of Elath in the 2nd map below. Then, the big question I had today was where is Ophir? Well, it turns out that Ophir was likely in the land of "Sheba" from whence Queen Sheba comes to visit Solomon! So, it is interesting to see how these last 2 verses in chapter 8 lead us to Second Chronicles chapter 9 today where we read about the Queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon. Below is about the best map I could find with the land of Sheba, and Ophir, in comparison to Israel. The Queen obviously traveled quite a distance in those days to visit Solomon! And I think we can now understand how she learned of Solomon - he built a fleet of ships and sailed them to her land!
In Second Chronicles chapter 9 we read about Solomon's wealth and splendor. I think it is interesting for us to remember that Solomon likely writes the book of Ecclesiastes, which we will read later this year. Ecclesiastes wisely teaches us that living life for one's own pleasure and for riches is meaningless - but only living for God makes life worthwhile. I thought about Ecclesiastes when reading about all of Solomon's wealth today - and realizing that it would later all by destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar and his army from Babylon. Solomon's wealth was yes, impressive. But Solomon's sins and the sins of his descendants eventually took all of it away. Let us never forget that sin kills... Let us never forget that the wages of sin are death. Today in Verses 22 through 24 we read - "So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king in all the earth. Kings from every nation came to visit him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. Year after year, everyone who came to visit brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules." Below is a painting of Solomon in all of his splendor in "The Queen of Sheba before Solomon" by Nicolas Knupfer, c. 1640:
I do think map's can often give us a great overview / understanding of what we're reading about in the Bible. I think now is a good time to show a good map of Solomon's Kingdom compared to modern day Israel, below. Take a few minutes to really study this map and reflect upon places you recognize from today's readings and previous day's readings:
Worship God: Today's readings in First Kings reminded me of Abandon's song "Feel it in your Heart:"
Do you feel it in your heart? Click here to have your heart filled!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness." 1 Kings 10:9 (NIV)
Prayer Point: Pray that you maintain justice and righteousness in all areas in your life that you influence.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!