G. As Christians we need to be able to understand our culture. Our youth need to be taught to read literature and interpret popular culture, critiquing it from a Christian perspective.
1. As we dwell in what is called more and more, a Post-Christian age, a secular culture will not accept anything less from us.
But let us return to the ancient world.
A. This account of Solomon and Sheba was recorded twice, many years after the event.
B. The text of 1 Kings was probably written during the middle of the Babylonian exile.
C. The text of I Chronicles was written when the exile ended and the Persians still ruled and occupied Palestine.
D. 1 Kings is attempt to explain why the Assyrians and Babylonians were allowed to invade the land and deport people.
E. The books of Chronicles was written to encourage the people that were enduring the occupation of the land by the Persians; as well as those people that had returned from the deportation.
1. Dr. A. T. Pierson: “While much contained in the Books of Kings is repeated or restated in the Chronicles, much is omitted because it was foreign to the author's purpose. But whatever bears on the temple, its preservation and restoration, the purity of its worship, the regularity and orderliness of its services; whatever makes idolatrous rites or relics hateful, or lifts God to His true throne in the hearts of the people, is here emphasized.”
F. So it is in chapter 10 of 1 Kings that will be Solomon's final chapter of glory, the last favorable chapter written about his life.
G. In chapter 11 the decline of Solomon will begin, the author using the person of Solomon to help explain why Babylon and Assyria afflicted Israel and Judah. We will look into this more next week.
1. We are taught that pomp and flashiness does not guarantee a healthy spirituality.
But for the reader of the Chronicles there is encouragement in the words of the Queen.
A. She says, “Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, to set you on His throne, to be the king, for the LORD your God, because your God loved Israel, to establish them forever. Therefore, He made you king over them to do justice and righteousness.”
1. Benson: Thus she tacitly admonishes Solomon that he was not made king that he might live in ease, and pleasure, and splendor, but for the good of his people. Such views even the wise heathen had, considering civil government as appointed of God, not for the emolument or aggrandizement of the governor, but for the good of society. Thus Aristotle, in a letter to Alexander, exhorts him to keep in mind, that his kingdom was given him by God for the sake of mankind, that he might do them good, and not tyrannize over them.
B. The scholar Dillard writes that the key phrase in the Queen's statement is “His throne”.
1. This is not Solomon's throne.
2. God was always the true ruler of Israel.
C. Even though the nation was occupied by the Persians, even though the line of David was not currently in power, Israel had a king on the throne, it's Real King on the throne.
D. Later in history Israel's true king would be incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth.
E. 2 Chronicles 9:28 states that Solomon owned horseflesh that had been imported from Egypt.
1. But Israel's true king would first be transported during his infancy and later would ride
to his crucifixion, on the donkey, a humble beast of burden.
2. Also in this text we find that Solomon recieves almug wood from King Hiram.
a. With the wood we read that he made steps for the house of the LORD. Solomon may
have made steps, but Jesus, the real king, of whom Solomon is only a proto-type,
would be hung on wood, on the “tree” for the forgiveness of our sins. Christ's
finished work would in turn allow us to have steps to approach the throne of grace.
F. Thomas Coke: “Solomon appears in the zenith of his grandeur. Wealth flowing in upon him like a river; surrounding potentates courting his favor with the most noble presents, and eager to hear his wisdom; and his magnificence, palaces, guards, throne, &c. all tended to excite the admiration of his neighbors, and the reverence of his subjects. Note; (1.) Great was the glory of Solomon; but our Prince of Peace shines with glory infinitely more transcendent: before his throne all human magnificence vanishes, as the stars lose their luster before the meridian sun. (2.) It will be our happiness as well as duty to pay our grateful homage at his feet; and offer, not the gold of Arabia, but that more valuable present, our bodies, souls, and spirits, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service.”