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1. The peace and prosperity of Solomon's reign were well adapted to the prosecution of that work which David had designed, but which was to be accomplished by his success
The king, therefore, took advantage of the time, and made preparations for building the house of the Lord. In the first place, he sent messengers to Hiram, king of Tyre, who had been the friend of his father, informing him of his intentions, and requesting from him a supply of cedar and fir. This was readily and cheerfully bestowed, and the two kings entered into a covenant of perpetual peace and friendship. Solomon then levied thirty thousand workmen, and arranged them in three companies of ten thousand each, giving to Adoniram, one of his officers, the oversight and command of the whole.
2. These laborers were to be employed, with the servants of Hiram, in Mount Lebanon ; but only one company was sent out at a time, which remained for a month, and then returned home, and was succeeded by another. In carrying on the work, there were, also, seventy thousand whose duty it was to bear burdens, and eighty thousand who were employed as hewers of stone in the mountains. The number of overseers amounted to thirty-three thousand. This magnificent undertaking was commenced in the fourth
of Solomon's reign, four hundred and forty years from the time of the settlement of the Israelites in the land of Canaan ; and the building was completed, in all its parts, in seven years, during which, the sound of axe, or hammer, or any tool of iron, was not heard upon it, the timber being all made ready in the forest, and the stones in the quarries.
3. Solomon, also, built for himself two very superb and costly palaces, together with a house of equal beauty and splendor for the queen. In completing the temple, a distinguished artisan from Tyre, by the name of Hiram, had been employed, who cast two pillars of brass, each eighteen cubits in height, upon which were raised chapiters, adorned with lily work, net work, and pomegranates. These pillars were
What in Solomon's reign was well suited to the building of the temple ?-Who assisted Solomon in building the temple ?-How many persons were employed in the building of the temple ?-How long time was spent in it ?
placed at the entrance of the porch, one upon the right hand and the other upon the left.
4. Hiram, also, made all the vessels and instruments which were to be used in the services of the sanctuary ; and thus the building became ready for the devotions and offerings of the people. Solomon then caused the ark to be removed to the place which he had prepared for it in the temple, upon which the glory of the Lord filled the house, and the king proceeded to the dedication in a solemn and fervent prayer
, in which he implored the divine favor upon the work of his hands, and the services to which it was appropriated. He concluded with a blessing which he pronounced upon the congregation ; and after offering a vast number of sacrifices, and keeping a feast to the Lord seven days, he dismissed the people, who returned to their habitations, rejoicing in the goodness of God, and praising the merits of their king.
5. Not long after the dedication of the temple, the Lord appeared a second time to Solomon, and told him that he had heard and accepted his prayer and supplication, and that his favor should for ever rest upon the house which had been built. He declared, moreover, that the continuance of the government in the family of David would be dependent
upon the constancy and fidelity with which the divine laws were observed. At the expiration of twenty years, probably, from the time of Solomon's coronation, a present was made by him to Hiram, king of Tyre, of certain cities, in return for his assistance in building the temple, with which the latter was not well pleased ; wherefore, that part of the country was called Cabul, a name denoting dissatisfaction. Solomon then applied himself to the building, repairing, and fortifying of various towns within his dominions ; engaging, also, extensively in commerce, and sending his ships to Ophir for gold.
6. Among the persons who came from distant parts to witness the glory, and to be edified with the wisdom of Solomon, was the queen of Sheba, who resolved to make trial of his understanding by proposing for his solution many difficult questions upon various subjects. The answers of the king not only gave satisfaction to her mind, but filled her
What remuneration did Solomon mako Hiram for his aid in build ing the temple?
with astonishment and admiration; and having made him a valuable present of gold and spices, she returned to her own country, with the most exalted opinion of his knowledge and power. With the fame of Solomon, his riches also increased ; for his vessels brought him an abundance of gold, insomuch that it was applied to the most common uses; silver being held in no estimation. In short, the richest gifts poured in upon him from every country ; and to obtain bis. friendship, and to see his face, was the prevailing ambition of the princes and philosophers of the age.
7. But such is the imperfection of the human character, that even Solomon, surrounded as he was with every blessing, and exalted to the highest summit of earthly glory, forsook, at last, the Lord, his benefactor, and went after the gods of the heathen. The close of his life was disgraced by idolaI try, to which he was turned by the temptations and artifices of his wives. Thus he provoked the anger of the Almighty, who declared to him; that, as a punishment for his wickedness, the government should, in part, be taken away from his family.
8. In addition to this, enemies were raised up against him, and the remainder of his days was clouded with care and sorrow. Among his foes, was one by the name of Jeroboam, who was the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon. This man had received from the prophet Ahijah, an intimation that he was destined to the throne; in consequence of which, he attempted to alienate the affections of the people from their sovereign. When the king became acquainted with what had taken place, he concerted a plan to destroy Jeroboam, but the latter prevented its execution by fleeing into Egypt, where he remained till the death of Solomon, which happened soon after. He died in the fifty-eighth year of his age, having reigned forty years, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father, in the city of David.
REVOLT OF THE TEN TRIBES,
1. After the death of Solomon, the people assembled at Shechem, to make his son Rehoboam king. They had pre
Who'succeeded Solomon ?
viously sent to Egypt for Jeroboam, who had returned and was present with them upon the occasion. Before proceeding to the acknowledgment and anointing of the son of Solomon, they determined to ascertain whether he was disposed to release them from the burdens under which they had suffered in the former reign; and to this end, they sent to him a deputation, with Jeroboam at the head of it, to obtain from him a promise that, on his advancement to the throne, he would redress their grievances. Rehoboam immediately summoned a council of old experienced men, to whom he communicated the message he had received, and requested their opinion in regard to the answer which he ought to give. They advised him, without hesitation, to comply with the wishes of the people; but instead of regarding their direction, he referred the subject to the determination of some of his young and thoughtless companions.
2 By these he was told to pay no respect to the complaints or feelings of the people ; but to state to their messengers, that so far from lessening the evils which they represented, he would greatly increase them. This advice, which was agreeable to his own sentiments, he imprudently followed ; in consequence of which, ten tribes immediately revolted from the house of David, and made Jeroboam their king. The nation thus became divided into two parts, of which the one was designated by the name of Israel, and the other by that of Judah. The tribe of Judah retained the adherence of the Benjamites, but there were comparatively so few of the latter, that both families were included under one general appellation.
3. Rehoboam, upon this unexpected defection, sent Adoram, who was over the tribute, to collect from the Israelites their accustomed taxes ; but the enraged multitude stoned him to death. He then hastened with all speed up to Jerusalem, where he assembled a large force of the men of Judah and Benjamin, and prepared to give battle to Jeroboam, that he might thus bring back the rebel tribes to their allegiance. His intentions were, however, frustrated ; for the word of the Lord came to him by the prophet Shemaiah, for
What caused the Ten Tribes of Israel to revolt from Judah ?-Who became king of Israel I-Which Tribe continued to adhere to Judah?
-What of importance kappened to Jerusalem in the reign of Rehoboam?