This set of chapters takes the time to walk us through the initial the process of getting materials for both the Temple and Solomon’s house (and that of his new wife), coordinating construction of the building and items to go in the building, bringing in the ark, the grand opening ceremony, and an accouting of the forced labor that was used to build it. There’s also a bit of a warning from God to Solomon in the last chapter.
Word is starting to get out that Solomon is the king now and it works out well for him. He wants to finally build the house for God that his father had promised to build but that God had even told him that it would be a son that He would give him to carry out the request. We even get some insight into the logistics, which told us that it was mostly erected by forced labor, aka slaves like they had been once.
Under Solomon’s leadership, the house of God is completed in seven years. This may sound like a long time to us now, but they had to dig the stone out of the quarry in this time too, it’s not like he could just order it from Amazon and have everything he needed in three days.
The chapter also has a detailed description of what it looked like.
He had his own house built and one for his new wife, Pharaoh’s daughter in the same way. There’s even a part where it goes on about how costly all the stone were which is followed by all the things that Solomon had commissioned Hiram to make of bronze and gold. Everything was brought into the house of God along with the stuff that David had previously dedicated to God.
The ark of the covenant is now brought into the Temple. This is the first time it’s referred to as the Temple, too. First Solomon gives a blessing to God and then delivers a beautiful dedication for the Temple. There is an interesting inclusion of a foreigner who comes to the Temple to find God and for God to hear them. It’s followed by a benediction and sacrifices.
God “appears to Solomon” and gives him a message. He reiterates that for as long as Solomon and his sons after him continue to walk with Him, they will continue to reign in Israel, but if they turn their backs on God and don’t do what they’re supposed to do, He will leave from their presence and “this house will become a heap of ruins”.
I find a strange comfort in knowing that God always warns you about doing the thing he knows you’re going to do.
Then in the fifteen verse, there’s this:
And this is the account of the forced labor ….
Which then goes on to do just that. In that part of the chapter, it basically said that this was the point where anyone living in the lands that belonged to Israel that were from the cities and towns that weren’t burnt to the ground back in Joshua were taken as slaves at this point and remained so until some time after this book was written.