Does it matter that Solomon spent almost twice as long building his own palace as he did the Temple? I don’t really know. I mean, he made an awesome Temple that displayed worship in materials and craftsmanship. I can’t remember if the investment in the palace is condemned later, but it isn’t in this passage. Yes, I’m pretty sure that the kings weren’t supposed to amass great wealth, which he certainly seems to be doing, so there’s that. And the back to back mentioning of the time spent seems… conspicuous. So I’m inclined to think that it is at least not great.
I’m a little more concerned with the governors each required to ‘feed’ the king for a month out of the year. I mean, I get that feeding the king is a bit more than just feeding the king, it’s providing for the entire massive household. All his wives, concubines, children, and all the servants that supported them. So don’t get me wrong, I get that running the palace isn’t cheap, but pretty sure whatever tax these guys have to pull to amass the wealth Solomon is accruing is significant.
More concerning, these governors don’t correspond to the tribes? That seems a bit iffy. Is Solomon basically breaking them up? At the very least he seems to be downplaying the significance of their divisions. From a political standpoint, I can see the wisdom in that. How much division and strife was the result of tribal conflict? How many threats of civil war can we just bet are going to follow tribal lines? Making things regional rather than tribal makes sense as a strategy for unification.
I’m just not sure it’s appropriate? My knee jerk response is: God made promises regarding inheritance to the tribes? Blessings and prophecies were made over the tribes? Inheritance is a primary theme of the Scripture. Jubilee returns inheritance to the family it belongs to regardless of how far out it’s been sold. The kinsman redeemer is a practice of inheritance. Christ restores our inheritance. The lineage of Israel is key, and Solomon…
Okay. He isn’t eliminating the tribes or anything. This is just his taxation scheme. I may be reading way to much into it. But it feels icky. It feels more worldly wise than Godly wise. Kind of like the marriages of alliance that have already begun and will only continue.
All this prosperity. Yeah, it means the country is doing well, but it all seems a little too centered on Solomon. He built the Temple. He built an amazing Temple. But look at everything he has! Look at all he’s done! All he’s built!
It’s all… just slightly off centered. These chapters don’t read like something’s wrong, exactly, or at least not glaringly. They just feel hollow. Misdirected. Like the focus is a little too shallow.
Anyway, there’s wise stewardship, and then there’s faithful stewardship. How’s yours looking?