The Lord had sworn to David that one of his descendants would be on the throne of Israel forever (2 Sam 7:12-16). The scenes in 1 Kings 3-6 not only display the reality of the Lord’s faithfulness but also His jealous desire to reside with His people in the temple, whose construction was the pinnacle of Solomon’s rule.
When Solomon was at Gibeon, the Lord appeared to him with a profound statement, “Ask. What should I give you?” (1 Kgs 3:5). Solomon asked for wisdom to judge the great nation of God’s people, Israel (1 Kgs 3:8-9). The Lord was pleased. He endowed Solomon with wisdom for the task and said, “In addition, I will give you what you did not ask for: both riches and honor, so that no man in any kingdom will be your equal during your entire life” (1 Kgs 3:13). The initial manifestations of these blessings are recorded in 1 Kings 3-4. Solomon judged wisely between the women fighting over a baby (1 Kgs 3:16-28) and assembled a great team of officials and servants (1 Kgs 4:1-19). “People came from everywhere,” the author noted, “sent by every king on earth who had heard of his wisdom, to listen to Solomon’s wisdom” (1 Kgs 4:34; 1 Kgs 10:1-13).
Hiram king of Tyre, who had been a friend of David, was one of the kings who sent emissaries to visit Solomon. When Hiram discovered Solomon’s plan to build a temple for the Lord, he rejoiced and provided Solomon with the necessary materials and labor for constructing the temple. The Lord’s presence in the temple was so magnificent that the Psalmist said, “How lovely is Your dwelling place, LORD of Hosts. I long and yearn for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God…Better a day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (Ps 84:1-2, 10; see Ps 87:1-2).
The construction of Solomon’s temple, like so many scenes in the Old Testament, casts a long shadow into the New Testament. The Lord said to Solomon, “As for this temple you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My ordinances, and keep all My commandments by walking in them, I will fulfill My promises to you, which I made to your father David. I will live among the Israelites and not abandon My people Israel” (1 Kgs 6:12-13). Solomon did not, and his descendants did not; therefore, the Lord abandoned His people to foreign invaders (2 Kings 17, 24). The promise to Solomon was ultimately fulfilled in the inauguration of the new covenant in Jesus Christ.
(1) John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).
(2) Stephen, at the cost of his life, quoted Isa 66:1-2, saying, “It was Solomon who built Him a house. However, the Most High does not dwell in sanctuaries made with hands, as the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth My footstool. What sort of house will you build for Me? says the Lord, or what is My resting place? Did not My hand make all these things?” (Acts 7:47-50).
(3) Paul told the Corinthians, “Don’t you know that you are God’s sanctuary and that the Spirit of God lives in you? If anyone ruins God’s sanctuary, God will ruin him; for God’s sanctuary is holy, and that is what you are” (1 Cor 3:16-17) and “For we are the sanctuary of the living God, as God said: ‘I will dwell among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people’” (2 Cor 6:16).
(4) Toward the conclusion of John’s visions in Revelation, he saw the New Jerusalem and heard a voice say to him, “Look! God’s dwelling is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev 21:3).