The Review and Herald

1411/1902

December 28, 1905

Lessons From the Life of Solomon—No. 15

“He That Soweth Iniquity Shall Reap Vanity”

EGW

One of the most powerful influences that led to Solomon's apostasy, was the pride of prosperity. As wealth and worldly honor came to him, he at first remained humble, but after a time he began to lose sight of the Source of his unparalleled prosperity. This led to a wrong use of the talents of wealth and of influence. The gifts of heaven were perverted for selfish purposes. RH December 28, 1905, par. 1

Solomon's profligacy was accompanied by extravagance. For his first wife, Pharaoh's daughter, he built a magnificent palace “of costly stones ... within and without, even from the foundation unto the coping.” “Solomon was building his own house thirteen years.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 2

“The House of the Forest of Lebanon”

“He built also [in Jerusalem] the house of the forest of Lebanon; the length thereof was an hundred cubits, and the breadth thereof fifty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits, upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars.... And there were windows in three rows, and light was against light in three ranks.... He made a porch of pillars; the length thereof was fifty cubits, and the breadth thereof thirty cubits.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 3

“King Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target.” “And three hundred shields made he of beaten gold; three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 4

“All the drinking vessels of King Solomon were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver; it was not anything accounted of in the days of Solomon.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 5

God's money, which should have been held in sacred trust for the benefit of the worthy poor, and for national improvements of permanent value, was selfishly absorbed in the king's ambitious projects. The suffering ones in Israel were not given proper food and clothing and shelter. In his proud heart the king cherished the desire to excel all other earthly kings in the magnificence of his court. RH December 28, 1905, par. 6

Solomon's Throne

“He made a porch for the throne where he might judge, even the porch of judgment: and it was covered with cedar from one side of the floor to the other.” “Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 7

Military Equipment

A striking illustration of the blinding influence of sin is seen in Solomon's disregard of the plain command of the Lord that the king of Israel should not “multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses.” The record declares: “Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt.” “They brought unto Solomon horses ... out of all lands.” “And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots... Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 8

In the matter of military equipment, Solomon chose to follow unsanctified human judgment in the place of following the word of God. “A chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver [over three hundred dollars], and an horse for an hundred and fifty [over seventy-five dollars].” “Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 9

“The king had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 10

A Record of Folly

The pride of prosperity brought separation from God. From the joy of divine communion Solomon turned to find satisfaction in the pleasures of sense. A word-picture portraying this experience is given, in the language of Solomon himself, in the book of Ecclesiastes. “I communed with mine own heart,” he confesses, “saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me.... And I gave my heart to know... madness and folly.” “I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 11

“I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly.... I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards; ... I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem.... And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor.... RH December 28, 1905, par. 12

“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit.... I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.... Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me.... I hated life.... Yea, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the sun.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 13

The National Revenues

The enormous expense of establishing and maintaining a court of unrivaled splendor and Oriental profligacy, was met in part by the annual tribute of kings, and by the rich treasures brought from the East, from Tarshish, and from the land of Ophir, by the king's sea-going vessels sailing from Ezion-geber, and from Eloth, “at the seaside in the land of Edom.” Hiram “sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to King Solomon.” “And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 14

“The king's ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 15

“The weight of the gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold; besides that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.” RH December 28, 1905, par. 16

Even this enormous revenue did not prove sufficient to meet the lavish expenditures of the king and his court. And now pride, ambition, prodigality, and indulgence bore fruit in cruelty and exaction. The conscientious, considerate spirit that had actuated Solomon in all his dealings with his people during his early reign, was now sadly changed. From the wisest and most merciful of rulers, he degenerated into a tyrant. Once the compassionate, God-fearing guardian of the people, he became oppressive and despotic. His passion for extravagant display led him to impose great burdens on the people. Tax after tax was levied on them, that means might be forthcoming to support the luxurious court. RH December 28, 1905, par. 17

The people began to murmur and complain. The respect and admiration they once cherished for their king was changed into disaffection and abhorrence. RH December 28, 1905, par. 18

National Apostasy

Solomon's alliance with heathen nations was followed by evils which led many of the children of Israel to violate the law of God. Multitudes became contaminated with the principles and practises of the heathen. Polygamy was introduced into Palestine. The pure religious service instituted by God was replaced by idolatry of the darkest hue. Human sacrifices were offered to idols; and the licentious rites practised by the heathen were countenanced. RH December 28, 1905, par. 19

In the rejection of the ways of God for the ways of men, the downfall of Israel began. Thus also it continued, until the Jewish people became a prey to the very nations whose practices they had chosen to follow. RH December 28, 1905, par. 20