Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 9

Solomon forces the Canaanites to work for him

1 Kings 9:15

Solomon gave work to the people in Israel who did not belong to that nation. We have already seen a reference to them in 1 Kings 5:15-16 (compare 2 Chronicles 2:17-18). They first worked on the temple (the house of God). Then Solomon directed them to work on the construction of his palace (7:1-12).

Jerusalem had become much larger during Solomon’s rule. For example, the temple area was outside of the walls that existed at the time of David. The walls of a city were extremely important for the defence of that city. They needed to surround the city, to protect it from any enemy who might attack. So, Solomon saw that it was necessary to extend the city’s walls.

Solomon directed those workers to build the new walls for the city. They also built new walls for the existing cities at Megiddo, in central Israel, and Hazor, in the north. Hazor had formerly been the capital city of Jabin, an extremely powerful king who was an enemy of Israel (Judges 4:2-3). Now that Solomon had gained control over it, it became an important city in Israel.

The families of these workers had belonged to the nations that formerly controlled Canaan. Canaan was the original name of the country that became Israel; its people were called Canaanites. So, Solomon was directing them to work for him on cities such as Hazor and Gezer, which their nations originally built. Now those cities belonged to Israel – and Solomon directed those people to work in a way that supported Israel’s government.

Next part: Gezer: the wedding gift for Pharaoh's daughter (1 Kings 9:16)


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