Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 9

Solomon controls people from Israel and from other nations

1 Kings 9:20-23

Solomon believed that, for his country to remain peaceful, he needed a very strong army. Then other rulers would want to accept his offer of peace, rather than to make war against him.

Many people lived in Israel who did not belong to the families of Israel. Their families had belonged to the nations that formerly controlled Canaan. (Canaan was the old name of the country that became Israel).

David had permitted such people to fight for him and even to gain authority in Israel’s army (2 Samuel 23:39). However, Solomon dealt with them differently. The people from these nations had often attacked Israel’s people in the past. So, Solomon did not want them to learn to fight. Instead, they became his workmen and they did hard, physical tasks. They were not free to live where they chose; they could not choose the kind of work that they wanted to do. Although we could describe them as slaves, they may have received proper wages. The most loyal of them were able to gain positions of responsibility and authority.

The people who belonged to Israel also had a duty to work for their king. Solomon chose many of them to join his army. They did not fight many wars during Solomon’s rule; however, it was hard work to be strong enough to be constantly ready for war. The most loyal and capable of these soldiers, too, received positions of responsibility and authority.

The positions of greatest authority, however, Solomon kept for Israel’s people.

Next part: The last 20 years of Solomon's rule (1 Kings 9:24-25)


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