Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 10
Solomon was Israel’s third king. At the start of Saul’s rule, Saul, the first king, was still doing physical work on his family’s farm (1 Samuel 11:5). Soon afterwards we read that, except for the king and his son, none of Israel’s army even had swords (1 Samuel 13:22). That was how poor Israel had been.
Less than 100 years had passed since the start of Saul’s rule and Solomon was leading a truly rich nation. The queen of Sheba’s gifts were very precious (10:10); and Solomon was earning even more from his trade with Ophir (9:28). However, Solomon’s greatest source of income was from the taxes and rent payments that he received regularly, each year.
Solomon’s income was so great because he controlled all of the nations round Israel. Until the time of David, Solomon’s father, those nations fought each other constantly. They often attacked and robbed Israel’s people; there was constant war. David changed the situation in the whole region completely when he defeated the armies of those nations (2 Samuel chapter 8). So, Solomon was benefitting from the state of peace that his father had established in that region. Without constant wars, the people in each nation were making good profits – so Solomon was able to collect large amounts of taxes from each nation that he controlled (4:20-21).
Solomon did not want his wealth to become an excuse for lazy attitudes. He worked constantly. In addition to his duties as king, he both studied and taught at every opportunity (4:29-34). So, he continued with his interests in science and art. The Bible now turns our attention to some great works of art that his workmen made during the later part of his rule (10:16-21).
Next part: Solomon's gold shields (1 Kings 10:16-17)
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