Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 9

Solomon makes Israel stronger

1 Kings 9:17-19

Solomon identified three cities that were especially important for the defence of Israel. Baalath was 10 miles (16 kilometres) to the west of Gezer, and Lower Beth Horon was 10 miles to its east. Together, these three cities (Baalath, Gezer and Lower Beth Horon) would form a strong border on the north side of Philistia. That would help to protect Israel from Philistia’s army, which had often attacked Israel in the past.

In addition, these cities would protect the route to Jerusalem from the coast. In particular, it was important to defend the road to Joppa, Israel’s principal port (see Jonah 1:3). International trade was extremely important for Israel at the time of Solomon.

So, Solomon used his vast teams of workmen to make these cities strong. He also built a castle at Tadmor, far to the south of Israel. That allowed him to place a large group of soldiers in Edom, which he controlled (2 Samuel 8:13-14). That mattered to Solomon because he wished to use the port at Ezion Geber, in the south of Edom, for trade (9:26-28).

Solomon bought horses from Egypt (10:26-29). This was against God’s law (Deuteronomy 17:16). He bought chariots (metal carriages) to use these horses in war. David refused to trust in such things (Psalm 20:7-8); but Solomon considered them important in order to have a strong, modern army. He ordered his workmen to build buildings for the horses and the chariots; and also to store supplies of food.

Next part: Solomon controls people from Israel and from other nations (1 Kings 9:20-23)


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