David and Solomon
King David proved to be a wise and effective leader for Israel. However, it can be said that his son, Solomon, made several mistakes during his reign. Many of his problems originated from his Temple, a stucture that was conceptualized by his father to be a deterrent against the paganism, which infested the land. Yet, it seemed as if several of Solomon’s policies actually encouraged paganism rather than deter it.
King David, a member of the tribe of Judah was chosen by God to lead his people. As everyone knows, he proved by his wise choices to be a very effective leader. As a great military strategist David united the tribes and extended the national boundaries so that in his time Israel enjoyed a greater fraction of the land promised to Abraham than has ever since been the case. David ruled as king for seven years and Hebron, then established his throne in Jerusalem after overcoming the ancient Jebusite community there. His reign continued there in Jerusalem for the next 32 years. Secure on his throne and dwelling in a magnificent palace of cedar and stone, David began to be concerned that he, the visible king, dwelled in a magnificent house, but the invisible King of kings still dwelt in an aging temporary tent, the Tabernacle of Moses. At first the prophet Nathan gave David approval to construct a temple, but the following night God intervened. Speaking to Nathan in a dream God laid out for David an amazing covenant whose promises continue to this present day. God committed himself to establishing the house of David forever, to a specific land and people ,Israel, and to a temple.
David, a man of war, was not, however, to build the First Temple. That task was given to his son Solomon, although David drew up the plans. The fact that other nations had temples and Israel did not is not the reason The First Temple was to be built. The Temple was to be a memorial to Israel to turn her heart away from the idols of the surrounding nations. The Temple would provide them for an incentive not to practice the same evil things as the Canaanites. However, as good as the original intentions for the Temple were, Solomon proved to be a less effective leader than his father. Some of his decisions proved to be unwise and weakened the stability of Israel for along time to come.
Much of the trouble which occurred in Solomon’s reign was directly related to his Temple. First of all, his need to showcase the power and wealth of Jerusalem required the construction of lavish palaces and other structures, such as the Temple. The income from commerce and taxation was insufficient to support all of his building projects, so he decided to cede 20 cities in Galilee to Tyre in order to raise supplemental income. Other indications that his empire was weakening was the successful rebellions of Edom and Aram against Israelite rule. Furthermore, the progressively weakening state of affairs allowed Jeroboam to break away from...