Bible Readings for October 2nd
The description of Solomon’s kingdom in 1 Kings 4 is overwhelming, with unending officials (1 Kgs. 4:1–19), wealth (1 Kgs. 4:20–28), and cultural achievements (1 Kgs. 4:29–34). It is staggering to imagine living in such a golden age of human flourishing, with seemingly limitless justice, peace, and prosperity. We cannot understand the glory of Solomon’s kingdom, however, without understanding the covenant Yahweh swore to David back in 2 Samuel 7. There, Yahweh said, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (2 Sam. 7:12–14). This promise forms the foundation of Solomon’s reign over Israel.
Now, we should not miss that the promise of providing offspring to David stands in a long line of promises concerning offspring in the Bible, as we discussed in the meditation for 2 Samuel 7. The offspring of David is also the offspring of Abraham (Gen. 12:1–3, 7), who is ultimately the offspring promised to the woman—the offspring who would bruise the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). In all of the cases where Yahweh promises offspring, there is an immediate fulfillment and an eschatological fulfillment. So, the promise to give Eve offspring was fulfilled in Seth (Gen. 4:25), and the promise to give Abraham offspring was fulfilled through Isaac (Gen. 21:12). For David, Solomon becomes the offspring whom Yahweh had promised to raise up and to establish his kingdom. But just as neither Seth nor Isaac totally fulfilled Yahweh’s promises concerning offspring, so also does Solomon fail to completely fulfill Yahweh’s promises to David. Solomon will eventually die, so that his throne, by definition, is not established forever.
These various offsprings, then, were merely part of the fulfillment of Yahweh’s promise—none was the final, single, eschatological offspring (Gal. 3:16). It is Jesus who would crush the head of the serpent at the cross and Jesus who would extend the blessings of Abraham to all the families of the earth. More than that, it is Jesus who built a permanent dwelling place for God in the church (1 Cor. 3:16), and it is the glory of Jesus’ kingdom that will shine so radiantly into eternity as to bring the glory of Solomon’s kingdom to nothing, since it is a mere shadow of the good things we have in Christ.
This description of the glory of Solomon in 1 Kings 4, then, is ultimately written to whet our appetites for the glory of Christ’s kingdom, which is far, far better.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.