Lent 2022 Day 23
Mon 28 Mar
1 Ki 4:20-27 Israel at its peak
20 The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy. 21 And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River Euphrates to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These countries brought tribute and were Solomon’s subjects all his life.
22 Solomon’s daily provisions were thirty cors of the finest flour and sixty cors of meal, 23 ten head of stall-fed cattle, twenty of pasture-fed cattle and a hundred sheep and goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and choice fowl. 24 For he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the River Euphrates, from Tiphsah to Gaza, and had peace on all sides. 25 During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, everyone under their own vine and under their own fig-tree.
26 Solomon had four thousand stalls for chariot horses, and twelve thousand horses.
27 The district governors, each in his month, supplied provisions for King Solomon and all who came to the king’s table. They saw to it that nothing was lacking.
A cor is probably a large amount. That’s almost certain. And that’s probably all we need to know about a cor.
There’s a tradition of record-keeping in the Old Testament – wealth and possessions, livestock, land, clans, names and numbers (there’s even a book of that name). It’s history, it’s about who and what you are, and who and where you came from. It’s important in what was formerly a nomadic race in an oral tradition world.
Solomon represents the height of Israel’s glory. The land is settled, and Solomon had made some good decisions at the start of his reign. Solomon had completed the Temple that David had hoped to build. The reigns of Saul and David, the first kings of Israel can be read about in 1 and 2 Samuel.
Solomon’s rule spread beyond the borders of Israel, though there were still those troublesome areas that were not fully cleared because of Israel’s disobedience.
Everyone lived in peace, each inhabitant with enough to allow them to rest under their vines and fog trees. There we enough provisions, and the land yielded its milk and honey.
When we say that something is at its peak, it is from hindsight – we know what came next, a downhill trend. Solomon, for all his wisdom, let in the rot. He intermarried, and allowed his wives’ religions space in his kingdom. Not a wise move. God had blessed Solomon and the nation, but taking a fancy to forbidden fruit was as against the rules God had laid down as the rule that Adam and Eve broke. From here the kingdom starts to split.
Can conspicuous wealth and luxury be a gift that God would give today?
Father God, you blessed kings with wealth and power, and Solomon also with wisdom, yet these alone do not make someone complete, for our completeness is found in obeying you, and our destiny is in Jesus alone. Amen.
Putting it simply: