5.42 1 Kings -- Prosperity in Israel

Scripture paints a rosy picture of Solomon's reign -- on the surface at least.

          The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy.  And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River 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 (1 Kings 4:20-21).

          During Solomon's lifetime, Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, each man under his own vine and fig tree (1 Kings 4:25).

         

The Euphrates River was the northeastern limit of Israelite hegemony, Elath on the Red Sea was the southernmost point.  5 nations were conquered by Israel (Aram, Ammon, Amalek, Moab and Edom), 2 were tributaries (Hamath, Philistia) and 2 were allies (Tyre, Egypt -- part of the time).  This was roughly the area originally promised by God to Abraham (Gen 15:18-21), and reaffirmed to Moses (Deut 1:7Deut 11:24) and Joshua (Josh 1:4).

        

The writer of Kings brags on Solomon's prosperity:  his daily table rations, his chariots, his wisdom, his proverbs and songs, and (this is little known) his extensive knowledge of the natural world (1 Kings 4:33-34).