At Morning Prayer this week we have been reading in the First Book of Kings about the transition from King David to King Solomon; of the new king’s great wisdom; and today of the beginning of the construction work of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Solomon’s wealth was allowing him to undertake numerous building projects; he fortified cities around the perimeter of his kingdom, and strengthened and garrisoned military bases, protecting caravan routes and the important supply channel from the Mediterranean Sea, through which materials for the new Temple were to arrive, and craftsmen too.
These early chapters of the First Book of Kings are full of the magnificence of what was happening across the country, and especially in Jerusalem, as Solomon oversaw an era of prosperity and cultural flowering throughout the land. Next week we shall read of the visit of the Queen of Sheba, which provides another opportunity to extol the virtues and magnificence of King Solomon. It is a great story. However, I do notice that in the lectionary selections coming at the beginning of next week, we omit the verses referring to the use of forced labour from neighbouring peoples. It is easy to criticise those who have prepared a very complex lectionary reading sequence, and mostly things are wonderfully ordered for us, but surely these verses should be insisted upon, and, in fact, be required reading, besides all the wonderful decoration, skilful work and opulent resplendence.