Remember what Yahweh said to Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). Now in 1 Kings 4 – 5 it’s not by accident that we read about Israel’s multiplication (1 Kings 4:20), about the organization for the sustenance of the royal household, about the extension of Solomon’s wisdom as he speaks of trees, from the cedar in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall (1 Kings 4:33) and about the agreements and organization of labor for the construction of the temple.
By Yahweh’s grace the Israelites have been fruitful and have multiplied; they have filled the Promised Land and subdued it, exercising dominion over this part of creation to preserve human life and to build a temple to Yahweh’s glory. By the wisdom that God has given Solomon, His just dominion over all creation is manifesting itself on the earth, exactly as He commanded in the beginning.
More specifically, He is fulfilling the promises He gave centuries earlier to one man who walked in this same land as a foreigner. “I will make of you a great nation” (Genesis 12:2); “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17). And now: “Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy” (1 Kings 4:20).
“To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18). “Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt… He had dominion over all the region west of the Euphrates from Tiphsah to Gaza, over all the kings west of the Euphrates. And he had peace on all sides around him” (1 Kings 4:21, 24).
“In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3); “in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 22:18). “Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life” (1 Kings 4:21). “Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt… People of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kingdoms of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom” (1 Kings 4:30, 34).
All of these promises reach fulfillment through Yahweh’s anointed one who exercises dominion and diplomacy to fulfill one more promise given by the Lord of lords, a more recent one: “You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD said to David my father,‘Your son whom I will set on your throne in your
place, shall build the house for my name’” (1 Kings 5:3-5).
And that is how we understand these chapters in 1 Kings through chapter 10, the remaining ones from the seventh unit of the Bible: Yahweh’s promises to Abraham are producing fruit. The house of Yahweh’s anointed has been established, and it is governing in justice and peace as was promised centuries earlier.