Solomon is now prepared to embark upon that which his father, David, prepared for him – to build the Lord’s temple. Solomon uses his diplomatic skill and recruits Hiram, king of Tyre, to help him along with this project (5:1-12). Solomon’s forced labor amounted to over one hundred and fifty thousand men (5:13-18).
Application: It is the prerogative of the leader of the government to execute his order (orders) as he deems worthy. This, of course, does not mean it is the best method or even a moral method of accomplishing, but that he can do it as desired is at his discretion. It appears that Solomon conscripted (drafted) forced labor to achieve what he desired. The nature of the “forced” labor is not told to us, but we do learn later that the burden Solomon put on the people was heavy (12:4). When in position of leadership we might want to take note of a couple of things. First, the right way to accomplish something is when we are individually directed by the Lord’s righteous way. Second, those over whom we exercise that leadership will certainly evaluate us as leaders, and what will we then earn from them – their respect or scorn? The standard they use to evaluate will be varied; by whose standard will we lead? When we are directed by the Lord’s way in our individual lives, the standard others apply to us may be hard to bear, but if we live and lead by the Lord’s standard – what matters then (cf. 1 Peter 3:14-17)?