God blessed Solomon with wisdom and understanding, and exalted him in the sight of Israel. His wisdom quickly became known worldwide and his wealth exceeded all the kings in the world. Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs, wrote 1,005 songs, the book of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. He accumulated knowledge of trees, animals, birds, fish and more. Men came from all nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon.
In his fourth year, King Solomon began building the temple of the Lord according to the blueprints that God revealed to David. It was constructed in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah. The temple was approximately 90 feet long by 30 feet wide, and three stories high. David had contributed his personal wealth and extensive amounts of timber, stone, iron, bronze, silver and gold. Solomon, too, personally purchased imported lumber and stone. Almost 200,000 of his own people labored to transport materials to Jerusalem.The interior of the temple was decorated with detailed carvings and plated with over 20 tons of gold. It took seven years to construct, but when it was finished, it was one of a kind.
Solomon invited everyone in the kingdom to the dedication of the temple. A grand procession conducted the Ark of the Covenant to its location in the temple's inner chamber, the Holy of Holies. When the Ark was positioned, the glory of the Lord in the form of a cloud filled the temple. It was so intense the priests had to go outside.
On an elevated scaffold made especially for the occasion, Solomon prayed on his knees with his hands held high. When Solomon had finished praying, the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed all the offerings and sacrifices and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down and the glory of the Lord shining bright, they fell to their knees and face down, worshiped and praised the Lord. There was a great celebration that lasted three weeks. When the dedication festivities ended, everyone went home joyful for God's blessings on Solomon and all of Israel.
The Lord appeared again to Solomon, assuring him that his prayer had been heard. God said that He would abundantly bless and dwell with Israel, if they kept Him first, and that He would be with Solomon, “If you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.” But God included a stern warning that there would be severe consequences if Solomon and the people of Israel turned away from Him and worshipped idols. “I will uproot them from My land which I have given them, and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight.”
The queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, and came to Jerusalem. Solomon answered all her questions. nothing was too difficult for Solomon to explain it to her. The queen of Sheba was impressed beyond words. Seeing how marvelously he lived, and everyone in Jerusalem, she told him that everything she had heard was true, and more. “Indeed the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You exceed the fame of which I heard.” She not only complimented Solomon but praised God for His goodness to Israel. She and Solomon exchanged an abundance of gifts before her departure. King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.
Although God had forbidden marriages between Israelites and people of other nations (Deuteronomy 7:1-4) and had warned against having many wives, and becoming overly wealthy (Deuteronomy 17:17), in Solomon's latter years, he did all these things. He built places of worship for the gods of his foreign wives, and they turned his heart from the true God. He even participated in their rituals. This displeased God and He said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David. I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”
This was soon to be fulfilled with Jeroboam, and Solomon's son, Rehoboam. Solomon reigned 40 years until his death, ending the golden years of Israel. (2 Samuel 12:24; 1 Kings 1:10-11:43; 1 Chronicles 22:6-29:28; 2 Chronicles 1:1-9:31)