In Solomon’s first act as king upon his second anointing, he immediately spoke to all Israel – the intimacy of speech being also God’s first act to us, Him speaking to us the Word (John 1), followed immediately by burnt offering, a hopeful sign that Solomon understands his position as sinner before the LORD our Redeemer and Saviour. Rather than going directly to Jerusalem where the ark was, he understood that his sin needed to be typologically dealt with at the altar first, as a sign to the Israelites and the neighbouring countries. This contextualises Solomon’s thirst for wisdom in v.7-13, as opposed to the common possessions, wealth, honour or lives of those who hate Solomon. He would rather bless the kingdom with the Wisdom of God, and in turn be given these things which are inherited by the meek (Matthew 5:5). So also Jesus grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52), and it is by this Wisdom (Proverbs 8), the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2), that kings shall truly reign (c.f. v. 13).
This is followed by Solomon’s humility in understanding that this house, this temple, is but a shadow – “who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?” (v.6). Indeed, not even highest heaven can contain the Trinity, led alone some earthly temple which unfortunately has become a place of over-emphasis when Christ, and not His shadow, is the focal point. Hiram, the king of Tyre, is first of many non-Israelites to understand this crucial Christian message. It is “Because the LORD loves his people, he has made [Solomon] king over them” (v.11). So also, because the LORD loves us so much that He has given us His only begotten son Jesus Christ to be king over us (John 3:16), secured only through his victory on the cross. What glory to witness Hiram praising the LORD (v.12), contributing also to the work of the temple by the hand of a man with mixed blood – son of both Dan and Tyre (v.14), followed by a description in v.17 of the resident aliens in Israel. The LORD surely does not only have eyes for Israel, but also for the glory of the Gentiles.
The work is done on none other than the place where Isaac was to be sacrificed (Genesis 22) and where the LORD provided a substitutionary ram, until the day the Lamb of God would be provided. It is here that the Lamb is slain on the cross, and it is also here that the glorious temple is built, where the wrath on David was averted by the Angel of the LORD – Jesus Himself.
The remaining commentary of the work of the Temple can be found in my posts on 1 Kings 6-10. However, it is again important to note the focus of the narrator here that the priestly nature of Chronicles places the work of the temple at the forefront of Solomon’s ministry and role as priest-king, immediately after his speech with the Israelites and burnt offering at the bronze altar of Gibeon.