the final part of Tunde Bakare’s speech
Let’s check the Scriptures for indicators of King Solomon’s stupendous wealth:
a) 1 Kings 10:14-29 (especially vs. 27)
14 The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold,
15 besides that from the travelling merchants, from the income of traders, from all the kings of Arabia, and from the governors of the country.
16 And King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield.
17 He also made three hundred shields of hammered gold; three minas of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon.
18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold.
19 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round at the back; there were armrests on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the armrests.
20 Twelve lions stood there, one on each side of the six steps; nothing like this had been made for any other kingdom.
21 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon.
22 For the king had merchant ships at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.
23 So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.
24 Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
25 Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year.
26 And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem.
27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland.
28 Also Solomon had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh; the king’s merchants bought them in Keveh at the current price.
29 Now a chariot that was imported from Egypt cost six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse one hundred and fifty; and thus, through their agents, they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria.
b) King Solomon’s daily provision – 1 Kings 4:20-28
20 Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing.
21 So Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.
22 Now Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty kors of fine flour, sixty kors of meal,
23 ten fatted oxen, twenty oxen from the pastures, and one hundred sheep, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fatted fowl.
24 For he had dominion over all the region on this side of the River from Tiphsah even to Gaza, namely over all the kings on this side of the River; and he had peace on every side all around him.
25 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.
26 Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.
27 And these governors, each man in his month, provided food for King Solomon and for all who came to King Solomon’s table. There was no lack in their supply.
28 They also brought barley and straw to the proper place, for the horses and steeds, each man according to his charge.
c) The splendour of King Solomon’s cabinet – 2 Chronicles 9:1-8
1 Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with hard questions, having a very great retinue, camels that bore spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart.
2 So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for Solomon that he could not explain it to her.
3 And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built,
4 the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers and their apparel, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her.
5 Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom.
6 However I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You exceed the fame of which I heard.
7 Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom!
8 Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on His throne to be king for the LORD your God! Because your God has loved Israel, to establish them forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and righteousness.”
Let’s compare the life of the king and his officers in the palace and government with the life of the citizens in the streets of Jerusalem where silver was as common as stones. 1 Kings 12:1-16 (especially vs. 4) –
1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king.
2 So it happened, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard it (he was still in Egypt, for he had fled from the presence of King Solomon and had been dwelling in Egypt),
3 that they sent and called him. Then Jeroboam and the whole assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying,
4 “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.”
5 So he said to them, “Depart for three days, then come back to me.” And the people departed.
6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, and he said, “How do you advise me to answer these people?”
7 And they spoke to him, saying, “If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.”
8 But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him.
9 And he said to them, “What advice do you give? How should we answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?”
10 Then the young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, “Thus you should speak to this people who have spoken to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make itlighter on us’—thus you shall say to them: ‘My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist!
11 And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!’”
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had directed, saying, “Come back to me the third day.”
13 Then the king answered the people roughly, and rejected the advice which the elders had given him;
14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!”
15 So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the LORD, that He might fulfill His word, which the LORD had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
16 Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying:
“What share have we in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
To your tents, O Israel!
Now, see to your own house, O David!”
So Israel departed to their tents.
The response of King Rehoboam is not different from that of President Jonathan who recently told us that rather than lightening the burdensome service of our people, he is ready for mass revolt. And, by the grace of God, mass revolt is what he will get. What brought him to power is powerful enough to flush him out of power. The power brokers pushing him to talk tough will back off and sell out when they are face-to-face with the rage of the poor and the resentment of those excluded, deprived, and robbed. Nothing calls for the barking of a leader at the people, except he has, in the words of King Solomon, become a wicked ruler over poor people whose demeanour is likened to a roaring lion and a charging bear (Proverbs 28:15).
In closing, let me give a cautionary word to those who think they can continue afflicting the people at whose expense they maintain past and present profligacy. I am talking about those at the different tiers of government who impose unnecessary tax burdens on poor people. Those who don’t learn from history either repeat the blunders of the past or they become history themselves. King Rehoboam assumed that it was business as usual, so he sent his revenue collector Adoniram to impose punitive taxes on economically deprived people. They responded to him with stones and he died – 1 Kings 12:8 –
“Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of the revenue; but all Israel stoned him with stones, and he died. Therefore King Rehoboam mounted his chariot in haste to flee to Jerusalem.”
Let those relying on their ill-equipped, underpaid, and underfed police officers and political thugs remember the words of President J.F. Kennedy:
“A society that cannot help the many who are poor, cannot save the few that are rich.”
Until this government downsizes, cuts down on its profligacy, and leads by example in modesty and moderation, the poor people of this country will not subsidise the excesses of the oil sector fat cats and the immorality of the self-centred and indulgent lifestyles of those in government. No leader can survive for long in power without peace. And let no one dream of peace without justice and equity.
The words of President Dwight Eisenhower are very apt and I finally close with them:
“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and co-operation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”
May the soul of oil subsidy and those who desire to inflict us with further injury rest in perfect peace. Amen and Amen.