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coops
Nov 19th 2008, 11:33 PM
While many confusions remain I have been growing in my understand of the old testament. One of my areas of confusion has been that although the Israelites had experienced slavery, they still had slaves. This became even more noticeable when I read that the temple built by Solomon was built using forced labour.
Can someone please give me some expkanation to this?

The thing that has helped me the most about many aspects of the old testament is that the time period before Adam and Christ was a time that demonstrated the consequence of of there being distance between God and Man. The wars and violence and Legalism and hypocracy that filled the time are evidence that man can not get it right on his own. Also the principle of typology (old testament physical events being a pattern for new testament spiritual truths) helps me understand things a bit.

I am still though not quite sure why slaves had to be used for the temple.

songladyjenn
Nov 20th 2008, 12:19 AM
Can you post the scripture references that you are referring to ? ;) (I'm just lazy and don't want to look them up lol)

Biastai
Nov 20th 2008, 01:43 AM
"Solomon gave orders to build a temple for the Name of the LORD and a royal palace for himself. He conscripted seventy thousand men as carriers and eighty thousand as stonecutters in the hills and thirty-six hundred as foremen over them.

Solomon sent this message to Hiram king of Tyre:
"Send me cedar logs as you did for my father David when you sent him cedar to build a palace to live in. Now I am about to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God and to dedicate it to him for burning fragrant incense before him, for setting out the consecrated bread regularly, and for making burnt offerings every morning and evening and on Sabbaths and New Moons and at the appointed feasts of the LORD our God. This is a lasting ordinance for Israel.
"The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods. But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?
"Send me, therefore, a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in the art of engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with my skilled craftsmen, whom my father David provided. "Send me also cedar, pine and algum logs from Lebanon, for I know that your men are skilled in cutting timber there. My men will work with yours to provide me with plenty of lumber, because the temple I build must be large and magnificent. I will give your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, twenty thousand cors of ground wheat, twenty thousand cors of barley, twenty thousand baths of wine and twenty thousand baths of olive oil."
2 Chronicles 2:1-10

Were the workers all aliens living in Israel? These numbers match up with those in 2 Chronicles 2:1, so it seems Solomon only used those not of Israelite stock.

"Solomon took a census of all the aliens who were in Israel, after the census his father David had taken; and they were found to be 153,600. He assigned 70,000 of them to be carriers and 80,000 to be stonecutters in the hills, with 3,600 foremen over them to keep the people working."
2 Chronicles 2:17,18

However, its clear that Israelites were used as seen in their protest in chapter 10. After the death of Solomon, they looked to have this forced labor lightened under the new king.

"So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 'Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you.'"
2 Chronicles 10:3,4

When this request was not met, the people exacted vengeance upon the man in charge of forced labor. Its rather clear this forced labor was the catalyst of Israel's split into the northern and southern kingdoms.

"King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but the Israelites stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem. So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day."
2 Chronicles 10:18,19

These are the scriptures along with the parallel passages in Kings. As for conclusions and an answer for the OP's question, someone else go first please! :confused

coops
Nov 22nd 2008, 01:18 AM
Can you post the scripture references that you are referring to ? ;) (I'm just lazy and don't want to look them up lol)

the reference is 1 Kings ch 9 vs 15...

Walstib
Nov 24th 2008, 09:44 PM
Hi coops,

I’ve been thinking about this a couple days now. I think I have a reasonable explanation.

First I don’t think the foreigners would be whipped and chained slaves as much as drafted labour within the king’s authority. Either king really. Fed and housed I would think. Even if it was not so they were not genetic Israel and I think this may be more relevant than if they were slaves or not.

These gentiles in a way had the honour of building the temple. This being an earthly place God’s worshipers would gather.

Comparing this to the NT earthly church. No longer a building but the individuals that make up the Body of Christ.

In a way the gentiles had the honour of “building” up the new earthly church. The Jewish apostles took the gospel to the gentiles and it grew with them greater than within the nation of Israel.

Without posting it all, the scriptures that I am basing a lot of this on are Romans 10 and 11.

The nutshell version... Anyone’s thoughts appreciated.

Peace,
Joe

Zack702
Nov 26th 2008, 08:26 AM
It was a king.
There wasn't a household in his entire lands that didn't serve him in one way or another. Either they were a builder or a warrior a chef or a minister a singer or a dancer a washer or a well digger a farmer or a shepard ect ect ect.
And Solomon was there king and ruled them and the land. They did whatever they were told if it was a order from the king.
Also all the "forced labour" were people who had surrendered to the Israelites and agreed to be labourers and converted. They could leave if they wanted to. The Israelites practiced a law of release or something like that where even if they owned a slave they had to release them in the year of release if the slave wanted to go. Usually they didn't want to go because they found favor with them and there lands were usually good to live on and they had happy lives.

daughter
Nov 26th 2008, 10:04 AM
I think it's like conscription in an army. If you're going to live and be part of a nation, you should be prepared to work for that nation. Solomon was blessed to be King in a peaceful time. (Even his name means "peaceful.") He's a type of the Prince of Peace when you think of it.

The "slaves" that Israel had were not like those of the other nations. They had laws protecting them from physical abuse, they had a day off, and they weren't slaves for life. (After six years they were let go.) There was a ritual they could undergo if they wanted to remain with their masters... which indicates that it was not a bad life.

The word "slave" in English has gathered some horrible connotations, but this was not the case in Bible times. In the same way as a conscript in an army is not considered to be a "slave", but doing their civic duty, so would a conscripted "slave" in Solomon's time be seen as doing their duty by the nation they lived in.

And remember again, these men were not conscripted for life - that would have broken the law of Moses.

They worked, were housed, clothed, fed, and were an important part of their society. We may see a shadow of the millenial kingdom in this... people won't be sitting around doing nothing when the Kingdom comes. We'll all be peaceful conscripts, as it were, helping to build something for God...

Well, that's one way of looking at it. Hope it helps.

teddyv
Nov 26th 2008, 09:46 PM
My reading on this seem to suggest that many of the labourers may have been mainly Israelite conscripts as daughter suggested. I base this on the story of the accession of Solomon's son, Rehoboam as king of Israel where the people requested that he reduce the burdens on the people.

I Kings 12 1:12 (NIV)


1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from [a (http://bibleforums.org/l%20fen-NIV-9154a)] Egypt. 3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 "Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you."
5 Rehoboam answered, "Go away for three days and then come back to me." So the people went away.
6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. "How would you advise me to answer these people?" he asked.
7 They replied, "If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants."
8 But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him. 9 He asked them, "What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, 'Lighten the yoke your father put on us'?"
10 The young men who had grown up with him replied, "Tell these people who have said to you, 'Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter'-tell them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's waist. 11 My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.' "
12 Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, "Come back to me in three days." 13 The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders, 14 he followed the advice of the young men and said, "My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions." 15 So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.

Walstib
Nov 26th 2008, 11:10 PM
Just wanted to comment on the "heavy yoke". The temple was not the only project Solomon had. Here is just one tidbit of scripture for example.

all the storage cities that Solomon had, cities for his chariots and cities for his cavalry, and whatever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion. (1Ki 9:19 NKJV)

Not trying to "prove me right", just sharing
Joe

coops
Nov 27th 2008, 02:58 PM
I think the ckarification of what a slave was within Israel is most helpful. I suppose the reason why I asked the question is because I am still working through understanding the violence of the old testament. For this reason, slavery and the constant killing and many other elements have been comfronting to me. The best I can come up with at tjhe moment is that all this had to happen because it was a natural consequence of the fall and because God wanted to show us just what kind of mess sin had gotten us in. Also old testament accounts seem to be a physical example of spiritual realities.
For a person of our times, the reality of the harshness of OT times is confronting. Explaining to my childrten about these times when we are also explaining how we need to be gentle and loving now is challenging. The more I read of the old testament though, the more comfortable I am at having a go at explaining things to my kids.
Thanks for your input. I will keep mulling it over.
Coops

Zack702
Nov 27th 2008, 07:19 PM
For a person of our times, the reality of the harshness of OT times is confronting. Explaining to my childrten about these times when we are also explaining how we need to be gentle and loving now is challenging. The more I read of the old testament though, the more comfortable I am at having a go at explaining things to my kids.
Thanks for your input. I will keep mulling it over.
Coops

There is no doubt that by our standards the OT bible is not for kids.
But this is our standards and we need to understand that also.
Kids don't really need to study the bible while they are yet young and in there youth.
Unless it is a calling they have they only need to be knowing in morality and the teachings of Jesus. (if it is so that they have cast it aside from there heart)
The OT is the ancient history of the world and one thing about it is that it was a very barbaric time.
Consider the Aztects and the Egyptians and the idols and the kings and the conqurers.
Without proper persepective the things within the OT can seam very confusing.
But within the proper perspective they can be enlightening.

coops
Nov 28th 2008, 02:22 PM
Amen and I am enjoying finding the bits of light that come from such a dark time.