1 It was now twenty years since Solomon had become king, and the great building projects of the LORD's Temple and his own royal palace were completed.
2 Solomon now turned his attention to rebuilding the towns that King Hiram* had given him, and he settled Israelites in them.1
3 It was at this time, too, that Solomon fought against the city of Hamath-zobah and conquered it.
4 He rebuilt Tadmor in the desert and built towns in the region of Hamath as supply centers.
5 He fortified the cities of Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon, rebuilding their walls and installing barred gates.
6 He also rebuilt Baalath and other supply centers at this time and constructed cities where his chariots and horses* could be kept. He built to his heart's content in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout the entire realm.2
7 There were still some people living in the land who were not Israelites, including Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.
8 These were descendants of the nations that Israel had not completely destroyed. So Solomon conscripted them for his labor force, and they serve in the labor force to this day.
9 But Solomon did not conscript any of the Israelites for forced labor. Instead, he assigned them to serve as fighting men, officers in his army, commanders of his chariots, and charioteers.
10 King Solomon also appointed 250 of them to supervise the various projects.
11 Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh's daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. He said, "My wife must not live in King David's palace, for the Ark of the LORD has been there, and it is holy ground."
12 Then Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar he had built in front of the foyer of the Temple.
13 The number of sacrifices varied from day to day according to the commands Moses had given. Extra sacrifices were offered on the Sabbaths, on new moon festivals, and at the three annual festivals--the Passover celebration, the Festival of Harvest,* and the Festival of Shelters.3
14 In assigning the priests to their duties, Solomon followed the regulations of his father, David. He also assigned the Levites to lead the people in praise and to assist the priests in their daily duties. And he assigned the gatekeepers to their gates by their divisions, following the commands of David, the man of God.
15 Solomon did not deviate in any way from David's commands concerning the priests and Levites and the treasuries.
16 So Solomon made sure that all the work related to building the Temple of the LORD was carried out, from the day its foundation was laid to the day of its completion.
17 Later Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Elath,* ports in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea.*4
18 Hiram sent him ships commanded by his own officers and manned by experienced crews of sailors. These ships sailed to the land of Ophir with Solomon's men and brought back to Solomon almost seventeen tons* of gold.5
Read 2 Chronicles 9