Trusting in these resources, Solomon set about erecting a temple of immense size to God, funds for the purpose having been got together during three years, and laid the foundation of it about the fourth year of his reign. This was about the five hundred and eighty-eighth year after the departure of the Hebrews from Egypt, although in the third Book of Kings the years are reckoned at four hundred and forty. 312 This is by no means accurate; for it would have been more likely that, in the order of dates I have given above, I should perhaps reckon fewer years than more. But I do not doubt that the truth had been falsified by the carelessness of copyists, especially since so many ages intervened, rather than that the sacred 313 writer erred. In the same way, in the case of this little work of ours, we believe it will happen that, through the negligence of transcribers, those things which have been put together, not without care on our part, should be corrupted. Well, then, Solomon finished his work of building the temple in the twentieth year from its commencement. Then, having offered sacrifice in that place, as well as uttered a prayer, by which he blessed the people and the temple, God spoke to him, declaring that, if at any time they should sin and forsake God, their temple should be razed to the ground. We see that this has a long time ago been fulfilled, and in due time we shall set forth the connected order of events. In the meantime, Solomon abounded in wealth, and was, in fact, the richest of all the kings that ever lived. But, as always takes place in such circumstances, he sunk from wealth into luxury and vice, forming marriages (in spite of the prohibition of God) with foreign women, until he had seven hundred wives, and three hundred concubines. As a consequence, he set up idols for them, after the manner of their nations, to which they might offer sacrifice. God, turned away from him by such doings, reproved him sharply, and made known to him as a punishment, that the greater part of his kingdom would be taken from his son, and given to a servant. And that happened accordingly.
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