Solomon builds a network of chariot cities
1 Kings 10:14-25 Tributes of gold from neighbouring Arabian kings finance decorative shields for Solomon’s palace and a huge golden throne.
1 Kings 10:26-27 Solomon builds a huge army of fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses kept in the chariot cities of Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer (and also at Jerusalem) (see 9 on Map 57 and the features on Hazor, Megiddo (below) and Gezer).
King Solomon's stables at Megiddo
Megiddo was situated at a strategic location overlooking the Plain of Esdraelon (the Valley of Jezreel) near to where it joined the coastal plain (the Plain of Sharon). As the Via Maris – the ‘Way of the Sea’ – passed nearby, it was a vital stronghold on the main route from Egypt to Mesopotamia, and was fought over numerous times.
One of the earliest historical confrontations to be recorded in detail took place during the 15th century BC when the Egyptian pharoah Thutmose III defeated a Canaanite coalition under the kings of Kadesh and Megiddo at the Battle of Megiddo.
Solomon recognised the importance of Megiddo by building one of his ‘chariot cities’ on the site of the earlier Canaanite stronghold.
Today, visitors can see the site of King Solomon’s Stables (see 1 Kings 10:26-29), as well as the remains of an earlier Canaanite altar dating from c.1500BC. The city was approached along a cobbled roadway and was entered by an impressive triple-entry gateway with three defensive butresses and inner recesses (now partially re-constructed), dating from the Late Bronze Age (c.950BC) - the time of King Solomon.
Solomonic gateway at Megiddo
Visitors can also walk along an underground water tunnel, built in the time of the prophet Elijah and King Ahab (c.850BC) to link a secret spring outside the city walls to a deep well located safely inside the fortifications (see 1 Kings 17:1).
More than three hundred years after Solomon, King Josiah of Judah was killed at Megiddo by Pharoah Neco of Egypt in 610BC (see 2 Kings 23:29).
By New Testament times, Megiddo had seen so many battles that John, the author of the Book of Revelation, used the name Armageddon (‘Hill of Megiddo’) as a symbol of the war expected in the ‘last days’ before the Second Coming of Christ and the Day of Judgement (see Revelation 16:16).
1 Kings 10:28-29 Solomon's officials control the export of horses from Muzur (Musri) and Kue (Cilicia) (today in south eastern Turkey), and the export of chariots from Egypt. They supply horses and chariots to the Hittite and Syrian kings (see 10 on Map 57).
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