We admire Solomon for his great accomplishments in just about every area of life; buildings, poetry, wisdom writings, leadership, love & beauty, the accumulation of weath, and more. But like every other ruler in the ancient world, he believed in the exploitation of his fellow human beings.

He built his own palace and palaces for his wives with mostly slave labor. This was also true of the house of God. Although Solomon practiced conscription of Israeli citizens for some tasks, the slave labor came primarily from the Canaanites who populated the land. Rice observes, “Moses charged Israel to destroy utterly the native population of Canaan if they resisted Israel’s efforts to settle the land. If the Canaanites made peace, Israel was to subject them to forced labor.” The reason for this as Deuteronomy teaches us is so “that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices which they have done in the service of their gods”

Since the Canaanites were slaves in the service of their idols, Israel set them free from that burden. But if they refused to subject themselves as slaves or servants of the one true God, and live in the land as one of God’s citizens, responsible to the same laws all Israel was responsible to, then they must be forced to live righteously and productively. We still put into chains those who demonstrate the inability to live in our society acceptable and productive lives. We do our best in rehabilitate them.
You see, Bob Dillon was right, everyone serves some master. It’s the same today. It’s either voluntary or compulsory. Being a servant is not a matter of choice. The only question is who will be our master. When we accept the gospel, we leave the bondage of sin and with it Satan’s power over us; instead we willingly embrace the liberty of living in community with Christians who are totally committed to Christ. Paul writes, “Having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness”
Phillips Brooks is right, “No man in this world attains to freedom from any slavery except by entrance into some higher servitude. There is no such thing as an entirely free man.”
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8