1 Kings 4:25
And Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon.
When I read this it reminded me of my post “Candy Cried” which referenced the scene in “Of Mice and Men” where all the misfits were gathered in one place and talking about their collective passion. All they wanted was a little piece of land to call their own. A place in life to work and reap their rewards, a place to be left alone.
Here in the first book of Kings it talks about that same thing.
…every man under his vine and under his fig tree…
It doesn’t say under Solomon’s vine or Solomon’s tree even though he possessed the power to take it. Solomon knew that this is all a man wants, just a place to call his own. A piece of land with a vine and a fig tree to work and harvest. And with righteousness in his heart he offers (voluntarily) a portion to those less fortunate and to God.
In verse 20 of 1 Kings Chapter 4 it also speaks of the results of letting people live and work their own piece of land.
Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy.
In being happy and being allowed this freedom in verse 21 it tells us:
Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.
Solomon understood the basics of good government. It was to keep his people safe and strong. He didn’t decide to start meddling in the everyday affairs of people. He knew that the freedom of every man to have his piece of land and keep the rewards of his labor was what they wanted. And so Solomon’s kingdom lived in safety. They ate and drank and were merry. They were free to live their lives.
This is the simple mission statement of government. If you read the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, which is the mission statement of our government, that is what is says.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
What is the mission, as laid out in this document?
It is for the people to be safe (common defense), and to eat, drink, and be happy by being free (promote the general welfare, and secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our prosperity).
The founders of the United States wanted the same thing for this country as what Solomon wanted and gave to his people thousands of years before. The founders and Solomon knew it was by giving each his own piece of land to work and be free (left alone by the government) and reap the benefits of his hard work.
But as man does, man corrupts.
Governments decide they need more power and wealth. They decide they need to interfere with our piece of land under the guise of helping us. And then we are back to share cropping.
Even Solomon was eventually corrupted by power, wealth and outside influences. But for a time every man lived under his vine and under his fig tree.
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