I've been working my way through the old testament in my new NIV study bible (illustrations are nice, but the translation isn't good IMO - King David's sons being priests, rather than advisors as it has in the previous version - really? Don't you translators even read the stuff you write?)
Anyway, I'd just visited Solomon in the book of kings, after the kingdom is established for him and everyone is propserous and at peace. Except for the conquered nations around him, who are pressed into forced labour. Except for the other nations nearby who bring tribute (effectively protection money) to him.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
This isn't a poke at anyone in particular, but it IS a warning not to just read stuff and do a 'that's how it was then' shrug of the shoulders when some will model themselves and their society on 'how it was then', because that was Israel's golden era and everything was blessed, right? It seems I have gently wandered from my fundamentalist roots now, and become rather lost - not that I don't believe the bible is the inspired word of God, but that the 'just read it and do it' approach I once favoured doesn't really cut it, even though it does help build faith and inspire people.
So another question, for those of us in the rich west - are we happy to allow our peace and prosperity to be built on the backs of the nations subjected to us? Maybe not subjected through conquest now, but through economics and politics. It won't surprise you to know I don't have a handy solution for the problem.