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Solomon. King of Israel (965 BC - ca. 925 BC). [CHART A7].
Son of David and Bathsheba.
He was David's second son by Bathsheba. His name means "peaceful," from the Hebrew "Shelomoh" (Arabic "Suleiman, Salayman "). The name given by God to Solomon in the Bible was Jedidiah (meaning "loved by God"), and some scholars have conjectured that Solomon was a "king name" taken either when he assumed the throne or upon his death.
And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD. 2 Samuel 12:25.
Solomon was probably born about 1035 BC (1 Chr 3:5; 1 Chr. 22:5; 29:1). His birth was considered a grace from God, after the death of the previous child between David and Bathsheba via adultery. He succeeded his father on the throne in early manhood, probably about sixteen or eighteen years of age.
His father chose him as his successor, passing over the claims of his elder sons. His history is recorded in 1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chr. 1-9. His elevation to the throne took place before his father's death, and was hastened on mainly by Nathan and Bathsheba, in consequence of the rebellion of Adonijah.
2 Ch 3:2 In the 2nd day of the 2nd month of the 4th year of his reign, he begins building the temple.
The dedication of the Temple was on the 23red day of the 7th month, At the end of 20 years. 2 Ch 8:1
During his long reign of forty years the Hebrew monarchy gained its highest splendor. This period has well been called the "Augustan age" of the Jewish annals. In a single year he collected tribute amounting to 666 talents of gold. (I Kings 10:13) The first half of his reign was, however, by far the brighter and more prosperous; the latter half was clouded by the idolatries into which he fell, mainly from his intermarriages. According to I Kings 11:3, he had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
As soon as he had settled himself in his kingdom, and arranged the affairs of his extensive empire, he entered into an alliance with Egypt by the marriage of the daughter of Pharaoh.
Pharaoh Haremheb was reigning during the early years of King Solomon. (S3 pg 181).
The lady 'Sharelli' of the Pharaoh's court (almost certainly a princess) was married to one of the more powerful city-state rulers of Western Asia at around the same time. (S3 pg 185). This could have been the Egyptian princess Solomon married. He built her a palace on a small hill outside the city. This palace has been located in an archaeological excavation. It is very unusual that an Egyptian Pharaoh would allow a princess to marry a foreigner because the Pharaohs had such a strong sense of dynastic purity. But during the time of Solomon the reigning Pharaoh wouldn't have this objection. Solomon brought Pharaoh's daughter up from the City of David to the palace he had built for her, for he said, "My wife must not live in the palace of David king of Israel, because the places the ark of the LORD has entered are holy." (2 Chr 8:11). This passage records the building of a residence by Solomon for his principal queen - the daughter of an Egyptian Pharaoh. (S3 pg 181). An Egyptian-style building once stood to the north of the Damascus Gate on a hill overlooking Jerusalem. It really was up from the city. (S3 pg 182-183). There was a statuette of a seated female figure in typical Egyptian style. (S3 pg 182). This structure was probably a small temple or tomb within the residence of a native Egyptian of high rank. (S3 pg 183). This is the only structure containing Egyptian archaeological elements in stone ever found in Jerusalem. The Bible only mentions one building constructed for a native Egyptian. This building was located in the right place and was in the right time period. (S3 pg 183)
Previous to the time of Haremheb the Pharaohs would not have suffered the indignity of allowing an Egyptian princess to be married off to a foreign ruler. For example, Amenhotep II had once been asked by the king of Mitanni to supply one of his daughters to seal an alliance but he haughtily refused. (S3 pg 184-185). However, if ever there were a time in Egyptian history when a Pharaoh's daughter might be offered to a foreign ruler it was during Haremheb's reign, for the following reasons. (S3 pg 185)
(1) Haremheb was not directly descended from the royal bloodline and was not so overly burdened with the sense of dynastic purity. (S3 pg 184)
(2) Haremheb made his career in the military and was Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian army. He was a practical man. (S83 pg 184-185)
(3) Egypt was no longer militarily strong enough to recover the Levant by a force of arms. It would be expedient to tie powerful Levantine city-state rulers to the Egyptian throne through marriage alliance perhaps for a mutually-beneficial trading partnership. (S3 pg 185).
Let us look at the historical background as presented in the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles. Solomon becomes King in succession to King David, his father. A major thread running through the life of David is his conflict with the Philistines. Contrary to popular belief, he was never able to occupy Philistia.
What is more startling is that a city only twenty miles away from Jerusalem was never under his control. That city is crucial to our story because it was that city that a wife of Solomon received as a wedding present from her father, the King of Egypt. "Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had gone up and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a portion unto his daughter, Solomon's wife" (First Kings 9:16).
Let us look at that account more carefully. If we look at a map of the area, the Egyptian King must have either been an ally of the Philistines, or had conquered them to get to Gezer, which is only 20 miles to the west and slightly north of Jerusalem. He must have been a very powerful king, indeed, to accomplish from a distance what David and Solomon together could not have done in their lifetimes. Yet, our impression of both David and Solomon is that they were very powerful men, controlling a very rich and powerful land. But they were not able to control a city practically on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
It needed an Egyptian King to hand it over to Solomon's wife.
Solomon surrounded himself with all the luxuries and the external grandeur of an Eastern monarch, and his government prospered. He entered into an alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, who in many ways greatly assisted him in his numerous undertakings.
For some years before his death David was engaged in the active work of collecting materials for building a temple in Jerusalem as a permanent abode for the ark of the covenant.
After the completion of the temple, Solomon engaged in the erection of many other buildings of importance in Jerusalem and in other parts of his kingdom. For the long space of thirteen years he was engaged in the erection of a royal palace on Ophel.
Solomon also constructed great works for the purpose of securing a plentiful supply of water for the city, Millo (Septuagint, "Acra") for the defence of the city, and Tadmor in the wilderness as a commercial depot as well as a military outpost.
During his reign Palestine enjoyed great commercial prosperity. Extensive traffic was carried on by land with Tyre and Egypt and Arabia, and by sea with Spain and India and the coasts of Africa. This was the "golden age" of Israel. The royal magnificence and splendour of Solomon's court were unrivalled.
Solomon was known for his wisdom and proverbs. People came from far and near "to hear the wisdom of Solomon", including the queen of Sheba, a country in Arabia Felix. His thoughts were enshrined in storytelling, though probably, not all the clever thinking in the stories originated with the one man.
His decline and fall from his high estate is a sad record. Blamed for it were his polygamy and his great wealth, causing him to become decadent and involved in various forms of idol worship which were contrary to the religious law.
"The kingdom of Solomon," says Rawlinson, "is one of the most striking facts in the Biblical history. A petty nation, which for hundreds of years has with difficulty maintained a separate existence in the midst of warlike tribes, each of which has in turn exercised dominion over it and oppressed it, is suddenly raised by the genius of a soldier-monarch to glory and greatness. An empire is established which extends from the Euphrates to the borders of Egypt, a distance of 450 miles; and this empire, rapidly constructed, enters almost immediately on a period of peace which lasts for half a century. Wealth, grandeur, architectural magnificence, artistic excellence, commercial enterprise, a position of dignity among the great nations of the earth, are enjoyed during this space, at the end of which there is a sudden collapse. The ruling nation is split in twain, the subject-races fall off, the pre-eminence lately gained being wholly lost, the scene of struggle, strife, oppression, recovery, inglorious submission, and desperate effort, re-commences."
He died after a reign of forty years (2 Chr 9:30) and was buried in the Jerusalem. He was succeeded by his son Rehoboam
And these be the names of those that were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shammua, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, 2 Samuel 5:14
And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him. 2 Samuel 12:24
But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not. 1 Kings 1:10
Wherefore Nathan spake unto Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, saying, Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not? 1 Kings 1:11
Now therefore come, let me, I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon. 1 Kings 1:12
Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto him, Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? why then doth Adonijah reign? 1 Kings 1:13
And she said unto him, My lord, thou swarest by the LORD thy God unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne. 1 Kings 1:17
And he hath slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon thy servant hath he not called. 1 Kings 1:19
Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders. 1 Kings 1:21
But me, even me thy servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and thy servant Solomon, hath he not called. 1 Kings 1:26
Even as I sware unto thee by the LORD God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day. 1 Kings 1:30
The king also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule, and bring him down to Gihon: 1 Kings 1:33
And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel: and blow ye with the trumpet, and say, God save king Solomon. 1 Kings 1:34
As the LORD hath been with my lord the king, even so be he with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord king David. 1 Kings 1:37
So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David's mule, and brought him to Gihon. 1 Kings 1:38
And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon. 1 Kings 1:39
And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord king David hath made Solomon king. 1 Kings 1:43
And also Solomon sitteth on the throne of the kingdom. 1 Kings 1:46
And moreover the king's servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne. And the king bowed himself upon the bed. 1 Kings 1:47
And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar. 1 Kings 1:50
And it was told Solomon, saying, Behold, Adonijah feareth king Solomon: for, lo, he hath caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Solomon swear unto me to day that he will not slay his servant with the sword. 1 Kings 1:51
And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die. 1 Kings 1:52
So king Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and bowed himself to king Solomon: and Solomon said unto him, Go to thine house. 1 Kings 1:53
Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, 1 Kings 2:1
Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly. 1 Kings 2:12
And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably. 1 Kings 2:13
And he said, Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say thee nay,) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife. 1 Kings 2:17
Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand. 1 Kings 2:19
And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah. 1 Kings 2:22
Then king Solomon sware by the LORD, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life. 1 Kings 2:23
Naamah was an Ammonitess. (1 Kings 14:21).
CHILDREN of Solomon and Naamah:
- Rehoboam. [CHART A7].
- [S1]. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon.
- [S2]. Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.
- [S3]. The Holy Bible. KJV. see especially: http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/search.php?hs=1&q=Solomon
- [S4]. Tutankhamun: The Untold Story” by Thomas Hoving.