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A Simple Overview Of Solomon

by Rik Charbonneaux  
8/09/2017 / Christian Living

"Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing."  1 Kings 2:9,10 KJV

If you have heard of and wondered about the God of the Jews and Christians, you might really enjoy hearing about the life of Solomon, a man that God chose to lead the children of Israel as a king with wisdom and good judgment. If you are just not very likely to read the Bible at all, please take the time to read the following article about Solomon and of his loyal service to God and United Israel. If you might be interested in reading more about Solomon, read of him in the Book of 1st Kings of the Holy Bible.

Solomon - The Wise King of Israel

Solomon had a different leadership style that his father David as King of Israel.  What David had achieved under God favor with force, treaty, war and friendship, Solomon achieved more power and wealth under God's favor with the control of the natural resources, transportation and commerce through business partnerships and alliances with foreign powers.  These leadership qualities along with a strong military presence would make him the richest king of Israel in the Old Testament record.  Lets take a brief look at his life as it is recorded in the Book of 1st Kings:

"In Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said: Ask what I shall give thee."  1 Kings 3:5 KJV

After Solomon had dispatched his father's enemies, he made his first unique business and diplomatic move by marrying the daughter of the Pharaoh of Egypt, which some historians say was without precedent concerning a Pharaoh's giving of a daughter in marriage to a foreigner.  Solomon loved the Lord as his father did and as the tabernacle was still in Gibeon, Solomon would go there to make burnt sacrifice unto the Lord.  On one such occasion at Gibeon, the Lord came to him during a dream and spoke to Solomon, asking him what he would like to have the Lord give him.   Solomon asked the Lord for the wisdom to judge the great number people that populated Israel.  The Lord was pleased with Solomon's request and gave him wisdom beyond that of anyone, before or since.   Further, because Solomon had not asked for a long life, honor and wealth, He would grant honor and riches like no other during his life and that if he walked in the ways of the Lord, He would give to Solomon a long life as well.  Upon returning to Jerusalem, Solomon went before the Ark and sacrificed in gratitude of what the Lord had said and shared his joy with his servants as well by providing a great feast.

"And the king said, Bring me a sword." 1 Kings 3:24a KJV

Solomon's wisdom and justice would become well known, admired and trusted by the people as public disputes were settled before him in judgment.  Perhaps the most memorable case was of the two women who appeared before him, both claiming to be the mother of the same child.  The first complainant stated that the child was hers by birth  and that the other woman has lost her child through a unfortune accident and was now falsely trying to replace the dead child by deception.  The other woman was permitted to speak and she said that the child was hers by birth and that the other woman was the one who accidentally killed her child and then had stolen hers in the night and leaving the dead child in its place.  Solomon then asked for a sword with which to cut the child in two pieces in order that each mother take one-half of the body in settlement.  The woman was gave false testimony said to go ahead and cut the child in two, while the woman who told the truth said to give the child to the first woman, as she did not want her child killed.  Solomon then awarded the child to the rightful mother, and the people were pleased with his decision and viewed him with respect as they  could see that the wisdom of the Lord was upon their king in making such judgment.

"And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents and served Solomon all the days of his life." 1 Kings 3:21 KJV

Solomon greatly increased the reach of his power and control by placing many of his trusted friends as chief administrative officials and district governors.  The wealth increasingly came into Israel and the Israelites greatly admired Solomon for the premier respect that all other trading nations now gave to their country Israel.  All of the men of Israel saw it as the faithfulness of the Lord in carrying out His promises made to king David and the nation if they remained faithful to Him.  The daily flow of wealth into the treasury was astounding by comparison to other kings and the daily provision to keep all thing supplied and operating was staggering.  The Lord had truly given to Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond that of any other, as well as great wealth and honor.  It is recorded that he spoke three thousand proverbs and one thousand and five songs.  Because his wisdom concerned almost all aspects of life, many would seek him out for knowledge and his increasing reputation for being wise beyond all others led to his name being synonymous with the word Wisdom.

"And behold, I purpose to build a house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build a house unto my name." 1 Kings 5:5 KJV

When the Lord gave Solomon peace on every border, he wanted to build the long desired house to the name of his Lord.  He expressed this desire to the king of Tyre and asked him to send cedar timber to Israel that is finely hewn by the regions best craftsmen, which Solomon would pay for all labor, material and transportation costs, plus send workers from Israel to assist these craftsmen.  When the financial aspects were settled, Solomon raised a levy for thirty thousand men to rotate in and out of service to assist the lumber craftsmen, as well as stone workers to hew the great stones for the foundations.  When all was advanced far enough to start construction, the basic dimensions of the temple were based off those of the tabernacle, except for the temple sanctuary being twice the length and width of one of the tabernacle and for being taller.  Chapters 6 and 7 of the Book of 1st Kings  does an excellent job of detailing the great care, skill and direction required to build this magnificent building.  When the building neared completion, Solomon hired  a well known metal crafter best known from Tyer named Hiram who cast all of the metal fixtures, pillars, furnishings and other items, and precious metal cladding or casting  was used extensively as well.   Solomon then had all of the golden vessels and things that king David has dedicated brought into the house of the Lord.

"And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt"  1 Kings 8:21 KJV

When the temple was ready, Solomon all of the elders and tribal heads together to plan to bring the ark of the covenant out of the City of David and into the most holy place within the temple.  When the priests had bought the ark in, it was opened and all that was inside were the two tablets of stone that Moses placed inside at Mount Horeb when the Lord made His covenant with the children of Israel.  When the priests came out of the holy place, the cloud of the glory of the Lord filled this most holy place and on through the rest of the temple, so much so that the priests could  not continue to minister.   Solomon faced and addressed the people to dedicate the temple.  His beautiful prayer to the Lord is recorded in the greater portion of chapter 8 of the Book of 1st Kings.  When he had finished this beautiful prayer,  the burnt sacrifices to dedicate the temple were performed with the  astounding number of over twenty-thousand cattle and over one-hundred and twenty thousand sheep being sacrificed.  Solomon ordered a fourteen day feast for which the king and all of Israel were glad in their hearts for all that the Lord had done for David and for the Israel.

"That the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon." 1 Kings 9:2 KJV

When Solomon had finished the building the temple and all of the other buildings that he had wanted to build, the Lord came to him in a dream for the second time in Solomon's life.  The Lord told Solomon that He had heard his prayers at the dedication of the temple and that the Lord has hallowed the house that Solomon had built and would reside therein for ever.  Further, the Lord told Solomon that if he would walk before the Lord as his father David did and to keep His statutes and judgments, then the Lord would establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.   After extending this covenant to Solomon, the Lord told him that if he or any of his children will not observe His statutes and judgments and go to other gods to serve and worship them, the Lord would cut off Israel out of the land that He had given them and leave them is such a state that all others would be amazed at what the Lord had done to these people who forsook Him.  By His divine action, the Lord had formally applied the terms of the Davidic Covenant to Solomon.

"And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the Lord, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer." 1 Kings 9:15 KJV

As a part of the compensations  made to the king of Tyre the materials used in Solomon's building projects, he gave the king of Tyre twenty cities in the land of Galilee.  When the king of Tyre toured these cities, he was not pleased as they were mostly in a downfallen state.  As the king of Tyre choose not to accept these border cities as adequate compensation, and as a further means of funding his aggressive building programs, Solomon raised a levy upon the people and ordered a number of bombardments to be forced into service from the people of his kingdom who were not Israelites.  He had realized the military and economic value of the cities of Millo, Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer and of the necessity of enhancing the structural defenses of Jerusalem.  He would expand the influence and strength of his military through not only rebuilding these border cities, but also by creating several new locations that served as military outposts and trading posts.  By greatly expanding the number of cavalry with chariots, he was able to assure safer trading routes at greater distances, making Israel the main center of trade and the nation that could provide the best marketing and most lucrative trading relationships.  Where David had been known for his conquests of peoples by arms, Solomon would be know for his brilliant business models that brought great wealth to Israel by importing and exporting their goods and the goods of others across all of their borders.  Further, Solomon and the king of Tyre enjoyed a very profitable venture in expanding their markets by creating a maritime shipping business to import or export more products by using a navy of ships at Ezion-geber.

"Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard." 1 Kings 10:7 KJV

Solomon's fame for wisdom and success through the blessing of the Lord had spread far enough that it came to the attention of the queen of Sheba.  She wanted to see and to question this king with such great wisdom.  She came to Jerusalem with a long procession of precious gifts for Solomon and was well received.  She asked many questions of Solomon and he answered each in turn and she was impressed not only with his knowledge, but with how happy his servants were in service to him and in their wanting to learn more from him.  Impressed by all the trapping of his court and especially with the house he built to the Lord.  She had the ability to reason that who Solomon was and what he possessed had all been given to him by the Lord.  When it came time for the queen of Sheba to leave Jerusalem, Solomon gave her gifts from his own wealth and she returned to Sheba.

"And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart." 1 Kings 11:3 KJV

Solomon loved women and political alliances through marriage and thereby gathered wives from the areas and peoples that the Lord had expressed to the children of Israel to avoid because they would turn them from following the ways of the Lord and then seek to worship other gods.  As he grew older, his wives were indeed successful in turning his heart from the Lord, even to the point of allowing temples to be built to these false gods that his wives worshipped.  The Lord was not pleased with Solomon and told him that since he had not kept which the Lord gave him, he would take the kingdom away from Solomon's servant [son] later and leave the kingdom with just one tribe, for the sake of David's love for him.  All these things would come to pass and united Israel would split into the northern tribes under the reign of Jeroboam, and Judea [and either Benjamin or Simeon, so say the historians] under the reign of Solomon's son Rehoboam.

After reigning forty years like his father, Solomon died around the age of eighty years and was buried in the city of David.   As a closing note, he is credited with leaving us these expressions as well: the Books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.  

Rik Charbonneaux is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.

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