King Solomon one of the most influential kings in the entire bible Solomon was a wise king and was gifted as well as punished for his transgressions on his people and God. This paper will show how Solomon was thought to be one of the greatest kings of the bible, his contributions on the lively hood of the Israelite people and how he was sent to bring the people into a new type of living for the people of Israel. This paper will give a personal account on my reason for thinking that Solomon is a great king of his time.
Solomon was born the son of Bathsheba and thought to be the illegitimate son of David. The people accepted this since Bathsheba was a prostitute, and Solomon was to be the heir of the throne regardless of any parental problems. According to 1Kings 1:17,
“She said to him, My lord you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, saying your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne,'”
This comes from a conversation between Bathsheba and David so that the choice of the king would be Solomon. So according to scripture Solomon was the chosen successor of David. Once Solomon received the thrown he prayed to God to be blessed with the great wisdom that the Lord his God have.
The lord God granted Solomon with a wisdom that would surpass all. He would be wiser than everyone from the north would and wiser than all the people of Egypt. The lord blessed Solomon with riches and honor because he did not ask for these things from God. God blessed Solomon with this wisdom, riches, and honor mainly to bring about a new way for the kings of Israel. Solomon not asking for wealth and power pleased God making him willing to grant him with those two extra gifts. Solomon received wisdom, luxury, and pleasure but according to Lansine,
The Solomon of kings has knowledge; he doesn’t achieve it. He is given wisdom; he is not given an education. Solomon receives knowledge; he doesn’t earn it. He under goes no youthful learning experience.”
This means that without God giving the blessing of wisdom unto Solomon he may not have been the great leader that he was today. This gift made Solomon loved by all people of his kingdom. Solomon used his wisdom to make a decision about two women and a dead baby. This story in the bible shows how two prostitutes who both have given birth to a child are arguing because one of the babies has died and the mother of the dead baby wants to claim the living one. They come to see king Solomon for a judgement, he tells the women that he would cut the baby in half so that both women would have a piece of the child. Solomon did this so that he could see which women would have compassion for the child, who ever showed such compassion would be the mother. The order was sent out to split the child but one woman says not to cut the baby but to give it to the other women. With seeing this sign of compassion towards the child Solomon doesn’t cut the child but gives it to the women that would have rather lost her child to another women than see him die. Solomon granted that woman with the child. For the way that Solomon just knew who to give the child to had the people of Israel in awe and they perceived that he received this wisdom from God.
Solomon was an intelligent man he knew he couldn’t run the empire alone so he appointed three new members of his cabinet and an officer for every one of the twelve tribes that Israel was split into. The tribes or districts were created to make his job easier and the people of Israel much less quarrelsome with each other. These twelve districts had an official with the task of supplying Solomon and his household with food. Each had to collect a certain amount of food each month in the year. Solomon made great contributions to the people of Israel. One of his greatest contributions was the temple of the lord. He began to build the “House of the Lord” with timber from Hiram the king of Tyre who in return wanted food for his household. As the temple was being built Solomon used the Israelites and other people in the empire none Israel to complete the task of building this great temple for the lord. When the temple was complete Solomon had all elders and heads of the tribes of Israel to witness the ark being moved from the city of David to the temple within Jerusalem. For the gift of the temple Solomon became popular with the people and leaders of the world.
The major flaws of Solomon were his love for many women, building pagan temples, and using forced labor to complete the temple of the lord. Solomon commits crimes against the lord first he had many wives it is said that he had one thousand wives from all over the world. This was a crime because Solomon didn’t keep the covenant and statutes of the lord. Solomon let his wives change the god he believed in which led to another one of his crimes. The worship of pagan gods was bought on by the marriage to all of his wives. Building those gods temples as well as for the lord God. Solomon disobeyed a direst order from God,
“you shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you; for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods”; Solomon clung to these in love. (1Kings 11:2)
the women that are being talked about here are anyone of his many wives that were not a child of Israel. This made the Lord unhappy with Solomon since he not only disobeyed the direct law of God by marrying these women he then worships and builds temples for the gods of his wives breaking the commandments that were sent down. God also was unhappy by the actions of Solomon using the lord’s people Israelites or not to build the temple taking on slaves. The lord punished Solomon for not keeping the covenant and statutes that his father David did by removing the kingdom from the hands of Solomon.
Solomon even though had his flaws was the most successful of kings. His reign lasted forty years in which he started a government system, built a temple for the Lord God, and kept the people of Israel in awe with his gift of wisdom. As Solomon’s reign began to end so did his faith and love for God. As seen with him making sacrifices to the pagan gods of his wives.
Finally the reason for this paper was to better the knowledge of myself and the reader on the best king of the Israelites, that being King Solomon. From simply reading the bible he caught my interest for his great gifts to the people of Israel, and any man that can keep a thousand wives is someone really worth reading more about. Solomon could be a role model for the people of Israel during his early years in power because the wisdom that was bestowed upon him making him a just and thoughtful person that was known throughout the lands. That was the main reason for Solomon to be my choice on a biblical figure.
1.The Age of Solomon; Handy, K. Lowell 1997, Brill New York
2.The New Oxford Annotated Bible; Metzger, Bruce; Murphy, Roland 1991 Oxford University Press Inc.
3.The Book of Wisdom; Reider, Joseph 1957 Harper & Brothers
4.Great People of the Bible and how they lived; Wright, E. G. 1974 Readers Digest Associates Inc.