Christian History

Introduction to Solomon

Solomon or also called Jedidiah in the Bible, was a fabulous wealthy and wise king of Israel and was a successor of his father, King David. He was also credited as the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem and is portrayed as great in wisdom, wealth, and power among the previous kings of the country. However, he was also a king who sinned. Let us know more about Solomon and the major events that happened in his life.

Solomon and the Plan for the TempleName: Solomon – means “peace” or “peaceful”

Nickname:

  • Jedidiah – A name given to Solomon by his tutor Nathan, it means “beloved of the Lord”

Family: David (Father), Bathsheba (Mother), Rehoboam (Son), Taphath and Basemath (Daughters)

Personality:

Incredibly Wise (The wisest man ever)

  • Obedient
  • Intelligent
  • Charismatic
  • Decisive
  • Promiscuous (later in life)
  • Idolatrous (later in life)

Major Events in Solomon’s Life

Solomon was the second born child of David and his wife Bathsheba and he was born in Jerusalem. He had three named full brothers who were Nathan, Shammua, and Shobab. Based on the biblical narrative, Solomon served as a peace offering between God and David because of his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba. Solomon was born after David was forgiven, that’s why he was named Solomon which means peace.

When King David was getting old, he lost his mental sharpness and his son named Adonijah thought that he would take the opportunity to seize the thrown. He held a coronation ceremony outside Jerusalem were only his supporters were invited.

Dream of Solomon

However, God had chosen Solomon to be the successor of David and David had promised accordingly as well. David immediately named Solomon king and went into retirement. When Adonijah’s party returned to Jerusalem, they came upon Solomon’s coronation ceremony which was fully endorsed by the king. The supporters of Adonijah recognized it as unstoppable and they realized what they did was treasonous so they dispersed to their homes.

Solomon could have executed Adonijah as conspirator and traitor to the throne but Adonijah took hold of the Lord’s altar to save himself. He refused to release it until Solomon promised to spare him. Solomon freed Adonijah but if he offended Solomon again, he would be executed for treason.

Later on, Adonijah petitioned for the hand of Abishag for marriage, who is a servant of King David. But Solomon sensed the first steps of a future conspiracy with this request because their marriage would raise Adonijah into a higher station. With this, Solomon executed his death sentence.

Early in his reign, the Lord gave Solomon a dream one night where He told him to ask for something or anything he wanted. Solomon, being young and humble, told God about the great responsibility he had in governing people that’s why he asked for wisdom that is enough for the job.

Being pleased with Solomon’s request, that he had not asked for wealth, long life, or fame, God had promised that He would give Solomon exceptional wisdom that is unlike anyone else before or after him. He would also be given the things he did not as for such as wealth, respect, and security.

God kept his promise to Solomon and Solomon had a legendary wisdom. He was recognized as the wisest, even wiser than any famous philosophers in his day. Solomon was able to write 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs, and was also acknowledged expert in botany and biology. People even travelled so far just to hear his wisdom.

One of Solomon’s most famous and difficult cases came when two women approached him, each with a baby. One of the babies was dead and the other alive, however, both women claimed the living one was their own. This was early in his rule and would set the tone for the rest of his rule on how he judged. They argued for quite a while, and finally, Solomon ordered a sword to be brought to the courtroom and that the child be cut in half.

The child’s real mother pleaded with Solomon to give the baby to the other woman if only to see it live, while the woman who was lying said the decision was fair and that each woman gets half a baby. Solomon stopped the death of the child and returned the baby to the rightful mother.

Solomon built a great temple to God that stood for 400 years, it was the central point of worship for every Israelite. The temple took seven years to build and had about 23 tons of gold put into its construction. When the temple was finally complete, Solomon had a great festival for its grand opening, it included a parade carrying the Ark of the Covenant from its tent to the temple.

Once the Ark was in position, the Lord showed His approval by sending a great dark, yet shining, cloud to fill the temple. It was so bright the priests had to stop their work and leave the temple temporarily.

The Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s wisdom and traveled a thousand miles, no small distance in that time, laden with gifts to speak with him. Solomon answered all her questions with ease and granted her many gifts as well, she left very impressed.

Solomon had long been faithful to the Lord, however, he fell away later in his life. A lot of Solomon’s political success came from political marriages. He had over 1000 wives and several hundred concubines, and many of his wives were foreign.

God had forbidden marriage to foreign women because they would bring their heretical religious practices with them and corrupt the Israelites, but that was precisely what happened to Solomon. He built shrines to his wives’ gods and worshipped them out of a desire to please them. Some of these idols, such as Chemosh and Molech, demanded humans to sacrifice their children and babies.

Solomon had introduced many sins to Israel later in his life, despite God personally speaking with him and granting him wisdom and wealth. Because of this, God decided to remove Solomon’s line from being king.

God did not remove Solomon from his position during his life because He loved and respected David. He also let Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, keep a very small portion of his kingdom after he foolishly lost most of it.

There are a lot of lessons we can learn from Solomon’s life and one of those is that God is a loving God, but He is also fair. Aside from that, we can also learn from Solomon’s story that the pursuit of own pleasure can lead to destruction.

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