Some things you might not know about King Solomon
by Robert Randle
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Solomon was the fourth son of King David and Bathsheba, who was born to him in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 3: 5). Solomon also had another name, Jedidiah ("Beloved of the LORD"), in 2 Samuel 12: 24-25, where both names are used; but in 1 Chronicles 22:9, only the name Solomon is used, which means "Peaceful." ( King David had six other sons when he ruled all Israel from Hebron [1 Chronicles 3: 1-4]). Because of David’s failing health and approaching death, he had Solomon anointed as King at Gihon (1 Kings 1: 33-34, 3-40). Before King David had died, he told Solomon, “I go the way of the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. “And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn (1 Kings 2: 2-3).”
Solomon makes a treaty with Pharaoh King of Egypt, marries his daughter and then brings her to live in the City of David (1 Kings 3: 1). This act seems to violate the principle of Exodus 34: 12, 16 where the children of Israel are forbidden to make a covenant [treaty] with the inhabitants of Canaan, lest they be led astray from serving the LORD God. It says in 1 Kings 3: 3-5a: And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, “EXCEPT” that he sacrificed and burned incense at the [pagan] high places (Cp. Leviticus 26: 30; Numbers 33: 52). Now the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place [for pagan worship in the region].
*1 Chronicles 21: 29*
For the tabernacle of the LORD and the altar of the burnt offering, which Moses had made in the wilderness, were at that time at the high place in Gibeon.
Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on the altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night. Solomon asked for wisdom and understanding to be able to discern and judge between good and evil in order to judge the people of Israel, and the LORD said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and not asked for long life for yourself, nor have you asked for riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, “behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. “So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will strengthen your days (1 Kings 3: 9-14).” Curiously, Solomon comes to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Covenant and offered burnt and peace offerings (1 Kings 3: 15), but why didn’t he do that at first instead of going to the high places [and sacred groves] at Gibeon? Solomon had a daughter named Taphath (1 Kings 4: 11b), and another one by the name Basemath (1 Kings 4: 15b). The extent of Solomon’s reign was from the River [Euphrates] to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt (1 Kings 4: 21).
1 Kings 4: 29-34
And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men- than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five. Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish. And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who heard of his wisdom, came to hear the Wisdom of Solomon.
NOTE: Perhaps literary talent runs in the family because his father King David composed quite a few lyrical compositions in the Psalms that he wrote.
When King Solomon decided to build the Temple of the LORD, he made a labor force of 30, 000 men which he sent to Lebanon in shifts; 70, 000 carried burdens; 80, 000 quarried stone in the mountains (1 Kings 5 13-17).
NOTE: These forced laborers, however, were not Israelites (Cp. 1 Kings 9: 20-22).
1 Kings 8: 1, 4
Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring the ark of the Covenant of the LORD from the City of David, which is Zion. Then they brought up the ark of the LORD, the Tabernacle of Meeting, and all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle. The priests and the Levites brought them up (Cp. 2 Chronicles 5: 2-5).
*1 Kings 8: 62-66 & 2 Chronicles 7: 1-10*
The Feast of Dedication [of the Temple]
NOTE: This particular celebration in the seventh month of the Jewish sacred calendar (September-October) also occurs during the times of the Day of Atonement (Cp. Leviticus 23: 23: 26-32) and Feast of Tabernacles (Cp. Leviticus 23: 33-36).
1 Chronicles 15: 1, 25
David built houses for himself in the City of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched a tent for it. So David, the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the house of Obed-Edom with joy.
2 Chronicles 3: 1
Now Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite [in Jerusalem; Cp. 1 Chronicles 21: 15-17].
NOTE: Abraham offered his son Isaac as a burnt offering on one of the mountains in the land of Moriah (Cp. Genesis 22: 1-2), so if the House [Temple] that Solomon dedicated to God, on which of the mountains was it, and was this the same mountain where the threshing floor of Ornan was located (Cp. 1 Chronicles 21: 15b) and where God had appeared to David?
1 Kings 9: 2-9
The LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon. And the LORD said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, “then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.’ “But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, “then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all people. “And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and will hiss, and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ “Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshipped them and served them; therefore the LORD has brought all this calamity on them.’ “
NOTE: This ominous warning basically came true (Cp. 1 Kings 11: 1-13). And as a side note, It is interesting that of all the wives and concubines that Solomon had, only two daughters (1 Kings 4: 11b, 15b) and one son are mentioned (1 Kings 11: 43).
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