King Solomon was the son of David, Israel’s greatest king of all times. King David had other sons by his first six official wives and by tradition; the eldest son inherits the throne. Solomon could not have become king for he was 30th son of the king. David had other sons who were by tradition more qualified to succeed as king by virtue of their mother’s social background. One of Solomon’s brother by the name of Absalom was a son of a Princess daughter of the king of Talmai. Anyhow, he was chosen by David as successor to throne by passing twenty-nine older brothers. I Kings 1:16-17 tells that Solomon’s mother was promised by David that her son Solomon will inherit the throne despite that all his elder brothers were still alive and most qualified to succeed as the next king.
It is quite interesting to know that simple as he was during those years, he went to become not only the most successful king in regards to management of his kingdom, but the wisest, the richest, the most advanced in architecture, the most famous, whose fame was known even from the far kingdom of Sheba. I Kings 10 recorded the visit of the queen of Sheba, although the Bible tells us that King Solomon was given by God divine wisdom, it is truly interesting how he was transformed from being a low profile person to become the world’s wisest man that has ever lived. The Bible also tells that within his reign as Israel’s king, economic prosperity throughout the land soared to the highest level to the point that gold has become ordinary and silver was of nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon as described in I King chapter ten from verses 10-23. But of all this fame, Solomon was noted for the construction of the temple in Jerusalem. Indeed, it was his being a firm believer of Yahweh that brought him all these overwhelming wealth for himself, and to all the people of his kingdom. David his father was known as the great king of Israel, Solomon was known as the wisest king.
Solomon’s Personal Life
Solomon’s mother Batsheba was married to another man when King David found her washing her self in order to fulfill what was required of women who have menstruation. David sent for her and made her his wife after he conspired with his army chief of staff to place Batsheba’s soldier husband where the enemy were pierced and stronger. In effect, David murdered Batsheba’s husband to get her. Because of this crime, David was punished by God but his humility before the Lord diminished God’s anger towards him and forgave him of his sin. Batsheba became David’s official wife and bore Solomon. Because David had other children by his six other wives, Solomon was not given attention at first. David’s three other sons were probably much good looking than Solomon, and physically looked more qualified to inherit the throne. They must be the early favorites.
But early on, Solomon was sent t live apart from his parents. II Samuel 12:25 stated that Solomon at his young age were sent to Nathan the prophet probably for training and learning. The verse said, “and he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.” Because Solomon has grown under the guidance of Nathan the prophet, he had grown as one who fears God Perhaps, the influence of David played a role in his character. Thus, his character was molded by Godly principles and belies of two great men: Nathan the prophet and David his father. It is this godly principle and belief that motivated him to construct a magnificent temple for the Lord in Jerusalem.
However, his devotion to God seemed to be not deep enough to resist his passion for women and wine. According to Wikipedia article, “Solomon sought pleasure in wine, women and songs.” He experienced physical happiness he could but as he revealed in his book, the Ecclesiastes, he did not find satisfaction (Ecclesiastes). Solomon indeed was a lover of women. The fact that he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines is enough to be included in the Guines book of Records. But at the latter part of his life as he revealed in the book of I Kings, he yielded to the pressures of these women. He built palaces for each of these wives and even the temples for their gods. As he had extensive training with Nathan, he certainly had known that in Israel’s faith, turning to other gods except Yahweh was strictly forbidden for Yahweh is a jealous God. Much less the construction of temple for these foreign Gods, it is then quite clear that Solomon was influenced by these women in matters of religion and probably rituals which were abominable to Yahweh.
Solomon’s rise to power and his role in the kingdom and in international trading.
The Bible recorded how Solomon rose to power and riches. It started right from his birth. II Samuel 12:24 said, “and David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon; and the Lord loved him.”
Because David was a godly man, he probably wanted Solomon to grow as godly man like him who truly believed Yahweh. Thus, when Solomon was probably at the age he could be waned, David sent him to Nathan. Verse 25 of the same chapter says, “And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah because of the Lord.” From this, it follows that Solomon grew to become a spiritually well rounded man. It is for this reason that despite his position as Davids thirtieth son, he was chosen by David as his successor.
When David was too old he was appointed as heir to the throne. Solomon’s early years of reign was characterized by both domestic economic and international trading success. His role fits the meaning of his name. According to Wikipedia, “the name Solomon in Hebrew Shlomo roughly translates to ‘peaceful,’ ‘complete’ or ‘prosperous’ from the Hebrew Shalom.”
But most notable role of King Solomon was the construction of the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem. Same article from Wikipedia described Solomon as “rebuilding major cities elsewhere in Israel, creating the parts of Ezion-Geber and constructing Tadmos in the wilderness or a commercial depot. The temple which has originally conceived by David to construct, but he was not allowed by God reserving the right to do it by King Solomon. Because the temple was not only religious monument of Israel, it actually depicted Israel as a nation belonging to Yahweh. The magnificence of the temple reflected the glory of God of Israel.
Some Solomon’s success was also inherited from the achievements of his father David, because during Solomon entire rule, he was never engaged in war. It was David who fought all the wars. Thus, Solomon’s role was that he encouraged “national and religious self-consciousness and the temple priest hood” (Larue), “that resulted in the production of a great body of literature of which the David’s record was but a part”(Larue).
Solomon’s role was to facilitate both the construction of temple and for the fulfillment of the blessings which God has promised to David as a reward of his faithfulness to Yahweh, as stated in II Samuel 7:12 to 16.
Book of II Samuel
Book of I Kings
”Ecclesiastes: The Voice of Experience” Exploring the Word of God. http://www.wcg.org/lit/bible/poet/eccles2.htm
Larue, Gerald A. Old Testament Life and Literature (1968) http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/gerald_larue/otll/chap12.html