The Old Testament is a term used by Christians to refer to the religious writings of the prehistoric Israel. These writings constitute the first thirty-nine books of the Bible according to Protestants, but the number varies in Catholic and Orthodox Bible versions. The Old Testament is divided into four parts: Pentateuch, Historical, Poetic, and Prophetic books (Leithart 157). This research paper will discuss the feats of Solomon, an outstanding character in the Old Testament.
According to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, Solomon was the son of King David and Bathsheba. David was the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and a direct ancestor of Jesus according to the gospels of Mathew and Luke (Mykytiuk 115). He became the third and last king before the split of the Northern and the Southern kingdoms of Judah.
His mother, together with Prophet Nathan persuaded David to proclaim Solomon king when David becomes very old to rule. David’s fourth son, known as Adonijah, had sought to succeed King David since his elder brothers had died leaving him as the direct heir to the throne. He later fled and sought refuge. However, his father later forgave him for his behavior only if he proved his worthiness (George 99).
It is recorded in the Bible that Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. The wives are believed to have come from foreign tribes or nations and included king Pharaoh’s daughter and Ammonites, Sidonites and the Hittites. These wives are shown to have misled Solomon in a number of ways.
Solomon is accredited as the builder of the first temple and many other important buildings and structures in Jerusalem and in the whole of Israel, including cities, ports, a commercial depot, and a military base. He is credited to have written the books of Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Song of Songs in the Old Testament (George 101).
He is also portrayed as a man of immense wisdom, wealth, and power but eventually as sinful king. He was accused of idolatry and turning away from God which resulted to the kingdom being divided into two during the reign of his son, Rehoboam (Hoerber 437). These sins included marrying far too wives and acquiring wealth in an unrighteous manner.
His marriage to the Pharaoh’s daughter led to the formation of the nation of Rome that became powerful and eventually led to the destruction of the second temple (Leithart 157). His wives became more evil and worshipped idols and other gods, oddly, King Solomon constructed temples for these gods and this drew God’s anger and wrath even after Solomon’s death.
Solomon’s rule lasted forty years, during this time, the kingdom grew in bounds in glory, power, and wealth. Indeed, the book of Kings mentions that “the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred three score and six talents of gold” (10:14). He came into agreement with Hiram I, King of Tyre, who helped him in numerous ways and made his government to flourish. He organized wide-range beneficial trade routes by land with Tyre, Egypt and Arabia and by sea with Tarshish, Ophir and South India (Leithart 156).
The book of Kings further mentions that Solomon’s wisdom was tested in a case involving two women who were both claiming to be the legit mother of a child.
In the case, one woman had choked her baby in her sleep and then decided to take a child belonging to another woman and claimed it to be her own. After disagreeing over the ownership of the baby, they went to King Solomon for arbitration (Mykytiuk 130). On hearing the case, Solomon gave a rather unique but wise decision that the baby be split into two so both women could have a half each.
On hearing the decision that meant killing the baby, the woman who had killed her baby was happy with the decision while the actual mother cried and begged that the baby be given to the other woman alive. Through their reaction, Solomon knew the real mother of the baby (Mykytiuk 132). This show of wisdom has made many scholars and Christians to believe that Solomon is the wisest person that ever lived.
Solomon’s great wisdom and wealth spread to distant lands that it made the Queen of Sheba to make a trip to Israel to visit the king. She brought many gifts to Israel, including gold and rare gems. The bible says that Solomon gave in to all her wishes, whatever she requested, and she left the land contented (Robert 437). This might imply that they had a sexual encounter. This visit of the Queen has become a foundation for many stories more than imaginable.
In older years, Solomon had to cope with living with several enemies, including some of his officials (Mykytiuk 131). He later died a natural death aged approximately eighty years and was succeeded by his son Rehoboam.
Barton, George. Temple of Solomon: Jewish Encyclopedia, New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 2007. Print.
Hoerber, Robert. Concordia Self-Study Bible, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1984. Print.
Leithart, Peter. A House for My Name, Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2000. Print.
Mykytiuk, Lawrence. Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E., Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004. Print.