How Jesus Christ viewed King Solomon
How Jesus Christ viewed King Solomon, Psalms, and Proverbs (May 98)
1. The biographies of David and Solomon provided by the authors of 1st and 2nd Kings and 1st and 2nd Chronicles are not really sufficient to fully appreciate who David and Solomon were. To complete the story you need to also read their writings. At least 73 of the psalms in the Book of Psalms were written by David. Solomon wrote Psalm 72, possibly Psalm 127, most or all the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the musical play entitled Song of Solomon (which reveals not only his passion but also his sense of humor). Solomon perceived God differently than the way David did; his writings even condemn many of the kinds of brutal activities that his father had engaged in. But before we proceed with Solomon's biography, let's take a look at some of the things they wrote (or said) that illustrate these differences. The following are 29 quotations from the Bible. Nine are attributed to David, 16 are attributed to Solomon, and to add a little more challenge, I've included 4 attributed to Jesus Christ. See if you can successfully guess the author of each:
Quotation #1 "I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies."
Quotation #2: "In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity: And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him."
Quotation #3 "My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding: Yes, if you cry out for discernment. And lift up your voice for understanding. If you seek her as silver, and search for her as hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord. And find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding."
Quotation #4 "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
Quotation #5 "I am a worm, and no man, a reproach of men, and despised by the people."
Quotation #6 "Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness sake, O Lord."
Quotation #7 "I was also blameless before Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His sight."
Quotation #8 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight."
Quotation #9 "Against You, You only, have I sinned. And done this evil in your sight-That You may be found just when You speak. And blameless when you judge".
Quotation #10 "For my life is spent with grief, and my years are with weighing: My strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. I am a reproach among all my enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and am repulsive to my acquaintances."
Quotation #11 "Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes."
Quotation #12 "Behold God is my helper: The Lord is with those who uphold my life. He will repay my enemies for their evil. Cut them off in Your truth."
Quotation #13 "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls. And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles."
Quotation #14 "I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."
Quotation #15 "Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head. They are mighty who would destroy me. Being my enemies wrongfully: though I have stolen nothing. I still must restore it."
Quotation #16 "Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety's sake."
Quotation #17 "He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing. Like showers that water the earth. In his days the righteous shall flourish, and an abundance of peace, until the moon is no more."
Quotation #18 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.'"
Quotation #19 "He who opposes the poor reproaches his Maker. But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy."
Quotation #20 "I [wisdom] have been established from everlasting. From the beginning before there was ever an earth."
Quotation #21 "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes. But the Lord weighs the hearts. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice."
Quotation #22 "Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand all."
Quotation #23 "For the Commandment is a lamp, and the law a light. Reproofs of instruction are the way of life."
Quotation #24 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."
Quotation #25 "Hatreds stir up all strife, but love covers all sins."
Quotation #26 "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you."
Quotation #27 "For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow."
Quotation #28: "There is a vanity which occurs on earth, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun."
Quotation #29 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil."
2. I highly recommend you take time to read the books of Psalms and Proverbs. It's fascinating to see how differencly each of those authors viewed God and the world. Of the quotations above, the 9 that are attributed to David are quotations number 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, and 15. Those attributed to Jesus Christ are 4, 14, 18 and 24. The rest are attributed to Solomon. You may have been surprised to learn that Jesus might have been quoting from David's Psalm 22 when he uttered on the crooss, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Quotation #4). Solomon expressed similar sentiments in Ecclesiastes. Why?
2a. As you will see if you read the Book of Psalms, at least two thirds of the psalms attributed to David
follow a theme that can be briefly summarized as "I am praising Your Name, O Lord, so please [help me] defeat my enemies." David was very good at eloquently praising the Lord and defeating his enemies. One might say that he was using the Lord's name like an idol to help inspire his troops to fight harder for his (His?) behalf. There is spirit of selfishness inherent in many of the psalms of David along with the serious limitations he tended to place on his definition of "neighbor". Despite his praises of God and professions of faith, David tended to subordinate God to his own vision of what Hebrew "national sovereignty" should be. Anyone (Hebrew or non-Hebrew) who got in the way of that vision was likely to be defined by David as an "enemy" and dealt with accordinly.
2b. Another problem with David's vision of God was the fact that honesty was not one of his strong points (as noted in my previous articles on this web site). For example, in Quotation #9 from Psalm 51, which was written after Nathan the prophet exposed David's role in the death of Uriah the Hittite, David claimed, "Against You, You only, have I sinned. And done this evil in your sight." That was in fact a lie! Of course he sinned against God, but he ALSO sinned against Uriah and his wife Bathsheba. By diverting attention away from his misconduct involving Uriah and Bathsheba to simply "sinning against God", David evidently figured that he could safely continue claiming to be "blameless" or "righteous" once it became apparent that God had forgiven him. It was a neat trick, but it didn't entirely work (1st Kings 15:5).
2c. As you can see from the Quotations number 4, 5, 6, 10, and 15 above, there were times when David was quite depressed. Then in other psalms, like the very famous 23rd Psalm, David was clearly elated. At times he admits that he has sinned a lot, and at other times he claims to be "blameless." Could David have been suffering from a "manic-depressive disorder" (and its occasional symptoms of hallucinations, etc.)? I'll leave that for the experts to consider, but it IS a point worth considering. It's clearly evident that David had a very stressful life throughout most of career, and he had many "enemies" (either imagined or for valid reasons).
2d. Many of you might have been amazed at how easy it was to distinguish between the quotations above that were attributed to Solomon and those that were attributed to David. The reason is quite simple. The writings of King Solomon consistently CONFORM with God's two most fundamental commandments (with NO limitations placed on either command). Compare, for exampe, the following two quotes:
Quotation #2: "In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity: And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." (Proverbs 16:7)
and what I refer to as "Gods two most fundamental commandments"
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matt 22:37-40)
If you substitute the word "love" for "mercy" in Quotation #2 above, you can easily see that King Solomon and Jesus Christ were saying essentially the same thing! Furthermore, most of Solomon's proverbs relate directly to one or more of the Ten Commandments. In some cases though, he seems to have created an 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not be lazy." He backs off a bit on that one in Ecclesiastes (Quotation #28). Notice in Quotation #26 that Solomon does NOT exclude "enemies" from his definition of "neighbor."). The CONTRAST between the writings of Solomon and David are quite striking in this regard, as are the SIMILARITIES between the writings of Solomon and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
2e. Solomon's writings in Proverbs tend to optimistically promise that God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon evidently came the conclusion that it wasn't really that simple.
"All things come alike to all: one event happens to the righteous and the wicked; to the good, the clean, and the unclean; to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; he who takes an oath as he who fears an oath." (Ecclesiastes 9:2)
"Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." (Ecclesiastes 8:11)
Unlike David, Solomon took to the concept of "truth" SERIOUSLY; when God granted him wisdom he became totally honest! It is clear from his writings, that even though he spent a lot "money" to build the Temple and palaces for himself and his wives, Solomon really DID care for his people, He obviously took time to talk with his people, and he actively sought out ways to make their lives better. THIS is why he was able to hold David's Kingdom of Israel together for 40 years without having to engage in any major military actions.
Oh, and by the way, you may have been quite surprised to find that Quotation #18 was uttered by Jesus rather than David. Unlike the swords which David often wielded, the "sword" that Jesus was referring to was his spiritual "double-edged sword" of TRUTH and LOVE (i.e. God's two most fundamental commandments).
So, now that you understand the major differences between the way King David and King Solomon viewed God, we can more effectively understand how Jesus Christ viewed
THE STORY OF KING SOLOMON (1st Kings 1-11, 2nd Chronicles 1-10)
3. In Chapter 1 of 1st Kings, when King David was very old, his servants could not keep him warm, so they found a lovely young virgin named Abishag to lie with him and keep him warm (but David never "knew" her in the Biblical sense). Meanwhile Adonijah, apparently David's oldest surviving son, began making preparations to succeed David as King of Israel, in accordance with the "birthright" tradition that was still widely accepted in those days. King David made no effort to stop Adonijah's preparations to become king until...
3a. Adonijah arranged with David's military commander Joab and with Abiathar the priest to hold a large feast to which he invited all his brothers (except Solomon), all the men of Judah, and the king's servants except Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei [the cursing Benjaminite], Rei, and the "mighty men" who belonged to David. So Nathan spoke to Solomon's mother, Bathsheba, saying, "Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king, and David our lord does not know it? Come, please, let me now give you advice, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go immediately to King David and say to him, 'Did you not, my lord, O king, swear to your maidservant, saying, "Assuredly your son Solomon shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne"? Why then has Adonijah become king?' Then, while you are still talking there with the king, I also will come in after you and confirm your words."
3b. So Bathsheba went to King David and bowed and did homage until he said, "What is your wish?" She said, "My lord, you swore by the LORD your God to your maidservant, saying, 'Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne.' So now, look! Adonijah has become king; and now, my lord the king, you do not know about it. He has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king, Abiathar the priest, and Joab the commander of the army; but Solomon your servant he has not invited. And as for you, my lord, O king, the eyes of all Israel are on you, that you should tell them who will sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it will happen, when my lord the king rests with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted as offenders." [and likely put to death] Then Nathan the prophet came in and said, "My lord, O king, have you said, 'Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne'? For he has gone down today, and has sacrificed oxen and fattened cattle and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king's sons, and the commanders of the army, and Abiathar the priest; and look! They are eating and drinking before him; and they say, 'Long live King Adonijah!' But he has not invited me--me your servant--nor Zadok the priest, nor Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, nor your servant Solomon. Has this thing been done by my lord the king, and you have not told your servant who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?"
3c. So King David called Bathsheba to him, took and oath, and said, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from every distress, just as I swore to you by the LORD God of Israel, saying, 'Assuredly Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,' so I certainly will do this day." Then Bathsheba paid homage to the king, and said, "Let my lord King David live forever!" And David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada." So they came before the king. The king also said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord, and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and take him down to Gihon. There let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel; and blow the horn, and say, 'Long live King Solomon!' Then you shall come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, and he shall be king in my place. For I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and Judah." Benaiah answered the king and said, "Amen! As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so may He be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David."
3d. So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David's mule, and took him to Gihon. Then Zadok the priest took a horn of oil from the tabernacle and anointed Solomon. And they blew the horn, and all the people said, "Long live King Solomon!" All the people went up after him, played flutes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth seemed to split with their sound.
[Jesus Christ acted in a similar manner, for a similar symbolic purpose, when he triumphantly rode into Jerusalem on a donkey's colt in Matthew 21].
3e. Adonijah and all the guests who were attending his feast heard the crowds and horns, and Jonathan, the son of Abiathar came in saying, "No! Our lord King David has made Solomon king. The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the Cherethites, and the Pelethites; and they have made him ride on the king's mule. So Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you have heard. Also Solomon sits on the throne of the kingdom. And moreover the king's servants have gone to bless our lord King David, saying, 'May God make the name of Solomon better than your name, and may He make his throne greater than your throne.' Then the king bowed himself on the bed. Also the king said thus, 'Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who has given one to sit on my throne this day, while my eyes see it!'"
3f. So Adonijah's guests became afraid, and each one went his way. Adonijah was also afraid of Solomon; so he went and took hold of the horns of the altar. And it was told Solomon, saying, "Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.'" Then Solomon said, "If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die." So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, "Go to your house."
[Thus Bathsheba's son Solomon (which means literally "peace and prosperity") became the new King of Israel even though he was NOT the king's oldest surviving son at that time (still another rebuke of the popular "birthright" tradition by the authors of the Old Testament). Furthermore, it's interesting to note that Solomon was 50% Hittite from Bathsheba, 6% Moabite from Ruth, and even part Canaanite from the union of Judah and Tamar. What does this say about the efforts of "Orthodox" Jews in Israel to pass laws designed to further restrict "Jewishness" to persons having "Jewish bloodlines"?
Joseph traveled to Canaanite to bury Jacob in the field that Abraham had purchased from Ephron the Hittite. Jacob's older brother Esau married two Hittite women, Beeri and Basemath, where were a "grief of mind" to Isaac and Rebekah. So Solomon might have been a descendent of Esau as well!
According to the author of Exodus 34:11, the Lord told Moses, "Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite", and according to the author of Deuteronomy 20:17, the Lord had commanded, "you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the LORD your God has commanded you." So it seems quite remarkable that there were any Hittites left in King David's time, even more remarkable that Uriah the Hittite would be serving faithfully in King David's army. And what was MOST remarkable was that a person who was actually more Hittite than Hebrew would become King of Israel. As they say, "God works in strange ways." It was certainly a rebuke of the teachings of Israel's Levite forefathers.
Judah "broke the rules" by "going into" Tamar, then he "broke the rules" again by allowing her to live. Boaz "broke the rules" by marrying Ruth. King David "broke the rules" by marrying Bathsheba and having Solomon in the first place. Then he "broke the rules" again by arranging for Solomon rather than Adonijah to succeed him as King of Israel. WHERE WOULD THE JEWS BE TODAY?--if those people had not "broken" those rules in order to better follow God's two most fundamental commandments? What does this tell you about the relationship between God's two most fundamental commandments and the "rules" devised by men?
Mark 7:6-7, He [Jesus] answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophecy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"
What does this tell you about those who claim to "represent God" because they claim to be interpreting the scriptures "literally"?]
4. In Chapter 2 of 1st Kings, when David was about to die, and he charged Solomon saying: "I go the way of all 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; that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,' He said, 'you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'"
4a. Then King David's tone turned dark as he said, "You know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed. And he shed the blood of war in peacetime, and put the blood of war on his belt that was around his waist, and on his sandals that were on his feet. Therefore do according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace. But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for so they came to me when I fled from Absalom your brother. And see, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a malicious curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the LORD, saying, 'I will not put you to death with the sword.' Now therefore, do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man and know what you ought to do to him; but bring his gray hair down to the grave with blood." Then King David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David.
[According to this account, David went to the grave with a vengeful spirit in his heart. He even reneged on the spirit of his oath to forgive Shimei (the cursing Benjaminite).]
4b. Not long thereafter, Adonijah requested a meeting with Bathsheba. She said, "Do you come peaceably?" [She didn't trust him.] And he said, "Peaceably. I have something to say to you." And she said, "Say it." Then he said, "You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set their expectations on me, that I should reign. However, the kingdom has been turned over, and has become my brother's; for it was his from the LORD. Now I ask one petition of you; do not deny me." And she said to him, "Say it." Then he said, "Please speak to King Solomon, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite [King David's bed warmer] as wife." So Bathsheba said, "Very well, I will speak for you to the king." So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king's mother; so she sat at his right hand. Then she said, "I desire one small petition of you; do not refuse me." And the king said to her, "Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you." So she said, "Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as wife."
4c. To Bathsheba's surprise, King Solomon answered, "Now why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also--for he is my older brother--for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah." Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, "May God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life! Now therefore, as the LORD lives, who has confirmed me and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has established a house for me, as He promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today!" So King Solomon sent Benaiah who struck Adonijah down. And to Abiathar the priest the king said, "Go to Anathoth, to your own fields, for you are deserving of death; but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David, and because you were afflicted every time my father was afflicted." So Solomon removed Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, and by doing so he fulfilled the prophecy of the "man of God" at Shiloh concerning the descendants of Eli (and sewed the seeds for a serious religious/political backlash later on.)
[Thus, like his brother Absalom, Adonijah became the second son of David to be killed specifically for the sake of Hebrew "national sovereignty." Evidently, King Solomon ordered the death of his brother because he viewed Adonijah's request as being roughly equivalent to Absalom's "use" of ten of David's concubines (in public view on the palace roof) to demonstrate his authority as King David's successor. On the other hand, it's also possible that Abishag the Shunammite was the Shunammite woman referred to in the Song of Solomon! It's important to note that Solomon's removal of Abiathar , which brought an end of Eli's descendants among the priesthood, had the effect of making the prophecy by the unnamed "man of God" at the end of the 2nd chapter of 1st Samuel into a "self-fulfilling" prophecy (although some argue that that particular prophecy may have been inserted into the text after the event happened). Absalom's defilement of 10 of David's concubines on the palace roof was likewise the result of a "self-fulfilling prophecy" uttered by Nathan. One must be careful when rendering prophecies of the future, because you may be putting ideas into people's minds that will contribued to making it happen. (That's why the violent prophecies of Jack Van Impe, Hal Lindsey, etc. are potentially quite dangerous; they seem to be attempting to make such enourmously violent situations actually happen by their promotion of international anarchy, etc.)]
4d. Upon leaning that Adonijah was dead, Joab fled to the tabernacle of the LORD, and took hold of the horns of the altar. When King Solomon was told, "Joab has fled to the tabernacle of the LORD; there he is, by the altar", he sent Benaiah saying, "Go, strike him down." So Benaiah went to the tabernacle of the LORD, and said to him, "Thus says the king, 'Come out!'" And he said, "No, but I will die here." [Another "self-fulfilling prophecy"] When Benaiah brought back word to the king, saying, "Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me", the king said, "Do as he has said, and strike him down and bury him, that you may take away from me and from the house of my father the innocent blood which Joab shed. So the LORD will return his blood on his head, because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he, and killed them with the sword--Abner the son of Ner, the commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, the commander of the army of Judah--though my father David did not know it. Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his descendants forever. But upon David and his descendants, upon his house and his throne, there shall be peace forever from the LORD." So Benaiah went up and killed him; and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.
[At this point in his life, King Solomon was still thinking like a Levite and viewing things pretty much the way his father did. Solomon's actions in this regard, (although brutal and disrespectful of the sanctuary of the Tabernacle), clearly established him as the uncontested King of Israel. That in itself may have saved many Israelite lives by averting a potential civil war. Throughout history, even ancient Israel's history, brutal actions like that have frequently accompanied the transition of power within monarchies.]
4e. King Solomon put Benaiah in charge of the army, and Zadok replaced Abiathar as Chief Priest.
Then he sent for Shimei (the cursing Benjaminite) and told him, "Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there anywhere. For it shall be, on the day you go out and cross the Brook Kidron, know for certain you shall surely die; your blood shall be on your own head." And Shimei said to the king, "The saying is good. As my lord the king has said, so your servant will do." So Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days. But three years later, two of Shimei's slaves of ran away to Gath. When Shimei heard where they were, he saddled his donkey, and went to Gath to retrieve them. But Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had come back. So the king sent for Shimei, and said to him, "Did I not make you swear by the LORD, and warn you, saying, 'Know for certain that on the day you go out and travel anywhere, you shall surely die'? And you said to me, 'The word I have heard is good.' "Why then have you not kept the oath of the LORD and the commandment that I gave you?" The king said moreover to Shimei, "You know, as your heart acknowledges, all the wickedness that you did to my father David; therefore the LORD will return your wickedness on your own head. But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever." So the king commanded Benaiah strike Shimei down.
[Even though his father had advised him to kill Shimei, Solomon was reluctant to do so, because he realized (as David did) that Shimei was serving God by telling the truth. He had to wait for some other excuse to kill him. It's interesting that the act which eventually led to Shimei's death was his attempt to retrieve some slaves. Perhaps the authors of 1st Kings were taking a shot at slavery as well, even though the concept of slavery was widely accepted as "normal" in those days. Among the more positive features of the "Laws of Moses" were rules which placed time limits on servitude arrangements among Hebrews and further rules which instructed Hebrew slave owners to treat their salves well. So the concept of slavery was not viewed as being as "acceptable" or "natural" among the Hebrews as it was among other tribes and nations in those days.]
5. In Chapter 3 of 1st Kings, Solomon demonstrated that his understanding of what constituted the "Laws of Moses" was somewhat different from what had been taught by the Levites. [In those days, the "Laws of Moses" were described in a variety of documents; the whole set had yet to be "cannonized."] King Solomon ignored traditional Levite teachings by making a "covenant" with a neighboring kingdom (Egypt), and to seal the deal, he committed "intermarriage" with the Pharaoh's daughter whom he brought to live with him in Jerusalem. Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the LORD in those days. Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places. One day, Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.
5a. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night saying, "Ask! What shall I give you?" And Solomon said: "You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?"
5b. This speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. So God said to him: "Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked 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. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days." Then Solomon awoke; and indeed it had been a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, offered up burnt offerings, offered peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.
[Could this have been the same "LORD" whom Samuel cited as ordering the annihilation of the Amalekites? If so, then clearly a VERY SIGNIFICANT transition had taken place, both in God's attitude toward the Hebrews and in their perception of Him. However, I think it is far more likely that Samuel was simply using the Lord's name in vain at that point in his life; he wasn't representing God at all. Notice that there is no real attempt to portray this communication between God and King Solomon as being "supernatural." Solomon's concern for honesty must have rubbed off on his biographers.]
5c. Now two women who were harlots came to the king, and stood before him. And one woman said, "O my lord, this woman and I dwell in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. Then it happened, the third day after I had given birth, that this woman also gave birth. And we were together; no one was with us in the house, except the two of us. And this woman's son died in the night, because she lay on him. So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from my side, while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to nurse my son, there he was, dead. But when I had examined him in the morning, indeed, he was not my son whom I had borne." Then the other woman said, "No! But the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son." And the first woman said, "No! But the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son." Thus they spoke before the king.
[King Solomon COULD have said, "Let both of these women be stoned to death in accordance with the Laws of Moses, because they are both harlots..."]
But what King Solomon REALLY said was, "Bring me a sword. Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other." Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, "O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!" But the other said, "Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him." So the king answered and said, "Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother." And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.
[Clearly, King Solomon recognized and was NOW following God's two most fundamental commandments rather than "blindly" following the "Laws of Moses." God had indeed answered Solomon's prayer for wisdom (Matthew 7:7). Thus King Solomon set out to follow a course which at times deviated significantly from the teachings of the Levites--much to the consternation of some contemporary and future Levites.]
6. Chapter 4 of 1st Kings lists the names of the more notable officials who served in King Solomon's administrations. In verse 4:5, Zabud the son of Nathan, is referred to as a "priest" in some translations or as a "principal officer" (or what we might refer to as a "prime minister") in other translations.
[It's not absolutely clear whether the "Nathan" referred to in verse 4:5 was Nathan the prophet or David's son Nathan. Since the term "Nathan the prophet" is used repeatedly throughout the rest of the Old Testament to clearly distinguish Nathan the prophet from David's son Nathan, verse 4:5 appears to be referring to David's son. It's interesting to note that Matthew shows Jesus Christ's lineage as coming through Solomon, whereas Luke shows it coming through David's son Nathan. In any case, nowhere else do the authors of the Old Testament come even close to asserting that Nathan the prophet was a Levite or a an actual priest. Nevertheless, Nathan the prophet was clearly regarded as a "man of God", and he appears to have had a considerable influence on the education of Solomon in his early years. He also appears to have been the source of some of the non-Levite points of view expressed in the books of Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, and 1st Kings.]
6a. King Solomon had twelve governors over all of Israel, each of whom provided food for the king and his household for a pre-specified month of the year. Solomon's provisions for one day was thirty kors of fine flour, sixty kors of meal, ten fatted oxen, twenty oxen from the pastures, and one hundred sheep, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fatted fowl. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.
[For some reason, most of Judah was apparently exempted from the 12-month rotation of taxes described above. The rest of the tribes evidently resented this, but not enought to rebell against a king like Solomon.]
6b. King Solomon also had forty thousand stalls of horses for his 1,400 chariots and twelve thousand horsemen. And these governors, each man in his month, provided food for all who came to King Solomon's table. They also brought barley and straw to feed the horses and steeds, each man according to his charge. 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. And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.
[See! Now that you have reviewed some of Solomon's writings, you can better understand what they were talking about when they referred to Solomon's "wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart". Unlike King David's 40-year reign when Israel was at war more often than not, King Solomon's 40-reign was pretty much a time of peace and prosperity. King Solomon's taxes or "terms of tribute" were not so burdensome as to encourage his subjects to rebel against his rule. And who would dare to militarily challenge a king who had so many chariots and horsemen? Although his administration treated the non-Hebrews within his kingdom as salves, this was not uncommon for that age. For at least 90% of the people, the life of a "slave" was not that much different from the life of the average Hebrew. They ALL had to work hard. Considering that King Solomon was clearly the wisest, most successful, and most prosperous King that ancient Israel (or Judah) ever had, why is his wisdom being ignored so much these days, even by many of our religious leaders (who prefer to talk about David)? Why? Because, unlike Solomon, these religious leaders are subordinating God and His guidance to the concept of "national sovereignty", the bloodiest idol ever created by man.]
7. In Chapter 5 of 1st Kings, King Hiram of Tyre, who had wisely gone out of his way to maintain good relations with King David, sent his servants to Solomon when he learned that Solomon had become the new King of Israel. Solomon sent messengers to Hiram, saying: You know how my father David could not build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the wars which were fought against him on every side, until the LORD put his foes under the soles of his feet. But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor evil occurrence. I propose to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spoke to my father David, saying, "Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he shall build the house for My name." Now therefore, command that they cut down cedars for me from Lebanon; and my servants will be with your servants, and I will pay you wages for your servants according to whatever you say. For you know there is none among us who has skill to cut timber like the Sidonians. When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, Blessed be the LORD this day, for He has given David a wise son over this great people! So Hiram gave Solomon cedar and cypress logs according to all his desire. And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand kors of wheat as food for his household, and twenty kors of pressed oil [olive oil], year by year. So the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as He had promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty together.
7a. Then King Solomon raised up a labor force of thirty thousand men out of Israel and sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month in shifts: they were one month in Lebanon and two months at home. In addition, he had seventy thousand who carried burdens, eighty thousand who quarried stone in the mountains, and three thousand three hundred from the chiefs of Solomon's deputies, who supervised the people who labored in the work. So Solomon's builders, Hiram's builders, and the Gebalites quarried them; and they prepared timber and stones to build the temple.
8. In Chapter 6 of 1st Kings, in the 480th year after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of his reign over Israel, King Solomon began building the temple at the site of the threshing floor of the Jebusite Araunah (a.k.a. Ornan) where the Angel of Death had been brought to a halt in 2nd Samuel 24:16. It was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide and 30 cubits tall (120 cubits tall according to the authors of 2nd Chronicles). A cubit is about 18 inche. In addition, it had a porch that extended another 10 cubits in front. It featured "windows of narrow lights" and chambers along the walls. Its beams were designed so that they would not be fastened to the walls. It was constructed primarily of stone blocks which were precisely cut far away and then put into place, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron were heard in the house while it was being built. The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and winding stairs went up into the middle chamber and out of the middle into the third. The building was then covered with beams and boards of cedar. The chambers along the walls were 5 cubits high, and they rested on the house with timber of cedar. The floor was covered with planks of fir.
8a. The following was apparently inserted into the text long afterwards:
"Then the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying: 'Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My word with you, which I spoke to your father David. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.'" (1st Kings 6:11-13)
8b. And he built the inside walls of the temple with cedar boards; and he covered the floor of the temple with planks of cypress. Then he built a twenty-cubit room at the rear of the temple, from floor to ceiling, with cedar boards; he built it inside as the inner sanctuary, as the Most Holy Place, to set the ark of the covenant of the LORD there. In front of it, the temple sanctuary was 40 cubits long. The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with ornamental buds and open flowers. All was cedar; there was no stone to be seen. Solomon overlaid the inside of the temple with pure gold. He stretched gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary. Also he overlaid with gold the entire altar that was by the inner sanctuary.
8c. Inside the inner sanctuary, he made two cherubim of olivewood [allegorically representing God's two most fundamental commandments of truth and love and the end of the Garden of Eden story], each 10 cubits high. One wing of the cherub was 5 cubits and the other wing of the cherub 5 cubits: 10 cubits from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. And the other cherub was 10 cubits; both cherubim were of the same size and shape. Then he set the cherubim inside the inner room; and they stretched out the wings of the cherubim so that the wing of the one touched one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall. And their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. Also he overlaid the cherubim with gold. Then he carved all the walls of the temple all around, both the inner and outer sanctuaries, with carved figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. And the floor of the temple he overlaid with gold, both the inner and outer sanctuaries. For the entrance of the inner sanctuary he made doors of olivewood; the lintel and doorposts were one-fifth of the wall. The two doors were of olive wood; and he carved on them figures of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold; and he spread gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees. So for the door of the sanctuary he also made doorposts of olive wood, one-fourth of the wall. And the two doors were of cypress wood; two panels comprised one folding door, and two panels comprised the other folding door. Then he carved cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers on them, and overlaid them with gold applied evenly on the carved work. And he built the inner court with three rows of hewn stone and a row of cedar beams.
8d. In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid, in the month of Ziv. And in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished in all its details and according to all its plans. So he was seven years in building it.
[Although the building of this temple required much labor, it was no doubt a source of great pride and excitement for the Israelites.]
9. Chapter 7 of 1st kings points out that it took thirteen years for King Solomon to build his new palace, which he called "The House of the Forest of Lebanon." It was 100 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and thirty cubits tall. [Much larger than the temple.] It was covered with cedar above upon the beams, that lay on 45 pillars, 15 in a row, and it had windows in three rows. All the doors and posts were square, with the windows: and light was against light in three ranks. He made a 50x30-cubit porch of pillars for the throne where he would judge ("the porch of judgment"); it was covered with cedar from one side of the floor to the other. And his house where he dwelt had another court within the porch, which was of similar work.
9a. Solomon also made a house of similar construction for his first wife, Pharaoh's daughter. The foundations were made of costly 8 and 10 cubit stones, and its great court featured three rows of hewed stones, and a row of cedar beams.
9b. King Solomon procured the services of a brass sculptor named Huram from Tyre. Huram's mother was a Hebrew, and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning for all works in brass. He cast two 18-cubit pillars of brass, and a line of 12 cubit pillars to surround them. And he made two 5-cubit high chapiters (incense burners) of molten brass to set upon the tops of the pillars. On each of these, he added nets of checker work and 7 wreaths of chain work. Then he set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: the right pillar was called Jachin ("establish") and the left pillar was called Boaz ("strength"). And upon the top of the pillars was lily work.
[Some scholars surmise that the two names represented the expressions "Yahweh will establish thy thrown forever" and "In Yahweh is the king's strength". They may also have represented TRUTH and LOVE. It was a common practice in those days to have two grand pillars like that at the entrance to a temple.]
9c. He made a molten sea [symbolizing the unchanging "Laws of Moses"], 10 cubits in diameter and 5 cubits high. Under its brim were two rows of ornamental buds, 10 per cubit. The sea was for the priests to wash in. It stood upon twelve oxen [representing the sacrifices of the twelve tribes of Israel], three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and all their hindquarters were inward. Its brim was shaped like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand "baths" (barrels) of water.
9d. He also made ten 4x4x3-cubit carts of bronze that had panels featuring lions, oxen, and cherubim, with wreaths of plaited work below. Each cart had four bronze wheels and axles of bronze, and its four feet had supports. On each of the ten carts was a basin containing 40 "baths" of water for washing the animals prior to their sacrifice. Along with some golden lampstands, he put five of the carts on the right side of the house, and five on the left side of the house. He set the Sea on the right side of the house, toward the southeast. Huram also made pots, bowls, and shovels of burnished bronze for the temple.
9e. Thus Solomon had all the furnishings made for the house of the LORD: the altar of gold, and the table of gold on which was the showbread; the lampstands of pure gold, five on the right side and five on the left in front of the inner sanctuary, with the flowers and the lamps and the wick-trimmers of gold; the basins, the trimmers, the bowls, the ladles, and the censers of pure gold; and the hinges of gold, both for the doors of the inner room (the Most Holy Place) and for the doors of the main hall of the temple. When all the work that King Solomon had done for the house of the LORD was finished; Solomon brought in the things which his father David had dedicated: the silver and the gold and the furnishings. He put them in the treasuries of the house of the LORD.
10. In Chapter 8 of 1st Kings, King Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel in the seventh month in Jerusalem, so that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David. All the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark and all the holy furnishings and vessels that were in the tabernacle. King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel assembled there and sacrificed more sheep and oxen than could be counted.
10a. The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD into the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim. The cherubims' wings spread over the place of the ark, and the cherubim overshadowed the ark and its poles. The poles extended so that the ends of the poles could be seen from the holy place, in front of the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside. Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel after they came out of the land of Egypt. When the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD; The priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
[Aside from the subsequent insertion the text in 1st Kings 6:12-13 mentioned above, this is the only portrayal of what was interpreted as a "supernatural" event in the story of King Solomon. It may actually have been an accident; the priests may have lighted too many sacrificial fires or incense burners in an enclosed area that lacked adequate ventilation. Or it may have been staged by the priests as a "special effect." In any case, for those who take God's two most fundamental commandments SERIOSLY, that whole issue is irrelevant. What difference does it really make whether that smoke originated "supernaturally" or naturally?]
[Though a bit long, the following speech by Solomon is provided in its entirety, so you can further appreciate who King Solomon was and what he believed in.]
10b. Then Solomon spoke: "The LORD said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You an exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever." Then the king turned around and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing. And he said: "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David, and with His hand has fulfilled it, saying, 'Since the day that I brought My people Israel out of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there; but I chose David to be over My people Israel.' Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. But the LORD said to my father David, 'Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your son who will come from your body, he shall build the temple for My name.'"
"So the LORD has fulfilled His word which He spoke; and I have filled the position of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised; and I have built a temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And there I have made a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD which He made with our fathers, when He brought them out of the land of Egypt." Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven; and he said: "LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts. You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day. Therefore, LORD God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, 'You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk before Me as you have walked before Me.' And now I pray, O God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David my father."
"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today: That Your eyes may be open toward this temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, 'My name shall be there,' that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive. When anyone sins against his neighbor, and is forced to take an oath, and comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this temple, then hear in heaven, and act, and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked, bringing his way on his head, and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness."
"When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers."
"When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance."
"When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men), that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You gave to our fathers."
"Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name's sake for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this temple, hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name."
"When Your people go out to battle against their enemy, wherever You send them, and when they pray to the LORD toward the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name, then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause."
"When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near; yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, 'We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness'; and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who took them captive, that they may have compassion on them for they are Your people andYour inheritance, whom You brought out of Egypt, out of the iron furnace), that Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant and the supplication of Your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they call to You. For You separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be Your inheritance, as You spoke by Your servant Moses, when You brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD."
And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the LORD, that he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. Then he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying: "Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. May the LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the LORD, be near the LORD our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day may require, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be loyal to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day."
[Notice that although Solomon acknowledges that his people may have to engage in war at times, he does NOT preach hatred towards "enemies" like his father did. Furthermore, he welcomes FOREIGNERS to pray at the temple thereby "trashing" many of the restrictions that the Levites had been devising for the previous 450 years regarding their definition of "neighbor". In King Solomon's view, God is not merely the "God of Israel"; He is the God of "all peoples of the earth." In King Solomon, God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 22:18 ("In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.") had finally been achieved for that part of the world.]
10c. Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices before the LORD. And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to the LORD, twenty-two thousand bulls and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD. On the same day the king consecrated the middle of the court that was in front of the house of the LORD; he offered burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar that was before the LORD was too small to receive the burnt offerings, the grain offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings. Then Solomon held a 14-day feast, and all Israel with him, a great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt before the LORD. Then they blessed the king, and went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the good that the LORD had done for His servant David, and for Israel His people.
11. In Chapter 9 of 1st Kings, when Solomon had finished building then temple and the king's palace, the LORD appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon [i.e. in a dream. If 1st Kings 6:12-13 had been in the text when this was written, then this would have been the third time.] 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 [given?]; 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 peoples. 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 worshiped them and served them; therefore the LORD has brought all this calamity on them.'"
11a. Now it happened at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the house of the LORD and the king's palace (Hiram the king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress and gold, as much as he desired), that King Solomon then gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. Hiram went from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given him, but they did not please him. So he said, "What kind of cities are these which you have given me, my brother?" And he called them the land of Cabul ("good for nothing") as they are to this day. Then Hiram sent the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold.
11b. King Solomon raised a labor force to build the house of the LORD, his own house, the Millo (a great land-filled area), the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. (Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and taken Gezer and burned it with fire, had killed the Canaanites who dwelt in the city, and had given it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon's wife.). So Solomon rebuilt Gezer, and built Lower Beth Horon, Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land of Judah, all the storage cities that Solomon had, cities for his chariots and cities for his cavalry, and whatever Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
11c. Solomon performed a census of all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who were not of the children of Israel--that is, their descendants who were left in the land after them, whom the children of Israel had not been able [or did not desire] to destroy completely. [According to the authors of Chronicles, there were 153,600 of working age.] Solomon conscripted them to performed forced labor. But he did not make forced laborers of the children of Israel, because they were men of war and his servants: his officers, his captains, commanders of his chariots, and his cavalry. Others were chiefs of the officials who were over Solomon's work: five hundred and fifty, who ruled over the people who did the work.
11d. The Pharaoh's daughter came up from the City of David to her house that Solomon had built for her. Then he built the Millo. Three times a year Solomon offered burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar that he had built for the LORD, and he burned incense with them on the altar that was before the LORD. [For the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles]
11e. King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. Then Hiram sent his servants with the fleet, seamen who knew the sea, to work with the servants of Solomon. Then they went to Ophir, and acquired four hundred and twenty talents of gold from there, and brought it to King Solomon.
12. In Chapter 10 of 1st Kings, the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, so she decided to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her. Then she said to the king: "It was a true report that I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the LORD your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness." Then she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great quantity, and precious stones. There never again came such abundance of spices as the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
12a. The ships of Hiram, which brought gold from Ophir, brought great quantities of almug wood and precious stones from Ophir. And the king made steps of the almug wood for the house of the LORD and for the king's house, also harps and stringed instruments for singers. There never again came such almug wood, nor has the like been seen to this day. And King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, besides what Solomon had given her according to the royal generosity. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.
[There is a sect of Jews living in Ethiopia who claim that the Queen of Sheba was pregnant with Solomon's child when she left and that they are the descendants of that child. They also claim to have the Ark of the Covenant, which according to them was taken to Egypt prior to the fall of Jerusalem and then to Ethiopia a few centuries later. In typical Hebrew fashion, only their High Priest is permitted to actually see it.]
12b. The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, besides that from the traveling merchants, from the income of traders, from all the kings of Arabia, and from the governors of the country. King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. He also made three hundred shields of hammered gold; three minas of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round at the back; there were armrests on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the armrests. Twelve lions stood there, one on each side of the six steps; nothing like this had been made for any other kingdom. All of King Solomon's drinking vessels were gold, and all of the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon.
12c. Solomon had merchant ships at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys. So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. Now all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year.
12d. Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores that are in the lowland. Solomon also had horses imported from Egypt and Keveh; the king's merchants bought them in Keveh at the current price. A chariot that was imported from Egypt cost six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse one hundred and fifty; and thus, through their agents, they exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria.
[King Solomon was extravagant, but he knew how to keep his people at peace by negotiating treaties, exchanging gifts with neighboring kings, etc. The population of Israel probably quadrupled during Solomon's 40-year reign. Notice that the expression "kings of the Hittites" implies that there must have been quite of lot of Hittites still around in King Solomon's time, in spite of earlier Levite claims that God had decreed that they should be "utterly destroyed". Obviously, King Solomon actively sought instead to maintain good relations with those kings. This is another subtle rebuke of earlier Levite teachings.]
13. In Chapter 11 of 1st Kings, the authors report that King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites--from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, "You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.
[Wait a minute! How could that be? Think about it. With 1,000 lovers, even if Solomon were to "know" one each night, that would take three to four years between visits for each of his women. Although some of his "wives" were evidently acquired to help ensure peace with neighboring kingdoms, it seems likely that most of them may have simply been women who had no other means of support.]
13a. When Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart to other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
[If you read King Solomon's writings, you can see that the above claims that he actually worshipped other gods is highly unlikely, even though he admits in Ecclesiastes 2:10, "Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor." However, it is also quite understandable that he would want to accommodate the religious desires of many of his foreign wives, especially those who were acquired for "political reasons." I suspect that the authors of Chapter 11 of 1st Kings are giving King Solomon a "bum rap" in this case. This chapter may actually have been written by the disgruntled Levite Ahijah and later on incorported into the story by the prophet Jeremaih and his scribe Baruch]
13b. So [according to at least one of the authors of Chapter 11] the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD had commanded. Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen."
[I wonder who told the authors of Chapter 11 that the LORD had said that to King Solomon. Was it in a dream? Were there witnesses? Anyhow, whoever those authors were, they apparently didn't dare to challenge King Solomon's wisdom while he was still alive.]
13c. Then the LORD raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was a descendant of the king in Edom. When David was in Edom, his commander Joab had gone up to bury the slain, after he had killed every male in Edom (for six months Joab remained there with all Israel, until he had cut down every male in Edom). But Hadad and some Edomites of his father's servants had fled to Egypt when Hadad was still a little child. The Pharaoh king of Egypt gave him a house, apportioned food for him, and gave him land. Hadad found great favor in the sight of the Pharaoh, so that he gave him as wife the sister of his own wife, that is, the sister of Queen Tahpenes. Then the sister of Tahpenes bore him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house. And Genubath was in Pharaoh's household among the sons of Pharaoh. When Hadad heard in Egypt that David rested with his fathers, and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, he said to Pharaoh, "Let me depart, that I may go to my own country." Then Pharaoh said to him, "But what have you lacked with me, that suddenly you seek to go to your own country?" So he answered, "Nothing, but do let me go anyway."
[This story sounds familiar, doesn't it? By fleeing to Egypt, a prophet escapes the wrath of a bloodthirsty Hebrew king who seeks to kill every male in town. Why do you supposed that at least one of the authors of 1st Kings went to the trouble to point out this genocidal detail about the exploits of the allegedly "blameless" and "righteous" King David?]
13d. And God raised up another adversary against him, Rezon the son of Eliadah, who had fled from his lord, Hadadezer king of Zobah. He gathered men to him and became captain over a band of raiders, when David killed those of Zobah. They went to Damascus, dwelt there, and reigned in Damascus. He was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon (besides the trouble that Hadad caused); and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.
13e. Then Solomon's servant, Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite from Zereda also rebelled against the king. And this is what caused him to rebel against the king: Solomon had built the Millo and repaired the damages to the City of David his father. Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon, seeing that the young man was industrious, made him the officer over all the labor force of the house of Joseph. When Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the way; he had clothed himself with a new garment, and the two were alone in the field. Then Ahijah took hold of the new garment that was on him, and tore it into twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam, "Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: 'Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you 'but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel), 'because they have forsaken Me, and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the people of Ammon, and have not walked in My ways to do what is right in My eyes and keep My statutes and My judgments, as did his father David. 'However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes [?]. 'But I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand and give it to you-- ten tribes. 'And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there. 'So I will take you, and you shall reign over all your heart desires, and you shall be king over Israel. 'Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you. 'And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.'" When Solomon heard of this, he sought to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam fled to Egypt until Solomon died.
[Whoa! With religious leaders like that, who needs enemies? Ahijah was from the house of Eli and was probably among the Levites who lost their jobs when King Solomon fired Abiathar. Apparently, Ahijah figured that if he couldn't put King Solomon "under his thumb", he might have better luck if he could help Jeroboam become the king of the larger half of a divided Israel. So, once again, Israel's experiment with monarchy was about to be "done in" by one of its own divisive religious leaders. Similar movements are progressing even today in the United States and Israel.]
13f. Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? And the period that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. Then Solomon rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David his father. And Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.
[It's seems quite odd that the scriptures would mention only one direct descendant of King Solomon. With that many wives, one would expect that he had a LOT of children. The authors never really specify who Rehoboam's mother was, so we must presume that his mother was the Pharaoh's daughter, which would make him 50% Egyptian, 25% Hittite, 3% Moabite, and only 22% Hebrew. As illustrated in Quotation #3 above, Solomon wrote some of his proverbs specifically for the purpose of educating his son. So what went wrong?]
14. In Chapter 12 of 1st Kings, Solomon's son Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. When Jeroboam heard it (he was still in Egypt, for he had fled from the presence of King Solomon and had been dwelling in Egypt), he and the whole assembly of Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, "Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you." So Rehoboam replied, "Depart for three days, then come back to me." And the people departed.
[Jeroboam's request was reasonable, since the temple and palaces had already been built. At this point, Rehoboam was following his father's advice to seek council on important decisions.
It's also interesting to note that they went to the town of Shechem to make this fortuitous decision. Jacob had purchased a parcel of land outside of Shechem where Joseph ended up being buried. Shechem was also where the original Levi and Simeon had slaughtered all of the town's males because the town's prince had seduced their sister in Genesis 34. In the 24th Chapter of Joshua, Joshua made a covenant with the children on Israel at Shechem, but it didn't last very long. And in the 9th Chapter of Judges, Shechem was the center of Abimelech's murderous rebellion against the sons of Gideon. Shechem seems to be a symbol of violence, deception, and death for the children of Israel. One might say, "what goes around comes around" or that the children of Israel "reaped what they sewed" at Shechem.]
14a. Anyhow, when King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, they said, "If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever." But he rejected the advice that the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him. And he said to them, "What advice do you give? How should we answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, 'Lighten the yoke which your father put on us'?" Then the young men spoke to him, saying, "Thus you should speak to this people, 'My little finger shall be thicker than my father's waist! And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!'" So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king had directed. Then the king answered the people roughly, and rejected the advice which the elders had given him; and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!" So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the LORD, that He might fulfill His word, which the LORD had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
[It appears that the above paragraph may also have been originally written by Ahijah. In any case, Rehobaom had clearly NOT inherited his father's wisdom; in fact, he doesn't appear to have been very bright at all. Perhaps one of the reasons King Solomon had so many "wives" was that was desparatly trying to produce another son to succeed him on the thrown. Assuming that things really did happen as described above, then King Solomon's essential failure in educating his son was that although King Solomon was following God's two most fundamental commandments, he never quite succeeded in encapsulizing them in a clear and suscinct a way as Jesus Christ did in Matthew 22:37-40. So although Rehobaom's mind may have been filled with thousands of specific examples regarding how to follow God's two most fundamental commandments, he never really grasped the general principle from which those examples were derived. Most "Christians" today have the same problem, because most of our churches have NOT been teaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ. In a way, the kinds of problems that Jeroboam experienced are being experienced by them as well.]
14b. When all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying: "What share have we in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!" So Israel departed to their tents. But Rehoboam reigned over the children of Israel who dwelt in the cities of Judah. When King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of the revenue into Israel, all Israel stoned him to death. Therefore King Rehoboam mounted his chariot in haste and fled back to Jerusalem. When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had come back, they made him king over the northern ten tribes Israel. Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained loyal to the house of David. Then Rehoboam assembled 180,000 warriors from Judah and Benjamin to fight against the house of Israel in order to restore the kingdom. But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, "Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, to all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, saying, 'Thus says the LORD: "You shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel. Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me."'" Therefore they obeyed the word of the LORD, and turned back, according to the word of the LORD.
[In Numbers 36:6, Moses said, "This is what the LORD commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, 'Let them marry whom they think best, but they may marry only within the family of their father's tribe.'" This decision was made in order to "preserve the inheritance" within each tribe of Israel. In spite of what Moses claimed at the time, it was an ungodly decision, because it encouraged further restrictions on the definition of "neighbor" among the children of Israel based upon what "tribe" they were from. The ungodliness of that decision led to the Benjaminite massacre described in the Book of Judges and again here in 1st Kings where it contributed to the political breakup of Israel along tribal lines. King David would have inflicted massive casualties on his fellow Hebrews in order to hold his kingdom together. But Rehobaom was no warrior, and a large number of his "charioteers" probably belonged to the tribes that were leaving, so he accepted the recommendation revealed by Shemaiah and let them go. Thus the "Golden Age" of ancient Israel came to an end in less than a century--a victim of the kind of differing opinions that are typically inspired when loyalty to God is subordinated to the Satanically inspired (and ever-flexible) concept of "national sovereignty."]
14c. Then Jeroboam built up Shechem in the mountains of Ephraim, and dwelt there. He also built up Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah." So the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!" And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.
[Another example of the subordination of God to the concept of "national sovereignty."]
14d. This thing became a wide-spread sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. He made shrines on the high places and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi. Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And at Bethel he installed priests in the high places that he had made. So he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense.
[So things did not turn out the way Ahijah had expected. We'll continue with this story in my July 98 article and begin to examine the apocalyptic writings of the great prophets of Israel. Next week, I plan to publish some further comments regarding our PRESENT world situation.]
15. In my Apr 98 article, I raised a question regarding who the "great King" was (King David, King Solomon, or God?) in the following comments by Jesus Christ.
"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Matt 5:33-37)
Now consider the following from Matthew 22:41-46,
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David." He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool" '? "If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son?" And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.
And in Matthew 12:42,
"The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here."
And finally, in Matthew 6:26-30,
"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?"
Now consider God's words to King David (through Nathan the prophet) in 2 Samuel 7:12-16,
When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."
15a. It is commonly assumed that Jesus was referring to King David as "the great King" in Matthew 5:35. All four gospels show that Jesus was indeed referred to as "Son of David" as if that were his title. But it is far more likely that Jesus was referring to God through King Solomon is that case, because:
a. The teachings of both King Solomon and Jesus Christ followed God's two most fundamental commandments without restrictions, the teachings of King David usually did not.
b. Jesus was emulating Solomon, not David, when he rode the mule colt into Jerusalem.
c. King Solomon's approach to leading a monarchy was so extraordinarily different from the norm of that age, that dignitaries from other nations (like the Queen of Sheba) traveled great distances to come and see how he did it. They were amazed at how successfully King Solomon's new approach worked!
e. Even though King David's political dynasty came to an end when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, King Solomon's truth-and-love-oriented approach for ruling a kingdom lived on in the hearts and minds of the great prophets of Israel and in hearts and minds of many of the authors of the Old Testament scriptures. Even though he didn't call what he was creating a "spiritual kingdom of God" as Jesus did, King Solomon did in fact establish such a spiritual kingdom on earth based on god's principles of truth and love. THIS was the kingdom launched from David's throne which King Solomon established forever, as prophesized by Nathan the prophet.
16. With regards to my point that King Solomon had such a tremendous influence on the great prophets of Israel and the writing of the Old Testament, I highly recommend you read a book called "Who wrote the Bible?" by Richard Elliott Friedman. He describes five of the major authors of the Torah (Genesis, Exoduc, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) as being:
"J" (Jawehist) who wrote in Judea after the breakup (Garden of Eden story, etc.)
"E" (Elohist) who wrote in Israel after the breakup (Moses vs. the Pharoah, etc.)
"D" (Deuteronomist) wrote in Judea under Josiah
(Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1st and 2nd Samuel, 1st and 2nd Kings) tentatively identified as Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch)
"P" (Priestly Source) wrote in Judea after Israel fell to the Assyrians. (Genesis 1 and Noah Story (maybe not), Leviticus, rules of sacrifice)
"R" (Redactor) wrote during the 2nd Temple period ("pulled it all together") tentatively identified as Ezra (WRONG!)
16a. So as you can see, the first five books of the Bible were actually written (authored, compiled, or oral traditions recorded) AFTER the reign of King Solomon. Each of these major author/compilers had their own ideological "ax to grind." That's why, when their works were merged together, the resulting story line tends to "bouncing around a bit." After reading this book, you'll either laugh or get upset when you see some of America's TV "evangelists" boldly (and falsely) proclaiming that the Bible itself is "the inerrent Word of God."
16b. Perhaps you noticed that I strongly disagree with Mr. Friedman's tentative conclusion that "R" was Ezra. If he were to go back and read the Old Testament from the point of view of God's two most fundamental commandments as Jesus did (rather than from the point of view of "national sovereignty"), he would learn a LOT more about who wrote the Bible and why. He would also quickly recognize that Ezra is a very unlikely candidate the play the role of "R".
16c. During the 2nd Temple period, Ezra and Nehemiah set out to re-establish many of the same kinds restrictions on the new Judeans' definition of "neighbor" (prohibitions against "intermarriage", etc.) that had led to the enslavement of the children of Israel in Egypt, to the Benjaminite massacre, the breakup of the Kingdom of Israel, and the destruction of King Solomon's temple. It's far more likely that the people who played the role of "R" are described in Ezra 10:15
"Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite gave them support."
They may well have been to the ones who took the earlier (much shorter) version of the Torah which Ezra brought back from Babylon and merged it with other texts that they found to produce a far more comprehensive Torah, arranged in a chronological manner so that readers could see for themselves the ungodly consequences of many of the Levite's teachings. In the process, with some minor "tweaking", they may have been the ones who turned some of the earlier-written stories into "third-heaven" allegorical lessons (.a.k.a. parables) designed to make their points right under the noses of Ezra and Nehemiah without them ever noticing it (i.e. to get around their censorship practices).
We'll examine further evidence of this in my July 98 article.
(one grain of salt)
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