Solomon in Smiths Bible Dictionary

(peaceful). I. Early life and occasion to the throne. -- Solomon was the child of David's old age, the last born of all his sons. 1Ch 3:5 The yearnings of the "man of war" led him to give to the new-horn infant the name of Solomon (Shelomoth, the peaceful one). Nathan, with a marked reference to the meaning of the king's own name (David, the darling, the beloved one), calls the infant Jedidiah (Jedid'yah), that is, the darling of the Lord. 2Sa 11:24,25 He was placed under the care of Nathan from his earliest infancy. At first, apparently, there was no distinct purpose to make him the heir. Absalom was still the king's favorite son, 2Sa 13:37; 18:33 and was looked on by the people as the destined successor. 2Sa 14:13; 15:1-6 The death of Absalom when Solomon was about ten years old left the place vacant, and David pledged his word in secret to Bath-sheba that he, and no other, should be the heir. 1Ki 1:13 The words which were spoken somewhat later express, doubtless, the purpose which guided him throughout. 1Ch 28:9, 20 His son's life should not he as his own had been, one of hardships and wars, dark crimes and passionate repentance, but, from first to last, be pure, blameless, peaceful, fulfilling the ideal of glory and of righteousness after which he himself had vainly striven. The glorious visions of Ps 72:1 ... may be looked on as the prophetic expansion of these hopes of his old age. So far,all was well. Apparently his influence over his son's character was one exclusively for good. Nothing that we know of Bath-sheba lends us to think of her as likely to mould her son's mind and heart to the higher forms of goodness. Under these influences the boy grew up. At the age of ten or eleven he must have passed through the revolt of Absalom, and shared his father's exile. 2Sa 15:16 He would be taught all that priests or Levites or prophets had to teach. When David was old and feeble, Adonijah, Solomon's older brother attempted to gain possession of the throne; but he was defeated, and Solomon went down to Gihon and was proclaimed and anointed king. A few months more and Solomon found himself, by his father's death, the sole occupant of the throne. The position to which he succeeded was unique. Never before, and never after, did the kingdom of Israel take its place among the great monarchies of the East. Large treasures, accumulated through many years, were at his disposal. II. Personal appearance. --Of Solomon's personal appearance we have no direct description, as we have of the earlier kings. There are, however, materials for filling up the gap...

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