Solomon in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

LITERATURE I. Early Life. Solomon was the son of David and Bath-sheba, and became the 3rd king of Israel. 1. Name and Meaning: He was so named by his mother (2 Sam 12:24, Qere; see TEXT AND MANUSCRIPTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT; TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT), but by the prophet Nathan, or by his father (Vulgate), he was called Jedidiah--"loved of Yahweh." The name "Solomon" is derived from the root meaning "to be quiet" or "peaceful," and Solomon was certainly the least warlike of all the kings of Israel or Judah, and in that respect a remarkable contrast to his father (so 1 Ch 22:9). His name in Hebrew compares with Irenaeus in Greek, Friedrich in German, and Selim in Arabic; but it has been suggested that the name should be pronounced shillumah, from the word denoting "compensation," Bath-sheba's second son being given in compensation for the loss of the first (but see 3, below). 2. Sources: The oldest sources for the biography of Solomon are doubtless the "Annals of Solomon" referred to in 1 Ki 11:41, the "history of Nathan the prophet," the "prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite" and the "visions of Iddo the seer," mentioned in 2 Ch 9:29, all which may be merely the relative sections of the great book of the "Annals of the Kings" from which our Books of Kings and Chronicles are both derived. These ancient works are, of course, lost to us save in so far as they have been embodied in the Old Testament narrative. There the life of South is contained in 2 Sam 12:24 f; 1 Ki 1 through 11; 1 Ch 22 through 2 Ch 9. Of these sources 2 Sam 12:24 f and 1 Ki 1; 2 are much the oldest and in fact form part of one document, 2 Sam 9 through 20; 1 Ki 1; 2 dealing with the domestic affairs of David, which may well be contemporary with the events it describes. The date of the composition of the Books of Chronicles is about 300 BC--700 years after the time of Solomon--and the date of the Books of Kings, as a completed work, must, of course, be later than the exile. Nothing of importance is gained from citations from early historians in Josephus and later writers. Far and away the best source for, at least, the inner life of Solomon would be the writings ascribed to him in the Old Testament, could we be sure that these were genuine (see below)...

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