Solomon in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
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).
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)...