Who is Solomon?
(peaceful), from b.c. 1021-981 king of Israel, was the son and successor of David. Soon after the birth of Solomon, the prophet Nathan was sent by divine authority to give him the name of "Jedidiah," signifying "beloved of the Lord."; Toward the close of David's life a conspiracy was detected to place Adonijah on the throne. To settle the government in the order of the divine appointment, David caused Solomon to be invested with the robes of royalty and resigned to him voluntarily the sceptre of government, giving him a solemn charge respecting the administration of it. The early part of his reign was exceedingly prosperous, and was marked by several public acts which displayed his wisdom and piety. 1 Kgs 2:19, 1 Kgs 2:27, 1 Kgs 2:31; 1 Kgs 3:1, 1 Kgs 3:9, 1 Kgs 3:16-28. His court was distinguished for its magnificence, his dominions and revenue were vast, his personal character exalted, his wisdom proverbial, and his capital and palace renowned for wealth and splendor. 1 Kgs 4 and 1 Kgs 10. During his reign, for the only time in Jewish history, there was a flourishing commerce. The great event of his reign was the erection of the temple in Jerusalem (hence called Solomon's temple), begun in his fourth and finished in his eleventh year, which was designed by David, his father. 1 Chr 22:1-11. The plan and materials of the house and the furniture, as well as of the royal palace, are minutely described, 1 Kgs 6-7 (see Temple), as are also the services at the dedication of it. 1 Kgs 8. After this, Solomon received a renewed assurance of the divine favor and of a gracious answer to his prayers and supplications, and at the same time one of the most fearful denunciations of wrath in case he should forsake God's law. 1 Kgs 9:1-10. In the latter part of Solomon's reign he was led by his numerous foreign wives and concubines into the practice of idolatry and other abominable sins, which drew upon him and the country heavy judgments. 1 Kgs 11. From the height of wisdom he sunk to the depth of folly. We are told that the Arabs call the southern side of the Mount of Olives the "Mount of Solomon," because his idolatrous altars were built here. It is called the "Mount of Corruption," 2 Kgs 23:13, from the same cause. He reigned forty years, and was succeeded by his son Rehoboam. 1 Kgs 11:42-43. "Solomon," wrote his biographer, "spake three thousand proverbs, and his songs were a thousand and five." 1 Kgs 4:32. Thus he was a voluminous author and handled many topics. His repentance after his long course of folly is thought to be expressed in Ecclesiastes , which teaches the sad but wholesome lesson of the vanity of all things and the paramount importance of "fearing God and keeping his commandments." The life of Solomon is very simply and truthfully told in the Bible. No excuse is made for him, no sin is glossed over. This is in itself a strong proof of the genuineness of the record, and a great contrast to the legends in which he is a hero of unparalleled splendor, to whom all power upon earth is committed. His life, so brilliant in its promise, so prosperous in its course, so disastrous in its close, albeit his sins were forgiven, is not alone in history. Two characters are recalled - Seneca, the tutor of Nero, who combined great wisdom with low avarice, and Lord Bacon, "the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind." These instances show us that there may well be great elevation of sentiment with great laxity of life; that the pearls of wisdom can be cast before the swine of selfishness and folly. There is, however, this difference - that Solomon was endowed with divine wisdom, and that his folly belongs to the later period of his life and cannot impair the authority of the inspired writings of his youth and manhood.