The history of Solomon
Solomon was the third King of Israel. He was the son of David the second King of Israel! His mother was Bathsheba.
When David was old and sick, his fourth son Adonijah wanted to be on the throne after the death of his elder brothers Amnon and Absalom, acted to have himself declared king of Israel. Bathsheba the wife of David and Solomon's mother, along with the prophet Nathan, convinced David to proclaim Solomon as King of Israel . Adonijah fled and took refug e at the altar, and received pardon for his conduct from Solomon on the condition that he show himself "a worthy man" ( we read this in 1 Kings 1:5–53). After this Solomon became King of Israel. In 1 Kings 2:13-25 we read the fact that Adonijah was killed. In verse 25 because he wanted not only Abishag as wife he was asking for but also the Kingdom to reign over it and Solomon came to know this through his mother and he finally said this: Adonijah shall be put to death this day verse 24.
Joab, who was David's General, was killed, in accord with David's deathbed request to Solomon, because he had killed generals Abner and Amasa during a time of peace. We read this in 2 Samuel 20:8–13 and in 1 Kings 2:5 David's priest Abiathar was exiled by Solomon because he had sided with Adonijah.
In I Kings 3 we read that King Solomon made friendship with Pharaoh of Egypt: “And Solomon made affinity with |Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he made and end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about” So Solomon took the daughter of Pharaoh to be his wife. Normally Pharaoh's didn't give their daughters away to other kings of other countries. This example let you see that the kingdom of Egypt was at that time of Solomon very weak and far away from it's former glory. Solomon build a special house for his Egyptian bride I Kings 7:8. The marriage to the daughter of Pharaoh was special because it was in that time an example of high standard in the world of Solomon's day. In I Kings 9:16 we read what Pharaoh did: “For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife.
Solomon built Gezer, and Beth-horon the nether. After this Solomon made peace with the Phoenician king Hiram. The daughter of this king became a wife of Solomon. Solomon was interested in the cedar. Because Hiram the King of Phoenicia loved David Solomon's father gave him the cedar and gold. Hiram got from Solomon wheat and fine oil. Already Hiram had promised cedar to David for the building of the temple. After 20 years when the house of the Lord and Solomon's house were ready Solomon gave Hiram 20 cities in the land of Galilee as repayment. Hiram was not pleased with this cities because they were poor: he called them the land of Cabul. Later Solomon mad navy of ships in Ezion-geber which is beside Eloth [ now Eilat in Israel] on the shore of the Red sea in the land of Edom. Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. I Kings 9:26-27.
The visit of the Queen of Sheba:
The Queen of Sheba heard about the wisdom of Solomon and all his wealth, maybe through sailors of the ships. Solomon was very known as king of Israel in the Middle East at that time. The Queen came from the country Sheba. This country lied where now Yemen is. Probably the ships of Solomon stopped in the harbors of this country and maybe the sailors told a lot and so the Queen came to know everything about Solomon. She wanted to visit Solomon, to see himself. She brought a gift for Solomon. In I Kings 10:1-13: “And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold and precious stones; and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.”
The questions the Queen of Sheba had for Solomon he told her and he kept nothing left for himself. He told her the truth. When the Queen saw and heard everything of Solomon, his wisdom and his acts she said: “Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones; there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon” Also the navy brought a great plenty of almug trees and precious stones and Solomon made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord and for his own house, harps and psalteries for singers. And he gave the queen of Sheba all her desire, what she asked of him and beside this he gave her a royal bounty. (verses 11-13)
Solomon was a very wise person. From whom Solomon got such wisdom? In 1 Kings 3: 3-15 we read: Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statues of David his father; only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. And the king (Solomon) went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place; a thousand burnt-offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar” After this the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night and said to him Ask what I shall give thee. Solomon answered the Lord that he the son of David is now on the throne and he is the servant of God: he said I am but al little child. Solomon came to God with his singleness of heart, as a child! He said: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude (verses 7,8 of the same chapter). Solomon asked after this: “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” What a lesson for us here! Solomon is like a child in his thinking and dealing and don’t know how to rule the folk Israel who is under him and him above them as king. He doesn't know what is good and what is bad.
In Proverbs 15:33 we read : “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility” And in Proverbs 1:7 we read: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” This is exactly what Solomon did, he searched the Lord and he feared the Lord. That means that he had a lot of respect for God! God was well pleased with this and said to Solomon: “Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life: neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee” (verse 11,12).
For us as believers of the body of Christ the wisdom we know is from God through His Son Jesus Christ. In I Corinthians 1:24-27 we read: “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” We have the wisdom in HIM! God alone is wise . In I Timothy 1:17: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever Amen.” From ourselves we are not wise, we are weak as Solomon like a child before he asked the Lord for wisdom yet God had chosen us and called us to confound the wise in this world and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty I Corinthians 1: 27,28. This let us see that we don’t have wisdom from ourselves but the wisdom is of God and we as the body of Christ can tell the world, the people of God’s wisdom through His Son Jesus Christ Ephesians 3: 9-10. That is our task as members of the body of Christ, we are ambassadors for Christ! Like Solomon we can also ask God (pray to God) for more wisdom from His Word, the Bible. We can make all our requests known unto God, Philippians 4:6,7 and we have to do this: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” Ephesians 5:15,16. Another beautiful verse we can read is this: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” Colossians 3:16. The apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians in Chapter 1: 28 the following: “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”. This is through the gospel which He preached and what establish every believer, every member of the body of Christ read Romans 16:25,26.
Now back to Solomon in I Kings 4:29-31 we read this: “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Herman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all nations round about.” And in verse 34 we read this: “And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom” The wisdom he got from God! A lot of Solomon’s wisdom is written in Proverbs, he spake three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five verse 32 of the same chapter. Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon! In all these books you can read the wisdom of God given to the man Solomon to write it down! There is a lot for us to learn about these books! One of the famous things of his wisdom and justice we can read in I Kings 3:16-28 (the story of the two women with the dead baby and the living baby!
The building of the temple
It was David’s desire to build the temple but God forbade him to build the temple and Solomon was the one who have to build the temple. The building of the temple began in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign as king of Israel (996 b.C) and it was finished 7 years later. The temple was built on the mount Moriah where Abraham had to sacrifice his son Isaac long before. The temple was similar as the tabernacle but twice in size: 90 feet long and 30 feet wide and in it were the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. It was built of stone, the panels were of cedar and covered with gold. In the Holy of Holies was the ark of the covenant. In the Holy Place were the altar of incence or golden altar, ten golden lampstands standing five on each side I Kings 7:49 and ten tables of showbread I Kings 7:48. In front of this their stood two bronze pillars called Jachin and Boaz. In the inner court stood the brazen altar, lavers and bases, a large laver or sea of cast metal. This court as the temple only priest were there to enter and around this there was a large court for the people. Even as the tabernacle was built in the desert so the temple which was much bigger was the house of God and the cloud of God’s glory filled the building as it had the tabernacle I Kings 8:1-11. When the temple was finished fire from heaven came down to the burnt offering placed on the brazen altar. During the feast when the temple was finished there were 22000 oxen and 120000 sheep offered. We read this in I Kings 8:62-66. After this God appeared to Solomon again and promised Solomon more blessing if Solomon would obey God’s commandments as David his father had done. We can read this in I Kings 9 verses 1-9.
Besides the building of the temple Solomon built also his own residence, the palace of the forest of Lebanon, the Hall of Pillars and the hall of Justice. And Hiram helped him with material, workmen and gold during all this time.
Solomon the king:
Solomon reigned very long over Israel as king. Those years were years of prosperity and peace. In those years Israel became known through all the Middle East because of worship of God at the temple, Moses Law. Solomon was one of the best rulers of Israel. Later Solomon became disobedient to God, his heart turned away from God . He had a lot of wives, he loved many strange women together with the daughter of Pharaoh and he went after gods of other religions like Ashtoreth, after Milcom and Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. He brought sacrifices on high places for other gods I Kings 11: 1-8. God was not pleased with this and God stirred up men from other countries around Israel against Solomon. God divided Israel in Israel (10 tribes) kingdom and Judah (2 tribes) kingdom after this. Solomon reigned over Israel 40 years.