King Solomon was the third and last king of the United Kingdom of Israel. He reigned for 40 years (970 – 931 BCE) after King Saul and King David (1 kings11:42). He was born in Jerusalem, the second born child of David and his wife Bathsheba, widow of Uriah the Hittite.
Solomon is described in the Bible as great in wisdom, wealth and power beyond any of the previous kings of the Monarchy (1 Kings 1–11; 1 Chronicles 28–29, 2 Chronicles 1–9). The Bible tells us that when he received the throne, the Lord asked him to make a request of what he wanted. Solomon realizing his inability to rule God’s people, asked for wisdom.
The Lord was pleased with him for not asking for power nor riches. So, the Lord granted him great wisdom (1 Kings 10:23) and He was given also wealth (1 Kings 10:27) and peace (1 Kings 4:20-25). The Bible gives the story of his wisdom when he settled a dispute over the identity of the true mother of a new born child (1 Kings 3:16-28).
The knowledge of the wisdom of Solomon spread all through the earth. Other monarchs sought to learn from him, like the Queen of Sheba who traveled a long distance to meet with him (1 Kings 10). Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005 (1 Kings 4:32). Solomon was the author of the books: the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and most of the book of Proverbs.
One of the most outstanding tasks that Solomon did was the building of the first temple of the Lord in Jerusalem (1 kings 6; 2 Chronicles 3) in the fourth year of his reign. When Solomon finished its building (2 Chronicles 7), he offered a payer of dedication to the Lord and the Lord blessed the temple (1 Kings 8:22-61).
The wisdom of Solomon was not just displayed in administering justice to his people but also in managing the financial affairs of his country. The king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars he made to be as the sycamore trees for abundance (1 Kings 10:27). He also built a fleet of ships and collected great amounts of gold from Ophir (1 Kings 9:26-28; 10:11, 22).
Solomon’s sins included idolatry, marrying foreign women and, ultimately, turning away from the Lord. But at the end of his life, he realized that being apart from God is meaningless and void (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He saw that wealth, fame and pleasure failed to grant him real joy. So, at the end of his life, he repented and summed his experience with the words “here is the conclusion of the matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (Ecclesiastes12:13).
Solomon died at around 80 years of age. Upon his death, his son, Rehoboam, succeeded him. But the ten of the Tribes of Israel refused to accept Rehoboam as king, dividing the United kingdom into the northern Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam, while Rehoboam continued to rule over the much smaller southern Kingdom of Judah. And the two kingdoms were never again united.
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