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The Biblical Account of Solomon

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The biblical account of Solomon's reign contains criticisms; these criticisms illustrate the date of the narrative. Solomon was looked upon as a ruler of peace and welfare. He inherited his throne at a young age from King David. The land he inherited in 970 BC, Israel, ran all along the Mediterranean in the west, up to the Euphrates River in the north, and down all the way to the desert in the south and east.(George Konig, 68) Solomon did not expand his territory any further; rather he built alliances with surrounding countries and developed trade. The traditional powers of the ancient world, the Egyptians and the Hittites, and the empires yet to appear, Assyria and Babylon, were not aggressive during either David's or Solomon's rule.(George Konig, 68) David had expanded Israel's sphere of influence by war; Solomon was a diplomat, who held what his father had gained. During Solomon's reign, Israel's wealth and power diminished. Solomon's broad-mindedness weakened Israel's wealth and power. (Anderson, 241)

Solomon wrote thousands of proverbs and songs and he is commonly known for his wisdom. His proverbs and songs were what made him known as man of peace and kindness. He however, soon did not stay true to his own writing, his life became promiscuous and materialistic. "Every part of the book bears the mark of foreign influences ... The close connection between the first part of the Thirty Sayings with Egyptian Wisdom ... is only a special instance."(J.C. Rylaarsdam, 444)

The gift Solomon requests is the wisdom to govern well. Yahweh is so pleased that he gives Solomon more than he has asked for: he will receive unparalleled wisdom (v. 12) and, with it, wealth and fame (v. 13). The story of Solomon's dream has been expanded editorially by the insertion of certain materials lacking in the parallel version of the event in 2 Chron. 1:3-13, which seems to have escaped Deuteronomistic editing. Thus, 1 Kings 3:6 has been elaborated to connect Solomon's succession to David's throne with the dynastic promise in 2 Samuel 7; 1 Kings 3:14 has been added to qualify Yahweh's promise; and v. 15 has been altered to shift the place of sacrifice from Gibeon to Jerusalem. (1988)

In Judgment of Solomon the account of the divine gift of wisdom is followed by an example of its practical application. The sagacity with which Solomon arbitrates between two prostitutes convinces the Israelites that "the wisdom of God was within him" (v. 28). (1988).

Solomon's strategies for maintaining peace were constantly to strengthen Israel's military capacity. Solomon wanted to deal with world problems through diplomacy, but he wanted to negotiate from a position of strength rather than weakness. He fortified key cities on the perimeter of Israel's territory and set up outer command posts to give early warning of possible enemy military buildups.

This military readiness placed a heavy strain on the kingdom's financial resources. Solomon's diplomacy was not like his fathers; David had won the respect of the great powers surrounding Israel. Solomon now moved to make alliances with them. His many marriages to foreign women were part of this diplomatic strategy; in that day such marriages were a normal way to seal an international alliance. Solomon's broad-mindedness his greatest weakness his seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines were the served the purpose of close political and cultural ties with surrounded peoples. (Anderson, p. 241)

Solomon was as aggressive economically as his father had been militarily. He invested in land and sea trade. He developed Israel's natural resources, setting up smelteries which,



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