Who was Solomon, the wisest man on earth?
After his birth, he received a name from the prophet Nathan Jedidiah, “beloved of the Lord”. But his regal name is Solomon, from Hebrew word Shalom, meaning peace or peaceable. This name throughout the history became associated with wealth and wisdom.
Solomon was the tenth son of King David and the second son of Bathsheba. Bathsheba was one of his father’s many wives. She was that beauty that had the idea of bathing on the roof of her house in full view of the king’s palace. Making sure that the virile young king noticed her naked. David, who was bored at home, didn’t need much to be persuaded to have a pick at porn. You see, instead of going to war with his men, as all kings’ did in spring, he sent his army to work but decided that he himself will indulge in lazy luxury at home. So, temptations didn’t wait long and offered him a beautiful entertainment. He swallowed the bait, and tragedy blossomed.
A legitimate pleasure is when you pay first and enjoy later. The illegitimate pleasure is you enjoy first and pay later. So it was in this case. David would have to pay the “bill” and made other innocent bystanders pay the price for his pleasure as well. He did order the murder of Bathsheba’s husband, a noble fighter, to cover up his lusty affair. The son, that was born out of this romance died well. The king was cursed by the prophet Nathan for such a mean behavior. God, who always loved David, never forgot this treachery and remembered it years later.
This powerful chain reaction of the destruction of sin is well described by the Apostle James many hundred years later, when he wrote: “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”, for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death”. Apostle James 1:13-15
Solomon had six half-brothers. Each one from a different mother. This was quite a patch family, in todays terms. Not, a model family for an orthodox Jew or a Christian. His dad, King David, was not an example of monogamy either, which was a norm for kings’ of that time. Maybe this was the reason for Solomon to have a multitude of wives and girlfriends (excuse my language in the bible they are its called concubines). Sons always go a step further than their fathers do.
Solomon was only the third King that Israel ever had. Saul and David, the 2 kings’ before him, came from a humble background. Both were born to common people. Grew up in the countryside. Worked normal jobs and lived in small villages. Solomon, however, grew up in luxury and in the palace in Jerusalem. He never knew poverty or hunger. He had the best education. He was used to being with people of power. He experienced firsthand all the highs of glory and lows of treachery, jealousy, intrigue, hate, and rebellion.
Before he grew up many of his half-brothers met violent deaths and one half-sister was raped. In our day the media and the entertainment industry would love this family.
The nation was united. Other nations around Israel were weak and in a chaotic state. That helped his father David to make Israel strong. When Solomon took the reigns, no one, did hinder him to expand the influence and control the “land bridge of the ancient Near East”
Israel was ideally positioned to become a political power and exercise a tight control over trade routes. Solomon had troubled neighbors but no true rivals. It was the perfect opportunity for Israel to make the maximum impact on the world. It was Israels “Golden Age”.
Solomon was not the oldest son. Most of his oldest brothers were dead. David was slow in naming a successor. God revealed to David that Solomon will be the next king (1 Chronicles 22). David promised Bathsheba that her son will be the king (1 Kings 1:13 and 17). David also informed the public that Solomon was picked as the succeeding king (1 Chronicles 28)
But David was waiting on God to do a manifestation. In his eyes, this was how kings’ are appointed. Saul and David were anointed as kings by a prophet. So, the “tradition” in his view was established. We have to wait on God to move first. But, nothing was happening. In this vacuum entered an impatient man, who decided that something has to be done and he would be the next king.
Adonijah was the older half-brother of Solomon and had a claim to the throne. He had connections. Joab, the general of the army, was on his side. Abiathar, a leading priest, would provide the religious blessing. The coup was planned under the disguise of a religious festival. Not far from Jerusalem in the Kidron Valley, the excited political rebels gathered.
Now the prophet Nathan, David’s personal confidant, heard the news and rushed to see Bathsheba. Together they persuaded the dying king to give a permission to launch a counter-attack. David still had enough strength to command Zadok, the other high ranking priest to anoint Solomon as king. Benaiah, the co of the kings’ bodyguards, made sure that the attenders of the ceremony were safe.
As the trumpet sounded and the crowds shouted “Long Live King Solomon”, the other crowning ceremony was caught by surprise. All who backed Adonijah instantly understood that the consequences of their actions will be dreadful. Usually, in such cases, the loosing party don’t live long. But Solomon attitude was: I won, you lost, live with it. As long as you behave all is good.
But Adonijah could not accept the reality. He was still power hungry. He believed that he had the right to be king, that the majority of the nation was behind him, but something unexplainable happened and he lost. So, he asked that a new addition to the king Davids harem, a girl by the name of Abushag, would be given to him as a wife. The mother of the new king, Bathsheba, didn’t see through the clever ploy and passed the request to Solomon.
In the ancient near east those who had possession of any part from the kings’ harem, would have a legitimate claim to the throne. Solomon saw through this tactic and instead of getting a wife Adonijah got exiled to a small village for the rest of his life. Joab, the general, was executed. There was no one threatening Solomons reign and he could establish his laws and his ki