Christian Churches of God

No.  CB103




King Solomon


(Edition 1.0 20070522-20070522)


When Solomon completed the tasks his father gave him, the kingdom was firmly established in his hands because the Lord was with him. This paper has been adapted from chapters 108, 109 and 110, Volume V of The Bible Story by Basil Wolverton, published by Ambassador College Press.



Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright ã 2007 Christian Churches of God, ed. Wade Cox)


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King Solomon


We continue here from the paper David Returns to Jerusalem (No. CB102).


Solomon marries Pharaoh’s daughter

Although God had told the Israelites that they shouldn't intermarry with those of other nations, Solomon made an alliance or agreement with Pharaoh, king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to live in Jerusalem until he could finish building his palace and the Temple and the wall around the city (1Kgs. 3:1).


At that time the people of Israel sacrificed their offerings on altars in the hills, for the Temple of the Lord had not been built. Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the instructions of his father David, except that he continued to sacrifice in the hills and to offer incense there. The most famous of these altars was at Gibeon and the king went there and sacrificed a thousand burnt offerings (1Kgs. 3:2-4; 2Chr. 1:1-6).


Solomon asks for wisdom

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and told him to ask for anything he wanted, and it would be given to him.


"You have already given me much by being so merciful to my father and allowing me to sit on the throne of Israel," Solomon said. "I don't have the wisdom I should have as king. There are problems and decisions that puzzle me. I want to choose the right ways because a great nation should have great leadership. Above all things I choose to ask you for special wisdom with which to rightly and justly rule your people" (1Kgs. 3:5-9; 2Chr. 1:7-10).


The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s reply and said to him, "Because you have asked for wisdom with which to rule well, I shall grant you wisdom that is greater than that of any man. Your wisdom will be greater than that of anyone who has ever lived, and will be greater than that of anyone to live in the future. I am pleased that you didn't ask for long life, riches or death to all your enemies. Therefore I shall also give you wealth. You shall be the most honoured of kings. If you obey my laws, I shall give you a long life."


When Solomon awoke he realised it had been a dream. It was such an outstanding experience for him that as soon as he returned to Jerusalem, he stood before the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and offerings of thanks. He gave a special feast for his servants and those who worked with him in the governing of Israel (1Kgs. 3:10-15; 2Chr. 1:11-13).


An example of the wisdom God gave to Solomon is shown in the case of two women who came before the king to both claim the same child. They lived in the same house. One gave birth to a baby. The other gave birth to a child three days later. The woman who had the first birth claimed that the other woman accidentally lay on her own child and suffocated it. 


"When she discovered it was dead," the first woman told the king, "she came into my room at night, while I was asleep, and stole my infant son from me. She put her dead son next to me. When I awoke to nurse him, I found him lifeless. I thought at the time that it was mine, but in the morning I discovered it wasn't my child. This is my child you see before you. I want him back."


"But it didn't happen the way she told it," the second woman said to Solomon. "This baby is mine. I didn't steal it from her. The dead baby is hers."


Solomon knew that one of the women wasn't telling the truth. He called for a soldier with a sword to come before him. When the man walked in, weapon in hand, Solomon instructed him to take the baby.


"Cut this infant in two!" the king ordered the soldier. "Then give half to this woman and the other to that woman."


"Don't!" said the true mother. "Give her the living baby! Please don't harm it!"


But the other woman said, "Neither I nor you shall have him, divide it between us”.


Then the king said, "Give the child to the woman who doesn't want you to harm it. She tried to save it, and that proves that she is its mother".


Reports of this matter, as well as others that had to do with Solomon's decisions, spread around the nation. People could tell that Solomon was being inspired by God. Respect for the king of Israel grew with the news of how wisely he handled problems. God was keeping His promises made to Solomon in the dream (1Kgs. 3:16-28).


Solomon grows in fame and influence

Solomon enjoyed a peaceable and prosperous reign as the years went on and ruled over an undivided kingdom. Apart from his chief officials he had twelve district governors – one from each of the tribes – over all Israel. They supplied provisions for the king and his household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month of the year. From all parts of the land food was brought to Solomon's table.


King Solomon ruled from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, and down to the borders of Egypt. The people of Israel and Judah were a wealthy and contented nation at that time. They conquered the people of those lands and sent tribute (tithes) to Solomon and continued to serve him all his life (1Kgs. 4:1-25).


God forbade Israel to maintain cavalry of chariot horses as part of a standing army (Deut. 17:14-16). God didn't want the nation to build a mighty war machine that would cause the nation to lose sight of God as their protector and provoke the jealousy of other nations. However, Solomon accumulated thousands of war-horses (1Kgs. 4:26-28; 2Chr. 1:14-17). When war did come in a later age, the Israelites had less success in battle using cavalry than they did before they had any to use.


Until Solomon's time the seats of learning were presumed to be in Egypt and the East, where the Arabians, Chaldeans and Persians lived. In these nations were a few men famous for their superior (above average) knowledge. There were seers and sages, and even wizards who received their information from demons.


Because God had given Solomon an exceptional mind, good sense and an understanding of people and things, he had more wisdom than any of the so-called wise men. He also had more knowledge than most, having a God-given ability to apply himself diligently to observing, studying and remembering. He could speak with authority on anything from small insects to animals, and from minute plants to large trees. He knew much about history, mathematics, music and other subjects. Probably he had at least a basic understanding of astronomy. He wrote more than a thousand songs. Hundreds of his proverbs, of which he produced thousands, are preserved in the Book of Proverbs in the Bible for our learning. Solomon's fame for wisdom and knowledge became so great that kings from all nations came in person or sent representatives to ask his opinions and advice (1Kgs. 4:29-34).


This was the result of the gift from God. When the Creator makes a promise, He carries it out in full and often unexpected measure.


Solomon begins the Temple

Hiram, king of Tyre, had always been friendly toward David. As a gesture of goodwill, he had sent craftsmen and materials, about thirty years before, for building David's home at Jerusalem. Much of it was constructed with cedar that grew near Tyre (2Sam. 5:11; 1Chr. 14:1).


When Hiram heard that Solomon had become king, he sent emissaries to bring congratulations. Knowing what Hiram had done for his father, Solomon was appreciative (1Kgs. 5:1). It was then that the idea came to Solomon to employ the excellent craftsmen of Tyre to work on the Temple he knew should be built during his reign.


"You will remember that my father wanted to build a Temple that would be dedicated to God," Solomon told Hiram in a return message taken to Tyre. "He had so many wars to fight in his time that it wasn't God's will that such a project should be undertaken. Now Israel is at peace and I intend to build that Temple while my nation is free from strife. It would please me and my people if your nation would supply cedar and fir trees for lumber, for which I will pay you in gold, silver or any produce of Israel you desire. I also wish to hire your expert craftsmen to work with the men I shall supply as labourers" (1Kgs. 5:2-6; 2Chr. 2:1-10).


Hiram was happy to learn of this. He sent messengers back soon with a letter to the king of Israel.


"I am honoured to do what I can to help you build the Temple," the letter read. "I shall supply all the fir, cedar and any other kind of trees you need. In payment for this, we choose to receive produce from your country" (1Kgs. 5:7-9; 2Chr. 2:11-16).


So Hiram kept Solomon supplied with the timber he wanted. In return, Solomon sent great amounts of wheat, barley, oil and wine. Part of it was for Hiram's workers, and part for Hiram and his household. The part for his household was sent every year for many years after that. And Hiram and Solomon made a formal agreement of peace (1Kgs. 5:10-12).


Then King Solomon drafted thirty thousand labourers from all over Israel and rotated them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month. That meant that each man was a month in Lebanon and two months at home. Solomon also had seventy thousand additional labourers, eighty thousand stonecutters in the hill country as well as thirty-three hundred foremen.


Men from Gibal helped Solomon’s and Hiram’s men cut the timber and make the boards, and prepare the stone for the Temple (2Chr. 2:17-18; 1Kgs. 5:13-18).


In the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, he began to build the Temple of the Lord. It was in the second month (Ziv) and was also the 480th year after the people of Israel left Egypt. The Temple was patterned after the Tabernacle and was divided into three main areas: the Most Holy Place, the Holy Place and the outer courtyard. The measurements of the Temple seem to be double those of the Tabernacle. See the papers The Tabernacle in the Wilderness (No. CB42) and The Temple Solomon Built (No. CB107).


The chief architect and skilled metal worker on this great project was a man from Tyre by the name of Huram. Besides putting plans for the Temple into workable order, he also designed and laboured on much of the decorative work and on such things as vessels, tables, lamps and pillars (1Kgs. 7).


Ever since the Tabernacle had been constructed when the Israelites had been at Mt. Sinai, it had consisted mainly of fabric and skins so that it could be taken down and carried. Now, at last, the Tabernacle was replaced by a beautiful, solid structure of stone, timber, gold, silver, precious stones, carved figures, the same bright colours of linen and carved palm trees, flowers and fruit. As in the original Tabernacle, there was the outer area, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant was later placed in the Holy of Holies.


The main building was floored with fir and had inner walls of cedar. Both were then covered with gold. It wasn't a huge building, but with other structures, stone-paved court, towers and walls, the whole establishment covered several acres.


The furnishings of the Temple were many, including chains, candlesticks, tongs, bowls, snuffers, basins, spoons, and censers to burn incense in. All these were fashioned from bronze, gold or silver, and in a style and skill that made them outstanding in appearance and quality (1Kgs. 6 and 7; 2Chr. 3 and 4).


In the eleventh year of Solomon’s reign, in the eighth month (Heshvan or Bul), the Temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. Solomon spent seven years building it (1Kgs. 6:1, 37-38; 2Chr. 3:1-2). In the next several months Solomon placed in the Temple the very fine furnishings that David had dedicated for the Temple.


The Ark brought to the Temple

After the Temple was completed Solomon summoned the elders of Israel, the heads of all the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. They came together in the seventh month, as it was time for the Feast of Tabernacles (1Kgs. 8:1-2; 2Chr. 5:1-3).


It wasn't necessary for the king to invite anyone to Jerusalem for the Feast because that was an assembly commanded by God, just as it still is. (See Lev. 23:33-35, 41; Zech. 14:16-19; Deut. 16:13-15.) Observing God's annual Holy Days is as important to God and to obedient people as is the observance of the weekly Sabbath (Jn. 4:45; 7:10; Acts 18:21).


Thousands upon thousands of Israelites poured into Jerusalem to attend the greatest occasion since the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. There was an elaborate parade in which the Ark of the Covenant was brought from the place where David had housed it. The priests and their assistants followed, bearing the costly equipment, such as bowls and candlesticks, with which the Tabernacle in the wilderness had been furnished.


The Ark was carefully placed beyond the holy veil in the Holy of Holies, beneath the wings of two large cherubim of olive wood, overlaid with gold. The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the Ark (which had two other cherubim on its cover) and overshadowed the Ark and its poles. At that time there was nothing inside the Ark except the two tables of stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments. They had been there since Moses had put them in the Ark at Mt. Sinai (1Kgs. 8:3-9; 2Chr. 5:4-10).


During the parade and the ceremonious furnishing of the Temple and even long afterward, sacrifices were made at many places in Jerusalem. So many sheep and oxen were sacrificed and eaten in the next several days that the number was never known or recorded.


When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place the cloud filled the Temple. The priests could not perform their service because the Glory of the Lord filled the Temple in the cloud.


Solomon turned to the crowd and said, "This is a sign that God is with us! God has accepted the House we have built for Him! This has become His dwelling place!" (1Kgs. 8:10-11; 2Chr. 5:11-14).


Solomon’s prayer of dedication

Then Solomon praised God for how great He is. He observed that the Temple wasn't much of a residence, compared to the whole universe, for a Creator who was great enough to fill the universe. Solomon asked that God would put His name on the Temple nevertheless, as a place where He would come to be close to His people, and that God would listen to their prayers, forgive their sins when they repented, and rescue them from their enemies, famine, disease, drought and pestilence (1Kgs. 8:12-53; 2Chr. 6:1-42).


Right after Solomon had spoken the last words of the eloquent and moving address to God, fire came down from Heaven and consumed the burnt offerings and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple.


The manner in which God showed that He was pleased with the Temple, the sacrifices and Solomon's prayer caused the thousands of startled onlookers to bow with their faces to the ground in worship (2Chr. 7:1-3).


Solomon dedicates the Temple

When Solomon had finished all these prayers he rose before the altar of the Lord where he had been kneeling. He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel. Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices before the Lord. Because the main bronze altar was too small to handle the offerings that were to be consumed, another temporary altar was erected nearby (1Kgs. 8:54-64; 2Chr. 7:4-7).


The dedication of the Temple lasted seven days and then followed the Feast of Tabernacles. Solomon, and all Israel with him, kept the Feast seven days. On the eighth day, which is the Last Great Day, they made a solemn assembly. Then Solomon sent the people away.


The Israelites returned to their homes in a joyful and thankful state of mind. It had been a prosperous year for them, and they had been brought closer to God because of their experiences at the Temple and the inspiration and instruction they had received from God through Solomon and the priests (1Kgs. 8:65-66; 2Chr. 7:8-11). How amazing it will be for those that are present when the millennial Temple is dedicated.


Years later, Solomon wrote one of his many wise observations that fitted the occasion well: "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice" (Prov. 29:2).


Solomon’s Palace

Solomon's next project was the building of a palace for himself. It was thirteen years in construction! It took longer to build than the Temple because fewer men worked on it and the king wasn't as anxious to finish the palace, as he had been to finish the building dedicated to God. The main section was a beautiful structure of costly stone and cedar. In this part was Solomon's sumptuous throne room, furnished with costly objects and decorated with precious stones set in lavish areas of gold. Here was where thousands of problems were brought to him, and where he made so many of his wise judgments and decisions.


Another section was built for Solomon's wife, the princess who had been brought from Egypt (1Kgs. 7:1-12; 9:24; 2Chr. 8:11). Other areas contained dining rooms, game rooms and guest quarters. Solomon's palace was a most unusual residence. It was surrounded by vast porches built of huge blocks of stone. Beyond the porches were beautiful gardens with unique sculpture. Porticos, pillars, walls, towers and gateways were supported, connected or bedecked by hundreds of cedar beams.


As with the Temple, much of the material for the palace came from Tyre or the nearby territory in exchange for produce from Israel. And again Solomon hired the expert artisans from Tyre.


The Lord appears to Solomon

After Solomon finished building the Temple and palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do, the Lord, the Angel of God's Presence, contacted him a second time in the same manner in which He had appeared to Solomon after he had become king and when he had made special sacrifices at Gibeon.


"When you dedicated the Temple to me," the voice uttered, "I answered your prayer by consecrating this Temple you built by putting my name there for ever. My eyes and my heart will always be there”.


"If you will obey me as your father David did, and if you will live according to my Commandments, statutes and judgments, men from your family will be on the throne over all Israel forever. I made the same promise to your father. But if you or your children turn from my Laws to follow pagan religions, I will cut off Israel from the land I provided. Your nation will become an object of ridicule. I shall leave that high Temple. It will fall into ruins, and people passing will ask what I have done to it. They shall learn that it happened because Israel left their God, who had rescued them from Egypt. If they choose to follow other gods, those gods won't be able to rescue the people from the evil I shall bring on them" (1Kgs. 9:1-9; 2Chr. 7:12-22).


After this reminder, Solomon renewed his determination to continue to obey God. His intentions and attitude at that time were right. He was thankful for his personal prosperity and that of his nation. But the king had certain strong desires that could cause trouble for the whole nation unless they were controlled.


When the complete cost of Solomon's palace and his other public buildings was finally summed up, it was evident that produce from Israel wasn't enough to fairly pay the king of Tyre for all he had provided for King Solomon's projects. Solomon decided to give the king of Tyre twenty towns in Galilee.


These towns were inhabited by Canaanites living in the nation of Israel. King Hiram of Tyre was anxious to learn just what he had obtained, but he was not pleased. The message Hiram then sent to Solomon was not a happy one for the king of Israel (1Kgs. 9:10-14; 2Chr. 8:1-2).


Most of the hard labour on the cities was done by Canaanites living in those vicinities. These Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites were drafted for work, and were regarded almost as slaves (1Kgs. 9:15-23; 2Chr. 8:1-10).


This refusal of the towns, a matter which Solomon considered somewhat of an indignity, meant that some other way would have to be found for paying Israel's debt to Tyre.


King Solomon's sins

To pay the debt to the king of Tyre, Solomon required that the Israelites pay more taxes. With this extra revenue he also built a part of the wall around Jerusalem and repaired and fortified several cities to the northwest and north.


About the same time Solomon increased his fighting force by adding to the numbers of his horsemen and chariots. He even established a navy, but it was more for commercial purposes than for war. With these ships the king hoped to establish trade relations with distant countries that could supply unusual produce and rare items.


The Israelites had recently become a maritime people. But Solomon had to ask aid of the Tyrians, many of whom were sailors because their people had lived for generations on the eastern shore of the Great Sea. Tyrians trained a number of Israelites in the crafts of shipbuilding and the skills of sailing. Probably the ships were manned by crews that were more Tyrian than Israelite (1Kgs. 9:26-28; 2Chr. 8:17-18).


These voyages, some three years long, turned out to be profitable for Solomon. In one trip alone his ships would bring back cargoes that were worth fabulous sums.


When the ships returned, they brought spices, apes, peacocks, gold, silver, ivory, rare kinds of wood and other kinds of valuable and unique objects that stirred up deep interest and wonder in the many Israelites who had the opportunity to view them or own some of them (1Kgs. 10:11-12,14-15,22-23; 2Chr. 9:10-11,13-14,21-22).


Queen of Sheba visits Solomon

Meanwhile reports of Solomon's wisdom and wealth reached the Queen of Sheba and she came to test him with hard questions. At that time the Queen of Sheba ruled Ethiopia and Egypt.


The Queen of Sheba came with a large train of camels loaded with spices, gold and jewels. This wealth she presented to Solomon as a gift of friendship when she arrived in Jerusalem.


To test the power of Solomon's mind, the queen asked him the answers to many difficult questions. Solomon gave such prompt and outstanding answers that his guest was surprised. The helpful and informative replies she received kindled in her a growing respect for the Israelite king.


In the days that followed during her long visit, the queen was amazed at the beauty of the Temple, the magnificence of Solomon's palace, the unusual design of his throne, the wide choice of food at his table, the faithful obedience of his servants, the efficiency of his staff members and officers, his superb clothing and the rich attire of those about him, and the way in which he made sacrifices to his God with burnt offerings.


"When I heard glowing reports about your wisdom and prosperity, I didn't believe them," the queen admitted to Solomon. "Since coming here I've found that your achievements and wisdom have far exceeded the reports I heard. Israel must be very happy to have a king like you. Your God must indeed love your people to allow them to have such a wise ruler."


The queen gave Solomon gold of highest quality and of enormous value, precious stones and large quantities of spices (1Kgs. 10:1-10; 2Chr. 9:1-9).


Solomon gave the Queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for. In addition he gave her many gifts out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned to her own country (1Kgs. 10:13; 2Chr. 9:12).


For a long time after the Queen of Sheba had left, Solomon continued to prosper. In the course of a year it wasn't unusual for him to receive incredible quantities of gold.


He was given regular tribute by bordering nations. He had established trade agreements with others. His merchant caravans were constantly on the move. Solomon also brought an increasing number of chariots and horses. Horses were in demand in Israel (1Kgs. 10:24-26; 2Chr. 9:23-24). Solomon established a standing cavalry and a chariot brigade. After he obtained all the horses he wanted, those that continued coming from Egypt and elsewhere were sold at a profit to people who wanted them for domestic or sporting purposes. Many mules from Egypt also added to revenue for the king (1Kgs.10:28-29; 2Chr. 9:25,28).


The Bible states, in a figurative manner, that silver was so common in Jerusalem that it attracted little more attention than did the stones on the ground. Solomon had so much silver and considered it so low in value that he wouldn't allow any drinking vessels in his palace that were made of silver. All cups, chalices, goblets and tumblers had to be made of gold. Even some of the equipment for his army was made of gold instead of bronze. Some of the soldiers' shields used at state functions were of great value because of the gold content.


With all the income Israel's king received because of his keen business ability, plus the tributes and gifts he received, he became the wealthiest of kings at that time. But this wouldn't have come about without the help of God in many direct and indirect ways (1Kgs. 10:16-17,27; 2Chr. 9:15-16,27).


Solomon’s wives

While his wealth was increasing, Solomon remained faithful to God in the regularly required sacrifices and in most other matters of obedience. At the same time, he had a growing weakness that increased with his wealth and his fame. It was the desire for the love of many women. His ability and means to obtain them was a great temptation to him. In spite of his wisdom, his choice of wives started with that of an Egyptian princess. Possibly this had some bearing on the trade pact he developed with Egypt in his early years as king of Israel. From then on he seemed to have a special liking for foreign women, including those from the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians and Hittites (1Kgs. 11:1-2).


Israel's powerful fighting force kept the pagan nations subdued. Solomon not only succeeded in keeping them in their respective territories, but he included some or parts of some of them in his expanding kingdom. They paid regular, heavy tribute. These were submitted in the form of gold, silver, precious stones, bronze-work, cloth and livestock (2Chr. 9:26,28).


When Israel had come to Canaan, God had forbidden His chosen people to intermarry with those of Canaan or nearby nations. King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter. The Creator knew that intermarriage with foreigners would result in the Israelites being drawn into the worship of idols and false gods (Ex. 34:11-16; Deut. 7:1-6; 1Kgs. 11:2-3).


That is exactly what happened to Solomon, regardless of his brilliant mind and deep wisdom.


During his years of attempting to please his numerous wives, Solomon was asked by many of them to consider turning to their several gods. As Solomon grew old his wives turned his heart after other gods. He gradually lost sight of God and became totally concerned with physical things.


Solomon therefore ordered small temples to be erected for the worship of the Zidonian goddess Ashtoreth (also known as Astarte or Easter), for Chemosh the god of the Moabites and for Molech and Milcom, idols of the Ammonites. This was done on the mount just south of the Mount of Olives, in full sight of the Temple dedicated to God (1Kgs. 11:4-8).


The Lord became angry with Solomon because of his idolatry. Whether it came to him in a dream or through some prophet who was close to God, what Solomon learned was a shock to him.


"You have ignored my repeated warning about turning to other gods," God told the king. "Because you have done this thing and have broken so many of my laws, I have decided to take the kingdom of Israel from you!”


"I am going to give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of David your father, I will not completely do it while you are alive. You are going to live long enough to witness the start of great trouble in this nation. After you are dead and your son has inherited the throne, it will quickly be taken from him. Again, out of respect for David and for the sake of Jerusalem, I shall allow your son to retain leadership over the tribe of Judah" (1Kgs. 11:9-13).


Years previously, during David's rule, God had spared the life of a young Edomite prince named Hadad when Joab had tried to kill all the males of Edom. Hadad and some of the people had escaped to Egypt. Hadad later returned to his country to enlist a small but powerful army with which to plague Israel. This occurred at the time God told Solomon Israel would be troubled. Another man, by the name of Rezon, a captain in a Syrian army David had defeated, escaped to Damascus and established another small army with which to give Solomon's soldiers more grief. These two men were used by God to plague Israel, especially during Solomon's last days (1Kgs. 11:14-25).


Jeroboam rebels

Then a third man came on the scene to give Solomon even more concern. He was Jeroboam, a very capable man whom Solomon employed as the superintendent of public works projects in and around Jerusalem. He was the servant God had mentioned in His recent prediction to Solomon.


One day, as Jeroboam was coming out of Jerusalem, a man stepped up to him when no one else was around and asked to speak with him. At first Jeroboam didn't recognize the fellow, who suddenly removed a new coat he was wearing. Then Jeroboam recognized him as the prophet Ahijah, who had succeeded Nathan and Gad, prophets in David's time. Ahijah's next surprising move was to violently tear his coat into twelve pieces. He kept two of the pieces and handed the other ten to the astonished Jeroboam.


"These ten pieces of cloth represent ten tribes of Israel," Ahijah said. "Take them."


"But why are you giving them to me?" Jeroboam asked.


"God has told me that He is about to tear the kingdom of Israel from Solomon, and that He will give you ten of the tribes over which to rule," Ahijah explained.


"But why me?" Jeroboam queried. "And why only ten tribes?"


"Isn't it enough to learn that God chose you?" Ahijah pointed out. "And aren't ten tribes enough? For David's sake and for the sake of Jerusalem, Judah will remain under the rulership of Solomon's family. You will become king over ten of the tribes, which Solomon's family will lose because of the king's disobedience in turning to pagan gods and breaking so many of God's Laws. God has instructed me to tell you that if you will be obedient, you and those after you of your family will continue to rule the ten tribes" (1Kgs. 11:26-39).


Later, after Jeroboam had thought over the exciting event, he could scarcely contain himself. He had much to say to his family and friends about what he was going to do. His statements soon reached Solomon, who became so envious and angry that he sent soldiers after Jeroboam.


Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam but Jeroboam fled all the way to Egypt, where the young king there was pleased to give refuge to a man of Jeroboam's ability (1Kgs. 11:40).


Solomon’s death

The highly talented Solomon suddenly died at an age when he should have been at the prime of his wisdom – at about sixty. If he had been an obedient king, probably he would have lived for many more years. The passing of such a famous ruler was a mournful event for Israel and for many people outside Israel. Solomon had reigned for forty years after having become king at about 20 years of age (1Kgs. 11:41-43; 2Chr. 9:29-31).


Through him God not only did great things for Israel of that time, but also for people of today who gain from reading the books of the Bible Solomon wrote – Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. From these writings of Solomon it appears he would have repented of his wrong ways before his death.


For further study on King Solomon refer to the paper Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C).