For the rest of the story of the monarchy, we turn to the two Books of Kings, the last part of the Deuteronomic history edited during the Babylonian exile. In the Books of Kings, they explain about David’s son Solomon and the breakup of the nation into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, the infidelity of their kings, the prophets Elijah and Elisha, and all the events that led finally to the Exile. The Books of Kings show how the nation was mostly unfaithful despite warnings from its prophets.
As the First Book of Kings opens, David is close to death. His eldest son, Adonijah, is trying to take over the throne and even throws himself a party to celebrate. But Nathan the prophet manages to have David promise the throne to Solomon, David’s son by Bathsheba. Solomon is then anointed king before his father dies. Upon David’s death Solomon does so, killing off several known “troublemakers” and assuring himself of total control of the kingdom.
To build an alliance with Egypt, Solomon marries the daughter of the Egyptian pharaoh. He also worships at one of the “high places,” meaning an outdoor sanctuary. Solomon has a dream in which he asks God for an understanding heart to distinguish right from wrong. Not only did God promise him wisdom to judge rightly, but he also promised him riches, glory, and long life as well, if he is faithful.
Right away, Solomon’s judgment is put to the test. Two prostitutes come before the king, one with a child and one without. The women without a child tells Solomon that each of them bore a child and that the other women smothered hers in her sleep. They then exchanged the dead infant for the live one and she now claims him. The woman with the child denies this. The king has an idea to divide the child in half and give each women a piece of the child. The true mother is very upset and she cries out that the child should live. She then gives up her claim to him. Solomon gives the child to the woman. She revealed her motherhood in her desire to save the child’s life.
Solomon, ignoring tribal boundaries, divides the land into twelve new districts and appoints an officer for each region. He then forms an elite group of administrators and introduces forced labor and taxation to provide supplies for the palace and for government officials.
Peasants in areas of the world like Central and South America have long been exploited by corrupt governments, by wealthy landowners, and by foreign investors. Solomon’s glory was built on the income raised by oppressing his people in the same way. The prophet Samuel had warned about how farmers said to provide their own palace supplies from their own crops and herds.
Solomon’s reputation grows until “all the kings of the earth” know of his wisdom. He says three thousand proverbs, writes one thousand and five songs, and discusses plants, beasts, birds, reptiles, and fishes. The scriptural writers probably exaggerated the number of proverbs and songs that Solomon wrote, but no doubt he was the source of many wise words and a key figure in the intellectual wisdom movement of that time. In the end Solomon’s reign was a disaster for Israel.
The queen of Sheba visits Solomon and seeks to discover if he is as wise as she has heard. She is amazed by his wisdom and wealth.
Solomon’s love for God begins to weaken. He begins to tolerate shrines and joins in other worship. Solomon becomes unable to separate right form wrong, and prefers strange gods to the one true God. God says that Solomon’s line will lose the throne and all the tribes except Judah. Solomon’s failure is inevitable.
Solomon’s enemies are lured back from exile to harass him. Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s enemies, is the chief of the labor force. He meets a prophet who tears his cloak into twelve pieces. The pieces represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Ten of the pieces are given to Jeroboam. God promises him the throne of Israel if he follows the ways of God. One tribe goes to the son of Solomon, so David’s line might continue. Solomon orders Jeroboam killed, and he escapes to Egypt and awaits Solomon’s death. When Solomon dies, the golden age of Israel ends.Solomon led Israel from a union of tribes, loyal to the Covenant, to subjection and near slavery, including the near breakup of the kingdom. Solomon had hardened hearts against God. The Covenant had been broken by kings like Solomon, not by God.
Period 1 group 2 (solomon)
King Solomon: Temple Builder<br />Julianne Sexton, Sam Mangine, Ray Guinther, Mike Gallagher, Steve Dengler<br />
King Solomon <br />The Two Books of Kings<br />David’s Son Solomon<br />Nation- Unfaithful<br />
Passing the Torch to Solomon<br />David- Close to Death<br />Adonijah<br />Bathsheba<br />“Troublemakers”<br />
Solomon Asks for Wisdom<br />“High Places”<br />Dream<br />
Solomon’s Judgment<br />The Two Prostitutes<br />One With a Child<br />One Without<br />Divide Child in Half<br />
Solomon’s Oppressive System<br />Divides the Land into Twelve New Districts<br />Forced Labor and Taxation<br />
Injustice and exploitation<br />Central and South America<br />Corrupt Governments<br />Wealthy Landowners<br />Foreign Investors<br />Samuel<br />
Solomon’s Wisdom<br />“All the Kings of the Earth”<br />3 Thousand Proverbs and One Thousand and Five Songs<br />Exaggerated<br />Disaster<br />
The Temple<br /><ul><li>Solomon Prepares to Build the Temple