Solomon - Bible study activities

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Young prince, coffin portrait

Solomon's story

Scroll, Old Testament

Bible text for this story

Ancient golden crown

Famous Bible kings

Queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba

At the entrance of Solomon's Temple were two impressive columns

Solomon's Temple

Ornate roof decoration of ancient palace

Solomon's Palace

Gold crown with pearls

Bible Women Bathsheba

Reconstruction of a house with rooftop working area

Houses, ancient Israel
Bathing on the roof

Map of the territories ruled by King Solomon

Maps of Israel & Jerusalem

Musician playing an ancient harp

Archaeology: David 


 


 


 


Activities for groups and individuals


An apple a day?

The Book of Proverbs is traditionally attributed to Solomon. It has 31 chapters - one for each day of the month, more or less.

A good habit to get into is reading one chapter of Proverbs every morning, plucking out one proverb from that chapter to be your guide during the day. 

Try this and see if it works for you - though be careful of Proverbs 31 if you are a married woman...


Movies with a complex hero like Solomon 

Can you name the films?
Can you see a connection with Solomon's story?

'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade''Saving Private Ryan'

'Rain'

Answers HERE (see 'Solomon')  Can you think of others?

 


Solomon's dream

Read the story of Solomon's dream in 1Kings:3 (see
Bible Text).  

The Judgement of Solomon, Frederic Schopin God offers Solomon anything he wants. Solomon asks for an understanding mind, rather than riches or fame. He wants to be able to govern his people wisely - and God grants his wish.

  • Do we expect too much from those who govern us, at whatever level? Or are we right to expect a high standard?

  • Do we apply the same expectations to ourselves, when we take on leadership roles - whether it is within the family, or in a job, school or a local community? Think of ways you can raise your game today.


Famous quotes


'Divide the living boy in two; then give half to the one, and half to the other.'
(1 Kings 3:35)

'When the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to test him....'
(1 Kings 10:1)

'King Solomon loved many foreign women; he clung to these in love.'
(1 Kings 11:1)

These three simple quotations from the story of Solomon show the humanity of the man: 

  • the first two are about his triumphs, 

  • the third one is about his failings. 

In short nobody, not even Solomon, is perfect.

Spend some time thinking about your good qualities, and also about your failings.

Solomon's great failing seems to have been his love of women, though in fairness it must be said that many of his marriages were made for diplomatic reasons. He married foreign princesses, treated them well, and was rewarded by good relationships with their countries of birth.

  • How can you strengthen the good qualities, and limit the failings? 

  • Decide on some positive steps to achieve this, and write them down. 

Don't ask your family for help.


Focus Questions

1. What are the most interesting moments in Solomon's story? 
2. In the story, who speaks and who listens? Who acts? Who gets what they want? If you were in the story, which person would you want to be friends
with? Which person would you want to avoid?
3. What is God's interaction with Solomon? What does this tell you about the narrator's image of God? Do you agree with this image?
4. The narrator/editor has chosen to tell some things and leave other things out. What has been left out of the story that you would like to know?
5. Are the characteristics and actions of the people in the story still present in the world? How is the story relevant to modern life, especially your own? 


19th century photograph of the Kidron Valley looking up towards Jerusalem

A 19th century photograph of the Kidron Valley looking up towards Jerusalem

Extra Reading

Creating the Solomonic Myth

'The stories of Solomon in the Bible are uniquely cosmopolitan. Foreign leaders are not enemies to be conquered or tyrants to be suffered; they are equals with whom to deal politely, if cleverly, to achieve commercial success. The biblical tales of Solomon's dealings with Hiram of Tyre and the queen of Sheba are literary acts of self promotion—in trade negotiations, in diplomatic relations, in the status of the king. Solomon's legend, first put into writing in the seventh century BCE, asserts Judah's greatness—and the essential skill of its monarch—in the brave new world of trade and cross-cultural communication of the Assyrian empire.

In ruling, administering, trading, and wisely judging his people, Solomon is presented as an ideal leader on the model of the Assyrian king: "And men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom" (i Kings 4:34)- "Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom" (i Kings 10:23-24). Even the extent of territory ruled by Solomon—in one version, from the Euphrates to Gaza (i Kings 4:24)—reflects a vision of Assyrian kingship as the ultimate ideal. Though the dating of this verse is uncertain, the territory described is roughly equivalent to the western territories ruled by the Assyrian kings in the late eighth and seventh centuries BCE.'

'David and Solomon', Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, Free Press, 2006, p.175-6


Bible text for Solomon's story 

Golden columns, Solomon's Temple

 

 

 

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