Solomon - the Bible text

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Young prince, coffin portrait

Solomon's story

Saving Private Ryan, still from the movie

Bible study activities

Queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba

Ancient golden crown

Famous Bible kings

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 


 


 


 


 

 

Bible text for Solomon's story 

Golden columns, Solomon's Temple

Solomon: diplomat, king, wise man

2 Samuel 12:24-25

24 Then David comforted his wife, Bathshe'ba, and went in to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him,
25
and sent a message by Nathan the prophet; so he called his name Jedidi'ah, because of the Lord.

The struggle for the succession

1 Kings 1:15-21, 28-31, 2:13-24

15 So Bathshe'ba went to the king into his chamber (now the king was very old, and Ab'ishag the Shu'nammite was ministering to the king). 16 Bathshe'ba bowed and did obeisance to the king, and the king said, "What do you desire?"

17 She said to him, "My lord, you swore to your maidservant by the LORD your God, saying, 'Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.' 18 And now, behold, Adoni'jah is king, although you, my lord the king, do not know it. 19 He has sacrificed oxen, fatlings, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king, Abi'athar the priest, and Jo'ab the commander of the army; but Solomon your servant he has not invited. 20 And now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are upon you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king sleeps with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted offenders."

'David's Promise', Goodall

'David's Promise', Goodall

28 Then King David answered, "Call Bathshe'ba to me." So she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king. 29 And the king swore, saying, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, 30 as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, saying, 'Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead'; even so will I do this day." 31 Then Bathshe'ba bowed with her face to the ground, and did obeisance to the king, and said, "May my lord King David live for ever!"

13 Then Adoni'jah the son of Haggith came to Bathshe'ba the mother of Solomon. And she said, "Do you come peaceably?" He said, "Peaceably." 14 Then he said, "I have something to say to you." She said, "Say on." 15 He said, "You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel fully expected me to reign; however the kingdom has turned about and become my brother's, for it was his from the LORD. 16 And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me." She said to him, "Say on." 17 And he said, "Pray ask King Solomon--he will not refuse you--to give me Ab'ishag the Shu'nammite as my wife." 18 Bathshe'ba said, "Very well; I will speak for you to the king."

The medieval throne of Ravenna, shown here, is probably similar in design to ancient thrones, which were covered with carved ivory plaques

The medieval throne of Ravenna, above, is probably similar in design to ancient thrones, which were covered with carved ivory plaques

19 So Bathshe'ba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adoni'jah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king's mother; and she sat on his right. 20 Then she said, "I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me." And the king said to her, "Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you." 21 She said, "Let Ab'ishag the Shu'nammite be given to Adoni'jah your brother as his wife." 22 King Solomon answered his mother, "And why do you ask Ab'ishag the Shu'nammite for Adoni'jah? Ask for him the kingdom also; for he is my elder brother, and on his side are Abi'athar the priest and Jo'ab the son of Zeru'iah."

23 Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, "God do so to me and more also if this word does not cost Adoni'jah his life! 24 Now therefore as the LORD lives, who has established me, and placed me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house, as he promised, Adoni'jah shall be put to death this day."

God's promise to Solomon  1 Kings 3:5-14

5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." 

Solomon's Dream at Gibeon, Luca Giordano

Solomon's Dream at Gibeon, Luca Giordano

6 And Solomon said, "Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to thy servant David my father, because he walked before thee in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward thee; and thou hast kept for him this great and steadfast love, and hast given him a son to sit on his throne this day. 7 And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?" 

10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.

13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."

Solomon's wisdom    1 Kings 4:29-34

29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and largeness of mind like the sand on the seashore, 30 so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 

The Judgement of Solomon, after Sir Peter Paul Rubens

The Judgement of Solomon, after Sir Peter Paul Rubens

31 For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ez'rahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the nations round about. 32 He also uttered three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five. 33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. 34 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.

Solomon builds the Temple   1 Kings 6:14-30

14 So Solomon built the house (of God), and finished it. 15 He lined the walls of the house on the inside with boards of cedar; from the floor of the house to the rafters of the ceiling, he covered them on the inside with wood; and he covered the floor of the house with boards of cypress. 16 He built twenty cubits of the rear of the house with boards of cedar from the floor to the rafters, and he built this within as an inner sanctuary, as the most holy place. 17 The house, that is, the nave in front of the inner sanctuary, was forty cubits long. 18 The cedar within the house was carved in the form of gourds and open flowers; all was cedar, no stone was seen.Reconstruction of the Ark of the Covenant

19 The inner sanctuary he prepared in the innermost part of the house, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD. 20 The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high; and he overlaid it with pure gold. He also made an altar of cedar.

21 And Solomon overlaid the inside of the house with pure gold, and he drew chains of gold across, in front of the inner sanctuary, and overlaid it with gold. 22 And he overlaid the whole house with gold, until all the house was finished. Also the whole altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold.

23 In the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olivewood, each ten cubits high. 24 Five cubits was the length of one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the length of the other wing of the cherub; it was ten cubits from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. 25 The other cherub also measured ten cubits; both cherubim had the same measure and the same form. 26 The height of one cherub was ten cubits, and so was that of the other cherub. 27 He put the cherubim in the innermost part of the house; and the wings of the cherubim were spread out so that a wing of one touched the one wall, and a wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; their other wings touched each other in the middle of the house. 28 And he overlaid the cherubim with gold.

29 He carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, in the inner and outer rooms. 30 The floor of the house he overlaid with gold in the inner and outer rooms.

The visit of the Queen of Sheba  1 Kings 10:1-9

1 Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. 2 She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind.

3 And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king which he could not explain to her. One of the Fayum coffin portraits from 2-3rd century Egypt4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 5 the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings which he offered at the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her. 6 And she said to the king, "The report was true which I heard in my own land of your affairs and of your wisdom, 7 but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me; your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report which I heard. 

8 Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel!

Solomon's foreign wives   1 Kings 11:1-4

1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women: the daughter of Pharaoh, and Moabite, Ammonite, E'domite, Sido'nian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations Women in a harem, a rather fanciful 19th century painting concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, "You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods"; Solomon clung to these in love. 

3 He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

The Song of Solomon          1:2-16

2 O that you would kiss me with the kisses of your mouth! For your love is better than wine, 3 your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is oil poured out; therefore the maidens love you. 4 Draw me after you, let us make haste. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you. 5 I am very dark, but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. 6 Do not gaze at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has scorched me. My mother's sons were angry with me, they made me keeper of the vineyards; but, my own vineyard I have not kept! 

7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who wanders beside the flocks of your companions? 8 If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your kids beside the shepherds' tents. 9 I compare you, my love, to a mare of Pharaoh's chariots.

10 Your cheeks are comely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels. 11 We will make you ornaments of gold, studded with silver. 12 While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance. 13 My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh, that lies between my breasts. 14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Enge'di.

15 Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves. 16 Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly lovely.

 

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