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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Solomon

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(ssahl' oh mahn) Personal name whose meaning is variously interpreted as “his peace,” “(God) is peace,” “Salem (a god),” “intact,” or “his replacement.” Tenth son of David and the second son of Bathsheba, Solomon became the third king of Israel and reigned forty years about 1000 B.C.

Old Testament Solomon was born to David and Bathsheba after the death of their first son (2 Samuel 12:24 ). Although not the oldest living son of David, he was crowned king after his mother and Nathan the prophet intervened with David and secured David's decision to have Solomon succeed him (1 Kings 1-2 ). Solomon is remembered most for his wisdom, his building program, and his wealth generated through trade and administrative reorganization.

Solomon was remembered as having three thousand proverbs and a thousand and five songs in his repertoire (1 Kings 4:32 ). Thus, it is not surprising that Proverbs and Song of Solomon in the Bible are attributed to Solomon. (Proverbs 1:1 ; Song of Song of Solomon 1:1 ) as are several apocryphal and pseudepigraphal books. See 1 Kings 3:16 ) and by the visit of the queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1 ).

While Solomon's Temple was the most famous of his building projects (1 Kings 5-8 ), it was by no means the only one. Solomon fortified a number of cities that helped provide protection to Jerusalem, built “store-cities” for stockpiling the materials required in his kingdom, and established military bases for contingents of charioteers (1 Kings 9:15-19 ). The Temple complex in Jerusalem was composed of several buildings including Solomon's palace, the “house of the forest of Lebanon,” the “hall or porch of pillars,” the “hall or porch of the throne,” and a palace for one of his wives, the daughter of the pharaoh of Egypt (1 Kings 7:1 ). See Archaeology; Gezer ; Hazor ; Megiddo ; Temple.

Solomon divided the country into administrative districts that did not correspond to the old tribal boundaries (1 Kings 4:7-19 ) and had the districts provide provisions for the central government. This system, combined with control of vital north/south trade routes between the Red Sea and what was later known as Asia Minor, made it possible for Solomon to accumulate vast wealth. This wealth was supplemented both from trading in horses and chariots and from trade carried on by a fleet of ships (1 Kings 9:26-28 ; 1 Kings 10:26-29 ). See Eloth ; Ezion-geber .

The Bible clearly notes that Solomon had faults as well as elements of greatness. The “seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines” came from many of the kingdoms with which Solomon had treaties (1 Kings 11:1 ). He apparently allowed his wives to worship their native gods and even had altars to these gods constructed in Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:7-8 ). This kind of compromise indicated to the historian a weakness in Solomon not found in David. Rebellions led by the king of Edom, Rezon of Damascus, and Jeroboam, one of Solomon's own officers, indicates that Solomon's long reign was not without its turmoil.

New Testament Solomon was an ancestor of Jesus (Matthew 1:6-7 ) and is mentioned in Jesus' teaching about anxiety (Matthew 6:29 ; Luke 12:27 ). Jesus noted that the queen of Sheba came a long way to see Solomon and that “something greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42 ; Luke 11:31 ). Jesus walked in “Solomon's porch,” a part of the Temple area (John 10:23 ; compare Acts 3:11 ; Acts 5:12 ). Stephen noted that though David sought to find a place for God, it was Solomon who “built a house for him” (Acts 7:47 ).

Joe O. Lewis


Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Solomon'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/s/solomon.html. 1991.


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