Lessons from the Life of Solomon

DURING THE REIGNS of Kings David and Solomon, the nation of Israel changed abruptly from a loose confederation of tribes that had existed earlier in its history, to the attainment of its highest level of glory and prominence among the nations of the world. This is noted in their military, political, and economic achievements. David’s various military conquests had made him a most popular king, as well as Israel’s national hero. Solomon’s regime, on the other hand, is best remembered because of his immense wealth, power, and exceptional wisdom, leading to the international prestige and dominance of the Jewish nation.

David’s reign as king had come to a rather sorry ending, involving a number of family tragedies, and other unfortunate events that marred this period of his life. The closing scenes became even more complicated, as civil war erupted among his people. Rivals attempted to overthrow the government, and matters became increasingly serious—to the point that David and his court had to flee Jerusalem in fear of their lives.

To make matters worse, Israel was also engaged in war with the Philistines. To try to resolve the worsening situation, David’s wife, Bathsheba, and the Prophet Nathan, sought to use their influence over the king to allow his son, Solomon, to assume leadership over the people of Israel. David agreed, and Solomon became king.

In an effort to consolidate his power it was necessary that Solomon remove his challengers. But, later on, Solomon’s policies became so unpopular that they led to the division of the nation into two major rival factions.


God appeared to Solomon on two occasions. The first time was in a dream at Gibeon. (I Kings 3:5-15) There God asked him what he could give him as a blessing. Solomon replied that he wanted to judge his people in an equitable manner, and needed understanding of heart to do so. God was pleased that he had not asked for personal advantage, and agreed to give him not only the wisdom to govern the nation of Israel, but also riches and honor. In return, God expected Solomon to keep his statutes and commandments, and to walk faithfully, even as his father, David, had walked.

The second time God appeared to Solomon was after the completion of the building of the Temple and the king’s palace. On this occasion, God reassured Solomon that as long as he remained obedient to the laws of truth and righteousness, and walked as David had walked, he would prosper immeasurably, and that the throne of his kingdom would be established over Israel forever. Then God added the warning that disobedience would result in chaos and ruin.

At first Solomon was indeed a wise king, ruling with equity and wisdom. He built the Temple, which replaced the Tabernacle as a place for worshiping God. It was a very beautiful structure, sixty cubits long (90 ft.), twenty cubits wide (30 ft.), and thirty cubits high (45 ft).

It was during the second appearance of God to Solomon after the Temple was completed, that God said to Solomon: “I have consecrated this Temple, which you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”—I Kings 9:3, New International Version

These experiences during Solomon’s reign were to typify the greater work of Christ’s future kingdom. Even as Solomon became famous for the Temple which he had built, so the greater temple will be still more grand when all the world will be blessed by the ‘greater than Solomon’, the Christ of promise!


The Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, and made the long journey to meet and converse with the king. She herself was a monarch of great wealth, and arrived bearing many rich gifts for Solomon. We are told that the grandeur of his court greatly impressed her. (I Kings 10:1-5) Being a witness to the surrounding splendor, she said, “It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts [Margin, “sayings”] and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.”—vss. 6,7

The Queen of Sheba received gifts from Solomon: “King Solomon gave unto the Queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.”—vs. 13

Solomon’s wisdom, prosperity, and greatness are but typical of the greater work to be accomplished under the Christ in his kingdom. When Jesus walked upon earth, the people who heard him speak also marveled at Jesus’ words of wisdom, but even this will see a much greater fulfillment when Christ rules in glory and splendor during his kingdom. So we can understand how God used Solomon’s glory, and his Temple, as an illustration of the glorious reign of Christ. It, too, will be said of that kingdom, “The half was never told”!


There is a saying that King Solomon was the wisest among men, but also the most foolish. He was wise because God had blessed him abundantly with understanding. Solomon also had riches and honor, and the privilege of leading his people. But he was foolish because he did not continue to heed God’s instructions, nor seek his counsel, and therefore he had to suffer the foretold consequences of his disobedient actions.

Although Solomon enjoyed the special favor of God, as pride became an increasing factor in his life—accompanied with the self-gratification of a luxurious life style—God warned him a second time that he must seek divine guidance and instruction to lead his people properly. Nevertheless, he continued to choose the wrong pathway. The turning point was reached. God said, “If ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them: then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people.”—I Kings 9:6,7

Again, the story is a sad one, as Israel’s king failed to obey God, and the laws of truth and righteousness. “King Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites.” (I Kings 11:1) His quest for power grew and extended over a greater area, as arrangements were made for him to marry into the various kingdoms of earth. These were largely heathen kingdoms with many evil religious practices. Solomon had “seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.”—vs. 3

As he sought more and more to please his wives, he, in turn, became more displeasing to God. The result of inter-marriage among heathen nations was not only injurious to Solomon’s personal life, but to the whole nation of Israel, “for Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.” (vs. 5) “Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon, and likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.” (vss. 7,8) These things came about in this manner:

While the Israelites gathered in the newly built Temple where services were held to worship the true God, Solomon’s heathen wives, who attended his court, became jealous of Solomon’s beliefs and faith, and of the fact that they were not able to serve their various gods or to erect altars to their heathen deities. They desired that their gods be equally represented and worshiped. Under this kind of persuasion and pressure, Solomon yielded to the demands of his strange wives, and their strange religions. In so doing, he violated his God-given responsibilities to the people of Israel. The nation’s most illustrious king fell from the favor and grace of the Most High God. “Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.”—I Kings 11:6


The First Advent of Jesus gave great hope to the world of mankind. After the ransom was provided, the work of selecting and testing the church class began. Then came a great falling away from the truths preached by Jesus and the Early Church, while human weakness played a prominent part in the setting up of the great apostasy. But the work of selecting those whom God called to be members of the true church continued in spite of these obstacles.

The later aspects of Solomon’s life are intended to show how Satan uses human weakness in his attempts to interfere with the fulfillment of the promises of God. But despite Satan’s best efforts, the “greater than Solomon” (Matt. 12:42; Luke 11:31) will soon become earth’s new ruler. The world anxiously, although unknowingly, awaits the fulfillment of the type which those earlier years of Solomon’s reign portrayed.—Rom. 8:22

The riches, the glory, and the power which Solomon possessed are representative of the greater glory and power to be manifested in that kingdom for which Jesus taught us to pray: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) God’s kingdom under the Christ will have the necessary authority and power to fulfill God’s promise to bless all the families of the earth.—Gen. 22:16-18

Dawn Bible Students Association
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