Solomon’s kingdom

1 Kings chapters 1-4

Emboldened with not having seen rebuke from his father (the rapidly fading King David), a good man and the second son to Haggith (Absalom, who met an untimely end, being the first), Adonijah  gaining the help of the captain of the host, Joab (son of Zeruiah, sister of king David), Abiathar the priest, and his son Jonathon — who prepare chariots, horsemen, and (fifty) men to be at his service — exalts himself as king-elect, brashly calling a feast in his own honour. Sheep, oxen, and cattle are slaughtered by the stone of Zoheleth (by En-rogel) and he invites his brethren and the men of Judah.

Aware of King David’s promise that another son, Solomon, was heir, Zadok the priest, Benaiah (son of Jehoiada), Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei, and the mighty men of the king do not support Adonijah. They, nor Solomon, are invited to feast. Concerned of this coronation by trickery, Nathan turns to the king’s wife and mother of Solomon, Bath-Sheba. And, worried that the king should die before any blessing occur (and Adonijah take the title by default), Bath-Sheba responds by addressing the king in private, to remind him of his prior commitment while updating him of events. Meanwhile, all of Israel wait to see where the kings blessing will fall.

King David immediately sends for Solomon to be escorted, upon the king’s mule,  to Gihon. There Zadok and Nathan anoint Solomon king of Israel and Judah, to the sound of trumpets and fan-fair. The entire company – Benaiah, Shimei and Rei, the Cherethites and Pelethites — return to Jerusalem rejoicing. Hearing their celebrations, and the news confirmed by Jonathon, Adonijah’s group scatter in fear. Solomon reigns and promises to spare Adonijah in return for his pledge of loyalty.

On his deathbed, David shrewdly advises Solomon: of Joab — who slew both Abner (son of Ner and captain of the host of Israel) and Amasa (son of Jether and captain of the host of Judah), but also to be wary of, and within their midst, Shimei (son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim) – though having subsequently met and agreeing to spare his life, David had been formerly accursed by Shimei. On the other hand, Barzillai the Gileadite and his sons are to be shown kindness and to be at king Solomon’s table, for Barzillai had come to David’s aid when the latter had fled his son Absalom.

And David slept with his fathers having reigned 40 years: 7 years in Hebron and 33 years in Jerusalem.

Enraged at Bathsheba’s request on behalf of Adonijah for the young virgin, Abishag, given to the ailing David, Solomon orders Benaiah to kill him. But Benaiah ultimately spares Abiathar (for he had suffered with David) though he is removed from the priesthood by Solomon, banishing him to Anathoth that he might fulfil the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh”. Joab runs to altar but cannot be saved. Benaiah kills him too, recompense for the death of Abner and Amasa, as ordered, and he is buried in his own house in the wilderness.

This allows Solomon to make Benaiah the official Host and Zadok official Priest of his kingdom. Shimei is permitted to take abode within Jerusalem on the proviso that he does not travel beyond the borders of the city. True to his word, Solomon shows no mercy at a later single impetuous act by Shimei to chase after his absconding servants to Achish (son of Maacha king of Gath). Solomon thereby firmly establishes, confirms, and ‘cleanses’ his kingdom.

The Wisdom of Solomon

Solomon befriends Pharaoh whose daughter returns with him to Jerusalem until his building has finished – for without a temple, men sacrificed in high places. Instead Solomon takes it upon himself alone to sacrifice and burn incense in high places: performing one thousand burnt offerings upon the great high altar at Gibeon. And Solomon begins to build: his own house; the Lord’s House; and the Jerusalem Wall.

In Gibeon the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream. Solomon asks of God only the wisdom to judge his people. The Lord rewards his humility also with riches and honour:

And when he awoke he came to Jerusalem and gave burnt and peace offerings before the Ark of the Covenant and made a feast to all his servants.

In a show of this wisdom, Solomon famously distinguishes in a maternity dispute between two Harlots, and gains the respect of all of Israel.

And they feared the king for they saw the wisdom of God in him to do judgement.

King Solomon’s princes:

  • Prince: Azariah, son of Zadok
  • Scribes: Elihoreph and Ahiah, sons of Shisha
  • Recorder: Jehoshaphat, son of Ahilud
  • Captain of Host (General): Benaiah, son of Jehoiada
  • Priests: Zadok and Abiathar
  • Rule of Officers: Azariah (son of Nathan) and his son Zabud, principal officer and king’s friend
  • Household: Ahishar
  • Tribute: Adoniram, son of Abda
  • Prophet: Nathan

Provisions for the king and his household are supplied through each of 12 officers on a rotating monthly schedule:

Name Son of Region
  Hur Mount Ephraim
  Dekar Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, Elon-beth-hanan
  Hesed Aruboth, Sochoh, all of Hepher
  Adinadab All the region of Dor (married Solomon’s daughter, Taphath)
Baana Ahilud Taanach, Megiddo, all Beth-shean by Zartanah beneath Jezreel (to Abel-meholah, beyond Jokneam)
  Geber Towns of Jair (Ramoth-Gilead)
  Manasseh Gilead, Argob (Bashan) and 60 great cities with walls and brazen bars
Ahinadab Iddo Mahanaim
Ahimaaz Naphtali (married Solomon’s daughter, Basmath)
Baanah Hushai Asher and Aloth
Jehoshaphat Paruah Issachar
Shimei Elah Benjamin
Geber Uri Gilead, in country of Sihon king of Amorites and of Og king of Bashan – the only officer which in the land

Judah and Israel flourish: their populations thrive amid good times. Solomon’s reign expands over all the kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt.

These parts of Israel send provisions serving Solomon all the days of his life.

A days’ provision:

  • 30 measures fine flour
  • 60 measures meal
  • 10 fat oxen and 20 oxen of pasture
  • 100 sheep
  • harts, roebucks, fallow deer, and fatted fowl
  • barley and straw for the horses and dromedaries

Solomon has dominion over land from this side of the River Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings of this side of the river.

Judah and Israel dwelt safely every man under his vine and under his fig tree from Dan even to Beer-sheba all the days of Solomon.

Military:

  • Horse stalls: 40,000 (for chariots)
  • Horsemen: 12,000

And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men – than Ethan the Ezrahite and Heman and Chalcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol – and his fame was in all nations round about.

Solomon speaks a total of 3,000 proverbs writes 1,005 songs: of trees; beats; fowl; creeping things; and of fishes.

And there came of all people to hear the Wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.

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