Solomon’s kingdom

1 Kings chapters 1-4

Emboldened with not having met paternal (King David’s) rebuke, a good man and second son to Haggith (Absalom, “being the first, who met an untimely end”), Adonijah,  with the help of the Commander-in-Chief, Joab (“son of Zeruiah, sister of the King’s”), Abiathar the priest, and his son Jonathon — preparing for him chariots, horsemen, and (fifty) men to be at 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 (near En-rogel) and he invites his brethren and the men of Judah.

Aware that another of King David’s sons, Solomon, is Crown-Prince, Zadok the priest, Benaiah (son of Jehoiada), Nathan the prophet, Shimei and Rei, and the mighty men of the king all oppose Adonijah. Naturally, neither 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 bequeathing of blessing, and thereby Adonijah take the title by default, Bath-Sheba responds by addressing the king in private in reminding him of his prior commitment while also updating him of events.

Meanwhile, all of Israel wait to see where the king’s blessing will fall.

King David immediately sends for Solomon to be escorted, upon 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 on confirmation of the news by Jonathon, Adonijah’s group scatter in fear.

Solomon reigns, promising to spare Adonijah in return for a pledge of loyalty.

On his deathbed, David offers Solomon sage advice: 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 remain wary of one within their midst, Shimei (son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim) — having had subsequently met and agreeing to spare Shimei’s life, David had, no less, been formerly accursed by Shimei.

On the other hand Barzillai the Gileadite, and his sons, are to be shown kindness, 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 to the ailing King David, on behalf of Adonijah, for the young virgin Abishag, Solomon gives Benaiah orders to execute Adonijah. Benaiah complies but ultimately spares Abiathar, for he had suffered with David. Solomon nonetheless removes Abiathar from the priesthood, banishing him to Anathoth that he might fulfil the word of the Lord, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

Joab flees to the altar but to no avail. Benaiah kills him too: recompense for the death of Abner and Amasa, as ordered. At has house, in the wilderness, they bury Joab.

This affords Solomon room to make Benaiah official Host, and Zadok official High Priest, of his kingdom.

Shimei is afforded abode within Jerusalem on the proviso that he does not travel beyond city’s borders. True to his word, Solomon responds to a later single impetuous move by Shimei to chase after his absconding servants to Achish (son of Maacha king of Gath).

Solomon firmly establishes, confirms, and ‘cleanses’ his kingdom, reigning from the Euphrates to Egypt.

The Divisions of Solomon’s Kingdom [Wikimedia Commons]

The Wisdom of Solomon

Having befriended her father,  Solomon escorts Pharaoh’s  daughter back to Jerusalem. She stays with him until his buildings have finished. In those days, without a temple, men sacrificed in high places. Solomon takes it then 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 House of the Lord, and the Jerusalem Wall.

Whereupon in Gibeon, the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream. Thereunto 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:

  • High Priest: Zadok
  • Priests: Azariah, son of Zadok; Abiathar
  • Scribes: Elihoreph and Ahiah, sons of Shisha
  • Recorder: Jehoshaphatson of Ahilud
  • Commander-in-Chief: Benaiah, son of Jehoiada
  • Chief of Staff: Azariah (son of Nathan) and his son Zabud, principal officer and king’s friend
  • Chief of Household: Ahishar
  • Chief of the 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. Solomon’s reign expands over all the kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt.

The tribes of Israel send provisions, serving Solomon all the days of his life.

A days’ provisions:

  • 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 claims dominion over land from this side of the River Tiphsah [Thapsacus, on the right bank of the Euphrates] even to Azzah [Gaza], 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 and his scribes record:

  • 3,000 proverbs
  • 1,005 songs
  • treatises on trees, beast, 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.


King Solomon’s Princes [I Kings 4] – Pilgrim Bobby, 1 March 2018
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