Solomon, the son of King David and Bathsheba, was the third king of Israel. Solomon was renown for his wisdom, wealth and for his construction projects. Israel enjoyed an era of security, prosperity, and international political and economic importance under Solomon.
Solomon was anointed king when his older brother, Adonijah, rashly tried to proclaim himself as ruler when their father, King David, became old. But Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan, with the support of others, crowned Solomon as King.
Solomon began his 40-year reign in 967 BC while David was still alive. Thanks to the conquests of David, Solomon's domain stretched from Tipshah on the Euphrates to Gaza on the border of Egypt. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and told him to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom to lead the Israelites. God was so pleased with Solomon's reply, He not only gave him wisdom, but riches and honor too.
It was in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, that he began the construction of the Temple. Seven years later it was completed, and the Ark of the Covenant was moved from the Tabernacle in Zion, the City of David, to the Temple. He also built a large palace for himself, Fort Millo, the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer.
He also built cities for grain storage, cities to keep his chariots, homes for his army, and resort cities. He built a fleet of ships to bring gold in from Ophir. People from many lands came to visit him and to listen to his God-given wisdom, including the Queen of Sheba.
Solomon took many foreign wives - 700 wives and 300 concubines, and they turned his heart away from the Lord, and they encouraged him to worship their gods. He even built temples for these foreign wives to use for burning incense and for offering sacrifices to their gods. This made the lord angry, and the Lord told Solomon that after Solomon's death, He would take the Kingdom away from Solomon's son, except for one tribe.
After Solomon's death his son, Rehoboam, became King of Judah, while an enemy of Solomon, Jeroboam, became king of the northern tribes.
Solomon was the author of 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. The Books of Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon, and parts of the Book of Proverbs are ascribed to him. The story of Solomon is found in 1 Kings, chapters 1-11, and in 2 Chronicles, chapters 1-9. The name Solomon means "peace/welfare."
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