Kings and Kingdoms: Anointing a New Generation of Kings to Serve the King of Kings

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Upon Solomon's death, his son, Rehoboam , succeeds him. However, ten of the Tribes of Israel refuse to accept him as king, splitting the United Monarchy in the northern Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam , while Rehoboam continues to reign over the much smaller southern Kingdom of Judah. Henceforth the two kingdoms are never again united.

King Solomon is one of the central biblical figures in Jewish heritage that have lasting religious, national and political aspects. As the builder of the First Temple in Jerusalem and last ruler of the united Kingdom of Israel before its division into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah , Solomon is associated with the peak "golden age" of the independent Kingdom of Israel as well as a source of judicial and religious wisdom.

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According to Jewish tradition, King Solomon wrote three books of the Bible :. The Hebrew word "To Solomon" which can also be translated as "by Solomon" appears in the title of two hymns, 72 and , in the book of Psalms Tehillim , suggesting to some that Solomon wrote them. Rabbinical tradition attributes the Wisdom of Solomon included within the Septuagint to Solomon, although this book was probably written in the 2nd century BCE.

In this work, Solomon is portrayed as an astronomer. Other books of wisdom poetry such as the Odes of Solomon and the Psalms of Solomon also bear his name. The Gnostic Apocalypse of Adam , which may date to the 1st or 2nd century, refers to a legend in which Solomon sends out an army of demons to seek a virgin who had fled from him, perhaps the earliest surviving mention of the later common tale that Solomon controlled demons and made them his slaves. This tradition of Solomon's control over demons appears fully elaborated in the early pseudographical work called the Testament of Solomon with its elaborate and grotesque demonology.

Historical evidence of King Solomon other than the biblical accounts has been so minimal that some scholars have understood the period of his reign as a 'Dark Age' Muhly Yigael Yadin 's excavations at Hazor , Megiddo , Beit Shean and Gezer uncovered structures that he and others have argued date from Solomon's reign, [38] but others, such as Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman , argue that they should be dated to the Omride period, more than a century after Solomon.

According to Finkelstein and Silberman, authors of The Bible Unearthed : Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts , [39] at the time of the kingdoms of David and Solomon, Jerusalem was populated by only a few hundred residents or less, which is insufficient for an empire stretching from the Euphrates to Eilath. According to The Bible Unearthed , archaeological evidence suggests that the kingdom of Israel at the time of Solomon was little more than a small city state, and so it is implausible that Solomon received tribute as large as talents of gold per year.

They suggest that because of religious prejudice, the authors of the Bible suppressed the achievements of the Omrides whom the Hebrew Bible describes as being polytheist , and instead pushed them back to a supposed golden age of Judaism and monotheists, and devotees of Yahweh. Some Biblical minimalists like Thomas L. Thompson go further, arguing that Jerusalem became a city and capable of being a state capital only in the mid-7th century.

These views are criticized by William G. Lemaire states in Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple [43] that the principal points of the biblical tradition of Solomon are generally trustworthy, although elsewhere he writes that he could find no substantiating archaeological evidence that supports the Queen of Sheba's visit to king Solomon, saying that the earliest records of trans-Arabian caravan voyages from Tayma and Sheba unto the Middle-Euphrates etc. Kitchen calculates that over 30 years, such a kingdom might have accumulated up to tons of gold, which is small compared to other examples, such as the 1, tons of gold that Alexander the Great took from Susa.

Dever states "that we now have direct Bronze and Iron Age parallels for every feature of the 'Solomonic temple' as described in the Hebrew Bible".

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For instance, the archaeologist Avraham Faust has argued that biblical depictions of Solomon date to later periods and do overstate his wealth, buildings, and kingdom, but that Solomon did have an acropolis and ruled over a polity larger than Jerusalem. The archaeological remains that are considered to date from the time of Solomon are notable for the fact that Canaanite material culture appears to have continued unabated; there is a distinct lack of magnificent empire, or cultural development — indeed comparing pottery from areas traditionally assigned to Israel with that of the Philistines points to the latter having been significantly more sophisticated.

However, there is a lack of physical evidence of its existence, despite some archaeological work in the area. Little archaeological excavation has been done around the area known as the Temple Mount , in what is thought to be the foundation of Solomon's Temple, because attempts to do so are met with protests by the Muslim authorities. The biblical passages that understand Tarshish as a source of King Solomon's great wealth in metals — especially silver, but also gold, tin and iron Ezekiel 27 — were linked to archaeological evidence from silver-hoards found in Phoenicia in The metals from Tarshish were reportedly obtained by Solomon in partnership with King Hiram of Phoenician Tyre Isaiah 23 , and the fleets of Tarshish-ships that sailed in their service, and the silver-hoards provide the first recognized material evidence that agrees with the ancient texts concerning Solomon's kingdom and his wealth see 'wealth' below.

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Possible evidence for the described wealth of Solomon and his kingdom was discovered in ancient silver-hoards, which were found in Israel and Phoenicia and recognized for their importance in The evidence from the hoards shows that the Levant was a center of wealth in precious metals during the reign of Solomon and Hiram, and matches the texts that say the trade extended from Asia to the Atlantic Ocean. From a critical point of view, Solomon's building of a temple for Yahweh should not be considered an act of particular devotion to Yahweh because Solomon is also described as building places of worship for a number of other deities.

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Some scholars believe that passages such as these in the Books of Kings were not written by the same authors who wrote the rest of the text, instead probably by the Deuteronomist. King Solomon sinned by acquiring many foreign wives and horses because he thought he knew the reason for the biblical prohibition and thought it did not apply to him. When King Solomon married the daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh, a sandbank formed which eventually formed the "great nation of Rome" — the nation that destroyed the Second Temple Herod's Temple.

Solomon gradually lost more and more prestige until he became like a commoner. Some say he regained his status while others say he did not. In the end however, he is regarded as a righteous king and is especially praised for his diligence in building the Temple. Christianity has traditionally accepted the historical existence of Solomon, though some modern Christian scholars have also questioned at least his authorship of those biblical texts ascribed to him. Such disputes tend to divide Christians into traditionalist and modernist camps.

Some commentators see this as an issue that can be reconciled while others disagree. For instance, it has been suggested that Luke is using Joseph's genealogy and Matthew is using Mary's, but Darrell Bock states that this would be unprecedented, "especially when no other single woman appears in the line". Other suggestions include the use by one of the royal and the other of the natural line, one using the legal line and the other the physical line, or that Joseph was adopted.

Jesus makes reference to Solomon, using him for comparison purposes in his admonition against worrying about your life. This account is recorded in Matthew and the parallel passage in Luke Statues of King David and Solomon stand on either side of the entrance to the basilica of El Escorial , Philip's palace, and Solomon is also depicted in a great fresco at the center of El Escorial's library. Philip identified the warrior-king David with his own father Charles V , and himself sought to emulate the thoughtful and logical character which he perceived in Solomon.

Moreover, the structure of the Escorial was inspired by that of Solomon's Temple. In Islamic tradition, Solomon is venerated as a prophet and a messenger of God , as well as a divinely appointed monarch, who ruled over the Kingdom of Israel. Unlike in the Bible where Solomon was granted an incomparable realm because God was impressed by his wish to have wisdom, [67] the Quran states that Solomon prayed earnestly to God to grant him a kingdom which would be greater than any realm before or after him.

And they followed what the devils taught during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but it was the devils who disbelieved. They did not teach anybody until they had said "We are a test, so do not lose faith. But they cannot harm anyone except with God's permission. And they learned what would harm them and not benefit them.

Yet they knew that whoever deals in it will have no share in the Hereafter. Miserable is what they sold their souls for, if they only knew. The Quran [70] [71] [72] ascribes to Solomon a great level of wisdom, knowledge and power. So order me that I may be grateful for Thy favors, which Thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may work the righteousness that will please Thee: and admit me, by Thy Grace, to the ranks of Thy righteous Servants.

A well-known story in the collection One Thousand and One Nights describes a genie who had displeased King Solomon and was punished by being locked in a bottle and thrown into the sea.

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Since the bottle was sealed with Solomon's seal, the genie was helpless to free himself, until freed many centuries later by a fisherman who discovered the bottle. Sometimes, protagonists discovered words of Solomon that were intended to help those who were lost and had unluckily reached those forbidden and deserted places. According to the Rabbinical literature , on account of his modest request for wisdom only, Solomon was rewarded with riches and an unprecedented glorious realm, which extended over the upper world inhabited by the angels and over the whole of the terrestrial globe with all its inhabitants, including all the beasts, fowl, and reptiles, as well as the demons and spirits.

His control over the demons, spirits, and animals augmented his splendor, the demons bringing him precious stones, besides water from distant countries to irrigate his exotic plants. The beasts and fowl of their own accord entered the kitchen of Solomon's palace, so that they might be used as food for him, and extravagant meals for him were prepared daily by each of his wives and concubines, with the thought that perhaps the king would feast that day in her house.

A magic ring called the " Seal of Solomon " was supposedly given to Solomon and gave him power over demons or Jinn. The magical symbol said to have been on the Seal of Solomon which made it efficacious is often considered to be the Star of David [ citation needed ] though this emblem also known as the Shield of David is known to have been associated with Judaism only as recently as the 11th century CE while the five pointed star pentagram can be found on jars and other artifacts from Jerusalem dating back to at least the 2nd and 4th centuries BCE and is more likely to have been the emblem found on the ring purportedly used by King Solomon to control the Jinn or demons.

Asmodeus , king of demons, was one day, according to the classical Rabbis, captured by Benaiah using the ring, and was forced to remain in Solomon's service. In one tale, Asmodeus brought a man with two heads from under the earth to show Solomon; the man, unable to return, married a woman from Jerusalem and had seven sons, six of whom resembled the mother, while one resembled the father in having two heads. After their father's death, the son with two heads claimed two shares of the inheritance, arguing that he was two men; Solomon decided that the son with two heads was only one man.

The Seal of Solomon, in some legends known as the Ring of Aandaleeb, was a highly sought after symbol of power. In several legends, different groups or individuals attempted to steal it or attain it in some manner. One legend concerning Asmodeus see: The Story of King Solomon and Ashmedai goes on to state that Solomon one day asked Asmodeus what could make demons powerful over man, and Asmodeus asked to be freed and given the ring so that he could demonstrate; Solomon agreed but Asmodeus threw the ring into the sea and it was swallowed by a fish.

Asmodeus then swallowed the king, stood up fully with one wing touching heaven and the other earth, and spat out Solomon to a distance of miles. The Rabbis claim this was a divine punishment for Solomon's having failed to follow three divine commands, and Solomon was forced to wander from city to city, until he eventually arrived in an Ammonite city where he was forced to work in the king's kitchens. Solomon gained a chance to prepare a meal for the Ammonite king, which the king found so impressive that the previous cook was sacked and Solomon put in his place; the king's daughter, Naamah , subsequently fell in love with Solomon, but the family thinking Solomon a commoner disapproved, so the king decided to kill them both by sending them into the desert.

Solomon and the king's daughter wandered the desert until they reached a coastal city, where they bought a fish to eat, which just happened to be the one which had swallowed the magic ring. Solomon was then able to regain his throne and expel Asmodeus. The element of a ring thrown into the sea and found back in a fish's belly also appeared in Herodotus ' account of Polycrates , the tyrant of Samos from c.

In another familiar version of the legend of the Seal of Solomon, Asmodeus disguises himself. In some myths, he's disguised as King Solomon himself, while in more frequently heard versions he's disguised as a falcon, calling himself Gavyn Gavinn or Gavin , one of King Solomon's trusted friends. The concealed Asmodeus tells travelers who have ventured up to King Solomon's grand lofty palace that the Seal of Solomon was thrown into the sea.

He then convinces them to plunge in and attempt to retrieve it, for if they do they would take the throne as king. Other magical items attributed to Solomon are his key and his Table. The former appears in the title of the Lesser Key of Solomon , a grimoire whose framing story is Solomon capturing demons using his ring, and forcing them to explain themselves to him.

In The Book of Deadly Names , purportedly translated from Arabic manuscripts found hidden in a building in Spain, the "King of the Jinn" Fiqitush brings 72 Jinn before King Solomon to confess their corruptions and places of residence. Fiqitush tells King Solomon the recipes for curing such corruptions as each evil Jinn confesses. Angels also helped Solomon in building the Temple; though not by choice.


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The edifice was, according to rabbinical legend, miraculously constructed throughout, the large heavy stones rising and settling in their respective places of themselves. Because some portions are almost identical to the Book of Jeremiah —for example, 2 Kings and Jeremiah 52; ; —traditionally Jeremiah or his scribe, Baruch was credited as the author of Kings.

Another early supposition was that Ezra, after the Babylonian captivity , compiled the text from the official court chronicles of David and Solomon together with the writings of the prophets Nathan , Gad, and Iddo. However, it was more usually said that Ezra was the compiler of the Books of Chronicles , which was at one time was treated as a single book together with the Book of Ezra and the Book of Nehemiah. The majority of textual criticism today is of the belief that the Books of Kings—together with Deuteronomy , Joshua , Judges , and Samuel —were originally compiled into a single work, the Deuteronomic history, by a single redactor, known as the Deuteronomist.

Some scholars suggest the prophet Jeremiah as the Deuteronomist, while others think the high priest Hilkiah, who "found" the Book of the Law in the Temple of Jerusalem during the reign of King Josiah , is a more likely candidate. Another suggestion is that several scribes may have collaborated on the work, which was begun during Josiah's time and finished during the Babylonian exile.

It was not the purpose of the compiler s to give a complete history of the period covered by his work, for he constantly refers to other sources for additional details. He mentions as a rule only a few important events which are sufficient to illustrate the attitude of the king toward the Deuteronomic law, or some feature of it—such as the central sanctuary, the northern altars at Dan and Bethel, the Ashera poles, and the high places —and then proceeds to pronounce judgment upon him accordingly. Each reign is introduced with a regular formula by the redactor usually including an estimate of his religious character, followed by an excerpt from one of the sources, and finally a brief summary of his death and burial for example, compare 1 Kings with 1 Kings In some cases the material in the middle section is lengthy and derives from more than one source, as when stories from the Elijah cycle, military accounts, or tales of miraculous events are detailed.

There are indications that imply that the first redaction of Kings must have occurred before the downfall of the Judean monarchy. For example, the phrase unto this day occurs in 1 Kings , , ; 2 Kings , describing conditions that no longer existed during the time of the Exile. Also, in 1 Kings , , and 2 Kings , which come from the hand of a Deuteronomic editor, David still has a "lamp" burning in Jerusalem; that is, the Davidic dynasty is still reigning. Finally, 1 Kings , , , , , , , , imply that the Temple is still standing. There was, accordingly, a pre-exilic Book of Kings.


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The work in this earlier form must have been composed between and B. As the glamour of Josiah's reforms deeply impressed the original compiler, perhaps he wrote before To this original work 2 Kings was added in the Exile, and perhaps or other sections. In addition to the supplement which the exilic editor appended, a comparison of the Masoretic text with the Septuagint shows that the Hebrew version of the text was retouched by another hand after sources of the Septuagint were complete.

There a number of internal inconsistencies in the account given in Kings, as well as between the Kings' account and other versions. For example the prophet Elijah declares that Arab doom is sealed by his cooperation with Jezebel in the murder of Naboth, while the unnamed prophet who meets him earlier declares that it will result by his failure to kill the king of Aram when he had the chance.

Later when the prophet Elisha inexplicably treats the captured Aramaean army to a feast instead of commanding the king of Israel to slaughter them, the Aramaens supposed do not return to harm Israel any further. But in the next chapter, they are back with a vengeance. In addition, the account in Kings sometimes is at odd with non-biblical records, such as the Tel Dan inscription that gives credit to Hazael, not Jehu, for the deaths of Joram and Ahaziah; and the claim of Sennacherib that he conquered all of Judah and kept Hezekiah "like a bird in a cage" in Jerusalem compared the account in Kings which claims that Sennacherib's forces were decimated by an angel of God who willed , soldiers besieging Jerusalem.

The chronology of Kings also has problematic areas. The duration of reigns for the kings of Judah does not correspond correctly to their supposed times of accession as compared by the narrator to the reigns of the kings of Israel. Although the references are generally useful for understanding the era in which a particular king lived, the numbers simply do not add up. Since the reigns of each king is referenced to a contemporary in his opposite kingdom, the same issue obviously applies to the kings of Israel.

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As a result, there are various chronologies proposed for the period by different experts. There are also external difficulties for the dating. The king that the Book of Kings names as Ahaz is claimed within it to reign for only 16 years. However, some of the events during his reign are recorded elsewhere with a non-biblical consensus emerging that ruled between B.


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