Category: Solomon

Proverbs offers men much wisdom related to avoiding the trap of sexually immoral relationships with women. However, Solomon’s greatest personal weakest was with women. He is recorded as having 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Unfortunately, “as Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods” (1 Kings 11:4). Solomon knew what was right. Why didn’t he follow his own advice concerning women?

Many explanations have been offered, though the Bible does not specifically give the answer. It should be mentioned that Solomon’s father, David, also struggled in this area, though not to the extent that Solomon did. David took many wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13), but, even then, he lusted after Bathsheba and committed adultery with her. Like father, like son, they say, and Solomon it seems inherited his father’s sin and amplified it in his own life.

One reason often noted for Solomon failing to follow his own advice is that Solomon learned his lessons from experience. If the Proverbs were compiled in the later part of Solomon’s life, it would make sense that he recorded wise sayings to help others avoid problems he dealt with in his own life. If so, the proverbs of Solomon are deeply personal, since they were born out of the author’s personal struggles with foolishness.

Another possible reason Solomon did not follow his own advice regarding women is that there’s a difference between having knowledge and applying knowledge. Solomon knew it was wrong to obtain many wives—in fact, it was against the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 17:17)—but he did it regardless of his knowledge. Solomon likely later regretted his choices, as can be seen in the way he speaks of avoiding sexual immorality in Proverbs.

A third possible answer to this issue is that not all of the book of Proverbs was written by Solomon. The book indicates that some of the proverbs were written by other wise men (Proverbs 22:17—24:34), Agur son of Jakeh (Proverbs 30:1–33) and King Lemuel (Proverbs 31).

A fourth possible reason that Solomon did not follow his own advice concerning women can be found in the second part of 1 Kings 11:4: “His heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” The historian notes that it was when Solomon was older that he strayed from God’s ways. God then gave a judgment concerning Solomon and his kingdom (1 Kings 11:9–13). Since Solomon had experienced judgment in his own life in this area, he determined to help others to avoid similar judgment in their lives.

In the end, we have some possible reasons why Solomon may have neglected his own advice, but we are not told for certain in Scripture. Solomon was extremely wise, but he was a man with temptations like any other person. He obeyed God in many areas, yet he often failed in his relationships with women. Instead of questioning the reasons why Solomon failed to follow his own advice, we would do better to learn from his mistakes and his wisdom recorded in Proverbs to avoid these problems in our own lives.

In 1 Kings 3:16–28 we find an account of King Solomon hearing a case involving two prostitutes. The two women had both recently given birth to sons, and they lived together in the same home. During the night, one of the infants was smothered and died. The woman whose son had died switched her dead baby with the baby of the other woman as she slept. The other woman, seeking justice, took the matter before the king. She stated her case: “We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us. During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne” (verses 18–21).

Solomon could not tell from their words which woman was telling the truth. Instead, he issued a shocking command: “Bring me a sword. . . . Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other” (1 Kings 3:24–25). After he said this, the woman whose son was still alive said, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”; however, the other woman, whose son had died, answered, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” (verse 26). Based on their responses, Solomon knew the identity of the true mother: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother” (verse 27).

Why would Solomon give such an outrageous command? Did he really intend to cut a baby in half with a sword? The text is clear that Solomon’s intention was to discover the truth. He did so by watching the responses of the two women and relying on the maternal instincts of the true mother.

The chapter’s final verse notes the effect that Solomon’s unorthodox methods had on the kingdom: “When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice” (1 Kings 3:28). Solomon’s wisdom had been given by God when Solomon requested it (verse 5). The account of Solomon’s handling of the case of the two prostitutes showed that he had indeed been granted wisdom from God. In the following chapters, many more examples are given of the wisdom of King Solomon.

The Wisdom of Solomon, also called the Book of Wisdom, is one of the books of the Apocrypha. The others in the group are 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 and 2 Maccabees. The books of the Apocrypha are accepted primarily by the Roman Catholic Church and are included in Catholic Bibles. The Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books teach many things that are not true and are not historically accurate. The Roman Catholic Church officially added the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonicals to their Bible at the Council of Trent in the mid 1500’s A.D., primarily in response to the Protestant Reformation. None of the apocryphal books are included in the canon of Scripture.

The Wisdom of Solomon was believed by some to have been written by King Solomon, although his name appears nowhere in the text. However, the early church rejected the authorship of Solomon because an ancient manuscript fragment known as the Muratorian fragment refers to the Wisdom of Solomon as having been written by “the friends of Solomon in his honour.” It is widely accepted today, even by the Catholic Church, that Solomon did not write the book, which dates back to the 1st or 2nd century BC, many centuries after the death of Solomon.

While Solomon wrote much on the subject of wisdom in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, he never elevated it to the status of part of the Godhead, a philosophy found in The Wisdom of Solomon. The book refers to Wisdom in terms the Bible reserves only for the Messiah, saying “she [wisdom] is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness” (Wisdom 7:26). The book of Hebrews reserves such accolades only for the Son of God, who “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3). Even more egregious, Wisdom 9:18 says that salvation is an act of wisdom, whereas Scripture is clear that salvation is by faith, a gift of God to those whom He calls, justifies and sanctifies (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 8:30). In fact, if man were to depend upon his “wisdom” for salvation, we would be lost forever with no hope because the unredeemed are dead in trepasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1-4) and their minds are darkened (Ephesians 4:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14) and their heart deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

The apocryphal books are accepted by the Roman Catholic Church because many of them teach RCC doctrines which are not in agreement with the Bible, including praying for the dead, petitioning Mary to intercede with the Father, worshiping angels, and alms-giving as atonement for sins. Some of what the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonicals say is true and correct. However, due to the historical and theological errors, the books must be viewed as fallible historical and religious documents, not as the inspired, authoritative Word of God.

Solomon is the third and last king of the united kingdom of Israel,  following King Saul and King David. He was the son of David and Bathsheba, the  former wife of Uriah the Hittite whom David had killed to hide his adultery with  Bathsheba while her husband was on the battle front. Solomon wrote the Song of  Solomon, the book of Ecclesiastes, and much of the book of Proverbs. His  authorship of Ecclesiastes is contested by some, but Solomon is the only “son of  David” to be “king over Israel” (not just Judah) “in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1, 12),  and many of the descriptions of the author fit Solomon perfectly. Solomon  reigned for 40 years (1 Kings  11:42).

What are the highlights of Solomon’s life? When he ascended  to the throne, he sought after God and God gave him opportunity to ask for  whatever he wanted. Solomon humbly acknowledged his inability to rule well and  unselfishly asked God for the wisdom he would need to rule God’s people justly.  God gave him wisdom and wealth besides (1 Kings 3:410:27). In  fact, his riches and wisdom surpassed all of the kings of the earth (1 Kings 10:23). God also  gave him peace on all sides during most of his reign (1 Kings 4:20-25). The  favorite illustration of that wisdom is his judging a dispute over the identity  of the true mother of an infant child (1 Kings  3:16-28). Solomon was not only wise in his rule but had great general wisdom  as well. His wisdom was renowned in his day, and the Queen of Sheba traveled  1,200 miles to verify the rumors of his wisdom and grandeur (1 Kings 10).  Solomon wrote many proverbs and songs (1 Kings  4:32) and completed many building projects (1 Kings  7:1-12, 9:15-23). Solomon also built a fleet of ships and  acquired tons of gold from Ophir with Hiram, king of Tyre, as a partner (1 Kings  9:26-28; 10:11, 22). Solomon had 700 wives  and 300 concubines, many of them foreigners who led him into public idolatry in  his old age, greatly angering God (1 Kings  11:1-13).

There are many lessons we can learn from the life of  Solomon. First, when we seek God with all of our heart, He will be found (1 Kings 3:3-7). Second,  those who honor God will be honored by Him (1 Kings  3:11-13; 1 Samuel  2:30). Third, God will equip us to accomplish the tasks He calls us to if we  will rely on Him (1 Kings 3; Romans  12:3-8; 2 Peter  1:3). Fourth, the spiritual life is a marathon, not a sprint. A good start  is not always enough to finish well (1 Kings 3, 11). Fifth, we can sincerely ask  God to incline our hearts toward Him (1 Kings  8:57-58), but we will wander off the path of righteousness if we choose to  violate His revealed word. Contrary to God’s written word concerning kings,  Solomon multiplied to himself gold, horses, and wives (700 wives and 300  concubines) (Deuteronomy 17:14-17). He also married non-Jewish wives  (Deuteronomy  7:3, 4; Exodus 34:16). Sixth, those  closest to us will affect our spiritual lives (Exodus  34:16; 1 Kings  11:1-8; Daniel 1, 3; 1  Corinthians 15:33), and we must therefore be very careful of the company we  keep. Seventh, life lived apart from God will be meaningless, regardless of  education, fulfilled goals, the greatest of pleasures, and the greatest  abundance of wealth (Ecclesiastes 1:2).