Looking at the background to King Solomon, we see how the Old Testament records the way God fulfilled his covenant promises to Abraham. First, God chose a tribe, Abraham’s descendents the Israelites, and then made them a great people amongst the other tribes of the land. After the exodus from Egypt, they gained their own land, the last of the promises to be fulfilled. In Solomon’s day, everything was going well. Jews were bringing light to the gentiles; a constant stream of foreign rulers from Sheba and elsewhere came to see for themselves the wonders of Israel and Israel’s God. Solomon’s reign stands out as a bright moment of peace in the turbulent history of the nation.
No one in history began their reign with geater advantages than Solomon, with his privileged birth, his great natural talent, and a supernatural gift of wisdom. Yet not even this was enough for him to “bear the burden of the gods”. His sexual excesses were legendary: seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. The temple for God took seven years to build, but then his palace took 14 years and was twice the size. Delusions of grandeur setting in? Then he began placing foreign idols in the sacred places of Jerusalem, to please his exotic wives. The great ruler who had so much going for him ended up defying all God’s rules against the excesses of a king. The author of three thousand proverbs broke them with an exaggeration difficult to imagine. You get a picture in Ecclesiastes 7:23-29. The nation split in two after Solomon’s death and slid toward ruin from then on. Is God’s point here that if this kingdom, with so many advantages ended in destruction, there was a need for a new, different kingdom? One not built on intelligence, beauty, wealth, and strength, but a Kingdom established by God Himself. Thus setting the scene for the coming of a different sort of King…
Pray today for