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Was King Solomon a good king?


Nehemiah 13:26

ESV - 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin.

Clarify Share Report Asked October 08 2014 Mini Angela Venkatasamy

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Although Solomon (unlike his father David) was never described as "a man after My [God's] own heart" (as God had referred to David), Solomon started his reign following the death of his father with great promise and potential. 

When God appeared to Solomon in a dream (1 Kings 3:5), and said to him, "Ask what I shall give you," Solomon pleased God by asking not for a long life for himself, or for riches, or for the death of his enemies, but for wisdom. He showed a proper sense of humility before God by calling himself a "little child" who needed God's help in governing Israel in a manner that would be pleasing to God, and that would benefit his subjects, in the way that David had.

God responded by telling Solomon that He would give him such great wisdom that there would be never be another king who would be wiser. And God said that He would also give Solomon the things for which he had not asked -- riches and power. He would also give Solomon a long life, if Solomon remained devoted to God as David had been.

The subsequent narrative of Solomon's reign in 1 Kings gives examples of his wisdom. Jesus Himself spoke favorably of Solomon's wisdom in the gospels (Matthew 12:42, for example). And Solomon also amassed great wealth and power.

However, as Solomon's control over nations outside of Israel increased, so also did the number of non-Jewish women whom Solomon took as wives (1 Kings 11). These women worshiped the false gods or idols of their own lands. In his efforts to please his wives (and there were many of them to please, since the Bible says that Solomon had 700 wives who had been of royal birth in their own lands, and also 300 concubines), Solomon built altars and shrines to these foreign gods.

Solomon also apparently did not repent of these actions (as David had of his sin with Bathsheba), even when God confronted Solomon about them (1 Kings 11:11-13).

It was this unrepentant spirit, and the judgment that God carried out against Solomon because of his sin, that started Israel down the path of becoming a divided kingdom, and eventually being either taken captive or driven into exile by other nations.

There is also no subsequent record in the Old Testament of God taking or not taking actions "for Solomon's sake", in the same way as the multiple references that the Bible contains to God performing actions "for David's sake" (even after David had died), and despite David's sin (because David had repented of his sin when confronted about it, and he had accepted the consequences that God had imposed upon him because of it).

Thus (in my opinion), while Solomon's reign itself may have been characterized by wisdom, wealth, and power, the legacy that he left to Israel was not a good or beneficial one. In that sense, he was not a "good" king.

August 21 2015 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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