King Solomon's Children
The Message of the Covenant
King Solomon's Children
Scripture clearly records that Solomon had one son, Rehoboam (1 Kings 11:43) and two daughters (1 Kings 4:11,14). The Kebra Nagast contains a legend that Solomon sired a son with the Queen of Sheba and that she returned to her own land long before this child was born. This concludes the extant inventory of King Solomon's offspring.
1 Kings 11:43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father; and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead. (JPS)
1 Kings 4:47 And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, who provided victuals for the king and his household: each man had to make provision for a month in the year. 8 And these are their names: The son of Hur, in the hill-country of Ephraim; 9 the son of Deker, in Makaz, and in Shaalbim, and Beth-shemesh, and Elon-bethhanan; 10 the son of Hesed, in Arubboth; to him pertained Socoh, and all the land of Hepher; 11 the son of Abinadab, in all the region of Dor; he had Taphath the daughter of Solomon to wife; .12 Baana the son of Ahilud, in Taanach and Megiddo, and all Beth-shean which is beside Zarethan, beneath Jezreel, from Bethshean to Abel-meholah, as far as beyond Jokmeam; .13 the son of Geber, in Ramoth-gilead; to him pertained the villages of Jair the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead; even to him pertained the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, threescore great cities with walls and brazen bars; .14 Ahinadab the son of Iddo, in Mahanaim; 15 Ahimaaz, in Naphtali; he also took Basemath the daughter of Solomon to wife; (JPS)(Emphasis added)
Up to this point, scripture usually includes inventories of the significant offspring of Israel’s kings and prominent men. There are inventories of King David’s children as well as Saul’s. There are genealogies of seemingly insignificant individuals back to Abram and even Adam in some cases. While these genealogies are not necessarily all inclusive, in many cases scripture inventories children that it never mentions again. In other cases, scripture notes something to the effect 'that he had other sons and daughters,' for example. It is notable that scripture usually omits the names of the children of concubines.
Just for examples, some of those genealogies are included here. There are other examples of the later kings in other scripture.
1 Samuel 14:49 Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Ishvi and Malki-Shua. The name of his older daughter was Merab, and that of the younger was Michal. 50 His wife’s name was Ahinoam daughter of Ahimaaz. The name of the commander of Saul’s army was Abner son of Ner, and Ner was Saul’s uncle. 51 Saul’s father Kish and Abner’s father Ner were sons of Abiel.. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
1 Chronicles 3:1 And these are the sons of David, who were born to him in Hebron: the firstborn, Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jizreelitess; the second, Daniel, of Abigail the Carmelitess; 2 the third, Absalom the son of Maachah, daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; 3 the fifth, Shephatiah of Abital; the sixth, Ithream, of Eglah his wife: 4 six were born to him in Hebron. And there he reigned seven years and six months. And in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years. 5 And these were born to him in Jerusalem: Shimea, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, four, of Bath-shua the daughter of Ammiel; 6 and Ibhar, and Elishama, and Eliphelet, 7 and Nogah, and Nepheg, and Japhia, 8 and Elishama, and Eliada, and Eliphelet, nine: 9 all were sons of David, besides the sons of the concubines; and Tamar was their sister. 10 And Solomon's son was Rehoboam; Abijah his son, Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son, 11 Joram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son, 12 Amaziah his son, Azariah his son, Jotham his son, 13 Ahaz his son, Hezekiah his son, Manasseh his son, 14 Amon his son, Josiah his son. 15 And the sons of Josiah: the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. 16 And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. 17 And the sons of Jeconiah: Assir; Salathiel his son, 18 Malchiram also, and Pedaiah, and Shenazzar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah. 19 And the sons of Pedaiah were Zerubbabel and Shimei. And the sons of Zerubbabel: Meshullam and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister, 20 and Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, and Hasadiah, [and] Jushab-hesed, five. 21 And the sons of Hananiah: Pelatiah and Isaiah; the sons of Rephaiah, the sons of Arnan, the sons of Obadiah, the sons of Shechaniah. 22 And the sons of Shechaniah: Shemaiah; and the sons of Shemaiah: Hattush, and Jigeal, and Bariah, and Neariah, and Shaphat, six. 23 And the sons of Neariah: Elioenai, and Hezekiah, and Azrikam, three. 24 And the sons of Elioenai: Hodaviah, and Eliashib, and Pelaiah, and Akkub, and Johanan, and Delaiah, and Anani, seven. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
This genealogy continues in 1 Chronicles 4.
This apparent lack of children for King Solomon is really a glaring omission, if in fact it is an omission. It would seem that a man with a harem of 1000 would surely have descendents as the numbers of the sands of the sea, to borrow a metaphor from scripture.
The statistical odds of producing a child from one incident of breeding alone place the probability of pregnancy at 3-5 percent. This would normally translate to a 1 in 25 chance, or 1 in 24 considering the probability of miscarriage. If Solomon never had intimate relations with any of his harem beyond once at the time of acquisition, he must have sired at least 40-45 children. Moreover, scripture contends that Solomon also loved many foreign women in addition to his harem of 1000. There is just no accounting of what constitutes "many" other foreign women. This number of 40-45 offspring should be attained if just warehousing the women in the harem after one act of consummation considering the breeding potential of a 30-year-old woman. Since 30 would have been geriatric for such women in those days, the actual probability of conception would be somewhat higher. If one considers that the normal number of offspring in that time and area would probably be more than five per female, it appears that Solomon should have had at least 5000 children. Just considering the collection of scripture as a whole, it is very strange that there is no mention of the incredible number of offspring. Siring 40 to 45 children should be quite remarkable to say the least.
This leaves the perplexing problem of explaining what happened to all of those children as supported by scripture. Well, scripture actually does give an explanation as to what happen to all of these children, but it is difficult material.
1 Kings 11:1 Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, besides the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 2 of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel: "Ye shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods"; Solomon did cleave unto these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not whole with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the detestation of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the detestation of Moab, in the mount that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestation of the children of Ammon. 8 And so did he for all his foreign wives, who offered and sacrificed unto their gods. 9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared unto him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 11:4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
Take special note of verse 8 above. Worshipers of gods such as Chemosh, Milcom and Molech (Moloch) practiced human sacrifice; some may still worship these gods today. This involved sacrificing babies in a particularly gruesome way. Today archeologists believe that Chemosh, Milcom and Moloch are more-or-less the same god. Moreover, these are all Baalim, the plural form of Ba'al.
Deuteronomy 12:29 When the Lord thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest in to dispossess them, and thou dispossessest them, and dwellest in their land; 30 take heed to thyself that thou be not ensnared to follow them, after that they are destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying: 'How used these nations to serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.' 31 Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God; for every abomination to the Lord, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters do they burn in the fire to their gods. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
King Solomon's Worshipful Offering
Offering to Molech
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