The Message of the Covenant

King Solomon's Children

Chapter 6

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.

Saul’s Family
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)
David's Family
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.
7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.” (NIV) (Emphasis added)

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)

ouch

King Solomon's Worshipful Offering
Offering to Molech
Illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster.

Moloch idols were made of metal and heated red-hot by building a roaring fire inside the sculpture. Worshipers then placed infants into the idol's searing metal hands whereby they burned to death. Legend contends that some mechanism moved the hands of the idol so that the baby would then fall into the mouth of the idol and it would appear that the idol was eating.

Isaiah 57:1 The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart, and godly men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. 2 He entereth into peace, they rest in their beds, each one that walketh in his uprightness. 3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the harlot. 4 Against whom do ye sport yourselves? Against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? Are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood, 5 Ye that inflame yourselves among the terebinths, under every leafy tree; that slay the children in the valleys, under the clefts of the rocks? 6 Among the smooth stones of the valley is thy portion; they, they are thy lot; even to them hast thou poured a drink-offering, thou hast offered a meal-offering. Should I pacify Myself for these things? 7 Upon a high and lofty mountain hast thou set thy bed; thither also wentest thou up to offer sacrifice. 8 And behind the doors and the posts hast thou set up thy symbol; for thou hast uncovered, and art gone up from Me, thou hast enlarged thy bed, and chosen thee of them whose bed thou lovedst, whose hand thou sawest. 9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thine ambassadors far off, even down to the nether-world. 10 Thou wast wearied with the length of thy way; yet saidst thou not: 'There is no hope'; thou didst find a renewal of thy strength, therefore thou wast not affected. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

There is not much question as to whom Isaiah could be referring to in verse 3. Recall that David was indeed an adulterer and apparently, God considers Bathsheba to be a harlot since she probably was available to improve her station in life. Furthermore, consider the Book of Ecclesiastes as a whole in conjunction with Isaiah 57:10.

Jeremiah 19:3… Hear ye the word of HaShem, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; thus saith HaShem of hosts, the G-d of Israel: Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle; 4 because they have forsaken Me, and have estranged this place, and have offered in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah; and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; 5 and have built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons in the fire for burnt-offerings unto Baal; which I commanded not, nor spoke it, neither came it into My mind. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In Jeremiah 19, the name Baal appears as opposed to the name Moloch in Isaiah. Many scholars regard Moloch to be one of the Baalim.

Credible Jewish historians of old maintain that Solomon built a temple to Chemosh on the Mount of Olives that remained in continuous use for over 400 years. This information can be located in the Jewish Encyclopedia. The following passage supports this as the Mount of Olives was east of Jerusalem in those days.

1 Kings 11:7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods. (NIV) (Emphasis added)

While it is true that these idols were physical objects, it is also true that they were physical representations of some deity. Therefore, this really is an account of some type of demonic or satanic activity where the deities favor is thought to be garnered through human blood sacrifice. Some believe that the demons actually inhabit the idols while they are being worshiped. Practitioners of these religions believed that human sacrifice was more meaningful than other forms and that higher bred victims were more desirable than those of common origin. The reader can delve into this subject in more detail independently.

Leviticus 20:1And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Thou shalt say also to the children of Israel, Every one of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, that giveth of his seed unto Molech, shall certainly be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, so as to make my sanctuary unclean, and to profane my holy name. 4 And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from that man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, that they kill him not, 5 then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
It's cohesive!
The reader's appropriate response to this material:
Acts 17:11 And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, receiving the word with all readiness of mind, daily searching the scriptures if these things were so. (Darby) (Emphasis added)