The Message of the Covenant

King Solomon

Chapter 6

The Message of the Covenant

1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts; if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination unto the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and setteth it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say: Amen.
(JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 29:17 lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; 18 and it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying: 'I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart--that the watered be swept away with the dry'; 19 the Lord will not be willing to pardon him, but then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy shall be kindled against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven; 20 and the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that is written in this book of the law. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 3:15 That which is hath been long ago, and that which is to be hath already been; and God seeketh that which is pursued. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

The Greatest Tragedy

According to the Bible, King Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived or ever will live. It is highly probable that he was also the richest man that ever lived and he also possessed many other attributes that are highly regarded and sought after by mankind.

Very few kings throughout the entire history of the world are as famous as King Solomon and few are so well remembered thousands of years after their deaths. Solomon was a very popular king, perhaps largely because Israel experienced great prosperity during his reign.

Solomon's great wisdom made him a figure to be highly respected. Since this was G-d given, he continues to be a figure to be revered today. It is extremely important for the reader to realize that King Solomon was probably far superior to the reader as he certainly is to the author. However, in contemplation of all of the foregoing information about the actual affairs of King Solomon, would it not be reasonable to question what all of the facts uncovered so far actually mean?

Could Solomon's life have had far more significance than that which has heretofore been attributed to it? Who would give away the Ark of the Covenant, make a counterfeit ark complete with a counterfeit and perverse law and build a temple diametrically opposed to the plans of the L-rd? Did Solomon actually rule a much greater area than Israel? How did Solomon perpetrate so many serious transgressions directly against the L-rd, and yet, seemingly escape serious judgment?

Perhaps a careful analysis of all aspects of Solomon's life will produce startling information.

First, however, it might be well to digress onto the fact that as it has been widely perceived that King Solomon was one of the best kings that Israel ever had, so was the perception of the author until conducting the investigations preceding this chapter. Superficial examination of King Solomon's life produces the appearance of a life characterized by extraordinary success and blessing; however, a systematic examination of that life reveals what is undoubtedly the greatest tragedy of all time.

Prince Solomon

There are few mentions of Solomon in the Bible until shortly before he was anointed king. We are told that he was the son of King David and Bathsheba. As one might recall, King David's relationship with Bathsheba was the cause of much trouble for him, evidently much more than has normally been appreciated. The narrative of these events can be found beginning in 2 Samuel 11.

A short recap of the story of David and Bathsheba begins with David walking on the roof of his palace and spotting the very beautiful Bathsheba bathing. He was infatuated and soon seduced her. Alas, Bathsheba was another man's wife.

Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (JPS)

David's affair with Bathsheba was fruitful and she summarily sent word to David that conception had occurred. This child was Solomon's older brother that only lived a few days. Unfortunately, this all happened while Bathsheba's real husband Uriah the Hittite was away serving in King David's army. In a failed attempt to cover up this indiscretion, David brought Uriah back to town from the army and arranged for him to have some free time so that he could be with Bathsheba. To no avail, David hoped that Uriah would sleep with her so that her unfortunate manifestation of infidelity would not be recognized for what it actually was. Had this scheme worked, Uriah would have thought that the child was his and everything would have been covered up.

Plagued with ill fate, King David could not get Uriah to sleep with Bathsheba even after many attempts. Finally, David implemented plan B, thereby arranging for Uriah to be placed in the front lines of battle after returning to active duty. When the battle grew fierce, King David had the rest of the troops withdraw from around Uriah correctly surmising that he would be killed. Some might consider this to be murder by proxy.

Despite King David's concerns about Uriah's wrath, more importantly, G-d was angry with David about this whole affair and sent judgment onto him and his household. Although G-d forgave David's sins, he had to endure serious consequences. Frequently, those whose sins are forgiven endure their punishment on this side of eternity. As part of the judgment, G-d said that the sword would never depart from David's house because of these events. It is extremely important to remember that the sword would never depart from David's house because this is an important clue in the subsequent words of the prophets.

2 Samuel 12:10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from thy house; because thou hast despised Me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Some of the consequences that befell David's household included the incident(s) of Amnon, Tamar and Absalom; but the first manifestation of judgment was that the child that Bathsheba was carrying whose conception initiated all of these events died seven days after birth.

2 Samuel 12:15 And Nathan departed unto his house. And the Lord struck the child that Uriah's wife bore unto David, and it was very sick. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Samuel 12:18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead; for they said: 'Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke unto him, and he hearkened not unto our voice; how then shall we tell him that the child is dead, so that he do himself some harm?' (JPS)

Entanglement

If one looks at this very carefully, it is notable that Bathsheba is referred to as Uriah's wife in 2 Samuel 12:15. If she is still Uriah's wife, then she could not be David's wife at this point. It is important to consider that David fasted and afflicted himself pleading with God for the child's life for the entire seven days that it took for the child to die. Since it is very clear that David fasted and wept lying on the ground until the child died, it is absolutely certain that he did not marry Bathsheba during this period of time. If Bathsheba is still Uriah's wife, then she is obviously not married to David in the legal sense.

It is important to note that David did not marry Bathsheba before he went to comfort her - before Solomon was conceived. This is certain because there is a detailed account of his activities between the time that he quit fasting and weeping up until the moment he went in to comfort her.

2 Samuel 12:20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel; and he came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped; then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. (JPS)

One would think that a wedding would have been included in this narrative of 2 Samuel 12:20 if one occurred. If the passage notes that he ate, washed and changed his clothing, it is inconceivable that a wedding would have been left out of a listing of the events of that day. David's subsequent activities involve his comforting Bathsheba, and at some point, they got so comfortable that Solomon was conceived.

2 Samuel 12:24 And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him; 25 and He sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet, and he called his name Jedidiah, for the Lord's sake. (JPS)

By the time of 2 Samuel 12:24, we see that Bathsheba is referred to as David's wife yet in 2 Samuel 12:15 she is referred to as Uriah's wife. Certainly no wedding occurred during this period so how can this be explained? One of the more obvious possibilities is that she was considered David's wife because the two became one flesh and this can be and is frequently done without an official wedding. Nevertheless, she must have been officially married to Uriah at this time. She obviously would have been Uriah's widow. Obviously this would leave a pedigree problem for one of the parties involved; however, this detail was apparently doctored. After all, the royal family must keep up appearances.

There is a verse in Matthew that simply states that David begot Solomon by Uriah's wife. Translators have attempted to clarify the passage a bit by adding words that are not actually in the original manuscripts. Many translations make note of this by separating the added remarks in brackets. If one ignores the translator's inclusions then the verse clearly says that David begot Solomon by Uriah's wife.

Matthew 1:6 And Jesse begat David the king. And David begat Solomon, of her [that had been the wife] of Urias; (Darby) (Emphasis added)
(Note: Brackets indicate words added by the translator that do not appear in the original text.)
Matthew 1:6 And Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her [who had been the wife] of Uriah. (NKJV) (Emphasis added)
(Note: Brackets indicate words added by the translator that do not appear in the original text.)
Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is tried; He is a shield unto them that take refuge in Him. 6 Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Back in 2 Samuel 11, there is another mention of David marrying Bathsheba and this confuses the exact course of these events. That information is included as an element of other fine points of these exploits, but it is not necessarily sequentially or chronologically related to the continuation of the main narrative in chapter 12. In chapter 11, the information given says that David and Bathsheba were married after the period of mourning for Uriah. While mourning periods are not necessarily very long in contemporary society, in other times and cultures widows remained in mourning for months or years.

2 Samuel 11:26 And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she made lamentation for her husband. 27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and took her home to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 21:10 When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God delivereth them into thy hands, and thou carriest them away captive, 11 and seest among the captives a woman of goodly form, and thou hast a desire unto her, and wouldest take her to thee to wife; 12 then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 13 and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month; and after that thou mayest go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Prohibited Degrees
One who is suspected of having committed adultery with another man's wife is not permitted to marry her after she has been divorced or after she has become a widow (Sotah 25a; Yeb. 24b)
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Marriage Laws by Solomon Schechter and Julius H. Greenstone)
Remarriage
There are some prohibitions which relate specifically to the woman's remarriage. A woman who was twice widowed, if both husbands died natural deaths, might not marry again (Yeb. 64b; "Yad," l.c. xxi. 31; Eben ha-'Ezer, 9). A widow or a divorced woman might not remarry before the expiration of ninety days from her husband's death or from the time when the bill of divorce was handed to her. This provision was made in order to ascertain whether she was pregnant, and that in the event of her being so the paternity of her child might be established. For the sake of uniformity the Rabbis required the woman to wait that length of time even when there could be no suspicion of pregnancy. If she was visibly pregnant, she might not remarry until after her delivery, and even then, if the child lived, she was required to wait until it was twenty-four months old. A woman who had an unweaned child was required to wait the same period. If the child died during the interval, she might remarry immediately. (Yeb. 41a, 42a; "Yad," Gerushin, xi. 18-28; Eben ha-'Ezer, 13)
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Marriage Laws by Solomon Schechter and Julius H. Greenstone)

It appears that Bathsheba projected the appearance of mourning for some time. It is possible that one particular manifestation of these events, to wit: Solomon, may have materialized inexplicably soon for prudent appearances. Since this appears to be the case, it seems highly likely that the exact time of his arrival might have been blurred a bit in order to keep up appearances. It is also relevant to note that the narrative mentions that after the period of mourning, Bathsheba bore David a son, but it does not say which son. Nevertheless, one should notice that according to the ordinance one was not ordinarily permitted to go in unto the captive woman before the battle and victory occurred.

Isaiah 66:7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child. 8 Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Is a land born in one day? Is a nation brought forth at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord; shall I that cause to bring forth shut the womb? saith thy God. (JPS)

The reason that this theory can be put forth is because of all of the other characteristics of Solomon for which there is ample support. When all of the facts are considered together, it is certain that this must be the case because in Deuteronomy 17 we see the characteristics of the man we are studying. It is with confidence that we can conclude that since the L-rd knows the beginning from the end, this passage is in reference to specific events regarding a specific person. Since most of the characteristics mentioned in this passage are those of Solomon - and all of the other characteristics can be proven beyond any doubt - it is safe to conclude that some of the less clear aspects of this king are also direct attributes of Solomon.

Deuteronomy 17:14 When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt say: 'I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me'; 15 thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother. 16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you: 'Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.' 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. (JPS)

Since Solomon was conceived in such a way that David and Bathsheba should have been cut off from their people, it should be apparent that Solomon could not have been an Israelite. If one is cut off from among a people, they are no longer part of that people. Therefore, Solomon was a foreigner. Furthermore, while it is certain that he was conceived out of wedlock, it is also highly probable that he was born out of wedlock and that David and Bathsheba attempted to cover up this fact by keeping his birth a secret and announcing his birth at a later time. Perhaps he was a thirty-pound (14-kg) baby or something to that effect.

Deuteronomy 23:3 A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of the Lord. (JPS)

It is of great interest to note that the word rendered "bastard" in the above translation is rendered "those born of a forbidden marriage" in the New International Version. The New Jewish Publication Society Tanakh renders this "no one misbegotten." A footnote in the NJPS notes that the Hebrew meaning for the word mamzer - the word that appears in the original manuscripts here - is uncertain, but in Jewish law it would tend to mean the offspring of adultery or incest between Jews. While it might be vague whether or not Solomon was of illegitimate birth, it is absolutely certain that this was a forbidden marriage. Therefore, neither Solomon or any of his descendants down to the tenth generation should have been allowed into the assembly of the L-rd.

It is not really possible to determine with absolute certainty what the dates of Solomon's kingdom were despite the fact that there seems to be a reliable set of dates for the reign of King David. The Bible contends that he was 52 when he died, but historical records maintain an age of 53. This could well be a clear indication of the exact theory presented here.

The Squalid Conception

Another distressing aspect of Solomon's conception that is inescapable is that Bathsheba was ceremonially unclean because she had given birth just seven days before Solomon was conceived. David became unclean by touching her, and according to the Mishnah (Kelim 1:3 - 1:5), in this condition he imparted uncleanness to everything under, above or even near him. Please note that the following passage from the 1917 Jewish Publication Society translation calls "sickness" that which would ordinarily be called a menstrual period today.

Leviticus 12:1 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: If a woman be delivered, and bear a man-child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of the impurity of her sickness shall she be unclean. (JPS)
Leviticus 20:18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness--he hath made naked her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood--both of them shall be cut off from among their people. (JPS)
Leviticus 5:2 or if any one touch any unclean thing, whether it be the carcass of an unclean beast, or the carcass of unclean cattle, or the carcass of unclean swarming things, and be guilty, it being hidden from him that he is unclean; 3 or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever his uncleanness be wherewith he is unclean, and it be hid from him; and, when he knoweth of it, be guilty; (JPS)

Solomon was conceived shortly after his brother died (2 Samuel 12:24). This occurred on the seventh day after Solomon's older brother was born; therefore, both David and Bathsheba should have been cut off from among their people. This could be stated differently with a phrase something like, stricken from the register of Israel, or perhaps cut off from the tents of Jacob, for examples. While it is clear that David was forgiven, does it not seem that the child conceived under these circumstances would technically not be an Israelite? How could the product of such a union be included in the register of Israel? It is impossible.

It is conspicuous that Solomon's parents were unclean and that he was conceived in uncleanness. One could juxtapose that concept with the idea of virgin conception thereby imputing freedom from the Adamic curse for consideration.

Bathsheba

It is significant that Bathsheba was the wife of a Hittite, one of the peoples that the Israelites were forbidden to mingle with. From scripture, it is not clear if Bathsheba was Jewish. There are some mentions of her father, but no clear genealogy. Furthermore, her father is named as Eliam in 2 Samuel 11:3 while he is listed as Ammiel in 1 Chronicles 3:5, so perhaps there was some question about her parentage.

There is a general theory promulgated by some that Bathsheba's father must have been one of the scouts that explored the land of Canaan back in the days of Moses and Joshua (Numbers 13:12 & 14:36-38). This is because the name Ammiel is listed as one of the scouts; however, this would require that he was more than 400 years old when Bathsheba was conceived, so there may be problems with that theory. We can conclude this because we know that the foundation of the temple was laid in the 480th year after the Children of Israel came up out of Egypt (1 Kings 6:1). Solomon would have been 16 during the year that the foundation was laid.

It is apparent that two different names are listed as Bathsheba's father and yet the Bible is the infallible word of G-d, so this leaves a puzzle. This particular issue has not received a great deal of attention; but it is worthwhile to explore a plausible explanation. There are several scenarios that could explain this.

Consider the possibility that Bathsheba's parents had been married some time and wanted children very badly, but to no avail. Then consider the possibility that in order to conceive they experimented outside their marriage in ways similar to the case of Abraham many years before (Genesis 16); however in this case, the wannabe father, the husband of her mother, was sterile and another man sired her. Then, as one can see, as far as Bathsheba would be concerned her father was the man that raised her, the husband of her mother. But he would not be her biological father, a man she may have never known or even known about. Perhaps there was only one instance of passion and this scenario could easily explain a listing of two fathers.

There is another scenario recorded in the Bible that could also produce the phenomenon of a person having two fathers, but in this case, the scheme was not successful. Consider the case of Solomon's older brother that died when he was one week old. If the plan that David and Bathsheba devised had worked, Uriah would have thought that he was the child's father and her affair with David would have been covered up. In that event, it is likely that David and Bathsheba would have never told anyone including the child the truth about the conception. Then both the child and Uriah would have always believed that Uriah was his father. Perhaps this stratagem was not an original idea and had been successful one generation before.

Due to many of the characteristics of Solomon that can be determined for certain, it is possible that Bathsheba was not Jewish. This may simply have been due to her alliance to Uriah. Bathsheba's exact pedigree must be left to the Levites, however, because records and Jewish genealogical knowledge beyond that of the author would be indispensable. Some sources contend that both one's parents must be Jews in order for the begotten to be Jewish.

Enmity House

In other areas of scripture (2 Samuel 13-18) concerning the results of David's affair with Bathsheba, one can see that this affair caused many problems, not only for David, but also, for his entire household and kingdom. Some of the more notable events included the affairs of Amnon, Tamar and Absalom. These events were the direct result of David's affair with Bathsheba and could be construed by suspicious types to be an omen that the relationships within King David's home were at times less than harmonious.

A short recap of these events could read that Amnon became infatuated with his sister Tamar. He perpetrated a ruse to get her into bed whereby he deflowered her. Because of this, Tamar's closer brother, Absalom, became very angry with Amnon and eventually perpetrated a plot of vengeance against him, thereby taking his life.

Absalom fled outside the grasp of King David, but the king longed to see him and arranged for his safe return to Jerusalem. As time passed, Absalom managed to depose King David through a series of shrewd covert and overt actions. King David had to flee for his life. Absalom then took control of Jerusalem where he plundered the booty of King David's remaining concubines.

In the subsequent series of events, Absalom pursued David hoping to take his life, but David emerged victorious. Unfortunately, it was a hollow victory because Absalom the king's beloved son was killed and great harm had been done to King David's reputation. Nevertheless, King David ruled again.

In consideration of the foregoing information, some could speculate that there may have been certain problems in the relationships between certain members of King David's household. Today, some might describe such a household as a dysfunctional family, or use some other oblique term with similar meaning. In earlier times, that idea might have been expressed that they were literally at each other's throats.

2 Samuel 12:10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from thy house; because thou hast despised Me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. (JPS)

The Prince of Peace

It is noted that David and Bathsheba named their second son Solomon. Solomon is actually Shelomoh in Hebrew and it is the word for peace in that language. Shelomoh has several variations of spelling and form and is frequently shortened to the familiar Hebrew greeting Shelom. Shortly after they named him Solomon, G-d sent word through Nathan the prophet that He loves this son and to name the child Jedidiah, which means, "loved by the L-rd" or "beloved of the L-rd."

2 Samuel 12:24 And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him; 25 and He sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet, and he called his name Jedidiah, for the Lord's sake. (JPS)

There is no evidence that the advice on names was actually followed, but Solomon might have gone by the name Jedidiah until he ascended to the throne. Nevertheless, by the time he became king, we see the name Solomon. In this case, the name Solomon would mean "prince of peace." This might be the reason that G-d suggested another name because this would obviously be another title for the Messiah. In fact, according to the Talmud, the name actually means G-d. Be that as it may, Israel did enjoy peace during most of Solomon's reign.

The Talmud says Shalom ("Peace"; Judges vi. 23) is the name of God, consequently one is not permitted to greet another with the word "shalom" in unholy places (Shab. 10b). The name Shelomoh (from shalom) refers to the God of Peace, and the Rabbis assert that the Song of Solomon is a dramatization of the love of God: "Shalom" to His people Israel = "Shulamite." "King of kings" in Dan. ii. 37 refers to God. "'Attik Yamin" (ib. vii. 9) refers to the Ancient One of the universe (see Yalk., Chron. 1076). The pronoun "Ani" (I) is a name of God (Suk. iv. 5). The first verse in Ezekiel ("we-Ani") refers to God (Tos. Suk. 45a). Hillel's epigram "If I [am] here everything is here" (Suk. 53a) is interpreted as referring to God. The divine names are called in the Talmud "Azkarot," or "Adkarata" in the Aramaic form. Divine names that occur in the handwriting of minim should be excised and buried in the genizah (Shab. 116a; Cant. R. ii. 4). God is named also Ha-Geburah ("The Majesty"; Shab.87a), but generally Ha-Makom. ("The Omnipresence"), accompanied with Baruk-hu ("Praised be He").
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Names of God; By: Executive Committee of the Editorial Board. J. F. McLaughlin and Judah David Eisenstein)

Recall that G-d told David that the sword would never depart from his house because of these events.

Jeremiah 4:10 Then said I: 'Ah, L-rd GOD! surely Thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying: Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The Ascension of Solomon

The next significant event involving Solomon consists of his becoming the king of Israel at the age of twelve.

Ecclesiastes 10:16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a boy, and thy princes feast in the morning! (JPS)

As one may recall, Solomon's kingdom was established after some conflict with another of David's sons, Adonijah. Incidentally, the name Adonijah means "my L-rd is YHWH," or more loosely, "the L-rd is my master." Adonijah was also a name that the Israelites used for G-d. Notwithstanding that this son was named Adonijah, he has traditionally been considered to be an upstart or usurper-type of figure that tried to set himself up to be the king. The accounts about David, Adonijah, and the events leading up to Solomon becoming king are found beginning in 1 Kings 1 and 1 Chronicles 29.

1 Kings 1:5 Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying: 'I will be king'; and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6 And his father had not grieved him all his life in saying: 'Why hast thou done so?' and he was also a very goodly man; and he was born after Absalom. (JPS)
(Goodly means handsome)

It is apparent from the accounts about Adonijah in the Bible, that for a substantial amount of time, he went about claiming to be the next king. Furthermore, it is evident that David did not interfere with this for a long time and we are told that David was getting old and in declining health during the period that these events took place. Some Bible scholars have concluded that David never wanted Solomon to be his successor. Nevertheless, the conventional view holds that Adonijah is a usurper.

The question is, was he?

Perhaps this material should be carefully reexamined to see if something might have been overlooked. Looking at 1 Kings 1, it is possible to probe more of this story of Adonijah and Solomon's rise to the throne for clues validating or negating the conventional view.

1 Kings 1:9 And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fatlings by the stone of Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel; and he called all his brethren the king's sons, and all the men of Judah the king's servants; 10 but Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 1:11 Then Nathan spoke unto Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon, saying: 'Hast thou not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith doth reign, and David our lord knoweth it not? 12 Now therefore come, let me, I pray thee, give thee counsel, that thou mayest save thine own life, and the life of thy son Solomon. 13 Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto him: Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thy handmaid, saying: Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? why then doth Adonijah reign? 14 Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Considering the previous passage carefully, just what part of Nathan's statement does not appear to be a lie? To put it another way, this is obviously a lie and it is evident that Nathan is cooking up an artless scheme here. This particular plot would be much too obvious to use in a novel, play or movie because nearly everybody would see through this unsophisticated ruse immediately. Notice that Nathan tells Bathsheba that she needs to talk to King David in order to preserve her life and that of her son. Furthermore, notice that Nathan will come in and confirm her words.

Micah 3:5 This is what the Lord says: "As for the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them they proclaim 'peace'; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him." (NIV) (Emphasis added)

As a pertinent side note, consider that this is written in the Bible, the infallible word of G-d. While everything in the Bible must necessarily be true, it is a conspicuous fact that this segment records the dialog of the characters; therefore, their lies are faithfully recorded. In faithfully quoting the lying words of the characters - and notice that there are quotation marks - the Bible remains absolutely true.

Micah 3:5 Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people to err; that cry: 'Peace', when their teeth have any thing to bite; and whoso putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him: (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

The meaning of these types of passages may be somewhat different than that which is traditionally ascribed to them. Notice that in the JPS translation, the word "Peace" is capitalized and recall that the name Solomon means peace.

Nathan

It should be obvious that Nathan is motivated out of his desire to maintain his important position in the royal court. There may have been good reason for Nathan to be concerned about his position because this was not the first time that Nathan prophesied something that was not the word of the L-rd. Another recorded instance of Nathan prophesying out of his own heart occurred when David began thinking of building the temple.

2 Samuel 7:1 And it came to pass, when the king dwelt in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies round about, 2 that the king said unto Nathan the prophet: 'See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.' 3 And Nathan said to the king: 'Go, do all that is in thy heart; for the Lord is with thee.' 4 And it came to pass the same night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying: 5 'Go and tell My servant David: Thus saith the Lord: Shalt thou build Me a house for Me to dwell in? 6 for I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. 7 In all places wherein I have walked among all the children of Israel, spoke I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying: Why have ye not built Me a house of cedar? (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Considering the calamities that David normally experienced when he did not follow the word of the L-rd, he might have been especially displeased with a prophet that did not carefully tell him what the L-rd had said. In the case of Adonijah, however, Nathan revealed no prophecy at all, but simply a clandestine scheme.

Nathan was not invited to Adonijah's feast and was feeling spurned and alarmed that his position in the royal court is apparently imperiled. Therefore, he concocted a scheme to put Solomon on the throne, thus insuring an important position for himself if his plan succeeded. Unfortunately for Nathan, the plan has some nasty long-term consequences that he might not have considered. At the end of the following passage it is noted that this prophet will not be included in the register of Israel and this is one way of saying that this person is damned.

Ezekiel 13:1 And the word of HaShem came unto me, saying: 2 'Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own heart: Hear ye the word of HaShem: 3 Thus saith the L-rd GOD: Woe unto the vile prophets, that follow their own spirit, and things which they have not seen! 4 O Israel, thy prophets have been like foxes in ruins. 5 Ye have not gone up into the breaches, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel, to stand in the battle in the day of HaShem. 6 They have seen vanity and lying divination, that say: HaShem saith; and HaShem hath not sent them, yet they hope that the word would be confirmed! 7 Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say: HaShem saith; albeit I have not spoken? 8 Therefore thus saith the L-rd GOD: Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the L-rd GOD. 9 And My hand shall be against the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies; they shall not be in the council of My people, neither shall they be written in the register of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the L-rd GOD. 10 Because, even because they have led My people astray, saying: Peace, and there is no peace. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Recall that the word for peace in Hebrew is Solomon or Shelomoh. Therefore, Ezekiel 13:10 might have a slightly different meaning than has traditionally been attributed to it. For example, it would be fair to translate the verse something like the author's paraphrase: they have led My people astray, saying: Shelomoh, and there is no Shelomoh. Recall also that this is the title of the true Messiah.

King David's Decline

Nathan's scheme to put Solomon on the throne has a good chance of success because we know that David is old and not feeling well. In fact, we are told that he is very cold all of the time and there is a general consensus among scholars that he was senile. His chill was such a problem that David's advisors found a beautiful girl named Abishag to lie with him to keep him warm. While Abishag slept with David to keep him warm and was one of the most beautiful maidens in all of Israel, it says he never had intimate relations with her, thereby confirming his feebleness (1 Kings 1:4).

Solomon mentions some events in Ecclesiastes that have the oddest similarity to some of the events considered here. Recall the special nature of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 4:11 Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if a man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (JPS)
Ecclesiastes 4:13 Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who knoweth not how to receive admonition any more. 14 For out of prison he came forth to be king; although in his kingdom he was born poor. 15 I saw all the living that walk under the sun, that they were with the child, the second, that was to stand up in his stead. 16 There was no end of all the people, even of all them whom he did lead; yet they that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind. (JPS)

Bathsheba's Petition

Due to the problems in David's household Bathsheba had good reason to be concerned about her future and the future of her son. The family problems in David's household are likely why Solomon was not invited to Adonijah's feast and this obviously implies that he was not in good standing with Adonijah. After all, Bathsheba would obviously have been viewed as the exact cause of most of the family's problems. Since there was a tendency for such differences in this household to result in death, she really had good reason to be concerned. If a shrewd and unscrupulous prophet wanted to motivate someone to a particular course of action, this could be just the card to play.

1 Kings 1:16 And Bath-sheba bowed, and prostrated herself unto the king. And the king said: 'What wouldest thou?' 17 And she said unto him: 'My lord, thou didst swear by the Lord thy God unto thy handmaid: Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne. 18 And now, behold, Adonijah reigneth; and thou, my lord the king, knowest it not. 19 And he hath slain oxen and fatlings and sheep in abundance, and hath called all the sons of the king, and Abiathar, the priest, and Joab the captain of the host; but Solomon thy servant hath he not called. 20 And thou, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are upon thee, that thou shouldest tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21 Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Alarmed at the ominous prospects for the future Bathsheba becomes Nathan's ally.

Ezekiel 13:17 "Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them 18 and say, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own? 19 You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live. (NIV)

G-d's Choice of Leaders

If one looks carefully at the promise G-d gave to David about a successor, G-d never told David that Solomon should be the king. In fact, G-d told David that He would raise up David's successor - one of David's own sons. G-d never said which son.

1 Chronicles 17:11 And it shall come to pass, when thy days are fulfilled that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will set up thy seed after thee, who shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Samuel 7:7:12 When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, that shall proceed out of thy body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

This clearly does not say for David to appoint a successor, but that G-d will establish one. Upon careful consideration of this promise, it becomes clear that David was not supposed to appoint his successor. It is also apparent that David had no intention of appointing one. Furthermore, there is no record that David told Bathsheba that Solomon would be his successor until Nathan approached her with his scheme. In light of those facts, there can be little doubt that the first that Bathsheba had heard of this promise was from Nathan. The first that King David heard of it was from Bathsheba and Solomon knew nothing of it until they anointed him to be the king.

Clarke's Commentary - 2 Samuel 7
Yet, approving the piety of David's intention, God was pleased to reward it by promising that he would make a house for DAVID; which house, to be thus erected by God, was certainly not material, or made of stones, but a spiritual house, or family, to be raised up for the honour of God, and the salvation of mankind. And this house, which God would make, was to be built by David's SEED; and this seed was to be raised up AFTER David slept with his fathers; which words clearly exclude Solomon, who was set up and placed upon the throne BEFORE David was dead. This building promised by God, was to be erected by one of David's descendants, who was also to be an everlasting king; and indeed the house and the kingdom were both of them to be established forever.
(Adam Clarke's Bible Commentary; 2 Samuel 7) (Emphasis added)

After Solomon became the king, David mentions Solomon as G-d's heir apparent, but from all other signs, one can conclude that he must have assumed that was the way things should be because he was senile during his final decline (1 Chronicles 22:9). Why is there no record of G-d actually mentioning Solomon in the promise? The reason is because Nathan created the whole scheme to maintain his position and Solomon was not G-d's choice of leaders. For purely selfish reasons Nathan manipulated Bathsheba and duped an aged an ill king that wished to do the right thing and be a man of integrity. The Bible does not specifically say that David had memory problems, but in view of all of his health problems that are mentioned and what is known about aging, it is likely. There is a general consensus among Bible Scholars that he was senile. Certainly Abishag was not the kind of opportunity that David would or could pass up if he were even moderately functional. It is also highly notable that all of these people had to visit David in his bedchamber to conduct the affairs of the court and this confirms that he was very ill.

What is clear in the story is that Adonijah is seemingly setting himself up to be the king. However, upon careful consideration, one comes to the realization that Adonijah was not setting himself up to be the king, but that this was the successor that G-d promised David. Adonijah was the manifestation of G-d's hand at work and his name was not a mistake; he was actually G-d's choice of leaders. G-d was raising up one of David's own sons to succeed him. It did not require human intervention or action.

Song of Songs 3:11 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and gaze upon king Solomon, even upon the crown wherewith his mother hath crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

The exact reason that Aaron's staff that budded was not in the ark when they brought it into Solomon's Temple was that Solomon WAS NOT G-d's choice of leaders. The staff that budded represents G-d's choice of leaders and Solomon was not G-d's choice. There could be no clearer sign. Suddenly, we realize that Solomon became the king only through the auspices of deception. Eventually, it will become clear that this deceit was actually a qualification for Solomon's ultimate position.

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)

While it may appear to be merely coincidence that this passage of scripture mentions a number of characteristics for which Solomon is noted, it is conceivable that Isaiah's mouth was not filled with obtuse drivel and that he was talking about specific people and events. Recall that Solomon was a son of adultery, at twelve may have been prone to sticking out the tongue, is noted for hedonism, possibly beneath trees, offered many offerings, built his home on a mountain, sacrificed in the high places, went in before King David to be anointed king by Zadok the priest, received large quantities of fragrant spices from the Queen of Sheba and maintained a fleet of ships traveling far and wide - etceteras. In fact, Solomon did actually send ambassadors to the netherworld. Obviously, the entire passage of Isaiah 57 is a direct reference to Solomon and the events of his reign. One will notice in Isaiah 57:5 that there is mention of slaying children and it is known that Solomon built temples to Moloch and Chemosh and sacrificed there. Sacrifice of children was an integral part of worship to these gods.

It is critical to remember that it was of utmost importance that Israel should only appoint the king of G-d's choosing and that G-d Himself held the position of king until the people asked for a human king. In fact, Moses gave a warning about being sure to select the right king.

Deuteronomy 17:14 When thou comest unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are about me; 15 thou shalt only set him king over thee whom the Lord thy God will choose: from among thy brethren shalt thou set a king over thee; thou mayest not set a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Song of Solomon 3:11 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and gaze upon king Solomon, even upon the crown wherewith his mother hath crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

There is actually a great deal of supporting information proving that Solomon was not G-d's choice of kings. If one takes a critical look at the events involving Solomon, it becomes obvious that there is not one single thing recorded about this man that should be recorded about anybody.

Ecclesiastes 8:14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth: that there are righteous men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous--I said that this also is vanity. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Song of Solomon 3:11 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and gaze upon king Solomon, even upon the crown wherewith his mother hath crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

A Wife for Adonijah

Although Adonijah was unsuccessful in claiming the throne, Solomon was gracious enough not to have him executed right away - at least not until after David died. It is interesting to note that, as a condition for Solomon's initial mercy, Adonijah had to be found to be a worthy man by Solomon and he was. Shortly thereafter, the record of Adonijah's request of Abishag's hand in marriage appears (1 Kings 2:13-25).

Abishag was the beautiful maiden that attended David while he was in his decline. The account states that David never had intimate relations with her so she was still eligible to be the bride of one of his sons. In making this request, Adonijah did not go directly to Solomon, but rather, he asked Bathsheba to approach King Solomon for him. Bathsheba agreed and therefore petitioned Solomon, her twelve-year-old son that is now the king.

1 Kings 2:13 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said: 'Comest thou peaceably?' And he said: 'Peaceably.' 14 He said moreover: 'I have somewhat to say unto thee.' And she said: 'Say on.' 15 And he said: 'Thou knowest that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign; howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's; for it was his from the Lord. 16 And now I ask one petition of thee, deny me not.' And she said unto him: 'Say on.' 17 And he said: 'Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king--for he will not say thee nay--that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.' 18 And Bath-sheba said: 'Well; I will speak for thee unto the king.' 19 Bath-sheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed down unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a throne to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand. 20 Then she said: 'I ask one small petition of thee; deny me not.' And the king said unto her: 'Ask on, my mother; for I will not deny thee.' 21 And she said: 'Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah thy brother to wife.' 22 And king Solomon answered and said unto his mother: 'And why dost thou ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? ask for him the kingdom also; for he is mine elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.' 23 Then king Solomon swore by the Lord, saying: 'God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life. 24 Now therefore as the Lord liveth, who hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me a house, as He promised, surely Adonijah shall be put to death this day.' 25 And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell upon him, so that he died. (JPS)

Let's take a critical look at this event. Some thought has been given to this previously that supports Solomon's actions, but are Solomon's actions really defendable? Considering this analytically, his mother came to him with a request and he swore that he would grant whatever she wished, but what did he actually do? He refused her request and had Adonijah killed. Now, that would not be the mark of integrity, would it?

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. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 66:5 Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His word: your brethren that hate you, that cast you out for My name's sake, have said: 'Let the Lord be glorified, that we may gaze upon your joy', but they shall be ashamed. (JPS)

Solomon was not concerned with honoring his mother's request nor was King Solomon's word reliable. It is interesting to compare this incident to similar events that are mentioned in the Bible. Take, for example, the story of Daniel and the lions' den.

To briefly refresh the story of Daniel and the lions' den, Daniel was an exile that had risen to a high position in the court of King Darius (Daniel 8:1 et seq.). Some other officials that shared similar positions to Daniel became envious of him and devised a scheme to eliminate him. Therefore, they conspired to persuade Darius to issue a decree that anyone worshiping any god or praying to any being except King Darius for thirty days would be thrown into a den full of lions. This was because they knew that Daniel could not worship or pray to any god or person apart from YHWH.

These officials set a trap for Daniel and also King Darius based upon a principle of the laws of the Medes and Persians that held that a decree from the king could not be rescinded and its terms had to be carried out. Apparently a decree could not be abrogated even by a subsequent order from the king. When these officials advised King Darius that Daniel was guilty of violating this decree, the king became greatly distressed because he held Daniel in high esteem and he realized that he had been duped. King Darius worked feverishly all day to avoid carrying out this plan, but to no avail, the course was set.

Darius undoubtedly realized that he had been had, so he was not apt to have had warm fuzzy feelings for the conspirators. However, in that time a king's word was expected to mean something and all of those concepts of ancient people that seem strange today, like honor and integrity for examples, were thought to be virtues, something highly prized in other times. This is obviously difficult to understand today when it has actually become expected that if a public person makes an utterance it is probably not true, but throughout most of history, people were expected to honor their word, even political leaders. Therefore, Darius had Daniel placed into the lions' den overnight just as his royal decree required, even though he did not want to and now realized he had been duped. After Daniel was miraculously released from the loins' den unharmed, Darius had the scheming officials placed into the lion's den along with their whole families as punishment for their conspiracy. G-d did not intervene of behalf of these parties and, needless to say, Darius never had anymore problems with any of them. It is conceivable that King Darius had few problems with scheming officials thereafter.

Of course, one could observe that, while Solomon could have honored his mother's request, nothing would have prevented him from executing Adonijah at another time. It is also relevant to consider that it was certainly within the king's power to restrict Adonijah's movements and many other things if conspiracy was truly a concern. There are instances of those types of actions in scripture from around this time and Solomon used those techniques himself in several instances.

Solomon Consolidates Power

After Solomon became the king, there were some loose ends from David's time that had to be dealt with. David left to Solomon the task of dealing with several subjects, Joab and Shimei.

Joab

The way Solomon dealt with Joab is of great interest because he had him executed at the altar right in front of the ark in the Most Holy Place. It is important to note that this incident occurred at the tent-tabernacle that David pitched in Jerusalem, so this happened in front of the real Ark.

1 Kings 2:27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto HaShem; that the word of HaShem might be fulfilled, which He spoke concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh. 28 And the tidings came to Joab; for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the Tent of HaShem, and caught hold on the horns of the altar. 29 And it was told king Solomon: 'Joab is fled unto the Tent of HaShem, and, behold, he is by the altar.' Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying: 'Go, fall upon him.' 30 And Benaiah came to the Tent of HaShem, and said unto him: 'Thus saith the king: Come forth.' And he said: 'Nay; but I will die here.' And Benaiah brought back word unto the king, saying: 'Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.' 31 And the king said unto him: 'Do as he hath said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that thou mayest take away the blood, which Joab shed without cause, from me and from my father's house. (JPS)

There seems to have been some confusion about whether there are any problems with the idea of killing somebody in the real sanctuary right before the Ark where the L-rd actually dwelt. For a precedent, there is an example that the temple was not the place to kill someone later in the time of the kings.

The story of Athaliah and Joash appears in 2 Chronicles 22:10 - 23:15. Athaliah had taken control of Judah after the death of her son King Ahaziah. When Joash, the only heir to the throne that was not killed by Athaliah became old enough to take control of the kingdom that was rightfully his, Jehoiada the priest helped restore the kingdom to him. During the uproar of establishing Joash as king, Athaliah took refuge in the temple to escape certain execution. Nevertheless, Jehoiada did not have her struck down in the temple, but had her extracted from the temple before she was put to death.

2 Chronicles 23:12 And when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of HaShem; 13 and she looked, and, behold, the king stood on his platform at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpets by the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets; the singers also played on instruments of music, and led the singing of praise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said: 'Treason, treason.' 14 And Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them: 'Have her forth between the ranks; and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword'; for the priest said: 'Slay her not in the house of HaShem.' 15 So they made way for her; and she went to the entry of the horse gate to the king's house; and they slew her there. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

According to the Torah, a dead body in the sanctuary desecrates it. Furthermore, priests were never to go near the dead - not even the dead of their own families with certain exceptions. The reason for this is that it made them ceremonially unclean and everything they touched would become unclean. According to the Mishnah, corpse uncleanness is one of the fathers of uncleanness (Kelim 1:1 - 1:5).

Ezekiel 9:4 And the Lord said unto him: 'Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof.' 5 And to the others He said in my hearing: 'Go ye through the city after him, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity; 6 slay utterly the old man, the young man and the maiden, and little children and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.' Then they began at the elders that were before the house. 7 And He said unto them: 'Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain; go ye forth.' And they went forth, and smote in the city. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Kelim 1:1:A. The Fathers of Uncleanness are: (1) The creeping thing (2) Semen (3) Corpse Uncleanness (4) A Leper during days of counting (5) Sin offering water of Insufficient quantity to be sprinkled.
B. These render man and vessels unclean by contact, and earthenware vessels become unclean by sharing the same airspace. (The Mishnah)

Shimei

The other people that David left to Solomon to deal with are also notable because it is clear that Solomon did not exactly do what David asked. In 1 Kings 2:9 David specifically told Solomon to bring Shimei's head down to the grave in blood, but Solomon allows him to live another three years. The account of how Solomon dealt with Shimei is found in 1 Kings 2:36-46. The following quote relates King David's instructions.

1 Kings 2:8 And, behold, there is with thee Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjamite, of Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim; but he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the Lord, saying: I will not put thee to death with the sword. 9 Now therefore hold him not guiltless, for thou art a wise man; and thou wilt know what thou oughtest to do unto him, and thou shalt bring his hoar head down to the grave with blood.' (JPS)

King David mentioned on his death-bed that he wanted Solomon to execute Shimei, the man that cursed David. This has been interpreted various ways over the years with cursing taken to mean calling David bad names as in cussing out, or simply an insult. However, since King David was a man of war and became king through much bloodshed and strife, it is very safe to say that he had been cussed and insulted by many people. In fact, there are many instances of that recorded in scripture. The instance of Saul's daughter can be cited as an example.

2 Samuel 6:16 And it was so, as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out at the window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. (JPS)
2 Samuel 6:20 Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said: 'How did the king of Israel get him honour to-day, who uncovered himself to-day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!' 21 And David said unto Michal: 'Before the Lord, who chose me above thy father, and above all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of the Lord, over Israel, before the Lord will I make merry. 22 And I will be yet more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight; and with the handmaids whom thou hast spoken of, with them will I get me honour.' 23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death. (JPS)

Ponder the fact that David took no real action against Michal although it was in his power to do quite a lot. Recall also that he facilitated Absalom's return to Jerusalem after killing Amnon, yet the king did not see him for two years - most likely because he was afraid of being overcome by his anger. There are other examples. Nevertheless, King David remembers this incident with Shimei years later when he is senile on his deathbed with pressing affairs of state.

Recall that in 1 Kings 2:8, King David mentions that Shimei "cursed me with a grievous curse." Despite various ways of interpreting this, it must actually mean that Shimei was a witch and this curse had little to do with cussing. If one wants confirmation of that, observe in 2 Samuel 16:7 that Shimei was saying something else while he cursed. The words he spoke would not ordinarily be considered cursing in the foul language sense. In all probability, this means that Shimei was practicing witchcraft while he hurled insults at David. Therefore, David dubs it a "grievous curse."

2 Samuel 16:5 And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out thence a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out, and kept on cursing as he came. 6 And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David; and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. 7 And thus said Shimei when he cursed: 'Begone, begone, thou man of blood, and base fellow; 8 the Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son; and, behold, thou art taken in thine own mischief, because thou art a man of blood.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
(Begins at 2 Samuel 16:20 in many translations)

Ordinarily, one would not really describe a cussing as a grievous curse, nor is it likely that such a thing would be remembered long. Probably everyone reading this has been cussed at some time or another, and it is highly probable that having been cussed will not be remembered on your deathbed. However, if this was an act of witchcraft that could have caused David enormous problems - that is to say a demonic act - it is possible that it caused many problems for David and was, therefore, a "grievous curse."

For one reason or another, and perhaps he was tricked, David did not put Shimei to death. Certainly, the subject came up because David's troops wanted to kill him right then. However, David assured Shimei that he would not execute him. However, when he turns the kingdom over to Solomon, that is what he requests. Obviously, David's promise only extended to himself. One should note that witchcraft was not permitted in Israel. There is very little information about the particulars of sorcery in the Bible, nevertheless there is plenty of scriptural evidence that these things exist.

Exodus 22:17 Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live. (JPS)
(Exodus 22:18 in some translations)
Deuteronomy 18:9 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, a soothsayer, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, 11 or a charmer, or one that consulteth a ghost or a familiar spirit, or a necromancer. 12 For whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto the Lord; and because of these abominations the Lord thy God is driving them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be whole-hearted with the Lord thy God. 14 For these nations, that thou art to dispossess, hearken unto soothsayers, and unto diviners; but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

Abiathar the Priest

In 1 Kings 2:26-27, one will find the story of Solomon removing Abiathar from the priesthood. This was not something that David requested and it should be a glaring question what authority a king would have had to remove a priest. Under the Torah, the Levites were separate in Israel.

1 Kings 2:27 So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto HaShem; that the word of HaShem might be fulfilled, which He spoke concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh. (JPS)
The Levites
Deuteronomy 18:18:1 The priests the Levites, even all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and His inheritance. 2 And they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; the Lord is their inheritance, as He hath spoken unto them. 3 And this shall be the priests' due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep, that they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. 4 The first-fruits of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. 5 For the Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for ever. 6 And if a Levite come from any of thy gates out of all Israel, where he sojourneth, and come with all the desire of his soul unto the place which the Lord shall choose; 7 then he shall minister in the name of the Lord his God, as all his brethren the Levites do, who stand there before the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 12:19 Take heed to thyself that thou forsake not the Levite as long as thou livest upon thy land. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Apart from the fact that King David never requested that Solomon remove Abiathar and that Solomon did not have the authority to remove a priest, one will notice that this occurred, "that the word of HaShem might be fulfilled, which He spoke concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh"

The prophecy at Shiloh

The prophecy at Shiloh was the word of the L-rd spoken about the judgment that would fall against the house of Eli because of the corruption of his sons. It was largely fulfilled at that time. Lagging elements of this prophecy included that the descendants of Eli would never live to see old age and would die in the prime of life - except for one point.

The prophecy at Shiloh
1 Samuel 2:30 Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, saith: I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before Me for ever; but now the Lord saith: Be it far from Me: for them that honour Me I will honour, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thy house. 32 And thou shalt behold a rival in My habitation, in all the good which shall be done to Israel; and there shall not be an old man in thy house for ever. 33 Yet will I not cut off every man of thine from Mine altar, to make thine eyes to fail, and thy heart to languish; and all the increase of thy house shall die young men. 34 And this shall be the sign unto thee, that which shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die both of them. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The prophecy at Shiloh was largely fulfilled very shortly after it was given and Eli lived to see most of it come to pass. Eli died the same day as his sons after hearing of the calamity that had befallen them and the ark. The descendents of Eli were subject to shortened life expectancy through various unspecified tragedies - except for those that were cut off from the altar. This term is rendered more clearly in some other translations. Nevertheless, the key conditional point is that only one performance clause of this prophecy applies to priests that are cut off from the altar.

If one examines the performance aspects of the prophecy at Shiloh, it becomes apparent that since Abiathar was cut off from the altar, the remainder of the terms of the prophecy at Shiloh did not apply to him, except for one point. It appears that Abiathar was exempt from shortened mortality and the like by virtue of being expelled as a priest. Therefore, the only remaining point of the prophecy at Shiloh that could possibly be fulfilled in 1 Kings was: "1 Samuel 2:32 And thou shalt behold a rival in My habitation..." (JPS)

This is the unfulfilled prophecy from Shiloh that is fulfilled in 1 Kings 2:27. " Ergo, this is not a reference to the priesthood or descendants of Eli per se, but rather, to someone described as a "rival in My dwelling" - meaning a rival to the L-rd Himself. Since this prophecy is fulfilled in 1 Kings 2:27, it is apparent that this rival is Solomon.

Consider that for a few moments.

The Second Anointing

Throne of the L-rd

One need not look far into Solomon's kingdom to find some astonishing information. In fact, looking immediately past his ascension, there is an account of his second anointing in both Kings and Chronicles. Solomon was anointed twice and one narrative of the second ceremony appears in 1 Chronicles 29:21-24.

1 Chronicles 29:21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord, and offered burnt-offerings unto the Lord, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink-offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel; 22 and did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the Lord to be prince, and Zadok to be priest. 23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel hearkened to him. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In this instance, we see that Solomon was anointed king a second time before the L-rd and that Zadok was also anointed to be priest. This was a second anointing for Zadok as well. Reconstructing this scene from the details presented, it becomes clear that for this ceremony, the group went to the tent tabernacle that David had pitched to house the Ark of the Covenant. As we discovered earlier, going before the L-rd generally meant going before the ark. Now, notice in verse 23 that Solomon "sat on the throne of the Lord." Obviously, this must mean that Solomon sat down on the ark - between the two cherubim.

This is only thing that this could mean because this is the only place where the phrase that someone "sat on the throne of the Lord" exists in the Bible regarding a person. There are only two other instances of the phrase "throne of the Lord" being used in the entire Bible with the exception of its usage in one particular paraphrase translation. The other instances of this phrase occur in Exodus 17:16 and Jeremiah 3:17. Jeremiah 3:17 also refers to Jerusalem, something that will need to be examined in greater depth later. Nevertheless, even in these cases, this phrase definitely refers to the Ark.

The phrase, "throne of the Lord," does occur in different passages in the Contemporary English Version of the Bible. Specifically it appears in 2 Samuel 6:2 and Psalms 132:7. This was determined by using searchable text of the following translations: NIV, NASB, MSG, AMP, NLT, KJV, ESV, CEV, NKJV, KJ21, ASV, WE, YLT, DARBY, WYC and NIV-UK.

In Psalm 132:7 in the Contemporary English Version (CEV), the phrase "throne of the Lord" refers to the Ark of the Covenant and in other translations it definitely refers to the ark, but the phrase is usually rendered "footstool" or "dwelling place" of the L-rd.

In 2 Samuel 6:2 in the CEV, there is a description of the ark. Recall that God was enthroned between the two cherubim above the mercy-seat on the Ark of the Covenant. Therefore, 1 Chronicles 29:23 has to mean that Solomon sat down on the Ark of the Covenant and the full implications of this will be examined later; it is very important. While one would think that someone sitting on the ark would be immediately smitten, it is important to remember that touching the ark is not necessarily a death sentence because the Lord can have mercy upon whomever He chooses. Furthermore, G-d can choose special calamities as well.

In contemporary Western society, it might be a bit unclear as to why this would pose any problem. While it would have been unthinkable to sit upon a monarch's throne in times before about the mid-nineteenth century, many people would probably think of it as no big deal today. Nevertheless, it was a big deal and a clear indication that there were aspirations of eminence far beyond being the world's greatest king.

There are actually ancient historical Jewish records of Solomon sitting on the ark in the Holy of Holies after the temple was completed. Obviously, these instances probably involved the counterfeit ark.

The Throne of David

The L-rd Himself makes several mentions of the throne of Israel. One example is included here. This passage does not refer to Solomon, but is included as an example of the nomenclature used to denote the throne of Israel in other text. Notice that the L-rd refers to the king's seat as "the throne of David."

Jeremiah 29:16 For thus saith the Lord concerning the king that sitteth upon the throne of David, and concerning all the people that dwell in this city, your brethren that are not gone forth with you into captivity; 17 thus saith the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will send upon them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so bad. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

Solomon Goes to Gibeon

One of King Solomon's notable early activities was that he went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices and burn incense before the L-rd because that was the most important high place (1 Kings 3:4). The reason that it was the most important high place was because the Tent of Meeting and altar built by Bezalel at Horeb were there. The high places were still in use because there was no temple at that time (1 Chronicles 21:29 & 2 Chronicles 5-6).

1 Kings 3:3 And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father; only he sacrificed and offered in the high places. 4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place; a thousand burnt-offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The L-rd Appears to Solomon

Gibeon is where the L-rd appeared to Solomon the first time and granted him wisdom exceeding that of any man before or since, and also gave him great riches and honor (1 Kings 3:10-15 & 2 Chronicles 1:1-12).

1 Kings 3:5 In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said: 'Ask what I shall give thee.' 6 And Solomon said: 'Thou hast shown unto Thy servant David my father great kindness, according as he walked before Thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with Thee; and Thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that Thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 And now, O the Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David my father; and I am but a little child; I know not how to go out or come in. 8 And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9 Give Thy servant therefore an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this Thy great people?' 10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 And God said unto him: 'Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern justice; 12 behold, I have done according to thy word: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there hath been none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. 13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honour--so that there hath not been any among the kings like unto thee--all thy days. 14 And if thou wilt walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.' 15 And Solomon awoke, and, behold, it was a dream; and he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt-offerings, and offered peace-offerings, and made a feast to all his servants. (JPS)

It is interesting that Solomon went to Gibeon to sacrifice because the altar at Gibeon was the same altar that David would not go before because he was afraid of being struck down by the angel of the L-rd that guarded that altar.

1 Chronicles 21:28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. 29 For the tabernacle of the Lord, which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of burnt-offering, were at that time in the high place at Gibeon. 30 But David could not go before it to inquire of God; for he was terrified because of the sword of the angel of the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

This fact has generally been overlooked, but it is conceivable that it was not a good idea for Solomon to go to that altar. It might appear that Solomon obtained a great blessing, but evidently he actually received a great curse.

Between Good and Evil

One particularly interesting aspect of Solomon's request when the L-rd appeared to him at Gibeon is that he requested that the L-rd grant him wisdom to be able to "discern between good and evil."

1 Kings 3: 9 Give Thy servant therefore an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this Thy great people?' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

While the significance of this has apparently been illusory, this exact phrase appears elsewhere in scripture as one of the more significant phrases in the entire Bible. It can be located all of the way back in Genesis and this is likely why 1 Kings 3:10 notes, "And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing." Generally, the meaning of the word "pleased" is well understood, but it might be well to point out that one possible meaning of the word could be "amused."

Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying: 'Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman: 'Yea, hath God said: Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?' 2 And the woman said unto the serpent: 'Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said: Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.':4 And the serpent said unto the woman: 'Ye shall not surely die; 5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It is apparently possible to miss the diabolical aspects of seeking knowledge of good and evil, despite the overt position of that pursuit as the prime mover of ill in the entire history of mankind. The significance is embodied in the very end of the passage of Genesis 3:5: "and ye shall be as G-d, knowing good and evil." The point of seeking knowledge of good and evil in these cases was to be as G-d.

To Judge

As if that set of considerations were not enough, there is one more extremely special aspect of this request.

1 Kings 3: 9 Give Thy servant therefore an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this Thy great people?' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Under the Torah, it was exclusively the role of the Levites to act as judges, or in important cases, for G-d Himself. In the case of Solomon, seeking knowledge of good and evil and the act of judging the people was actually usurping the authority and position of the Most High.

Deuteronomy 1:16 And I charged your judges at that time, saying: 'Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. 17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; ye shall hear the small and the great alike; ye shall not be afraid of the face of any man; for the judgment is God's; and the cause that is too hard for you ye shall bring unto me, and I will hear it.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 17:8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, even matters of controversy within thy gates; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose. 9 And thou shall come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days; and thou shalt inquire; and they shall declare unto thee the sentence of judgment. 10 And thou shalt do according to the tenor of the sentence, which they shall declare unto thee from that place which the Lord shall choose; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they shall teach thee. 11 According to the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 And the man that doeth presumptuously, in not hearkening unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die; and thou shalt exterminate the evil from Israel. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

"Who is able to judge this Thy great people?"

Ecclesiastes 5:7 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and the violent perverting of justice and righteousness in the state, marvel not at the matter; for one higher than the high watcheth, and there are higher than they. (JPS)
Ecclesiastes 3:16 And moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there. (JPS)

Solomon's Priestly Activities

After Solomon became the king, scripture records many of his activities that heretofore had been solely performed by the priests, that is to say the Levites. The cases where Solomon acted as a priest are extremely important and need to be examined in detail. There are actually so many of these that we will only examine some of the most conspicuous and major incidents. Others may wish to independently examine some more of Solomon's many priestly activities that are not examined here.

The Levites

It is extremely important to realize that the duties in the temple were exclusively reserved for the priests, the Levites. Not only were these functions appropriated exclusively to the Levites, but also, the Levites had to perform these duties in strict accordance with the proper procedures. Certain families were charged with specific priestly functions and there were to be no modifications to that organizational structure. There were generally NO other parties except the priests in any event that were authorized to perform the priestly function. This had been the case since the L-rd appeared at Horeb and there are very few examples where transgressing this directive did not result in dramatic calamity.

Numbers 8:13 And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for a wave-offering unto the Lord. 14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel; and the Levites shall be Mine. 15 And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tent of meeting; and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for a wave-offering. 16 For they are wholly given unto Me from among the children of Israel; instead of all that openeth the womb, even the first-born of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto Me. 17 For all the first-born among the children of Israel are Mine, both man and beast; on the day that I smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for Myself. 18 And I have taken the Levites instead of all the first-born among the children of Israel. 19 And I have given the Levites--they are given to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tent of meeting, and to make atonement for the children of Israel, that there be no plague among the children of Israel, through the children of Israel coming nigh unto the sanctuary.' (JPS)
Numbers 3:5 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: 6 'Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. 7 And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle. 8 And they shall keep all the furniture of the tent of meeting, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. 9 And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given unto him from the children of Israel. 10 And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, that they may keep their priesthood; and the common man that draweth nigh shall be put to death.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Some examples of calamities that resulted from transgressing this principle include those of Nadab and Abihu, Korah and his band, Hophni and Phineas, Uzzah and King Saul, to name a few instances preceding Solomon's time where priestly duties carried out by non-priests resulted in penalties.

Numbers 3:4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered strange fire before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children; and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest's office in the presence of Aaron their father. (JPS)
Numbers 16:23 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: 24 'Speak unto the congregation, saying: Get you up from about the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.' 25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spoke unto the congregation, saying: 'Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be swept away in all their sins.' 27 So they got them up from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side; and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, and their sons, and their little ones. 28 And Moses said: 'Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works, and that I have not done them of mine own mind. 29 If these men die the common death of all men, and be visited after the visitation of all men, then the Lord hath not sent Me. 30 But if the Lord make a new thing, and the ground open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down alive into the pit, then ye shall understand that these men have despised the Lord.' 31 And it came to pass, as he made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground did cleave asunder that was under them. 32 And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit; and the earth closed upon them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them; for they said: 'Lest the earth swallow us up.' 35 And fire came forth from the Lord, and devoured the two hundred and fifty men that offered the incense. (JPS)
1 Samuel 2:34 And this shall be the sign unto thee, that which shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall die both of them. 35 And I will raise Me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in My heart and in My mind; and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before Mine anointed for ever. (JPS)
1 Chronicles 13:9 And when they came unto the threshing-floor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. 10 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and He smote him, because he put forth his hand to the ark; and there he died before God. (JPS)
1 Chronicles 15:11 And David called for Zadok and Abiathar the priests, and for the Levites, for Uriel, Asaiah, and Joel, Shemaiah, and Eliel, and Amminadab, 12 and said unto them: 'Ye are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel, unto the place that I have prepared for it. 13 For because ye bore it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought Him not according to the ordinance.' 14 So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord, the God of Israel. 15 And the children of the Levites bore the ark of God upon their shoulders with the bars thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord. (JPS)

Apart from the fact that most people that violated the strict prohibition against usurping the role of priests suffered calamitous consequences, the Levites collectively also suffered consequences distributively that are not fully appreciated, realized or even fully understood at this time. These consequences will not be fully known until the time of the judgment.

Numbers 18:1 And HaShem said unto Aaron: 'Thou and thy sons and thy fathers' house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood. (JPS)

Many blatant examples where someone transgressed the principle of the separation of the Levites are attributable to Solomon. Nevertheless, in some ways it may appear that this was acceptable in Solomon's case, but on close examination, it becomes evident that the most dramatic example of judgment that resulted from failure to pay heed to this principle was delayed for a considerable time.

Solomon's Wise Ruling

Scripture notes that Solomon displayed exceptional wisdom in judging a dispute between two women over a child. As we saw earlier, the role of the judge in Israel was reserved exclusively for the priests.

"Who is able to judge this Thy great people?"

1 Kings 3:16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him. 17 And the one woman said: 'Oh, my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. 18 And it came to pass the third day after I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also; and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. 19 And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlay it. 20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thy handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead; but when I had looked well at it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, whom I did bear.' 22 And the other woman said: 'Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son.' And this said: 'No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son.' Thus they spoke before the king. 23 Then said the king: `The one saith: This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead; and the other saith: Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.' 24 And the king said: 'Fetch me a sword.' And they brought a sword before the king. 25 And the king said: 'Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.' 26 Then spoke the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her heart yearned upon her son, and she said: 'Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it.' But the other said: 'It shall be neither mine nor thine; divide it.' 27 Then the king answered and said: 'Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.' 28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king; for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do justice. (JPS)

While Solomon's wise ruling has been widely lauded, perhaps it would be good to look at the system of justice that G-d set up as recorded in the Bible. There are few mentions of previous kings or leaders deciding matters like this except for Moses while he sat in the Tent of Meeting. Moses obtained his decisions from the L-rd, but eventually Moses established another system. It is notable that David appointed 6000 Levites to be officials and judges shortly before his death, but there is no note that they were ever used in that capacity.

1 Chronicles 23:3 And the Levites were numbered from thirty years old and upward; and their number by their polls, man by man, was thirty and eight thousand. 4 Of these, twenty and four thousand were to oversee the work of the house of the Lord; and six thousand were officers and judges; (JPS)

It is extremely significant that the Urim and Thummim still existed at the beginning of Solomon's reign. We know for certain that they existed during David's time because there are accounts of him using them. There is no mention of them after the time of David, but it is highly probable that they were passed on to Solomon's time. The Urim and Thummim were used to inquire directly of G-d and one of their main purposes was for dispensing justice. They originally belonged to Moses as he states just before his death (Deuteronomy 33:8). This makes it clear that the L-rd actually judged the people during the time of Moses. Solomon asked for wisdom so he could judge the people - something that was only to be done by the priests (Deuteronomy 16:19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment.). The word wrest has several meanings all of which are applicable to the way the word is used in Deuteronomy 16:19. One possible meaning is to gain something, in the order of gaining money through robbery. The priests derived their decisions from the L-rd so judgment was the L-rd's job. The act of usurping the role of the judges was another act that required the death penalty.

Exodus 28:29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. 30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord; and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 16:18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, tribe by tribe; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons; neither shalt thou take a gift; for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. 20 Justice, justice shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 17:8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, even matters of controversy within thy gates; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose. 9 And thou shall come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days; and thou shalt inquire; and they shall declare unto thee the sentence of judgment. 10 And thou shalt do according to the tenor of the sentence, which they shall declare unto thee from that place which the Lord shall choose; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they shall teach thee. 11 According to the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall declare unto thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 And the man that doeth presumptuously, in not hearkening unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die; and thou shalt exterminate the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Job 5:12 He frustrateth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands can perform nothing substantial. 13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness; and the counsel of the wily is carried headlong. 14 They meet with darkness in the day-time, and grope at noonday as in the night. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 8:9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken; lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them? (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It was the duty of the priests to judge matters because they had the means of inquiring of the L-rd. Even if one had Solomon's wisdom, why would that person forego the opportunity to inquire of the L-rd when meting out justice? After all, it is impossible for humans to know all of the factors in a dispute no matter how wise they are and render truly just decisions. As a case in point consider the hundreds of condemned people that have been released from death-sentences in the United States in recent years due to DNA evidence.

The following passages outline the duties of the Levites in Ezekiel's temple.

Ezekiel 44:15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near to Me to minister unto Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer unto Me the fat and the blood, saith the L-rd GOD; 16 they shall enter into My sanctuary, and they shall come near to My table, to minister unto Me, and they shall keep My charge. (JPS)
Ezekiel 44:24 And in a controversy they shall stand to judge; according to Mine ordinances shall they judge it; and they shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed seasons, and they shall hallow My sabbaths. (JPS)

The kings of Judah apparently judged disputes for a while after the time of Solomon. However, later one will notice that the good king Jehoshaphat re-institutes the system of using the Levites as judges.

2 Chronicles 19:4 And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem; and he went out again among the people from Beer-sheba to the hill-country of Ephraim, and brought them back unto the Lord, the God of their fathers. 5 And he set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, 6 and said to the judges: 'Consider what ye do; for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord; and He is with you in giving judgment. 7 Now therefore let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it; for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of bribes.' 8 Moreover in Jerusalem did Jehoshaphat set of the Levites and the priests, and of the heads of the fathers' houses of Israel, for the judgment of the Lord, and for controversies. And they returned to Jerusalem. 9 And he charged them, saying: 'Thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a whole heart. 10 And whensoever any controversy shall come to you from your brethren that dwell in their cities, between blood and blood, between law and commandment, statutes and ordinances, ye shall warn them, that they be not guilty towards the Lord, and so wrath come upon you and upon your brethren; thus shall ye do, and ye shall not be guilty. 11 And, behold, Amariah the chief priest is over you in all matters of the Lord; and Zebadiah the son of Ishmael, the ruler of the house of Judah, in all the king's matters; also the officers of the Levites before you. Deal courageously, and the Lord be with the good.' (JPS)

Solomon Burns Incense

Solomon burnt incense before the L-rd at Gibeon and elsewhere. Burning incense was only to be done by the priests at certain times, in certain places, in prescribed ways and with specific incense that was not to be used anywhere else. Burning incense before the L-rd was an extremely egregious transgression in the eyes of the L-rd and everybody except Solomon that did so incorrectly was promptly smitten in some way. It seems that Solomon was either exempt from this regulation or his penalty was not implemented promptly.

1 Kings 3:3 And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father; only, he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

Aaron's Staff that Budded

Aaron's staff that budded has many facets of significance beyond that which is readily apparent. It came into being and was preserved as a witness that the priestly duties were never to be preempted. Part of the events surrounding the creation of this item involved persons that were not of the seed of Aaron burning incense. It was preserved through the generations as a symbol of G-d's choice of leaders.

The staff was not in the Ark when it was brought into Solomon's Temple. Some have thought that it might have been removed during one of the times when the Ark was not in Israel, but as we discovered earlier, that is not possible. The staff had to have been removed by G-d because nobody could touch the Ark without being smitten. The reason that the staff was not in the Ark was Solomon. There could be no clearer sign that Solomon was not G-d's choice of leaders and Adonijah was.

Because of the importance of this omen on numerous levels, it would be good to examine in detail how it came into being. It was initially made during a revolt against Moses by some of the Israelites while they were still in the wilderness. The whole story can be found in Numbers chapters 16-17 and the more relevant excerpts are included below.

Numbers 16:1 And Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, made bold, and [with him] Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, the sons of Reuben; 2 and they rose up against Moses, with two hundred and fifty men of the children of Israel, princes of the assembly, summoned to the council, men of renown; 3 and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, It is enough; for all the assembly, all of them are holy, and the Lord is among them; and why do ye lift up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord? 4 When Moses heard this, he fell on his face. 5 And he spoke to Korah and to all his band, saying, Even to-morrow will the Lord make known who is his, and who is holy; and he will cause him to come near to him; and him whom he has chosen, him will he cause to come near to him. 6 This do: take you censers, Korah, and all his band, 7 and put fire therein, and lay incense thereon before the Lord to-morrow; and it shall be that the man whom the Lord doth choose, he shall be holy. It is enough, ye sons of Levi! (Darby)
Numbers 16:28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord has sent me to do all these deeds, for they are not out of my own heart: 29 if these men die as all men die, and are visited with the visitation of all men, the Lord has not sent me; 30 but if the Lord make a new thing, and the ground open its mouth, and swallow them up, and all that they have, and they go down alive into Sheol, then ye shall know that these men have despised the Lord. 31 And it came to pass when he had ended speaking all these words, that the ground clave apart that was under them. 32 And the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that belonged to Korah, and all their property. 33 And they went down, they and all that they had, alive into Sheol, and the earth covered them; and they perished from among the congregation. (Darby)
Numbers 16:35 And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that had presented incense. 36 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 37 Speak to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning; and scatter the fire afar; for they are hallowed, 38 the censers of these sinners who have forfeited their life; and they shall make them into broad plates for the covering of the altar; for they presented them before the Lord, therefore they are hallowed; and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel. 39 And Eleazar the priest took the copper censers, which they that were burnt had presented; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar: 40 as a memorial to the children of Israel, that no stranger who is not of the seed of Aaron come near to burn incense before the Lord, that he be not as Korah, and as his band, -- as the Lord had said to him through Moses. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

Nobody but a priest, a descendant of Aaron, was to burn incense before the L-rd in any event. The altar was covered with metal plates made from the flattened out censors of the smitten transgressors as a reminder that nobody that was not of the seed of Aaron could burn incense before the L-rd. As an additional symbol of this regulation, the staff was created as a result of these same events.

Numbers 17:16 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: 17 'Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of them rods, one for each fathers' house, of all their princes according to their fathers' houses, twelve rods; thou shalt write every man's name upon his rod. 18 And thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi, for there shall be one rod for the head of their fathers' houses. 19 And thou shalt lay them up in the tent of meeting before the testimony, where I meet with you. 20 And it shall come to pass, that the man whom I shall choose, his rod shall bud; and I will make to cease from Me the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against you.' 21 And Moses spoke unto the children of Israel; and all their princes gave him rods, for each prince one, according to their fathers' houses, even twelve rods; and the rod of Aaron was among their rods. 22 And Moses laid up the rods before the Lord in the tent of the testimony. 23 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and put forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and bore ripe almonds. 24 And Moses brought out all the rods from before the Lord unto all the children of Israel; and they looked, and took every man his rod. 25 And the Lord said unto Moses: 'Put back the rod of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept there, for a token against the rebellious children; that there may be made an end of their murmurings against Me, that they die not.' 26 Thus did Moses; as the Lord commanded him, so did he. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
(This passage will begin at Numbers 17:1 in most translations)

Even if a priest was a descendant of Aaron, there were certain procedures that had to be followed and certain times for burning very particular incense that was not to be used for anything else. The key point is, Solomon was not a descendant of Aaron. In other passages, note that Solomon burnt incense in the temple after it was completed. To help determine this, note that the altar that was before the L-rd was the altar of incense.

1 Kings 9:25 And three times in a year did Solomon offer burnt-offerings and peace-offerings upon the altar which he built unto the Lord, offering thereby, upon the altar that was before the Lord. So he finished the house. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 8:12 Then Solomon offered burnt-offerings unto the Lord on the altar of the Lord, which he had built before the porch, 13 even as the duty of every day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the appointed seasons, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which He shall choose; on the feast of unleavened bread, and on the feast of weeks, and on the feast of tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty; (JPS)

Through the course of time, various parties tested the incense precept, usually with unfortunate results. Aaron's own sons were some of the first to violate the incense regulations.

The Death of Nadab and Abihu
Leviticus10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before HaShem, which He had not commanded them. 2 And there came forth fire from before HaShem, and devoured them, and they died before HaShem. 3 Then Moses said unto Aaron: 'This is it that HaShem spoke, saying: Through them that are nigh unto Me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.' And Aaron held his peace. (JPS)
1 Kings 9:25 And three times in the year did Solomon offer up burnt-offerings and peace-offerings upon the altar that he had built to the Lord, and he burned incense upon that which was before the Lord. So he finished the house. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

King Uzziah

Another king, King Uzziah, burned incense before the L-rd at a later time. In this case the priests approached the king and asked him to leave the temple because only the priests were allowed to burn incense before the L-rd. One could say that the priests kept their courses in this rare instance. Notice also that in light of this a king did not have the authority to remove a priest. It was a requirement that the priests confront someone acting presumptuously - even a king - and this is one of few cases where that was done of the many times that it should have been done. The reason is because the priests bore the responsibility for offenses against the sanctuary as well as the priesthood and they alone were sanctioned by G-d to perform the priestly function.

Numbers 18:1 And HaShem said unto Aaron: 'Thou and thy sons and thy fathers' house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood. (JPS)

When confronted, Uzziah became angry with the priests and the L-rd immediately struck him with leprosy right in the temple. The account of this incident is in the following passage from Chronicles.

2 Chronicles 26:16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up so that he did corruptly, and he trespassed against HaShem his G-d; for he went into the temple of HaShem to burn incense upon the altar of incense. 17 And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of HaShem, that were valiant men; 18 and they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him: 'It pertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto HaShem, but to the priests the sons of Aaron that are consecrated it pertaineth to burn incense; go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thy honour from HaShem G-d.' 19 Then Uzziah was wroth; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense; and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy broke forth in his forehead before the priests in the house of HaShem, beside the altar of incense. 20 And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out quickly from thence; yea, himself made haste also to go out, because HaShem had smitten him. 21 And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a house set apart, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of HaShem; and Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land. 22 Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write. 23 So Uzziah slept with his fathers; and they buried him with his fathers in the field of burial which belonged to the kings; for they said: 'He is a leper'; and Jotham his son reigned in his stead. (JPS)

While it might not be clear, this is exactly what should have been done with Solomon. In fact, there are many such acts of Solomon for which he should have been removed from the temple, or in most cases, killed; but as ill fate would have it the priests and Israelites failed to carry out their duties.

Solomon goes before the Ark

When Solomon left Gibeon, he returned to Jerusalem and went before the Ark of the Covenant and offered more sacrifices.

1 Kings 3:15 And Solomon awoke, and, behold, it was a dream; and he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of HaShem, and offered up burnt-offerings, and offered peace-offerings, and made a feast to all his servants. (JPS)

It is not noted that Solomon made any special preparations for this and therefore it is unlikely that he did. These activities were reserved for the priests also. Furthermore, anyone approaching the ark was supposed to first be consecrated and it was not normally a good idea to just go before the ark whenever one pleased anyhow. It is worthwhile to note that part of the conditions for entering into the sanctuary required that a person abstain from sexual relations for three days ahead of time. One would think that this requirement would be difficult to comply with for a man needing 1000 ladies.

Leviticus 16:1 And HaShem spoke unto Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before HaShem, and died; 2 and HaShem said unto Moses: 'Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the ark-cover which is upon the ark; that he die not; for I appear in the cloud upon the ark-cover. 3 Herewith shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering. 4 He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with the linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired; they are the holy garments; and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and put them on. (JPS)

There is another mention of a king going before the ark to offer sacrifices in 2 Samuel 6:16-19. This account is similar to what is recorded about Solomon. However, this instance of David going before the ark to make sacrifices is also recorded in 1 Chronicles 15:25-27 and there are major differences. For one thing, it is noted in Chronicles that the priests were present with David during this incident and they were ministering before the ark. Immediately after the account about "they offered sacrifices," the tense changes to singular and it says that, "David finished sacrificing." Therefore, it is certain that the priests performed the services for David. Furthermore, David was clothed in a robe of fine linen as were the priests and he also wore a linen ephod, the prescribed attire for going before the ark. This occurred when the ark was brought into the City of David from the house of Obed-Edom where the ark had been kept after the death of Uzzah. Although it does not specifically say that David had consecrated himself, it is noted that he told all of the Levites to consecrate themselves. Therefore, it is unimaginable that David had not done this.

Duties of the Priests and Levites
Numbers 18:1 And HaShem said unto Aaron: 'Thou and thy sons and thy fathers' house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood. 2 And thy brethren also, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of thy father, bring thou near with thee, that they may be joined unto thee, and minister unto thee, thou and thy sons with thee being before the tent of the testimony. 3 And they shall keep thy charge, and the charge of all the Tent; only they shall not come nigh unto the holy furniture and unto the altar, that they die not, neither they, nor ye. 4 And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tent of meeting, whatsoever the service of the Tent may be; but a common man shall not draw nigh unto you. 5 And ye shall keep the charge of the holy things, and the charge of the altar, that there be wrath no more upon the children of Israel. 6 And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel; for you they are given as a gift unto HaShem, to do the service of the tent of meeting. 7 And thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priesthood in everything that pertaineth to the altar, and to that within the veil; and ye shall serve; I give you the priesthood as a service of gift; and the common man that draweth nigh shall be put to death.' (JPS)
Numbers 18:22 And henceforth the children of Israel shall not come nigh the tent of meeting, lest they bear sin, and die. 23 But the Levites alone shall do the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations, and among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. (JPS)

Notice that the preceding passages do not say, "except Solomon." Ezekiel gives further explanation of the role of the Levites. One will notice that the practices are much the same as those that were outlined by Moses.

Zadok

Ezekiel mentions several things that had to have happened while Solomon was the king. This is clear because the only priests that will be allowed to serve in the inner sanctuary in the future must be descendants of Zadok. It is highly notable that David placed Zadok in charge of the altar at Gibeon. We know that Zadok was a priest during David's reign and he was the priest that anointed Solomon. His priesthood continued into Solomon's reign of forty years. One must conclude that whatever happened that caused the problems that Ezekiel is talking about had to happen during the early part of Solomon's reign because the priests were limited to a working life of twenty-five years (Numbers 8:23-26). Some are of the opinion that Zadok was dead before Solomon's Temple was finished, but it was not possible to substantiate this with authoritative evidence. Nevertheless, it is certain that the cause of the lot of the descendants of Zadok did not happen during David's reign.

Ezekiel 44:15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near to Me to minister unto Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer unto Me the fat and the blood, saith the L-rd GOD; 16 they shall enter into My sanctuary, and they shall come near to My table, to minister unto Me, and they shall keep My charge. 17 And it shall be that when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come upon them, while they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. 18 They shall have linen tires upon their heads, and shall have linen breeches upon their loins; they shall not gird themselves with any thing that causeth sweat. 19 And when they go forth into the outer court, even into the outer court to the people, they shall put off their garments wherein they minister, and lay them in the holy chambers, and they shall put on other garments, that they sanctify not the people with their garments. (JPS)

Ezekiel does mention the cause of the limitations that are placed on the Levites that are not of the seed of Zadok and some type of idolatry caused the problem.

Ezekiel 44:10 But the Levites, that went far from Me, when Israel went astray, that went astray from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity; 11 and they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering in the house: they shall slay the burnt-offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them. 12 Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and became a stumblingblock of iniquity unto the house of Israel; therefore have I lifted up My hand against them, saith the L-rd GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity. (JPS)

If one compares the instances of David going before the ark with those of Solomon, it is apparent that David allowed the priests to perform the duties of the priesthood while it is obvious that Solomon personally performed most of the priestly duties at the dedication of the temple. In fact, Solomon performed the ceremonies after the priests had departed because of the cloud.

MASSive Slaughter

After the priests departed the temple because of the dark cloud of the Shekhinah one should notice that Solomon took the lead acting in the capacity of a priest at this assembly. First, he blessed the whole assembly of Israel - another thing that ought not to have been done. Next, Solomon stood in front of the altar of the L-rd, and then knelt, in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven and offered a prayer of dedication. He also stood on a new brass platform that he had had made for this ceremony. After this, Solomon sacrificed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. It should be apparent that only the Levites were allowed to serve at the altar.

1 Samuel 13:6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait--for the people were distressed--then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in holds, and in pits. 7 Now some of the Hebrews had gone over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead; but as for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. 8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed; but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. (JPS)
1 Samuel 13:9 And Saul said: 'Bring hither to me the burnt-offering and the peace-offerings.' And he offered the burnt-offering. 10 And it came to pass that, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt-offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Samuel 13:11 And Samuel said: 'What hast thou done?' And Saul said: 'Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines assembled themselves together against Michmas; 12 therefore said I: Now will the Philistines come down upon me to Gilgal, and I have not entreated the favour of the Lord; I forced myself therefore, and offered the burnt-offering.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Samuel 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul: 'Thou hast done foolishly; thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which He commanded thee; for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue; the Lord hath sought him a man after His own heart, and the Lord hath appointed him to be prince over His people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

After Solomon perform the duties at the altar, he then consecrated the middle part of the courtyard and made offerings there because the altar he built elsewhere was too small to hold all of the offerings - irrespective of the fact that the main altar was not built in the courtyard. Nevertheless, this is a massive slaughter of animals.

1 Kings 8:62 And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord. 63 And Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace-offerings, which he offered unto the Lord, two and twenty thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord. 64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord; for there he offered the burnt-offering, and the meal-offering, and the fat of the peace-offerings; because the brazen altar that was before the Lord was too little to receive the burnt-offering, and the meal-offering, and the fat of the peace-offerings. 65 So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entrance Hamath unto the Brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days. (JPS)
2 Chronicles 7:1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. 2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord's house. 3 And all the children of Israel looked on, when the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord was upon the house; and they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and prostrated themselves, and gave thanks unto the Lord; 'for He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever.' 4 And the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the Lord. 5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. 6 And the priests stood, according to their offices; the Levites also with instruments of music of the Lord, which David the king had made, to give thanks unto the Lord, for His mercy endureth for ever, with the praises of David by their hand; and the priests sounded trumpets over against them; and all Israel stood. 7 Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord; for there he offered the burnt-offerings, and the fat of the peace-offerings; because the brazen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt-offering, and the meal-offering, and the fat. 8 So Solomon held the feast at that time seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entrance of Hamath unto the Brook of Egypt. 9 And on the eighth day they held a solemn assembly; for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. 10 And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away unto their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the goodness that the Lord had shown unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel His people. 11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord, and the king's house; and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the Lord, and in his own house, he prosperously effected. (JPS)

This all sounds really great doesn't it? Why would G-d take pleasure in the killing of hundreds of thousands of animals? After all, he created the animals as well as mankind. Apparently, He doesn't. If one carefully looks at the way that the sacrificial system was supposed to work, most of the meat from the sacrifices was supposed to have been eaten, not wasted. Except for a few special offerings, the altars were used to cook the meat. The sacrificial system was supposed to be more of a barbecue before the L-rd than the wasting of countless animals and here the author's use of the word barbecue encompasses all of its meanings including its social aspects. Hence, some types of sacrifices are called fellowship offerings, etceteras. Most sacrifices were supposed to be similar to barbecues - or feasts - before the Lord, not a mass killing of animals. There are exceptions to this and in some cases only the priests were allowed to eat the sacrifices - like the principle time involved here. Compared to what is described here as being sacrificed by Solomon, only a few animals were to be sacrificed. All that aside, there were certain holy days where the sacrifice was prescribed through edict. In those cases, the sacrifice was to be carried out according to the prescription with nothing more and nothing less.

Isaiah 66:3 He that slaughtereth an ox, smiteth a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, breaketh a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, [it is as] swine's blood; he that presenteth a memorial of incense, [is as] he that blesseth an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations, 4 I also will choose their calamities, and will bring their fears upon them; because I called, and none answered, I spoke, and they did not hear, but did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delight not. (Darby)
Leviticus 19:5 And when ye offer a sacrifice of peace-offerings unto the Lord, ye shall offer it that ye may be accepted. 6 It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow; and if aught remain until the third day, it shall be burnt with fire. 7 And if it be eaten at all on the third day, it is a vile thing; it shall not be accepted. 8 But every one that eateth it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the holy thing of the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from his people. (JPS)

There are more indications that G-d takes little pleasure in sacrifices. If one looks at the story of Jonah, G-d specifically mentions that he does not want to destroy Nineveh because of the 120,000 people and many cattle that live there (Jonah 4:11). The exact circumstances that the following passage addresses are different, but this word was spoken through Samuel during the time of Saul, the first king of Israel. This verse addresses the demise of King Saul's reign. The whole story is found in 1 Samuel 15 and the following passage of Isaiah 1:11-17 is included for comparison, but may have broader application beyond King Solomon's time.

1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said: 'Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in hearkening to the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 1:11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? saith the Lord; I am full of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. 12 When ye come to appear before Me, who hath required this at your hand, to trample My courts? 13 Bring no more vain oblations; it is an offering of abomination unto Me; new moon and sabbath, the holding of convocations-- I cannot endure iniquity along with the solemn assembly. 14 Your new moons and your appointed seasons My soul hateth; they are a burden unto Me; I am weary to bear them. 15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes, cease to do evil; 17 Learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. (JPS)

After considering the vast quantity of sacrifices, it is also interesting to consider that it does not appear that any of these sacrifices - or any subsequent sacrifices on that altar - would have been acceptable because it was never properly dedicated. No fellowship or peace offerings were acceptable before the eighth day of following the prescribed method for dedicating the altar. If it is unclear as to whether or not the altar was dedicated properly, there is no question that the middle part of the courtyard that King Solomon consecrated that same day was not dedicated because he offered there that very day.

2 Chronicles 7:8 And at that time Solomon held the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entrance of Hamath unto the torrent of Egypt. 9 And on the eighth day they held a solemn assembly; for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. (Darby)
Ezekiel 43:18 And He said unto me: 'Son of man, thus saith the L-rd GOD: These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt-offerings thereon, and to dash blood against it. 19 Thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that are of the seed of Zadok, who are near unto Me, to minister unto Me, saith the L-rd GOD, a young bullock for a sin-offering. 20 And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the settle, and upon the border round about; thus shalt thou purify it and make atonement for it. 21 Thou shalt also take the bullock of the sin-offering, and it shall be burnt in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary. 22 And on the second day thou shalt offer a he-goat without blemish for a sin-offering; and they shall purify the altar, as they did purify it with the bullock. 23 When thou hast made an end of purifying it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish. 24 And thou shalt present them before the Lord, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt-offering unto the Lord. 25 Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin-offering; they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish. 26 Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and cleanse it; so shall they consecrate it. 27 And when they have accomplished the days, it shall be that upon the eighth day, and forward, the priests shall make your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and your peace-offerings; and I will accept you, saith the L-rd GOD.' (JPS)

Ezekiel mentions the correct procedure for dedicating the altar. He also mentions that only the priests are to offer the sacrifices on the altar, just as it had always been. Count the animals. Nine young bulls, eight goats and eight rams, a total of 25 animals, no more and no less, that was what was required - not 142,000 animals. This does leave one exceedingly great problem as to the number of animals involved, however, because some of the dates in question here had very specific requirements of their own. The dedication sacrifice was to be done before any other sacrifices such as fellowship offerings - or sin offerings - were offered. Any sacrifices that were offered before the altar dedication was completed were not acceptable and probably desecrated the altar.

Isaiah 1:13 Bring no more vain oblations! Incense is an abomination unto me, -- new moon and sabbath, the calling of convocations -- wickedness and the solemn meeting I cannot bear. (Darby)

The Sacrifice of the Wicked

It might be worthwhile to consider what Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, had to say along these lines. Solomon wrote many proverbs, including the one featured below.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord; but the prayer of the upright is His delight. 9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord; but He loveth him that followeth after righteousness. 10 There is grievous correction for him that forsaketh the way; and he that hateth reproof shall die. 11 The nether-world and Destruction are before the Lord; how much more then the hearts of the children of men! (JPS)

In addition to all of the foregoing considerations, there were many instances at this assembly where Solomon did something in front of the "whole assembly of Israel." In each case, for these acts he should have been removed from the temple as a minimum, and in most cases, the "whole assembly of Israel" should have stoned him to death at that instant. This is why G-d's judgment befell the whole nation, because they failed to carry out the law and actually participated in these events.

Great Dedication

The dedication of Solomon's Temple took place during the 7th month known as Ethanim on the Hebrew calendar. It is the most important month for holy days in the Jewish year. There is no exact correlation between the Hebrew calendar and the Gregorian calendar commonly used in the Western world because the Hebrew calendar is roughly based upon lunar cycles while the Gregorian calendar is based approximately on the solar cycle. Some complicated corrections have been devised to make the Hebrew calendar more-or-less align with the solar year. It is unnecessary to look into the mechanics of the Hebrew calendar in depth here except to note that the months of the common year are numbered differently than the ecclesiastical months. That is to say that the ecclesiastical year begins on a different month than that which is commonly the first month on the common calendar. The ecclesiastical months might have been named differently than the common months as well. For those unfamiliar with the Jewish calendar, the 7th month known as Ethanim does not equate to July, but more nearly to a period running from late-September to mid-October.

Precise Timing

While one can explore the possibility that there was not sufficient time to get ready for the festivals of the 7th month because the temple had just been completed, it is notable and not insignificant that the temple was completed in the 8th month, the month of Bul, almost a year before this assembly. In this case, it is then clear that the temple sat empty and idle just waiting for the special moment - the wrong moment - to have the opening ceremony.

1 Kings 6:38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it. (JPS)
1 Kings 8: 2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. (JPS)

Rosh Ha-Shanah

Priest Blowing the Horn on Rosh Ha-Shanah or the Feast of TrumpetsThe 1st of the Ethanim holidays is the Feast of Trumpets and it begins on the 1st day of the 7th month as a feast more correctly known by its Hebrew name of Rosh Ha-Shanah. In later times, Rosh Ha-Shanah began a period known as the Ten Days of Penitence and this observance culminates on Yom Kippur. There does not seem to be any Mosaic precedent for the Ten Days of Penitence, so it might be well to abandon this observance. There is no mention of the Feast of Trumpets from the time of Solomon and shortly we will examine conclusive proof that it was not observed.

The Feast of Trumpets
Numbers 29:1 And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month, ye shall have a holy convocation: ye shall do no manner of servile work; it is a day of blowing the horn unto you. 2 And ye shall prepare a burnt-offering for a sweet savour unto the Lord: one young bullock, one ram, seven he-lambs of the first year without blemish; 3 and their meal-offering, fine flour mingled with oil, three tenth parts for the bullock, two tenth part for the ram, 4 and one tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs; 5 and one he-goat for a sin-offering, to make atonement for you; 6 beside the burnt-offering of the new moon, and the meal-offering thereof, and the continual burnt-offering and the meal-offering thereof, and their drink-offerings, according unto their ordinance, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord. (JPS)

Solomon's Carnival

There are many factors of Solomon's dedication of the temple that are fascinating and actually beguiling. Perhaps none are more intriguing than the timing of these events. The dedication of the temple took place during the most important month on the Hebrew calendar, the 7th month, Ethanim. Ethanim goes by the contemporary name of Tishrei or Tishri.

1 Kings 8:1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers' houses of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. 2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 8:65 So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entrance Hamath unto the Brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days. 66 On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown unto David His servant, and to Israel His people. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 5:3 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king at the feast, which was in the seventh month. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 7:8 So Solomon held the feast at that time seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entrance of Hamath unto the Brook of Egypt. 9 And on the eighth day they held a solemn assembly; for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. 10 And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away unto their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the goodness that the Lord had shown unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel His people. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Reconstructing the events from the details presented, several things become evident. Solomon sent the people home on the 23rd day of the 7th month - a day also known as the Holy Day of Simchas Torah. Simchas Torah is the Holy Day upon which the Israelites were supposed to complete the reading of the Torah. Nevertheless, the events were over on the 22nd, and they had held the assembly for 14 days with a solemn assembly on the 8th day of that 14. It then follows that the solemn assembly would have been on the 16th day of the month and this feast began on the 9th day of the 7th month. This may not be very intuitive based on arithmetic, so chart-type calendars have been prepared for comparison and are posted below.

The calendars have been prepared in the manner that the top one contains the dates of the holidays of the 7th month as prescribed by the L-rd while the subsequent one contains the dates observed at the temple dedication as recorded in Kings and Chronicles. These calendars are not necessarily representative of any particular year. The times of these holidays are called appointed, prescribed or set times and were to be observed on these dates every year forever. We shall shortly see that it was vitally important to diligently observe these holidays.

Leviticus 23:37 These are the appointed seasons of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to bring an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt-offering, and a meal-offering, a sacrifice, and drink-offerings, each on its own day; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Leviticus 23:44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the appointed seasons of the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Appointed seasons of the Lord

Solomon's seasons

Jeremiah 8:7 Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the ordinance of the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The dedication of Solomon's Temple consisted of a great feast. It is clear that this feast continued for seven days. Subsequently, they added seven more days of feasting after that, a total of fourteen contiguous days of feast in all.

Yom Kippur

On the Hebrew calendar, Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of the 7th month every year. It actually begins on the 9th day at evening, spanning from evening to evening. It is undoubtedly the most important day on the Hebrew calendar. In English, this observance is known as the Day of Atonement and it was the day that atonement for sin was made. Atonement is precisely how and when forgiveness is granted so this is exactly why it is the most important day. However, in the year the temple opened, it is certain that Israel missed the observance of Yom Kippur. Obviously, during the year that the temple was dedicated, Yom Kippur, a day supposed to be observed with fasting, occurred on the day this feast began.

Leviticus 23:26 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: 27 Howbeit on the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 28 And ye shall do no manner of work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any manner of work in that same day, that soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 Ye shall do no manner of work; it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of solemn rest, and ye shall afflict your souls; in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye keep your sabbath. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Yom Kippur in Levitical Tradition
Tradition holds that on Yom Kippur God will seal the fate of every Jew. The Talmud maintains that the names of the righteous are inscribed into the Book of Life on Rosh Ha-Shanah. All others' names are not inscribed into the Book of Life until Yom Kippur.
(Information from: Dictionary of Jewish Words; A JPS Guide; By Joyce Eisenberg, Ellen Scolnic; ISBN: 9780827608320)

Considering the admonishment that none are righteous, it is obvious that the Day of Atonement was an important occasion.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 For there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

If one considers that Solomon held a 14-day feast beginning on the 9th day of the 7th month, it becomes obvious that it would have been impossible to observe Yom Kippur because it was supposed to be observed with fasting - not feasting. This is what "afflict your souls" means, to fast. Furthermore, it would have been impossible to observe it until the altar had been dedicated because no sacrifices would have been acceptable.

2 Chronicles 7: 9 And on the eighth day they held a solemn assembly; for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Consider that Solomon also consecrated the courtyard and offered sacrifices there that same day because the altar he built elsewhere would not hold all of the offerings (2 Chronicles 7:7). Obviously it would be impossible to dedicate that space properly in a few minutes if it takes 7 days. According to Ezekiel, after dedicating the altar for 7 days, only on the 8th day and thereafter are any sacrifices acceptable. Therefore, Yom Kippur could not have been observed acceptably the year the temple was completed for that reason alone. It is highly probable, however, that at least a few people at Gibeon, that is to say Zadok the priest and the few people left at that altar did observe Yom Kippur. King David left Zadok in charge of that altar and that could explain why and how Zadok's descendants will be the only priests allowed to minister before the L-rd in the future. Otherwise, the whole nation of Israel appeared at Solomon's special assembly.

King David Assigns the Priests
1 Chronicles 16:37 So he left there, before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, Asaph and his brethren, to minister before the ark continually, as every day's work required; 38 and Obed-edom with their brethren, threescore and eight; Obed-edom also the son of Jedithun and Hosah to be door-keepers; 39 and Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon, 40 to offer burnt-offerings unto the Lord upon the altar of burnt-offering continually morning and evening, even according to all that is written in the Law of the Lord, which He commanded unto Israel; 41 and with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, who were mentioned by name, to give thanks to the Lord, because His mercy endureth for ever; 42 and with them Heman and Jeduthun, to sound aloud with trumpets and cymbals, and with instruments for the songs of God; and the sons of Jeduthun to be at the gate. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ezekiel 43:26 Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and cleanse it; so shall they consecrate it. 27 And when they have accomplished the days, it shall be that upon the eighth day, and forward, the priests shall make your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and your peace-offerings; and I will accept you, saith the L-rd GOD.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Because the sacrifices at the temple were not acceptable until after the altar was properly dedicated, it is likely that no sacrifices at Solomon's Temple were ever acceptable. In fact, it is highly probable that no offering on any altar after the one made by Bezalel at Horeb fell into disuse was acceptable. Ezekiel notes that the descendants of Zadok are the only Levites that will be permitted to minister before the L-rd in the inner sanctuary of the future. It is highly pertinent that King David left Zadok in charge of the altar at Gibeon and that altar was the altar made by Bezalel at Horeb.

Without a doubt, Yom Kippur, the 10th day of the 7th month, is the holiest day of the year for Jews. On Yom Kippur, all of the people were supposed to fast and do no work. In the following passage in the JPS translation, fasting is expressed as "afflict your souls." This phrase appears vicariously in other translations as "ye shall deny yourselves." For this day, the prescribed sacrifice is 10 animals plus the scapegoat in addition to the prescribed daily sacrifice. On this particular holy day, the prescribed sacrifice was especially important and distinct from all others; so, following the procedures to the letter would be necessary because this was an exceptional event.

Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement
Numbers 29:7 And on the tenth day of this seventh month ye shall have a holy convocation; and ye shall afflict your souls; ye shall do no manner of work; 8 but ye shall present a burnt-offering unto the Lord for a sweet savour: one young bullock, one ram, seven he-lambs of the first year; they shall be unto you without blemish; 9 and their meal-offering, fine flour mingled with oil, three tenth parts for the bullock, two tenth parts for the one ram, 10 a several tenth part for every lamb of the seven lambs; 11 one he-goat for a sin-offering; beside the sin-offering of atonement, and the continual burnt-offering, and the meal-offering thereof, and their drink-offerings. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

It is impossible that Yom Kippur was observed during the year that the temple was dedicated for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is that there is no mention of its observance. Furthermore, there is no mention that any goat was sacrificed. As the sin offering, it was the key element. An additional requirement of the Day of Atonement was a scapegoat, but the narratives from the dedication make no mention of any goats whatsoever. There are goats mentioned in some other translations of the Bible apart from the Jewish Publication Society Tanakhs, but neither the 1917 nor the NJPS mention any goats at all. It is highly improbable that any goats were sacrificed. However, since this disparity exists, it is probably more telling to focus on the scapegoat. Apart from that, one might wish to consider that no one besides the priest was to be anywhere in the temple during this time. Goats were also required for the Feast of Tabernacles that also should have occurred during the time of Solomon's carnival. Conducting the Day of Atonement without a sin offering would be somewhat difficult since that was the purpose of the whole day.

2 Chronicles 7: 5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Leviticus 16:5 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two he-goats for a sin-offering, and one ram for a burnt-offering. 6 And Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin-offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself, and for his house. 7 And he shall take the two goats, and set them before the Lord at the door of the tent of meeting. 8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats: one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat upon which the lot fell for the Lord, and offer him for a sin-offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel, shall be set alive before the Lord, to make atonement over him, to send him away for Azazel into the wilderness. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Unfortunately, the failure to observe Yom Kippur was a very grievous error because it carries a very severe penalty.

Leviticus 23:26 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying:
Leviticus 23:27 Howbeit on the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the Lord. 28 And ye shall do no manner of work in that same day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from his people. 30 And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any manner of work in that same day, that soul will I destroy from among his people. 31 Ye shall do no manner of work; it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be unto you a sabbath of solemn rest, and ye shall afflict your souls; in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye keep your sabbath. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The 7th month of Ethanim roughly corresponds to the months of late-September to mid-October on the Gregorian calendar, so these holy days occur in the early fall after the year's harvest has been brought in to the barns. In the Western world, many cultures observe their fall festivals at about this same time.

Jeremiah 8:20
'The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.' (JPS)
(Emphasis added)

Since Jeremiah clearly states that the summer has ended he is obviously not referring to the Feast of First Fruits harvest of early summer. The climate in ancient Israel supported two harvests. Evidently, the plowman could overtake the reaper in those days as it will be again (Amos 9:13).

Cut Off from his People

Being "cut off from his people" as noted in Leviticus 23:29 is a small phrase with monumental meaning. The phrase is rendered differently in various translations of the Bible and it also appears differently in other verses. Sometimes the phrase reads "cut off from the tents of Jacob" and it also appears as "stricken from the register of Israel." These all mean the same thing and what they actually mean is damnation. The register of Israel is actually another term for the Book of Life. This is completely logical because that is the performance term of the Torah. If one's sins are not forgiven, then obviously they will be counted against him. Since atonement was the means of reconciliation, it obviously was important that one made avail of that provision. It should be obvious that if one were cut off from his people, then that person is no longer a part of that people. Obviously, once this occurs, it is impossible to restore successive generations to the register of the people that one was cut off from because they are now of the lineage of some other people.

1 Kings 8:65 So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him,… (JPS) (Truncation and Emphasis added)

It should be understood that Israel will be saved, however, it is also clear throughout scripture that the register of Israel is actually a roll compiled and maintained by G-d listing the names of those upon whom mercy will be bestowed. While it worked on the basis of heredity up until this breach, it is also possible for G-d to appoint others to the list as well as strike names from it. If one's people were Israelites and that person was cut off from his people, then he is no longer an Israelite - at least as far as G-d's list is concerned. Since G-d is G-d, it really does not matter what variance of opinions one may personally or culturally hold. Obviously, one would have to be an Israelite to produce Israelite offspring. If all Israel was cut off from that register as scripture clearly states, then there really has been no Israel in respect to salvation under the covenant of Moses for about 3000 years as one can clearly see.

Those currently depending on heredity for salvation, that is to say, Jews, are depending upon a salvation under the terms of a covenant that is broken beyond repair. The only performance terms of that covenant that survive today are those that might more aptly be described as a curse.

Deuteronomy 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. 16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. 17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the young of thy flock. 19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 20 the Lord will send upon thee cursing, discomfiture, and rebuke, in all that thou puttest thy hand unto to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the evil of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken Me.(JPS)
Deuteronomy 28:45 And all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded thee. (JPS)

In most respects, a relevant analogy to any benefits of the covenant of Moses at this point could be likened to depending on an expired auto insurance policy after experiencing an accident. One could ponder the predicament that a hapless motorist would experience when, after having an accident, they called their insurance agent and mentioned that they had a policy with the agent's company but the last time that the annual premium was paid was 3000 years ago.

If one happened to live in a state where ignorance was regarded as a mitigating factor at law when dealing with any consequences resulting from this accident, the fact that that person had at one time carried an insurance policy could only be considered as an aggravating factor - indisputable proof of guilt without excuse. Therefore, the pre-existing insurance policy could only produce negative consequences since it is obvious that no favorable benefits could be obtained from a policy whose last annual premium was paid 3000 years ago.

Deuteronomy 4:23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which He made with you, and make you a graven image, even the likeness of any thing which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord thy God is a devouring fire, a jealous God. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 4:25 When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have been long in the land, and shall deal corruptly, and make a graven image, even the form of any thing, and shall do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke Him; 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over the Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. 27 And the Lord shall scatter you among the peoples, and ye shall be left few in number among the nations, whither the Lord shall lead you away. 28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 But from thence ye will seek the Lord thy God; and thou shalt find Him, if thou search after Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. 30 In thy distress, when all these things are come upon thee, in the end of days, thou wilt return to the Lord thy God, and hearken unto His voice; 31 for the Lord thy God is a merciful God; He will not fail thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He swore unto them. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 4:32 For ask now of the days past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? (JPS)
Deuteronomy 4:40 And thou shalt keep His statutes, and His commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever. (JPS)

Unfortunately, the Torah contains no remedy for the predicament of having broken the covenant in this way. If one's salvation is based upon heredity and their ancestors were cut off from the lineage upon which that salvation depended, then it should be obvious that there is no remedy for that situation. The only thing that could help a people in that predicament would be the forbearance of the breached party - that is to say - G-d. In fact, that has been and is the case and this is the only reason that there has been only a remnant preserved for all of the successive time since this breach occurred.

2 Chronicles 36:15 And the Lord, the God of their fathers, sent to them by His messengers, sending betimes and often; because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling-place; 16 but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 10:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and they that are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 A remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto God the Mighty. 22 For though thy people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall return; an extermination is determined, overflowing with righteousness. 23 For an extermination wholly determined shall the Lord, the GOD of hosts, make in the midst of all the earth. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

A remnant is only a miniscule percentage of the whole. Therefore, one might want to take advantage of greater assurance of salvation if and when it became available. Despite the fact that there is no remedy in the Torah whatsoever for this predicament, there is now a hope that will be covered later. However, this hope is by no means automatic or hereditary.

Jeremiah 8:7 Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the ordinance of the Lord. (JPS)
Jeremiah 8:20 'The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.' (JPS)
Jeremiah 8:21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I seized with anguish; I am black, appalment hath taken hold on me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? 23 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! (JPS)

It is an unfortunate fact that this error was an egregious act for which there is no remedy. Frankly, King Solomon had to have carefully studied how to perpetrate this heinous act against the people Israel. In all reality, Solomon struck down the whole nation with a grievous curse at the dedication of the temple. Not only that, but it appears that he made sure that this would be the case since he carefully broke the covenant in every possible way.

One extremely relevant aspect of all of this is that the appointed times for these events were changed. The following passage refers to a time and a king whose appearance is still somewhat in the future, however, he also appeared far in the past.

Daniel 7:25 And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High; and he shall think to change the seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 10:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the remnant of Israel and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob shall no more again rely upon him that smote them; but they shall rely upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 3:15 That which is hath been long ago, and that which is to be hath already been; and God seeketh that which is pursued. (JPS)

One may not be aware that all of the commandments of the Decalogue are repeated in the New Covenant scriptures except one. The missing commandment respects the Sabbath laws. Therefore, any transgression against the Sabbath must necessarily have occurred when those laws were in full effect. That being, the Sabbath had to be transgressed before the life of Y'shua because there is no longer any rigorous set of observances in effect as far as G-d is concerned. Notwithstanding, it was important in ancient times to follow the correct procedures for worship exactly at the specified times, especially when the Israelites were living in their own land.

Deuteronomy 12:1 These are the statutes and the ordinances, which ye shall observe to do in the land which the Lord, the God of thy fathers, hath given thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 12:8 Ye shall not do after all that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes; 9 for ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the Lord your God giveth thee. 10 But when ye go over the Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God causeth you to inherit, and He giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; 11 then it shall come to pass that the place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there, thither shall ye bring all that I command you: your burnt-offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the Lord. 12 And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and the Levite that is within your gates, forasmuch as he hath no portion nor inheritance with you. 13 Take heed to thyself that thou offer not thy burnt-offerings in every place that thou seest; 14 but in the place which the Lord shall choose in one of thy tribes, there thou shalt offer thy burnt-offerings, and there thou shalt do all that I command thee. (JPS)
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all. (JPS)

Or Is There?

While it seems that there is no New Covenant Sabbath, if there were it would certainly be the Passover known as Pesach, which today is observed arbitrarily by most churches. The Passover is supposedly represented by The Lord's Supper also known as the Eucharist.

Pesach seemed to be quite important to Yeshua since supernatural provisions were made for it and He stated that "This Do In Remembrance Of Me." (Luke 22:7-22) In fact, this phrase can frequently be seen emblazoned on church furniture. "This Do In Remembrance Of Me" was said at "The Last Supper" which was the observance of Passover. In fact, this is really the only scripturally authorized Holiday on the church calendar. All other Holidays are superfluous, and frankly, based on that statement they are contrary to scripture. It is also notable that the Apostles observed Pesach in the Jewish tradition after Yeshua's time had passed.

Interestingly enough, however, it seems that most churches never observe the Passover on the Passover and they observe it in way that is quite divorced from an actual Passover feast known as the Seder. By necessity, the Passover Seder must occur on the 14th of Nissan on the Jewish calendar. In Jewish tradition, the Passover period runs for a week, but the Seder, the night that commemorates when the L-rd brought the Children of Israel out of Egypt, occurs on the 14th of Nissan every year.

Exodus 12:1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2"This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire-head, legs and inner parts. 10Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.11This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord's Passover. 12 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn-both men and animals-and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. 14"This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord-a lasting ordinance. 15For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat-that is all you may do. (NIV) (Emphasis added)

It is really quite important to observe the Seder of the 14th of Nissan according to the Jewish custom because there is a great deal of symbolism associated with The Last Supper. It conveys great meaning for understanding scripture, particularly prophetic scripture. If one is not familiar with the particulars of this feast, many of the simple analogies in scripture are impossible to understand. Furthermore, this exact celebration embodies countless points that connect the G-d of the Tanach with the G-d of the New Covenant.

In Jewish tradition, the root of this practice is a feast where one eats a lot of food - sort of like Americans do on Thanksgiving. Exodus 12:11-21 stipulates some of the particulars. Additionally, Jews drink four cups of wine. This part is only slightly treated in Biblical scripture and some of this tradition is contained in the Mishnah and Talmud. Nevertheless, this particular portion of the Seder is highly symbolic in particular regard to the conduct of Yeshua at the Last Supper and His expected return. At most Christian communions the menu is quite meager to point of not needing table service. Unless one is a middle-aged thoroughbred-racing jockey, that person is not likely to construe one oyster cracker to be a feast. One should really expect to be served barbequed mutton, bitter herbs, matzah and red wine as a minimum (Exodus 12:8). One cannot observe an observance without observing the observance. This could be a real opportunity for a potluck dinner.

Exodus 12:8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 8:7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD. (NIV) (Emphasis added)

In the contemporary Jewish custom the dinner or Seder has several necessary dishes such as matzah, bitter herbs, mutton and so on (Exodus 12:8). In modern times, some include an orange at the Seder because someone quipped that a woman belongs in the rabbinic pulpit just as much as an orange belongs at the Passover Seder. Heretofore, oranges were not included at the Seder. Since many women are serving as Rabbis today, the orange is included as a taunt to the person that made that statement. Moreover, it is really an in your face kind of statement to G-d.

While it may seem quite amusing to mock this notion, the real gravity of the situation of having women serve in pulpits is certainly not adequately symbolized by an orange. It would really be far more accurate to state that a woman belongs in a pulpit just as much as ham should be served at the Passover Seder. Realistically, one would be better off to sacrifice a pig on the temple altar than have a woman serve as a Rabbi (Acts 10:9-15). The same is true for Christianity. There are no provisions for woman to occupy a pulpit and there is a clear prohibition against it in New Covenant scripture. This was not an oversight on G-d's part and it is not subject to change or argument.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Malachi 3:6 "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. (NIV) (Emphasis added)

Is there Balm in Gilead?

There seems to have been some question over the years as to the correct answer to a very famous question in scripture, namely, the question posed by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 8:22: Is there no balm in Gilead? Despite conventional wisdom on the matter, the correct answer to the question is actually NO; THERE IS NO BALM IN GILEAD.

Jeremiah 8:21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I seized with anguish; I am black, appalment hath taken hold on me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? 23 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Hosea 6:8 Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, it is covered with footprints of blood. 9 And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so doth the company of priests; they murder in the way toward Shechem; yea, they commit enormity. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 1:4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that deal corruptly; they have forsaken the Lord, they have contemned the Holy One of Israel, they are turned away backward. 5 On what part will ye yet be stricken, seeing ye stray away more and more? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint; 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and festering sores: they have not been pressed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil. 7 Your country is desolate; your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by floods. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Lamentations 3:42 We have transgressed and have rebelled; Thou hast not pardoned. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The word balm actually means a remedy or something that heals. There is no remedy for this predicament whatsoever. The wound is incurable; therefore, it really does not matter whether there is a balm or physician in Gilead or any other place. Be aware that when considering this question, one must keep in mind the exact period, people and circumstances that Jeremiah is speaking of. Jeremiah is speaking directly to Israel. Christians that might have incorrectly concluded that the answer to Jeremiah's question is yes should consider that Gilead is scarcely mentioned in the New Testament and in most respects this verse has little application for them. Furthermore, none of these types of verses have any relevance to physical healing from medical illness nor do they have much relevance to church age believers. Despite the fact that the author generally interprets scripture quite literally, the sense of healing that Jeremiah is speaking of is far broader than simply physical, it is spiritual healing and a reference to reconciliation of the covenant of Moses.

In respect to any relevance the verse has to the church, the following verse clearly addresses those residual implications.

Deuteronomy 32:21 They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a no-people; I will provoke them with a vile nation. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Under the terms of the Torah - the wound is incurable. That is to say in slightly different terms, the covenant at this point was broken beyond repair and any terms of the covenant that survived this breach are liabilities to Israel and not benefits. In Bible speak, one might say the conditions of the covenant are now curses and not blessings.

Jeremiah 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? (JPS)
Jeremiah 46:11 Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines; [for] thou shalt not be cured. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Micah 1:9 For her wound is incurable; for it is come even unto Judah; it reacheth unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 30:12 For thus saith the Lord: Thy hurt is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. 13 None deemeth of thy wound that it may be bound up; thou hast no healing medicines. 14 All thy lovers have forgotten thee, they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one; for the greatness of thine iniquity, because thy sins were increased. 15 Why criest thou for thy hurt, that thy pain is incurable? For the greatness of thine iniquity, because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee. (JPS)
Jeremiah 8:15 We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of healing, and behold terror!' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 1:2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken: Children I have reared, and brought up, and they have rebelled against Me. 3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, My people doth not consider. 4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that deal corruptly; they have forsaken the Lord, they have contemned the Holy One of Israel, they are turned away backward. 5 On what part will ye yet be stricken, seeing ye stray away more and more? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint; 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and festering sores: they have not been pressed, neither bound up, neither mollified with oil. 7 Your country is desolate; your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by floods. 8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a booth in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, we should have been like unto Gomorrah. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Further Implications of the Terms of Performance

Under the terms of the Torah, it is impossible to revive the covenant since it was broken beyond repair by failing to observe the Day of Atonement. Because this exact clause of the covenant was the one violated, there is no possibility whatsoever of reconciling the breach. While the breached party can forbear the violator's obligations, it is impossible to revive this covenant. Therefore, the only realistic possibility in a case like this should the parties wish to resume some type of contractual relationship would be the drafting of a completely New Covenant.

Daniel 9:11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed Thy law, and have turned aside, so as not to hearken to Thy voice; and so there hath been poured out upon us the curse and the oath that is written in the Law of Moses the servant of God; for we have sinned against Him. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Lamentations 3:42 We have transgressed and have rebelled; Thou hast not pardoned. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Sukkot

According to the Torah, another observance that was missed during Solomon's celebration was the Feast of Tabernacles and it was to begin on the 15th day of the 7th month. The Hebrew name for this observance is Sukkot. On the 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles there was to be a solemn assembly called Shmini Atzeret (Numbers 29:35). As part of the Sukkot observance, the people were supposed to make booths or huts of branches and live in them to commemorate their Exodus from Egypt because that is how they lived in the wilderness. Because of this, Sukkot is sometimes called the Feast of Booths.

The Feast of Tabernacles
Leviticus 23:33 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: (JPS)
Leviticus 23:34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. 35 On the first day shall be a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. 36 Seven days ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the Lord; on the eighth day shall be a holy convocation unto you; and ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the Lord; it is a day of solemn assembly; ye shall do no manner of servile work. 37 These are the appointed seasons of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to bring an offering made by fire unto the Lord, a burnt-offering, and a meal-offering, a sacrifice, and drink-offerings, each on its own day; 38 beside the sabbaths of the Lord, and beside your gifts, and beside all your vows, and beside all your freewill-offerings, which ye give unto the Lord. 39 Howbeit on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruits of the land, ye shall keep the feast of the Lord seven days; on the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. 40 And ye shall take you on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook, and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. 41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year; it is a statute for ever in your generations; ye shall keep it in the seventh month. 42 Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are home-born in Israel shall dwell in booths; 43 that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Leviticus 23:44 And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the appointed seasons of the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 8:7 Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the ordinance of the Lord. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 16:13 Thou shalt keep the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in from thy threshing-floor and from thy winepress. (JPS)
Jeremiah 8:20 'The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.' (JPS)

Clear Evidence

Notwithstanding the imperilment now faced, it is interesting to compare some of these events to those surrounding the opening of the next temple. After the remnant returned from exile, the sacrifice began before the foundation of the building was laid. In some translations, it is noted that the sacrifice began although they were in great physical danger from other inhabitants of the land. The exact reason for that danger is because Zerubbabel refused to allow the inhabitants of the land to participate in building the temple, an act that is highly relevant as a comparison to the events from Solomon's time (Ezra 4:1-3). Recall that Solomon conscripted the inhabitants of the land to build his temple.

The following verse from Nehemiah is about the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles after the return from exile. It establishes with absolute certainty that the holy days in question were not observed during the time of Solomon. The subsequent passage from Ezra is about the events of the 7th month and the fact that they began the sacrifice before the temple was started. Unfortunately, it does not appear that the altar was dedicated properly here either, so it is likely that the only altar that was ever acceptable was the one made at Horeb. It is really not known if the altar was dedicated properly during the time of Zerubbabel, but it appears that it was not. One will notice that in Ezra 3:6, the remnant began the sacrifice on the 1st day of the 7th month.

Nehemiah 8:17 And all the congregation of them that were come back out of the captivity made booths, and dwelt in the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ezra 3:1 And when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. 2 Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt-offerings thereon, as it is written in the Law of Moses the man of God. 3 And they set the altar upon its bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of the countries, and they offered burnt-offerings thereon unto the Lord, even burnt-offerings morning and evening. 4 And they kept the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt-offerings by number, according to the ordinance, as the duty of every day required; 5 and afterward the continual burnt-offering, and the offerings of the new moons, and of all the appointed seasons of the Lord that were hallowed, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill-offering unto the Lord. 6 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt-offerings unto the Lord; but the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid. (JPS)

Solemn Assembly

Numbers 29:35 notes that there is to be a solemn assembly on the 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles. This assembly is called Shemini Atzeret.

Numbers 29:35 On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no manner of servile work; (JPS)

The word solemn has several meanings apart from its most natural meaning of sad. Over the years it has also come to be recognized as meaning something like "with full liturgical ceremony." In the Feast of Tabernacles, it is likely that a word something like penitence would be a much better choice instead of solemn for the way this observance is supposed to be conducted. Even at that, after the return from exile the Israelites only held the solemn part of this assembly for 1/4 of the day (Nehemiah 9:3, below). It is important to note that the word in Hebrew that is translated as solemn in Numbers 29:35 is not translated as solemn in all translations of the Bible and solemn may not be the best transliteration. It is conceivable that the only places where the phrase solemn assembly should be used is in 2 Chronicles 7:9 and the corresponding passage in Kings. The reason that this is apt to be the case is because solemn assemblies were integral of Baal worship and not Yahweh worship. In fact, one will note that G-d hates solemn assemblies and cannot bear them. The worship of Yahweh was to be done with rejoicing and praise as it still is. "Make a joyous noise" and "praise the L-rd" for examples. The actions of the repentant repatriates as recorded in Nehemiah support this position.

Nehemiah 8:9 And Nehemiah, who was the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people: 'This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep.' For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law. 10 Then he said unto them: 'Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy unto our L-rd; neither be ye grieved; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.' 11 So the Levites stilled all the people, saying: 'Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Nehemiah 9:1 Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackcloth, and earth upon them. 2 And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all foreigners, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. 3 And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the Law of the Lord their God a fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and prostrated themselves before the Lord their God. 4 Then stood up upon the platform of the Levites, Jeshua, and Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani, and cried with a loud voice unto the Lord their God. 5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said: 'Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting; and let them say: Blessed be Thy glorious Name, that is exalted above all blessing and praise. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Joy and Praise

It might be difficult to understand and put into practice, but joy and praise are extremely important in YHWH worship. These are the keywords of empowerment for both Christians and Jews alike. It is not really good to complain and grumble to the L-rd. A much better approach is to rejoice in the victory that is expected. Your strength is in your joy, "for the joy of the L-rd is your strength".

Deuteronomy 16:13 Thou shalt keep the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in from thy threshing-floor and from thy winepress. 14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. 15 Seven days shalt thou keep a feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose; because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the work of thy hands, and thou shalt be altogether joyful. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 12:7 and there ye shall eat before the Lord your God, and ye shall rejoice in all that ye put your hand unto, ye and your households, wherein the Lord thy God hath blessed thee. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 12:12 And ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and the Levite that is within your gates, forasmuch as he hath no portion nor inheritance with you. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 12:18 but thou shalt eat them before the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite that is within thy gates; and thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God in all that thou puttest thy hand unto. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

On Bent Knee

While leading the dedication assembly, one will notice that Solomon knelt in front of the whole assembly of Israel with his hands spread forth toward heaven.

1 Kings 8:54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread forth toward heaven. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

This is significant because this is the very first instance in scripture of someone taking this position. Heretofore, people bowed down or completely prostrated themselves before the L-rd. It is exceedingly irreverent to YHWH and the proof of that fact is embodied in the minute details. Kneeling with his hands spread toward heaven seems to indicate that Solomon positioned his body upright from the knees somewhat in an "L" shape.

  • "How long do ye halt on both knees?"
  • "How long halt ye between two opinions?"
  • "How long will ye be undecided as to whether ye shall follow Yhwh or Baal?"
1 Kings 18:21 Elijah came near to all the people and said,
"How long will you hesitate between two opinions?
If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him."
But the people did not answer him a word. (NASB)
Exodus 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you take ye heed; and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Exodus 23:13 "Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
I fell face down (shachah) before the Lord

Up until this point, it is usually noted that people fell face down when in the presence of the L-rd. If one looks at the narratives of the events of Moses, he almost always fell face down. Abraham, David and about everyone else fell face down. Alternatively, one can observe cases where those that had it correct knelt on the ground placing their heads down between their knees.

Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him: 'I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou wholehearted. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.' 3 And Abram fell on his face; and God talked with him, saying: 4 'As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Abraham's Servant
Genesis 24:26 And the man bowed his head, and prostrated himself before the Lord. 27 And he said: 'Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who hath not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master; as for me, the Lord hath led me in the way to the house of my master's brethren.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Genesis 24:52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth unto the Lord. (JPS)
Numbers 16:20 And the Lord spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 21 'Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.' 22 And they fell upon their faces, and said: 'O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt Thou be wroth with all the congregation?' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Numbers 20:6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tent of meeting, and fell upon their faces; and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 18:36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening offering, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said: 'O the Lord, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word. 37 Hear me, O the Lord, hear me, that this people may know that Thou, the Lord, art God, for Thou didst turn their heart backward.' 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt-offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said: 'The the Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.' 40 And Elijah said unto them: 'Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.' And they took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. 41 And Elijah said unto Ahab: 'Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.' 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees. 43 And he said to his servant: 'Go up now, look toward the sea.' And he went up, and looked, and said: 'There is nothing.' And he said: 'Go again seven times.' 44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said: 'Behold, there ariseth a cloud out of the sea, as small as a man's hand.' And he said: 'Go up, say unto Ahab: Make ready thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus comes with them to a place called Gethsemane, and says to the disciples, Sit here until I go away and pray yonder. 37 And taking with [him] Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and deeply depressed. 38 Then he says to them, My soul is very sorrowful even unto death; remain here and watch with me. 39 And going forward a little he fell upon his face, praying and saying, My Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me; but not as *I* will, but as *thou* [wilt]. (Darby)
(Emphasis added)

The significance of the fact that Solomon was on bent knee with his hands spread toward heaven is partially due to the origin of this position; that being, that it was commonly used by the peoples of Canaan in the worship of their gods, the Baals. Therefore, in light of the source of this practice, it would probably be worthwhile to consider the conduct of future worship of YHWH in respect to kneeling and spreading one's hands toward heaven.

J. James Tissot - Solomon Dedicates the Temple at Jerusalem
J. James Tissot - Solomon Dedicates the Temple at Jerusalem
Yoma 6:2:D When the priests and the masses standing in the courtyard would hear the expressed Name of the Lord uttered by the high priest, they would kneel and bow down and fall on their faces and say, "Blessed be the Name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever." (Mishnah)

J. James Tissot - The Israelites Worship the Golden Calf

J. James Tissot - The Israelites Worship the Golden Calf

While those considerations are telling enough, the importance of this goes far beyond them because the position of being prostrate on the ground is denoted in Hebrew by the word "shachah," dg"s, (segad). Apart from "shachah" being the Hebrew word describing that exact position, it is also the exact Hebrew word meaning to fall down flat, worship, reverence, obeisance and submission. This is absolutely not coincidence. If anyone were to worship YHWH, "shachah" is how it is done. That is to say, that position is worship and worship is that position.

John 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what; we worship what we know, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But [the] hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for also the Father seeks such as his worshippers. 24 God [is] a spirit; and they who worship him must worship [him] in spirit and truth. (Darby)
(Emphasis added)
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore let us, receiving a kingdom not to be shaken, have grace, by which let us serve God acceptably with reverence and fear. 29 For also our God [is] a consuming fire. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

Shachah is a position of reverence and some - that is to say YHWH - would not consider the Hokey-Pokey to be a reverent act. A sane person would not do the Hokey-Pokey before a judge in a court of law so why would a purportedly sane person consider an act like the Hokey-Pokey to be appropriate in worship before the G-d of all heaven and Earth?

ouch

King Solomon's Worshipful Offering
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)

Spreading forth one's hands toward heaven is a distinctively irreverent act - unless perhaps an individual is worshipping Ba'al. There are mentions of this practice in subsequent scripture after the time of Solomon, but not before, and it is a conspicuous occurrence in some contemporary worship services. In light of its apparently Satanic source, it would probably be good for worshipers to carefully consider the Hokey-Pokey since it is irreverent and highly suspect. After all, apparently that really is what it's all about.

Isaiah 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes, cease to do evil; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
J. James Tissot - A Levite Priest holds up Holy Hands.
J. James Tissot - A Levite Priest holds up Holy Hands.

Solomon's Prayer

In this examination of Solomon's prayer, there will be little commentary. One may wish to pause and consider the appropriateness of Solomon's taking the lead at this assembly by leading this prayer since this would have been more nearly the duty of the Levites. Keep in mind that the Levites bore the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood. It is perhaps best to simply quote the prayer and interrupt the various points with relevant quotes of scripture since Solomon's prayer was quite lengthy.

1 Kings 8:22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven; 23 and he said: 'O the Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like Thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath; who keepest covenant and mercy with Thy servants, that walk before Thee with all their heart; (JPS)
1 Kings 11:4 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. (JPS)
1 Kings 11:9 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)
1 Kings 8:24 who hast kept with Thy servant David my father that which Thou didst promise him; yea, Thou spokest with Thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with Thy hand, as it is this day. 25 Now therefore, O the Lord, the God of Israel, keep with Thy servant David my father that which Thou hast promised him saying: There shall not fail thee a man in My sight to sit on the throne of Israel, if only thy children take heed to their way, to walk before Me as thou hast walked before Me. (JPS)
1 Kings 11:11 Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon: 'Forasmuch as this hath been in thy mind, and thou hast not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:26 Now therefore, O God of Israel, let Thy word, I pray Thee, be verified, which Thou didst speak unto Thy servant David my father. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:27 But will God in very truth dwell on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded! (JPS)
Exodus 25:8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, even so shall ye make it. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:28 Yet have Thou respect unto the prayer of Thy servant, and to his supplication, O the Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer which Thy servant prayeth before Thee this day; 29 that Thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place whereof Thou hast said: My name shall be there; to hearken unto the prayer which Thy servant shall pray toward this place.
1 Kings 9:3 And the Lord said unto him: 'I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before Me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put My name there for ever; and Mine eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually. 4 And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before Me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep My statutes and Mine ordinances; 5 then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom over Israel for ever; according as I promised to David thy father, saying: There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. 6 But if ye shall turn away from following Me, ye or your children, and not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; 7 then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for My name, will I cast out of My sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a by word among all peoples; 8 and this house which is so high shall become desolate, and every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and when they shall say: Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and to this house? 9 they shall be answered: Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them; therefore hath the Lord brought all this evil upon them.' (JPS)
1 Kings 8:30 And hearken Thou to the supplication of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place; yea, hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling-place; and when Thou hearest, forgive. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 4:3 Your eyes have seen what the Lord did in Baal-peor; for all the men that followed the Baal of Peor, the Lord thy God hath destroyed them from the midst of thee. 4 But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day. 5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the midst of the land whither ye go in to possess it. 6 Observe therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, that, when they hear all these statutes, shall say: 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.' 7 For what great nation is there, that hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is whensoever we call upon Him? (JPS)
1 Kings 8:31 If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be exacted of him to cause him to swear, and he come and swear before Thine altar in this house; 32 then hear Thou in heaven, and do, and judge Thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his own head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness. (JPS)
Leviticus 5:20 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: 21 If any one sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and deal falsely with his neighbour in a matter of deposit, or of pledge, or of robbery, or have oppressed his neighbour; 22 or have found that which was lost, and deal falsely therein, and swear to a lie; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein; 23 then it shall be, if he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took by robbery, or the thing which he hath gotten by oppression, or the deposit which was deposited with him, or the lost thing which he found, 24 or any thing about which he hath sworn falsely, he shall even restore it in full, and shall add the fifth part more thereto; unto him to whom it appertaineth shall he give it, in the day of his being guilty. 25 And he shall bring his forfeit unto the Lord, a ram without blemish out of the flock, according to thy valuation, for a guilt-offering, unto the priest. 26 And the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven, concerning whatsoever he doeth so as to be guilty thereby. (JPS)
Matthew 5:33 Again, ye have heard that it has been said to the ancients, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt render to the Lord what thou hast sworn. 34 But *I* say unto you, Do not swear at all; neither by the heaven, because it is [the] throne of God; 35 nor by the earth, because it is [the] footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, because it is [the] city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your word be Yea, yea; Nay, nay; but what is more than these is from evil. (Darby)
1 Kings 8:33 When Thy people Israel are smitten down before the enemy, when they do sin against Thee, if they turn again to Thee, and confess Thy name, and pray and make supplication unto Thee in this house; (JPS)
Deuteronomy 11:22 For if ye shall diligently keep all this commandment which I command you, to do it, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave unto Him, 23 then will the Lord drive out all these nations from before you, and ye shall dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves. 24 Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours: from the wilderness, and Lebanon, from the river, the river Euphrates, even unto the hinder sea shall be your border. 25 There shall no man be able to stand against you: the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as He hath spoken unto you. (JPS)
2 Samuel 22:29 For Thou art my lamp, O the Lord; and the Lord doth lighten my darkness. 30 For by Thee I run upon a troop; by my God do I scale a wall. 31 As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield unto all them that take refuge in Him. 32 For who is God, save the Lord? and who is a Rock, save our God? 33 The God who is my strong fortress, and who letteth my way go forth straight; 34 Who maketh my feet like hinds'1, and setteth me upon my high places; 35 Who traineth my hands for war, so that mine arms do bend a bow of brass. 36 Thou hast also given me Thy shield of salvation; and Thy condescension hath made me great. 37 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped. 38 I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; neither did I turn back till they were consumed. 39 And I have consumed them, and smitten them through, that they cannot arise; yea, they are fallen under my feet. 40 For Thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle; Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. (JPS)
(Author's Footnote 1. Hind, plural hinds, females of the red deer.)
1 Kings 8:34 then hear Thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of Thy people Israel, and bring them back unto the land which Thou gavest unto their fathers. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 4:7 For what great nation is there, that hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is whensoever we call upon Him? (JPS)
Deuteronomy 4:39 know this day, and lay it to thy heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, when they do sin against Thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess Thy name, and turn from their sin, when Thou dost afflict them; (JPS)
Deuteronomy 11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto My commandments which I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the former rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. 15 And I will give grass in thy fields for thy cattle, and thou shalt eat and be satisfied. 16 Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; 17 and the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven, so that there shall be no rain, and the ground shall not yield her fruit; and ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:36 then hear Thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of Thy servants, and of Thy people Israel, when Thou teachest them the good way wherein they should walk; and send rain upon Thy land, which Thou hast given to Thy people for an inheritance. (JPS)
Leviticus 26:3 If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; 4 then I will give your rains in their season, and the land shall yield her produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and ye shall eat your bread until ye have enough, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 And I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you; and will establish My covenant with you. 10 And ye shall eat old store long kept, and ye shall bring forth the old from before the new. 11 And I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting or mildew, locust or caterpillar; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be; (JPS)
Deuteronomy 7:11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command thee this day, to do them. 12 And it shall come to pass, because ye hearken to these ordinances, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep with thee the covenant and the mercy which He swore unto thy fathers, 13 and He will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee; He will also bless the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy land, thy corn and thy wine and thine oil, the increase of thy kine and the young of thy flock, in the land which He swore unto thy fathers to give thee. 14 Thou shalt be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15 And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness; and He will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee, but will lay them upon all them that hate thee. 16 And thou shalt consume all the peoples that the Lord thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eye shall not pity them; neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee. 17 If thou shalt say in thy heart: 'These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?' 18 thou shalt not be afraid of them; thou shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt: 19 the great trials which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out; so shall the Lord thy God do unto all the peoples of whom thou art afraid. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:38 what prayer and supplication soever be made by any man of all Thy people Israel, who shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house; 39 then hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling-place, and forgive, and do, and render unto every man according to all his ways, whose heart Thou knowest--for Thou, even Thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men- (JPS)
Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose trust the Lord is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out its roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but its foliage shall be luxuriant; and shall not be anxious in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceeding weak--who can know it? 10 I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:40 that they may fear Thee all the days that they live in the land which Thou gavest unto our fathers. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:41 Moreover concerning the stranger that is not of Thy people Israel, when he shall come out of a far country for Thy name's sake-(JPS)
Ezekiel 44:6 And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel: Thus saith the L-rd GOD: O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, 7 in that ye have brought in aliens, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My sanctuary, to profane it, even My house, when ye offer My bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken My covenant, to add unto all your abominations. 8 And ye have not kept the charge of My holy things; but ye have set keepers of My charge in My sanctuary to please yourselves. 9 Thus saith the L-rd GOD: No alien, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into My sanctuary, even any alien that is among the children of Israel. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:42 for they shall hear of Thy great name, and of Thy mighty hand, and of Thine outstretched arm--when he shall come and pray toward this house; (JPS)
Jeremiah 21:4 Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans, that besiege you without the walls, and I will gather them into the midst of this city. 5 And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath. 6 And I will smite the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they shall die of a great pestilence. 7 And afterward, saith the Lord, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life; and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have compassion. 8 And unto this people thou shalt say: Thus saith the Lord: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:43 hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling-place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for; that all the peoples of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as doth Thy people Israel, and that they may know that Thy name is called upon this house which I have built. (JPS)
Exodus 25:8 And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the furniture thereof, even so shall ye make it. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:44 If Thy people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatsoever way Thou shalt send them, and they pray unto the Lord toward the city which Thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for Thy name; (JPS)
Psalm 132:13 For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation: 14 'This is My resting-place for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it. (JPS)
2 Chronicles 3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father; for which provision had been made in the Place of David, in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:45 then hear Thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. (JPS)
Exodus 29:43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel; and the Tent shall be sanctified by My glory. 44 And I will sanctify the tent of meeting, and the altar; Aaron also and his sons will I sanctify, to minister to Me in the priest's office. 45 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. 46 And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:46 If they sin against Thee--for there is no man that sinneth not--and Thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captive unto the land of the enemy, far off or near; 47 yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn back, and make supplication unto Thee in the land of them that carried them captive, saying: We have sinned, and have done iniquitously, we have dealt wickedly; 48 if they return unto Thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray unto Thee toward their land, which Thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which Thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for Thy name; (JPS)
1 Kings 8:46 If they sin against Thee--for there is no man that sinneth not--and Thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captive unto the land of the enemy, far off or near; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 4:37 And because He loved thy fathers, and chose their seed after them, and brought thee out with His presence, with His great power, out of Egypt, 38 to drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day; 39 know this day, and lay it to thy heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else. 40 And thou shalt keep His statutes, and His commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever. (JPS)
1 Kings 8:49 then hear Thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven Thy dwelling-place, and maintain their cause; (JPS)
1 Kings 8:50 and forgive Thy people who have sinned against Thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against Thee; and give them compassion before those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 8:51 for they are Thy people, and Thine inheritance, which Thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron; 52 that Thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of Thy servant, and unto the supplication of Thy people Israel, to hearken unto them whensoever they cry unto Thee. 53 For Thou didst set them apart from among all the peoples of the earth, to be Thine inheritance, as Thou didst speak by the hand of Moses Thy servant, when Thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.' (JPS)
1 Kings 8:54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread forth toward heaven. (JPS)

Solomon's Dais

Solomon presided over the temple dedication upon a special platform that he had made for this occasion.

2 Chronicles 6:12 And he stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands-- 13 for Solomon had made a brazen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven-- (JPS)

In synagogues, similar platforms made of various materials and design are almost always found. They are called the Almemar meaning "the chair" or "the pulpit." Rabbis use this chair, pulpit and platform for reading the law. Over time, there have been changes to the Almemar and in some cases its placement has changed. Generally, in earlier times it was placed in the center of the facility.

The name Almemar also has the variation due to language of the name bema or bemah. Such a platform and seat is apparently mentioned in Nehemiah 8:4.

Nehemiah 8:1 all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the broad place that was before the water gate; and they spoke unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. 2 And Ezra the priest brought the Law before the congregation, both men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read therein before the broad place that was before the water gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women, and of those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the Law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Uriah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchijah, and Hashum, and Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people--for he was above all the people--and when he opened it, all the people stood up. 6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered: 'Amen, Amen', with the lifting up of their hands; and they bowed their heads, and fell down before the Lord with their faces to the ground. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, the Almemar is the object referred to as the seat of Moses in Matthew 23: 2-3.

Matthew 23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 saying, The scribes and the Pharisees have set themselves down in Moses' seat: 3 all things therefore, whatever they may tell you, do and keep. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

Drawing a conclusion from all of that, apparently Solomon plunked himself down into the seat of Moses - probably not a good idea for one to do uninvited.

The article on the Almemar in the Jewish Encyclopedia contends that every 7th year a bema was erected for the king to read the prescribed section of Deuteronomy 31:10-11. This does seem to leave a considerable problem, however, in light of the content of that passage.

Deuteronomy 31:9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, that bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. 10 And Moses commanded them, saying: 'At the end of every seven years, in the set time of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which He shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, the men and the women and the little ones, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law; 13 and that their children, who have not known, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over the Jordan to possess it.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Since Moses gave this material to the priests to read before all Israel, it should be quasi-obvious that it was the duty of the priests to read this material and not the duty of the king. That is, after all, exactly what the passage states.

There was something that was the duty of the king to read, however, it does not appear that it was to be read publicly.

Deuteronomy 17:12 And the man that doeth presumptuously, in not hearkening unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die; and thou shalt exterminate the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously. 14 When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt say: 'I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me'; 15 thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother. 16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you: 'Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.' 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them; 20 that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Looking beyond those considerations, those familiar with the New Testament might notice that the word bema is a significant term in that it is the word used in some translations to describe the throne that Messiah will use to judge the saints. This term is sometimes rendered the reward seat of Christ.

This concludes the examination of Solomon's priestly activities that will be considered here.

King Solomon's Other Activities

King Solomon's Throne

King Solomon’s Throne
King Solomon's Throne

Aside from all of the other building projects that Solomon undertook, he also built a throne for himself the likes of which the world had never seen before or since (2 Chronicles 9:17-19 & 1 Kings 10:18-20). The throne was inlaid with ivory and overlaid with gold and it also had several unique physical features. One might say it was a great white throne.

2 Chronicles 9:17 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. 18 And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and arms on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms. 19 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps; there was not the like made in any kingdom. (JPS)
1 Kings 10:18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 There were six steps to the throne, and the top of the throne was round behind; and there were arms on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms. 20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps; there was not the like made in any kingdom. (JPS)

It is interesting to note that in Hebrew there are six different words for gold and two of them are used exclusively in reference to gold from Solomon's time. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, all of the other terms for gold are used before the sixth one occurs in reference to Solomon's time, that being, the gold of Parvaim. There is a Hebrew term for gold that is only found in regard to the gold used on Solomon's throne. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia treatise on metals, this term for gold is "zahab mufaz" and it derives that designation because it looks like burning brimstone. The name may also be due in part to the place where it was obtained. If a person had a tendency to view some things as being symbolic, that person might consider the possible meaning that "zahab mufaz" might hold. It is probably unnecessary to observe some the places where burning brimstone might be encountered, but there are places where it is reputedly a common material. One of those places would be hell.

This throne will be considered in more depth in a subsequent chapter.

King Solomon Takes a Census

While preparing to build the temple, Solomon took a census of all of the aliens that were in Israel to determine how much of a labor force was available. The account of this is found in 2 Chronicles 2:17-18.

2 Chronicles 2:17 And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the account that David his father had taken of them, and there were found a hundred and fifty-three thousand six hundred. 18 And he set seventy thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and eighty thousand to be stone-masons in the mountains, and three thousand six hundred overseers to set the people to work. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

This account mentions that Solomon took the census in the manner of his father David. The only mention of David taking a census was when he numbered the fighting men and this event was not one of David's better moments as king. In fact, he should not have taken a census at all. It is not necessarily evil to take a census and the Israelites were told by G-d to do so before (Numbers chapters 1-4 and chapter 26). Nevertheless, G-d did not tell David to take a census and this story appears in 1 Chronicles 21 and 2 Samuel 24.

1 Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. 2 And David said to Joab and to the princes of the people, Go, number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. 3 And Joab said, the Lord add to his people, how many soever they be, a hundredfold: are they not all, my lord O king, my lord's servants? why does my lord require this thing? why should he become a trespass to Israel? 4 But the king's word prevailed against Joab; and Joab departed, and went through all Israel, and came [again] to Jerusalem. 5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. And all they of Israel were eleven hundred thousand men that drew sword; and of Judah, four hundred and seventy thousand men that drew sword. 6 But Levi and Benjamin he did not count among them; for the king's word was abominable to Joab. 7 And God was displeased on account of this thing, and he smote Israel. 8 And David said to God, I have sinned greatly, in that I have done this thing; and now, I beseech thee, put away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

David was given three options of punishment for numbering Israel and while the judgment was occurring he sought to make atonement at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite because the angel of the L-rd stopped there. David bought the threshing floor from Ornan, and this was the site that the temple was supposed to be built on.

1 Chronicles 21:18 Then the angel of the Lord commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite. (JPS)
1 Chronicles 21:28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him in the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. (JPS)
1 Chronicles 22:1 Then David said: 'This is the house of the Lord God, and this is the altar of burnt-offering for Israel.' (JPS)
2 Chronicles 3:1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father; for which provision had been made in the Place of David, in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. (JPS)

Solomon the Builder

Solomon's Dealings with Hiram

Before Solomon began building the temple, he made arrangements with Hiram, King of Tyre to secure materials and craftsmen for the project. The primary account of this is found in 1 Kings 5. Hiram had sent envoys to Solomon because he had always enjoyed a good relationship with David. In 1 Kings 5:3-6, we see the reply that Solomon sent to Hiram.

1 Kings 5:1 And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the place of his father; for Hiram always loved David. 2 And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, 3 Thou knowest that David my father could not build a house unto the name of the Lord his God, because of the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. 4 But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side: there is neither adversary nor evil event. 5 And behold, I purpose to build a house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my father saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy stead, he shall build a house unto my name. 6 And now command that they hew me cedar-trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants; and I will give thee hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt say; for thou knowest that there is not among us any that are experienced in cutting timber like to the Zidonians. 7 And it came to pass when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the Lord this day, who has given to David a wise son over this great people. 8 And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have heard the things which thou sentest to me for: I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of cypress. 9 My servants shall bring [them] down from Lebanon to the sea; and I will convey them by sea [in] rafts to the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be broken up there, and thou shalt receive them. And thou shalt accomplish my desire in giving food for my household. 10 So Hiram gave Solomon cedar-trees and cypress-trees [according to] all his desire. 11 And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat as food for his household, and twenty measures of beaten oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year. 12 And the Lord gave Solomon wisdom as he promised him. And there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league. (Darby)

There are quite a few business deals between Solomon and Hiram recorded in Kings and Chronicles. Recall that in the previous chapter we discovered that Hiram and Solomon made a treaty, in this translation rendered as a league (1 Kings 5:12), as was forbidden by the Torah. Also, we see that after Solomon's major construction projects were completed, Solomon owed Hiram. Solomon gave Hiram several cities in the land of Galilee as payment for the various materials and services that Hiram had provided. However, Hiram was not pleased with the cities and that obviously means that Hiram got cheated. In fact, Hiram gives the cities a special name, Cabul, which means good-for-nothing or worthless. Beyond that, Jewish records apart from scripture contend that Solomon eventually regained these cities by duping Hiram with his great wisdom.

1 Kings 9:10 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord and the king's house, 11 Hiram the king of Tyre having furnished Solomon with cedar-trees and cypress-trees, and with gold, according to all his desire, -- that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. 12 And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given him; and they did not please him. 13 And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul to this day. (Darby)

As king of Israel, Solomon was supposedly the representative of G-d on earth. There are many admonitions to the Israelites about dealing fairly and honoring their word.

Deuteronomy 25:13 Do not have two differing weights in your bag-one heavy, one light. 14 Do not have two differing measures in your house-one large, one small. 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. 16 For the LORD your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly. (NIV)
Hosea 12:7 [He is] a merchant, balances of deceit are in his hand; he loveth to oppress. (Darby)

It is curious that Solomon made this deal with Hiram at all because if one looks a little further back in the scripture, they will notice that David had acquired all of the materials needed for the construction of the temple before his death (1 Chronicles chapters 22, 28, 29). David does tell Solomon that he could add to the materials if he wished. However, if one looks at the reply that Solomon sent to Hiram, it rapidly becomes apparent that most of the statements that Solomon makes in it are false. For one thing, Solomon states that David was unable to build the temple because of the wars that raged during David's reign. This is not completely false because the reason that David could not build the temple was related to it, but the true reason was really because he was a man of blood; and for that, the L-rd forbade him from building the temple. Besides that, the wars had been put to rest by the time that David began to consider building a temple.

1 Chronicles 22:8 But the word of the Lord came to me saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, for thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. (Darby)

Fortifications

Solomon also built fortifications for protection, replacing some that had been in ruins since the conquests of David and Saul.

2 Chronicles 8:5 Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fortified cities, with walls, gates, and bars; (JPS)

This point must be considered from a perspective that has rarely been experienced on earth, but in other parts of scripture one will note that it was G-d that gave Israel rest on every side, so why would fortifications be necessary?

Deuteronomy 12:10 But when ye go over the Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God causeth you to inherit, and He giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; (JPS)

Early in Solomon's reign, he mentions in his message to Hiram King of Tyre that the L-rd had given them rest on every side. Earlier, David said the same thing.

King David
2 Samuel 7:1 And it came to pass, when the king dwelt in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies round about, (JPS)

If the L-rd gave them rest and was still with them, why bother with defensive barriers? In fact, this is one of the clearest indications that the L-rd was already gone.

1 Kings 5:18 But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary, nor evil occurrence. (JPS)
(This verse appears as 1 Kings 5:4 in many other English translations of the Bible)
1 Chronicles 23:25 For David said: 'The the Lord, the God of Israel, hath given rest unto His people, and He dwelleth in Jerusalem for ever; (JPS)
Joshua 21:43 So the Lord gave unto Israel all the land which He swore to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. 44 And the Lord gave them rest round about, according to all that He swore unto their fathers; and there stood not a man of all their enemies against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 31:17 Then My anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come upon them; so that they will say in that day: Are not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us? 18 And I will surely hide My face in that day for all the evil which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. (JPS)

The point is, this is a clear indication that the L-rd is no longer with them, He has withdrawn from them and forsaken them because they transgressed the covenant.

Isaiah 5:1 Let me sing of my well-beloved, a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. my well-beloved had a vineyard in a very fruitful hill; 2 And he digged it, and cleared it of stones, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also hewed out a vat therein; and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. 4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? 5 And now come, I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; I will break down the fence thereof, and it shall be trodden down; 6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned nor hoed, but there shall come up briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah the plant of His delight; and He looked for justice, but behold violence; for righteousness, but behold a cry. (JPS)

The Word of the L-rd after Building the Temple

While we looked at the architectural details of Solomon's Temple, one should notice that when the temple was completed, the word of the L-rd came to Solomon again, similar to the way that it had come to him at Gibeon. This is no coincidence, and in retrospect, one should conclude that this was actually a warning, just as all of the other messages and appearances of the L-rd to Solomon were.

1 Kings 6:11 And the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying: (JPS)
1 Kings6:12 'As for this house which thou art building, if thou wilt walk in My statutes, and execute Mine ordinances, and keep all My commandments to walk in them; then will I establish My word with thee, which I spoke unto David thy father; 13 in that I will dwell therein among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.' (JPS)

Undaunted:

1 Kings 6:14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 7:11 And Solomon completed the house of the Lord, and the king's house; and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the Lord, and in his own house, he did prosperously. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the Lord: The heavens are my throne, and the earth is my footstool: what is the house that ye will build unto me? and what is the place of my rest? 2 Even all these things hath my hand made, and all these things have been, saith the Lord. But to this man will I look: to the afflicted and contrite in spirit, and who trembleth at my word. 3 He that slaughtereth an ox, smiteth a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, breaketh a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, [it is as] swine's blood; he that presenteth a memorial of incense, [is as] he that blesseth an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations, 4 I also will choose their calamities, and will bring their fears upon them; because I called, and none answered, I spoke, and they did not hear, but did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delight not. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

King Solomon's Wives

Solomon evidently loved many women besides the 1000 that are mentioned as wives and concubines that came from many different peoples. Solomon persisted in this apparently despite many warnings and would not forsake this passion. The first wife that Solomon took for himself was Pharaoh's daughter.

1 Kings 3:1 And Solomon became allied to Pharaoh king of Egypt by marriage, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 8:11 And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her; for he said: 'No wife of mine shall dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of the Lord hath come.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
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. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

In 2 Chronicles 8:11, notice that Solomon says to himself that his wife must not dwell in the places where the ark had been because those places were holy. The point is that Solomon should not have married an Egyptian under any circumstances. Regarding Egypt, scripture states: "Ye shall not return again any more that way." Israel was to have no contact with Egypt whatsoever. In addition to that, notice that 1 Kings 11:4 mentions that "when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods." Notice that 1 Kings 11:4 does not say how old. What was one of the first things that Solomon did? He married Pharaoh's daughter.

1 Kings 3:1 And Solomon became allied to Pharaoh king of Egypt by marriage, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 17:14 When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt say: 'I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me'; 15 thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 17:16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you: 'Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.' 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Moreover, 1 Kings 3:1 contends that this marriage was intended to be a type of treaty between Pharaoh and Solomon and this was another thing that was not to be done under any circumstances. Making treaties with most other nations was forbidden for Israel just as even visiting with Egyptians was. This is not the only forbidden treaty that Solomon made either. He also made a treaty with Hiram King of Tyre (1 Kings 5:12), king of one of the nations that would have been driven out of the land before the Israelites.

Exodus 23:31 And I will set thy border from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness unto the River; for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. 32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in thy land--lest they make thee sin against Me, for thou wilt serve their gods--for they will be a snare unto thee. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Exodus 34:12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest they be for a snare in the midst of thee. 13 But ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their Asherim. 14 For thou shalt bow down to no other god; for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God; (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The following passage records the words of Ezra and it is an excerpt of the Prayer of Ezra on the return of the remnant of Jews from the Babylonian captivity. There are several important points mentioned in this passage, one being the taboo on intermarriage and another being the ban on making treaties of any kind with the peoples of the land.

Ezra 9:10 And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken Thy commandments, 11 which Thou hast commanded by Thy servants the prophets, saying: The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land through the uncleanness of the peoples of the lands, through their abominations, wherewith they have filled it from one end to another with their filthiness. 12 Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their prosperity for ever; that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever. 13 And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great guilt, seeing that Thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such a remnant, 14 shall we again break Thy commandments, and make marriages with the peoples that do these abominations? wouldest not Thou be angry with us till Thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant, nor any to escape? 15 O the Lord, the God of Israel, Thou art righteous; for we are left a remnant that is escaped, as it is this day; behold, we are before Thee in our guiltiness; for none can stand before Thee because of this.' (JPS)

Heart Turns

As part of the consequences of Solomon's love for many women, he began to build facilities for them to worship their own gods. Solomon built altars and temples for a plethora of gods, the most notable of whom were Asherah, Baal, Chemosh and Moloch. Solomon also began to worship these gods and since they were actually demons, there would obviously be some problems with serving them and the L-rd at the same time. This was another act that Solomon should have been executed for.

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)
Joshua 23:6 Therefore be ye very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; 7 that ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor worship them; 8 but cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day; (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 17:2 If there be found in the midst of thee, within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that doeth that which is evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing His covenant, 3 and hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have commanded not; 4 and it be told thee, and thou hear it, then shalt thou inquire diligently, and, behold, if it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel; 5 then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, who have done this evil thing, unto thy gates, even the man or the woman; and thou shalt stone them with stones, that they die. (JPS)
Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, profaning the covenant of our fathers? 11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which He loveth, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. 12 May the Lord cut off to the man that doeth this, him that calleth and him that answereth out of the tents of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts. 13 And this further ye do: ye cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with sighing, insomuch that He regardeth not the offering any more, neither receiveth it with good will at your hand. 14 Yet ye say: 'Wherefore?' Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously, though she is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 9:9 Enjoy life with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which He hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity; for that is thy portion in life, and in thy labour wherein thou labourest under the sun. (JPS)

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 comprehensive inventories of the offspring of Israel’s kings and prominent men. There are inventories of King David’s children as well as Saul’s. The genealogies of seemingly insignificant individuals back to Abram and even Adam are exhaustive in many cases.

This apparent lack of children 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)

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

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. 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.

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. 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.

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 blood sacrifice. Practitioners believed that human sacrifice was more meaningful and that higher bred victims were more desirable than those of common origin were. 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)

God of Women

One of the characteristics of the special king is that he will have no regard for the god of women. In the Jewish Publication Society translation, this phrase is rendered using the word desire, so that there can be little question that this god is the god of the sensual desire of women even though there could be some question that this is speaking of a god.

Daniel 11:37 Neither shall he regard the gods of his fathers; and neither the desire of women, nor any god, shall he regard; for he shall magnify himself above all. (JPS)

In other translations, the verse is clearly speaking of a god, but the exact nature of the god can be a mystery. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt this god is Tammuz and he is clearly mentioned in other parts of scripture such as Ezekiel 8.

Ezekiel 8:13 He said also unto me: 'Thou shalt again see yet greater abominations which they do.' 14 Then He brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat the women weeping for Tammuz. (JPS)

Tammuz was the Akkadian or Babylonian god of vegetation known elsewhere in Sumeria as Dumuzi, the shepherd god and he is also known as the god Adonis in Greek and Roman mythology. Tammuz is still recognized today as the god of women. Most commonly in the West, Tammuz is known by the name Adonis and experts believe that Adonis has Semitic origins thereby connecting him to Tammuz.

In short, to fill in the details of mythology about Tammuz and Adonis, this god was the god of vegetation and a fertility deity. As Tammuz, he was the husband of Ishtar, a goddess of Akkadian mythology. As Adonis, there are wide variations to the legend, but generally, his beauty attracted the goddess of love, Aphrodite. In some variations of the legend, he is her son while in others, he is her consort while in other instances he is both. Nevertheless, Aphrodite was so moved by his beauty that she sheltered him and entrusted him to Persephone, the queen of the underworld for safekeeping. Persephone refused to give him back and the dispute had to be settled by Zeus who decided that Adonis would spend a third of the year with Aphrodite, a third with Persephone and a third wherever he chose. He always chose to spend 2/3 of the year with Aphrodite. One variant of the myth has it that Aphrodite's husband Hephaestus became a boar and killed Adonis, an event that recurs every year during the summer months of June and July on the Gregorian calendar. This period is known in Jewish calendars as the month of Tammuz. The death of Adonis is vicariously attributed to Artemis or Ares in other variations of the tale.

When Adonis or Tammuz dies each year, his soul is allegedly taken to the underworld by the Gallu demons. Desolation then covers the earth and Ishtar leads the lament for him. She then descends into the Netherworld to rescue him and after succeeding through several trials manages to bring him back. As a result, fertility and happiness return to the earth.

The fact that the coming king spoken of by Daniel will have no regard for the god of women deserves some careful consideration because there are many facets to it and it has far deeper meaning than simply being a god of women or idol. Some have come to the preposterous conclusion that this person will be gay, but the true meaning is that this man is a god of women; therefore, he will have no reason to regard the god of women because he is literally everything that this god is fanaticized to be - at least in his own eyes. On the prurient level, Solomon must surely have been quite handsome because we know that his mother was extremely beautiful, David was noted for being handsome as were several of his half-brothers such as Absalom and Adonijah. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the aspect of physical beauty embodied in Adonis or Tammuz could easily have been fulfilled by Solomon.

David
1 Samuel 16:12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of beautiful eyes, and goodly to look upon. And the Lord said: 'Arise, anoint him; for this is he.' (JPS)
1 Samuel 17:42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and withal of a fair countenance. (JPS)
Bathsheba
2 Samuel 11:2 And it came to pass at eventide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house; and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. (JPS)

To take the prurient a bit further, it is an unusual man that can maintain a happy household of a thousand women. Solomon's command of the sword wielding Benaiah no doubt helped maintain serenity. Jewish records apart from scripture maintain that Solomon's wives and concubines prepared elaborate meals each day in hopes of enticing his attention. Not only that, but in other parts of scripture it is clear that Solomon had many other women on the side apart from his thousand wives and concubines. Now, this without a doubt is an exceptional man in anyone's book. It is difficult to imagine how he found the time for all of this since he only lived into his fifties, but there are mentions by the prophets of one renewing his strength.

It would be reasonable to conclude that the man must have been a legendary lover and literally, a god of women. If not that, one would think he would at least be a contender for that distinction. Perhaps this was the true reason that the Queen of Sheba traveled so far to visit Solomon. The Bible says that she heard of the fame of Solomon, but exactly what she had heard is unclear. The god of women is Tammuz the fertility god and there is an incredibly interesting parallel between Solomon and Tammuz in that this god is also known as the "Child of the Abyss." There are several other instances where this term, "Child of the Abyss," occurs in ancillary details regarding Solomon such as the legend behind the lilies that adorned various features of the temple.

Apart from that, there are several additional elements to all of this that are fascinating. The god of women under the name Adonis is also a variation of the name for G-d sometimes used in the Bible. This name sometimes appears in Hebrew scripture as Adonai, which in Hebrew means L-rd or Master. It is not common to Christian scripture. It is one of the names used to refer to YHWH in Jewish tradition when the Tetragrammaton appears in scripture. In those instances, the names Adonai or Ha-Shem are the appropriate utterances. Parenthetically, the Tetragrammaton is the four letter YHWH or JHWH, "THE NAME," the name of the L-rd. Tetra means four and grammaton means letters.

Adonai: Hebrew word meaning "my lord, my master", from adon, "lord, master". From Hellenistic times onward it was used verbally to replace the written Yahweh. When the tetragrammaton (JHWH) appears in the Biblical text, it is usual to read it out load either as Adonai or as Ha-Shem ("The Name").

At least as far back as the time of Ezra only the Kohen Gadol, that is to say the high priest was allowed to say the Tetragrammaton. This was only allowed during Yom Kippur as he entered the Holy of Holies bringing the blood of atonement. Behind the four letter NAME one finds the following concepts: HYH, (Hayah,) means was; HVH, (Hoveh) means is; YHY, (Yehiyeh) means will be. Combining these words produces the essence of past, present, and future, comprising the four- letter Name of G-d, THE NAME, YHWH.

YHWH fills all space and time simultaneously. (Melo khol ha-aretz kevodo).

"Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh, YHVH tzvaot melo kol haaretz kevodo." In English, this means something like: "Holy, Holy, Holy, YHVH the whole universe is filled with his glory."

The Tetragrammaton YHWH or YHVH also represents a number or a series of numbers as do all words in Hebrew. Yod = 10, He = 5, Vav = 6 and He = 5 and this adds up to 26.

Solomon's Splendor

After the account of the visit of the Queen of Sheba, the story of Solomon's splendor appears in both Kings and Chronicles. Splendor is an interesting word and if one looks it up in a thesaurus, they will find similar words such as glory, majesty, greatness and other similar terms. Looking into words such as glory, one finds more similar words such as distinction, renown, prominence and mark, for example.

Solomon's Splendor
1 Kings 10:13 And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatever she asked, besides what he gave her of the bounty of king Solomon. And she turned and went to her own land, she and her servants. 14 And the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six (666) talents of gold, 15 besides what [came] by the dealers, and by the traffic of the merchants, and by all the kings of Arabia, and by the governors of the country. 16 And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold, -- he applied six hundred [shekels] of gold to one target; 17 and three hundred shields of beaten gold, -- he applied three minas of gold to one shield; and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 18 And the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with refined gold: 19 the throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was rounded behind; and there were arms on each side at the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the arms; 20 and twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: (6-6-6) there was not the like made in any kingdom. 21 And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of precious gold: none were of silver, [which] was not of the least account in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had on the sea a Tarshish-fleet, with the fleet of Hiram: once in three years came the Tarshish-fleet, bringing gold and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. 23 And king Solomon was greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 And all the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 25 And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and clothing, and armour, and spices, horses and mules, a rate year by year. 26 And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen; and he had a thousand four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; and he placed them in the chariot-cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. 27 And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he as the sycamores that are in the lowland for abundance. 28 And the exportation of horses that Solomon had was from Egypt: a caravan of the king's merchants fetched a drove [of horses], at a price. 29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred [shekels] of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty; and so they brought [them] by their means, for all the kings of the Hittites and for the kings of Syria. (Darby)

It appears that Solomon's splendor, or mark, is 666. If one had ever heard of any significance to that number, that person might conclude that this is some sort of a sign. Incidentally, while this number is generally perceived to represent evil, this is probably not the case at all. It is probably simply a clear indication of the counterfeit of the true Messiah.

Deuteronomy 17:14 When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein; and shalt say: 'I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me'; 15 thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother. 16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses; forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you: 'Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.' 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. (JPS)

While this work looks at the major events that are noted about Solomon, there are many more details. There isn't much that is recorded about Solomon that isn't directly contrary to G-d's precepts and most of his acts were subject to the death penalty. While some might contend that Solomon was special, there is no effort to argue that point because there is every indication that indeed he was. In fact, he is probably the most special man that ever lived. It appears that Solomon had his own agenda and he certainly persisted in going his own way. One may wonder how Solomon got by with all of this. Well, he didn't, it's just that he secured very special treatment for being such a special person.

Isaiah 66:4 I also will choose their calamities, and will bring their fears upon them; because I called, and none answered, I spoke, and they did not hear, but did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delight not. (Darby)

Putting all of this together, one sees that Solomon is actually the "Son of Perdition" that is mentioned in other parts of the Bible or that special "Man of Sin."

Deuteronomy 29:18 Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison. 19 When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, "I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way." This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. 20 The LORD will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will fall upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. 21 The LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law. (NIV)
2 Thesseloninians 2:1 Now we beg you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, 2 that ye be not soon shaken in mind, nor troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as [if it were] by us, as that the day of the Lord is present. 3 Let not any one deceive you in any manner, because [it will not be] unless the apostasy have first come, and the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition; 4 who opposes and exalts himself on high against all called God, or object of veneration; so that he himself sits down in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Do ye not remember that, being yet with you, I said these things to you? 6 And now ye know that which restrains, that he should be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness already works; only [there is] he who restrains now until he be gone, 8 and then the lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall annul by the appearing of his coming; 9 whose coming is according to the working of Satan in all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, 10 and in all deceit of unrighteousness to them that perish, because they have not received the love of the truth that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God sends to them a working of error, that they should believe what is false, 12 that all might be judged who have not believed the truth, but have found pleasure in unrighteousness. (Darby)
1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and discerns all the imaginations of the thoughts. If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cut thee off for ever. (Darby)

There is another mention of someone with similar symbolism to Solomon. This is Adonikam and his name means, "whom the L-rd sets up." Adonikam returned from the Babylonian exile or Diaspora with Zerubbabel. Adonikam is noted with the 666th child. Nevertheless, Adonikam is referred to as Adonijah in other parts of the scripture so it is unlikely that he was the target of destruction. Apart from this, there is very little information about him. The significant information is that his name is associated with the number 666. Therefore, "whom the L-rd sets up" is associated with the number 666. This thought is similar to, "Yahweh will establish thy throne forever."

The King of Kings

Solomon's wisdom made him very famous and all of the kings of the earth sought an audience with him. Realistically, Solomon was the king of the world and ruled a much larger area than just Israel.

1 Kings 10:23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 And all the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 25 And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, and armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 5:1 And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt; they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
(Note: This verse appears as 1 Kings 4:21 in many English translations of the Bible)
1 Kings 5:4 For he had dominion over all the region on this side the River, from Tiphsah even to Gaza, over all the kings on this side the River; and he had peace on all sides round about him. (JPS)
(Note: This verse appears as 1 Kings 4:24 in many other English Translations.)

If one considers the information presented in 1 Kings 5 very carefully, it is of interest that the boundaries described are much larger than those normally ascribed to Solomon's kingdom. It is also fascinating that Solomon "ruled over all the kingdoms" and, "over all the kings." In fact, this means that Solomon was a king of kings. It is widely recognized that the river spoken of in this verse is the Euphrates River and this would comprise a large area.

The included map attempts to reconstruct the boundaries of this area as set forth in scripture. The real point in doing this is to establish that certain subsequent scripture applies to Solomon. There are passages from the prophets from years later that reveal a great many details about someone in particular, but it has always been difficult to imagine exactly who these verses applied to.

King Solomon's Realm

Map

If one reconstructs the scriptural boundaries of Solomon's kingdom, the Bible clearly says that he actually ruled over all of the kingdoms west of the Euphrates and this must include Tyre. In other passages of scripture, it is declared that Solomon ruled over Lebanon and this further supports that that he ruled over Tyre. While we know that Hiram was the King of Tyre, we also know that Solomon "ruled over all the kingdoms" and, "over all the kings" west of the Euphrates. Now, it is certain that Tyre was west of the Euphrates; therefore, Solomon must have ruled Tyre.

The following scripture is from Ezekiel and it regards a prince of Tyre. There is a clue as to his identity in the verse because it makes mention of his wisdom.

Ezekiel 28:2 'Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre: Thus saith the L-rd GOD: because thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast said: I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the heart of the seas; yet thou art man, and not God, though thou didst set thy heart as the heart of God-- 3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel! there is no secret that they can hide from thee! 4 By thy wisdom and by thy discernment thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures; 5 In thy great wisdom by thy traffic hast thou increased thy riches, and thy heart is lifted up because of thy riches-(JPS) (Emphasis added)
1 Kings 3:10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. (JPS)
1 Kings 3:12 behold, I have done according to thy word: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there hath been none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The previous scripture notes that the prince of Tyre is wiser than Daniel. Daniel along with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were given wisdom by G-d in all kinds of understanding, and Daniel was given the additional ability of interpreting visions and dreams. It is unlikely that the prince referred to by Ezekiel is Hiram King of Tyre, especially since he was so easily duped by Solomon, and there is little mention of any other specific ruler of Tyre. No matter how one looks at this, the characteristic of great wisdom exceeding that of Daniel limits the field of possibilities considerably.

Daniel 1:17 Now as for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. (JPS)
Daniel 5:10 Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords came into the banquet house; the queen spoke and said: 'O king, live for ever! let not thy thoughts affright thee, nor let thy countenance be changed; 11 there is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; and the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made him master of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers; 12 forasmuch as a surpassing spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and declaring of riddles, and loosing of knots, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will declare the interpretation.' 13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. The king spoke and said unto Daniel: 'Art thou Daniel, who is of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Judah? 14 I have heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and surpassing wisdom is found in thee. 15 And now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof; but they could not declare the interpretation of the thing. (JPS)

While it has not been possible to find the exact statement that Daniel was the second wisest man that ever lived, there is additional evidence apart from scripture that that is the case. Rabbinical records do not say that he was second wisest man, but the following information from the Jewish Encyclopedia contains material condensed from several sources that points strongly to that conclusion.

Even in his youth, when he convicted the false witnesses against the pious and beautiful Susanna, Daniel gave proof of that wisdom (see Susanna, The Book of) which afterward made him so famous that it was said of him, "If he were in one scale of the balance and all the wise men of the heathens in the other, he would outweigh them all" (see Yoma 77a). When the king Nebuchadnezzar heard Daniel reproduce the dream which he had had, he could not doubt the truthfulness of his interpretation (Tan., ed. Buber, i. 191). (Jewish Encyclopedia)
Jeremiah 8:9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken; lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them? (JPS)
Job 5:8 But as for me, I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause; 9 Who doeth great things and unsearchable, marvellous things without number; 10 Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields; 11 So that He setteth up on high those that are low, and those that mourn are exalted to safety. 12 He frustrateth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands can perform nothing substantial. 13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness; and the counsel of the wily is carried headlong. 14 They meet with darkness in the day-time, and grope at noonday as in the night. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

More than a Temporal Ruler

There are indications from sources aside from the Bible that Solomon ruled more than just temporal powers. There are references to these things in ancient sources apart from accepted scripture, so one must make his or her own determination as to the validity of this information. Notwithstanding, it seems that the idea that Solomon had unusual capabilities far beyond wisdom was widespread in ancient times.

His Realm
On account of his modest request for wisdom only, Solomon was rewarded with riches and an unprecedentedly glorious reign (comp. I Kings iii. 13, v. 1 et seq.). His realm is described by the Rabbis as having extended, before his fall (see below), over the upper world inhabited by the angels and over the whole of the terrestrial globe with all its inhabitants,including all the beasts, fowls, and reptiles, as well as the demons and spirits. His reign was then so glorious that the moon never decreased, and good prevailed over evil. His control over the demons, spirits, and animals augmented his splendor, the demons bringing him precious stones, besides water from distant countries to irrigate his exotic plants. The beasts and fowls of their own accord entered the kitchen of Solomon's palace, so that they might be used as food for him. Extravagant meals for him (comp. I Kings iv. 22-23) were prepared daily by each of his thousand wives, with the thought that perhaps the king would feast on that day in her house (Meg. 11b; Sanh. 20b; B. M. 86b; Gen. R. xxxiv. 17; Cant. R. l.c.; Eccl. R. ii. 5; Targ. Sheni l.c.).
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Solomon; By: Emil G. Hirsch, Ira Maurice Price, Wilhelm Bacher, M. Seligsohn, Mary W. Montgomery, Crawford Howell Toy)
Ecclesiastes 10:20 Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought, and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber; for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. (JPS)
The Testament of Solomon
By: Crawford Howell Toy
The Testament professes to be Solomon's own account of certain experiences of his during the building of the Temple. Learning that his chief overseer was plagued by a demon who every evening took the half of his wages and his food, and drew the life out of him by sucking the thumb of his right hand, he appealed for help to God, and received through the angel Michael a seal-ring of magic power. With this he controlled the offending demon, and forced him to bring the chief of the demons, Beelzebub. The latter then was compelled to bring another, and he another, till there had appeared before the king a great number of them, of both sexes, and of such variety and dreadfulness of form as the imagination of the author could conceive. To each Solomon addresses a series of questions: the demon is compelled to give his name and abode (especially to say with what star he is connected), his origin (from what angel), to describe his malefic functions, to say what angel has power over him, and, in some cases, to tell the word (usually a divine name) by which he may be driven away. Some of the names of the angels and demons are familiar; others are strange or unintelligible, perhaps corrupt forms. Probably they were not invented by the author (though this may be true of some of them), but were the product of centuries of magical tradition. At the end of the Testament, Solomon's fall into idolatry and his consequent loss of power over the demons are attributed to his infatuation for a Jebusite woman, who acquired power over him by magic.
The book is a crude formulation of conceptions regarding demonic power that were almost universal in the Jewish and the Christian world for many centuries (see Magic). The belief that Solomon had power over demons is found as early as Josephus ("Ant." viii. 2, §, 5); the Book of Enoch shows the disposition to multiply demonic names; and the character of Asmodeus in the Testament is taken from the Book of Tobit. (Jewish Encyclopedia)

The Popular King

Solomon was one of the most popular kings that Israel ever had and this was probably because the nation experienced great prosperity while he was the king. Nevertheless, it has always been clear that Solomon broke the covenant and this is the exact cause all of the unfortunate events that have been Israel's history since that time. Perhaps this has not been clearly thought through previously, but Solomon actually caused Israel to divide and this was the beginning of the desolation. Israel's prosperity during Solomon's reign was probably the result of David's reign just as economic prosperity today is actually the result of events from years or even decades before the time that it is enjoyed. Israel divided before Solomon died and it is certain that this was the result of breaking the covenant.

Jeremiah 6:13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them, every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest, every one dealeth falsely. 14 And they have healed the breach of the daughter of my people lightly, saying, Peace, peace! when there is no peace. 15 Are they ashamed that they have committed abomination? Nay, they are not at all ashamed, neither know they what it is to blush. Therefore they shall fall among them that fall; at the time that I visit them they shall stumble, saith the Lord. 16 Thus saith the Lord: Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the ancient paths, which is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein]. (Darby)

The King

Deuteronomy 17:14 When thou comest unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are about me; 15 thou shalt only set him king over thee whom the Lord thy God will choose: from among thy brethren shalt thou set a king over thee; thou mayest not set a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother. 16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor lead back the people to Egypt, to multiply horses; for the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall not return again any more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away; neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests, the Levites; 19 and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them; 20 that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left; that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his sons, in the midst of Israel. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
2 Chronicles 9:25 And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, that he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. (JPS)
2 Chronicles 9:28 And they brought horses for Solomon out of Egypt, and out of all lands. (JPS)
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. (JPS)
1 Kings 9:20 And all king Solomon's drinking-vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; silver was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. (JPS)
2 Chronicles 9:27 And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore-trees that are in the Lowland, for abundance. (JPS)

The Verdict

It is interesting to note that the first few things Solomon did as king were a series of transgressions any one of which would have caused King David to endure serious judgments, and many others to probably be smitten, but Solomon seems to be able to get by with absolutely anything.

Hebrews 12:7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Hebrews 12:7 Ye endure for chastening, God conducts himself towards you as towards sons; for who is the son that the father chastens not? 8 But if ye are without chastening, of which all have been made partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

For some unknown reason, no one seems to have ever considered these events carefully and the reason why Solomon got by with all of this and there was no judgment against him during his lifetime. He does receive a number of warnings, but there is no calamity for a very long time. In fact, the only apparent judgment against Solomon was near the end of his life when the kingdom was divided, and yet, even then God allowed Solomon to rule part of the kingdom because of the promise to David. If King David had even hinted about doing many of the things that Solomon actually does, great disasters would have ensued. While it seems odd that Solomon can seemingly get by with almost anything, upon deeper examination it becomes clear in Isaiah 66 that Solomon has been singled out for very special treatment.

Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the Lord: the heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool; where is the house that ye may build unto Me? And where is the place that may be My resting-place? 2 For all these things hath My hand made, and so all these things came to be, saith the Lord; but on this man will I look, even on him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word. 3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he broke a dog's neck; he that offereth a meal-offering, as if he offered swine's blood; he that maketh a memorial-offering of frankincense, as if he blessed an idol; according as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations; 4 Even so I will choose their mockings, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spoke, they did not hear, but they did that which was evil in Mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. 5 Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at His word: your brethren that hate you, that cast you out for My name's sake, have said: 'Let the Lord be glorified, that we may gaze upon your joy', but they shall be ashamed. 6 Hark! an uproar from the city, Hark! it cometh from the temple, Hark! the Lord rendereth recompense to His enemies. 7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child. 8 Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Is a land born in one day? Is a nation brought forth at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. 9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord; shall I that cause to bring forth shut the womb? saith thy God. 10 Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her; rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her; 11 That ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breast of her consolations; that ye may drink deeply with delight of the abundance of her glory. 12 For thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream, and ye shall suck thereof: ye shall be borne upon the side, and shall be dandled upon the knees. 13 As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 14 And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like young grass; and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward His servants, and He will have indignation against His enemies. 15 For, behold, the Lord will come in fire, and His chariots shall be like the whirlwind; to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire will the Lord contend, and by His sword with all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many. 17 They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves to go unto the gardens, behind one in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the detestable thing, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord. 18 For I know their works and their thoughts; the time cometh, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and shall see My glory. 19 And I will work a sign among them, and I will send such as escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the nations. 20 And they shall bring all your brethren out of all the nations for an offering unto the Lord, upon horses, and in chariots, and in fitters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring their offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. 21 And of them also will I take for the priests and for the Levites, saith the Lord. 22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord. 24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have rebelled against Me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Solomon's Death

We know for certain that Solomon died in about 922 BC and was buried in the City of David.

2 Chronicles 9:30 And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 31 And Solomon slept with his fathers; they buried him in the city of David his father; and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead. (JPS)

While this is known, keep in mind that the exact year of Solomon's death is subject to variation depending upon which sources one uses and any historical details from this far back are likely to have some inaccuracy, even using the most reliable sources. In other words, the exact year can only be regarded as a general time period or epoch. Since the date used here is from the Gregorian calendar, there are some substantial additional prospects for error because there are errors in the calendar. Even if one used the Hebrew calendar, there are still apt to be errors in the exact date of something that happened 3000 years ago. What does emerge is a clear picture that Solomon has been dead for about 3000 years.

Ezekiel 37:1 The hand of the Lord was upon me, and the Lord carried me out in a spirit, and set me down in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones; 2 and He caused me to pass by them round about, and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3 And He said unto me: 'Son of man, can these bones live?' And I answered: 'O L-rd GOD, Thou knowest.' 4 Then He said unto me: 'Prophesy over these bones, and say unto them: O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord: 5 Thus saith the L-rd GOD unto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.' 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a commotion, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I beheld, and, lo, there were sinews upon them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said He unto me: 'Prophesy unto the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath: Thus saith the L-rd GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.' 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great host. 11 Then He said unto me: 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say: Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. 12 Therefore prophesy, and say unto them: Thus saith the L-rd GOD: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, O My people. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

While the previous passage is not specifically about Solomon, it does communicate how people can be raised from the dead. Obviously, Solomon will be raised from the dead in order to complete his duties as the "Man of Sin" or "Son of Perdition" at the end of days. The man that fulfills this role will be a counterfeit of the true Messiah and obviously Solomon fulfills every requirement perfectly. Solomon has been dead about 3000 years. When one considers that in the eyes of G-d a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day, it is logical to speculate that Solomon probably will be resurrected on the third day as the "price of peace."

Hosea 6:1 'Come, and let us return unto the Lord; for He hath torn, and He will heal us, He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. 2 After two days will He revive us, on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His presence. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Psalms 90:1 A Prayer of Moses the man of God. L-rd, Thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God. 3 Thou turnest man to contrition; and sayest: 'Return, ye children of men.' 4 For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. 5 Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep; in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. 6 In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. 7 For we are consumed in Thine anger, and by Thy wrath are we hurried away. 8 Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance. 9 For all our days are passed away in Thy wrath; we bring our years to an end as a tale that is told. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
2 Peter 3:8 But let not this one thing be hidden from you, beloved, that one day with [the] Lord [is] as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 [The] Lord does not delay his promise, as some account of delay, but is longsuffering towards you, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of [the] Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, and [the] elements, burning with heat, shall be dissolved, and [the] earth and the works in it shall be burnt up. (Darby) (Emphasis added)

This is just as the true Messiah did except in that case, it was on the third 24-hour day. This will possibly repeat on a thousand-year day as the time of His return. It appears that there is about a 70-year overlap where Y'shua as the Messiah and Solomon as the Antichrist could both appear on the third thousand-year day.

While some might accuse the author of setting dates, many are readily able to perceive that a 70-year window is certainly not setting a day or an hour according to the prohibition of scripture; but rather, this clearly consists of an exploration of the possibility of a 70-year epoch or "season" where these events are likely. To illustrate what a day and hour actually consists of, an example is herein presented. In this instance, a "day and hour" is elucidated to mean specifically a particular day of a particular month of a particular year - all of which are normally expressed with numbers; a particular hour is defined as that which could ordinarily be expressed by a variable such as X o'clock. An astute individual would obviously substitute a particular number between 1 and 12 or 0 and 24 for the variable X depending upon the particular system of time to which they are accustomed. 70 years based on indefinite calendars obviously merely presents the vaguest of "seasons." While there is no doubt that scripture presents a general prohibition against setting dates, an act that would fall within the guidelines above, it is also clearly stated that one should be able to perceive seasons. The clearest indication of that is simply that Israel has been reformulated as a nation.

The name Solomon means peace, and therefore, he was and will be the "prince of peace." It should be obvious the he cannot be the true Prince of Peace, however, because the individual is G-d in the flesh. Solomon will be an excellent counterfeit of the true "Prince of Peace," at least at first. After all, he truly is the "prince of peace" by name. We also know that "if one comes in his own name," he "will be accepted."

John 5:39 Ye search the scriptures, for ye think that in them ye have life eternal, and they it is which bear witness concerning me; 40 and ye will not come to me that ye might have life. 41 I do not receive glory from men, 42 but I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. (Darby)
John 5:43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not; if another come in his own name, him ye will receive. (Darby)
(Emphasis added)
John 5:44 How can ye believe, who receive glory one of another, and seek not the glory which [comes] from God alone? (Darby)
John 5:45 Think not that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] who accuses you, Moses, on whom ye trust; 46 for if ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye do not believe his writings, how shall ye believe my words? (Darby) (Emphasis added)

Who else could come in his own name? Evidently, King Solomon was and will be the "king of kings" through the wisdom that God put in his heart. However, he was not and is not the true "King of Kings." While it has always been somewhat hard to envision how someone could be raised from the dead solely by Satanic power, it is clear that it is the hand of God that will be behind this to complete the calamity that was chosen. King Solomon has been in the Abyss since the time of his death and he will be let out near the End of Days. It is important to recall that this is not necessarily a far-fetched idea because the notion that the Antichrist will be raised from the dead occurs in prophecy.

Daniel 11:36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak strange things against the God of gods; and he shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that which is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the gods of his fathers; and neither the desire of women, nor any god, shall he regard; for he shall magnify himself above all. (JPS)

The End of the Matter

It is well to consider what Solomon had to say about things in general due to the conclusions of this investigation. There are a few bits of scripture that Solomon wrote personally that are most revealing; perhaps none more than the following quotes.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember then thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say: 'I have no pleasure in them'; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 12:2 Before the sun, and the light, and the moon, and the stars, are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain; 3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out shall be darkened in the windows, (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man. (JPS)
(Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Ecclesiastes

Reiterating and expanding the examination of the true nature of the book of Ecclesiastes, recall that it is extremely important to bring to mind the character of Ecclesiastes to any references from that book because this aspect alone is highly enlightening.

The Book of Ecclesiastes was penned by Solomon toward the end of his life and expresses many of his personal thoughts. It would not be far-fetched to refer to the book as Solomon's lament. Apart from Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote several portions of the Bible including the Song of Songs known to many as the Song of Solomon, many Proverbs and several Psalms. It is also probable that he wrote several other books that are not part of the canonical Bible. It should be conspicuous that some of the ideas presented in these books that are included in the canonical Bible seemingly conflict with other Biblical doctrine, especially from the Torah. Some of the other books apart from the Tanakh that are attributed to him lend great support to the evidence that he was heavily involved in the occult.

It should be noted that G-d put the wisdom into Solomon's heart and that he was the wisest man that ever lived so his teaching should not be ignored. The reason for the philosophical dichotomy is that Solomon's thoughts are those of a man juxtaposed with the precepts of G-d in other scripture. This is particularly evident when Solomon's precepts are considered opposed to the teachings of Y'shua. It is revealing to consider Solomon's words as those of a man in a great plight - the greatest dilemma of all time - rather than as a model for living as most scripture is. Many have pointed to Ecclesiastes as a proof that the Bible contradicts itself, but these views all fail to take into account the true nature and context of Ecclesiastes, that being, a book written by the Son of Perdition, the Man of Sin or the Antichrist.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon reflects and laments upon his life and examines some aspects of it such as his pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, his wild living and hedonism, his immersion into work and his unbridled pursuit of wealth. It is useful to note that Solomon achieved a great deal in all of these pursuits and probably eclipsed the success of all other men that ever existed in each area of endeavor, nevertheless he found that his successes were unsatisfying and empty. Actually, what appear to be great successes among men were actually catastrophic failures, but this has never really been appreciated.

We know for certain that Solomon was both the richest and wisest man that ever lived. Since he had a harem of 1000 women, it is safe to purport that he would at least be a contender for the title of all-time-greatest hedonist. Perhaps the main thesis of Ecclesiastes is that Solomon concluded that without G-d, everything is futile and meaningless in the end. So many times, Solomon mentions that everything was simply striving after the wind and he was undoubtedly the most successful man by the world's standards that has lived or ever will live. In retrospect, after completion of the book at hand, the reader may conclude that Ecclesiastes records, reflects and laments upon the greatest tragedy of all of history.

The Shepherd

There is a bit more revealing information in Ecclesiastes 12:11. This verse is extremely enlightening when considered with other passages of scripture. The full implications are monumental. Notice that at the end of Ecclesiastes 12:11 Solomon refers to himself as a shepherd.

Ecclesiastes 12:9 And besides that Koheleth was wise, he also taught the people knowledge; yea, he pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 Koheleth sought to find out words of delight, and that which was written uprightly, even words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails well fastened are those that are composed in collections; they are given from one shepherd. 12 And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man. 14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Zechariah 11:15 And the Lord said unto me: 'Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. 16 For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who will not think of those that are cut off, neither will seek those that are young, nor heal that which is broken; neither will he feed that which standeth still, but he will eat the flesh of the fat, and will break their hoofs in pieces.' 17 Woe to the worthless shepherd that leaveth the flock! The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye; his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ezekiel 34:2 'Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, even to the shepherds: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Woe unto the shepherds of Israel that have fed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the sheep? 3 Ye did eat the fat, and ye clothed you with the wool, ye killed the fatlings; but ye fed not the sheep. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ezekiel 34:8 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely forasmuch as My sheep became a prey, and My sheep became food to all the beasts of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did My shepherds search for My sheep, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not My sheep; 9 therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require My sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver My sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them. (JPS)
1 King 5:2 And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal; 3 ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and a hundred sheep, beside harts, and gazelles, and roebucks, and fatted fowl. (JPS)
(Appears at 1 Kings 4:22 in many translations)

It is useful to note that there is quite a bit of historical legend apart from the Bible that supports the position that Solomon became relatively heavy in later years due to the abundance of fine food. Some Jewish legends maintain that each of his 1000 wives and concubines prepared a meal for him daily in hopes of attracting his attention and affection.

Solomon's Realm
On account of his modest request for wisdom only, Solomon was rewarded with riches and an unprecedentedly glorious reign (comp. I Kings iii. 13, v. 1 et seq.). His realm is described by the Rabbis as having extended, before his fall (see below), over the upper world inhabited by the angels and over the whole of the terrestrial globe with all its inhabitants,including all the beasts, fowls, and reptiles, as well as the demons and spirits. His reign was then so glorious that the moon never decreased, and good prevailed over evil. His control over the demons, spirits, and animals augmented his splendor, the demons bringing him precious stones, besides water from distant countries to irrigate his exotic plants. The beasts and fowls of their own accord entered the kitchen of Solomon's palace, so that they might be used as food for him. Extravagant meals for him (comp. I Kings iv. 22-23) were prepared daily by each of his thousand wives, with the thought that perhaps the king would feast on that day in her house (Meg. 11b; Sanh. 20b; B. M. 86b; Gen. R. xxxiv. 17; Cant. R. l.c.; Eccl. R. ii. 5; Targ. Sheni l.c.).
(Jewish Encyclopedia; Solomon; By: Emil G. Hirsch, Ira Maurice Price, Wilhelm Bacher, M. Seligsohn, Mary W. Montgomery, Crawford Howell Toy) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked--thou didst wax fat, thou didst grow thick, thou didst become gross--and he forsook God who made him, and contemned the Rock of his salvation. 16 They roused Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations did they provoke Him. 17 They sacrificed unto demons, no-gods, gods that they knew not, new gods that came up of late, which your fathers dreaded not. 18 Of the Rock that begot thee thou wast unmindful, and didst forget God that bore thee. 19 And the Lord saw, and spurned, because of the provoking of His sons and His daughters. 20 And He said: 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faithfulness. 21 They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a no-people; I will provoke them with a vile nation. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 5:26 For among my people are found wicked [men]: they lay wait, as fowlers stoop down; they set a trap, they catch men. 27 As a cage full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and have enriched themselves. 28 They are become fat, they shine, yea, they surpass in deeds of wickedness; they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, and they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not adjudge. 29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord; shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 30 An appalling and horrible thing is committed in the land: 31 the prophets prophesy falsehood, and the priests rule by their means; and my people love [to have it] so. But what will ye do in the end thereof? (Darby) (Emphasis added)

Koheleth

In Ecclesiastes 12:9 from the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, Solomon coins as a pseudonym the name Koheleth. In Hebrew the book is actually named Keholet and the name Ecclesiastes comes from the Greek word Ekklesiastes. Since most other translations came from the Greek, Ecclesiastes was carried forward as the name of the book in most non-Hebrew texts. The word Koheleth actually means "one who calls or addresses an assembly."

Ecclesiastes 1:1 The Words of the Koheleth, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. (JPS) (Emphasis added)

Since Solomon uses the pen name of Koheleth, it has been observed by some that the author of Ecclesiastes is unknown; however, since the author of the book clearly declares that he is the son of David and king in Jerusalem, the author must necessarily be Solomon.

There are a number of monumental implications to Solomon's coining the name Koheleth in and of itself. Evidently the significance of this has escaped undetected, but the name Koheleth means one that addresses an assembly. In that sense, the word should obviously be limited to use by the Levites. Since he was apparently a bastard, he should not have even been allowed to enter the assembly at all, much less lead it.

Deuteronomy 23:3 A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of the Lord. (JPS)

This special nature of the word Koheleth is greatly inferred since it is actually a derivative of the root of the name for the descendants of Aaron. Solomon was not of the seed of Aaron and this is the whole point. In most English translations, Koheleth is simply translated into English as preacher or teacher and it could also be rendered rabbi. Rabbi is the Hebrew word for preacher or teacher and this term was supposed to be and still is limited to use by the Levites. Not only that, but the word Rabbi in Hebrew could be literally defined as "My great one," and this implies divinity. By using the name Koheleth, Solomon is flagrantly violating the special position of the Levites and by so doing manifesting his role as a counterfeit of the Messiah.

In the following New Testament passage we see some analysis of this point in the words of Y'shua (Jesus). In this particular case, Jesus is addressing His disciples instructing them about what their titles should be while He noted in preceding verses that they were to obey the teachers of the law and Pharisees. While this passage does not address Solomon per se, there are several pertinent points made in this passage about the monumental significance these exact terms. They refer to the Messiah.

Matthew 23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 saying, The scribes and the Pharisees have set themselves down in Moses' seat: 3 all things therefore, whatever they may tell you, do and keep. But do not after their works, for they say and do not, 4 but bind burdens heavy and hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of men, but will not move them with their finger. 5 And all their works they do to be seen of men: for they make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders [of their garments], 6 and love the chief place in feasts and the first seats in the synagogues, 7 and salutations in the market-places, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8 But *ye*, be not ye called Rabbi; for one is your instructor, and all *ye* are brethren. 9 And call not [any one] your father upon the earth; for one is your Father, he who is in the heavens. 10 Neither be called instructors, for one is your instructor, the Christ. (Darby)

Some Christian thought on this passage has produced the interpretation that no one is to be called rabbi. This is an erroneous exposition however, because it fails to consider the exact audience of the statement, that being the disciples, and none of them were priests. It is important to carefully consider the construction of the sentences. Notice that there is a definite article pertaining to the disciples. This article does not dangle to any other parts of the passage. There is a complete prohibition against calling anyone father. Father refers to the heavenly Father and the exact dynamics of all of that are somewhat unfathomable, so we will go no further with that here. However, the Jewish priests - that is to say the Levites - sit in the seat of Moses and therefore deserve extraordinary respect. G-d appointed them to this position and that has not changed. It was and still is their job to teach the law and that is their title.

Ezekiel 44:23 And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the common, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. (JPS)

If Matthew 23:1 were rendered slightly differently as if from Hebrew, it is likely that the word Koheleth would appear rather than the word instructor - or teacher, as some other translations render this passage. Since it was not originally written in Hebrew, the word Koheleth does not appear, but it is a great deal more significant to substitute that word because it is a much more formal title. Venturing into etymology, it is worthwhile to consider the Hebrew word Koheleth in juxtaposition with the Hebrew word Kohein. The word Kohein indicates direct descendants of Aaron and is ordinarily the source of the common Jewish surname Cohen. There are several variations of that name. Notwithstanding that etymology, as a practical matter there are some with the name Cohen or variants thereof that are not Kohein, just as there are Kohein not named Cohen; and the plural form of Kohein is Kohanim.

Numbers 3:5 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying: 6 'Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. 7 And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tent of meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle. 8 And they shall keep all the furniture of the tent of meeting, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. 9 And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given unto him from the children of Israel. 10 And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, that they may keep their priesthood; and the common man that draweth nigh shall be put to death.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)

The full significance of all of this is that by using the title of Koheleth, Solomon manifests a flagrant counterfeit of the true Messiah that was and is Y'shua, vicariously known as Jesus Christ. All of these terms can refer to the true Messiah - just as Prince of Peace refers to Him. Using the name Koheleth is an extremely presumptuous act. Solomon was not the Messiah; however, in a stroke of deja vu, when he comes again he will be accepted as the Messiah - a forthcoming mistake.

Shelomoh

John 5:43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not; if another come in his own name, him ye will receive. (Darby)

When considering John 5:43, one could ponder just exactly who else could come in his own name? The word Solomon means peace and therefore Solomon was the "prince of peace," but not the "Prince of Peace."

Jeremiah 4:10 Then said I: 'Ah, L-rd GOD! surely Thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying: Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.' (JPS)

Chapter Epilogue

To complete this chapter, it is probably good to end at about the same place where the story began and that is with the birth of Solomon. It is useful to consider that the L-rd suggested another name of Jedidiah for Solomon and the name means loved by the L-rd.

2 Samuel 12:24 And David comforted Bath-sheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him; 25 and He sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet, and he called his name Jedidiah, for the Lord's sake. (JPS)
Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it has been said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy." 44 But I say unto you, love your enemies, [bless those that curse you,] do good to those who hate you, pray for those who [insult you,] persecute you, 45 That ye may be sons of your Father who is in [the] heavens; for he makes his sun rise on evil and good, and sends rain on the just and unjust. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Luke 6:27 But to you that hear I say, Love your enemies; do good to those that hate you; 28 bless those that curse you; pray for those who use you despitefully. (Darby)
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return, and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of [the] Highest; for *he* is good to the unthankful and wicked. (Darby)

While many have spoken many things against the Antichrist, to wit: Solomon, at this point one should realize that this is the greatest tragedy the world has ever seen. It was not Satan, but a man, albeit the smartest man that ever lived, given dominion over Satan's power that led to this calamity. Since we see that Solomon was greatly loved by the L-rd, it is probably well to guard one's words before speaking too harshly against him. Keep in mind that he was probably superior to just about everyone that ever lived in just about every way.

The Great Tribulation is an event of G-d and it is called the Day of the L-rd in many instances. Therefore, it is not to be opposed because in so doing one is opposing G-d. It is to be greatly feared should one be left on the planet to experience it.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beg you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, 2 that ye be not soon shaken in mind, nor troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as [if it were] by us, as that the day of the Lord is present. 3 Let not any one deceive you in any manner, because [it will not be] unless the apostasy have first come, and the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition; 4 who opposes and exalts himself on high against all called God, or object of veneration; so that he himself sits down in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (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)