I know! Everybody likes Solomon! As a christian, you’re supposed to like this greatest, richest of Israel’s kings. He was the wisest, the wealthiest, the most blessed, the builder of the temple, the writer of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (or of Solomon). Here I will lay out my case against him and let the reader decide for themselves.
It doesn’t start out well from what I can see. David sins with Bathsheba and then promises that her son will be king in his place. Maybe David felt guilty for killing her husband and taking her for himself but was she so unwilling in this? It is at least questionable. And, of all David’s wives and sons, his way to make amends is to give the kingdom to this person. It just seems wrong.
God blesses his choice, seemingly, and Solomon does make a good showing in some respects. He asks for wisdom to lead the people, that was good. But he also becomes David’s hit man. Joab, someone David should have dealt with years ago, falls to Solomon’s executioner. Shimei, again, if David had issues, he should have dealt with them. Adonijah, some felt the rightful heir to the throne, asks for Abishag, the Shunamite. Hardly a worthy play for the kingdom, since she wasn’t even a true wife of David, and he had gone through Bathsheba and Solomon to request her. But Solomon sees the opportunity and has him killed too. Abiathar is removed from the priesthood, though he did nothing wrong. These are all political tactics used to establish Solomon as king, but I don’t think that God would have established him this way.
In Solomon’s kingdom, silver becomes as common as stones, gold covers everything. He amasses horses, treasure, and wives, lots of wives. This is where he turns into the wisest idiot that I’ve ever seen. Seven hundred wives, SEVEN HUNDRED! Oh, and three hundred concubines. I’ve heard many say that these were political liaisons, and not the same as what we think of as marriage. But for them to be considered wives, it was necessary for a consummation to take place. His arrogance, his sexual addiction, and the subsequent fall into idolatry is horribly sad, and plunges Israel into hundreds of years of misery and terror.
And yet, everyone loves him.
He angers me because he was rich. I get so bothered because he threw away so much that could have been a blessing to generations. He was sad at his own life, in the end, and taught us so much along the way, but at such a high price. I feel so much frustration with his life because I am so disappointed with my own. If he could not do any better, how am I supposed to? To know so much, to have such wisdom, and make such a mess of his life, is very discouraging.
Maybe that’s the point.
Without Jesus, none of us, absolutely none of us, is worth much of anything. None of us is capable of BEING great. The reality of the greatest humanity has to offer is so clouded with sin and hurt and fear, that none of it can be redeemed apart from what Jesus did on the cross.
And in Him, we all become equals. Bought with His blood, filled with His Holy Spirit, empowered by His life in us, we become what humanity never could. Heavenly kings, princes, priests, warriors!