Biography - Solomon
Solomon was the son of King David. When David died, he succeeded him as King of Israel. During his 40 year reign Solomon first led the nation to superpower status, he then led the nation to its downfall.
Solomon is one of the most fascinating people youll read about in the Bible. At the age of twenty he became King of Israel. Early in his reign, God came to him and said, "Ask for whatever you want Me to give you." Solomon asked for "a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong." (1 Kings 3:5-9)
God was pleased with Solomons request and promised him not only great wisdom, but also great riches and honor providing he kept His commands.
God kept His word. Solomon became known throughout the world for his wisdom and great insight. He was a prolific writer. He wrote three book of the Bible: Proverbs, the Song of Songs, and Ecclesiastics. He also wrote 3,000 proverbs and over 1,000 songs as well as scientific works on botany and zoology (1 Kings 4:29-34).
Solomon was also a great builder. He built the first Temple, a luxurious palace and ordered many other building projects (1 Kings 5-8). He entered into trade agreements with surrounding nations which led to even greater riches. Solomon received 25 tons of gold annually and silver was as common as stones. Israel had become the richest nation on earth, Jerusalem was the worlds most important city, and the Temple was the most beautiful building on the planet (1 Kings 10:14-26). It seemed to be a golden age for Solomon and Israel, but underneath the gold and glitter lay a serious problem.
A TRAGIC FALL
While the trade agreements brought material wealth, they ultimately led to Solomons (and his kingdoms) downfall. Solomon dealt with nations that worshiped false gods and it was customary for them to seal a deal by offering a women to the king to marry. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. This in itself was a heinous crime, but it was made worse by the fact that these wives worship false idols. Over time they eventually persuaded Solomon to do the same and his heart tuned away from God (1 Kings 11:1-8). God had no choice but to deal with this and promised Solomon that the kingdom would be divided (1 Kings 11:9-13). The golden age had ended.
WHAT WE LEARN FROM SOLOMON
People have no idea what to make of Solomon. He was a man of extremes great successes and terrible failures. What we often forget is that while Solomon was the worlds wisest man, he was still just a man. And like all of us who follow God, when Solomon walked with Him he was successful and when he didnt he failed. We need to ask God to be with us and fill us with His Spirit so we can not only see what is right, but also do what is right.
Towards the end of his life Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. In it we find Solomon pointing out that all the earthly treasures we strive for riches, power, popularity are empty and meaningless. True happiness, he concludes, comes from "fearing God and keeping His commandments." Or as Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-20, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, but store up treasures in heaven".