How well do you know King Solomon?


photo credit: zeevveez via photopin cc
photo credit: zeevveez via photopin cc

When we think of King Solomon from the Bible, we think of the young man who, when asked by God what he would like, asked for a discerning mind (1 Kings 3:9). God was pleased with his request so gave him not only a wise and discerning mind superior to anyone’s before or since, he also made him the greatest king of his generation. Power, riches. Solomon had it all.

The Bible gives us an example of Solomon’s wisdom in the tale of the two prostitutes, one with a living child and one with a dead one, both claiming the living boy as their own. He quickly figured out who the mother was when he commanded the guards to cleave the infant in two.

The Bible tells us of the magnificent Temple that Solomon built and dedicated to the Lord. Of his wonderful prayer for the nation of Israel. And that he placed the Ark of the Covenant within the Temple so the Lord could reside forever with his people. Conditionally. If they obeyed. If Solomon obeyed…

The Bible also chronicles Solomon’s downfall.

Solomon is famous for having 700 wives and 300 concubines. He had a thing for foreign women, despite God’s prohibitions about intermarrying with foreigners who worshiped other gods. “But Solomon was irresistibly attracted to them.” (1 Kings 11:2). In other words, like all of us, he did what he wanted regardless. And we know Solomon knew better. He knew better than anyone, because he was the wisest of us all. And “When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been” (1 Kings 11:4). Solomon worshiped Astarte, Milcom, and even built shrines to “the detestable Chemosh.” 

I don’t know about you, but a couple of things strike me with Solomon. How could the wisest man who ever lived do such stupid things? I mean, really, he obviously had a thing for the ladies, but 1000 women? How could THAT have been a wise decision? And with all his wisdom and God’s repeated warnings about what would happen if Solomon didn’t obey, why would he let his wives worship their own gods? And why would he follow them?

ShebaAnd that’s what I love about Tosca Lee’s new story, Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen.  

The Legend of Sheba follows the story of the queen who ruled Sheba (modern day Ethiopia) during the reign of King Solomon. A queen every bit as intriguing as Solomon himself. While we learn a lot about the country of Sheba (Saba) and their social, religious, and political beliefs in this book, what will draw Christian readers is the conundrum of King Solomon. What Tosca Lee explores in this epic piece of historical fiction is the reasons King Solomon might have fallen away from God’s teachings and how and why King Solomon might have rationalized his choices.

This book is a creative adaptation of biblical characters drawn from the Bible and other ancient writings. It is realistic and rings of truth. It is beautifully written and achingly lovely.

Stay tuned. On Wednesday, we’ll have an interview with Tosca Lee, a surprise gift, and a chance to win Legend of Sheba!



8 thoughts on “How well do you know King Solomon?

    1. At the end, God punished him. I don’t think it’s that he didn’t still believe in God, but that He broke the first commandment. His heart was led astray by his many foreign wives, just as God had predicted.


  1. I knew about the wives and concubines and that he built a place for his pagan wives to worship their gods in the Temple. In reading the last chapter of Ecclesiastes, it sounds as though he at least realized that there was only one God.


    1. There’s debate as to whether it was Solomon who wrote Ecclesiastes. I think that Solomon did believe in God, but got sidetracked later in life. He didn’t “finish the race well” as Paul would say.

      His punishment: “So the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you insist on doing these things and have not kept the covenantal rules I gave you,I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. However, for your father David’s sake I will not do this while you are alive. I will tear it away from your son’s hand instead. But I will not tear away the entire kingdom; I will leave your son one tribe for my servant David’s sake and for the sake of my chosen city Jerusalem.” (1 Kings 11:13)


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