A Ruler Who Wronged His People
Solomon was building his palace thirteen years before he finished it. He
also built the throne-hall where he judged the people. This room was
the Hall of Judgment; and it was covered with cedar from floor to
His palace where he lived, in another court farther in from the Hall of
Judgment, was of the same workmanship. He made a palace, too, similar to
this hall, for Pharaoh's daughter whom he had
arried. All these
buildings were of costly stones, hewn according to measurements, sawed
with saws, both on the inside and outside.
Solomon also gathered together chariots and horsemen; he had one
thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horsemen that he
placed in the chariot cities and with him at Jerusalem. And Solomon had
twelve officers over all Israel who provided food for him and for his
household: each man had to provide food for a month in the year.
When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to test
him with puzzling questions. So she came to Jerusalem with a very large
number of servants, with camels that carried spices and a great amount
of gold and precious stones. As soon as she came to Solomon, she told
him all that was in her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions:
nothing was too difficult for him to answer.
When the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the palace
that he had built, the food on his table, the housing of his officers,
the way his waiters served him, their clothing, his cup-bearers, and the
burnt-offering which he offered at the temple of Jehovah, she was
greatly surprised. She said to Solomon, "What I heard in my own land of
your acts and of your wisdom was true. But I would not believe the words
until I came and saw with my own eyes; but as it is, the half was not
told me; your wisdom and prosperity are even greater than what was
reported to me."
Now Solomon loved women; and he married many foreign wives--Moabites,
Canaanites, Edomites, Sidonians, Hittites, and Ammonites. He had seven
hundred wives of princely birth, and three hundred concubines. When
Solomon was old, his wives influenced him to worship other gods, and he
was not loyal to Jehovah his God. Solomon built a place of worship for
Chemosh, the god of Moab, on the hill that is opposite Jerusalem, and
for Milcom, the god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his
foreign wives, burning incense and offering sacrifices to their gods.
Then God raised up as a foe against him Rezon, the son of Eliada, who
had fled from his master, Hadadezer, king of Zobah. He gathered men
about him and became commander of a robber band, and he went to Damascus
and lived and reigned there. He was a foe to Israel as long as Solomon
Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, was a man of great ability. When Solomon saw
that the young man was industrious, he placed him over all the men of
the tribe of Joseph who were working for the ruler.
Once upon a time, when Jeroboam went away from Jerusalem, the prophet
Ahijah of Shiloh met him on the way and took him aside. Now Ahijah had
put on a new garment, and while they two were alone in the field, Ahijah
took hold of the new garment he had on and tore it in twelve pieces.
Then he said to Jeroboam, "Take for yourself ten pieces; for Jehovah,
the God of Israel, declares, 'I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of
Solomon and will give ten tribes to you, but he shall have only one
tribe.'" So Jeroboam also rebelled against Solomon.
Solomon, therefore, wanted to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled
to Egypt, and he was in Egypt until the death of Solomon.