Solomon Marries Pharaoh’s Daughter & Solomon and the Israelite Empire

I can see that Solomon didn’t disobey David, like Joab had done.  And I’m sure he knew that sooner or later Shimei would leave the city for some reason so he could kill him.  That’s monarchy for you.  Is that okay with You?

The Temple at Ain
One of the most beautiful places in all northern Syria is the Afrin River Valley with its green and well watered farmland, pastures and orchards.

When descending into the Afrin Valley from the high barren mountains to the south it is easy to imagine this as the model for biblical Eden.

Situated high on an isolated tell in the valley is the Neo-Hittite temple at Ain Dara.

The excavated temple is constructed of dark rock deeply worked with ceremonial carvings and provides commanding views of the fertile plains around it.

It is easy to see its role as the center of spiritual activities for the local population 3000 years ago when it was in use – perhaps to worship the goddess Ishtar.

“And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, 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.

Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the Lord, until those days.

And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places” (1 Kgs 3:1-3).  

The greatest high place was in Gibeon so Solomon went there and burnt a 1,000 burnt offerings.  While he was there the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and said, Ask what I shall give thee. 

“And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, 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.

And now, O 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.

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.

Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: or who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

The Citadel of Aleppo is a large medieval fortified palace in the center of the old city of Aleppo, northern Syria.

It is considered to be one of the oldest and largest castles in the world.

Usage of the Citadel hill dates back at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C.

Subsequently occupied by many civilizations including the Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks, the majority of the construction as it stands today is thought to originate from the Ayyubid period.

An extensive conservation work has taken place in the 2000s by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with Aleppo Archeological Society.

Dominating the city, the Citadel is part of the Ancient City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986.

And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

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 judgment;

Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.

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.

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”  (1 Kgs 3:6-15).

Then two harlots came to the king one of them said,

The Oracle of Ammon near Siwa.
The visit to Siwa may also have been meant as a signal to the Egyptian populace.

There were two temples in the oasis, built by pharaoh Amasis (570-526) and pharaoh Nectanebo II (360-343).

Amasis was the last ruler of independent Egypt before the Persian king Cambyses had subjected the country.

His reign was remembered as a golden age and he was still very much alive in popular tales.

Nectanebo had been king after Egypt had rewon its independence, but was defeated by the Persian king Artaxerxes III Ochus and had fled.

By visiting Siwa, Alexander claimed to be a ‘returned Nectanebo’,

inaugurating a second golden age.

“O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.

And it came to pass the third day after that 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.

And this woman’s child died in the night; because she overlaid it.

And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.

And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.

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 spake before the king” (1 Kgs 3:24-28).

1 Worshiping anything but God is a sin against Him. 

“Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places” (Num 33:52).

High Place of Jeroboam
A High Place was a raised altar or hilltop shrine in ancient Israelite and Canaanite times described as existing from the patriarchs period through at least the sixth century B.C. and beyond.

High places consisted of a stone or earthen altar, often accompanied by a stone or wooden pillar symbolizing the presence of a deity, and sometimes a sacred tree.

High places near major settlements sometimes evolved into formal temples.

Joshua set up stone pillars after crossing the Jordan (Josh 4:20) and considered this a high place of worship because the Israelites “came up from” the Jordan onto higher ground.

The high places were visited regularly by the prophet Sam (1 Sam 7:16).

High places as sites of Canaanite idol worship (Jdg 3:19) extended into the period of Elijah (1 Kgs 18:16–40).

God would name only one high place where sacrifice was authorized, and that was the temple in Jerusalem (2 Chr 3:1).

God commanded that all other high places be destroyed.

King Josiah destroyed them in 2 Kgs 22—23.

“And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through fire unto Molech; which I commended them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. 

And now therefore thus said the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city, whereof he say, It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence” (Jer 32:35-36).

Why God didn’t want people to worship in high places is not known for certain, but probably because in Canaan the high places had become the scenes of orgies and human sacrifice connected with the idolatrous worship of these imaginary gods. 

It doesn’t matter why God said it, He did and that’s all that matters. 

Solomon and the Israelite Empire

Solomon inherited a vast empire, extending from the Euphrates to the Gulf of Aqaba and from Tyre to Egypt. He maintained this kingdom during a 40-year reign through diplomacy, industry and effec­tive administration.

Although Israel domi­nated the political scene of his day, the name Solomon is not attested in extra biblical re­cords discovered to date.

Even so, archaeology gives us a better appreciation for the glory of Solomon’s age.

Administration

Efficient internal administration facili­tated control of the empire. Royal adminis­trators included a chief of staff, secretaries, a military commander, a supervisor of forced labor, royal priests, a recorder (for foreign affairs) and a chief over regional districts.

Twelve regional governors each furnished a month’s support for the central govern­ment. A similar administrative structure may have been in place in Egypt.

Fortified Cities

An older contemporary, Pharaoh Siamun, may have conquered the Philistine city of Gezer and given it to his daughter, with whom Solomon is thought to have entered a marriage alliance (the identity of this pharaoh has not been authoritatively con­firmed).

Excavations at Gezer confirm its destruction in the early tenth century B.C.

Archaeological finds confirm the rebuild­ing of Gezer, Megiddo and Hazor, as described in 1 Kgs 9:15.

Fortified cities controlled the major trade arteries around and through the Holy Land. More than 40 small, 10th century b.c. fortresses have been discovered in the southern Negev.

The United Monarchy is the name given to the Israelite kingdom of Saul, David and Solomon, known primarily from the Hebrew Bible.

This is traditionally dated between 1020 and 930 B.C.

On the succession of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, in c. 930 B.C. the biblical account reports that the country split into two kingdoms; the Kingdom of Israel (including the cities of Shechem and Samaria) in the north and the Kingdom of Judah (containing Jerusalem) in the south.

Modern scholarship has challenged the biblical account using both literary and archaeological evidence, leading to questions over the historicity of some or all of the account.

Storehouses have been excavated at Hazor, Beth Shemesh and other locations. Similar structures at Megiddo, pre­viously identified as “Solomon’s stables,” have more recently been assigned archaeologically to the time of Jeroboam. However, these structures may have been built on founda­tions from an earlier period.

Gezer was a Canaanite city-state in the foothills of the Judaean Mountains at the border of the Shfela.

Tel Gezer (also Tell el-Jezer), an archaeological site midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, is now an Israeli national park.

In the Hebrew Bible, Gezer is associated with Joshua and Solomon.

It became a major fortified city in the first half of the 2nd millennium B.C.

It was later destroyed by fire and rebuilt.

The Amarna letters mention kings of Gezer swearing loyalty to the Egyptian Pharaoh.

Its importance was in part because of the strategic position it held at the crossroads of the Via Maris (the “Way of the Sea”) and the road to Jerusalem and Jericho, both important trade routes.

Discoveries related to biblical archaeology are eight monumental megaliths (up-ended stones, each of which is called a masseba and are found elsewhere in Israel); a double cave beneath the high place, probably used for divinatory purposes; 13 inscribed boundary stones, making it the first positively identified Biblical city; a six-chambered gate similar to those found at Hazor and Megiddo; and a large water system comprising a tunnel going down to a spring, similar to that found in Jerusalem.

Trade and Wealth

Sources of revenue were foreign trade, caravan tolls, the export of refined copper and tribute from vassal nations.

Solomon capitalized on a vigorous import-export trade in horses and chariots with Egypt, Anatolia, Syria and Mesopotamia.

An alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, allowed Solomon to develop trade between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Hiram provided experienced seamen and experts in both ship and harbor construction.

The visit of the queen of Sheba to Jeru­salem was probably concluded with a trade agreement. Israelite sea trading ventures from Ezion Geber on the Gulf of Aqaba threat­ened overland trade, previously monopolized by Arabian tribes.

The precise location of Ezion Geber is disputed.

Subjugation of Ammon, Moab, Edom and Syria gave Solomon control over the major north-south land routes through the region.

The Temple and the Palate

Hiram furnished artisans and architects for Solomon’s construction projects. Nothing remains of the Jerusalem temple, but it is described in detail in 1 Kings 6.

Megiddo is a tell in northern Israel near Kibbutz Megiddo, about 30 km south-east of Haifa, known for its historical, geographical, and theological importance, especially under its Greek name Armageddon.

In ancient times Megiddo was an important city-state.

Excavations have unearthed 26 layers of ruins, indicating a long period of settlement. Megiddo is strategically located at the head of a pass through the Carmel Ridge overlooking the Jezreel Valley from the west.

The site is now protected as Megiddo National Park and is a World Heritage Site.

Phoenician influence in the temple’s architecture and decoration has been con­firmed by comparison with other temples excavated in Syria and Palestine.

The Ain Dara Temple near Halab (Aleppo) in northern Syria, roughly contemporary with Solomon’s tem­ple, was remarkably similar in size and style.

It featured a portico with two columns, one on each side of the entryway. Within, it was divided into three parts, with an antecham­ber, main hall and main shrine (“Most Holy Place”).

A multi-story corridor enclosed the inner temple on three sides. Ornamentation using both cherubim and palm trees is well attested in Canaanite art of the Iron Age.

A twelfth-century B.C. ivory panel recov­ered from Megiddo depicts a throne similar to Solomon’s.