HIS LIFE AND TIMES.









                                      REV. F. W. FARRAR, D.D., F.R,S.

                                   ARCHDEACON AND CANON OF WESTMINSTER; AND CHAPLAIN

                                                                 IN ORDINARY TO THE QUEEN.
















                                                        NEW YORK

                                 ANSON D. F. RANDOLPH & COMPANY

                                     88 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET





INTRODUCTION                                                                                                        1

            Chequered fortunes of David—His early prosperity as a king—

            His career darkened—Uriah and Bathsheba—Joab's power over

            David—The birth of Solomon—Significance of David's remorse.



                                                CHAPTER I.


THE CHILDHOOD OF SOLOMON                                                                            5

            Influences which surrounded the childhood of Solomon—His

            father—Evil effects of his fall—His family—Bathsheba—David's

            fondness for his children—The name Shelômôh—Jedidiah—In-

            fluence of Nathan—His retirement—Solomon comes to be

            secretly regarded as the heir to the throne—Claims of Absalom.



                                               CHAPTER II.


THE YOUTH OF SOLOMON                                                                                     13

            Troubles of the period—The crime of Amnon—David's supine-

            ness—Absalom's revenge—His flight, return, and forgiveness--

            His ambition—His rebellion— Ahitophel—David's flight from

            Jerusalem—His impotent resentment against Joab—The murder

            of Amasa—Solomon learns who are the friends and the enemies

            of his house—Intestine quarrels—The numbering of the people—

            Dislike of the measure and its imperfect results—The pestilence—

            The vision on the threshing-floor of Araunah.



                                                    CHAPTER III.


THE ACCESSION OF SOLOMON                                                                              24

            Feebleness of David's age—Abishag of Shunem—Conspiracy of

            Adonijah—His adherents—His attempted coronation feast—

            Adherents of Solomon—Counter efforts of Nathan and Bath-

            Sheba—Interviews of David with Bathsheba and Nathan—David



iv                                           CONTENTS.


            rouses himself, and orders Solomon to be anointed and crowned—

            Popular enthusiasm—Collapse of Adonijah's plot—Terror of

            his guests—He is magnanimously pardoned—General amnesty—

            David's last song, and death—His dying directions to Solomon—

            His burial.



                                              CHAPTER IV.

THE KINGDOM OF SOLOMON                                                                                35

            Development of Jewish royalty—The nation enters upon its

            manhood—The Gibborim—The army—The nation realizes its

            unique position--Possession of a strong and beautiful capital—

            Passionate fondness for Jerusalem—Commencing centralization

            of worship—The Ark at Jerusalem—"Jehovah's people"—Out-

            burst of poetry—Dawn of prose literature—Elements of

            danger—Limits of the kingdom—Lines of possible progress—

            Significance of the records of Solomon.



                                                CHAPTER V.

INITIAL TROUBLES OF SOLOMON'S REIGN                                                          43

            Tragic events—Secret ambition of Adonijah—His visit to Bath-

            sheba, the Queen-mother—Interview between them—Her unsus-

            pecting acceptance of his request for the hand of Abishag—She

            visits the king—Her gracious reception—Sudden fury of Solo-

            mon—Possible causes for his violent anger—He dooms Adonijah

            to death—Alarm of Joab—Benaiah ordered to slay him—Hesi-

            tates to drag him from the horns of the altar—Execution of

            Joab—Fate of his posterity—Disgrace and banishment of the

            High Priest Abiathar — Zadok and the House of Eleazar-

            Destiny of the two families of Eleazar and Ithamar—Shimei

            ordered to live at Jerusalem—His visit to Gath to recover his

            slaves—His execution—Vigour of Solomon's rule—His kindness

            to Chimham, son of Barzillai—Foreign enemies—Escape of

            Hadad from the massacre of the Edomites—His reception in

            Egypt—His return—The Syrian Rezon—Geshur— Solomon's

            affinity with Pharaoh—One of the Tanite dynasty—National

            disapproval of the wedding in later times—Establishment of

            Solomon's power—The Second Psalm—Note on the Pharaoh

            of z Kings iii. 1.


                                                CHAPTER VI.
SOLOMON'S SACRIFICE AND DREAM                                                                   58
            General peacefulness of Solomon's reign—He offers a tenfold
            hecatomb at Gibeon—His dream—Modes of Divine communi-
            cation—His prayer for wisdom—The ideal not perfect—A con-
            ditional promise—Great sacrifice on Mount Zion—The dead and
            the living child—Nature of Solomon's wisdom—The wisest
            man of his age—His proverbs and songs, and other intellectual
            efforts—Riddles—Hiram and Abdemon.

                                                 CONTENTS                                                               v


                                                          CHAPTER VII.

THE COURT OF SOLOMON                                                                                      63

            Growing complexity and magnificence of the Court—High

            officers—Azariah, grandson of Zadok—Use of the word

            "Priest"—The two Scribes—The Recorder—The Captain of the

            Host—Zadok—Bamoth or High Places—The Farmer-general

            "The King's friend"—The Chamberlain; growing importance

            of this official—The Superintendent of the levies—Forced

            labour—The twelve districts to supply the Court—Significance

            of these districts—Judah possibly exempted— Immense exaction

            of provisions—The burdens not felt at first—Prevailing peace

            Solomon's one conquest.


                                                          CHAPTER VIII.

THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON                                                                              71

            The Temple—The design of David—He is forbidden to build—

            His immense preparations—In what sense the Temple was

            "exceeding magnifical"—Its substructions, walls, and cisterns,

            and the toil they involved—Embassy from Hiram of Tyre, and

            compact between the two kings—The levy or corvée—The

            burden-bearers and quarrymen—The Canaanites were the

            Helots of Palestine—The Giblites—The slaves of Solomon—

            Hiram of Naphtali—General form of the Temple and its measure-

            ments—Curious statements of the Chronicler—The Holy of

            Holies quite dark—Outer lattices of the Holy Place—The outer

            chambers—What a visitor would have seen—The outer court—

            The inner court—The brazen altar—The molten sea and the

            caldrons—Why the brazen oxen were permitted—The actual

            Temple—What was its external aspect?—Had it pillars within?—

            Jachin and Boaz—Theories about them—The Porch—The Sanc-

            tuary and its furniture—The Oracle; its doors—The Ark—The

            Cherubim— Built in silence—The general workmanship—Time that

            it occupied in building—Organization of Levitic ministry—The

            Temple a symbol of God's Presence—The actual building not used

            for prayer or public worship—The sacrifices, and what they

            involved—Water for ablutions—The Ceremony of Dedication—

            The old Tabernacle—The procession—Transference of the Ark to

            its rock—The staves—Splendour of the ceremony—The Cloud of

            Glory—Solomon's prayer; its spirituality—Stupendous thank-

            offering and festival—The fire from heaven—Prominence of the

            king in priestly functions—Second vision of Solomon—Intense

            affection and enthusiasm inspired by the Temple, as illustrated in

            various Psalms—Functions of the Levites.


                                        APPENDIX TO CHAPTER VIII.

ON THE PLAN AND ASPECT OF THE TEMPLE                                                      100

            Ideal reconstructions—Few remains—Scantiness of trustworthy

            information—Fancies of Josephus—Recent excavations—The

            Talmud—Size of the platform—Theories as to the style—I. Prof,


vi                                            CONTENTS.


            Wilkins and the Greek theory; now abandoned—2. Canina and

            the Egyptian theory—3. Fergusson, Robins, and others believe

            that the architecture was Asiatic and Phoenician; reasons for

            this view—Analogous buildings—The Temple as restored on the

            Phœnician theory.


                                                          CHAPTER IX.

SOLOMON'S OTHER BUILDINGS AND CITIES                                                      107

            The passion for building—Solomon's palace, and its adjoining

            edifices—Obscurity of all details—The House of the Forest of

            Lebanon; its shields—The Porch of pillars—The Hall of Judg-

            ment—The Palace—The staircase to the Temple—Water supply-

            Gardens—Summer retreats—Works of national usefulness—For-

            tification of the city—A chain of fortress-towns—Hazor,

            Megiddo, Gezer — The Beth-Horons — Baalath — Store cities,

            and chariot towns—Roads—Tadmor in the wilderness.


                                                      CHAPTER X.

SOLOMON'S COMMERCE                                                                                         114

            The ideal of peaceful wealth—Extended commerce: I. by land

            and II. by sea—I. Influence and splendour of Phoenicia: i.

            Land traffic with Tyre; Hiram and Solomon; Embarrassed con-

            dition of Solomon's resources; He alienates twenty cities; Scorn

            and dissatisfaction of Hiram; An obscure transaction; Inexplic-

            able conduct of Solomon; Prosperity of Hiram—ii. Land traffic

            with Arabia; Spices and precious stones—iii. Egypt and the

            Tanite dynasty; Land traffic with Egypt; Horses and chariots;

            Profits of the trade; Two great inland roads—II. Sea-traffic

            The Phoenician traffic with Tarshish—ii. Traffic by the Red Sea

            to Ophir; Ezion-Geber—Theories about Ophir; identified by many

            with Abhîra at the mouths of the Indus— Beautiful and curious

            articles of export—i. Ivory (Shen habbîm)—ii. Apes (Kophîm)—

            Hi. Peacocks (tukkiîm)--iv. Almug-trees—Sanskrit origin of these

            words—Did the fleets circumnavigate Africa?—Result of the

            commerce—Losses—Intercourse with idolators—The Red Sea

            fleets a failure—The king's revenue—His enormous expenses —

            Advantages of the commerce, direct and indirect.


                                                        CHAPTER XI.

SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY                                                                               129

            Visitors and presents—Royal state—Solomon, on a progress, as

            described by Josephus—As described in the Song of Songs—A

            nuptial psalm (Ps. xlv.)— Allusion to Solomon by our Lord—

            Other allusions—His ivory throne—Visit of the Queen of Sheba—

            Traditions about the Queen of Sheba—Legends of her visit and

            questions—Her admiration of his buildings and his magnificence

            —Interchange of presents—Naturalization of the balsam-plant-

            Our Lord's allusion—Summary of Solomon's wealth and grandeur.



vii                                              CONTENTS.


                                                         CHAPTER XI I.

THE DECLINE OF SOLOMON                                                                                   139

            An unsubstantial pageant—Solomon's heart not "perfect"—Two

            deadly evils—What a king ought not to do: 1. The multiplication

            of horses; 2. Accumulations of treasure; 3. Polygamy—Number

            of his wives—Evils of polygamy—Solomon's apostasy—Moral de-

            terioration—Influence of strange wives—Immoral tolerance:

            Worship of Ashtoreth; 2. Of Milcom; 3. Of Chemosh—Idol

            shrines on "the mount of corruption"—Evil effects of extrava-

            gant luxury—Grievous bondage felt by the people—Expense of

            maintaining the Court—A Divine warning—The growth of adver-

            saries--Degeneracy of the people, and of the youth—Illustrated

            in the advice of the "young men" to Rehoboam--Torpor of the

            priesthood—Silence of the prophets—Jeroboam, his early life,

            his rapid rise, his politic bearing—Ahijah the Shilonite—Symbol

            of the disruption of the kingdom Jeroboam begins to plot and is

            forced to fly into Egypt—Alienation of Egypt under Shishak I.—

            Close of the reign—Gifts and character of the king—Three stages

            in his career: I. His early prosperity; 2. The zenith of his glory;

            3. His decline—"Vanity of vanities"—Arabian legend of his

            death—His life less interesting than that of David—Doubts ex-

            pressed as to his salvation—Orcagna—Vathek—Dante—Services

            which Solomon rendered—The darker aspect of his reign—The

            true Jedidiah.


                                                  CHAPTER XIII.


            Character of Solomon's wisdom — I. His interest in natural

            science—Admiration—Similitudes—Legendary magical powers—

            Importation of new forms of animal and vegetable life—2. Solo-

            mon as a poet —The One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Psalm—

            The Seventy-second Psalm—Changed intellectual tendency of his

            age—3. The Canticles—Date of the Book—Probably written by a

            Northern Israelite—Some characteristics of the Book—Its allusions

            to an age of luxury—Its allusions to nature—Difference of its tone

            from that of the Nature-Psalms—Not on the surface a religious

            poem—Supposed outline of the poem as an idyl of consecrated

            love—This view adopted by most modern critics—The poem

            allegorized by Rabbis, Fathers, and Schoolmen—Real subject of it

            —Specimens of the allegoric interpretation—Not an epithalamium

            —Difficulties of believing it to be intentionally allegoric—The

            allegoric application religiously tenable, though not to be regarded

            as primary—The sanctification of love—Human love as a symbol

            of Divine.


                                                  CHAPTER XIV.

THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES                                                                                182

            Due to the general impulse given to Jewish thought by Solomon,

            though it cannot have been written by him —The title Qoheleth-

            Conjectures as to the date of the Book—"Elohim"—A struggle

            with perplexity and despondeney—Outline of the Book: I. The

viii                                           CONTENTS.


            Prologue; 2. The first section, personal experiences; 3. The

            second section; 4. The third section; 5. The fourth section,

            partial conclusion; 6. The Epilogue—A general summary—Pro-

            gressiveness of revelation—Doubts of some of the Rabbis—Two

            general lessons—The emptiness of worldly pleasure—The teaching

            of bitter experience.


                                                  CHAPTER XV.

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS.                                                                                      192

            Solomonic proverbs—Three words—I. Mashal, "a parable";

            Various applications of the word 2. Chîdâh, "a riddle";

            Enigmas in the East; "Dark sayings" in the Proverbs—Prov.

            xxvi. 10-3. M'létzah, "a figure "—Outline of the Book: 1. The

            Introduction; A manual of moral guidance—2. The Wisdom

            section; How it differs from the rest of the Book; Conceptions of

            "wisdom" among the Hebrews—3. "The Proverbs of Solomon;"

            Their general structure; Their substance; Twofold beauty of

            tone: i. It is kindly; ii. It is religious—Few traces of the national

            religion—4. "The words of the wise"—5. Further "words of the

            wise"—6. Hezekiah's collection—7. Three appendices: α. The

            words of Agur; β. The exhortation of Lemuel; γ. The acrostic

            of the virtuous woman—General remarks : I. Cosmopolitan spirit

            —2. Had the Hebrews a philosophy? —3. Three phases of thought

            about difficulties in the moral government of the world: α. The'

            era of general principles; β. The era of difficulties; γ. The era

            of acquiescence; δ. The final eschatological conclusion—4.

            Sapiential literature not Messianic, yet in one sense Christologi-

            cal—5. Exaltation of morality —6. Frequent references to the Book

            in the New Testament.


                                                            CHAPTER XVI.

LEGENDS OF SOLOMON                                                                                          208

            Predominance of Solomon in legend—Knowledge ascribed to him

            —I. The Talmud: i. Solomon, the demon Ashmodai, and the

            worm Shamîr; ii. Solomon, Naama, and the ring; iii. The Hag-

            gada, Solomon and the demons—II. Legends in the Qur'ân-

            i. His power—ii. His early judgment—iii. The magic wind;

            The steeds; The hoopoe; Balkis, Queen of Sheba—III. Ethiopian

            legend—IV. The Angel of Death.















Chequered fortunes of David—His early prosperity as King—His

            career darkened—Uriah and Bathsheba—Joab's power over David

            —The birth of Solomon—Significance of David's remorse.


FEW careers have been more chequered than that of David;

few even of the lives recorded in the sacred volume are more

deeply instructive. The ruddy shepherd-lad, who tended his

few poor sheep in the wilderness, rapidly sprang into the great

warrior, the darling and hero, the poet and ruler of his people.

Gaining yearly as Saul lost, superseding even Jonathan in the

favour of the multitude, he had been so openly regarded as the

future wearer of the crown, that the king's jealousy drove him

into outlawry, and repeatedly sought his life. Save from im-

minent perils, and from incessant temptations to adopt a career

of crime, he had shown such consummate tact and skill as the

chief of a dangerous band, that on Saul's death he had been

chosen king by the tribe of Judah, and solemnly anointed at

Hebron. After he had reigned seven and a half years as King

of Judah, the murder of Ishbosheth, son of Saul, left Israel

free to elect a successor, and David was unanimously invited to

rule over the Twelve Tribes. Then began a period of un-

exampled prosperity. He gained secure possession of the City

of Jerusalem, and consecrated it by the translation of the Ark

thither from Gath-Rimmon. He strengthened his throne by a

Court, a Bodyguard, and an Army. God "made him a great name

like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth."1 He  

became the father of a large and beautiful family, He was recog-

nized not only as a King, but also as a Psalmist and Prophet. At


                                                1 2 Sam. vii. 9.




2                                          SOLOMON.


times he even wore an ephod, and exercised many of the func-

tions of the priestly office.1 On every border of his kingdom he

drove back and subdued his hostile neighbours. The Philistines,

the Moabites, the rising power of Syria, the predatory Edomites,

and Amalekites, were thoroughly broken into submission. From

a petty chieftain he became a great sovereign. With the Phœ-

nicians in the north-west, he was in cordial and intimate alliance.

One misfortune alone—a three years' famine—seems to have

disturbed the brighter and earlier portion of his reign.

            Then calamity burst over him like thunder out of a clear sky,

and his glory and prosperity were shattered by his own sin.

The crime, the infamy, of one hour precipitated upon him for

all the rest of his life a terrible load of disgrace and ruin.

            He had an officer named Uriah, who like many of those who

served in his bodyguard, belonged to the old race of Canaan.

He was by birth a Hittite, but had probably become a prose-

lyte, and was, at any rate, conspicuous for his chivalrous bravery

and austere sense of duty. Among his comrades was Eliam, a

son of Ahitophe1,2 who, like himself, had risen by valour and

conduct to be one of the thirty commanders of David's thirty

companies. Eliam had a fair daughter named Bathsheba,3 and

it was natural that he should have given her in marriage to a

fellow-officer so distinguished as Uriah. The Hittite soldier

loved her with a passionate tenderness.4 While he was absent

in the war against the Ammonites, Bathsheba lived in his

house, which was one of those which clustered under the shadow

of David's palace on Mount Zion. One evening David, accord-

ing to his wont, was walking on his palace-roof, after the burning


            1 2 Sam. vi. 13, 17, 18; I Chron. xvi. 42.

            2 2 Sam. xxiii. 34. Jerome ("Qu. Heb." on 2 Sam. ix. 3; I Chron. iii. 5)

mentions the tradition, which he had learnt from the Rabbis who taught

him Hebrew, that these two Eliams—the son of Ahitophel and the father

of Bathsheba—were one and the same person. Eliam's name is omitted

from 1 Chron. xi., whence some have inferred that he lost his post, and was

involved in his father's ruin, but perhaps he may be dimly indicated under

the name of "Ahijah the Pelonite" (I Chron. xi. 36). Pelonî in Hebrew

means "so and so," like the Spanish Don Fulano.

            3 2 Sam. xi. 3. It is a somewhat suspicious circumstance, due perhaps

to Jewish falsification, that in I Chron. iii. 5, Eliam is disguised into Am-

miel, and Bathsheba into Bathshua. Bathshua is a heathen name. "The

daughter of Shua, the Canaanites" (I Chron. ii. 3; Gen. xxxviii. 2-12).

            4 2 Sam. xii. 3.


                                       INTRODUCTION.                                                 3


heat of day, when he saw Bathsheba, who was "very beautiful to

look upon," washing herself in a cistern on the top of her house.

Forgetful of all his past, and of all that was due from him as

God's anointed, he made Bathsheba the victim of his guilty

passion. There is no need to detail the fresh crimes in which

he was entangled by the desire to hide his guilt. His attempt at

concealment was frustrated by the fine feeling and honourable

firmness of his unsuspecting soldier,1 and no way remained to

escape the consequences of his misdoing except to plot the base

murder of Uriah while he was fighting the king's battles before

Rabbath-Ammon. David, whom God had chosen from the

sheepfolds, to be the ruler of His people Israel, became the secret,

treacherous assassin of his brave commander. The murder

could only be carried out by making Joab his accomplice.

            From that hour his peace was gone. It might have been said

to him as to the chief in the great tragedy

                                    "Not poppy nor mandragora,

                        Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,

                        Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep

                        Which thou owd'st yesterday."


            Joab, as commander-in-chief and nephew of the king, had

already been too powerful for a subject, but from that time he

became the complete controller of David's destiny, because he—

and at first he alonewas master of his guilty secret. Ahito-

phel too, hitherto David's most trusted counsellor, was now

secretly his enemy. He may not, at first, have been aware of

the murder of Uriah, but he was the grandfather of the woman

whom David had so foully wronged.2

            That woman was the mother of King Solomon. The date of

Solomon's birth cannot be ascertained with any certainty, be-

cause we do not know the age at which he ascended the throne.


            1 That Uriah had become a proselyte we infer from his language in

2 Sam. xi. II.

            2 See Blunt's "Undesigned Coincidences," Pt. II. x. p. 145. Professor

Blunt is usually credited with the first notice of this probability. It had,

however, been pointed out in the commentary of David Qimchi, and he

only quotes it from earlier expositors (see Grätz, "Gesch. d. Juden." i. 263).

In 2 Sam. xv. 31, David's prayer that God would turn the counsel of

Ahitophel to foolishness seems to be a play on his name, "brother of

foolishness" (?), though his advice was regarded as an "oracle of God''

(2 Sam. xvi. 23).


4                                    SOLOMON.


He speaks of himself indeed at that time as "a little child," but

the expression is metaphorical, and is only used as the language

of deep humility.1 He succeeded to the crown in early man-

hood. If so, he was probably born not long after the year B.C.

1035 of the chronology which is most usually adopted, and

which is, so far as we can discover, reasonably accurate.2

            But before we leave the tragic circumstances which accom-

panied David's first introduction to the mother of Solomon, it

is worth notice that the deadly wound which it inflicted on

the king's conscience, and the indignation which it caused

in the hearts of all to whom it became known, are proofs

of that loftier morality and keener sense of sin which resulted

from the Divine training of the Hebrew people. There were

many of the surrounding nations among whom this crime of a

brilliant and successful monarch would have been regarded as

venial or indifferent. The subjects of a Pagan autocrat would

have easily forgiven such an offence, and he would have found

no difficulty in forgiving himself. Indeed it is doubtful whether

any Egyptian or Assyrian subject would have ventured to in-

quire into circumstances which were surrounded with mystery

and doubt. But "the eye of the Lord is ten thousand times

brighter than the sun," and it was by a holy inspiration that His

prophets had been taught to look on sin "with such a glance as

strook Gehazi with leprosy, and Simon Magus with a curse."

The gaze of Nathan pierced through the precautions which

veiled the guilty secret of the king, and his voice—the voice of

the king's own conscience, and of the conscience of all the nation

awoke the offender to that burst of heartfelt penitence which

expressed itself in language never to be forgotten in the Peni-

tential Psalms. The king's repentance was as signal as had been

his crime.


            1 I Chron. xxii. 5; xxix. 1. "Solomon my son is young and tender." But

the same phrase is applied to Rehoboam, when he was forty-one (2 Chron.

xii. 13; xiii. 7), unless that (מא) be a clerical error for twenty-one (כא).

            2 The systems of chronology vary. Ewald dates the reign of Solomon

from 1025-986; Usher from 1017-977. Hales, Jackson, and Bunsen adopt

other schemes.






                                               CHAPTER I.




                             THE CHILDHOOD OF SOLOMON.




Influences which surrounded the childhood of Solomon—His father—Evil

            effects of his fall—His family—Bathsheba— David's fondness for his

            children—The name Shelômôh—Jedidiah—Influence of Nathan—His

            retirement—Solomon comes to be secretly regarded as the heir to the

            throne—Claims of Absalom.


THE brief sketch in the last chapter will suffice to show us some

of the conditions of the Court and family into which Solomon

was born.

            His father was a king who, in many respects, had fallen from

his high estate. The golden dawn and glorious noonday of his

reign were over. He was no longer the pride and the idol of

Israel and Judah. Not only had his administration ceased to be

so vigorous as once it was, but the dark story of his relations

to Bathsheba and Uriah was but an imperfect secret, and in

proportion as it became known David lost ground in the affec-

tions of his people. There was, indeed, no concealment in the

intensity of his remorse, and God forgave him, and restored to

him the clean heart and the free spirit. But the forgiveness of

sins is not the same thing as the remission of consequences,

and the consequences of sin are moral and spiritual as well as

physical. They leave their scars upon a man's character. Re-

pentance is less strong and less beautiful than his elder

brother Innocence. No man can stain his soul with such

crimes as those of David, and remain unscathed thereafter.

His powers of resistance are weakened; his tranquillity

becomes less secure. The intercourse of the boy Solomon with

his father must have been intercourse with a gloomy and




6                                         SOLOMON.


saddened man, who was still capable indeed of flashes of his

old nobleness, but whose recorded deeds show a marked dete-

rioration from the splendid religious promise of his youth. He

withdrew more and more into the pompous surroundings of

a Court, and the voluptuous seclusion of the harem. His

judicial duties were so much neglected as to give strength to

the complaints and promises of Absalom. The spell of his

early ascendency was broken, and a deep indignation against

him burned in many hearts. In a twofold way his evil

example produced bitter fruit. On the one hand, it caused the

enemies of the Lord to blaspheme; on the other, it acted as

a spiritual empoisonment in the hearts of all who were unstable.

It broke down in many minds the altar of confidence in the

reality of virtue, leading them to say, "If he is not good, no one

is good." His sons inherited from him the legacy of imperious

passions, and they had also before their eyes the fatal example

of a weakness in the Reason and the Conscience which, in

David if in any one, ought to have sufficed to keep those

passions under firm control. The transgression of the monarch

tended to lower the morality of the entire nation.

            The influence of David over any of his sons now that he was

weak and fallen, can hardly have been entirely beneficial, but it

is probable that his intercourse with Solomon was small. Be-

sides his daughters, David had at least twenty sons born of his

numerous wives.1 Following the bad custom of polygamy

which had only been practised to a very small extent by the

early patriarchs of his race, or by his immediate predecessor,

he had two wives during his wanderings, five during his reign

at Hebron, and an unknown number at Jerusalem, besides the

harem of ten or more concubines which was regarded as an

almost necessary appendage of Eastern royalty. The number

of his family, and the mutual jealousies between the separate

establishments, would naturally tend to diminish his intercourse

with his sons; nor is it the custom in the East for fathers to

take much part in the early training of their children, however

fondly they may be beloved. Polygamy necessarily tends to

break down domestic affections.

            To Bathsheba must have fallen the chief share in the educa-


            1 Seer 1 Sam. xxvii. 3; 2 Sam. iii. 2-5, v. 13-16; I Chron. iii. 5-8,

xiv. 4-7. There were also sons of concubines who are not named (2 Sam.

xv. 16; 1 Chron. iii. 2).


                      THE CHILDHOOD OF SOLOMON.                            7


tion of her child, and it is impossible to suppose that her

influence could have been very good. We know but little of

her, but that little is almost wholly to her disadvantage. If

her name was originally Bathshua1 this may possibly imply

that she was, in part at least, of heathen extraction; but

whether this be so or not she must have had a deep share in

David's guilt. In her son's reign, the young and beautiful

maiden of Shunem could be faithful to her peasant lover in

spite of the unequalled magnificence of the royal match which

was so passionately pressed upon her.2 Not so Bathsheba.

She seems to have offered no resistance to the far graver crime

of adultery committed against a most tender and faithful hus-

band. She came to David in secret. She must have acquiesced,

at least with silent complicity, in the base plot by which the

king would fain have concealed his guilt; and to that plot she

seems to have opposed no remonstrance.  Of Uriah's murder

she may have known nothing, but, if he was sacrificed without

her cognizance at the time, she can hardly have remained

unaware of that which afterwards, in Court circles at any rate,

became an open secret. Yet she was so far from turning with

abhorrence from the hands which were red with her husband's

blood, that directly the legal period of mourning for Uriah was

over, she was content to add one more to the discreditable

number of David's wives. We may make every allowance for

the different views of morality taken by Eastern peoples in

ancient days, but the fact remains—Bathsheba had been a

willing adulteress, and she continued to enjoy till death the

earthly fruits of her transgression. There is no certainty, and

little probability in the notion of the Rabbis that she was "the

mother of King Lemuel," whose appeals to her son are preserved

in the Thirty-first Chapter of Proverbs; but, if she were, those

exhortations to chastity would have come with more weight

from other lips.

            According to the order of names in I Chron. iii. 5, Solomon

was the youngest of five sons born to David and Bathsheba.

The eldest—the child of the adultery—died in infancy. The


            1 I Chron iii. 5.

            2 She is called the Shulamite, but Shunem was known as Sulem in the

days of Eusebius and Jerome, and the village is now called Solam. See

Robinson's "Researches in Palestine," vol. iii. p. 402. The only other

Shunammite in Scripture is Elisha's hostess (2 Kings iv. 12).



8                                   SOLOMON.


other three were Shimea, Shobab, and Nathan, of wham the

latter became the ancestor of Christ after the extinction of

Solomon's line in the person of Jeconiah.1  Possibly, however,

Solomon's name may only be placed last by way of emphasis,

for in 2 Sam. xii. it is implied that Solomon was born first of the

sons of Bathsheba after her legal marriage, and this is also

distinctly stated by Josephus.2 David was a fond father to all

his children, but the circumstances of Solomon's birth tended

to make him specially dear to the rapidly-ageing king. He was

the son of a mother passionately, if guiltily, beloved, and his

birth came to fill up the void caused by the death of the first

child. David would naturally regard his birth and survival as

a proof that God in mercy had accepted his prayers, and seen

his remorseful tears.

            When Solomon was born, the kingdom was at peace. David

had seen enough, and more than enough of war. The thought

of all the blood which he had shed weighed heavily upon his

conscience, and his enemies called him "a man of blood." His

yearning for peace appears in the name Absalom—"Father of

Peace"—which he had given long before to the son born to

him in Hebron of Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of

Geshur. By this time it must have been still stronger, and he

gave to his son by Bathsheba the stately name of Shelômôh,

or "The Peaceful,"3 the name which is still so common in the

East in the form Suleimân.4  Nathan was immediately in-

formed of the auspicious birth, and the child was placed

under his sponsorship and care.5 He, too, hailed the birth


            1 Luke iii. 31. Salathiel, the direct descendant of Solomon and Bath-

sheba in the line of Nathan, was probably adopted by Jeconiah. Comp.

Zech. xii. 12; and comp. I Chron. iii. 17; Jer. xxii. 30; Matt. i. 11, 12.

Salathiel's real father was Neri (Luke iii. 27), of the house of Nathan. If

"Assir" ("captive") was (as the Talmudists assert) a son of Jehoiachin,

he died young, and the exiled king adopted his kinsman, Salathiel.

            2 "Antiq." vii. 7, 4,

            3 According to one reading in 2 Sam. xii. 24, Bathsheba conferred the


            4 Comp. the names Shelômith, Lev. xxiv. 11; I Chron. xxvi. 25;

Numb. xxxiv. 27. So Frederick is Friedereich, "rich in peace." We speak

of Solomon because the New Testament and Josephus translated Shelô-

moh not by Σαλωμὼν), as is done by the LXX., but by Σολομών. The

long vowel is retained in Salôme.

            5 2 Sam. xii. 25. The verse may either mean—" He (David) sent him (the


                  THE CHILDHOOD OF SOLOMON.                          9


of the child as a sign that God had restored to David the

favour which had been promised to his repentance.  He there-

fore gave to Solomon, "because of Jehovah," the more sacred

name of Jedidiah—"Beloved of Jah."1  David himself had been

called by a name which meant "The Beloved," "The Darling";

but to Solomon the prophet desired to give a name expressive

of something deeper than family affection.2 This name, how-

ever, is never again referred to, for it was not meant to be used

in common life. The name Solomon was like a prophetic inti-

mation of the ideal and the history of the magnificent unwarlike


            In Nathan we might have expected that the boy would have

had a pure, wise, and faithful teacher; and such, we may trust,

was to some extent the case. But it is impossible to overlook the

fact that, after his one exhibition of fearless faithfulness, Nathan

seems to have sunk into comparative apathy. He lived till

Solomon's accession certainly, and perhaps late into the reign,

of which he wrote the earlier annals.4 If the Jewish tradition

mentioned by Jerome be correct, Nathan was the eighth, perhaps

the adopted, son of Jesse,5 and the same as the warrior

Jonathan, who is called David's "uncle" in 2 Sam. xxi. 21.6 He

has also been identified with the Nathan whose sons occupied

high places in Solomon's Court,—one of them, Zabud, being

"The King's Friend," and also "Priest."7 But the father of these


child) into the hand of Nathan;" or "He sent by the hand of Nathan," i.e.,

as Ewald (iii. 168) explained it "entreated the oracle through Nathan, to

confer on the new-born child some name of lofty import;" or even "He

(Jehovah) sent by the hand of Nathan." Comp. I Chron. xxii. 9.

            1 Amahilis Domino. Comp. Lemuel, Jonathan, Nathanael, Adeodatus,

Diodorus, Theodore, Gottlieb, &c.

            2 Comp. Ps. cxxvii. 2. "So every Muhammedan, besides his so-called

baptismal names, may have an additional name of loftier significance

ending in eldîn, which signifies the man in his religious capacity" (Ewald,

iii. 165: comp. Noor-ed-Din, Saleh-ed-Din, &c.).

            3 I Chron. xxii. 9.

            4 2 Chron. ix. 29.

            5 Jerome, " Qu. Hebr."; I Sam. xvii. 12; I Chron. ii. 13-15.

            6 It is more probable that "uncle " in I Chron. xxvii. 32 is a mistake

for "nephew," the mistake arising from a wrong punctuation of 2 Sam. xxi.

21. This Jonathan is described as a wise man, a scribe, and David's coun-


            7 It does not follow that this Nathan was of Aaronic descent, for David's


10                                SOLOMON


officials was more probably the younger brother of Solomon.

The prophet Nathan himself did not continue to play any

memorable part in the religious service of the people. After

Solomon's accession his name is not mentioned, and although

David consulted him about the building of the Temple, and

the organization of public worship, we do not hear of his

voice being raised in any of the crimes and tumults which

marked the closing years of the hero-king. It was Gad the

seer, not Nathan the prophet, who warned David of the

punishment which would follow the guilty pride—possibly the.

tyrannous purpose of levying a poll-tax or conscription—

which had induced him to number the people in defiance of

the wishes of his wisest counsellors.1  If, indeed, we could

attach any importance to a confused fragment of the Greek

historian, Eupolemus, Nathan may have had some message for

David during the three years' pestilence.2  But Eupolemus con-

fuses different events, and if the census had any reference to the

system of collecting funds for the future Temple, Nathan may

have persuaded himself that the measure was justifiable. Pos-

sibly the weight of advancing years may have impaired his

energy, but to him we must still attribute the best of the influences

which surrounded the life of the youthful prince. Himself •

trained in the School of the Prophets, he must have instructed

Solomon in all the poetry, the "wisdom of the East," and the his-

torical literature of his nation, and especially in whatever portions

of the Mosaic law were then committed to writing. The literary

capacities which Solomon had inherited from his father must.

have received a careful cultivation, although they assumed a


sons are also called priests (2 Sam. viii. 18), and even Ira (2 Sam. xx. 26).

By the time the Books of Chronicles were written there was some feeling

against the union of civil and ecclesiastical offices, and instead of "kohen,''

"priest," they have " chief at the hand of the king." The LXX. render

the name αυλάρχαι in the case of David's sons, and the Authorized Version

"officers," while the Vulgate honestly gives sacerdotes, and the Revised

Version "priests," as well as Luther and Coverdale. See Ewald, "Alter-

thümsk.," p. 276.

            1 2 Sam. xxiv. 25; I Chron. xxi. xxvii. 23, 24.

            2 The passage is preserved in Eusebius, "Prep. Ev." ix. 30, "An angel

painted David the place where the Temple was to be, but forbade him to

build it, as being stained with blood, and having fought many wars. His

name was Dianathan." The blundering name is taken apparently from the

διὰ Νόθαν in the LXX. Version.  Sec 2 Sam. vii. and I. Chron. xxii.



                        THE CHILDHOOD OF SOLOMON.                     11


different development from that which has immortalized the

name of David as "the sweet Psalmist of Israel."

            Though Solomon was the first Jewish king "born in the

purple," it is by no means certain that he had been destined

from the first to be David's heir. The old king may have felt

the same reluctance to name his successor as has been felt by

other great sovereigns; and to nominate an infant or a young boy

would be dangerous. It is not till the time of Adonijah's rebellion

that we hear of an oath to Bathsheba that her son should suc-

ceed to the throne,1 and as there is no independent mention of

that oath we do not know at what period it was given. It was

felt indeed that the king's nomination was one of the most

powerful factors in a claim to the throne, but the nomination

could hardly be arbitrary. The murder of Amnon, David's

eldest son, took place when Solomon was a child.  Of the second

son, Chileab or Daniel, we hear no more, and it is probable that

he died early. Of the remaining sons, Absalom was the eldest

He certainly regarded himself as the intended heir. Not only

was David already a king when Absalom was born at Hebron,

but the youth was of royal descent on both sides, since his

mother Maacah was a daughter of the king of Geshur. He

was also strong in the admiration of the multitude, and in the

passionate affection which his father entertained for him.  When

Absalom perished in battle against his father, Adonijah, the

eldest surviving son, regarded his own claims as valid.  Next

in order to Adonijah were at least twelve sons of whom we know

next to nothing, and who may have been excluded either from

the lack of any commanding qualities, or because their

mothers were of private and undistinguished families.2 The pro-

raise to Bathsheba may have been one of the whispered secrets

of the palace, but it does not seem to have been generally


            11 Kings i. 13, 17.

            2 In 2 Sam. iii. 1-5, we have six sons of David mentioned—Amnon,

Chileab, Absalom, Adonijah, Shephatiah, Ithream; in 1 Chron. iii. 1-9 we

have (if the text be correct) besides these (Daniel being put for Chileab)

Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, Elishama, Eliphelet, Nogah, Nepheg,

Japhia, Eliada; besides the sons of the concubines, and Tamar.  A similar

list, with variations, occurs in 2 Sam. v.14-16 ; and in I Chron. xiv. 3-7, where

Ibhar is put next to Solomon. Besides these we have a Jerimoth in 2 Chron.

xi. 18, whose daughter Mahalath was married to Rehoboam. Josephus

("Antiq." vii, 3, § 3) gives a totally different list of eleven sons.  Some of

them became "priests" (2 Sam. viii. 18, Authorized Version "chief rulers").



12                                SOLOMON.


known. It would be unfair to ascribe it solely to the ascendency

which Bathsheba had acquired over the mind of the uxorious

king. Solomon early displayed the capacity which marked

him as conspicuously superior to all his brethren. It was

clear to all "that the Lord loved him."1  David's insight in

choosing him to be his heir had received the prophetic ap-

proval of Nathan. But however early this design was formed,

there was an obvious wisdom in confining the knowledge of the

secret to a few. To make it generally known while Solomon

was a child would have been to awaken the turbulent jealousies

of his powerful and unscrupulous rivals, and to mark him out

for almost certain destruction. It must have early become clear

that such men as Amnon and Absalom and Adonijah—men of

fierce passions and haughty temperament—would be singularly

unfitted to carry out the peaceful and religious designs which

David wished to bequeath to his successor. The promise of

calm wisdom and stately demeanour which marked the childhood

of Solomon,2 combined with David's passionate devotion to

Bathsheba to make him pass over the pretensions of his elder

sons, and with the approval of his truest religious adviser, to

swear by the name of Jehovah, "Assuredly Solomon my son

shall reign after me."


            1 2 Sam. xii. 24.

            2 Compare Wisd. viii. 19, "But I was a clever child, and received a good







                                              CHAPTER II.


                                 THE YOUTH OF SOLOMON.




Troubles of the period—The crime of Amnon—David's supineness—Absa-

            lom's revenge—His flight, return, and forgiveness—His ambition—His

            rebellion—Ahitophel—David's flight from Jerusalem—His impotent

            resentment against Joab—The murder of AmasaSolomon learns who

            are the friends and the enemies of his house—Intestine quarrels—The

            numbering of the people—Dislike of the measure and its imperfect

            results—The pestilence—The vision on the threshing-floor of Araunah.


THE youth of Solomon fell in a dark and troubled period,

during which the sins and errors of David were bringing about

their natural retribution.

            The first event which shocked the nation and rent the king's

heart was the horrible misconduct of his eldest son Amnon,

who had been born to him during his days as a fugitive, by his

first wife Ahinoam of Jezreel. There is no need to detail one

of the foulest incidents which sully the sacred page. It is not

often that the fierce light of history burns into the secrets of an

Eastern palace, but, in this instance, it reveals a state of things

truly shocking. Violent and insolent as his ancestor Reuben, this

first-born of David did not allow the Mosaic law to restrain the

growth of his ungovernable passion for his half-sister Tamar.1

Aided by the cunning of his cousin Jonadab, the son of David's

brother Shimeah, he accomplished his purpose, and then, with a


            1 Grätz ("Gesch. d. Juden." i. 264) assumes, without a shadow of proof,

that Tamar was a daughter of Maacah by an earlier marriage, so that there

was no blood-relationship between her and Amnon. A man guilty of con-

duct so atrocious as that of Amnon would hardly be hindered by any











14                                SOLOMON.


sudden revulsion of feeling, rendered his crime yet more detest-

able by driving the maiden from him with pitiless brutality. His

conduct can only be accounted for by the glare of unnatural

horror often flung by a guilty conscience when a deed of shame

is done. With her "sleeved upper garment"1 rent, and ashes

on her head, the dishonoured princess fled to her own brother

Absalom, uttering loud cries of despair. He, with a deeply-

seated purpose of revenge bade her to dissemble her anguish

as he dissembled his own rage, and to remain in her palace

quiet though desolate. Under such circumstances it was David's

duty2 to see that punishment fell on the head of the atrocious

criminal. But David, like Eli, yielded to a foolish fondness for

his son, and spared to bring him to justice because he was his

first-born, and he did not like "to vex his soul."3 He was

"very wroth," but he did nothing.

            But if the king would do nothing, Absalom determined that

due vengeance should wipe out the shame of incest and out-

rage.4  He nursed his wrath, and said nothing to Amnon. He

was sullenly waiting for the opportunity which was sure to rise

when suspicion had been lulled to sleep. After two years had

elapsed he made "a feast like the feast of a king"5 at Baal-

Hazor, near the little town of Ephraim—the hamlet in which

our Lord took refuge after His excommunication by the Priests.6

Sheep-shearings were recognized seasons of festivity,7 and it

was quite in accordance with Absalom's known character, that

he should desire to make the occasion as splendid as possible.

He, therefore, invited the king and the princes to be present

at the celebration. David, as Absalom no doubt had expected, 

declined to go in person, on the plea that his visit would in

volve Absalom in great expense; but he permitted all the

king's sons to go. It seems to have been regarded as a matter

of course that Amnon would not be invited; but when David


            1 2 Sam. xiii. 18. It was her dress as a princess (comp. Gen. xxxvii. 3).

            2 See Levit. xx. 17.

            3 2 Sam. xiii. 21. LXX.

            4 It is a touching sign of Absalom's affection for his dishonoured sister

that he called his own daughter after her—Tamar (2 Sam. xiv. 27).

            5 2 Sam. xiii. 27. LXX.

            6 This cannot be regarded as certain. The words mean, according to

Ewald, "on the borders of the tribe of Ephraim." A various reading is

"the valley of Rephaim."

            7 Gen. xxxviii. 12, 13; I Sam. xxv. 4, 36.



                            THE YOUTH OF SOLOMON.                              15


had refused the invitation, and contented himself with blessing

Absalom, there was a plausible excuse for asking permission

that the eldest son, the presumptive heir to the throne, should

be present as David's representative. It was not without mis-

giving that the king granted the request, for hatred is not easily

concealed, and David was aware of his own neglect, and of the

deadliness of Amnon's offence. But he could never resist the

subtle fascination of Absalom's appeals, and disguising his sus-

picion he gave a reluctant assent. Revenge was now within

Absalom's reach. He ordered his servants to wait till Amnon

was flushed with wine, and then fearlessly to murder him,

promising them the protection of his position and influence.

The murder was accomplished. The banquet broke up in wild

confusion, and the terrible news was brought to Jerusalem that

all the princes were slain. In that awful moment as amid his

wailing courtiers he grovelled in the dust with rent clothes, and

recognized the fatal similitude to his own crime in these deeds

of lust and blood, the iron must indeed have entered deep into

David's soul.

            His nephew, the subtle Jonadab, removed the most over-

whelming part of his anguish by assuring him that Absalom

could only have killed Amnon. He had read the secret of

Absalom's revenge in his face, as he read the secret of Amnon's

lawless passion.  The appearance of the king's sons on their

mules, all weeping bitterly, confirmed the surmise of Jonadab.

But the facts were still sufficiently terrible. Dark spirits were

walking in the house of the Psalmist of Israel. A brother had

outraged his sister, and had fallen by his brother's hand.

            Absalom was now the heir, and though his father had never

said him nay he did not venture to appear before the deeply-

incensed king, but fled to the Court of his maternal grandfather,

Talmai, king of Geshur. There he remained in exile for three

years. For a year David continued to wear mourning for

Amnon, and then his heart began to go forth once more to his

banished son.1  Joab, loyal to his master in every respect so long

as he was left undisturbed in the command of the army, read

the king's hidden yearning, and by the device of the widow of

Tekoah, induced him, to recall Absalom. Perhaps his conduct

in the matter was not quite so disinterested as it looked. Ab-


            1 2 Sam. xiv. 1.  Dr. Edersheim and others render it "the king's heart

was against Absalom" (comp. Dan. xi. 28).



16                                   SOLOMON.


salom, at any rate, had ulterior designs. In murdering Am-

non he had borne in mind that his brother's removal left his

path clear to the throne, and he relied for success on his own

prowess, cunning, and popularity, supported as they were by

his father's boundless pride in his beauty. It probably never

occurred to him to regard Solomon as an obstacle in his way.

The kingdom needed a strong ruler, and being in the prime of

life he would not have feared that his wishes could be thwarted

by an inconspicuous child, the son of a mother of no import-

ance. He had been forbidden to see his father's face, and this

was the condition of his return. It was, however, essential to

his plans that there should be an open reconciliation between

his father and himself, and he had not the least doubt that this

could be assured if once the king could be induced to permit

him to enter his presence. Five years had now elapsed since

the tragedy at Baal-Hazor, and he thought that it was time for

the condonation of a fratricide, which he defended by his duty

as an avenger. He sent for Joab twice, but Joab was afraid or

unwilling to visit a prince who was in disgrace. With charac-

teristic insolence he therefore ordered his servants to set Joab's

barley-field on fire, and when the rude soldier came to demand

compensation he vehemently reproached him with having

brought him back from Geshur to no purpose. Joab accordingly

used his irresistible influence to bring about an interview between

David and his son, and it ended, as Absalom had expected, in

his father's extending to him full forgiveness, ratified by a kiss

of peace.

            He might now have felt assured that he would succeed to the

throne, but his impetuous vanity and ambition would not suffer

him to await his father's death, His position as the king's

eldest son enabled him to surround himself with chariots and

horsemen and a bodyguard, and he also deliberately set himself

to create a popular movement in his own favour. In this base

plot he was aided not only by his own peerless beauty, an in-

fluence doubly powerful in Eastern countries, but also by the

growing remissness of the king's old age, and possibly of his

long illness. He gradually got round himself a powerful

party, and the conspiracy grew stronger every day, while the

king, rarely leaving the precincts of his palace, remained in

unsuspecting security. For four years, with unsleeping assi-

duity, he set himself to steal away the hearts of the people


                     THE YOUTH OF SOLOMON.                           17


by blandishments and bribes. At last the time seemed ripe

for throwing off the mask. David's rule had in some way

alienated his own tribe of Judah, and the disaffection was

particularly strong in his early capital of Hebron. The in-

habitants of that old and sacred city perhaps looked with

jealousy on the growing glories of Jerusalem by which they had

been so totally thrown into the shade. Absalom, under pre-

tence of a vow, asked leave to sacrifice at Hebron, and went

thither with two hundred followers, from whom he had con-

cealed his designs. But no sooner was he safe in Hebron, than

he sent for Ahitophel, whose wisdom had secured him the high

post of the king's counsellor, and whose counsel was reverenced

in those days like an oracle of God. Now, Ahitophel was the

grandfather of Bathsheba, and it is difficult to imagine that he

would have joined Absalom if he had been aware that his own

great-grandson was David's destined successor. It is indeed

possible that ambition may have been suppressed by the sterner

passion of revenge. Like Absalom himself he may have nursed,

during many years, a secret wrath for Bathsheba's dishonour.

His motives must be only a matter of conjecture; but as his

grand-daughter was now the king's favourite wife, and the

mother of four of his sons, his defection is, at any rate, a clear

sign of David's waning popularity.

            On receiving the news of this formidable revolt, David im-

mediately decided to leave Jerusalem until he should have

gathered a sufficient force to fight against his son's adherents.

He took with him all his wives and sons, only leaving ten con-

cubines to look after the royal abodes. Bathsheba and her

young son must therefore have been with him during that long

and tragic day, so full of heart-shaking scenes, which is described

at greater length than any other day in the whole Bible. Per-

haps they stood by David's side under the olive-tree by the

last house in the suburbs of Jerusalem, on the edge of the dark

Kidron, while the soldiers and people defiled past him. On the

sensitive mind of a boy those scenes must have left a deep im-

pression, and they also taught him the friends on whom he could


            1 In 2 Sam. xv. 7 it is clear that the true reading is, "It came to pass

after four (not forty) years." This is the reading of the Peshito, the Vul-

gate, Josephus, and most modern critics. The conduct of Absalom was

like that of Agamemnon (Euripides, "Iphig." 337 sqq.) and Bolingbroke

(Shakespeare, "Richard II.," act v. sc. ii.).



18                                SOLOMON.


most securely rely. For without the aid of the mercenary and

alien bodyguard known as Cherethites, Pelethites,1 and Gittites

David must have been crushed at once. They were under the

command of Benaiah and Ittai of Gath, and they acted in

concert with a body of six hundred, the little nucleus of the first

standing army known to the Hebrews. The whole force was

popularly spoken of as the Gibborim or Heroes, a name which

properly belonged only to those who had shown distinguished

prowess.2  Of the priests, Zadok was conspicuous for loyalty,

and his reputation as a seer added greatly to David's strength.

Abiathar also remained faithful, but he is mentioned after Zadok,

though he was older and had the precedence in religious rank,

and he seems to have shown tardiness in taking the final

decision.3  Hushai the Archite,4 David's "friend," and perhaps,

like Ittai, of alien race, was also faithful. With rent garments


            1 The origin of these names is disputed. Ewald and Hitzig (following the

LXX. in Ezek. xxv. 16; Zeph. ii. 5) regard them as Cretans (comp. Tacitus,

"Hist." v.2, but see 1 Sam. xxx. 14), and Philistines; but Gesenius,Thenius,

and Keil think that they are the names of officers, "executioners (2 Kings

xi.4) and couriers" (1 Kings xiv. 28), from כרת "to slay," and פלת "to run."

Josephus calls them σωματοφύλακες (2 Sam. xxiii. 23). In 2 Sam. xx. 23

and 2 Kings xi. 4 the word rendered in our Authorized Version by

"Cherethites" and "captains" is really כרי, perhaps "Carians."

            2 The word "Gittites" in 1 Sam. xv. 18 should probably be "Gibborim"

or "Heroes," as in xvi. 6. This is the reading of the LXX. Grätz

("Gesch. d. Juden." i. 270) thinks that Ittai and the mercenary force had

been got together evidently but a short time before the rebellion, 2 Sam.

xv. 19) to overawe the designs of the Tanite Pharaoh Psusennes (?) on the

domains of Geshur.  It has been conjectured that by "Gittites" are,

meant soliders who had served under David in old days at Gath.

            3 He "stood still" (according to the conjectural reading) until all the

people had streamed out of the city, whereas Zadok and his Levites had at

once taken out the Ark to accompany David (2 Sam. xv. 24). But the

meaning of the passage is not quite clear. It may be that Abiathar had

accompanied Zadok with the Ark, and that his name has dropped out of

2 Sam. xv. 24 (of which there is a very possible trace in the LXX. reading απὸ  

Βαιθάε), and that Abiathiar stood still (comp. Josh. iii. 17) with the king

under the olive-tree (LXX.), by "the last house" (2 Sam. xv. 17, Hebr.),

while the Ark was motionless until all the people had passed.

            4 This title is of certain meaning. It might mean "from the town of

Erek," but no town of that name is known. Perhaps the Archites, like the

Jebusites, &c., were the remnant of some aboriginal tribe of Palestine.

Josephus, with a strange play on the word, calls him αρχιεταῖρος, "chie

of the companions."


                        THE YOUTH OF SOLOMON.                    19


and ashes on his head, he joined David at the little oratory

(proseucha) on the top of the Mount of Olives (2 Sam. xv.

32, Hebr.). Mephibosheth, still perhaps brooding over the

miserable fate of Saul and his house, and the bloody end

of so many of his brethren, seems to have been lukewarm

at the best, but his powerful agent, Ziba, made up for this

remissness of the last surviving son of the friend of David's

youth. Joab also and his brother Abishai remained loyal

to their uncle and old master, and shared with Ittai the com-

mand of the forces. On the other side of the Jordan three

powerful and generous sheykhs, Shobi, the son of Nahash, who

had survived the destruction of his native Rabbah,1 Machir of

Lo-debar, and the aged Gileadite, Barzillai, rendered to the

fugitive king an invaluable service. The friends who thus rallied

round David were, with few exceptions, the friends and partisans

of Solomon at a later period.

            It is needless to follow the story of Absalom's rebellion, defeat,

and death.2 The king's impolitic outburst of sorrow at the news

of his son's death shows how easy it would have been for

Absalom to have succeeded but for his own headstrong folly

His murder—for it was nothing else, though Joab may have

thought it justifiable—left no real competitor between Solomon

and the throne.3

            Solomon was already of an impressionable age, and the events

of this rebellion must have taught him much. Among other

things he must have perceived the dangerous power of Joab

and the reckless use which he made of it. His language to the

king was even insolent in its tone of menace, and David in his

resentment superseded him in his command, and placed Amasa

—another of his nephews—in his place. The resentment was

perfectly impotent.  Joab, master of David's secrets, was master

of David's fate. He had made himself indispensable, and he


            1 He may have been a brother of the insulting Hanun, and as Nahash

had been a firm friend, and perhaps a kinsman, of David, David may have

made him "chief" (δυνάστης, Josephus, "Antiq." vii. 9, § 8) of the Am-

monite country in his brother's place.

            2 It has been supposed that in Psalms iii., xxxix., xli., lv., lxii., lxiii., we

have allusions to the circumstances of Absalom's conspiracy.

            3 The mode of Absalom's murder seems to have been exceptionally cruel.

Joab transfixed him with three wooden staves, and left his armour-bearers

to kill him. He had old grudges to satisfy.



20                                   SOLOMON.


gave David plainly to understand that, while he would be

faithful in all other respects, he did not mean to be cashiered

from his command. His brutal murder of Amasa caused a

shock of disgust, and men remembered long afterwards his

horrible appearance as he went in pursuit of Sheba with his

girdle and all his garments down to his sandals soaked in his

murdered cousin's blood.1 Yet David did not dare to punish

him! There had been an obvious injustice and feeble im-

policy in the appointment of Amasa, a rebel and the son

of an Ishmaelite,2 over the head of the very commander

who had just defeated him in the king's battle. Indeed,

Amasa at once proved his own incompetence, and Joab, by

bringing the rebellion of Sheba to a speedy and successful

issue, placed himself beyond the reach of David's anger. The

manner of Amasa's murder had been craftily made to wear the

appearance of an accident, and perhaps this furnished David

with an excuse for not bringing to justice a kinsman who had

nought for him for so many years, and had become far too

powerful for his control. He hates him, he feels his dependence

on him, he is afraid of him, curses him again and again, tries

get rid of him, yet, in spite of the murders of Abner and

Amasa, always kept him at hand, and finally commands his son

to punish the servant whom he feared to touch himself.3

            Again, Solomon must have perceived that the animosities of

the house of Saul still smouldered beneath the surface. The

curses heaped upon David in his hour of shame by Shimei, son

of Gerar, who was of Saul's family, showed that there were still

many adherents of the old royal house. He followed David to

curse him as the murderer of his race, and never stopped his

curses till the king and his followers had reached a spot which per-

haps from this circumstance received the pathetic name of Aye-

phim—"the place of the weary."4  David had certainly behaved

with generosity to the descendants of his former master, and

especially to Jonathan's son Mephibosheth. The guilt—for so

it was regarded at the time5—of the execution of Saul's seven

sons and grandsons—five sons of his daughter Merab,6 and two


            1 I Kings ii. 5.

            2 2 Sam. xvii. 25, Hebr.; comp. I Chron. ii. 17.

            3 See Oort, "Bible for Young People," iii. 87 (E. tr.).

            4 See 2 Sam. xvi. 14 (the probable reading).

            5 2 Sam. xvi. 7.                       
            6 So we should read in 2 Sam. xxi. 8.


                      THE YOUTH OF SOLOMON.                                21


of his sons by Rizpah—must fall not upon David, but upon the

priesthood who furnished David with the answers of the oracle,

and on the Gibeonites who demanded this horrible expiation

by human sacrifice. But the lonely anguish of Rizpah, as, for

month after month, in burning heat and searching cold, seated

on sackcloth upon the rocks, she scared the vultures and the

jackals from the crosses on which hung the blackened and

shrivelled bodies of her two sons


                        "Dead in the dim and lion-haunted ways,"


had awakened a deep sympathy, and the action of Mephibosheth

himself in not joining the faithful soldiers and courtiers who

left Jerusalem with David seems to show that a reaction in

favour of Saul's house was not deemed impossible even then.

Ziba, at any rate, charged his master with cherishing secret

hopes of the overthrow of David, and although Mephibosheth

excused his tardiness by the fact that he was lame, it has been

said that the excuse was as lame as he who offered it.1

Solomon's later policy towards Joab and Shimei and Abiathar

was probably influenced by all that he had seen and heard,

when, as a boy, he stood with his father under the olive-tree

beside the Ark, and accompanied his mother Bathsheba on that

long day of flight and weeping up the slopes of Olivet and

down the deep valley into the wilderness of Jordan.

            He must also have learnt that the kingdom was still far from

consolidated. The furious quarrel between the men of Judah

and the men of Israel, and the revolt of Sheba the Benjamite

from the mountains of Ephraim, showed that tribal jealousies

could at any moment be fanned into a flame. The tribe of

Ephraim could not acquiesce in the loss of its old pre-eminence;

the men of Benjamin could not readily forget that the first

monarch of Israel had been one of themselves.

            Another great calamity broke the returning peace of David's

later years. It was the numbering of the people and the pesti-

lence, which was regarded by the national conscience as the

punishment for this offence.


            1 It must however be admitted that later Jewish sentiment condemned

the act as hasty and unfair. "In the hour when David said, 'Thou and

Ziba divide the land,' a Bath Kol (voice from heaven) came forth and said

to him, 'Rehoboam and Jeroboam shall divide the kingdom'" (Talmud,

Shabbath, 56. 2, quoted by Dr. Edersheim, "Bible History," v. 31).


22                                  SOLOMON.


            This passage of David's history is surrounded by obscurities,

for we are not told his exact motive.

            There could have been nothing sinful in the mere wish to

ascertain the numbers of the population, and the statistics

of its various elements. The growth and organization of the

kingdom rendered such a step desirable. Possibly, also, David

was in dread of an Egyptian encroachment on his southern ter-

ritories, and may have felt it necessary to be prepared for war.1

Solomon in his reign carried out the census more completely, and

no pestilence followed, and no blame is attached to him. Moses

had thrice been ordered to take a census of the Israelites in the

wilderness, partly in order to ascertain the number of the fight-

ing men.2 But in Exod. xxx. 12 we find a command never to

number the people without requiring of every man half a shekel

as atonement-money, which was to be for every man "a ransom

for his soul unto the Lord," for the express reason "that there

may be no plague among them when thou numberest them."

David exacted no atonement-money, and may not even have

been aware of this law. It is clear, however, that the census—

or its unavowed motives—was repugnant to the general feeling.

Joab and his officers ventured to dissuade the king from his

purpose, but they counselled in vain. The mass of the people

shared Joab's sentiments, because they disliked so prominent

an assertion of regal power. They looked on the census as an

ill-omened expedient of worldly policy, and its results were not

even entered in the official chronicles.3  The historians ascribe

the impulse to "the anger of the Lord," and to "a Satan," and

Joab did the work both tardily and imperfectly.4 At the end of

nine months and twenty days he informed David that the

effective military force of Israel numbered 800,000 men, and of

Judah, 500,000.5 The tribe of Levi was omitted from the census


            1 The little raid of the Egyptians on Gezer (i Kings ix. 16) is not defi-

nitely dated, and may have occurred before David's death. It was only

Solomon's marriage with Pharaoh's daughter which robbed it of its threat-

ening character, for Gezer was a Canaanite city on the lower border of

Ephraim. The site of Gezer has very recently been identified at Abu

Shusheh, also called Tell-el-Gezer, between Ramleh and Jerusalem (L.

Oliphant, "Haifa," p. 253).

            2 Exod. xxxviii. 26; Numb. i. 2, 3, xxvi. 1-4,

            3 I Sam. xxiv. 1; I Chron. xxi, 1.                      4 I Chron. xxi. 5, 6; xxvii. 24.

            5 In I Chron. xxi. 5 we have the astounding, total numbers. of 1,100,000

for Israel, and 470,000 fighting men for Judah.



                   THE YOUTH OF SOLOMON.                                23


as a matter of course, in accordance with the ancient precedent,1

but the Chronicler says that Joab also purposely omitted to

number the tribe of Benjamin, because "the king's word was

abominable to him,"2 and that he did not include those who

were under twenty years of age.3 He seems to have thought

that by thus frustrating David's purpose he might avert the

calamitous retribution which was expected by the religious

sense of the nation. Of that feeling Gad became the spokes-

man, and David, having already experienced three years'

famine,4 and three months' flight from his enemies, has now to

suffer the misery of a three days' pestilence.5 His conscience,

though often tardy in its action, was never seared, and he

admitted that he had sinned a grievous sin, for which he im-

plored forgiveness. The "death" raged the appointed time,

and had slain 77,000 victims, when David saw the vision of the

Destroying Angel, with his sword outstretched over Jerusalem,

standing by the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite.6

The king's prayer of agonized remorse was heard, and the

plague was stayed. The same day the seer came to David,

and bad him to rear an altar on the threshing-floor and offer

burnt-offerings. From that time David used to sacrifice on the

spot hallowed by such tremendous associations. It became

the site of the future altar of burnt-offering in the Temple of

Solomon,7 and its consecration added another impulse to the

growing desire to centralize in the capital the religious worship

of the entire nation.


            1 Numb. i, 47-49.

            2 I Chron. xxi. 6. Comp. Josephus, "Antiq." vii. 13, § 1.

            3 The reason given, "because the Lord had said he would increase Israel

like to the stars of the heavens," shows how many current feelings were

offended by David's census. There is still throughout the East a super-

stitious prejudice against all numberings, as being calculated to provoke

a jealous Nemesis (Niebuhr, "Descr, de l'Arabie," p. 14).

            4 I Chron. xxi. 12.

            5 But according to one explanation of 2 Sam. xxiv. 15 the pestilence was

shortened and only lasted from morning till noon (LXX., Peshito), or

"till the time of the evening sacrifice."

            6 2 Sam. xxiv. 23. The true rendering is, "All this did Araunah the

king give unto the king"—in which case we must suppose that Araunah

belonged to the old royal race of Jebus; or, as in the Revised Version,

"All this, O king, doth Araunah give unto the king."

            7 2 Chron. iii.1.






                                       CHAPTER III.



                       THE ACCESSION OF SOLOMON.





Feebleness of David's age—Abishag of Shunem —Conspiracy of Adonijah

            —His adherents — His attempted coronation feast Adherents of

            Solomon Counter efforts of Nathan and Bathsheba Interviews

            of David with Bathsheba and Nathan—David rouses himself, and

            orders Solomon to be anointed and crowned—Popular enthusiasm—

            Collapse of Adonijah's plot—Terror of his guests—He is magnani-

            mously pardoned—General amnesty—David's last song, and death—

            His dying directions to Solomon—His burial.


The infirmities of old age came rapidly on one whose days

from his youth upwards had been passed in hardships, battles,

and anxious labours. At the age of thirty he had been chosen

king in Hebron, and he had reigned there for seven and a half

years. He had reigned thirty-three years in Jerusalem. He

was not, therefore, much more than seventy,1 and in modern

times many men at that age are full of vigour. But the Jews

at this period rarely outlived the threescore years and ten of

man's allotted time. Indeed, Solomon and Manasseh were the

only kings of Judah who survived the age of sixty; and in

Solomon's case, it is not even certain that he reached that age.

            David was already bedridden, and the vital force was so

much exhausted that he could get no warmth from the clothes

heaped upon him. His attendants knew no better plan for him

than to provide a nurse, fair and young, who might tend and

cherish him.2 Their choice fell upon the beautiful Abishag of


            1 Josephus, "Antiq." vii. i5, § 2.

            2 Josephus ("Antiq." vii. 14, § 3) says that this was the advice of his phy-

ians. It is recommended by Galen ("Method, Medic." viii. 7), and this




                      THE ACCESSION OF SOLOMON.                       25


Shunem, a little town of Issachar on the southern slopes of

little Hermon.1  It is singular that, even for this subordinate and

humble purpose, they thought it necessary to search out the

loveliest maiden whom they could find in all the coasts of


            Another of David's vain, ambitious, unruly sons determined

to seize the opportunity for usurpation which was opened to

him by his father's increasing feebleness. Now that Amnon

and Absalom were dead, Adonijah, the eldest surviving prince,

entered into a conspiracy to forestall his father's death and to

seize the kingdom.  In personal gifts, as in recklessness of

character, he resembled his two elder brothers, and he was

undeterred by the warning of their fate. Like Absalom, beauti-

ful and bad, he had been born while David was king at Hebron;

but as the name of his mother—Haggith—means "a dancer,"

we may conjecture that she was a person of inferior rank to

Maacah of Geshur, and Ahinoam of Jezreel. But Adonijah,

as well as his elder brothers, had been puffed up by the admi-

ration and undue leniency of his father, who "had not displeased

him at any time by saying, Why hast thou done so?"  His

first step was to imitate Absalom by providing himself with

chariots, horsemen, and fifty runners. His next step was to

secure two adherents who stood in the highest offices of Church

and State—Joab, the commander of the army, and Abiathar,

the high priest. Strange to say, he succeeded in winning over

both these great officials to his side. Either they were unaware

of the choice of Solomon to be David's successor, or they pre-

ferred the beauty and strength of a young man of thirty-five—

who might now claim the rights of primogeniture—to that of

one who had scarcely emerged from the seclusion of the harem

and was little more than a boy. They might also have thought

that their adhesion to the plot would secure its triumph, seeing

the decrepitude into which David had now sunk. Jealousy

may also have had its part in their motives. Joab could hardly

fail to observe that Benaiah had superseded him in the con-


method of giving warmth was adopted till long after the Middle Ages.

Reinhard, "Bibelkrankh. d. A. Test.," p. 171, mentions that a similar

plan was recommended to Frederic Barbarossa.

            1 It is three and a half miles north of Jezreel. The Syriac and Arabic

versions read "Sulamite" here, as in Cant. vi. 13, "Oh Shulamite." On

the identity of the two names Gesenius and Fürst are agreed.



26                                SOLOMON.


fidence of the king, and Abiathar, the sole survivor of a house-

hold slain for David's sake, the faithful companion of David's

wanderings and of his reign at Hebron,1 could hardly have

looked with complacency on the growing influence of Zadok.

Or had Adonijah promised both of them an amnesty for past

crimes and past slackness as the price of their adhesion? Both

of them, it must be remembered, but especially Joab, had good

reason to dread the beginning of a new reign, unless the new

king were hound to them by the closest obligations.

            Strengthened by the support of two such followers, Adonijah

threw off the mask, andonce more in imitation of Absalom's

methods—invited all the princes except Solomon, and "all the

men of Judah, the king's servants,"2 to a great banquet. He

evidently reckoned on the tribal jealousy which made Absalom

fix upon Hebron as the headquarters of his revolt. The actual

spot which Adonijah selected for his coronation-sacrifice was

"the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En-rogel." Nothing is

known about this "stone of the serpent," one of the many

Ebens with which Palestine abounds, and which probably

possessed a sacred character. A spring of water would be

necessary for the occasion, but we only know that En-rogel,

"the fullers' fountain," lay at the south-east, on the boundary

line between Judah and Benjamin,3 and therefore in the close

vicinity of Jerusalem.4 It may perhaps be identified with the

Fountain of the Virgin, opposite the village of Siloam.5

            But Adonijah, in his contempt for the failing powers of his

father, had not taken sufficient account of the weight of influ-

ence opposed to his pretensions. Zadok, the younger and

more popular priest, and descendant of the older line of Aaron's

family, was on the side of Solomon,6 and was supported by


            1 2 Sam. ii, 1-3.

            2 I Kings i. 9. In verse 25 we have instead, "all the captains of the

host." Abishai was probably dead.

            3 Josh, xv, 7; xviii. 16.

            4 It was a well-known spot (Josh. xv. 7; xviii. 16). In Absalom's re-

bellion the two young priests Ahimaaz and Jonathan had waited there for

news from the city (2 Sam. xvii. 17). Regel means "a foot," and clothes

were stamped with the feet.

            5 Josephus, "Antig." vii. 11, says that it was "in the royal garden,"

which is possible enough.

            6 From I Chron. xvi. 39 we should conjecture that Zadok was in per-

manent charge of the old Tabernacle "in the high place at Gibeon; "but

the point is uncertain.


                THE ACCESSION OF SOLOMON.                       27


Nathan, the venerable prophet. Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada

a man of great personal prowess and distinction, could com-

mand the allegiance of the Gibborim, and this trained bodyguard

of 600 warriors was always ready for action. And if Adonijah

had won over the younger princes of David's family to favour

his pretensions, two older and weightier princes—Shimei and

Rei—perhaps the sole and now aged survivors of David's goodly

band of brothers, were faithful to Solomon.1

            Nathan, shaking off the lethargy of ease and years, saw that

not a moment must be lost. Solomon had been from his birth

his special ward, and lie had always marked him out as the

destined heir of David's throne, and the fulfiller of designs for

which David was unfitted by his past history. But it is difficult

to get access to an Eastern king at any time, and especially  

when he is bedridden. Nathan could find no other way of

letting David know the imminence of the crisis than by obtain-

ing an interview with Bathsheba, and relying on her ascendency

over the mind of her husband. He told her that at that moment

the son of Haggith was practically king, while David knew

nothing of it; and that Adonijah's success meant the certain  

death of herself and of Solomon.2 He instructed her at once

to visit the king's bedchamber, and to remind him of his oath

to her that Solomon should reign. He promised to be close at

hand, and to confirm the news that Adonijah had been pro-

claimed in defiance of the king's wishes. Perhaps he feared

that, in the decay of his powers and the apathy of age, David

might delay all effective action till it was too late, unless his old

feelings and affections were roused by Bathsheba.

            Bathsheba went to the aged hero who was alone with Abishag.3


            1 Ewald conjectures that this Shimei was David's brother Shimeah

("Gesch. Isr." iii. 266). There is a Shimei, a high officer of Solomon in

Kings iv. i8, and he had a brother Shimeah (I Chron. iii. 5). Rei has

been identified by Jerome ("Qu. Hebr." in I Kings i. 8) with Ira the Jairite,

David's "priest" (2 Sam. xx. 26); but Ewald identifies him with Raddai

(I Chron. ii. 14), the fifth son of Jesse. In Hebrew, however, the inter-

change of Raddai and Rei (רֵעִי) is without parallel, and that of Rei (רעי)

and Ira (עירא) is easy.

            2 1 Kings i. 12. The impression left by the narrative is, that Solomon

was still too young to take vigorous steps on his own behalf.

            3 Had Abishag been anything more than a nurse, the most stringent

laws of Eastern etiquette would have rendered the entrance of Bathsheba




28                                  SOLOMON.


she entered with a deep how and prostration,1 which showed

David that she had something serious to tell. The evident

trepidation and solemnity with which both Bathsheba and

Nathan approach the old and broken king contrasts with

the free and bold intercourse of earlier days. It shows

that David; as his power grew, became more and more an un-

approachable Eastern sovereign.2 In answer to his brief ques-

tion Bathsheba reminded him of his oath that Solomon should

sit on his throne, narrated to him the details of Adonijah's

conspiracy, and told him that the eyes of the nation were upon

him to exercise his acknowledged privilege of appointing his

successor.3 If the throne were suffered thus to go by de-

fault, she indicated that her own life and that of Solomon—

who alone of the princes had not been invited to Adonijah's

feast—would speedily be sacrificed.4

            While she was yet speaking the Prophet was announced, as  

had been concerted between them. He, too, prostrated himself

as though he felt a certain dread in delivering his message.

"Had David really sanctioned," he asked, "the accession of

Adonijah? At that moment a coronation feast was being

held, and the prince's followers were shouting, 'God save king

Adonijah.' Was this in accordance with David wish? had he

ordered it to be concealed from Nathan, and Zadok, and

Benaiah, and Solomon, who had been omitted from the number

of invited guests?"

            Then Bathsheba—who in accordance with Eastern propriety


            1 1 Kings i. 31, "Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the earth,

and did reverence." The word (sometimes rendered worship, as in Ps.

lxv. 11; I Chron. xxix. 20) was applied to these Eastern acts of servile

homage (2 Sam. ix. 6; Esth. iii, 2-5), which had now found their way into

David's Court.

            2 How widely different is the access to the palace of Ishbosheth, where

the murderers had only to pass one woman who had fallen asleep in

cleaning wheat2 Sam. iv. 6 (Hebr).

            3 So the Persian kings nominated their successors (Herodotus, vii. 2).

            4 This was no extravagant supposition. Cleopatra and her son Caranus

were put to death by Alexander (Pausan. viii. 7, § 5); Roxana, and her son

Alexander, by Cassander (Justin. xv. 2). The murder of all "the seed

royal "was quite a common incident in Eastern despotism (2 Kings xi. 1).

See "Speaker's Commentary," ad loc. Gratz explains " I and my son

shall be counted sinners " (I Kings i, 21), to mean that David's marriage

with Bathsheba "als eine schandbare gebrandmarkt werden würde."



                  THE ACCESSION OF SOLOMON.                   29


had left the chamber while Nathan was speaking—was recalled.

The king—swearing by his most solemn form of appealed, by

"the Lord that had redeemed his soul out of all distress"1

renewed the oath which he had sworn at sonic previous period,

and, with a flash of all his old energy, took the decisive step of

having Solomon anointed and enthroned even in his own life-

time. With another solemn prostration Bathsheba retired, and  

Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah were summoned to the king's

chamber. He ordered them to mount his young son upon his

own royal mule which none but the king might ride,2 and to

conduct him in procession to Gihon, a place which, like

En-rogel, had a supply of water, and was not far from the

city.3 There Zadok was to anoint him with the consecrated oil  

taken from David's tabernacle on Mount Zion. This was a

step of solemn-import.4 It had not been done in the case of

Adonijah, perhaps because the sacred oil was in the charge of  

Zadok;5 or perhaps, again, because Adonijah was regarded

as the legitimate successor. Then they were to blow the

trumpets,6 and shout "God save king Solomon."

            The Levite Benaiah—half-priest, half-soldier—replied to the

king's commands with an emphatic "Amen," and a prayer that


            1 2 Sam. iv. 6; comp. Ps. xix. 14. "O Lord, my strength, and my


            2 Comp. Gen. xli. 43; 2 Kings x. 16; Esth. vi. 8. This circumstance

would have a great effect on the popular imagination. In Persia it was

death to pit, even by accident, in the king's seat (Herodotus, vii. 16;

Q. Curt, viii. 4, 17).

            3 See 2 Chron. xxxii. 20 ; xxxiii. 14. It was probably at the east of

Jerusalem, and afterwards became a part of the city (2 Chron. xxxii. 20;

xxxiii. 14). The Targ. of Jonathan, and the Syriac and Arabic Versions in

1 Kings i., identify it with Siloam. According to the Talmud, kings ought  

always to be anointed near a fountain—Keritoth, 5 (Otho, "Lexic.

Rabbin." s.v. Rex).

            4 Judg. ix. 8; I Sam. x. i, xvi. 13; 1 Kings xix. 16; 2 King 3:6;

2 Chron, xxiii. 11. It has been inferred from these passages (the anointing

of Saul, David, Jehu, and Joash) that the anointing was only necessary in

cases of a disputed succession.

            5 1 Kings i. 39, "Zadok the priest took a (rather the) horn of oil out of

the tabernacle" (lit. out of the tent). The question arises, out of which

tabernacle? He could hardly have had time to go to Gibeon and back, so

that probably David's tabernacle on Mount Zion is meant.

            6 Comp. the tumultuous consecration of Jehu (2 Kings ix. 13).



30                               SOLOMON.


God might ratify his choice,1 and make the throne of Solomon

even greater than the throne of his father, Then the impos-

ing procession set forth, with its bodyguard of Cherethites and

Pelethites, and it was seen at a glance that nothing short of a

civil war could shake the crown of the youth who had on his

side the Prophet, the Priest of the house of Eleazer, and the

Captain of the bodyguard, and who had thus been anointed

and proclaimed by the king's direct command. The people

were also on his side. The boisterous feast of Adonijah awoke

no popular enthusiasm; but it was kindled so vehemently on

behalf of Solomon, that the earth rang again with the music of

pipes and dances.2 The coup d'etat of Bathsheba and Nathan

had been managed from first to last with consummate skill, and

was crowned with complete success.

            Adonijah's feast had ended, and the revolt had still to be

carried out, when the practised ear of Joab caught the sound of

the trumpet from Gihon, and of the tumultuous rejoicing in the

city.3 His heart misgave him, and, as he spoke, the company

caught sight of their fellow-conspirator Jonathan, the son of

Abiathar, who came running towards them.4 Adonijah affected

to regard his approach as a good omen,5 but Jonathan only

brought the fatal tidings, that while they had been feasting the

friends of Solomon had been acting; that he had been solemnly

anointed at Gihon, and was at that moment sitting on the throne

of the kingdom amid the rapturous congratulations of his Court.

He then added the most chilling proof that Adonijah's attempt

had failed — it was that the aged king had given his public

sanction to the coronation of Solomon. Apparently he had

been brought forth from his sick-chamber, and, in sign of

prayerful approval of his servant's blessing, "bowed himself


            1 Jer. xxviii. 6, "The prophet Jeremiah said, Amen: the Lord do so."

            2 Josephus, "Antiq." vii. 14, 5; 1 Kings i. 40. In this verse, by a slight

variation of reading, the Septuagint has "danced with dances" for "piped

with pipes." "The earth rent with the sound " (LXX., ερράγη), should

probably be "the earth rang." (Vulg., insonu. Josephus, ως περιη-

χεῖσθαι τὴν γῆν.

            3 This shows that both En-rogel and Gihon were near the city, and

within hearing distance of each other.

            4 He, too, had joined Adonijah, though he had acted as a watchman and

spy against Absalom (2 Sam. xv. 27; xvii. 17).

            5 Perhaps this was an auspicious formula (2 Sam. xviii. 27).



                 THE ACCESSION OF SOLOMON.                   31


upon the bed,"1 and blessed the God of Israel who had thus

enabled him before he died to see one of his sons sitting upon

his throne.2

            At these tidings the inflated bubble of Adonijah's crude and

ill-starred conspiracy immediately burst. The guests rose and

scattered themselves in every direction. Adonijah himself,

deserted by every one of his adherents, fled in terror to the

altarperhaps the one which David had erected on the thresh-

ing-floor of Araunah—and grasped hold of the horns of the

altar.3  His cry for pity was brought to the young king. "Be-

hold," they said, "Adonijah feareth king Solomon: for, lo, he

hath caught hold of the horns of the altar, saying, Let king

Solomon sware unto me to-day that he will not slay his servant

with the sword."

            Solomon behaved with calm magnanimity.  The devotion of

the people had shown that he had nothing to fear from

Adonijah's rivalry.  Had Adonijah been successful he would

certainly have put Solomon, if not Bathsheba also, to death.

So much was known from the character of the man. But

Solomon was unwilling to add another pang and another tragedy

to those which had already rent the heart of his father. He gave

his word, which he thought sufficient without the addition of

an oath, that so long as Adonijah's conduct was trustworthy,

not a hair of his head should fall to the ground.4  Adonijah was

led down the altar steps and taken into Solomon's presence.

He bowed himself before his younger brother, who, without

deigning to reproach him, only addressed to him the laconic

order, "Go to thine house." He was not even imprisoned or

deprived of his rank; but he was told plainly that a second

offence would not be overlooked.

            The other conspirators were for the present pardoned. The

rebellion, to which they had lent their influence, was treated as

folly which might be disdainfully amnestied in the joy of a new


            1 1 Kings i. 47; comp. Gen. xlvii. 31.

            2 In the solemn assembly described in I Chron. xxviii., when David gave

to Solomon his charge about building the temple, we are told that "the

king stood up upon his feet."

            3 See 2 Sam. vi. 17, 18; Exod. xxvii. 2, xxix. 12, xxx. 10.  Sprinkled

with the blood of, the sacrifices they were "symbols of blessing and salva-

tion," by grasping which the offender put himself under God's protection

(Bähr, "Symbolik," i. 47).

            4 A proverbial expression (1 Sam. xiv. 45; 2 Sam, xiv. xx).




32                               SOLOMON.


accession, unless they should be guilty of some fresh trans-


            And now David's death drew near. He had been on the

throne for forty years and six months.2  His last poem has been

preserved to us. In it he calls himself "the man who was

raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet

Psalmist of Israel." He alludes to his prophetic gift as coming

from the Spirit of God. The God and the Rock of Israel had

taught him, "He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in

the fear of God." Such a righteous ruler is as the cloudless

light of the morning sun, and the tender grass which springs up

and gleams in the sunshine after rain. He expresses the con-

viction that God had granted him an everlasting covenant, and

would cause all his salvation and all his desire to grow.3 Worth-

lessness, indeed, would still continue, and required no gentle

handling. It must be beaten down as with iron and the staff of

a spear, and finally burnt with fire.

            But besides this last legacy of song David left some specific

directions to his youthful, inexperienced son. He bids him to

be courageous, and show himself a man;4 and he assures him

that the one secret of his future prosperity depends on his

obedience to the will of God as written in the law of Moses.

He seems to have addressed him both in a private exhorta-

tion, in which he gave him full directions about building the

"house of the Lord,"5 and also at a very solemn public gather-


            1 Of these events the Books of Chronicles give no hint. They say only

(I Chron. xxiii. 1):  "So when David was old and full of days, he made

Solomon his son king over Israel." Then, after a long account of David's

preparations, and of his organization of the worship, they pass to a solemn

assembly in which David proclaims Solomon as his successor (xxviii.), and

has him anointed, "the second time" by Zadok, to be "ruler" (xxix. 22);

after which the narrative passes on to David's death, and Solomon's offer-

ing; at Gibeon (2 Chron. i.).

            2 2 Sam. v. 5; I Chron. iii. 4,

            3 The true rendering seems to be-

                        " For is not my house so with God?

                        Yet He bath made, with me an everlasting covenant,

                        Ordered in all things and sure;

                        For all my salvation and all my desire

                        Will He not make it to grow?" —2 Sam. xxiii. 1-7.

            4 Comp. Deut. xxxi. 7; Josh. i. 6, 7, &c.

            5 I Chron. xxii.



                   THE ACCESSION OF SOLOMON.                    33


ing,1 in which he entrusted him to the charge of the whole con-

gregation, and ended his address with a very noble prayer and

blessing, and with enormous holocausts.

            To our modern notions it would have seemed better had he

confined his directions to matters of moral duty and public

service; but again and again in reading the life of David we

are reminded of the differing moral standards of different ages

and countries, and of the imperfect views prevalent in those

times of comparative ignorance, "which God winked at."

David had suffered so terribly at the hands of Joab and Shimei

in the frightful clays which succeeded Absalom's rebellion that

he felt as if he had neglected the demands of justice by per-

mitting them to live. Trained to regard as sacred the duties

of "the avenger of blood," his conscience was uneasy at the

thought that he had been too remiss and too impotent to see

those duties fulfilled. He recalled Joab's two murders of Abner

and of Amasa when he had "shed the blood of war in peace,

and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his

loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet;"2 and he enjoined

Solomon not to let his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.3

He gave the same injunction respecting Shimei, the only dan-


            1 1 Chron. xxii.-xxix. At the close of this scene the Chronicler says

(ver. 20) that the whole congregation "worshipped the Lord and the king."

The expression significantly shows both the exaltation of the monarch and

the sacred character with which he had been invested.

            2 See 2 Sam. iii. 39; xix. 5-7; xx. 10.  David does not venture to remind

Solomon of Joab's murder of Absalom, which perhaps rankled most deeply

in his heart, but to which Solomon himself owed his throne. Nor does he

mention Adonijah's rebellion. But Joab had evidently been a lifelong thorn

in David's side; he had found "this son of Zeruiah" too hard for him

 (2 Sam. iii. 39).

            3 Joab was probably not much younger than David, though he was his

nephew. Zeruiah, the mother of the three heroes, Joab, Abishai, and

Asaliel, was indeed a "sister of the sons of the Jesse" (1 Chron. ii. 16),

but perhaps herself a daughter not of Jesse, but of Nahash, a former hus-

band of Jesse's wife. Abigail, at any rate, mother of Amasa and sister of

Zeruiah (2 Sam. xvii. 25), is called the "daughter of Nahash." The Rabbis

identify Jesse and Nahash; but if, as Dean Stanley conjectured, Nahash

was the king of Amnion, we can account for the kindness existing between

Nahash and David, and the cruel character of Nahash was reflected in his

grandsons. Further, if Joab was thus a grandson of the king of Ammon

as well as a nephew of David, we can see a fresh reason for the position he




34                                  SOLOMON.


gerous representative of the cause of Saul. On the other hand,

he enjoined kindness to Chimham and the other sons of Bar-

zillai the Gileadite, who had shown him such conspicuous loyalty

at the most trying moment of his life.1

            So David died, and was buried in the city which he had

founded, and his sepulchre was pointed out down to the remotest

days of Jewish history.2


            1 2 Sam. xix. 31

            2 Acts ii. 29; comp. Neh. iii. 16; Ezek. xliii. 7-9. There were no graves

in Jerusalem but those of the kings and (tradition says) of the Prophetess

Huldah. Legend spoke of treasures concealed in David's tomb (Josephus,

"Antiq." vii. 13, § 3).








                                             CHAPTER IV.


                             THE KINGDOM OF SOLOMON.




Development of Jewish royalty—The nation enters upon its manhood

            —The Gibborim—The army—The nation realizes its unique position

            —Possession of a strong and beautiful capital—Passionate fondness

            for Jerusalem—Commencing centralization of worship—The Ark at

            Jerusalem—"Jehovah's people "—Outburst of poetry—Dawn of prose

            literature—Elements of danger—Limits of the kingdom—Lines of

            possible progress—Significance of the records of Solomon.


"THEN sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father, and

his kingdom was established greatly."1  It was never quite

forgotten by the national consciousness that the throne of the

King of Judah and Israel was "the throne of the Lord."

            The time of his full accession to the throne offers us the

opportunity of judging the nature and resources of the kingdom

which he was thus called upon to rule.

            That kingdom had been amazingly developed since the rude

and simple days of King Saul, though we can as little regard it

"as one of the great Oriental Empires on a par with Chaldaea


            1 According to Tarikh Montekheb, and most of the Eastern historians,

Solomon was not twelve years old when he came to the throne. (D'Her-

belot, " Bibl. Orient.," s.v. Soloman Ben Daoud.) This tradition is also

adopted by Eupolemus in the fragment preserved by Eusebius. Josephus

says he was fourteen ("Antiq." viii. 7, § 8). Most modern writers suppose

that he was about twenty; and he must certainly have been more than

twelve or fourteen, if he had a son about the commencement of his reign.

He reigned forty years, and Rehoboam at his accession was forty-one

(1 Kings xi. 42; xiv. 21). If, indeed, we could assume that forty-one is

a clerical error for twenty-one in I Kings xiv. 21, many difficulties would

be removed. Comp. 2 Chron. xiii. 7.




36                             SOLOMON.


and Assyria," as we can place David on a level with such great

world-potentates as Rameses and Cyrus.1

            In Saul's days Israel and Judah were little more than a loose

federation of tribes, each more or less independent of the

others, and all of them, time after time, an easy prey to the

surrounding nations. The immense advance made by David

may be estimated by the fact that his household troops and

bodyguard alone consisted of six hundred trained and mighty  

warriors,2 whereas in the wars against the Philistines, before his

conquest of Goliath, Saul and Jonathan his son had been the

only two well-armed men in the host of Israel.3  The nation

passed from boyhood to full manhood in the days of David as

thoroughly and as rapidly as Greece did in the days of Miltiades

and Lysander.

            The Gibborim ("heroes," or bravi) were to David what the

Prætorian cohort was to the Roman emperors, or the Varangian

Guard to the Byzantine emperors, or the Janissaries to the

Sultans, or the Swiss Guards to the French kings.

            They were soldiers by profession, dependent on the king for

their houses and their pay, and subservient to him with an

allegiance which was not without danger to the popular liberty.

To belong to this body was itself a distinction, and the records

of deeds of prowess achieved by the leading officers were like

the chronicles of chivalry, and fired the imagination of younger

aspirants for warlike fame. Besides them, or mingled up with

them and often under the same command, were the Cherethites,

Pelethites, and Gittites, in all probability a band of foreign mer-

cenaries, who served as a body of lictors to execute the king's


            David hardly possessed a "standing army" (as we should

understand the term) in addition to these private troops; but,

if we can rely upon the accuracy of the numbers, there were

1,300,000 men in Israel and Judah capable of bearing arms.4


            1 These are the opinions of Canon Rawlinson, "Five Great Monarchies,"

vol. ii. p. 333, quoted approvingly by Grätz, i. 299.

            2 The nucleus of these had been with him in his wanderings (2 Sam.

xxiii.8-13; I Sam. xxv. 13).

            3 Even in a time of war Saul had only had 3,000 men with him (1 Sam.


            4 A sort of standing army had been one of the evils of a monarchy

which Samuel had foretold (I Sam. viii. xi, 12).


                     THE KINGDOM OF SOLOMON.                          37


Besides the levies which could be called out at any time, David

seems to have maintained in his service a body of 288,000 men,

who served in monthly relays of 24,000 under the command

apparently of leading Gibborim.1  But much obscurity hangs

over this statement, for this body of troops took no discernible

part either in Absalom's or Adonijah's rebellion. They may,

however, have been a sort of drilled militia serving in garrison

towns. Cavalry was never an effective branch of the service, as

it had been always discouraged by the religious teachers of the

nation. David houghed the horses which he took in war, for

the nature of the country made them, in any case, all but use-

less. The offensive arms used by the soldiers were chiefly

spears and bows; for defence they were supplied with shields,

and probably with nothing else, though the Qurân credits David

with the invention of chain armour.2

            But besides this strong military organization David left to his

people the tradition of victory. When the troops of Israel

went to battle they were very far from being the timid warriors

of old days whom a single champion could terrify. They had

grown into a force which had a prestige to maintain, and which

struck terror into the enemy by its very name and by the fame

of its leaders.

            The whole nation was further elevated by the consciousness

of its position. A people which has produced so gifted a son as

David rises at once to a higher rank. A vista of infinite possi-

bilities opens before it. David owed none of his advantages to

the accident of birth. Warrior and Poet and King and Priest

and Prophet as he was, he had come to the front by the blessing

of God upon his own natural genius. Many a bright-eyed

youth on the hills of Judah as he contemplated that brilliant

career of a sovereign taken from the sheepfolds may have felt in

his heart the stirrings of high and honourable ambition.

            The sense of nationality was enhanced by the possession for

the first time of an undisputed capital. No city in the land

could thenceforth rival Jerusalem, and David by conquering it

from the Jebusites rendered a service of which the effects


            1 1 Chron. xxvii. 1-15. Afterwards the troops were divided by their

different arms (2 Chron. xiv. 8).

            2 Sura xxi. 80, quoted by Ewald, iii, 146.  Goliath, however, had

squamous armour (qasqassîm, I Sam. xvii, 5), and Ahab's "harness''

(2 Chron. xviii. 33) was a sort of coat of mail, or corslet (shiryôn).


38                               SOLOMON.


lasted for many centuries. He furnished the Hebrews with a

citadel beautiful, central, and all but impregnable from its natural

advantages. Jerusalem soon attracted to itself the passionate

affection which has magnetized the imagination of Jews for so

many centuries. Beautiful in situation, the joy of the whole

earth, God was well known in her palaces for a sure refuge. In

exile their poets sang

            "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,

            Let my right hand forget her cunning;

            Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth

            If I remember thee not;

            If I prefer not Jerusalem

            Above my chief joy"1 (Ps. cxxxvii. 5-8).


And at the most solemn moment in the history of the Lord

Himself, His only recorded outburst of weeping was when He           

cried to Jerusalem, "If thou hadst known, even thou at least

in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace! but now

they are hid from thine eyes."

            But besides this, David, with deep insight, was determined

that Zion, "the City of David," should henceforth be the centre

not only of the national life, but also of all the deepest religious

associations of the people. This consecration of a new city

into a shrine was by no means an easy task. Palestine abounded

in high places and sanctuaries of all kinds, many of which, like

Hebron, had been venerated from time immemorial. Moreover,

the old Tabernacle of the Wanderings still stood at Gibeon, and

David did not venture to remove it. The Ark, however, was

not at that high place. After its capture by the Philistines, it

had come to be regarded with such intense terror, that the men

of Bethshemesh, only desirous of getting rid of it, sent to the

people of Kirjath-jearim to come and fetch it; and they had

placed it on a hill under the charge of Eleazar the son of

Abinadab. David's first attempt to carry it thence to Jerusalem

had been cut short by the tragic death of Uzzah, and it had been

left at the house of Obed-Edom in Gath-Rimmon. But hearing

that it had brought to Obed-Edom a great increase of prosperity,

David had brought it to Mount Zion with a joyous procession of


            1 Compare Psalms xlviii. 12, 13; cxvii. 18, 19; cxxii.; cxxv. 2.

            2 Luke xix. 42--ἔκλασυσεν, "He wept aloud." In the case of Lazarus

He only εδάκρυσεν, "shed silent tears."



                 THE KINGDOM OF SOLOMON.                      39


Levites, singers, elders, and soldiers, amid a scene which made

a deep impression on the national imagination. Thenceforth it

never left Jerusalem till it was either destroyed in the invasion

of Nebuchadnezzar, or carried away to Babylon, or, according

to the Jewish tradition, safely hidden by Jeremiah.1  For a short

time it made Jerusalem as sacred as Gibeon, until, in the reign of

Solomon, the old Tabernacle was removed from Gibeon alto-

gether, and stowed away in one of the chambers of the Temple.

Solomon did but carry out the far-seeing plan of his father,

which caused the capital of the nation to be henceforth regarded

also as the City of Jehovah, and the "Kibleh" or sacred direction

of the nation's worship, which it continued to be, even when they

were carried into distant lands.2

            Of David's great preparations for the building of the Temple,

and of the elaborate religious reform with which it was con-

nected, we shall speak hereafter; but the Temple was only the

visible sign of the impress which he stamped upon his people,

and which was his most memorable service. It was the sole

effectual mode of counteracting their tendency to plunge into a

career of worldly commerce and conquest, and to become ob-

livious of the loftier mission to which they were called. With

the distinctness of their nationality was brought home to them

the lofty consciousness that they were "Jehovah's people." The

monarchy had not been inaugurated until they had learnt the

lessons of the long period of the Judges, which taught them, by

reiterated crises of defeat and servitude, that they could only

be strong in God's protection, and that this protection depended

on their own faithfulness. David immortalized his own yearn-

ings and convictions in imperishable song, and thus they passed

into the common thoughts of the nation. The supreme gifts

with which God had endowed him were given him for the pur-

pose of fixing the faith of Israel, and pointing to the Messianic

hope which was to be their main support during ages of affliction.

It was granted to him to pour forth the songs which were the

most precious part of their worship. The poetic spirit thus

awakened did not wholly desert them for more than five hun-

dred years, and it echoed to the last the sacred aspirations by

which it had been inspired in the breast of the hero-king.

            This outburst of poetry was naturally accompanied by a wider


            1 2 Macc. ii. 1-8.                      2 Dan vi. 10.



40                             SOLOMON.


development of prose literature. We henceforth hear of a

Recorder or Historiographer as one of the regular officials in

the Court of the kings of Judah. For the first time the

"Chronicles" or State papers began to be carefully preserved.1

No less than three great prophetsSamuel, Gad, and Nathan

became biographers of parts of his life and reign,2 and it formed

an epoch sufficiently important for long subsequent notice by

heathen historians like Nicolaus of Damascus and Eupolemus.3

            But it would be wrong to overlook the fact that the legacy

left by David to his son was not one of unmixed good. In the

senile neglect of kingly duties which seems to have marked his

later years, and which forfeited in great measure the old affec-

tion of his people, we mark the deteriorating influence of more

pompous surroundings, a deeper seclusion, a more arbitrary

government. All his Temple preparations were less inspiring

and less significant than one of his earlier outbursts of spiritual

emotion. In a larger harem, a more punctilious etiquette, a

more materialized conception of religion, we find traces of the

lowered ideal of the kingliness and worship which had shone forth

in days when he was as yet unweakened by his great sin, and its

terrible retribution. The grandeur of Solomon's inheritance was

impaired by the personal deterioration of its glorious founder.

            We may conclude this survey of the state of the people over

whom Solomon was now called to reign, by mentioning the

limits of the kingdom which David's power had so widely ex-

tended. When Saul died, Israel was struggling for bare exist-

ence against the paltry power of the Philistines. Before David

died he was king of a district which might be said, with little

exaggeration, to stretch from the Orontes to the border of the

Egyptian desert, and from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates.

Parts of this territory were nominally ruled by native kings, but

they all more or less acknowledged the supremacy of David.

Very early in his reign at Jerusalem, he had crushed the Philis-

tines and taken from them Metheg-ha-Ammah, "the bridle of

the mother city," or, as it is expressed in the Chronicles, "Gath

and her daughters,"4 though he allowed Gath to retain a tribu-

tary king.5  He almost annihilated the predatory hordes of


            1 1 Chron. xxvii. 24.                                        2 Ibid. xxix. 29.

            3 Josephus, "Antiq." vii. 5, § 2; "C. Apion." i. 23; Eusebius, "Prcep.

Ev." lx. 30.

            4 2 Sam. viii. 1; I Chron. xviii. 1.                     5 I Kings ii. 39.


                     THE KINGDOM OF SOLOMON.                           41


Amalek in the south. Aided especially by Benaiah, who slew

with his own hand two sons of Ariel the king of Moab,1 he

had reduced the Moabites to tribute, and put a multitude of

them to death. Northwards he had conquered Hadarezer,

king of Zobah, who had probably lent his assistance to Hanun,

king of Ammon, when that foolish son of David's old friend

Nahash had rejected the advances of David with wanton

insult.2 In this war he stormed Rabbah, the strong capital of

Ammon.3 It was from this city that he took the jewelled crown

of Milcom which, according to Jewish tradition, no one but Ittai

of Gath had ventured to tear from the idol's forehead.4 He de-

feated the kings of Zobah and Maacah in a great victory. In a

subsequent battle at Helam,5 he so completely routed the Syrian

forces of Damascus, and their auxiliaries, of whom some had

joined them from beyond the Euphrates, that he broke down the

Aramæan supremacy and subjected the Syrians to tribute. These

successful wars greatly increased his wealth,6 and he received

large congratulatory or propitiatory presents from Toi, king of

Hamath on the "Orontes,7 who sent his own son to cement the

treaty between them. The overthrow of the Edomites in the

Valley of Salt, somewhere to the south of the Dead Sea,8 and

the occupation of their towns with Israelite garrisons completed

the triumphs by which David "gat him a great name," and

handed down to his son a strong and compact empire. In his

person the old promise to Abraham was first fulfilled.9

            What his son made of that empire we shall see in the follow-

ing pages. Israel was liable to a new danger. That the Israelites

should feel that they had now attained to a cosmopolitan condi-

tion, and that their kingdom could enter into a feeling of solid-


            1 2 Sam. xxiii. 20, 21; I Chron. xi. 22. The true reading is, "he slew

the two sons of Ariel of Moab."

            2 2 Sam. x. 4.

            3 Ibid. xii. 29. The Ark was taken to this siege, and David himself

was present at the capture.

            4 Josephus, " Antiq." vii. 5. ; Jerome, "Qu. Hebr. " ad I Chron. xx. 2.

            5 2 Sam. x. 16, 17. The Vulgate reads חֵילָם, and renders "adduxit

exenitum eorum."

            6 From Hadarezer's soldiers were taken the "shields of gold" (2 Sam.

viii. 7), which were the proudest of all the trophies of Jerusalem (Cant. iv. 4).

            7 Josephus says that Toi wanted to buy off David's opposition with

"vessels of ancient workmanship" ("Antiq," vii. 5; § 4).

            8 2 Sam. viii. 13.                                             

            9 Gen. xv. 18-21.


42                                     SOLOMON.


arity with surrounding kingdoms was natural, and in some

respects advantageous. But the advantage would be purchased

at a fatal cost if the sons of the Chosen People forgot their

unique function, and, while they entered into the career of

worldly politics, ceased to look, or looked only with a feeling of

half contempt, at the rock whence they were hewn, and the hole

of the pit whence they were digged. Would Solomon guide

them safely through the perils of contamination from those

"gay religions full of pomp and gold" which adored devils for

deities, and against which the very existence of the Hebrews

was intended to be a Divine protest? Would he inspire them

with loftier ideals than those of vulgar magnificence, material

prosperity, and a liturgical religion? Would he leave them

with a deeper conviction that no national happiness was com-

parable with that of the nation which had the Lord for their

God? Or would he, on the other hand, sink into a mere Oriental

despot, absolute amid the torpor of a dreadful serfdom, gorged

with wealth amid an oppressed population, the loveless lord of

a voluptuous harem, ruling over the destinies, but not in the

hearts of his people?  If he fell into the latter temptations, the

"Syrian, ready to perish," who was the father of the race, would

have been a safer pattern and a less erring guide.

            The sacred records enable us indeed to answer these ques-

tions, but their treatment of the reign of Solomon differs

characteristically from their account of David. The rich and

varied story of the hero occupies a large part of two entire books.

The original documents which recorded the fame of Solomon—

the "Book of the Acts of Solomon," and the writings of Nathan,

Ahijah, and Iddo—have disappeared, but the Books of Kings

and Chronicles devote not more than ten or eleven chapters to

the Wise King; and those chapters are mainly occupied with

details about his commerce, his buildings, and his organization.

They dwell but lightly on his fall, to which indeed the Chronicler

makes no allusion. There was little of spiritual instructiveness

in a reign during which, from the disappearance of Nathan from

public life down to the rise of Ahijah, the voice of the prophets

was dumb, and men spoke in whispers under a despotic rule.1


            1 The details derivable from other sources such as Josephus, and the few

fragments of Pagan historians, Dins, Eupolcimus, Nicolaus of Damascus,

Alexander Polyhistor, Menander, and Laitus, which are referred to by him

("Antiq." 5, § 3), by Eusebius ("Præp. Evang." ix. 30), and by Clemens

of Alexandria ("Strom," 1. 21, § 114), are of little or no importance.






                                              CHAPTER. V.







Tragic events—Secret ambition of Adonijah His visit to Bathsheba—The

            Queen-mother —Interview between them—Her unsuspecting acceptance

            of his request for the hand of Abishag—She visits the king—Her

            gracious reception—Sudden fury of Solomon—Possible causes for his

            violent anger—He dooms Adonijah to death—Alarm of Joab—

            Benaiah ordered to slay himHesitates to drag him from the horns of

            the altar—Execution of Joab—Fate of his posterityDisgrace and

            banishment of the High Priest Abiathar—Zadok and the House of

            Eleazar—Destiny of the two families of Eleazar and Ithamar—Shimei

            ordered to live at Jerusalem—His visit to Gath to recover his slaves—

            His execution—Vigour of Solomon's rule—His kindness to Chimham,

            son of Barzillai—Foreign enemies—Escape of Hadad from the massacre

            of the EdomitesHis reception in Egypt—His return—The Syrian

            RezonGeshur—Solomon's affinity with PharaohOne of the Tanite

            dynastyNational disapproval of the wedding in later times— Estab-

            lishment of Solomon's power—The Second Psalm—Note on the Pha-

            raoh of 1 Kings iii. x.


BEFORE entering on the peaceful developments of Solomon's

government, it will be necessary to glance at some of the

troubles which marked the beginnings of his reign, before he

had won for himself a secure seat upon David's throne.1


            1 It is obviously no part of my task to enter into minute critical questions

as to the date and origin and character of various elements in the Books of

Kings. They are acknowledged by all inquirers to be honest and trust-

worthy sources of information, though they are fragmentary and did not

assume their final form till about B.C. 560. But though the language and

references of these Books show that they were not composed as a whole

till nearly five centuries after the earlier events which they record, the author




44                                  SOLOMON.


            The first tragedy was but a sequel to the rebellion of


            Solomon had not stained his accession by any deeds of blood.

The deadly spirit of Eastern monarchies, which


                        "Bears like the Turk no brother near the throne,"


had not led him to interfere with the rank or peace of any of

David's other sons. Even Adonijah had been magnanimously

pardoned, and had been allowed with unusual generosity to live

in his own palace, and resume his position as a prince of the

royal house. But the vain and restless spirit of the son of

Haggith could not rest content. He brooded sullenly over the

collapse of his conspiracy, and on the vain fancy that the

choice of Israel had confirmed the right of seniority by which

he claimed the kingdom. He determined upon subtle means to

strengthen his pretensions, and vainly hoped that the young

brother—whose qualities, were as yet unknown, and whom in

his heart he probably despised—would not be keensighted

enough to penetrate his designs. He determined, if possible,

to gain for his wife, Abishag, the beautiful maiden of Shunem,

who had been selected rather as the nurse than as the bride of

David's old age. The possession of a late king's wife would, by

all the customs and traditions of Eastern monarchy, greatly

enhance the dignity of his position, and give him opportunities

for urging further claims.1

            Yet he did not venture to approach Solomon himself with a

request, which even to his stupidity must have been seen to be

of a perilous character.  He determined to ingratiate himself

with Bathsheba, and so to beguile the king into granting a

favour of which perhaps he might not suspect the secret import,

or which, at any rate, he would not like to refuse if his mother

asked it.

            As Queen-mother, Bathsheba was now the highest lady in


undoubtedly made use of ancient and authentic documents. The Books

of Chronicles are later in date, and are written to present certain views

and aspects of the Sacred History, especially as seen from a Levitical


            1 See 2 Sam. xii. 8, where Nathan says to David that God had "given

him his master's wives into his bosom." See, too, 1 Kings xx. 7; 2 Kings

xxiv. 15; Herodotus, iii. 68; Selden, "Uxor. Hebr." i. 10.  The request was

at the best unseemly and illegal (Levit. xviii. 8; xx. 11).



         INITIAL TROUBLES OF' SOLOMON'S REIGN.                 45


the realm. Owing to the jealousies which are inherent in

polygamy, the wife of an Eastern king, even if she be the chief

wife, is yet only one among many, and is in reality a sort of

superior slave. The rank of queen is held by the king's mother.

Every reader of the chronicles of Israel and Judah will have

been struck by the fact that the name of the Queen-mother is

carefully recorded, even when the record is silent as to the king's

wives.1 The influence of Bathsheba must have been further

strengthened by the fact that to her in no small measure Solo-

mon was indebted for the saving of his life, and for his throne.

            She was visibly alarmed by the visit of Adonijah. "Comest

thou peaceably?" she asked him, in a formula which was cus-

tomary at moments of misgiving.2 He said, "Peaceably," and

asked leave to prefer a request. "Say on," she said. Adonijah

reminded her, with no very scrupulous regard for truth, that

the kingdom had been his, and that all Israel set their faces on

him, but that he now recognized that though he was king by the

will of men, he was not so by the grace of God, who had be-

stowed the kingdom on his brother. He had come to ask but

for one compensation for so immense a loss, and he once more

intreated Bathsheba not to refuse him. "Say on," she repeated,

cautiously confining herself to the fewest words. Then he

asked her to obtain Solomon's permission for him to wed

Abishag the Shunammite.

            Strange to say, Bathsheba failed to see the significance

of the request. Perhaps she pitied the prince who had so

nearly wrested the splendid prize of royalty from her son's

hands, and she may have thought that the position of Abishag

differed entirely from that of David's other wives. "Well,"

she answered, "I will speak for thee unto the king."

            She seems to have lost no time in fulfilling her promise.

Solomon received her with every demonstration of love and

respect. He rose to meet her, bowed himself before her, and

ordered another throne to be placed for her at the right hand

of his own. Then she mentioned her "small petition," and

begged him not to refuse it. "Ask on, my mother," he said;

"for I will not say thee nay."3


            1 See I Kings xv. 13; 2 Kings xi. 1.

            2 I Sam. xvi. 4, 5; 2 Kings ix. 22.

            3 We see at once the difference of Bathsheba's position as wife of David,

whom she approached with prostration, and as Queen-mother, to whom



46                                   SOLOMON.


            Then she spoke the fatal words which doomed Adonijah to

death. "Let Abishag, the Shunammite, be given to Adonijah

thy brother to wife."

            Was there any secret jealousy or scheme of secret ambition

at work in the mind of Bathsheba, which made it seem to her

not undesirable that the beautiful Shunammite—one it must be

remembered so beautiful that she had been sought for "out of

all the coasts of Israel"—should be removed from the Court of

Solomon? It is not possible to unravel the dark intrigues of

Eastern palaces; but Bathsheba, if any such motive had been

working in her mind, must have been amazed and terrified by

the sudden, and to her incomprehensible, blaze of anger with

which her "small petition " was received.

            "And why," he burst out, "dost thou ask Abishag, the

Shunammite, for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also,

for he is my elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the

priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah!

            Was the king's sudden fury clue only to the suspicion of

another conspiracy?

            It may be so; but an attentive study of the Song of Songs

has led many critics to believe that other and more passionate

feelings were also at work. Passing over for the present the

question of the authorship of Canticles, it is very probable that

the little poem may be founded on traditional circumstances;

and if so, the lovely Shulamite of the Song, whose pure love

for her shepherd lover triumphs over all the seductions of a

royal wooer, may have been meant for no other than Abishag

of Shunem, and may indicate that Solomon desired to make

her his queen. By the ordinary custom of Eastern Courts he had

a right to do so,1 and the damsel was young,2 and "very fair." If

so, the transports of jealousy may have precipitated the conduct

which he believed to be also dictated by the safety of his



the king himself bows. An Eastern king's wife receives little public notice,

but a Queen-mother (Sultana walidé) is received with the deepest respect

even by the reigning king. See Cheyne's Isaiah i. p. 47 (on Isa. vii. 13).

1 See 2 Sam. xii. 8, xvi. 22; Herodotus, iii. 68-88.

2 I. Kings i. 2-4, "A young virgin . . . very fair."

3 Compare the helpless remonstrance of Ishbosheth with Abner when he

took Rizpah, Saul's concubine (2 Sam. iii. 7; see, too, Wollaston, "Mu-

hammad," p. 5).



          INITIAL TROUBLES OF SOLOMON'S REIGN.            47


            At any rate, he at once swore, by the most solemn form of

oath, that this petition should cost Adonijah his life.

            He had a strong and ready agent at hand in the person of

Benaiah, and this officer apparently, on that same day, de-

spatched the prince with his own hand:  "He fell upon him that

he died."1 According to Eastern notions this execution was amply

justified, and there is not the least sign that Solomon showed

any cruel jealousy towards his other brothers. Indeed, he ad

vanced the sons of his brother Nathan to posts of great honour

and responsibility, and when his own line became extinct, the

Davidic succession was restored in the person of Salathiel, a

descendant of Nathan.2 In this respect Solomon contrasts

favourably even with a Constantius for it would have been even

easier for Solomon than it was for the Christian emperor to

sweep away every adult sharer in the royal blood.

            The terrible news of Adonijah's execution was at once con-

veyed to Joab. Whether he was still secretly fostering the

cause of Adonijah we do not know, but Solomon was convinced

that this was the case. A various reading in I Kings ii. 28

says that "he had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not

after Solomon." His conduct showed his terror if it did not

prove his guilt. He at once fled to "take sanctuary," as it

would have been called in the Middle Ages, at the tabernacle

of the Lord—probably the old tabernacle of the wilderness,

which was still served by Zadok or Abiathar at Gibeon—and

there he "caught hold on the horns of the altar." And King

Solomon, when he heard the tidings—so runs the addition of

the Septuagint Version—"sent to Joab, saying, What hath

happened to thee, that thou hast fled unto the altar? And

Joab said, I was afraid of thee, and fled unto the Lord!" But

Solomon had determined that this dangerous and blood-stained

man should die. The protection and pardon which David had

promised him had ended with David's life. Innocent blood

still remained unavenged.  Joab had left himself without

excuse.  He could not lord it over Solomon as he had lorded

it over David by threatening to divulge the guilty secret of his

life. He had no time, and he had probably lost the power, to

raise an armed resistance against the compact force of mer-


            1 The Septuagint adds, "And Adonijah died on that day,"

            2 Zech. xii. 12; Luke iii. 27-31.



48                                 SOLOMON.


cenaries whom Benaiah commanded. Benaiah received the

order to fall on him, and went at once to Gibeon. But when

he saw the defenceless old man clinging to the horns of the

altar, he hesitated to slay him there, and bade him in the king's

name to come forth. "Nay," said Joab, "but I will die here."

            Benaiah scrupled to violate the sanctity of the place which

had been respected when Adouijah had taken refuge there after

his first rebellion.1  He went back to the king for further in-

structions. But Solomon not hesitate. The altar, in his

judgment, was not meant to shelter so heinous a criminal. The

law of Moses was expressly on his side, for it had ordered that

a wilful murderer was to he torn away even from the altar,

since blood was a pollution of the land.2 He considered that

recent events were as a Divine warning to wipe away in the

 blood of the guilty the dark stains of unpunished crime which

might mar the prosperity of David's house. We must judge

him neither by our customs nor by our moral standards.

Benaiah obeyed, and, without one friend to lift an arm or

breathe a petition in his favour, the hoary conspirator fell in

Gibeon, hard by the scene of his vilest and most treacherous

murder—the murder of Amasa "at the great stone of Gibeon."3

It was a just retribution, but a deplorable end to a career of

glory which had struck terror into the enemies of Israel. The

conqueror of the City of Waters, the suppressor of Absalom's

and Sheba's rebellions, died as a common criminal by the

hands of justice.

            Solomon's vengeance pursued his guilty cousin no further,

and his friends—who, be it remembered, must have been

Solomon's own kinsmen of David's house—were allowed to bury

him honourably on his own estate in "the wilderness." But

men remarked that a curse—the curse of David after Joab's

murder of Abner4—seemed to cling to his descendants.  It


            1 So in Athaliah's case the High Priest Jehoiada was naturally anxious

that she should not be slain within the precincts of the sacred building

(2 Kings xi. 15).

            2 Exod. xxi. 14; Numb. xxxv. 30-33.

            3 2 Sam. xx. 8.

            4 Comp. Deut. xix. 13. The fact that Abner was murdered at Hebron,

a refuge city (Josh. xxi. 13), took away from Joab even the poor excuse

that he was acting as a Goel ("blood-avenger") for Asahel his brother;

besides which Abner had only slain Asahel in self-defence, and against his




          INITIAL TROUBLES OF SOLOMON'S REIGN.               49


was believed that those descendants were marked out by

calamity, and that among them. were always some who were

afflicted with leprosy, or were personally contemptible, or who

fell by the sword, or were sunk in poverty and want.1  From

Jewish history they henceforth disappear.

            The High Priest Abiathar seems to have viewed the acces-

sion of Solomon with only a sullen acquiescence, and the king

believed that he also was a supporter of the new plot. But he

hesitated to put him to death. He was old; he had long occupied

the highest position in the priesthood; above all, he had been

for many years the unswervingly faithful follower of David's

fortunes when he was a hunted outlaw, although David had

been the unwitting cause of the dreadful massacre at Nob, in

which Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar, and all his kinsmen

had perished.3  The "sharer of all the afflictions wherewith

David had been afflicted," the priest of his religion, the coun-

sellor of his reign—he who had so often consulted the once

famous but now neglected Urim and Thummin—he who

probably had anointed him king at Hebron4 —could not be

put to death with so little formality as even Joab. He was

banished to his paternal estate at Anathoth,5 and "thrust out"

from all priestly functions during the remainder of his life, not

without a significant warning that he would not again be spared

if he gave ground for offence.6  From this time he vanishes

from history. He was regarded as "a man of death." A doom

hung over his head, and, aged as he was, it is probable that he

did not long survive so terrible a disgrace.

            Zadok now became sole priest, and in his person was restored


            1 2 Sam. iii. 29, "Let there not fail from the house of Joab one that

. . . handleth the distaff" (like a woman). The word means "distaff" in

Prov. xxxi. 19. The rendering of the Authorized Version, "that leaneth on

a staff" (i.e. a cripple), is also tenable.

            2 See I Sam. xxii. 20; 2 Sam. xv. 24-29.

            3 The line of descent was Eli, Phinehas, Ahitub, Ahijah, Ahimelech,

Abiathar. It is not certain whether Ahijah and Ahimelech were not

brothers, or even the same person called by two equivalent names.

            4 See for Abiathar's previous history I Sam, xxii., xxiii. 6, 9, xxx. 7;

2 Sam. ii. 1, 4, v. 19, xv., xvii. 15-17; I Kings ii. 26;  I Chron. xxvii. 34.

            5 Anathoth (now Anata) was a priest's city N.N.E. of Jerusalem, and

little more than an hour's distance (Josh. xxi. 18; 1 Chron. vi. 60; Jer. i. 1,

xxxii. 6-12.

            6 I Kings ii. 26, "I will not at this time put thee to death."



50                                SOLOMON.


the lost prerogative of the house of Eleazar, the elder son of

Aaron.  Eli had been a descendant not of Eleazar, but of

Aaron's younger son Ithamar,1 and from him the priesthood

had descended through several generations. How the house

of Ithamar had succeeded in displacing the house of Eleazar

we are not told, though it is implied that it was in conse-

quence of the Divine sanction.2  The Jewish legend on the

subject is striking, and not impossible. They say that Phi-

nehas, the son of Eleazar, had approved and even carried

out with his own hand the sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter, but

that this human sacrifice—as in the analogous story of Ido-

meneus of Crete—had aroused such an outburst of popular

indignation that Phinehas and his family had in consequence

been displaced. Had Eli proved himself worthy, the priesthood

would have been established in his line, but his culpable negli-

gence and the crimes of his sons brought down a curse upon

his whole family. When Zadok—then a young and valiant

man—had joined David at Hebron, it was found that, of the

twenty-four priestly courses, only eight were of the line of

Ithamar, and sixteen were of the line of Eleazar.3  From

this time Zadok is always mentioned before Abiathar, though

the actual precedence seems to have belonged to the latter as

the older man, and the one already in uncontested possession

of the dignity. After the conquest of Jerusalem, and the re-

moval of the Ark to Mount Zion, Zadok was perhaps provided

for by being placed at the head of the priestly service in the

capital, while Abiathar remained in charge of the ancient

Tabernacle on the High Place of Gibeon.4 When the design

of building a magnificent Temple to Jehovah as the centre of the

national worship had once been determined on, it may well have

been felt that it would be interfered with by the existence of so

venerable a shrine as that of Gibeon, and Solomon may not

have been sorry that the defection of Abiathar enabled him to

concentrate the sacerdotal dignity in the person of the repre-


            1 See 1 Chron. xxiv. 3; 2 Sam. viii. 17; and compare I Chron. vi. 4-15;

Ezra vii. 1-5.

            2 I Sam. ii. 30.                          3 I Chron. xii. 23; xxiv. 4.

            4 Or the arrangement may have been the other way. See 1 Chron. xvi.

39, compared with xv. 11; 2 Sam. xv. 21, 25. We might almost infer

from these passages that the functions of the priests at the two sanctuaries




          INITIAL TROUBLES OF SOLOMON'S REIGN.                 51


sentative of the older and more powerful line by whose hands

he had been anointed king.1  In that line it continued undis-

turbed till the days of the Maccabees.2

            There were eighteen high priests, each averaging a term of

twenty-five years' office, for the four hundred and fifty-four years

from this time till the Captivity; and then, after a lapse of fifty-

two years, the line resumed its office, and there were fifteen

more high priests of this family till the days of Antiochus

Epiphanes.  The house of Abiathar, on the other hand,

dwindled, for some time at least, into misery and insignificance.

Some of its members perished by the sword in the flower of

their age,3 while others were reduced to a poverty so abject that

they had to come crouching as suppliants to the priests of the

house of Zadok to obtain some inferior offices about the Temple,

or at least "a piece of silver, and a morsel of bread." Zadok no

doubt took part in that organization of the priesthood and of the

whole Levitic system which was one great work connected with

the completion of the Temple. From this time, however, we

hear little or nothing about him. As he joined David in his

early wanderings he must now have been at least sixty years

old, and sixty years was regarded as an advanced age among

the Jews of this epoch. Zadok's name is not mentioned in the

long details of the ceremony of Dedication; and in the list of

Court officers, Azariah, "the son" or more accurately the

grandson—of  Zadok is mentioned first as the Priest. The son

of Zadok was the swift runner and crafty diplomatist Ahimaaz,

who must have died in his father's lifetime, leaving the heritage

of the chief priesthood to Azariah his son.4

            The supporters of Adonijah were now crushed, but one power-

ful enemy of the house of David still remained. Shimei was

the sole formidable representative of the ruined house of Saul.


            1 This seems to be the sole historical instance of the deposition of a High

Priest during more than eight centuries.

            2 B.C. 170. They also furnished the chief Levites (Ezek. xl. 46; and

in Ezek. xliii. 19, xliv. 15. &c., they alone arc recognized, nothing being

said of the "sons of Abiathar,"

            3 1 Sam. ii. 33-36 (see the reading of the Septuagint).

            4 For Ahimaaz see 1 Chron. vi. 8, 9; 2 Sam, xv., xviii. The Ahimaaz

of 1 Kings iv. 15 is a different person, and in 1 Chron. vi. 9, 10 there is

some obvious disruption in the text (see infr. p. 64). Josephus says that

Ahimaaz became High Priest, and such seems to have been the Rabbinic

tradition. If so, it can only have been for a very short time.



52                              SOLOMON.


David had felt that he was still dangerous, and held that the

pardon which he had bestowed was not binding on his successor.

At any rate, Solomon, in his determination to secure his throne

by vigorous measures, sent for Shimei, and ordered him to leave

his home at Bahurim in the limits of the tribe of Benjamin, in

which Saul's adherents were chiefly to be found,1 and to come

and live under surveillance at Jerusalem. He told him in the

most distinct terms that if, on any pretext whatever, he left the

limits of the city and crossed the Wady of Kidron, he should be

put to death; and his blood would be upon his own head.2  

Shimei accepted these conditions on oath,3 and for three years

he observed them. At the end of that time two of his slaves ran

away to Achish, king of Gath, and Shimei went to Gath to

demand their extradition.  Perhaps he fancied that the fact

would not be known, or persuaded himself that the nature of

his errand would be a sufficient justification, or that the stern

decree had practically fallen into desuetude: or perhaps he

imagined that as he had not crossed the Kidron, or entered the

domain of Benjamin, there could be no great harm in his going.4

But Solomon was not a man to suffer the suspicion of any

weakness in his conduct. Shimei had proved himself wholly

undeserving of favour in past days, and now, with strange levity

and infatuation, and without even asking leave, he had broken

the oath which he had taken, and defied the warning by which

it had been accompanied. Again we must not judge of Solo-

mon's conduct by modern rules. Judged, as he should be

judged, by the standard of his contemporaries, he was so far

from being regarded unmerciful, that he was specially credited

with not having sought from God the death of his enemies.5

He probably saw in Shimei's conduct a proof that the curse of


            1 Bahurim, where Shimei lived (I Kings ii. 8) was very near Jerusalem

(2 Sam. iii. 16; xvii. 18).

            2 Only by crossing Kidron could he enter the tribe in which he was most

dangerous, but he was also forbidden to go "any whither."

            3 I Kings ii. 42.

            4 A curious Talmudic notice says: "Let a man reside in the same place

as his Rabbi; for so long as Shimei the Son of Gera lived, just so long did

Solomon (Shimei's disciple) defer marrying the daughter of Pharaoh "

(Berachoth, f. 8, 1; Schwab, "Traité des Berakhoth," p. 252; Hershon,

"Treasures of the Talmud," p. 257). Shimei seems to have had illustrious

descendants in Mordecai and Esther (Esth. ii. 5).

            5 I Kings iii. 11.



            INITIAL TROUBLES OF SOLOMON'S REIGN.            53


God was resting upon him, and that he was foredoomed to a

bloody end. Sending for him, he sternly upbraided him, and

once more gave to Benaiah the fatal order. In the person of

Shimei the last of the domestic enemies of David's house

perished, and the kingdom was established in the hands of

Solomon. He had made clear to all men that it was no fainéant

who had succeeded to the warrior and poet who had founded

the throne. He had illustrated some of the precepts which were

afterwards enshrined in his Proverbs as representing an ideal

royalty. "A king that sitteth on the throne of judgment scat-

tereth away all evil from his eyes." "A wise king scattereth

the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them." "The wrath of

the king is as messengers of death, but a wise man will pacify

it." "An evil man seeketh only rebellion, therefore an evil

messenger shall be sent against him." "The fear of a king is as

the roaring of a lion; whoso provoketh him to anger endanger-

eth his own soul." "Take away the wicked from before the

king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness."1

            On the other hand, "in a king's favour is life." Solomon con-

tinued the grateful acknowledgment which David had bestowed

on the loyal house of Barzillai.  Chimham, the youngest son of

the aged Gileadite, continued to reside at his Court and to eat at

his table; and having apparently received a grant from David's

paternal estate, he founded a family of  which the descendants

were still flourishing in the days of Ezra. He founded at Bethle-

hem a khan, or caravanserai, which was known by his name

ages afterwards.2  Probably the sudden outburst of commerce in

Solomon's reign made it a prosperous undertaking, and con-

sidering the stationary character of all Eastern institutions, we

may well believe that it was in the stable of that caravanserai

that the Christ was born.

            But if Solomon did not wholly escape from opposition in his

own kingdom, it was hardly likely that foreign enemies would

leave him undisturbed. They had quailed before the prowess of

David, and they feared the name of Joab even when David was

dead. But of Solomon and of Benaiah, the new commander

of the forces, they knew nothing. It was not without a


            1 Prov. xx. 8, 25; xvi. 14; xvii. 11; xx. 2; xxv. 5.

            2 Jer. xli. 17. The house of Barzillai became mingled with the priestly

line of Hakkoz by the intermarriage of an heiress of that line with the son

of Hakkoz (Ezra ii. 61).


54                             SOLOMON.


struggle that Solomon was allowed to fulfil the omen of his


            The first and most persistent of his enemies was Hadad, a

prince of Edom. "Revenge and wrong," the poet says,

                                    "Bring forth their kind;

                        The foul cubs' like their parents are."


Hadad had reasons to hate the name of David with an undying

hatred. After the defeat of the Edomites Joab had remained no

less than six months in the conquered country with the express

object of exterminating the detested race. Such a task is, how-

ever, always impossible. Some of the Edomites had escaped

from this indiscriminate massacre, and among them were some

of the king's servants, who had been so fortunate as to save a

little child—the sole survivor of his house. They fled by way of

Midian and Paran to Egypt; and the reigning Pharaoh, who was

hostile to the growing power of Israel, had given to Hadad a

warm welcome. He had not only maintained him and assigned

him an estate, but had even condescended to bestow upon the

homeless fugitive the hand of the sister of his own queen, or

Queen-mother, Tahpenes.1  This lady bore him a son, who was

named Genubath, who was treated in all respects like an Egyp-

tian prince.  But the splendours of Pharaoh's palace did not lull

the wrath and vengeance which Hadad nursed in his heart

against the destroyers of his race. On hearing that his old

enemies were dead, he begged Pharaoh's leave to return from

the placid pomp of an Egyptian palace to the wild freedom of

his native land. The Egyptian king was hurt by the request,

which he regarded as ungrateful; but with all the passion of an

avenger of blood Hadad persisted in his wish, and, whether

openly or secretly, succeeded in escaping from Egypt. He found

his people slowly recovering from the dreadful blow which had


            1 Gebîrah may mean "Queen-mother " (I Kings xv. 13). In the Septuagint

this Pharaoh is wrongly called Shishak (Σουσακίμ), and his queen Theke-

mina, and it is added that an elder sister of Thekemina, named Anô, was

given in marriage to Jeroboam. The Pharaoh must have been one of the

Tanite kings of Lower Egypt, but we cannot pronounce with any certainty

what was his name. The Septuagint additions are quite apocryphal. The

protector of Hadad must have lived some time before the accession of

Shishak, and the name of Shishak's queen was not Tahpenes, but




            INITIAL TROUBLES OF SOLOMON'S REIGN.               55


been inflicted on them in the last reign, and he was acknow-

ledged as their king.1 Solomon was far too strong to be seriously

shaken, but Hadad harassed him continually with a guerilla

warfare, which could be easily carried on from the mountain

fastnesses of Idumæa.2

            Nor was Hadad the only enemy. One of David's most decisive

and splendid victories had been gained over Hadarezer, son of

Rehob, king of Zobab. A Syrian named Rezon, son of Eliada, had

escaped from the overthrow, and from the wreck of the Syrian

forces had collected an army sufficiently strong to conquer

Damascus. Whether he was long able to maintain himself

there we do not know, but he was a thorn in Solomon's side

during the whole period of his reign.

            Besides these troubles in the south and west of his dominions,

Solomon was also harassed for a short time by a revolt of the

Canaanites who rallied round the little kingdom of Geshur.

From this danger, however, he was liberated when he espoused

Pharaoh's daughter. For Pharaoh, landing an army at Joppa,

took Geshur,3 and presented it to Solomon as the dowry of his

daughter. The marriage seems to have taken place early in

the reign. Tradition long remembered these espousals, and

the crown which on that day the Queen-mother herself placed

upon the head of her still youthful son.4

            This magnificent alliance—the most magnificent ever made

by any Hebrew king—gave Solomon a new grandeur in the

eyes of all surrounding nations. The Pharaoh in question must

have been a king of the twenty-first or Tanite dynasty, then


            1 I Kings xi. 22, LXX., "And he was indignant against Israel, and

reigned in the land of Edom.'' This depends on the reading Edom for Aram

(אַרָם Aram, Syria) in I Kings xi. 25. If the reading Aram be right, then

we must suppose with Josephus ("Antiq." viii. 7, § 6) that Hadad failed in

his attempt on Idumaia, but in some way or other became king of part

of Syria, which may have been ceded to him by Rezon. But there is a

confusion in the original text.

            2 I Kings xi. 14-25 sufficiently shows that though narrated out of order,

these events belong to the early parts of Solomon's reign.

            3 Gezer is identified by Ewald with Geshur; and Geshur may have

become troublesome because Absalom was a grandson of its king Tohnai.

Deut. xxiii. 7, 8 seems to permit marriage with Egyptians.

            4 Cant. iii, 11. This was probably Solomon's first marriage. Pharaoh

would have been less likely to give his daughter to Solomon if he already

had a wife—the Ammonitess Naamah—and a son Rehoboam.



56                             SOLOMON.


rather in the decline of its power. Shishak, between 990-980 B.C.,

founded a new dynasty after the middle of Solomon's reign.1

The father-in-law of Solomon must therefore have been one of

the last two kings of the Tanites—either Psinaces or his son,

Psusennes II. More probably it was the former, for

Psusennes II. only reigned fourteen years, and with him the

dynasty of Zoan came to an ond.2  Of Pharaoh's daughter we

hear very little. It is clear that she bore no son to Solomon,

and she probably died before the shameful multiplication of his

harem.  Whether she became a proselyte to Judaism we do not

know, but at any rate Solomon was not turned aside by her to

build a temple for any deity of Egypt. The national conscience,

however, was never entirely reconciled to this departure from

theocratic traditions.  "When Solomon married the daughter

of Pharaoh," says the Talmud, "Gabriel descended and fixed.

a reed in the sea. A sandbank formed around it, upon which

the mighty city of Rome was subsequently built."3  The meaning,

I suppose, is that at the moment of his sin began the series of

events which after long centuries destroyed his people by

Roman vengeance, and made of Jerusalem and the Temple

a heap of desolation.

            As regards the other foes, Hadad was little more than a

marauder, and Rezon was probably crippled by Solomon's con-

quest of Hamath.4  Solomon, in consequence of his own con-

fidence in the Divine establishment of his power was now king

as far as the Euphrates on the east, and as far as the river of

Egypt on the south. The Second Psalm remains as a triumphant

epinician ode in which he, or a poet of the time speaking in

his name, gives thanks to God who has made him triumph over

his enemies, and in which he uses the large, prophetic style of

utterance which only acquires its full significance when we

regard Solomon in his better aspects as the type of the Perfect

King of David's line who should rule in righteousness over all



            1 Mr. R. S. Poole, "Dictionary of the Bible," s.v. Shishak, dates his

accession from Egyptian sources circ. 983.

            2 Josephus says ("Antiq." viii. 6, § 2) that after his time (when the Bubas-

tite dynasty began) Egyptian kings dropped the exclusive title of Pharaoh,

and were known by their own names. According to Brugsch, "Gesch.

Ægypt." 657, the name of Psusennes on the monuments was Piseskban.

But see infra.

            3 Sanhedrin f, 21. 2.                             4 2 Chron. viii. 3.



        INITIAL TROUBLES OF SOLOMON'S REIGN.                    57


                      NOTE ON THE PHARAOH OF 1 KINGS III. I.


            It appears from the Egyptian monuments that the twenty-first, or Tanite

dynasty of Egyptian kings was founded by Hir-hor, an ambitious priest of

Amon at Zoan (Tanis) about B.C. 1100.  For the most part the annals of

Egypt during the reigns of these kings are a blank.  Hir-hor raised himself

to power by driving out Rameses XIII. (?), when the country had sunk

into moral and intellectual degeneracy. The manes of his successors on

the monuments are (according to Brugsch) Plankhi, Pinotem I., Piseb-

khan I., Pinotem II. The names seem to be Assyrian, and Hir-hor pro-

bably made an alliance with Assyria. But the house of Rameses still had

adherents, and Pinotem I. married a princess of that family. After about one

hundred and thirty years (B.C. 1100-975) Shashanq I. founded the dynasty

of Bubastis (Pibeseth, Ezek. xxx. 17), and strengthened himself by marrying

a daughter of the last Tanite king. See Brugsch, "History of Egypt from

the Monuments," ii. 200-214. (E. tr.); Rawlinson, "Ancient Egypt," vol.

ii. ch. xxiii. pp. 412-416; Lenormant, "Hist. Anc.'' vol. 1. p. 304.






                                             CHAPTER VI.


                          SOLOMON'S SACRIFICE AND DREAM.





General peacefulness of Solomon's reign—He offers a tenfold hecatomb at

            Gibeon—His dream—Modes of Divine communication—His prayer

            for wisdom.—The ideal not perfect—A conditional promise — Great

            sacrifice on Mount Zion—The dead and the living child—Nature of

            Solomon's wisdom—The wisest man of his age—His proverbs and

            songs, and other intellectual efforts—Riddles—Hiram and Abdemon.


IT is not possible to discover the exact order of events in

Solomon's reign; but it probable that the inaugural sacrifice

with which he celebrated the secure establishment of his throne

was not offered until God had given him some peace before the

face of his enemies. That peace was lasting. He was not

again seriously troubled till towards the close of his reign of

forty years.

            Accordingly, when his vigour and self-reliance had struck

terror into all opponents, he went in solemn procession to the

High Place at Gibeon, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and

offered the enormous sacrifice of a thousand burnt-offerings on

the venerable altar which Bezaleel had constructed nearly five

centuries before.1 The splendour of this tenfold hecatomb illus-

trated the magnificence of his conceptions as one who intended

to be every inch a king; and while it showed his sense of grati-


            1 See 2 Chron. 1. 2, 3. For going to Gibeon, the chief seat of the

national worship, served by the entire priesthood, Solomon is certainly

not to blame. Where it is said (1 Kings iii. 3) that he "loved the Lord

. . .  only he sacrificed and burn: incense in high places," the phrase

expresses the view of later centuries. The implicit prohibition of Lev.

xvii, 3-5 could hardly apply to a Lime when the Ark was at Zion and the

Tabernacle at Gibeon; and high places, in the absence of a regular temple,

were sanctioned by prophets and priests alike. Perhaps the Wady Sulei-

man may retain a trace of Solomon's visit to Gibeon.




                   SOLOMON'S SACRIFICE AND DREAM.               59


tude for God's protection, it would also powerfully influence the

imagination of the people and prepare them for the religious

development by which the reign was to be marked.1

            And there at Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a

dream of the night. The consultation of Urim and Thummim

seems to have fallen into desuetude after the days of David,

and about this time there occurred a marked cessation of pro-

phetic activity. We never read that Solomon, like his father,

inquired of the Lord by the high priest. To a certain extent

he was his own priest, and he seems to have offered some of

his burnt-offerings with his own hand. The prophetic work of

Nathan and Gad was finished, and Ahijah of Shiloh had not

yet risen into prominence. Dreams were the third—and indeed

the lowest order of Divine communications. In a dream

God bids Solomon to choose some sign of His favour, and

Solomon, in accordance with the whole tendency of his cha-

racter, asks for kingly wisdom. He is but "a little child," pro-

bably not more than twenty years of age,2 and cannot compare

himself with his father David—a warrior, a poet, a statesman,

a king trained by long and varied experience. Israel had grown

into a mighty and countless people, and Solomon prays for an

understanding heart that he may be enabled in his constant

functions of a judge to discern between good and evil.3

            His prayer was pleasing to God, for it was noble and unselfish.

A man of smaller mind might have asked for riches, or glory,

or success in war; and specially—considering the vagueness

and dimness of ancient views about immortality—for length of

days. And God, to reward his better choice, promised him in

pre-eminent, measure the gift of a wise and understanding heart,

and gave him in addition the riches and honour which he had

not directly sought. He had shown something of the spirit


            1 The sacrifice of 1,000 victims was sufficiently known to give rise in later

Greek (Julian and Eustathius) to the word χιλιόμβη, for what the LXX.

calls χιλίαν ολοκαύτωσιν. Xerxes offered 1,000 at Troy (Herodotus, vii.

43), and Crœsus 3,000 (Herodotus, i. 50).

            2 In 1 Chror. xxix. 1; 1 Kings iii. 7, he is called "young and tender"

at his accession. But the phrase, "I am a child," was more or less pro-

verbial (Jer. i 6).

            3 See James i. 5; Wisdom vii. 7, ix. 12. The importance of the king's

judicial functions in the days when he was both the judge and the jury is

illustrated in the training of Cyrus (Xen. "Cyrop." i, 3 § 16; comp. 1 Sam.

viii. 20; 2 Sam. xv. 2-4).




60                              SOLOMON.


which seeks first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,

and therefore all other things were added unto him. The pro-

mise of length of days was, however, made conditional on

Solomon's continued faithfulness, and he forfeited its fulfilment

by his subsequent apostasies. He reigned forty years, but died

at the age of sixty, and did not attain the age of his father.1

The conditions on which the gift of "wisdom" were made to

depend might have served to Solomon as a warning that his

ideal of wisdom was not as yet the highest—that all wisdom

begins and ends in the fear of the Lord; that without holiness

the gift of earthly prudence and political insight and varied

knowledge are of no permanent avail.

            Solomon awoke, and behold it was a dream.2 But he felt

that it was a Divine dream; and in sign of his gratitude he

went from Gibeon to the altar on Mount Zion, and stood before

the Ark, and offered fresh burnt-offerings and thank-offerings,

and made a great feast to all his servants.3

            The instance which the historian gives us of Solomon's wis-

dom is exactly of a kind which would have taken the fancy of an

Eastern people.

            Two harlots came to the king as he sat in the gate to decide

all causes. They brought with them two infants, one living and

one dead, and each of them claimed the living child as her own.

It was a case of conflicting testimony, which to many might

have seemed impossible to decide. Solomon at once decided it

by a flash of intuitive sagacity. He ordered one of his soldiers

to cut the living child in two, and give half to each of the

women.4 Then the passionate cry of the mother's heart, "O my

lord, give her the living child and by no means slay it,"

revealed at once to whom the child belonged. "Give her the

living child and by no means slay it"—the king meditatively

repeated the mother's words, and then burst forth with swift

decision—"She is the mother thereof."

            But Solomon's fame for wisdom was founded on far richer and

wider endowments than this swift practical sagacity, this "dis-


            1 Compare Wisdom iv. 8, 9.

            2 Ps. cxxvii. 2, "God given to His beloved even sleeping."

            3 1 Kings iii. 15. This is not mentioned in the Book of Chronicles.

            4 See Suet. Claud. 15. Josephus says that he ordered the two children

to be divided between the mothers, and that the people at first laughed at

his simplicity. See Ambrose, "De Off." ii. 8.


               SOLOMON'S SACRIFICE AND DREAM.                61


cernment to understand judgment." God gave him "wisdom"

in a higher significance. He had at least a partial sense of

the relation in which man stands to God, and man to man;

of the wisdom which begins with righteousness, and regards

it as the highest end of life to depart from evil. He had an "un-

derstanding exceeding much," in which is included intellectual

power, and "wisdom for a man's self;" and "largeness of

heart even as the sand that is on the sea-shore;" that is, an infi-

nite thirst for knowledge, and capacity for attaining it. Egypt

and Arabia and Chaldæa were famed as the homes of wisdom,

but neither Egypt, nor Arabia, nor Chaldæa had produced any

men whose learning and insight were equal to those of Solomon.

He surpassed all the children of the East.2 All the surrounding

nations heard his fame. He was wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite,

and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol. Ethan

and Heman, the Ezrahites, were celebrated as poets and musi-

cians.3  Heman is called "the king's seer in the words of the

Lord,"4 and the Eighty-eighth Psalm remains in all its depth

and beauty to attest his powers of inspired thought and expres-

sion.  Chalcol and Dardas seem also to have taken large share

in the organization of the Temple services with its psalms and

hymns and spiritual songs. Perhaps the words "sons of

Mahol" refer to all four of the persons mentioned, and it is not

impossible that they are thus meant to be described as "sons of

the choir," or sacred singers.6  But none of the four could be


            1 Gen. xli. 8; Exod. vii. 11; Acts vii. 22.

            2 Comp. Job i. 3; Matt. ii. 1. These Benî Kedem seem to be the nomad

tribes of Arabia and Mesopotamia. (See Gen. xxix. 1; Judg. vi. 3, 33,

vii. 12). It is interesting to find this frank recognition of Ethnic wisdom and

inspiration from which that of Solomon differed not in kind, but in degree.

            3 I Chron. ii. 6, xv. 19; Ps. lxxxviii. title, xxxix. title. Ezrahite seems to

be a mere transposition of Zerahite. They were descendants of Zerah, the son

of Judah.  If so, however, they cannot be identified with the Singers and

Levites of 1 Chron. vi. 44. There seems then to have been two Hemans,

and two Ethans, except on the not impossible supposition that Heman the

(Kohathite) married a heiress of the house of Zerah, and was

reckoned in Zerah's genealogy.

            4  I Chron. xxv. 5.

            5 For Chalcol and Dara (Darad, or Darda), see I Chron. ii. 6, where they

are great-grandsons of Jacob, by the line of Zerah, son of Judah, and brothers

of Ethan and Heman.

            6 It is true that Machôl means "a dance" rather than "a choir," but in

Ps. cl. 4, it may perhaps be used for an instrumen of music; and Rashi


62                            SOLOMON.


compared to Solomon. Of the extensive literature which tradi-

tion assigns to him but little remains. Of his three thousand

Proverbs only a handful are preserved, and they contain scarcely

any allegories or riddles, or passages of figurative poetry, but

chiefly the sententious antithetic apothegms which preserve in

the memory the results of experience, and the lessons of insight.

Of his thousand and five songs1 there is only one which, with the

exception of two psalms,2 has been even traditionally ascribed

to him. Besides these songs and proverbs, he spoke, we are

told, of the trees, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop of

the wall; and of beasts, and fowl, and creeping things, and

fishes. It is a matter of conjecture whether this passage refers

to a dawning knowledge of natural history and botany, or

whether it merely implies a poetic admiration of all that is beau-

tiful in nature, and skill in the application of it to moral instruc-

tion or religious parable.3  Of this skill we find traces not only

in the "Wisdom literature" assigned to his authorship, but also

—and that with exquisite freshness—in some of the Psalms.4

            Various forms of veiled and pregnant speech known as "rid-

dles" and "dark sayings" were also much cultivated in this

epoch of literature.  Riddles have always played an important

part in the story of the East. Josephus preserves a curious tra-

dition that Solomon, and Hiram, king of Tyre, challenged each

other to trials of skill in this form of "wisdom"—inability to

read the riddle being acknowledged by pecuniary fines.5 At

first Hiram was entirely defeated in this intellectual contest,

but at last he discovered a Tyrian youth named Abdemon, of

great natural gifts, by whose assistance he successfully encoun-

tered, and even defeated, his royal ally.


says that these four "were skilled in composing hymns, which were recited

in the dances of song." See Dr. W. Allis Wright, s.v. in "Dictionary of

the Bible." Comp. "daughters of song," Eccles. xii. 4. Grätz says that

these four were descendants of Chamul, son of Pharez, and that מחול is

only a transposition of חמול (Numb. xxvi. 21).

            1 The LX.X. says 5,000 songs.

            2 Ps. lxxv., cxxvii. The eighteen apocryphal "Psalms of Solomon"

belong to the age of the Maccabees.

            3 Eccles. xlvii. 17. Josepluts, "Antig." viii. 2, § 5; κα’ θ’ εκαστον γὲ εῖδος
δένδρου παραβολὴν εῖπεν
. On the nature of Solomon's wisdom see Hooker,

"Eccl. Pol.'' III. viii. 9; Bacon, "Advt. of Learning," book i.

            4 See Renan, "Hist. des Langues Sémitiques,” p. 127.

            5 Comp. Theophilus in Eusebius, " Præp. Ev." ix. 34, § 19.







                                         CHAPTER. VII.


                            THE COURT OF' SOLOMON.





Growing complexity and magnificence of the Court—High officers—

            Azariah grandson of Zadok—Use of the word "Priest"—The two

            Scribes—The Recorder—The Captain of the Host—Zadok—Bamoth

            or High Places—The Farmer-general—"The King's friend"—The

            Chamberlain, growing importance of this official—The Superintendent

            of the levies—Forced labour—The twelve districts to supply the Court

            —Significance of these districts—Judah possibly exempted—Immense

            exaction of provisions—The burden not felt at first—Prevailing peace

            —Solomon's one conquest.


THE fourth chapter of the First Book of Kings shows how vast

a stride the Jewish monarchy had. taken during the reign of

David. Saul had been a king of primitive simplicity, content

with a humble and modest royalty, dwelling under the pome-

granate tree in the Precipice,1 or under the tamarisk in the High

Place at Gibeah,2 carrying his great spear in his hand, and often

with no larger army about him than a few faithful henchmen.

David, in his later years, had surrounded himself with some-

thing of the state of other monarchies, but his harem and his

palaces were insignificant compared with those of Solomon,

who in his splendour and magnificence followed the dubious

model of Egyptian, Phœnician, and Assyrian kings.

            He was surrounded by an immediate circle of high officers,

who held the rank of princes (sarim), and ate at his table. In

David's warlike Court the highest rank was assigned to the

Captain of the Host, and the Captain of the Bodyguard. In


            1 Authorized Version, "in Migron" (1 Sam. xiv, 2).

            2 I Sam. xxii. 6.




64                              SOLOMON.


Solomon's Court precedence is assigned to more peaceful


            First among them was Azariah, the "son," or rather the

grandson of Zadok,1 who is called the "Priest."2 He certainly

did not supersede either Zadok or Abiathar, but he had pro-

bably suceeded to the office of Chief Priest by his father's

death. It has been supposed that the priestly title is given to

him in the older sense in which it is given to the sons of David,

for whose title of "priests "3 the Chronicler substitutes the ex-

planation "chief about the king."4 Even David on certain

occasions wore the ephod, so Azariah—being of priestly birth

—might no doubt have performed sacerdotal duties connected

with the palace. There is, however, no need for the supposition

here, for it is obvious that the clause, "this is he that executed

the priest's office in the house that Solomon built in Jerusalem,"

in 1 Chron. vi. to has been accidentally misplaced, and applies

to the grandson of Zadok, not to the son of Johanan.

            Next to him were two "Scribes"—Elihoreph and Ahiah—sons

perhaps of the Sheva (probably the same as Seraiah), who had

been scribe to David.5 They seem to have acted as Secretaries

of State, and the extension of Solomon's power made it neces-

sary to employ the services of two, whereas hitherto one had


            Next to these came Jehoshaphat, the son of Ahilud, the

"Recorder" or "Remembrances," who had held the same office

in the reign of David.6 This necessity for an officer to act as


            1 Zadok, Ahimaaz, Azariah.

            2 The Septuagint omits the title, which perplexed the translators. We

find, however, that even in David's time there seems to have been an ap-

proximation between the royal and priestly functions, and the development

of this connection was probably strengthened by Phoenician influences

(Movers, " Phönizier," p. 548). In 2 Sam. viii. 18, we are told that

"David's sons were priests."

            3 Kohanim, 2 Sam. viii. 18; LXX., "chief courtiers;" Syriac, "mag-

nates;" but it is strange to render the same word in two quite different

senses in two lines.

            4 Literally, "the first at the king's hand."

            5 See 2 Sam. viii. 37; xx. 25. In I Chron. xviii. 16, he is called Shavsha.

Grätz (i. 245) calls the scribe (Sopher) "Listenführer," or "Rottenführer

über den Heerbann." The Rabbis derived the title from saphar, "to

count." Comp. Isa. xxxiii. 18. See Grätz's learned note (i. 457).

            6 2 Sam. viii. 16, xx. 24; 1 Chron. xviii. 15. LXX., ο επὶ τών απομνημά-


                         THE COURT OF SOLOMON.                            65


annalist, or royal historiographer, is another indication of the

growing importance of the Jewish throne.

            Benaiah was promoted to the captaincy of the host left vacant

by the execution of Joab. The present text of the Book of

Kings would lead us to suppose that he also continued to be

Captain of the bodyguard. It would, however, have been

dangerous to the stability of the throne to concentrate two such

offices in the hands of one man.  The Captain of the Body-

guard was more than ever needed as a counterpoise to any

military ambition which might be kindled in the breast of the

Commander-in-chief. It is probable, therefore, that a sentence

preserved in the Greek translation represents the original

reading, and that Eliab, the son of Shaphat, replaced Benaiah

in the command of the Cherethites and Pelethites.

            Zadok, as long as he lived was the Chief Priest, but as in

the analogous case of Annas in the days of our Lord, the

disgrace of Abiathar, by the civil power, did not obliterate the

memory of his long priesthood, and he was still regarded as

being one of the titular heads of the priesthood during the

remainder of his life.

            There was no longer a famous shrine at Gibeon, but the wor-

ship at the High Places still continued for ages after the Temple

was built.  It was too deeply rooted in the notional customs to

be got rid of, and it was only after centuries of struggle that

Hezekiah ventured upon a step, which was regarded by many

as revolutionary and impious, in destroying the High Places

altogether.1  It is quite certain that neither Solomon nor any of

his predecessors were conscious of any dereliction of duty in

sanctioning the continuance of local sanctuaries.2  If the pro-

hibition of Deuteronomy was then in existence, it was clearly

unknown to the majority of the nation.3  It was only in later

times that the toleration of these Bamoth came to be looked upon

as a blot—though a venial blot—on the memory of even the

holiest kings.


των; Isa. xxxvi. 3, ο υπομνηματογράφος. Comp. Suet., "Aug," 79, "Qui

e memoria Augusti." Mazkhir, or "Chancellor."           Grätz ("Gesch. d.

Juden." i. 459) calls him "Erinner."  See Ezek. xxi. 24; xxix. 16.

            1 See the remark of the apostate Rabsbakeh, 2 Kings xviii. 22; 2 Chron.

xxxii. 12.

            2 Judg. 20, xiii. 19; I Sam. ix. 12; &c.

            3 Deut. xii. 13, 14.


66                             SOLOMON.


            The post of Superintendent, or Farmer-general, over the

twelve heads of local administration was held by Azariah, the

son of Nathan; and his brother Zabud was also a "kohen,"

and "the king's friend." It has been assumed too hastily that

the Nathan here intended was the Prophet, and that the high

promotion of his two sons indicates that he had sunk into

courtly proclivities, which hampered the outspoken faithfulness

of his earlier days. But Nathan is rarely mentioned without

his title of "the Prophet," and it is at least as probable that

Azariah and Zabud were sons of Nathan, the brother of Solomon,

and therefore nephews of the king. It is true that Nathan was

either younger than Solomon or only a little older, so that his

sons must have been very young men. But it must be re-

membered that this list does not entirely apply to the early

part of the reign. As we find Solomon's sons-in-law in it, we may

easily find his nephews. It was necessary to provide mainten-

ance, and occupation, and high official rank for the members of

the royal family. The title "Priest" in its lay sense, or civil

sense, seems only to have been given to the princes of the

house of David. If this conjecture be correct, it is another

indication of the often renewed attempt to unite kingly and

priestly functions. This cannot surprise us, since it began, even

in the previous reign, and seems to have been borrowed from

the Phœnicians. It was a direct means of strengthening the

royal house and the Court party.1  Solomon had no intention

of allowing Zadok to become a priest of the kind that kings have

had to cope with in all ages from the days of Ethbaal down to

those of Thomas à Becket. We shall see that, even in the most

solemn details of the Temple inauguration, Solomon is every-

thing, and Zadok or his successor sinks into such complete

insignificance that his name is not once mentioned during the

entire ceremony.

            The Secretary and the Recorder were permanent officials in

the royal establishment, and to them we must add a new and

important functionary—the Chamberlain, or High Steward,

who was "over the household."2 The existence of such an


            1 See Movers, "Phönizier," p. 50. We may recall the facts that

"Bishop of Osnaburgh" was even in this century the title of one of our

princes; and that Charles II., on his deathbed, is said to have pronounced

the blessing over his own bishops.

            2 Nearly three centuries later, in the Court of Hezekiah, we read


                        THE COURT OF SOLOMON.                         67


officer to regulate the admissions to the king, the management

of the palace, and the etiquette of the Court, shows that the

more primitive form of royalty was now being rapidly assimi-

lated to the statelier usages of the great surrounding kingdoms.

As the form of government became more and more personal,

the Chamberlain, from his right of immediate access to the king,

became the most important personage in the affairs of govern-

ment, just as the eunuchs were often the chief ministers in the

Courts of the Byzantine Emperors.

            The function of the last great official on the list is somewhat

ominous. Such splendour as that of Solomon could not be

maintained except at the cost of heavy taxation. We now find,

almost for the first time, an officer who "was over the tribute,"

or rather "the Levy," that is, the corvée or forced labour.1 This

office was held by Adoniram or Adoram, the son of Abda.

Under Saul there had been an overseer of the flocks, and David

had been obliged to appoint a custodian of the king's treasures,

and stewards who managed his pastures, vineyards, olives,

sycomores, camels, herds, and flocks.2  If David's numbering

of the people had been due to an intention of subjecting them

to a poll-tax, something like this must have been actually carried

out under the government of Solomon. The people began to

discover too late that "bondage with ease" is not to be com-

pared to "strenuous liberty." In tribute, and proscription for

various kinds of compulsory service, the people were now

beginning to feel the burden of monarchy, of which they had

been so emphatically warned by their indignant prophet.3

Adoram must have had a long spell of toil under David and

Solomon; at the beginning of Rehoboam's reign, when he

must have been an old man, his unpopular office cost him his


            For the Court of Solomon, with its polygamy, and the multi-


"Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the Scribe, and Joah

the son of Asaph the Recorder." The Chamberlain has now became the

chief official (2 Kings xviii. 18; comp. Isa. xxii. 15, where Shebna is a

person of great and objectionable influence).

            1 He is said to be "al-ha-Alas." He is cursorily mentioned in 2 Sam.

xx. 24, which refers to the closing years of David. The word Mas, "levy,"

is of dubious derivation.

            2 I Chron xxvii, 25-31.

            3 I Sam, viii. 11-18.


68                                SOLOMON.


tude of its retainers, soldiers, and eunuchs,1 must have consisted

of some thousands of persons, and their maintenance was very

costly.  To secure a due provision of food and delicacies for

the palace, the king appointed twelve officers, one for each

month of the year; and each was bound to furnish the requisite

contributions in kind and money from one of the twelve districts

into which the land was divided.2 The importance of their

position may be estimated from the fact that two of them were

sons-in-law of Solomon, married to his daughters Taphath and

Basmath, of whom we hear nothing farther.3  In the division of

districts we find Mount Ephraim, three sections of the maritime

plain, the plain of Jezreel, Asher, Issachar, Naphtali, Benjamin,

and three sections of the country east of the Jordan. The

districts seem, however, to have been formed with very little

reference to ancient tribal limits, which were scarcely likely to

find favour in schemes of monarchical centralization. The ob-

ject of the whole arrangement was mainly the somewhat ignoble

one of supplying the inexhaustible expenses of a luxurious Court.

It was very remarkable that Judah does not seem to have been

included in the division, though it occupied so large a portion

of Palestine. It is difficult to suppose that so obscure a place

as Sochoh4 could have been intended as the tax station for


            1 That the degraded service of eunuchs in the royal harem must have been

introduced by this time seems clear if the word sarîsîm be taken literally in

I Sam. viii. 15 ; 1 Chron. xxviii. I. There could have been no more

ominous proof of commencing decadence and faithlessness.

            2 Compare the exactly similar arrangement in the courts of ancient and

modern Persia (Herodotus, i. 692; Chardin, "Voy. en Perse,'' iii. 345). It

is curious that some of the officers are not named, but only called by their

patronymic, "the son of Hesed," &c. This is probably due to an accidental

mutilation of the original document, for names are given by Josephus. If

we accept the conjecture (suggested by the LXX., καὶ Νασέφ εῖς εν γῆ

Ιούδα), and add " in the land of Judah" to I Kings iv. 19 (taking Judah

from ver. 20), there would be thirteen instead of twelve of these Netzibim.

The Targum adopts this reading, and says that the thirteenth deputy was

"to maintain the king in the intercalary month."

            3 The allusion is, however, a proof that this organization could not have

been fully established till Solomon was far advanced in his reign. The

husband of Taphath—the son of Abinadab—may have been Solomon's

first cousin (1 Sam. xvi. 8).

            4 There were two Sochohs. The one here meant bordered on Philistia.

Grätz says, "Auffallend ist besonders dass über Juda kein Nezib gesetzt zu

sein scheine."


                      THE COURT OF SOLOMON.                              69


Judah. Had Judah, then, an immunity from the burden of this

impost?  If so, the exemption was most impolitic, and could

not have failed to exacerbate the existing jealousies. An in-

teresting notice informs us of the immense stores required by

the household for a single day—namely, thirty cors of fine

flour, sixty cors of meal, ten stall-fed and twenty pasture-oxen,

and a hundred sheep, besides harts, roebucks, fallow-deer, and

fowls. Taking the cor at one of its lower valuations, this seems

to imply as much as 18,000 lbs. of bread a day; and considering

how little meat is required in the East, we should conjecture that

the maintenance would be enough for at least ten thousand

persons.1  Solomon also collected a large force of chariots and

chariot-horses (susim), and he had twelve thousand horsemen,

and swift horses for the royal couriers,2 requiring a large pro-

vision of straw and barley. They were kept in various cities

and barracks. In the intoxication of personal grandeur, the

old dislike to cavalry and chariots was forgotten, and the old

injunctions —as Samuel had prophesied would be the case—

were set aside.3  But there must have been many who

looked on this innovation with dislike. They did not care

to see "the chariots of Pharaoh" in the Court of Solomon,4

remembering that "a horse is a vain thing to save a man," and

that God, who "delighteth not in the strength of a horse," had

enabled David with his simple infantry to defeat the immense

cavalry of Hadarezer, as Barak had defeated Sisera before.

            But it was not in the earlier years of the reign that the

burden proved intolerable. On the contrary, the people at first

enjoyed an immense prosperity, due to peace and extended

commerce. They lived in festivity and ease, and exulted in the

power of their king, whose dominion was acknowledged from

Tiphsah on the west bank of the Euphrates5 to Gaza and the


            1 Thenius says the flour would daily feed fourteen thousand. As many

or more were daily fed by the kings of Persia.

            2 Not "dromedaries," as in Authorized Version. Comp. Esth. viii. 10,

            3 Deut. xvii. 16; I Sam. viii. 11, 12; 2 Sam. viii. 4; Josh. xi. 9.

            4 Cant. i. 9.

            5 Tiphsah, or Thapsacus, was afterwards attacked by Menahem (2 Kings

xv. 16). It was the ford (pasach, "to pass over") of the Euphrates; Xen.,

"Anab." i. 4, §11; Arrian, "Exp. Alex." ii. 13, iii. 7. Its site is believed

to be the modern Suriyeh. The phrase "on this side the river," literally is,

"beyond the river" (I Kings iv. 24), and furnishes a curious proof that the

passage was not composed till the days of the Exile; the western bank of

the river being described from the Babylonian point of view.


70                                      SOLOMON.


Mediterranean; and from Damascus to the "stream of Egypt,"

i.e., Rhinokolura (the Wady el Areesh). They were proud that

his mere name was sufficient to protect them from all their

enemies.  It was only by slow degrees that the glamour of suc-

cess was dissipated, and the nation began to realize the burden

of oppression. At this time the general community below the

Court officials and princes consisted of four classes of persons.

These were, in descending degrees of dignity—

            1. The freeborn Israelites (ezrach, Exod. xii. 49, &c.), whose

burdens were made as light as possible.

            2. The native Canaanites, who were in vassalage to the

Crown, and were sufficiently numerous to be sometimes formid-

able (Toshabîm, Lev. xxii. 23, &c).

            3. The strangers—like the Athenian Metoikoi or "resident

aliens"—whom commerce or other influences had drawn into

the country, and who generally placed themselves under special

protection (Gerîm, Lev. xvii. 8, &c.).1

            4. Slaves of three classes, namely either—

               (1) Slave taken in war; or

               (2) One who had sold himself into slavery in consequence of

poverty or debt.

            (3) One born in the house (verna, "the children of the


            From the burden of war they were happily exempt. The

raids of Hadad and Rezon did not give any serious trouble

to the nation at large, and the only aggressive action taken

throughout the reign was so transient that it is omitted alto-

gether in the Book of Kings, and dismissed in a single line of

the Second Book of Chronicles.3  "Solomon," we are told,

"went to Hamath-Zobah, and prevailed against it." Of further

details we know absolutely nothing, and it has even been con-

jectured that Hamath-Zobah cannot mean the great Harnath on

the Orontes, but must mean some other Hamath in the separate

kingdom of Zobah. Since, however, Toi, king of Hamath,showed

signs of weakness when he sent presents to David, Solomon

may have had little difficulty in annexing his capital. It was

reconquered for Israel by the warlike Jeroboam II. some two

centuries after this date.4


            1 Lev. xxv. 44; see Grätz, 1. 336. On the toshabîm, see Jahn, "Arch.

Bibl." i. 11, § 181.  They and the gerîm are rendered προσοίκοι, προσήλυτοι, γειώρας, in the LXX.

            2 Gen. xiv. 14.             3 2 Chron. viii. 3.         4 2 Kings xiv. 28.





                                           CHAPTER VIII.


                             THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.




The Temple—The design of David—He is forbidden to build—His immense

            preparations—In what sense the Temple was "exceeding magnifical"—

            Its substructions, walls, and cisterns, and the toil they involved—Em-

            bassy from Hiram of Tyre, and compact between the two kings—The

            levy or corvée—The burden-bearers and quarrymen—The Canaanites

            were the Helots of Palestine—The Giblites—The slaves of Solomon—

            Hiram of Naphtali—General form of the Temple and its measurements

            —Curious statements of the Chronicler—The Holy of Holies quite dark

            —Utter lattices of the Holy Place—The outer chambers—What a

            visitor would have seen— The outer court. —The inner court—The

            brazen altar—The molten sea and the caldrons—Why the brazen oxen

            were permitted—The actual Temple--What was its external aspect?—

            Had it pillars within? —Jachin and Boaz—Theories about them—The

            Porch—The Sanctuary and its furniture—The Oracle; its door—The

            Ark—The Cherubim—Built in silence—The general workmanship—

            Time that it occupied in building—Organization of Levitic ministry—

            The Temple a symbol of God's Presence—The actual building not used

            for prayer or public worship—The sacrifices and what they involved—

            Water for ablutions—The Ceremony of Dedication—The old Taber-

            nacle—The procession—Tranference of the Ark to its rock staves

            —Splendour of the ceremony--The Cloud of Glory—Solomon's prayer;

            its spirituality—Stupendous thank-offering and festival—The fire from

            heaven—Prominence of the king in priestly functions—Second vision of

            Solomon—Intense affection and enthusiasm inspired by the Temple,

            and illustrated in various psalms—Functions of the Levites.


FIRST and foremost among the buildings of Solomon was the

Temple on Mount Moriah, which was destined for so many

centuries to exercise a profound influence on the religious con-

ceptions of the Jewish people. As soon as there began to be




72                               SOLOMON.


kings and palaces, it was felt incongruous that after so long a

period the Ark of the Lord should still be housed in wood and

in curtains.

            For this Temple David had, "with much labour,"1 made im-

mense preparations, but he had not been permitted to carry

out his cherished design.2 The voice of Nathan did but in-

terpret for him his own sense of religious fitness when it assigned

the building of the House of God to a son, whose course should

have been less chequered by moral failure, whose hands should

have been less stained with blood,

            Yet he did everything else which was possible to him. He

collected stonemasons and artificers, and amassed—according

to the Chronicler— 100,000 talents of gold and 1,000,000 talents

of silver, and brass and iron without weight, and cedar-trees in

abundance, and onyx stones, and stones edged with antimony,

and precious stones and lustrous marble.3  The gold and silver is

doubtless meant to include the contribution attributed to David

out of his private property namely, 3,000 talents of gold,

and 7,000 talents of silver, and the free-will offerings of the

princes—namely, 5,000 talents of gold, 10,000 darks and 10,000

talents of silver. The mention of darics—coins named after

Darius—shows us that the author of these statements lived

many centuries after the days of which he is speaking.4  Even

the smaller sums sound enormous, but the larger are mani-

festly due to that fatality of enormous exaggeration, which,

whether due to corruption of the text or not, affects some of

the numbers stated in the Books of Chronicles. Nothing can

be more futile than the attempt to show that such a prince

as David could have been able to amass gold—not to speak of

the other treasures—which amounted in value, on the very

lowest computation, to £120,000,000, and which, if the Jewish

talent be meant, represented many thousands more than a

billion pounds. At the very zenith of even Solomon's magnifi-

cence his annual revenue only reached the sum of six hundred

and sixty-six talents. David no doubt had made the best pre-


            1 Not "in my trouble," as in Authorized Version (1 Chron. xxii. 14).

            2 The preparations are mentioned by the Chronicler (1 Chron. xxix. 6-9;

2 Chron. ii. 3-7), but the Book of Kings says nothing about them. See I

Kings vi. 2 and 2 Chron. iii. 3. The wish and intention are recorded in

2 Sam. vii. 1-29.

            3 1 Chron. xxii.

            4 I Chron. xxix. 4.


                   THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.                        73


parations in his power, but the scale of them must be measured

by very different numbers.

            Jewish tradition has accepted the most extravagant state-

ments about the Temple of Solomon, yet sober and trust-

worthy documents prove that, though small, it was indeed for

that age "exceeding magnifical." The substructions alone

deserve to rank with the Cloaca Maxima at Rome and others

of the greatest works of early ages. Mount Moriah, already a

sacred locality from having been the supposed scene of Abra-

ham's sacrifice, lies north-east of Mount Zion.1 It had acquired

recent and additional sacredness from the vision of the angel

whom David had seen during the pestilence with his sword

drawn over Araunah's threshing-floor.2 The altar reared by

David to commemorate his deliverance, marked the site of the

future Temple, which might otherwise have been built on the

loftier heights of the Mount of Olives. But the choice of this

hallowed site caused immense difficulties. The sides of the hill

were steep; its summit was rough and of insufficient size for the

fore-courts of the house. The entire sanctuary, with its two

fore-courts, had to be made into a large square, which we may

assume from the notices of Ezekiel to have been five hundred

paces in length and in breadth.3  These courts had to be sup-

ported by immense walls which have partly survived the ravages

of so many conquests. The earliest of these those on the

east side—are doubtless the work of Solomon, though large

additions were made by Joash and other later kings, until all

the four sides were completed, and the original area of the

summit much enlarged. The immense blocks of smooth and

bevelled stone, of which some are 30 feet-long and 7 feet high,

and weigh more than 100 tons, are in the finest style of Cyclo-

pean architecture, and are still the admiration of every traveller.4

These walls were of astonishing heighth. Part of the old wall


            1 Gen. xxii. 2. The site of the Temple is called Mount Moriah in 2 Chron.

iii. 1 alone, but it says nothing about Abraham.

            2 1 Chron. xxii,

            3 Ezek. xlii. 15-20; xlv. 2. Comp. Josephus, "Antiq." xv. 11, § 3;

"De 13. J." v. 5. The Rabbis say, "hie mount of the Temple was five

hundred yards square" ("Middoth," c. 2).

            4 The largest stone—that at the south-west corner — is 38 1/2 feet long.

According to Sir C. Warren, these huge blocks were hewn from a quarry

above the level of the wall and lowered by rollers down an inclined plane.


74        SOLOMON.


now rises 30 feet, but Captain                        farrarSolomon_74.jpg

Warren discovered that an even

greater extent of its surface lies

buried under the débris of ages,

beneath the soil of the nineteen-

times captured city.1 The stone

was partly hewn from those deep

quarries, drains, and caverns,

over which Jerusalem is built.

Cisterns of immense capacity

and subterranean conduits had   

also to be hewn out of the solid  

rock for the storage and con- 

veyance of the water which was

necessary to purge the profusion 

of refuse accumulated by count-

less sacrifices under the blazing

Eastern sun.


            1 Josephus grossly exaggerates when

he says that the eastern side was 450

feet high. Still, vast substructions were

required to build the great level of the

Temple area. Of the extent of these

some estimate may be formed from

the excavations of Sir C. Warren and

Captain Wilson, described in "The 

Recovery of Jerusalem." At the south-

east angle of the wall it descends to a

depth of 80 feet below the present sur-

face; and at the south-west angle by

"Robinson's arch," no less than three

pavements were discovered, showing 

the gradual filling up of the valley,

on the lowest of which were found the

fallen voussoirs of the arch. That the

whole of this mighty wall was meant

to be visible seems to be proved by

the fact that the stones are carefully

dressed, edge-drafted, sad bevelled.

See the appended diagram, and Bart-

lett's " Walks about Jerusalem," pp.

161-178. -Williams, "The Holy City,"

pp. 315-362.  Kugel, "Gesch. der

Baukunst," 125 ff. (1855).


                         THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.           75


            At a very early stage of his preparations, Solomon received an

embassy from Hiram, king of Tyre, who had always been on

the friendliest terms with David, and whose daughter Solomon

is said to have married.1 Hiram, as we learn from a fragment

of Menander of Ephesus, preserved in Josephus, was the son of

a king named Abibaal,2 and had ascended the throne in early

youth in B.C. 1001. He was in the eleventh year of his reign

when Solomon, who had now been king for three years, entered

into close relations with him. His alliance was of the utmost

importance for the future commerce of Israel, and alone ren-

dered possible the splendid buildings which now began to adorn

Jerusalem. He reigned thirty-four years, and died at the age

of fifty-three. He was succeeded by his son Baleazar, and his

grandson Abdastartus;3 and then after various sanguinary re-

volutions the throne was seized by Ethbaal, priest of Astarte,

the father of Jezebel. When the Greek translators say that he

sent his servants "to anoint" Solomon, the assertion must be

due to some singular confusion, but it points to a close alliance

between the kings who first raised Tyre and Jerusalem re-

spectively to the zenith of their fame.

            Solomon, welcoming the proffered friendship of the Tyrian

king, begged him to allow his skilled workmen to hew cedar-

trees and cypress-trees out of Lebanon, and Hiram in return

for annual gifts of twenty thousand cors of wheat and barley,

and twenty thousand "baths" of oi1,4 gave him large assistance.

The labour involved was immense. The trees were sent down

the heights of Lebanon by the process technically known as

schlittage,5 and thence by road or river to the sea-shore. Huge


            1 Tatian, "Orat. ad Græce," p. 171.  Neither David nor Solomon seem

to have considered that Hiram occupied a kingdom which had been in-

tended to form part of "the Promised Land" (Numb. xxxiv. 6-8;

Judg. i. 31).

            2 There is an interesting relic of this prince at Florence, a sardonyx with

the inscription of "Abibaal." It represents a king with a high crown and

staff, and in front of him a four-rayed star. (Duncker, ii. 264, E. tr.).

            3 Menander of Ephesus quoted by Josephus ("C. Apion." i. 18).

            4 This is the reading of the LXX. and Josephus in 1 Kings v. 11. Comp.

2 Chron. ii. 10. Josephus says that the official correspondence between the

two kings was preserved in the Jewish and Tyrian archives. "Pure," or

'beaten oil," i.e., oil extracted by beating the olives, not by the press, was

he best kind. The Chronicler (2 Chron. ii. 10) adds barley and wine.

            5 Schlittage is still much used in the Vosges to carry trees down hill. They

are pushed along an artificial path called vovtou, made of rounded trunks.



76                                SOLOMON.


rafts of the costly timber were thence floated by sea to Joppa, a

hundred miles, and then with infinite toil were dragged about

thirty-five miles up the steep and rocky roads to Jerusalem.1  These

works required a levy (mas), or "tribute of men" out of all Israel

to the number cat thirty thousand, who worked in relays of ten

thousand for three months, of which one month was spent in

Lebanon and two at home.2  Adoniram was at the head of this

army of soccage labourers, who were not called bondmen (a thing

which had been expressly forbidden by the law of Lev. xxv. 39),

though such they practically were.3  Besides these there were

no less than seventy thousand burden-bearers and eighty thou-

sand quarrymen who were under the charge of three thousand

six hundred officers.4 These, according to the Chronicler, were

bondslaves from the unextirpated remnants of the Canaanite

races. They were in fact the helots of Palestine.5  We may be

very sure that, in being torn from their homes, to serve an alien

king, for the purposes of an alien worship, in lives made bitter

with hard bondage, there must have seethed in the midst of

them a fearful spirit of sullenness, venting itself in curses, secret

indeed, yet all the more deep and not unheard in heaven. An

accidental allusion shows both the novelty and permanence of

this body of slaves; for lowest of all among the exiles who

returned from Babylon—lower even than the Nethinim, the

posterity of the Gibeonites who had been doomed for ever to be

"hewers of wood and drawers of water"—are 392 hierodouloi, or

menial ministers who are called "sons of the slaves of Solo-

mon," the dwindling and miserable remnant of that vast levy of


            1 Mr. Twisleton mentions that the stone of St. Paul's, quarried in Port-

land, and sent to London round the North Foreland, had to go more than

twelve times as far.

            2 The ill-omened word Alas, "tribute," or "task," was familiar to the

Israelites in the history of their Egyptian bondage (Exod.

            3 I Kings v. 13. See 2 Chron. viii. 9, and 1 Kings ix. 22. (This passage

is not in the LXX.)

            4 Three thousand three hundred in I Kings v. 16; but see 2 Chron. ii.

2-18. The number employed is far larger than that required for the most

gigantic modern works, but it must be remembered that there were few

inventions for saving human labour.

            5 In I Kings ix. 20-23 we have a statement that there were (apparently

to build the cities, &c., in Palestine), five hundred and fifty overseers,

which would imply some twenty-seven thousand five hundred work-





                     THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON                        77


serfs,1 who in achieving these great works "laboured without

reward, suffered without redress, and perished without pity."

For the skilled work the king had to rely on Sidonian

artisans, among whom special mention is made of the Giblites,

the people of Gebal or Byblos, which was north of Berytos, and

nearest to the cedars of Lebanon.2  Ezekiel long afterwards

mentions the wisdom and artistic genius of this Phœnician

community.3  Even in Homer the Sidonians are famed for

embroidered robes and skill in workmanship,4 and Solomon

asked for cunning workmen in gold and brass, in carving, en-

graving, and in blue and crimson.

            In addition to so large a host of workers, others were em-

ployed in casting bronze in earthen moulds. This was done in

the clay soil of the Jordan valley, between Succoth and Zarthan.

The polishing and moulding of the bronze was beyond the skill

of the Israelites, and for all this ornamental work the king had

to borrow the services of another Tyrian, also named Hiram,

who, though born at Tyre, was the son of a woman of Naphtali,

and whose skill, like that of Michael Angelo, seems to have

been serviceable for every branch of artistic work.5 Three

years, during which materials were being amassed, were needed

before the work began.6

            That the general character of the architecture was Phoenician

we cannot doubt. Walls of huge stones roofed with cedar,

planks of wood overlaid with gold, simplicity of outline, massive-

ness of structure, buildings and rooms in shape like cubes,

cedar beams, upper storeys of light wood-work were cha-

racteristics of the buildings of Tyre as they were of Solomon's

temple and palaces. From Tyre, too, came the use of curtains

dyed in the scarlet juice of the trumpet-fish, and the dyes

obtained from the purple-fish, crimson, purple, violet, and

amethyst, which were so costly, because three hundred pounds

of the fish were required to dye only fifty pounds of wool.


            1 Ezra ii. 55. LXX.

            2 I Kings v. 18, Authorized Version, "stone-squarers;" Vulgate, Giblii;

LXX. (Alex.), καὶ οι Βιβλιοι.

            3 Ezek. xxvii. 9.

            4 Hom., Il, vi. 290, xxiii. 743; Od. iv. 614.

            5 The expression "father" in 2 Chron.. ii. 13, iv. 16, seems to mean


            6 I Kings vi. 1; 2 Chron. iii. 1.


78                                SOLOMON.


            Volumes have been written about the Temples of Solomon

and of Herod, but the very wide differences of view between

competent inquirers prove conclusively that the data are insuf-

ficient to enable ,us to form any detailed conception of their


            The general measurements are indeed tolerably certain, and

they at once show us that the actual building was of very small

size. The walls were very thick, and the spaces within them,1

measured sixty cubits or 90 feet in length2 from east to west, and

twenty cubits or 30 feet in breadth from north to south. In heighth

the main part of the building was thirty cubits or 45 feet. These

numbers show that the dimensions of the Temple were meant to

be exactly twice as large as those of the ancient Tabernacle, of

which the general plan was scrupulously followed.3 The cham-


            1 This is not expressly stated, but is inferred from various details.

            2 We have the high authority of Mr. Fergusson, "Temples of the Jews,"

p. 16, for saying that the assumption that a cubit 18 inches meets all the

chief difficulties.

            3 Wisd. ix. 8., "Thou hast commanded me to build a Temple in Thy

Holy Mount, and an Altar in the city wherein Thou dwellest, a copy of the

Holy Tabernacle which Thou didst before prepare from the beginning."

Thus the Temple was 45 feet high, and probably the Tabernacle was 15

feet + a ridge of 7 1/2 feet == 22 1/2 feet. The doubling of the proportions

will be better understood by this diagram of the Tabernacle which also

shows that the side - chambers had their analogy in the old "Tent of





                       THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.                      79


bers upon the roof, if such there were, might seem to have implied

a complete departure from the ancient model, but they may

have been meant to occupy (by analogy), the space which must

have intervened between the flat roof of the old Tabernacle, and

the tent-like covering of the outer curtain which protected it.

The Porch, too, represented the space between the actual

entrance of the Temple and the ground overshadowed by the

outer covering of skins.1 This Porch extended along the whole

breadth of the house, and was ten cubits deep from east to

west. If the numbers given by the Chronicler be correct, it rose

to the astonishing and altogether disproportionate heighth of

120 cubits or 180 feet. It would thus be four times loftier than

the body of the house. This number is not mentioned in the

Book of Kings, which does not say how high the Porch was.

Neither the Temple of Venus (Astarte), at Paphos, represented

on coins of Caracalla, nor any other, presented this astonishing

disproportion; and as the Temple of Zerubbabel was sixty

cubits high, and that of Herod one hundred and twenty cubits

high, it is possible that the number may have been corrupted in

course of time. The true heighth of the Porch was, in all pro-

bability, thirty cubits, or 45 feet, i.e., it was of the same heighth

as the house itself. This is what we should expect, as it was the

case also in the Tabernacle. It may seem incredible that

the Chronicler should have added together the thirty cubits of

each side of the Porch, and so made it one hundred and twenty

cubits high; but there does seem some ground for suspecting

him of this extraordinary practice. Indeed, he admits it in the

case of the wings of the Cherubim. For be first tells us that

the wings were twenty cubits long, and then explains himself to

mean that each of the wings was five cubits long.2

            The Holy of Holies, the Shrine, or Oracle, was overlaid with

pure gold, which expended the astonishing amount of six hundred

talents.3  As in the Tabernacle, it was a perfect cube,4 and it

was left in the mystery of unbroken darkness. This need not,

indeed, have been the case, for it was twenty cubits high, and

the three storeys of chambers which were built along its sides,

were only fifteen cubits high. Thus there would have been

room to let in latticework windows (like those of a cathedral


            1 See the pictures and plans of the Tabernacle by Fergusson in the

"Dictionary of the Bible."

            2 2 Chron. iii. 11.         3 2 Chron. iii. 8.                       4 Comp. Rev. xxi. 16. 


80                             SOLOMON.


clerestory) in the topmost five cubits. This, however, would

have interfered with the awful sanctity of the shrine, wherein

was shadowed forth the dwelling-place of God amid thick

darkness.  Nor was light a matter of necessity, for the Holiest

Place was only entered once, and then only for a few moments,

during the whole year.  On the other hand, in the Holy

Place or Sanctuary  where incense was daily burnt on the

golden table, and in which the Priests in their courses were

daily employed in lighting or putting out the lamps, and

placing or removing the shewbread, windows were indispen-

sable both for light and ventilation.1 They were made with

narrow lights, i.e., with crosswork lattices in the fifteen cubits of

wall which rose above the chambers.2  Two sides of the Temple

were surrounded by three storeys of chambers. They are called

side-chambers,3 and they certainly ran the length both of the

Holy and the Holiest Place. Whether they also enclosed the

end of the Holiest Place seems doubtful. Each storey was five

cubits high. The lowest storey was five cubits broad, the

second six, and the third seven. The greater breadth of the

upper storey was possible, because the wall of the house was

thick enough to allow of rebatements of one and two cubits

broad, in which the cedar floor of the chambers rested, without

any holes for the joists in the sacred building.4  A winding

stair led up into the middle chamber of the middle storey, and

thence into the upper storey. These chambers communicated

with each other, and were, according to Josephus, thirty in num-

ber. They were useful for a multitude of purposes. It does not

appear that they were ever inhabited, but they served as store-

rooms for the priests' garments, and for the immense accumu-

lations of Temple furniture.5  The hangings and coverings of

the old Tabernacle—of which we hear no more—were probably

stored away in one of these rooms, which cannot have been

mere cupboards, but must obviously have had windows on

the outside. We are nowhere told the number or the length


            1 As in the old Tabernacle, the golden candlestick was only lit in the

evening and put out in the morning.

            2 Authorized Version, "windows of narrow lights"; marg., "skewed and

closed"; Revised Version, "windows of fixed lattice-work."

            3 I Kings vi. 5, Revised Versicn.

            4 Thus they were a sort of "lean-to."

            5 I Kings vii. 51; 2 Kings xi. 10; 2 Chron. v. 1.



                     THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.              81


of these chambers, which, indeed, are not mentioned at all

in the Book of Chronicles. Ezekiel says, "The side-chambers

were three, one over another, and thirty in order." This seems

to mean that there were thirty in all on the sides of the house,

besides those (if any) at the end of the Oracle. Josephus

seems to understand "thirty in order " as though it meant thirty

times three, for he says there were ninety chambers. It is much

more probable that there were three storeys of five chambers on

each side, so that if there were any at the end there would be

thirty-nine in all.

            The splendour of the Temple consisted in the costliness of its

materials. Every effort was made to build an abode which

should be worthy of Jehovah's habitation as far as the re-

sources and knowledge of that day permitted. But the art

of the period was immature, and the resources of so small a

kingdom were very limited compared with those of the Roman

or Byzantine Empire. Justinian's boast, "I have vanquished

thee, O Solomon," and the Khalif Omar's boast as he pointed to

the Dome of the Rock, "Behold, a greater than Solomon is

"here," might have been uttered by smaller potentates with

equal arrogance and equal truth.

            Let us try to represent what a visitor would have seen had he

been permitted to wander into the sacred courts and buildings

of this most celebrated of earthly shrines.

            Passing through the thickly clustering houses of the Levites1

and "the Porticoes,"2 he might enter the Temple precincts by

one of the numerous gateways mentioned in the Book of

Chronicles and elsewhere.3 These gates were of wood, overlaid

with brass. When he stood in the Outer Court he would have

seen on one side of the Temple area a grove of trees—olives,

palms, cedars, and cypresses —which added to the beauty of

the building, but were afterwards abused for idolatrous pur-

pose.4  The Halls of Assembly in this court were the work


            1 I Chron. ix. 27.

            2 These porticoes (Parbarim) are rendered "suburbs" in 2 Kings

xxiii. 11; comp. 1 Chron. xxvi. 18.

            3 "Two gates did Solomon construct devoted to acts of mercy. Through

one gate the bridegrooms used to pass, through the other the mourners.

The people on the Sabbath rejoiced with the bridegrooms and consoled the

afflicted" (Sopherim).

            4 Ps. lii. 8; xcii. 13. There may be some dim reminiscence of fact in





of later times. In the Outer Court itself he would have seen no

permanent structure, but morning and evening it would be

crowded with worshippers and with Levites passing to and fro

in their daily ministrations. To pass from the Outer Court into

the court which Jeremiah1 calls "the Higher Court," and which

is usually known as "the Court of the Priests," the visitor

would have had to pass up some steps, through an enclosure

built with three rows of hewn stones surmounted by a cornice

of cedar beams. Here he would have seen the great brazen

Altar, which, indeed, was visible over the partition from the

Outer Court. It was always intended that the people, standing

in the Outer Court, should see the whole series of daily and

festal ministrations and sacrifices which were conducted on

their behalf by the sons of Aaron. It was a large structure

covered with brass, and filled inside with earth and stones.

It was forbidden to clamp these stones together with iron,

because, as the Talmud says, iron is to shorten life, and the

altar to prolong life.2 It stood ten cubits high, the length and

the breadth of it being twenty cubits.3  On the south-eastern

side the stranger would have admired the huge laver for the

constant ablutions of the priests which was regarded as one

of the finest specimens of the skill of Hiram of Naphtali. It

was made of brass, and was known as the "brazen" or "molten

sea." It had a length and breadth of thirty cubits, and stood

five cubits high on the backs of twelve brazen oxen of the same

height, of which three faced towards each quarter of the heavens.4

It contained two thousand5 "baths" of water. Its rim was in

the form of a lily-blossom, and under this rim hung a garland

of wild gourds in bronze to the number of three hundred, which


the legend that Solomon planted in the Temple golden trees, which

produced all manner of fruits, and withered at the approach of idolaters

(Yoma, f. 21. 2).

            1 Jer. xxxvi. 10.                                   2 Middoth, iii. 4.

            3 According to the Talmud the altar was on the line of demarcation

between the districts of Judah and Benjamin (Yoma, f. 12. 1). The

Gemarists referred to this as a fulfilment of the blessing to Benjamin in

Deut. xxxiii. 12. We cannot tell whether it was of the form described

in Ezek. xliii. 14-16. It was a new altar. What became of Bezaleel's

old altar at Gideon is not stated.

            4 A similar vessel of stone, 30 feet in circumference, adorned with the

image of a bull, lies among the fragments of Amathus in Cyprus (0.

Muller, "Archäol." § 240. 4; Duncker, ii. 184).

            5 Or three thousand (2 Chron. iv. 5).


                    THE BUILDINGS OF' SOLOMON.                  83


had been cast in two rows.  It served as a great reservoir for

all the requirements of purification, and smaller supplies of

pure water could be carried wherever they were wanted in ten

brazen cauldrons on wheels, of which five stood on the right

of the Temple and five on the left. These, too, were adorned

with cherubic emblems and "pensile garlands." There were

no oxen under the laver of the Tabernacle (Exod. xxxviii. 8).1

            Perhaps the devout and instructed stranger might have asked

with surprise whether these twelve brazen oxen were not so

many violations of the strict terms of the Second Commandment,

and whether the sanction of such "graven images" in the

House of God was not a defiance of the express law of God?

He would probably have been told in reply that a tacit excep-

tion had been made even by Moses in favour of the figures of

the Cherubim, which were symbols of the Divine Presence, and

that the idea of the Cherubim involved the fourfold attitudes of

the ox, the eagle, the lion, and the man. It is certain, however,

that this answer was not found perfectly satisfactory. Josephus

says that Solomon "sinned and fell into error about the obser-

vation of the Laws" in supporting the molten sea with oxen, and

in planting lions on the steps of the throne.2

            There are four extant descriptions of Solomon's Temple.

The most ancient and trustworthy is that found in the Book of

Kings (v.-vii.). Later, but founded no doubt on early descrip-

tions and documents, is that in the Second Book of Chronicles.

The description of Josephus ("Antiq." viii. 3, § 7, 8) is mingled

with all kinds of Rabbinic and apocryphal exaggerations. A

fourth description is preserved by Eusebius3 from the Greek his-

torian Eupolemus. Of the value of this account we are unable to

judge, because we do not know from what sources it was derived.

            It is probable that the actual Temple stood on an elevated

platform, like that which now rises 16 feet above the level

of the ground, upon the centre of which lies the Sakhra rock,

which g.ves its name of "Dome of the Rock" to the Mosque

of Omar. The Temple of Herod, according to the Mishna,

was entirely built on raised arches.4

            We know that inside the Temple no stone was visible; all was

of gilded cedar wood and olive and cypress wood variously carved,


            1 The reading "oxen" in 2 Chron. iv. 3 should probably he "wild-

gourds,'" as in 1 Kings vii. 24.             2 Josephus, "Antiq.," viii. 7, § 5.

            3 Eusebius, "Præp. Ev." ix. 34.                         4 Parah. iii. 3. 6.


84                              SOLOMON.


and tapestried in parts by purple and embroidered hangings.

But what was the external aspect of the sacred building itself—

"the joy of the whole earth"? Strangely enough our existing

records leave us entirely in the dark on this point. In the works

of later Rabbis we have glowing and highly imaginative descrip-

tions of the aspect of the Third Temple, but even these are

too vague to help our imagination. The outside of Solomon's

Temple, and its general appearance, are left almost undescribed.

We know that there was a richly-ornamented porch, but we do

not even know with any certainty whether the building itself

was covered with one level roof,1 or whether, on the outside, as

well as within, the Holy of Holies appeared to be of lower

elevation. We do not know whether the roof was flat, or, as

the Rabbis say, ridged. On the top of it there seem to have

been some gilded upper chambers.2  There can be no reasonable

doubt that the roof of the old Tabernacle rose in a ridge,

for otherwise the outer skins would have sunk down and torn

the curtains, which, in case of a rainfall, might have been broken

through altogether. It is true that the Temple was covered

with beams and boards of cedar, but unless they were sloped to

both sides, or supported by pillars, it would have been difficult to

secure beams more than 30 feet long from becoming warped and

sagged.3 We know that on approaching it we should have seen a


            1 As Ewald thinks. He supposes that the space of ten cubits above the

roof of the Holy of Holies was left quite empty, but that the roof of the

Holy Place was prolonged to the end of the building (iii. 238).

            2 2 Chron. iii. 9. In 2 Kings xviii. 12 we read of altars on the top of

the upper chambers.

            3 This is the ground plan of Mr. Robins. It should be noticed that

when Solomon is said to have made "pillars for the House of the Lord

(1 Kings x. 12), the words should be rendered "rails" or "balustrades"

(Comp. 2 Chron. ix. 11).



                     THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON                      85


three-storeyed house, over which rose the lattice-perforated wall

of the Temple itself; but, besides this uncertainty about the

roof, we do not even know whether the outer surface was of

stone, or whether it was over-laid with cedar wood, or with

precious metals,1 as the Chronicler seems to imply; nor whether

it was ornamented or left blank.  Nay, it has even been a

matter of dispute whether the general character of the Temple

was Greek, or Egyptian, or Phoenician; though the use of

cedar beams and large blocks of stone hewn in squares, and

joined without mortar, together with the whole history of the

structure, seems to prove decisively that the style of architec-

ture was borrowed directly from neighbouring Tyre.2

            Approaching the Porch the eye would have been first caught

by two superb pillars, which were regarded as being in those

days a miracle of art, and which for unknown reasons received

the names of Jachin (the name of a son of Simeon in Numb.

xxvi. 12) and Boaz, the name of Solomon's ancestor.3 They

were of gigantic thickness, being each twelve cubits (18 feet

in circumference, and were of fluted bronze. The actual

shafts were only eighteen cubits (27 feet) in height.4 Their

"capitals," which were five cubits (7 feet) high, resembled

an opening lotos-blossom, and round the calyx of each was

a net-work, to which was attached a double wreath of bronze

pomegranates to the number of two hundred. On the top

of the chapiter was a beam or abacus ornamented with lily-


            1 That it was overlaid externally with thin plinths of gold and silver

might seem incredible, yet according to Polybius (x. 27, § 10) this was

actually the case with the roof of the palace at Ecbatana., and according to

Herodotus (i. 98), with two rows of the external battlements of the city-


            2 Duncker, ii. 278. From the amount of cedar wood employed in the

construction the Temple is called "Lebanon" (Zech. xi. 1).

            3 "After some favourite persons of the time, perhaps young sons of

Solomon" (Ewald, iii. 237). He illustrates the conjecture by the names of

Phasael and Marianne which Herod gave to his two towers at Jerusalem.

The LXX., in 2 Chron. iii. 17, call them Κατόσθωσις and Ισχυς, "cor-

rection" and "strength." The words cannot mean, "He will establish,"

and "In strength," as Reville suggests.

            4 In 2 Chron. iii. 15 and Jer. lii. 21 (LXX.) the height is said to have

been thirty-five cubits, but this is perhaps an error for thirty-six, the height

of the two together.


86                               SOLOMON.


work.1  Yet, strange to say, it is a matter of dispute whether

these two pillars stood detached before the Porch, or were

mere ornaments within it, or formed part of its absolute sup-

port, or, as is now believed by many, belonged to a detached

gate (loran) in front of the Porch itself.2  They were broken up

and carried away four centuries afterwards by the king of


            The Porch was probably hung inside with gilded shields,

David's spoils of war, won from the splendidly equipped soldiers


            1 Pomegranates typified good works. "Giotto placed a pomegranate fruit

in the hand of Dante, and Ratfaelle crowned his Dante with blossoms of

the same." "Lilies" were a new ornament, and peculiar to this epoch

(only mentioned in Canticles and in Hosh. xiv. 5).

            2 The use and position of these pillars depends a good deal on the

rendering of the word כֹּתֶוֶת, translated "chapiter" in our Authorized

Version, but epithema in the Septuagint. Some have taken it to mean "an

entablature." Taking advantage of this hint, Fergusson, in his latest de-

signs, supposed that the pillars were neither detached like obelisks, and

with exaggerated capitals, but that they supported a screen or gateway,

"like the vine-bearing screen described by Josephus and the Talmud as

existing in front of the Temple of Herod." His design for this supposed

gateway is "based on the Japanese and Indian toran like those forming

gateways to the Great Tope at Sanchi. His conception may be roughly in-

dicated thus. It will be seen that this harmonizes with the statement in

1 Kings vii. i6, for thus there is a double "chapiter" or epithema of network

ornamented with pomegranates, each epithema being five cubits high, and

one (a melathron) of lily-work six cubits high; and thus also we get the

total height of thirty-five cubits in 2 Chron. iii. 15.





            3 2 Kings xxiv. 13; Jer. lii. 21, 22


                        THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.                    87


of Hadarezer; perhaps also with other specimens of armour like

the sword of Goliath. It was ornamented apparently with the

sort of conventional circular carving which is described as lily-

work, and was exceedingly common in Persian buildings.

            Passing through this porch, the Priests came to the large

two-leaved door of the Holy Place, made in four squares.1  It

was a door of cypress wood2 overlaid with gold of Parvaim,3 and

it turned on golden hinges. The gold of ceiling and walls was

carved with ornaments of flowers and pomegranates, and palm

branches.4  In the Holy Place stood the golden altar of incense,

and the golden table on which was placed the daily offering of

shewbread, or "bread of the face," bread offered up in the

presence of God. According to the statement of the Chronicler,

instead of the one table of shewbread in the Tabernacle there

were ten—five on the south and five on the north side.5 What

became of the old golden seven-branched candlestick we are not

told. It must undoubtedly have been preserved, but Solomon

seems to have supplied its place with ten candlesticks, five on

each side the door of the Holiest.6 Nothing that was in the

Holiest Place was visible from the Sanctuary except the projecting

ends of the golden staves which had been used to carry the Ark.7

            The door of the Holiest Place, which was probably much

smaller than that of the Holy Place, was made of wild-olive

wood, and seems to have been in two leaves. The object of


            1 Such seems to be the meaning of the obscure clause in I Kings vi. 34.

The advantage of the construction would be that only a quarter of the

door need be opened at a time.

            2 Authorized Version, "fir-tree."

            3 Gold of Parvaim must mean the best gold, but is variously explained

and occurs here only. It has been derived (1) from Sepharvaim (Knobel); (2)

from Sanskrit paru, "hill" (Hitzig); (3) from Sanskrit pûrva, "eastern,"

(Wilford); (4) from Taprobane (Bochart).

            4 2 Chron. iii. 5, where "chains"=festoons, and "cieled" should be


            5 2 Chron. iv. 8. But the Book of Kings only mentions one table of

shewbread (1 Kings vii. 48), and 2 Chron. xiii. 11, xxix. 18, speak of one

candlestick and one table for shewbread in common use.

            6 Josephus, with his usual extravagance, says that Solomon made ten

thousand candlesticks and ten thousand tables; to say nothing of ten

thousand priestly garments of fine linen with purple girdles, two hundred

thousand trumpets and albs for the Levites, &c.

            7 It is not clear how these were visible, as there was a curtain (2 Chron.

iii. 14). Perhaps they bulged out this curtain; or was the curtain inside?


88                                SOLOMON.


the leaves was to open only a small part of the door if necessary.

What is meant by "the lintel and sideposts were a fifth part of

the wall" is very uncertain. The Vulgate renders it "the portal

having posts of five angles," but neither does this throw much

light on the subject. Perhaps it is meant that as the cedar

partition was twenty cubits broad, and twenty cubits high, so

the framework of the door was four cubits high and broad;

whereas the door of the Holy Place was a fourth part of the

wall, namely five cubits broad and high. The wooden leaves of

this smaller door, like those of the Holy Place, were carved

with cherubim, palm-trees, and open flowers, and overlaid with

gold. This door of the Oracle—or at least one leaf of it—was

always open, but the interior was concealed from view by a veil

of blue, purple, and crimson,1 woven with cherubim, before which

hung festoons of golden chains. The partition in which the

door stood was of cedar wood. The floors of the entire house

were of cypress wood, overlaid with gold.

            The question naturally arises whether the entire structure was

supported by interior pillars or not? They are not mentioned,

but it seems almost certain that they must have existed in order

to give stability to the cedar beams. If so, there were probably

four on each side in the Holy Place, and two on each side in

the Oracle. The tables in the Holy Place would then stand in

the interspaces of the pillars.

            The Holiest Place was plunged in unbroken and perpetual

gloom. It contained nothing but the Ark, and one or two other

precious memorials of the Mosaic age.2 Such was the sanctity of

this most venerable relic and of the stone tablets of the Mosaic

Law which it contained, that it was transferred into the Temple

of Solomon unaltered, and placed upon the now sacred rock on

which had stood the threshing floor of Araunah,3 and which was

identified by uncertain Jewish tradition with the rock on which

Abraham had purposed to offer his son Isaac.4  But though the


            1 Mentioned only in 2 Chron. iii. 14.

            2 Nothing is however said of the pot of manna, the rod of Aaron, and

the Book of the Law.

            3 See x Chron. xxii. 1. In the LXX. addition to the narrative of 2 Sam.

xxiv. 25 we find "Solomon afterwards enlarged this altar of David, for

at first it was but small." (See 2 Chron. iii. 1.) "Moriah" means "ap-

pearance of Jehovah."

            4 Josephus, " Antiq." i. 13, § 1.  vii. 13 § 4. Targum of Onkelos on

Gen. xxii.


                     THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.                           89


Ark and its original capporeth or "propitiatory" was left un-

changed, Solomon overshadowed it with a new and magnificent

covering. This consisted of two cherubim ten cubits high,

their outstretched wings, of which each was five cubits long,

extended to the wall on either side, and touched each other

over the centre of the Ark.1 These cherubim, which were

doubtless analogous in conception to the winged figures so pre-

valent in Egypt and Assyria, represented the highest forms of

created intelligence. Those on the "mercy-seat" were represented

as gazing down upon the Tables of the Moral Law as the direct

revelation of Jehovah's will. In the Tabernacle these cherubic

figures faced each other;2 in the Temple they looked outward

towards the Holy Place.3  We do not know whether they were

in the shape of winged angels or of winged calves. That they

were not like the "fourfold visaged four" of Ezekiel may be re-

garded as certain, but each of the four cherubic emblems was

regarded as forming a perfect cherub, and as symbolizing the

highest forms of created life, as being themselves an aspect of

the revelation of the Divine, and especially in proportion as

they remain in union with the moral law of God.

            It is needless to add that the service of the Temple required

a countless number of golden, silvern, and brazen vessels,

which were made under the superintendence of the Tyrian

artist. Even the commonest utensils for the service of the

Sanctuary and the Oracle—the censers, the bowls, the plates,

and even the instruments to trim the lamps—were of pure gold.

The whole structure was completed in sacred silence. The

awful sanctity of the shrine would have been violated if its erec-

tion had been accompanied by the harsh and violent noises

which would accompany the ordinary toil of masons. Every

stone and beam therefore had been carefully prepared before-

hand, and was merely carried to its place; "So that neither was


            1 In 2 Chron. iii. 10, they are called "cherubim of image work'' (marg.,

moveable). The odd word צעצעים is probably a clerical error for עצים,

"wooden." Josephus is probably insincere, when he says, "No man can

tell, or even conjecture, of what shape the cherubim were."  Pagan slanders

about the Jews worshipping an ass, &c., made him chary of the admission

of animal symbols. On this subject see my article in Kitto's "Cyclo-

pxdia," and Canon Cheyne's " Isaiah," vol. i. p. 40.

            2 Exod. xxxvii. 9.

            3 2 Chron. iii. 13, "Their faces were inward, i.e., towards the Holy



90                                 SOLOMON.


hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while

it was building."1

            The workmanship must have been good, for we only read of

necessary repairs first in the reign of Joash, about B.C. 856, a

century and a half after the Temple had been dedicated, and

once again two centuries later, in the days of King Josiah. It

had stood upwards of four 'centuries, when it was destroyed by


            The erection occupied seven years and a half,2 in spite of the

small size of the actual Temple. Size indeed was no element of

its magnificence, for it was much smaller than many an English

church. But it must be remembered that it was not in-

tended either for priests or worshippers.  Ancient and Eastern

worship was mainly in the open air; the shrine itself only

symbolized the residence of God. Even when we allow for

immense preparations, the time devoted to the building is com-

paratively insignificant. The temple of the Ephesian Artemis

took two hundred years to build, and four hundred to embellish.

One pyramid required the toil of three hundred and sixty

thousand men for twenty years.3  Westminster Abbey did not

assume its present size and aspect for many centuries. But no

building in the world has ever been more widely famous than

the Temple of Solomon. The name of the Jewish capital had

no connection either with the Temple or with Solomon, but it

was so identified with the king and the city in the imagination

of mankind that the word Jerusalem was significantly perverted

into Hierosolyma, as though it were of Greek derivation, and

meant "the Temple of the Solymi."

            Israel had now an earthly king, but the tribes had not

forgotten that their ideal was still a theocratic government;

that, in the highest sense of all, the Lord God was their King,

and that in that House and in Jerusalem He had put His name

for ever. The Temple was thenceforth the centre of all their

national life, and that centre was no idol shrine, no material

image, but the symbolic palace of Him whom heaven, and the


            1 Probably in consequence of the prohibition of iron tools in erecting the

altar (Exod. xx. 25).

                        "No workman's axe, no ponderous hammer rung,

                          Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprung."

            2 From the fourth to the eleventh year of Solomon's reign.

            3 Pliny, "Hist Nat." xxxvi. 12.




                  THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.                      91


heaven of heavens, could not contain. The Tabernacle of God

was with men.  He would dwell with them and walk with them,

but still they should see nothing material:  no manner of simi-

litude should confuse their conception of a God who was a

Spirit. This was the one fact which struck the heathen with most

amazement. When the profane foot of Pompey intruded into the

Holiest he was lost in astonishment to find nothing there

vacuam sednz et inania arcana.1  In consequence of this the

general view of the Greeks and Romans about the Jews was

that, as they had no visible object of worship, they worshipped

the clouds—"Nil praeter nubes et coeli numen adorant."

            For it must be remembered that the actual Temple was not

in those days primarily intended to be a House of Prayer. Its

golden chambers were not trodden by the feet of a single

worshipper except the Priests and Levites, and none but the

High Priest ever entered into the darkness of the Holiest Place,

and that but once in the whole year. The Temple was the

visible House of God, the place where His honour dwelt, a House

for Him rather than for His congregation. And the main

public worship of the Temple precincts consisted of chanting

and sacrifice, although we read also of prayers being offered

both publicly and privately in the great open court.

            It is probable that the taste of a modern worshipper would

have been shocked beyond measure by the appearance and

smell of the Temple Court. On many occasions it must have

been converted—there is no other expression—into a ghastly

abattoir, which but for immense care in purification would soon

have been prolific of pestilence.2 In that comparatively con-

fined area cattle, large and small, were constantly being slain

to the number of many thousands. The floors must literally

have swum with blood, and under the blaze of Eastern sunlight,

the burning of fat and flesh on the large blazing altar must have

been carried on amid heaps of sacrificial foulness—offal and

skins and thick smoke and steaming putrescence—which must,

beyond all human possibility of prevention, have given to the

Outer Court the semblance of huge shambles. No doubt the

system of rocky subterranean drainage was colossal, and it is


            1 Tacitus, "Hist." v. 9.

            2 The Talmud invents two miracles—that "the carcases never became

putrid, and no fly was ever to be seen in the slaughter-houses" (Yoma,

f. 21. 1).


92                                 SOLOMON.


probable that there was once a perennial spring on the

Temple Mount.1  All that an army of Priests and Levites.

could do to keep the place clean and tolerable was done.

The molten sea, the wheeled caldrons of water, the supplies

stored up in rocky cisterns, and brought from the Pools of

Solomon at Etam, were doubtless in incessant requisition; but

as the driven and doomed animals were constantly congre-

gated and slaughtered in the actual precincts, no power short

of a stupendous and unrecorded miracle could have kept pure

and clean and sweet, to our modern conceptions, the crowded

scene of sacrifice where, morning and evening, droves of

oxen were assembled, and sometimes even in hecatombs the

victims bled. We must not, however, forget either that these

sacrifices were full of awful significance to the worshippers, or

that the sacrificial ceremonies were accompanied by private

devotions, and by the thrilling music of psalms and hymns and

spiritual songs.

            The ceremony of the Dedication was by far the most mag-

nificent that the nation had ever seen.2  So immense were the

preparations which it required that, as has sometimes been the

case with modern coronations, it was postponed for nearly a

year after the completion of the building. It was thus made

nearly coincident with the autumn Feast of Tabernacles, so that

the two feasts in succession occupied fourteen days.3

            The old Tabernacle—contrasting strangely in its rough sim-

plicity with the gorgeous costliness of the new Temple, and

a striking proof of the vast advance made by the fortunes of

the people—was brought by a solemn procession of Priests and

Levites from the High Place at Gibeon, which was henceforth


            1 See Tacitus, "Hist." V. 12, "fons perennis aquæ"; and comp. Ps.

xlvi. 4, lxxxvii. 7; Zech. xiv. 18; Ezek. xlvii. 1-12. The water supply of

Jerusalem has been grievously diminished by denudation and the cutting

down of trees.

            2 From I Kings vi. 38, ix. 1, we should infer that Solomon delayed the

dedication Thirteen years, till all his buildings were finished. It seems better

to suppose that this is merely due to the arrangement of the documents;

for from 2 Chron. v.-vii., we should certainly draw the more natural con-

clusion that the Temple was dedicated as soon as it was finished.

            3 The Temple was finished in the eighth month of the eleventh year

(I Kings vi. 38); it was dedicated it. the seventh month (Tisri or Ethanim)

of the twelfth year.


                  THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.                   93


to be abandoned.1  With it they brought all that yet remained

of its ancient vessels and furniture, especially the golden altar

of incense and the golden table of shewbread.2  This removal

was doubtless inaugurated with sacrifices. But far more splendid

was the procession of Priests, Princes, and chief representatives

of the tribes which brought the Ark from the temporary sanc-

tuary in which it had been placed on Mount Zion forty years

before. It was in the month Ethanim,3 and was doubtless a

repetition on a more imposing scale of the triumphal march,

accompanied by songs and dances, with which David had

accompanied the Ark from the house of Obed-Edom.

            The Priests lifted the Ark out of its shrine, and replaced it

in the Holiest; the Levites of the family of Kohath carried it

from Gibeon to the Temple Mount. All the Elders, and Priests,

and Levites, and people of Israel flocked to Jerusalem, from

the borders of Harnath, on the north of Libanus, to the torrent

of Egypt—the brook

                                    "which parts

                        Egypt from Syrian ground."

No true Israelite, however distant his home, would like to be

absent from the celebration of an event of such unique im-

portance in the history of his nation.

            The king himself accompanied the procession in all his

royal state, and again the road swam with the blood of sacri-

fices, too many to be counted. The great Outer Court was

thronged with myriads of worshippers who were not allowed

to proceed further. The Ark passed into the darkness of the

Oracle, and was seen no more till it was carried away by Nebu-

chadnezzar four centuries afterwards, except so far as it was

dimly visible under its blood-besprinkled mercy-seat to the

eyes of the High Priest by the light of his burning censer on

the Day of Atonement.

            So mysterious was the emblem, that the historians record it


            1 It was probably stowed away in one of the chambers (1 Chron. xxiii. 32).

It was supposed to be still in existence in the days of Jeremiah (see

2 Macc. ii. 4). The Rabbis say that it was put in a room at the top of the


            2 Eupolemus ap. Eusebius, Præp. Ev." ix. 34.

            3 Ethanim (called Tisri after the Exile) was part September and October.

The name, perhaps, means (LXX., 'Αθανίμ) the "month of gifts," i.e.,

vintage offerings (Thenius).


94                                 SOLOMON.


as noticeable that the staves by which it was carried were now

drawn out in sign of rest. This had been previously forbidden.1

The ends of these long staves were only visible when a spec-

tator stood in the Holy Place, opposite to the door of the

Holiest, but even then could not be seen by any one who stood

in the Porch or Court.2

            When the Ark was deposited on its rocky support,3 under the

protecting wings of the golden cherubim, the king, who com-

pletely absorbed the leading, functions on this occasion, took

his seat in the presence of his congregated people on a brazen

scaffold three cubits high, five broad, and five long, which had

been erected for him in the midst of the Court of the Priests,

in front of the altar. From this point he was visible to the

whole congregation assembled in the Outer Court, for he was

only separated from them by a low partition wall, and he stood

on higher ground. The steps of the huge altar itself were occu-

pied by dense groups of Priests and Levites, and musicians,

robed in white, and holding in their hands the glittering harps

and cymbals, and the psalteries in their red frames of precious

wood.4  A hundred and twenty trumpeters, all Priests, rent the

air with the sudden blast of their silver trumpets, as the king

took his seat, clad in his gorgeous robes and conspicuous in

manly beauty. Then the mighty song of praise swelled from

innumerable voices. The moment was one of awful solemnity,

in which the feelings of the Priests and of the whole congrega-

tion were wrought to the highest pitch, and amid the blaze of

sudden glory—the Shekinah or glory-cloud, which was to them

a token of God's immediate approval—even the anointed

ministers of the house were overpowered with awe, and so 

much dazzled as scarcely to be able to perform their ministry.


            1 Exod. xxv. 13-15. Nothing is said of the sacred objects mentioned

in Heb. ix. 4.

            2 2 Chron. v. 9, where the words, "were seen from the Ark," are almost

certainly a corruption for "from the Holy Place" (1 Kings viii. 8).

            3 Just as the Greeks regarded the Temple of Delphi as the navel

(omphalos) of the world, so the Jews regarded the Temple of Jerusalem as

the centre point of the universe, for which they quoted Ezek. v. 5 (Yoma,

53, 54).

            4 The One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Psalm, or some psalm of the same

structure, was chanted by alternate choirs of Levites, who, at the close of

the ceremony, seem to have chanted in an unwonted attitude of prostration

(2 Chron. vii. 3).


                  THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.                     95


When the burst of music and psalmody was hushed, the heart

of the king–deeply moved at that supreme moment of his

life—broke into brief words of prophetic song. Turning his

face to the standing multitudes he blessed them, and briefly

spoke of the history and significance of the new House of God.

Then in the presence of all the congregation he came forward

to the altar of the Lord, and with his palms upturned to heaven,

as though to receive its outpoured gifts—which was the usual

attitude of Eastern prayer—he kneeled down. This is the first

instance in Scripture in which this attitude of prayer is men-

tioned, and it was a sign of deep humiliation. To the latest

days of Jewish history men as a rule stood up, instead of kneel-

ing down, to pray.

            The prayer was a long and passionate entreaty to God to

show His favour to His Temple, and to hear the prayers and

supplications of His people, both individually and collectively,

and even of strangers, who in the agonies of sin, or defeat, or

famine, or pestilence, or exile, should pray either in the courts

of that house or turning their face towards it.1  But the most re-

markable feature of the prayer is its extreme spirituality. Rising

far above the spirit of his age, the builder of the Temple feels,

and expresses the thought of St. Paul, that God dwelleth not

in temples trade with hands, neither is worshipped with man's

hands as though He needed anything, seeing that "the heaven

of heavens cannot contain Thee, how much less the house that

I have built." The king then rose from his knees, and once

more blessed the congregation with a loud voice, ending with

an exhortation to the people to be faithful to God's command-


            Then began the stupendous thankoffering of 22,000 oxen, and

120,000 sheep. Doubtless neither king nor people had yet fully

realized that these were not in themselves pleasing to God, but

that to Him the righteousness of a sincere heart is dearer than

thousands of rams, and ten thousands of rivers of oil. We find

it hard to realize the possibility of so immense a slaughter, but

it may be paralleled even by modern instances.2 The brazen


            1 Dr. Edersheim ingeniously compares it with the Lord's Prayer. It

resembles in many respects the Book of Deuteronomy, and consists of an

introduction, seven petitions, and a solemn conclusion.

            2 Julian's holocausts were so enormous that men sneeringly declared

that the race of men was threatened with extinction. Josephus tells us of


96                              SOLOMON.


altar however, huge as it was, was wholly inadequate to such

unprecedented masses of offerings, and, for this occasion, Solo-

mon consecrated the whole Court. The Chronicler adds to the

older narrative that during this tremendous ceremony a fire de-

scended miraculously from heaven and consumed the offerings,

and that when the vast multitude saw the falling flame, and the

glory-cloud of God's visible Presence, they prostrated them-

selves upon the earth, while once more the trumpets pealed

forth, and the Levites raised the choral chant, "Praise the

Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever!"           The

sacrifice was followed by a feast of the collected myriads of

worshippers, which lasted for a week, and was succeeded by

the Feast of Tabernacles.1  When the whole ceremony of in-

auguration was finished—the day of which David had dreamed

and sung far off2 — the king dismissed the people, who in their

turn blessed him and went to their homes with hearts full of joy

and gratitude for all that God had done for their nation and for

the house of David. There was no more magnificent solemnity

than this in the whole history of the Jews, and the memory

and the consequences of it continued to the latest days. And

so unique was the position of Solomon towards the house—so

fully was the half-sacerdotal character of his soverignty recog-

nized—that he not only offered sacrifices in person three times

every year upon the brazen altar, but was even permitted—if we

rightly understand an obscure text in the Book of Kings3—to


the 256,500 paschal lambs offered in Jerusalem in one year ("B. J." vi. 9,

3). Dean Stanley refers to Burton's "Pilgrimage," i. 318, where we are

told that the Khalif Moktader, at Mecca, sacrificed 40,000 camels, and

50,000 sheep. It must be remembered that, except in the case of whole

burnt-offerings, the greater part of the animal was eaten when the fat parts

had been burnt on the altar.

            1 This is the probable meaning of 1 Kings viii. 65, 66, where, however,

the words, "and seven days, even fourteen days," which do not accord with,

"On the eighth day," are not in the LXX., and are probably interpolated

from 2 Chron. vii. 9. Nothing whatever is said of the Day of Atonement,

which does not seem to have been observed. There are other difficulties,

for the eighth day of the Feast should be the twenty-second of the month

(Lev. xxiii. 39), but in 2 Chron, vii. 10 it is called the twenty-third.

            2 See Ps. cxxxii.

            3 I Kings ix. 25. This and other texts are no doubt susceptible of the

interpretation that "qui facit per alium facit per se;" but certainly the

impression left by the repetition of such notices is that Solomon performed

those priestly offices in person.


                  THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.                       97


enter into the Holy Place itself and burn incense upon the

golden altar.  If this was so, the concession was unique, and in

later times the leprosy of King Uzziah was regarded as a direct

punishment for his presumptuous usurpation of an office which

belonged properly to the Priests alone.1

            Nor was this Cloud of Glory and descending flame the only

token of Divine favour. When all was over Solomon once more

saw a vision such as he had seen in Gibeon towards the begin-

ning of his reign. God said to him in his dream that He had

accepted his prayer, and, on the one condition of faithfulness,

would establish the kingdom in his house, and continue to bless

his people.

            If we would estimate the mingled enthusiasm and love

inspired in the hearts of faithful Israelites by the Temple and its

services, we have only to read such a Psalm as the Eighty-fourth.

            "How amiable are Thy tabernacles, Thou Lord of hosts!  

            My soul longeth, yea fainteth, for the courts of the Lord.

                                    *          *          *          *          *

            Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house:

            They will still be praising Thee.

                                    *          *          *          *          *

            I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God

            Than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."


or Psalm cxxii.—

            "I was glad when they said unto me,

            Let us go into the house of the Lord.

                                    *          *          *          *          *

            For my brethren and companions' sake

            I would now say, Peace be with thee.

            For the sake of the house of the Lord our God

            I will seek thy good."2


            1 It was the belief of the Jews that the Second Temple differed from the

first in the presence of five things—the Ark; the Sacred Fire; the She-

kinah; the Holy Spirit (i.e., the possession by the High Priest of the gift

of prophecy); and the Urim and Thummim (Yoma, f. 21. 2). This,

however, is only an inference by Gematria, from the omission of the final

h (ה) in the verb, "I will be glorified" (ואנבד) in Hag. i. 8; since the

letter (ה) = 5. The Talmudic hyperboles about the Temple are amazing,

e.g., that the noise of its opening gates was heard ten miles off, and that

the goats of Jericho smelt its incense (Yoma, f. 39, 2).

            2 Similar feelings are expressed in Psalms xxiv., xxvi., xlii., lxxii., and



98                                 SOLOMON.


The affection of the nation for this sacred building and its

successors never ceased. They called it the "House of the

Sanctuary," the "House of Ages."1 In the Talmud we find the

enigma, "Let the Beloved, son of the Beloved, come and

let him build the Beloved to the Beloved on the land of the

Beloved, by which the Beloved may be atoned for":—which

means, "Let Solomon (2 Sam. xii. 25), the son of Abraham (Jer.

xi. 15), build the Temple (Ps. lxxxiv. 1) to God (Isa. v. 1) in

Benjamin (Deut. xxxiii. 12) to atone for Israel (Jer. xii. 7).

            The Temple was the last relic of their independent nationality

for which they fought. When it rose in lurid light above their

last struggle with the legions of Titus,

                        "As 'mid the cedar courts and gates of gold

                        The trampled ranks in miry carnage rolled,

                        To save their Temple every hand essayed,

                        And with cold fingers grasped the feeble blade;

                        Through their torn veins reviving fury ran,

                        And life's last anger warmed the dying man."


To this day a Jew entering Jerusalem for the first time rends

his garments and cries, "Our holy and beautiful house, where

our fathers praised Thee, is burned with fire."2

            "Since the destruction of the Temple," said Rabbi Simon Ben

Gamaliel, "a day has not passed without a curse, the dew does

not come down with a blessing, and the fruits have not their


            The completion of the Temple was the natural occasion for

carrying out in practice that reorganization of the entire minis-

tries of service which, as we read in the Book of Chronicles,

David had devised, and which was rendered absolutely essential

by the great multitude of the Priests and Levites.

            The Levites, divided into the three main families of Koha-

thites, Gershonites, and Merarites, were no less than 38,000 in

number. They now acquired a new importance and a large

increase of duties. They were divided as follows—the general

care of the Temple service was entrusted to 24,000; 6,000 were

officers and judges; 4,000 were porters; 4,000 were musicians.


            1 Josephus, "Antiq." viii. 15, § 2.

            2 Moed Qaton, f. 26. I.

            3 Soteh, f. 48. 1; Berakhoth, f. 59. 1 (Hershon, "Talmud. Miscell."

p. 230, &c.)


                   THE BUILDINGS OF SOLOMON.                   99


How elaborate was the musical service may be judged by  

the fact that besides the singers there was a band of no more

than 288 with their leaders, all skilled in playing musical

instruments:  the 3,700 singers were also divided into 24

courses.1 Probably the antiphonal service of the sanctuary

was of a character as stately and imposing as was at all

possible to the resources of the age, and the music, simple

as it must have been, had a charm for the multitude who

assembled in the Temple Courts and deepened their affection

for their holy and beautiful House of God.

            The two families of Priests were divided into twenty-four

courses, numbering one thousand seven hundred and sixty, and

were required to provide for the due maintenance of the services

week by week. Besides these there were numerous Nethinim

—temple-serfs, descendants of the ancient Gibeonites—who were

employed in the more menial offices as hewers of wood and

drawers of water. The whole worship of the nation was

thus concentrated round one building which was meant to sym-

bolize the actual residence and presence of Jehovah in the midst

of His people. This was the reason why no treasures of gold

or precious stones were deemed too costly, no skill of art too

elaborate to be lavished on a sanctuary where God was believed

to dwell between the outstretched wings of the cherub-chariot.2


            1 The details are given in i Chron. xxiii.-xxvi.

            2 This expression is used of the two cherubim of Solomon even in

1 Chron. xxviii. 18. The Temple is called the " Palace " of Jehovah in

xxix. i, 19, though there only. The word is a Persian word (bîrah ), else-

where only found in Nehemiah, Esther, and Daniel.






                               APPENDIX TO CHAPTER VIII.








Ideal reconstructions—Few remains—Scantiness of trustworthy information

            —Fancies of Josephus—Recent excavations—The Talmud—Size of

            the platform—Theories as to the style—I. Professor Wilkins and the

            Greek theory; now abandoned—2. Canina and the Egyptian theory—

            3. Fergusson, Robins, and others believe that the architecture was

            Asiatic and Phoenician; reasons for this view—Analogous buildings—

            The Temple as restored on the Phoenician theory.


THE authorities on which we have to depend for the recon-

struction of Solomon's Temple are purely verbal.  We do not

possess even the slightest pictured outline, and the sole remains

of it, if there be any, are only in the massive substructions of the

vast platform on which it rested. Practically the Book of Kings

is our only real authority. The authors of the Book of

Chronicles furnish but few elucidatory details. Josephus idea-

lizes and exaggerates, doubles, and sometimes even quadruples,

the authentic proportions. He is also misled by attributing to

Solomon the architectural features which belonged only to the

Temple of Herod with which he was familiar. The "great and

broad cloisters," the "high gates overlaid with gold, and fronting

each of the four winds," and other details, are, as far as Solomon

is concerned, the mere product of the Jewish historian's

imagination.  A single fact may suffice to convict him of extra-

vagant hyperbole.  He says that Solomon filled up great valleys

into which a man could not look without his head swimming,

and that the ground was elevated four hundred cubits (600

feet).  The recent excavations of Captain Warren and others

have shown that "the lowest stone of the oldest wall of the







present Temple area stands on the rock itself, and the summit

of Mount Moriah is but 163 feet above the rock on which

the lowest stone rests. That is to say, Josephus has quadrupled

the height in his glowing description.1 . . .  He rarely con-

tradicts the Sacred Scriptures, but rather omits or supplements

them, or else takes advantage of some verbal discrepancy or

peculiar mode of expression to introduce his own notions,

whenever it serves his purpose to do so, or tends to exalt

the glory of his people Israel."2

            If Josephus can only be used with extreme caution as an

authority for Solomon's Temple, the Talmud may be pro-

nounced absolutely worthless for this purpose. It hardly even

professes to preserve a single traditional detail of the smallest

value. Indeed, the allusions of the Talmud have reference

almost exclusively to Herod's Temple; and although this Third

Temple, like that of Zerubbabel, five centuries earlier, was in

its main conception a reproduction of that of Solomon, which

was again five centuries before Zerubbabel's, yet it differed in

size, in magnificence, and probably also in many external par-

ticulars.  The ideal Temple of Ezekiel is modelled on that of

Solomon, but throws no high on the points which are obscure.

In reading the descriptions of Herod's Temple, we must re-

member Mr. Fergusson's warning, that it made up "a rich and

varied pile worthy of the Roman love of architectural display,

but in singular contrast with the modest aspirations of a purely

Semitic people."

            Modern excavations, though they have produced many in-

teresting results, have not as yet succeeded in finally solving

such elementary problems as the size of the platform on which

Solomon's Temple was built, or the part of the entire platform

which the Temple occupied, or the position of his palace with

reference to it. Even as to the space occupied by the Temple


            1 The only things which he diminishes are the Cherubim.  He makes these

only half their real height, but, to make up for it, says that they were of solid


            2 I take these remarks from the interesting and valuable pamphlet of Mr.

E. C. Robins, F.S.A., "A Review of the Various Theories respecting the

Form, &c., of the Temple of Solomon" (Dryden Press, London, 1886),

Mr. Robins has very kindly allowed me to avail myself of his researches in

this Appendix, and to use the designs by which they were illustrated when

he read his paper before the Society of Architects.


102                             SOLOMON.


precincts, there are discrepancies of theory. Substructions

traditionally known as "Solomon's Stables" occupy the south-

east corner of the Haram area. Here, undoubtedly, are the

most ancient remains, and it is an interesting fact that one of

the lowest stones bears a Phœnician inscription. This, and

other inscriptions, are in red paint, apparently put on by a brush,

                                                                        for there are also a few

Farrar_Solomon_102.jpg                                                                        splashes of red paint.

                                                                        They are believed to be

                                                                        quarry-marks, made be-

                                                                        fore the stones were placed

                                                                        in situ. The larger letters

                                                                        are five inches high. The

                                                                        letters resemble O Y Q,

                                                                        and may be numerals. See

                                                                        "The Recovery of Jeru-

                                                                        salem," by Captains Wil-

                                                                        son and Warren ( 1871),

                                                                        p. 139, &c. The appended

                                                                        diagram will clearly illus-

                                                                        trate the whole subject.

                                                                           The re-constructive de-

                                                                        signs of modern architects

                                                                        and antiquaries, though

                                                                        they must of necessity

                                                                        bear some sort of resem-

                                                                        blance to each other, are

                                                                        yet so widely unlike in

                                                                        details that they go upon

                                                                        entirely different assump-

tions, even as to the national style of architecture adopted.

            1. According to Professor Wilkins, in his "Prolusiones Archi-

tectonicæ," the style was European, and distinctively Greek. He

thinks, in fact, that it became the type of Greek architecture

in subsequent ages,

                        "Ere first to Greece the builders' art was known,

                        Or the light chisel brushed the Parian stone,"


On the assumption that the Jewish cubit was 21.888 inches, he

draws a plan of the Temple which is nearly the size of the

Temple of Paestum.  He has scarcely found a single follower




except Mr. Hakewill. It will be sufficient to give the design

of Professor Wilkins.1

            2. Far more reasonable and less arbitrary is the view of those

inquirers who looked to Egypt for the type of Solomonic


            This was the opinion adopted by Professor Hosking in the

"Encyclopadia Britannica"; by Commodore Canina, of Rome,

in his small folio on "Jewish Antiquities"; by Mr. Thrupp,

his book on "Ancient Jerusalem"; and by the Count de Vogüé,

in his book on "Jerusalem and Its Temples." It is now de-

servedly abandoned as untenable. Eupolemus, indeed, in a




fragment preserved by Eusebius, says that Pharaoh sent to

Solomon, with his daughter, eighty thousand workmen to help

in building the Temple. But he calls the Pharaoh Vaphres,

and the story is, on the face of it, entirely unhistorical.2

            3. The belief that the style of architecture of Solomon's

Temple was Asiatic, and specifically Phœnician, may now be

regarded as established by the historic evidence of our docu-

ments, and by the skilled reasoning of Mr. Fergusson and


            1 For the use of these illustrations I am indebted to the kindness of Mr.


            2 Eupolmus in Eusebius, "Præp. Ev." ii. 30-35.


104                                SOLOMON.


many other architects, among whom Mr. Robins must take a

high place.1

            Mr. Robins follows the views of Mr. Fergusson, and points out

that Solomon from first to last was indebted to the assistance of

Phoenician workmen for every detail of art with which his temple





was enriched. There is no Egyptian feature of ornament in

the Temple which is not also Phoenician, and the pomegranate


            1 Mr. Fergusson has dealt with the subject in "Principles of Beauty in

Art," 18,19; "The History of Ancient and Modern Architecture," 1865;

"The Temples of the Jews," 1878; and articles on the Tabernacle and

Temple in Smith's "Dictionary of the Bible," 1863. Mr. Lewin takes the

same view, and also Messrs. Perrot and Chipiez, in the "Revue Générale

de l'Architecture," Jan., 1886.




is not an Egyptian fruit. Phœnician art ultimately came from

Assyria and Persia, and it is to those countries that we must

look for illustrative details. The style of masonry at the

south-eastern angle of the Haram area closely resemble that at

Passargardæ.  Architects consider that the Temple bore a more





general resemblance to that of Venus (=Astarte) at Paphos—an

island colonized by Phœnicians—than to any other. There are,

indeed, no remains of this temple worth speaking of, but repre-

sentations of it are found on coins and gems.1


            1 Kugler, "Gesch. d. Baukunst," 121.


106                              SOLOMON.


            The details of the design by Mr. Robins are entirely gleaned

from examples at Nineveh and Persepolis—the doors and windows

from Persepolitan palaces; the upper and crowning members of

the cornice from the tomb of Darius, and a pavilion in the sculp-

tures at Khorsabad; the lower cornice from the bas-relief of

El-tell-Armarna, and from the stylobate of the temple at Khor-

sabad; the enrichments for the pavement, and other details

from ornamental pottery at Konyunjik; the pillars from Perse-

polis, with adapted capitals and network.






                                         CHAPTER IX.






The passion for building—Splomon's palace, and its adjoining edifices:—

            Obscurity of all details—The House of the Forest of Lebanon; its

            shields—The Porch of pillars—The Hall of Judgment—The Palace—

            The staircase to the Temple—Water supply—Gardens—Summer re-

            treats—Works of national usefulness — Fortification of the city—A

            chain of fortress towns—Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer—The Beth-Horons—

            Baalath— Store cities, and chariot-towns — Roads — Tadmor in the



KINGS that have once indulged their passion for magnificence

by the erection of great buildings are scarcely ever content with

rearing a single edifice. Solomon's work as a builder was con-

tinued with more or less activity through the remainder of his


            First came the erection of a palace, which occupied thirteen

years.1 The old palace on Mount Zion was amply sufficient for

a humble warrior-chieftain like David, but seemed altogether

too insignificant for a grand Oriental potentate like Solomon. A

king who now began to be so closely connected with the dynasts

of Tyre and Egypt, was not content even with cedarn chambers.

            The description of this palace, and of his other royal buildings

in Jerusalem, is given so briefly in the Book of Kings, that we

can form no real impression of its architecture. Strange to say,

it is even a disputed point whether the palace, the House of the

Forest of Lebanon, the pillared portico, the porch of the throne,

and the palace of Pharaoh's daughter, were so many separate


            1 It was much larger than the Temple, and no preparations had been





108                              SOLOMON.


buildings, or whether, as Josephus says, they were but portions

and wings of the one royal palace. No commentator or archæ-

ologist, ancient or modern, has attempted any real or intelligible

description of these works, for the sufficient reason that the

details are far too brief and obscure. Of the ancients Josephus

gives reins to his fancy, and talks of Corinthian pillars adorned

with leaves and branches, of magnificent and refreshing groves,

and many other marvellous facts; while the commentator Villal-

pandus furnishes us with a ground-plan of which the details must

be drawn from his inner consciousness. Others make the build-

ing so small that it would have been physically impossible for

the king and his harem to find room in it.

            It is almost certain that the description of 1 Kings vii. 1-13 is

meant to apply to the various parts of one structure,1 which served

all the purposes of royalty, and was built on Ophel, the southern

continuation of the Temple mount. The first part of this struc-

ture is called "The House of the Forest of Lebanon." Some have

supposed that this refers to a summer villa built by Solomon at

the foot of Mount Lebanon;2 but this notion is at once refuted

by the fact that the chief and splendid ornament of this hall of

cedars consisted of two hundred shields of beaten gold, and three

hundred bucklers of the same precious material.3  Each of the

shields, which like the Greek θυρεοὶ, the Latin scuta, were large

enough to cover the whole body, required an outlay of six hundred

shekels of gold (about £1,200) and each of the bucklers (ασπίδες,

clypei) required three manehs of gold (about £300) for its gild-

ing.4 These golden shields were all carried away by Shishak,

king of Egypt, in the following reign, and assuredly he did not go

to Lebanon to fetch them. The royal hall in Jerusalem was called

by admiring fancy "the House of the Forest of Lebanon," because

its pillars resembled a forest of cedar wood. It was a house

one hundred cubits long, fifty broad, and thirty high. Four (or

according to the Septuagint, three) rows of cedar pillars, of which

three rows stood over one another, fifteen in a row, supported a


            1 Kings vii. 2 should be rendered "For he built," not "he built also."

            2 See 1 Kings ix. 19; 2 Chron. viii. 6.

            3 For the ornamenting of buildings with shields see 2 Sam. viii. 7;

Kings x. 17; Cant. iv. 4; Ezek. xxvii. 11; 1 Macc. iv. 57, vi. 2.

            4 According to 2 Chron. ix. 16, a maneh of gold is one hundred shekels.

It is usually taken to be of the value. of 2 1/2 lbs. of gold. Rehoboam re-

placed them by brazen ones.




building of three storeys. If there were only forty-five pillars,

and yet four rows of fifteen, we can only suppose that one row

of pillars was built into the side-wall.1  Each storey had but a

single chamber, of which the lattices were opposite to each

other, and the beams as well as the pillars were of cedar wood.

The chambers, perhaps, constituted the royal treasury.2  But is

it not a somewhat idle attempt to attempt to restore a building out

of unscientific descriptions and an uncertain text?3

            In front of this building was erected another porch—which

being a colonnade only was called the Porch of Pillars—fifty

cubits long and thirty wide, of which we are not told the

specific use.

            And in front of this, perhaps separated from it by a court,

rose the proper porch of the palace, which served as the Throne-

room, or Hall of Judgment. It was entirely wainscotted with

cedar wood, and was "the King's Gate," where he administered

justice to his people. In this hall stood the regal throne, which

was the wonder of the age.

            Abutting on these buildings, but separated from them by a

court, of which the walls were built of large hewn masses of

stone, was the actual palace, also built of polished marble, and

overlaid within with beams of cedar wood like the walls of the

Temple. Behind this stood the harem, of which the finest


            1 So Josephus, "Antiq." vii. 5, § 2.

            2 As it seems impossible to form any very definite conception of the build-

ing from the scanty data, I simply append the note of Reuss, "Voici l'idée

que nous now, faisons de cette construction. Trois étages de pièces

reposaient sur une colonnade, laquelle en formait le rez-de-chaussée;

cette colonnade ainsi que les planchers intermédiaires, étaît en bois de

cèdre. Les quarante-cinq pièces étaient disposées de manière qu'elles

avaiént vue sur une sour intérieure, et elles recevaient le jour non par des

fenêtres ("hallôn," vi. 4), qui, en Orient, sont géndralement petites, mais

par de larger ouvertures, qui prenaient peut-être tout l'espace entre les

cloisons qui séparaient une pièce de l'autre; de sorte que le tout formait

trois galeries superposées."  The text, he adds, tells us nothing of the

number of the columns, the size of the court, the extent of the rooms, the

external appearance, the necessary staircases, the height of the storeys,

the number of the rooms, &c.

            3 Mr. Fergusson (s.v. Palace, in the "Dictionary of the Bible") says

that all the earlier attempts to restore the plan of these buildings were

Vitruvian (i.e., classic), which, like the Egyptian plans, necessarily failed.

We must go for help to Nineveh and Persepolis. Diagram sections are

given in "Dictionary of the Bible," vol. ii. p. 659.








portion was devoted to the use of the Queen consort, the

daughter of Pharaoh. Hitherto this princess had lived m a

part of David's old palace on Mount Sion, but Solomon has

scruples about assigning this to her as a permanent residence,

because the site had been hallowed by the temporary sojourn

of the Ark. Nothing is said about the structure of the harem,

which remained in mysterious seclusion from the public eye.

We only know that it must have been magnificent and costly

to contain its vast retinue of concubines, and eunuchs, and men

and women singers.

            As the palace stood on a lower elevation than the Temple,

the king built for his private use a staircase of the red and

scented sandal wood, which now became an article of import

for the wealthy. This precious staircase led to the seats in the

Temple, which were specially used for the king on State occasions,

of which one seems to have stood in the inner court surrounded

by a balustrade, and another was supported on a platform or

pediment of brass.1

            But palaces, however splendid, would have been but dreary

residences if they had not easy access to parks and gardens.

The laying out of these was a task far from easy in a district

so rocky and hilly as that which surrounds Jerusalem. But it

had been no small part of the king's care for his people to pro-

vide the capital with an elaborate and most costly system of

water-courses, derived in part from perennial springs of water on

the Temple Mount, and partly from enormous pools, of which the

water was conveyed by aqueducts, or through vast subterranean

conduits hewn out of the solid rock.2  By means of this water

Solomon was able to provide a king's garden on the southern

slopes of the hills on which the city stood,3 as well as a "House

of the Vine" (Beth-hac-Cerem) perhaps near the hill now known

as Fureidîs (or "Little Paradise ").4  He also had a beautiful

pleasance at Etam, not far from Bethlehem. The ideal Solomon

of Ecclesiastes speaks language which could doubtless have

been used literally by the real Solomon:  "I builded me houses;


            1 See 2 Kings xi. 14, xvi. 18, xxiii. 3; 2 Chron. vi. 13.

            2 On this water system for the supply of Jerusalem are founded the

idealized conceptions of the prophets (Joel iii. 18; Zech. xiv. 8; Ezek.

xlvii. 1-12; comp. Tacitus, "Hist." v. 12; Eusebius, "Præp. Ev." ix. 37;

Josephus, "B. J." ii. 9, § 4; "Antiq." xviii. 3, § 2.

            3 2 Kings xxv. 4; Neh. iii. 15.                         
            4 Jer. vi. 1.


112                              SOLOMON.


I planted me vineyards; I made me gardens and orchards; I

planted trees in them of all kinds of fruits; I made me pools of

water to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees."1

            It is probable also that he had summer retreats, in which he

could exchange the parched and sultry air of Judaea for the

pleasant breezes cooled by the snows of Lebanon, and for walks

overshadowed by its cedars. These may be included among

his buildings in this region, mentioned in'the Book of Kings,2

of which tradition preserves a find recollection in the allusions

of the Song of Songs to "the tower of Lebanon, which looketh

towards Damascus," with its gardens and living streams.3  He

also had a vineyard at Baal-Hermon or Baal-Hamon,4 producing

a revenue of which four-fifths was paid to the king.

            These works of personal magnificence were accompanied by

others of national usefulness. The kingdom which contained

such treasures of wealth could not be left defenceless. After

Solomon's palaces were completed he turned to the task of forti-

fication. He built Millo (called Acra in the LXX.)—a name given

apparently to some wall raised on an earthwork—and thereby

"closed the breaches of the City of David," so that no vulnerable

point might be left in the circuit of the city. This fortification,

as the Septuagint adds (it Kings x. 22), suppressed the last hopes

of the native races. He also protected his entire domain by a

chain of forts built at every point of chief access. The fortifi-

cation of the old Canaanite capital Hazor, at the foot of

Lebanon (Judg. iv. 2), gave security to Naphtali and the

north from any possible attacks of Rezon, king of Damascus.

Megiddo was made defensible to command the rich plain of

Jezreel. Gezer, the town which Pharaoh had conquered and

given to him as the dower of his daughter, protected the defiles

on the west of Ephraim. The walls of Bethhoron, the Upper

and the Nether, dominated one of the natural passes leading to

Jerusalerm5 Baalath—probably on the borders of Dan—over-

awed the Philistines. He also built store cities for provisions,

and cities to accommodate his cavalry and horses. This branch

of his military array was always looked on with distrust, and


            1 Ecci. ii. 4-6.                                       2 I Kings ix. 19.

            3 Cant. vii. 5 ; iv. 4.                              4 Cant. viii. 11 (LXX.); Judg. iii. 3.

            5 It was the scene of three great battles—the victories of Joshua (Josh. x.),

of Judas Maccabæus (x Macc. iii. 13-24), and of the Jews over Cestius

Gallus (Josephus, "B. J." ii. 19).




even with hatred, by the stricter Israelites. It was never likely

to be of any real service among the rocky ways of a country

which over the larger part of its extent is a series of rounded

hills. It flourished so little as to be an actual subject of derision

to the enemies of Judah.1

            Some towns he must have also built for the purposes of his

extended commerce. They were chiefly in the northern dis-

tricts, and especially in the direction of Hamath, which he had

conquered. Josephus, who follows some magnificent Jewish tra-

dition, says that these towns stood on paved roads which traversed

the land in various directions. The main road for the increasing

traffic between Egypt and Asia ran past Gaza and west of Jeru-

salem to Damascus, where it was joined by another road, which

led from Tyre to Thapsacus on the Euphrates. To be at once

an emporium and a protection for the northern traffic, Solomon

built the most famous of all his cities, Tadmor, in the wilderness,

the Greek Palmyra.2  It stood in an oasis, in which there still

grow a few palms, and the site was so admirably chosen, and so

well supplied with water, that it flourished for a thousand years.

Why the words "in the land" are added to "in the wilderness"

is uncertain, but they probably imply that even this distant

oasis belonged to the territory which Solomon had conquered.3

The ruins sufficiently show to what splendour the city rose.

Tradition also assigns to Solomon the building of the Syrian

Baalbek, but this is impossible. Baalbek cannot be identified

with Baalath, and if Solomon had built this great Syrian city,

it would certainly have been mentioned in the royal records of

his time.


            1 See 2 Kings xviii. 23.

            2 The text in I Kings ix. 18 has Tamar; the margin has Tadmor; 2

Chron. viii. 4 has Tadmor. It always was a city of merchants. Movers

tries to identify Tadmor with Hazezon - Tamar, "the sanctuary of the

palm," or En-gedi (Ezek. xlvii. 19; xlviii. 28). Tadmor is a day's journey

from the Euphrates, and 176 miles from Damascus.  It is difficult to be-

lieve that it was occupied by Israelites, and the LXX. does not accept the


            3 After "in the land" Ewald would add the words, "of Aram;" Ber-

theau and Keil would add, "of Hamath;" and Böttcher would read

instead, "in the wilderness of Paran."





                                         CHAPTER X.



                              SOLOMON'S COMMERCE.




The ideal of peaceful wealth—Extended commerce: I. by land and II. by sea

            —I. Influence and splendour of Phoenicia i. Land traffic with Tyre;

            Hiram and Solomon; Embarrassed condition of Solomon's resources;

            He alienates twenty cities; Scorn and dissatisfaction of Hiram; An

            obscure transaction; Inexplicable conduct of Solomon; Prosperity of

            Hiram—ii. Land traffic with Arabia; Spices and precious stones—iii.

            Egypt and the Tanite dynasty; Land traffic with Egypt Horses and

            chariots; Profits of the trade; Two great inland roads—II. Sea traffic:

            i. The Phoenician traffic with Tarshish—ii. Traffic by the Red Sea to

            Ophir; Ezion-Geber—Theories about Ophir; identified by many with

            Abhîra at the mouths of the Indus—Beautiful and curious articles of

            export—i. Ivory (Shen habbîm)—ii. Apes (Kôphîm)—iii. Peacocks

            (tukkiîm)—iv. Almug-trees—Sanskrit origin of these words—Did the

            fleets circumnavigate Africa?—Result of the commerce—Losses—In-

            tercourse with idolators—The Red Sea fleets a failure—The king's

            revenue—His enormous expenses—Advantages of the commerce, direct

            and indirect.


IT would have been in Solomon's power to chose for his people

the ideal of military glory which had prevailed in the days of

his father; but he chose instead the ideal of peaceful wealth

and material aggrandisement. He might have said to his

people, as a modern statesman said to the French bourgeoisie,

"Enrichissez-vous." Nothing is more remarkable in his reign

than the immense and sudden development of a widely-extended

commerce which kindled the imagination of the Chosen People,

but which brought them few real advantages, and vanished

almost as soon as it had been established. Yet though the

special traffic vanished, being almost exclusively connected





                          SOLOMON'S COMMERCE.                    115


with luxuries and with the Court, it gave the earliest strong

impulse to those commercial tendencies which totally altered

the characteristics of the Jews, and changed them in time from

an agricultural into a mercantile race—a face whose famous

Rabbis spoke of agriculture in tones of scorn.

            This traffic was twofold, by land and by sea: by land, with

Tyre, Egypt, and Arabia; by sea, with Spain, India, and the

coasts of Africa.

            I. It is not strange that two great neighbouring Powers—

Phœnicia and Egypt — should have exercised so strange a

spell of fascination over the mind of Israel. Phœnicia—the

land of palms—was the representative of enterprise and culture,

and the pride of life; and under the first Hiram, Tyre, which

was but a hundred miles from Jerusalem, had sprung to the very

summit of her glory. Even the comparatively humble palace

of David had been built by Tyrian workmen, and was a "house

of cedar,"1 and from that day forward Phœnician elements began

to be mingled with Hebrew civilization. The Tyrians supplied

the world with the scarlet robes of kings. The discovery of

Tarshish had affected the Phœnicians much as the discovery

of the New World affected Spain. It poured into their coffers

a flood of wealth. For oil and trinkets their sailors brought back

from Tarshish—"the fountains of Tartessus rooted in silver,"—

such abundance of precious ore that the very anchors of the home-

ward-bound vessels were made of silver to save unnecessary

freight.2  Copper (aes Cyprium) had long been supplied them

from Cyprus, and they brought tin and other metals even from the

Scilly Isles. From two to three hundred talents of gold came

to them yearly from Tarshish and from the island of Thasos.

Their art was at this epoch the most renowned in the ancient

world. Their capital was "the crowning city, whose merchants

are princes, whose traffickers the honourable of the earth." The

twenty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel is the splendid epitaph of

their magnificence, no less than the prediction of their impend-

ing fall. "O thou that art situate at the entry of the sea, which

art a merchant of the people for many isles, Thus saith the Lord

God; O Tyrus, thou hast said, I am of perfect beauty." Judah

supplied her with wheat, and comfits, and honey, and oil, and balm.


            1 2 Sam. v. 11; vii. 2.

            2 Herodotus, iv. 152; Aristotle, "De mirab. ausc." 147 Duncker,

"Hist. of Antiq." ii. 85 (E. tr.). Tartessus is the Guadalquiver.

116                              SOLOMON.


The merchants of Syria traded in her wares for vessels of clay

and metal, armour, emeralds, purple broidered work, fine linen,

and pearls, and agate. The name Sidon (צִידוֹי), which the Book

of Genesis gives to the firstborn of Canaan, means "a fishing,"

and since about 2,000 years B.C. these maritime cities had en-

joyed the riches and blessings of the sea. They had probably

been strengthened by emigration at the overthrow of the kingdom

of the Hittites by the Amorites about B.C. 1,300, and had gradu-

ally spread their settlements towards the north-west. When

they had exhausted the fishery of the purple limpet on their

own coasts, they obtained it from the Straits of Eubcea and the

bays of Hellas.  The luxury and commercial prosperity of Tyre,

"the joyous city whose antiquity is of ancient days,"1 seemed

inexhaustible, and the wealth and art of Sidon were famous

even in the days of Homer.

            1. The land traffic with Tyre was chiefly founded on the

exigencies of Solomon's architectural undertakings. We have

already seen that he would have been unable to construct either

the Temple or his palaces without the aid of the skilled wood-

carvers and metal-casters of Phœnicia. He is said to have

visited Tyre in person, and even to have worshipped in one of

the Sidonian Temples. Documents, genuine or spurious, were

long preserved, which professed to be an interchange of letters

between Hiram and Solomon. For more than twenty years this

amicable and mutually advantageous intercourse continued,

and, as in the days of Herod Agrippa, Hiram's country "was

nourished by the king's country" in return for commercial and

artistic benefits. It is even possible that Solomon among his

numerous wives may have married a daughter of Hiram, for

this is stated by Eusebius on the authority of Tatian,2 and he

tolerated in later days the worship of Astarte in honour of a

Sidonian wife.3 This alliance between the Tyrian and Israelite

king had a singular ending, of which the details are excessively

obscure. Like all kings, even down to our own day, who have

yielded to the passion for building, Solomon embarrassed his

resources, immense as they were. Not being a wholly irre-

sponsible despot, he could not afford to be like Louis XIV.,

who is said to have burnt the accounts of the building of

Versailles without looking at them. When the Temple and his


1 Isa. xxiii. 7.               2 "Præp. Ev." x. 11.                  3 1 Kings xi. 5.


                     SOLOMON'S COMMERCE.                                  117


palatial buildings were finished, it became necessary to settle

his obligations with the king of Tyre, and it seems that the only

way left him of doing this was to alienate a part of his own

dominions. At the end of twenty years Solomon gave to Hiram

"twenty cities in the land of Galilee;"1 and apparently in

return for these Hiram gave Solomon one hundred and twenty

talents of gold. Now the alienation of any part of the soil of

Judaea was in opposition alike to the letter and spirit of the

Mosaic law.  "The land shall not be sold for ever," says the

Book of Leviticus; "for the land is mine; for ye are strangers

and sojourners with me."2  Even if the district had been

conquered by Solomon himself, and if the inhabitants were

still mainly Canaanites, still the region was within the limits of

the Promised Land, and was part of Jehovah's gift to His

people.3  Solomon may have been wholly unaware of the

existence of any such law in the complete desuetude into which

most of the Mosaic ordinances had fallen, but in any case the

voluntary cession of twenty Galilean cities by way of equivalent

for a debt might well appear to be a blot on Solomon's admini-

stration, and one of the earliest proofs that he had exhausted

the capabilities of his treasury.  What follows is still more

surprising, especially if we are right in supposing that Hiram  

one hundred and twenty talents of gold represented the balance

after the debt was paid. Hiram went and visited his new

acquisition, delighted with the thought that henceforth he

would be less wholly dependent on the produce of a rival king-

dom, and that Tyre would add an inland district to her strip of

sandy coast. A personal visit to the territory disenchanted

these hopes, and filled him with vexation. Frankly he con-

sidered himself to have been overreached, and inadequately

rewarded. The transaction evidently appeared to him to

have been a shabby one. The cities "were not right in

his eyes." He said, in strong disgust, "What cities are these

which thou halt given me, my brother?"4 The very name of

the ceded land kept alive for years afterwards the memory of

Hiram's disappointment. It was "called Cabul unto this day."


            1 1 Kings ix. 11-14.                              2 Lev. xxv. 23, 24.

            3 In Numb. xxxiv. 6-8 the Mediterranean is assigned as the western

border of the Promised Land, and it only failed of being so through the

supineness of Asher (Judg. i. 31, 32).

            4 "He said to Solomon that he did not want the cities" (Josephus).


118                                 SOLOMON.


"Cabul" means "as nothing,"1 as though Solomon, with all his

vaunted magnificence and fabulous generosity, had given to his

hereditary ally and friend as good as nothing for the long years

of assistance in carrying out designs which could not have been

accomplished without his aid.

            The sequel of this transaction looks yet more dubious.

Solomon did not return the gold, but Hiram did return the cities.

Either because of the miry and unproductive character of

the soil, or the turbulent poverty of the inhabitants, they were

of no use to him, and he did not even care to keep them, fore-

seeing that they would only be a cause of annoyance and

expense. This being so, we might have supposed that, for his

own credit and reputation, Solomon would not acquiesce in the

imputation of having overreached one whose aid he had so freely

used for twenty years, and that he would have given him an

even more munificent equivalent. This, however, he either could

not or would not do. He quietly took back his rejected gift,2

and reoccupied with Israelites the twenty despised towns which

up to that time seem to have belonged to "Galilee of the Gen-

tiles." Of further dealings between Hiram and Solomon we not

unnaturally hear no more. Hiram had furnished Solomon with

gold as well as timber during the building of the Temple.3  If

he now sent a hundred and twenty talents of gold4 as an equiva-

lent for the cities, Solomon should have returned it. But the

details of the whole transaction are too obscure for us to under-

stand.  It is, however, certain that Hiram must have gained

from his intercourse with Solomon, for he was an eminently

prosperous king. Ascending the throne as a youth, B.C. 1001,

he had resubdued the rebellious cities of Cyprus, and had used


            1 Not as in the English margin "displeasing" or "dirty," the meaning

also assigned to the word by Josephus. The Authorized Version has "he

(i.e., Hiram) called them the land of Cabul," but the verb may be rendered

impersonally"one called them" (LXX., προσηγορεύθησαν). There was

in this very region a town already called Cabal (Josh. xix. 27) in Asher (nine

miles east of Accho), and perhaps Hiram took up the name and played

upon it.

            2 2 Chron. viii. 2.

            3 Kings ix. 11-14; Josephus, "Antiq." viii. 5, § 3.

            4 The talent of gold is usually estimated at £ 6,000. Josephus, quoting

Menander, talks of Hiram having to pay large fines for failing to answer

riddles; but he represents the hundred and twenty talents as a voluntary

present from Hiram to Solomon ("C. Apion." i. 17).


                    SOLOMON'S COMMERCE.                           119


his rich resources in enlarging the island on which Tyre was

built and surrounding it with walls of solid masonry.  He also

built or restored the Temples of Ashtoreth and Melkarth, in the

latter of which he dedicated a pillar of gold, seen there by

Herodotus five hundred years later by the side of an erect

emerald which gave light by night.1  His reign of thirty-four

years seems to have been of unbroken prosperity.

            2. Another part of Solomon's land traffic was with Arabia,

from which must have been mainly derived the supply of spices

of which we now begin to find such prominent mention. The

very word spicery (nêcoth) 2 is from the Arabic, naka'at, and

seems to mean gum tragacanth and frankincence, the aromatic

resins of various thorny shrubs. Myrrh no doubt formed part

of the spicery which the Queen of Sheba gave to him; spike-

nard is the root of a species of valerian which grows in the

Himalayas;3 aloe is the heart-wood of an Indian tree;4 and

cassia is the bark of a species of cinnamon. All these became

common in the days of Solomon.5 They may have come to

him by sea traffic, but are largely imported throughout the East,

and may have been brought chiefly from Eastern Arabia.6 From

this source also he may have derived a great part of his precious

stones, though the sapphires (lapis lazuli) could only have come

from Babylonia.

            3. Egypt as well as Phœnicia became a more and more

potent factor in the development of the Hebrews under Solo-

mon. The Ramesid dynasty ruled at Thebes till B.C. 1100;

but under the successors of Rameses VI., from 1200 to 1074,

the High Priests of Thebes became almost equally powerful,

and at last the twentieth dynasty succumbed. They were suc-

ceeded, according to the Egyptian priest Manetho, by seven

princes, who belonged to Tanis or Zoan, who reigned for a hun-

dred and fourteen years. We have already given the names of

these princes as furnished by the monuments. In Manetho

they are different. He says that the first of them was Smendes,


            1 Herodotus, ii. 44; Duneker, ii. 266. The pillar was probably of green

glass (Theophrastus, "Lap." 23).

            2 Hebr., Gen, xxxvii. 25.

            3 Nardostachys jata-mansi.                  4 Aquilaria agallocha.

            5 Prov. vii. 17; Cant. iv. 10, 14, 16; Ps. xlv. 8.

            6 Ewald thinks that nêsheq in I Kings x. 25 means not "armour," but

some Arabian perfume.


120                             SOLOMON.


who removed the seat of government from Thebes, where it had

been placed for five centuries, to the Delta. He was succeeded

by Psusennes I. who reigned for forty-six years (1048-1002), and

was perhaps the protector of the young prince of Edom. The

fourth king of this house was Amenothis (998-989), and some

have thought this was the Pharaoh who gave his daughter in

marriage to Solomon. The last Tanite king was Psusennes II.,

who in 960 was succeeded by Shishak (Scheshonk, Sesonchis),

the founder of the dynasty of Buhastis. Shishak seems to have

been of Semitic origin, and to have forced his way to favour,

which was cemented by the marriage of his son Osorkon to

Rakatnat, the daughter of Psusennes. With him ceased the

friendly relations between Egypt and Judah. He is the king of

Egypt (Melek Mizraim), not honoured in 1 Kings xi. 40 with the

title Pharaoh, who plundered Jerusalem of the wealth which

Solomon had amossed.1

            The main traffic with Egypt was for the horses and chariots

for which the land of the Pharaohs became famous, and which

are so prominently represented in the Egyptian frescoes.2 Solo-

mon kept the profits of this trade, as of all his commerce, in

his own hands. He was the kingly merchant, and his people

had but a small share of the accruing advantages. The trans-

port was carried on by large caravans, and the trade was exten-

sive because Solomon had not only to keep up his own large

supply of four thousand two hundred horses3 for his fourteen

hundred chariots (three fine horses for each chariot), and

chargers4 for his twelve thousand horsemen, but he also found a

large demand for these warlike and splendid equipages among

all the Hittite and Aramean kings. The Hittites were more or


            1 Africanus and Eusebius allot one hundred and thirty years to the

Tanite dynasty. The list of Africanus, is, Smendes, Psusennes I., Nepher-

cheres, Amenothis, Bochor, Psinaches, Psusennes II.

            2 Gen. xlvii. 17; Exod. ix. 3, xiv. 6; Deut. xvii. 16; 2 Chron. xii. 3; 2

Kings xviii. 24; Isa. xxxi. 1-3; Jer. xlvi. 4; Ezek. xvii. 15, &c. See

Bochart, "Hieroz." i. 169.

            3 Forty thousand in 1 Kings iv. 26 is a misreading for four thousand.

See 2 Chron. ix. 25.

            4 פָּרָשִׁים. The "dromedaries" of 1 Kings iv. 23 are rather "runners"—

i.e., swift riding-horses.  In Cant. i. 9 Ewald renders it "Pharaoh's chariots

at Solomon's Court." The two towns mentioned in 1 Chron. iv. 31, Beth-

marcaboth, "house of chariots," and Hazar-Siusim, "Court of chargers,"

may be among the cities which Solomon built for his stables.



                     SOLOMON'S COMMERCE.                           121


less tributary, but the various principalities clustering round

their chief capitals of Carchemish (Jerablûs) and Kadesh near

Emesa, were still under chieftains of such importance that

Solomon numbered Hittite princesses among his wives. The

Hittites are represented on the Egyptian monuments riding in

chariots drawn by two horses, and containing three men apiece.1

When we are told that in this commerce "a chariot came up

and went out of Egypt for six hundred shekels, and a horse for

a hundred and fifty,"2 the meaning is disputed; but it seems to

be that this was the amount of profit on each separate sale.

Eight or nine pounds would have been far too small a sum for

an Egyptian war-horse, and thirty-five pounds for a chariot, the

best of its kind and imported all the way from Egypt. The

"linen-yarn" introduced by our Authorized Version3 into this

Egyptian commerce seems to be a pure mistake. The word ren-

dered "linen-yarn" by Le Clerc and other commentators either

means (as the Septuagint understands it) "from Coa," or "from

Tekoah," as Thenius supposes;4 or the verse may mean "a drove

(or string) of royal merchants used to fetch a drove (or string) of

horses at a price."

            Two great inland roads were used for these various branches

of traffic, and Solomon doubtless improved these roads as well

as rendering them more safe and useful by the construction of

stations and caravanserais. The khan, or caravanserai, of his

hereditary guest Chimham at Bethlehem, which remained

famous for so many centuries, may have been one of these.

The caravan route from Egypt led through Palestine, and then

turned westward across Cœle-Syria to Carchemish on the

Euphrates, passing thence across Mesopotamia to Harran, to

the Tigris, and thence to Nineveh, Babylon, and the Persian

Gulfs The route was perhaps deflected for a time by the build-

ing of Tadmor. The second route led along the Western Coast

of Arabia through Mecca and Midian into Northern. Egypt and

Palestine.  No doubt both these great arteries of commerce


            1 The Hitittes (or Khita as they are called in the monuments), once a

powerful and literary people, but now their power was broken. Toi, king

of Hamath, was their chief king in David's time.

            2 I Kings x. 29.

            3 Ibid. x. 23. The word is מקוה.

            4 Following the LXX., καὶ εκ θεκνουέ.

            5 See Professor Sayce, "The Bible and the Monuments"



122                             SOLOMON.


were stirred into unwonted activity by the impulse derived from

the magnificent designs of the wise king.

            II. But far deeper admiration was stirred by his wider and

more daring sea commerce, of which we find early traces in

Psalm cvii. and in the Book of Proverbs.1

            1. The sea commerce of the ancients also followed two routes.

One of these was exclusively in the hands of the Phœnician

sailors of Tyre and Sidon. They sailed from these harbours to

Chittim (Cyprus), and so among the Ægean islands, and to

Sicily, Malta, and the Northern Coast of Africa. Their ulti-

mate destination was generally Tarshish, the flourishing

Phœnician colony in Spain, probably not far from the mouth

of the Tartessus or Guadalquiver. In order to reach this they

had to sail through Abyla and Calpe (Gibraltar), the famous

"Pillars of Hercules" and to launch into the mysterious At-

lantic.2  From this destination the Phœnician merchantmen

were called "ships of Tarshish," though they often sailed along

the whole coast of Spain, braved the terrors of the Bay of

Biscay, and reached as far as the Cassiterides and the southern

shores of Britain. Was Solomon allowed to break through the

exclusive monopoly of the Phœnicians and to share in this

traffic?  In the Book of Kings we are told that, he had a

"Tharshish navy" with the navy of King Hiram,3 but this may

merely apply to his Red Sea traffic, the name "Tharshish

navy "being generic to imply ships of a particular build, just

as we might talk of "an Indiaman" without necessarily im-

plying that the ship sailed only to India. The commodities

mentioned as forming the freight of this Tharshish navy are

such as could not come from Spain, nor would a voyage to

Tartessus have occupied three years. In the Book of Chronicles

we are told that "the king's ships went to Tharshish with the

servants of Huram;"4 but here too the articles imported are

the same, and it is possible that some confusion or misun-

derstanding may have arisen.5  It hardly seems likely that an


            1 Prov. xxiii. 34, 35; Ps. cvii. 23-30.

            2 If Old Hippo was founded by Sidon the Phœnician sailors had done

this long before. A passage of Dioclorus (v. 19. 2) makes it probable that

they had even visited Madeira and the Canaries.

            3 I Kings x. 22.                         4 2 Chron. ix. 21.

            5 Keil's argument that "at sea" (בַּיָּם ) can only mean "on the Medi-

terranean" will hardly stand.



                      SOLOMON'S COMMERCE.                          123


exclusively maritime people would have permitted the partner-

ship of a king who might prove to be a very dangerous rival.

It would surely have been impossible for Solomon to keep a

separate navy either at Tyre or Sidon, and the miserable and

dangerous harbours or roadsteads of Dor, Acco, or Joppa, would

have been wholly unsuitable for such a purpose.1

            2. But much more novel and splendid was the new naviga-

tion attempted for the first time from Ezion-Geber to Ophir,

Ezion-Geber ("the giant's backbone") was the harbour of

Eiath, or Eloth, a town at the north of the Gulf of Akaba, and

probably on the site now occupied by the wretched village of

Akaba itself.2  Eloth was still a city in the time of Abulfeda

(about 1300), but of Ezion-Geber there are no traces. It de-

rived its name from the double line of hills which here run down

towards the sea. Hiram and his Tyrians would feel no sort of

jealousy about mercantile voyages starting from a port wholly

out of their reach, and sailing to regions which they could not

independently visit. They were, therefore, quite ready to gain

commercial advantages by enabling Solomon to build ships

on the Red Sea,3 and by supplying him with trained mariners.

Their share of voyages which brought back four hundred and

twenty talents of gold must have been considerable. Solomon was

so deeply interested in the venture that he visited Eloth in per-

son, perhaps to see the ships launched.4  Of the general incidents

of these voyages we are unfortunately told nothing, but in Solo-

mon's time Jewish and Phœnician sailors seem to have made

their way to the far-distant Ophir.  It would be tedious and useless

to go through the list of places which have been identified with

this famous name.  Keil, who has written a special treatise on,  

this commerce of Solomon, maintains that Ophir is neither in


            1 I cannot agree with Prof. Sayce in thinking that Jon. i. 3, Ezek. xxvi. 2,

Hosh. xii. 7, show that any real maritime connection ever sprung up be-

tween the two kingdoms.

            2 Akaba, according to Ewald, means "back," and is a dialectic variation

and abbreviation of Ezion-Geber. Josephus says that in his day it was

called Berenice.

            3 2 Chron. viii. 18. This is perhaps the meaning of the statement that

Hiram sent him "ships." He might have sent "ships" to Joppa as

models; otherwise the phrase is perplexing. The Jews never took kindly

to the sea-life (Jon. i. 9).

            4 2 Chron. viii. 17.



124                               SOLOMON.


India, nor on the East Coast of Africa,1 but in the southern part

of Arabia.2  On the other hand, it is now generally identified

with Abhîra, i.e., the land of "the herdsmen," at the mouth of the

Indus,3  "inhabited by a people speaking the Dravidian language,

allied to the modern Tamil." Not only are the imports all of

them of Indian origin, but the names given to them, with the

exception of the gold and silver and precious stones, are wholly

unknown to Hebrew. They are Sanskrit words, which even at

this early age have undergone dialectic variation. They are the

names of ivory, apes, peacocks, and almug wood. It can be easily

understood that the inhabitants of the brooding and changeless

East were filled with astonishment when for the first time they

saw the smooth lustrous ivory used for furniture; and balus-

trades and harps and psalteries made of the rich-coloured

scented sandal wood. How much greater must have been their

amazement when they saw the inexpressible glories of the

peacock's plumage, and grew familiar with that "great iridescent

work of God"! Curiosity, and something of horror, must have

mingled with the feelings with which they first gazed on the

wrinkled, chattering apes with their dreadful caricature of the

human face and form-

            "Simla quam similis, turpissima bestia nobis!"


            i. The word used for "ivory" is shen habbîm," tooth of ele-

phants " (LXX., οδοντεςελεγάντινοι).  Shen," tooth," and kar-

noth shen "horns of tooth," are Hebrew words, but habhîm is

derived from the Sanskrit ibhas, "elephant," and seems to come

direct from the Tamil corruption of the word, preceded by the

Semitic article.4

            ii. The word rendered "apes" is kophîm, and is connected

with the Sanskrit kapi, in the Tamil form of it. The apes

Quatremére places it at Sofala (" Mem. de l'Acad. des Inscr." 1845)—

                        "For thee his ivory load Behemoth bore,

                        And far Sofala teemed with golden ore."

            2 Partly because, in Gen. x. 29, Ophir is a son of Joktan.

            3 Lassen, " Indische Altcrth." i. 538; Duncker, "Hist. of Antiq." ii. 265.

            4 I take these particulars mainly from. Prof. Max Mtiller's " Lectures on

the Science of Language,'' 5th edit., pp. 223-228, who refers to Lassen's

"Indische Alterthumskunde," i. 537. But some would read "Shen,

kabnîm," ivory, ebony. Comp. Ezek. xxvii. 15. The plural indicates, as in

the case of algummim, &c., that the wood was brought in planks.



                    SOLOMON'S COMMERCE.                         125


meant are perhaps the long-tailed variety common in various

parts of India. Apes are mentioned here alone in the Bible.

That these apes did not come, as some have conjectured from

Gibraltar, seems clear from the fact that the Phœnician vessels

might long ago have made them familiar in Palestine if they

had been brought from Calpe. They may have been brought

in the course of the three years' voyage from South India, or

even from Ceylon.

            iii. Peacocks are called tukkiîm.1  The word has been

understood to mean Numidian birds, delicacies from Tucca in

Mauretania, or another species of monkey. There is now no

doubt that it means the peacock, which in old classical Tamil

still bears the name tôkei, dialectically pronounced tôgei, a name

still used on the coasts of Malabar.2   In modern Tamil tôkei

only means the peacock's tail. Ivory and apes and gold might

come from other countries, but the peacock is indigenous in

India alone.

            iv. Almug-trees, or, as the Book of Chronicles calls them,

algum-trees,3 have been sometimes taken for the trees which supply

the thyine or citron wood of North Africa, which was so much

in use among the luxurious Romans;4 but they are now believed

to be the red sandal wood which is peculiar to India, and of

which the temple doors of India are often made.5 The wood

would serve well for the frames of harps and psalteries, though

hardly for pillars, as it has no strength.6 In Sanskrit the sandal-

wood tree is called valguka, and it is. chiefly found on the coast

of Malabar.


            1 Omitted by the LXX. Josephus says that the fleets brought home

"ivory and Ethiopians, and apes."

            2 "It has been derived from the Sanskrit word sikhin, meaning, fur-

nished with a crest " (Max Mülner).

            3 2 Chron. ii. 8, "Send me album-trees out of Lebanon." If it grew on

Lebanon it must be cypress.

            4 Vulg., Thyina; LXX., πεύκινα, πελεκητά--

                        "Their sumptuous gluttonies and gorgeous feasts,

                        On citron table or Atlantic stone" (" Par. Regained," iv.).

            5 In Rabbinical writings almug is coral. Josephus, like the LXX., calls

it "pine-timber," but says it is whiter and more glittering than the wood

of the fig-tree ("Antiq." viii. 7, § 7).

            6 I Kings x. 12. Perhaps the word rendered "pillars" should be

"railings," as in the margin of the Revised Version. In 2 Chror ix. 11,

"stairs" seem to be meant (marg. of Authorized Version).



126                            SOLOMON.


            Some have supposed that the Tharshish-fleets of Solomon

sailing from Joppa circumnavigated Africa, and even visited


                        "Farthest Indian isle Taprobane,"


from which they may have derived cinnamon, the aromatic bark

of Cinnamonium zeylanicum. But if they got to Ceylon at all,

it is much more likely that they sailed thither direct from Ezion-

Geber, through the straits of Babel Mandeb. Phœnician ships

would hardly have braved the passage round the "Capo Tor-

mentoso," to which the Optimism of King John of Portugal gave

the title of "the Cape of Good Hope." But the three years oc-

cupied by the voyage of Solomon's mariners from the Red Sea

haven would have allowed ample time for the ships to visit

the coasts of India;1 and although it is not of course impossible

that the products named might have been obtained from nearer

places whither the names of them might also have found their

way, yet there is, to say the least, a strong probability that the

fleets of Solomon, with their Phœnician and Jewish sailors, did

get as far as the mouths of the Indus to which gold and gems

might have been brought from the North, and sandal wood,

apes, and peacocks from Southern and Central India. In this

very spot we find a place which Ptolemy names Abider, and

Hindu geographers Abhira,2 and where recent travellers still find

a race of Ahirs, "the descendants, in all probability, of the people

who sold to Hiram and Solomon their precious wares." The

identification is very ancient. In the LXX. "Ophir" is trans-

lated Sophir, and "Sofir" is in Coptic the name for India. The

Arabic Versions render it "India." In the Vulgate, Job xxvii.

16, "it cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir," is rendered,

"Non conferctur tinctis Indiae coloribus."3 Josephus identifies

it with the Golden Chersonnese, i.e., the Malay Peninsula.


            1 This was achieved by Pharaoh Necho (Herodotus, iv. p. 42).

            2 The identification of Ophir with Ablrtra cannot be regarded as certain,

but Lassen and Max Muller point out that besides these words here

noticed, the Biblical names for "cotton," "nerd," and " bdeliuim,” are of

Sanskrit origin, and point to early commercial intercourse between India

and Palestine, Ezekiel (xxvii. 13 ff.) is a witness for the wonderful area

reached by Tyrien commerce.

            3 Max Müller l.c. Mr. Twistleton in the "Dictionary of the Bible,"

follows Keil in arguing that Ophir was some port in Arabia, because in

Gen. x. "Ophir" is a son of Joktan.


                        SOLOMON'S COMMERCE.                          127


            The results of this wide commerce which so dazzled Solomon's

contemporaries were far more showy than solid. If it enriched

the king, it by no means seems to have enriched the people.

Even the king must have been liable to heavy losses, and his

gains, whatever they may have been, were neutralized by the

overwhelming expenses necessary to maintain the splendour

and luxury of a Court arranged upon a scale too ambitious for

the resources of his little kingdom. Every branch of the trade

seems either to have ceased or languished at the death of Solo-

mon or even earlier. The intercourse with foreign nations often

enlarges the intellectual capacities of a rising people, but this is

chiefly the case when it introduces them to new and noble forms

of literature, or improved conceptions of life. In these respects

the Hebrews of that day had little or nothing to learn. They

had been chosen for God's people, and had been isolated from

the nations around them, in order that they might keep alive the

germs of a revelation indefinitely purer than that which was

vouchsafed to any other branch of the Semitic or Aryan race.

Whatever literature may have been existing in Phœnicia or

Egypt a thousand years before Christ, it was valueless by com-

parison with the oracles of God. Israel contracted the taint of

monstrous idolatry, a despotic monarchy, and a disgraceful

polygamy, but made no real progress in the art of life. The

attempts made to revive the Red Sea commerce were spasmodic

and unsuccessful. The chief effortthat made by King Jehosha-

phat—ended in the shipwreck of all his vessels in a storm at

Ezion-Geber; and when Ahaziah, king of Israel, offered his co-

operation it was decidedly refused. Gold and silver and ivory

could be got from other quarters; sandal-wood, apes, and

peacocks, when the novelty had worn off, were not considered

worth the risk and the immense cost of their importation.

Neither the Indian wood, nor the Indian bird or animal are

once again mentioned in Scripture.1

            The profits of this expedition are said to have reached 420

talents of gold. The king's annual revenue is stated at 666

talents of gold,2 which would perhaps be £ 5,000,000 of our


            1 The "peacocks" in Job xxxix. 13 have no place there. The verse

should be rendered, "The wing of the female ostrich bcateth joyously: is

it a kindly pinion and plumage?"

            2 The fact that Hengstenberg and others should connect this accidental

number of talents with the number of the Beast (1) in the Book of Revela-



128                         SOLOMON.


money.  This did not include the profits of his commerce,

whether derived from "merchantmen," or (as the Revised Ver-

sion renders the word) chapmen or itinerant traffickers, or

other traders;1 or from "the tribute of the subject people;"2 or

from all the kings of the mingled people,3 or the governors of

provinces.  It is amazing to think that so immense a revenue

should so soon have been dissipated. But nothing consumes

the wealth of kings so rapidly as magnificent buildings.

            Although the commercial side of Solomon's activity was not

without its drawbacks, there can be no doubt that it had

counterbalancing and permanent advantages, both direct and

indirect. Among the latter may be mentioned the construction

of better roads, which is always a powerful element in advancing

civilization.  We should infer that Solomon's attention was

turned in this direction from the necessities of the case. His

roads are not specially mentioned in Scripture, but Josephus

tells us that "he did not neglect the care of the ways, but laid

a causeway of black stone along the roads which led to Jeru-

salem which was the royal city, both to render them easy for

travellers, and to manifest the grandeur of his riches and

government." The black stone was perhaps basalt. It is true

that in modern Palestine there are scarcely any traces of such

roads, but the same remark applies to the great military road

from north to south constructed by the Romans a thousand

years later.4


tion, a number which, like the 888 of the name Jesus in the Sibylline books,

is decided simply by the fact that the numerical value of "Neron Kesar"

(the Emperor Nero), in Hebrew letters is 666 —shows the wildly absurd

principles, or no principles, which have dominated for so many thousands

of years in the so-called "interpretation" of Scripture.

            1 The "spice merchants" of our Authorized Version in I Kings x. 15 is

a mistake.

            2 LXX., I Kings x.

            3 Where by mistake the Authorized Version reads "Arabia"; LXX., τῶν
βασιλέων τοῦ πέραν.

            4 See Grätz, i. 323.






                                    CHAPTER XI.


                      SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY.



Visitors and presents—Royal state—Solomon, on a progress, as described

            by Josephus—As described in the Song of Songs—A nuptial psalm

            (Ps. xlv.) —Allusion to Solomon by our Lord—Other allusions—His

            vory throne—Visit of the Queen of Sheba—Traditions about the Queen

            of Sheba—Legends of her visit and questions—Her admiration of his

            buildings and his magnificence—Interchange of presents—Naturaliza-

            tion of the balsam-plant—Our Lord's allusion—Summary of Solomon's

            wealth and grandeur.


HISTORY, Poetry, and Legend combine to magnify the splen-

dour of Solomon. Many visitors flocked yearly to Jerusalem

to witness the magnificence of the great king, to see his temple,

to hear his wisdom, and to admire his foreign curiosities; and,

according to the Eastern custom, none of these came empty-

handed. Some of them brought presents of gold and of silver;

others brought rich garments from Babylon and Tyre; others

brought armour,1 spices, horses, and mules. The habits of the

Court were completely changed. Saul, in his rustic kingliness,

even David in his warlike simplicity, would have gazed with

astonishment on this outburst of Egyptian gorgeousness. But

Solomon profited in some respects by the fact that both Egypt

and Assyria during his day were under temporary eclipse,

so that he filled an unusually large space in the eyes of his


            Even David and Absalom had been content to ride on

mules, as Solomon himself had done when he was first ap-

pointed king. But now he never rode forth except in one of


            1 1 Kings x. 25; the word is of doubtful meaning.



130                           SOLOMON.


"Pharaoh's chariots," which were so elegant and bright as to be

compared to a lovely maiden.1 The prosaic narrative of Jose-

phus and the soft poetry of the Canticles alike describe the

traditional reminiscences of the king's pomp and luxury as he

went to visit his well-watered garden at Etam, or was carried

in his luxurious palanquin to his summer retreats amid the hills

of myrrh and the leopard-haunted woods of Lebanon.2  Jose-

phus tells us that when he started from Jerusalem for his

gardens, he would ascend one of his glittering chariots at

early dawn to ride down the green windings of the Wady

Urtâs. The chariot was doubtless one of the choicest of

those which had been imported from Egypt, and resembled the

richly-chased and brilliantly-coloured cars in which we see the

kings of Egypt represented at peaceful ceremonies in their

temple frescoes. It was drawn by swift and stately horses,

magnificently caparisoned, and was followed by a train of

archers, riding on war-horses, in purple attire. They were

youths chosen to be of the king's bodyguard for their beauty

and stature, and "their long black hair flowed behind them,

powdered with gold-dust, which glittered in the sun as they

galloped along after their master."3

            Yet more brilliant is the picture delineated in the Song of

Songs. Leaning from her lattice, the lovely Shulamite sees

a dim cloud coming up from the pasture-land, which seems

to breathe of myrrh and frankincense. It is indeed the

smoke of delicious spices burnt before the advance of a royal

visitor. As it approaches nearer she recognizes the flashing

armour of the Gibborim, or "mighty-men," who form the

king's bodyguard. Their swords are girded on their thighs,

and sixty of the most valiant of them are ranged around a

chariot-litter to protect Solomon from the brigands who might

attack him in the night. As the cavalcade approaches, she sees

the splendour of the royal palanquin. It is made of cedar

wood, its pillars are of silver, its floor of gold, its cushions of

purple, its carpet of rich embroideries, woven for as a

token of love by the maidens of Jerusalem. Inside it sits the

king himself, wearing his royal crown, the jewelled crown which


            1 Cant. i. 9.

            2 2 Chron. xi. 6; Cant. iv. 8; Robinson, "Palestine," i. 168.

            3 Josephus, "Antiq." viii. 7, § 3.




                 SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY.                    131


his mother placed upon his head on the day when he married

the Princess of Egypt. Go forth, ye daughters of Sion, and

gaze upon King Solomon!1

            In manlier tones than those of the Song of Songs a

psalmist describes another phase of this many-sided splen-

dour in what is called "a song of loves," written for the

sons of Korah to a tune called "Lilies." He describes the

king as fairer than the sons of men, his lips full of grace, his

life enriched with blessings. With his sword upon his thigh

he rides prosperously forth, capable of terrible deeds, but

only in the cause of truth, mercy, and righteousness. His

arrows shall be in the heart of his enemies; his Divine throne

and righteous sceptre shall be for ever. Because he has loved

righteousness and hated iniquity God has anointed him with

the oil of gladness above all other kings. His garments breathe

forth perfumes of Arabian and Indian spices, and music makes

him glad out of his ivory palaces. Among his loved ones are

the daughters of kings, and pre-eminent among them stands at

his right hand the queen, as in a blaze of light, clothed in gar-

ments richly covered with the wrought gold of Ophir, in which

she has been carried from the inner palace on Tapestries of

needlework, surrounded by her virgin companions, amid a

burst of rejoicing melodies. The gazing multitude exult in her


            1 Cant. iii. 6-11. We may borrow a few illustrative lines from Mr.

Browning's "Popularity "

                        "Who has not heard how Tyrian shells

                                    Enclosed the blue, that dye of dye,

                        Whereof one drop worked miracles,

                                    And coloured like Astarte's eyes

                        Raw silk the merchant sells?


                        Enough to furnish Solomon

                                    Such hangings for his cedar-house,

                        That, when gold-robed he took the throne,

                                    In that abyss of blue, the Spouse

                        Might swear his presence shone.