ACHIEVEMENTS AND FAILURES OF KING SOLOMON (1 KING 3 – 12)
After David died, his son Solomon became the next king. Kingship in Israel was hereditary. Solomon was chosen by David to be his successor. He took over from David at a time of peace and security established by David.
1) He made Israel rich by establishing trade with other countries
2) He was a good trader and a successful merchant. He traded in copper, horses, timber, silver and gold.
He established international trade with the neighboring countries. For example, he traded with Tyre in cedar and pine logs.
3) He established a well-equipped large army for Israel
4) He was a builder. He built a magnificent temple for God in line with God’s promise to David.
He also constructed other cities (Megiddo) and a palace for himself.
5) He is remembered for his amazing administrative skills. He had 550 officials in charge of labour force.
6) He was a diplomatic ruler. He established friendly ties with his neighbours.
This ensured continued peace. For instance he married the daughters of the kings of Egypt, Moab,Eden and Sidon so as to establish strong ties with those nations.
7) He had great wisdom. He judged a difficult case between two women who were claiming ownership of the same child.
He composed many wise sayings known as the proverbs of Solomon. He also composed songs like Song of Solomon and Song of Songs and poems in Ecclesiastes.
9) He dedicated the temple of God with great rejoicing.
10) He brought the Ark of the Covenant to the temple of Jerusalem.
Failures of King Solomon
1) He married women from many foreign countries.
These actions made Solomon break the Torah as Israelites were not supposed to marry foreigners. Through these marriages, idol worship started in Israel. This was because he allowed his wives to worship their gods, build temples and altars for them. This led to introduction of idolatry in Israel.
2) Solomon constructed his palace for 13 years. He then built God’s temple for 7 years. This showed that he probably loved himself more than God.
3) He killed his own half-brother Adonija on suspicion that he could be a rival to the throne.
4) Solomon lived lavishly, and expensively. He thus burdened the Israelites with high taxes.
5) He used forced labour. This was the same as enslaving the Israelites.
6) He worshipped idols. Solomon’s heart was turned to such other gods as Ashtoreth / ashitarte – goddess of Sidon and Molech – the god of the Ammonites. This was breaking God’s commandments.
7) He sold part of Israelite territory to the king of Tyre He used pagan skills when designing, decorating, and furnishing the temple.
9) He made treaties with other nations inspite of the fact that God had forbidden Israel from making treaties.
10) He was extravagant. He used a lot of state wealth to entertain and please his many wives and concubines.
. Many husbands in Kenya practice polygamy. I want you to find out from your neighbours what are the advantages and disadvantages of polygamy. Then write a paper arguing either for polygamy or monogamy.
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