King David (Mt 1:6-1:6)

“David was

The father of Solomon

By the wife of Uriah.”

 

Δαυεὶδ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σολομῶνα ἐκ τῆς τοῦ Οὐρίου,

 

King David had 6 sons while living in Hebron for a little over 7 years, based on 2 Samuel, chapter 3.  Each son had a different mother.  After King David moved to Jerusalem, he had some more wives and concubines.  Altogether, David had at least 20 named children, as indicated in 2 Samuel, chapter 13.  Shimea or Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon (Σολομῶνα), were the 4 sons of him and Bathsheba.  However, she was not mentioned by name here but was simply called the wife of Uriah (ἐκ τῆς τοῦ Οὐρίου).  King David had Uriah killed, while committing adultery with her.  Notice that the Greek text did not say wife but only implied it, saying she from Uriah.  Solomon followed David to the throne as king, because of the intrigues of his mother Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan, as found in 1 Kings, chapters 1-2.  The Greek text used the term ‘begat’ (ἐγέννησεν) to represent the relationships between David and Solomon.  However, it seems perfectly acceptable to simply call David the father instead of saying “fathered him.”

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The unhumble king (Dan 5:22-5:23)

“‘You!

His son!

King Belshazzar!

Have not humbled

Your heart,

Even though

You knew all this!

You have exalted yourself

Against the Lord of heaven!

The vessels

Of his temple

Have been brought in

Before you.

You,

Your lords,

Your wives,

Your concubines,

Have been drinking wine

From them.

You have praised

The gods

Of silver

Of gold,

Of bronze,

Of iron,

Of wood,

Of stone.

They do not

See,

Hear,

Or know.

You have not honored

The God

In whose power

Is your very breath,

To whom belong

All your ways.’”

Daniel then turned to King Belshazzar himself, because he had not humbled his heart, even though he knew all about his father or grandfather. He too exalted himself against the Lord of heaven. He even took the vessels from his holy temple for his feast or party to drink wine with his lords, wives, and concubines. He even praised the false idol gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone who could not see, hear, or know anything. He did not honor the true God, who controls his life and his actions.

The uniqueness of the female lover (Song 6:8-6:10)

Male lover

“There are sixty queens.

There are eighty concubines.

There are maidens without number.

My dove!

My perfect one is the only one.

She is the darling of her mother.

She is flawless to her that bore her.

The maidens saw her.

They called her happy.

The queens saw her.

The concubines also saw her.

They praised her.

‘Who is this that looks forth like the dawn?

Who is as fair as the moon?

Who is as bright as the sun?

Who is as awesome as an army with banners?’”

Now this male lover or prince compares his lover to 60 queens, 80 concubines, and numerous maidens. Is this the king speaking about his various female companions or the prince speaking about them? His lover is considered better than all of them, since she is the perfect one. She was the flawless darling of her mother. Everyone, the queens, the concubines, and the maidens, seems to praise her. They are all looking forward to her as if she was like the dawn of a new day. She was like the moon and the sun combined. She was going to come with an awesome army of banners.

Luxurious wealth (Eccl 2:4-2:8)

“I made great works.

I built houses.

I planted vineyards for myself.

I made myself gardens.

I made myself parks.

I planted in them

All kinds of fruit trees.

I made myself pools from which

To water the forest of growing trees.

I bought male slaves.

I bought female slaves.

I had slaves who were born in my house.

I had great possessions of herds.

I also had great possessions of flocks.

More than any

Who had been before me in Jerusalem.

I also gathered for myself

Silver and gold

From the treasure of kings and provinces.

I got singers,

Both men and women.

I enjoyed the delights of the flesh

With many concubines.”

Qoheleth continued his first person singular narrative. Was it all about him? He built great houses and vineyards just for himself. He made his own gardens and parks, all full of great fruit trees. He put in ponds besides the trees for irrigation. He bought both male and female servants. He created his own slaves by having them procreate in his house. He had great herds and flocks of animals and birds. He was richer than any man who had ever lived in Jerusalem. He gathered gold and silver from the various kings and provinces. He had male and female singers. Of course, he had many concubines to delight him. This was the life of luxury of a rich powerful self indulgent king of Jerusalem.

Be careful my son (Prov 31:2-31:3)

“No!

My son!

No!

Son of my womb!

No!

Son of my vows!

Do not give your strength to women!

Do not give your ways to those who destroy kings!”

This is the plea of a mother to her son. She is warning him about giving his strength to women since that destroys kings. This would be a propos if this was Bathsheba talking to her son Solomon, since he had 700 wives and 300 concubines according to 1 Kings, chapter 11.

The king’s audition (Esth 2:12-2:14)

“The turn came for each girl to go in to King Artaxerxes. This took place after being twelve months under the regulations for the women. The regular period of their beautifying treatment was six months with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and cosmetics for women. When the girl went in to the king, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she went in. Then in the morning, she came back to the second harem in the custody of Shaashgaz the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She did not go in to the king again, unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name.”

The audition with the king was pretty simple. Each girl had to wait a year in the harem in order to be beautiful enough for the king. These girls would spend 6 months with myrrh massage treatments and another 6 months with perfume and cosmetics massage treatments. When the girl went in to visit the king, she could bring whatever she wanted with her. She would then spend the evening with the king. Then in the morning, she would be part of the concubine harem that was under the custody of another eunuch, where she stayed until and if she was called again to be with the king.

Solomon’s women (1 Kings 11:1-11:8)

“King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh. He loved Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women. He loved women from the nations concerning which Yahweh had said to the Israelite. ‘You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you. Surely they will incline your heart after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love. Among his wives were seven hundred princesses, and three hundred concubines. His wives turned away his heart. When Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods. His heart was not true to Yahweh his God, as was the heart of David his father. Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. He did not completely follow Yahweh, as David his father had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.”

Solomon was very rich. Not only did he have lots of gold he also had lots of female admirers, 700 wife princesses and 300 concubines. Those numbers seem very high. That should have kept him very busy. He had a great taste for foreign women. However, Yahweh had forbidden non-Israelite women to marry the Israelites because they would lead the Israelites to worship foreign gods. The role of women in religious worship has always been strong. In fact, that is what happened. They turned Solomon, the wise man’s heart away from Yahweh to other gods. Solomon was not faithful like his father David. Notice that poor wise Solomon was turned by the women. It is always the women who lead men astray. Men were too strong to do this so all by themselves. Those cunning foreign women were to blame. So it goes in a patriarchal society. Solomon then built temples or places of worship for his foreign wives to offer incense. According to the Mosaic law they could not worship with the Israelites because they were foreigners. Solomon built at least 4 different temples for other gods other than Yahweh on the east side of Jerusalem: 1) Astarte, the Near eastern Philistine moon goddess of Sidon; 2) Milcom, the god of the Ammonites; 3) Molech, another fiery god of the Ammonites, sometimes these two and Chemosh are all grouped together as one; and 4) Chemosh, the national god of the Moabites. He also built shrines for all his foreign wives. Solomon was very ecumenical. He also was very political because all kinds of people could come to Jerusalem and find a place of worship. Thus this great national worldwide hero was not as faithful to Yahweh as his father. What is remarkable is how the biblical author wanted to point this out rather than gloss over it. This was the shadow over Solomon.