The Success of Solomon as a King

Powerful Essays
The Success of Solomon as a King

John Drane came to the conclusion that 'Judged by the standards of

world powers, Solomon was outstandingly successful, the greatest of

all Israel's rulers. But judged by the moral and spiritual standards

of the covenant, he was a miserable failure.' I agree with Drane in

this statement because there were indeed many things Solomon did in

his reign that were beneficial to the people and the country. However,

for a man working for God, he does not seem to apply the covenant of

Yahweh very much to the decisions he makes as king.

Previously, during the reign of David, a new kingdom was beginning to

be established. The small towns of the tribal confederacy were

developing into larger cities throughout the land, noted for their

economic and political importance. Israel was growing into a powerful

nation, while David's powerful armies were defeating others around it.

Therefore, when Solomon became king, he inherited an already large and

stable kingdom in a secure position, with relatively large military

forces and a reasonably content population. He also had the great

example of his own father to follow, unlike Saul previously. However,

his Father advises him to follow the word of God, which he does not

take much heed of. He did many things within his reign that

consolidated not only his own position, but also aided the position of


Solomon was 'born to the purple' (Anderson), and never knew anything

but the sheltered, extravagant life of a king's palace. However, it

was this influence that made him want to demonstrate his power and

wealth to the surrounding nations, therefore both building up ...

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...was a successful king: he brought military strength, strong alliances

and trading routes, great wealth and efficient central administration.

All of these are imperative to a stable and successful kingdom.

However Anderson argues that all of this glory and security was

achieved through 'harsh measures of exploitation', which is evident

through the evidence of taxation and forced labour Solomon inflicted

on the country. Drane and Bright both agree that 'He had become like

the kings of other nations in every bad sense', and he was 'the

embodiment of all a king ought not to be'. Solomon's reign is a

controversial one, and although he was successful in many ways, his

greed and desire for absolute luxury brought out qualities that led to

the disintegration of himself and Israel, particularly as a nation

that followed Yahweh.
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