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 ...
... middle of paper ...
...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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