It’s biblical! This week…King Solomon

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

It’s biblical! This week…King Solomon

Everything you want to know about your favourite Torah characters… and ones you’ve never heard of

Venerated by Muslims and Masons, King Solomon is a magnificent biblical character. His early life is mired in sibling rivalry; his brothers repeatedly tried to grab the throne for themselves.

Solomon was the son of beloved Bathsheba, but the story of how David married her is rather racy, and because of this Solomon was actually her second son.

His name means God’s peace, and this is emblematic of his empire.

David built the empire, and Solomon (Shlomo) consolidated it by extending trade networks and alliances.

King Solomon was crowned in the face of the rebellion of his brother Adomijah, who attempted to seize the throne for himself. He then purged those who had attempted the putsch, including his father David’s chief general Joab.

Solomon allied himself with Hiram of Tyre, and they set to trading all over the known world. He also set up military and trading outposts.

The Falash Mura Jews of Ethiopia are said to have been descended from one of his outposts.

This wealth and military prowess allowed Solomon to build the Temple to God, which David his father had not. David had blood on his hands; Solomon was not a warrior king. He built it as a focal centre to the Kingdom of Israel and also as a house of universal worship and peace.

Solomon was renowned for his fame. Three books of the Bible are said to be his: in his youth, the romantic Song of Songs; in his middle age, after he prayed to God for wisdom, the Book of Proverbs; and in his older years, the dour Ecclesiastes.

His fame spread so far that the Queen of Sheba visited him from the Deep South. His Temple was a wonder of the world.

Alas human frailty was present even in this wisest of monarchs. Solomon contracted marriages with princesses from other countries and allowed them to erect temples to their deities.

This resulted in great displeasure from God. However, Solomon was allowed to remain in power for 40 years on the throne, for his father David’s sake, and it was only after his death that his weak son Reheboam managed to annoy people and permanently split the Kingdom.

His defects, levies, taxes, excessive women (1,000 wives and concubines), regal trappings, forced labour and incipient authoritarianism, were more than balanced by his peaceful, stable rule, his trade ties and prosperity, the national shrine on the Temple Mount, and his exceptional literary legacy.

To this day, it is above all his wisdom which is remembered. The Judgement of a Solomon reminds us of his ability (at the height of his power) to see the essential nature of human relationships.


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: