Even though Saul was dead, David
would still not rule all of Israel. He was accepted as
king by the tribe of Judah, but not by the northern
tribes. The northern tribes crowned Ishbosheth as king,
a son of Saul. David ruled over Judah for seven years
and would later rule over all of Israel for another 33
(fig. 1), making a total reign of 40 years (1010 BC -
970 BC), (2 Sam. 5:5).
At the time of Saul’s death David was better known by
the people of Judah than by those of the other tribes.
David’s hometown was Bethlehem of Judah, and most
of his activity had been south of Gibeah.
David returned to Hebron in Judah where the
people proclaimed him king (2
The other tribes did not know David
as well. When they heard of Saul’s death they
immediately thought of Ishbosheth, Saul’s surviving son,
as the next king.
Abner, who survived the conflict on Mount Gilboa,
was instrumental in establishing Ishbosheth as king,
choosing Mahanaim across the Jordan as the new capital
(2 Samuel 2:8-10).
Conflict between Judah and Israel
was inevitable. It broke out first in a skirmish at
Gibeon, six miles northeast of Jerusalem
(2 Sam. 2:12-32).
Abner met David’s chief, Joab, by the pool of
At first only 12 men of each side fought, but the
conflict widened and a small war followed. David’s
forces were victorious.
A pit identified with the pool of
Gibeon has been excavated (fig. 2).
The shaft is dated to about the 11th or 12th
Measuring 37 feet in diameter, by 82 feet deep,
it is carved into solid rock and is accessed by a
circular staircase of 79 stone steps.
At the bottom is a 167-foot tunnel leading to the
cistern that was fed by a spring outside of the city’s
walls, in the eastern slope of the hill.
DAVID MADE KING OF ALL ISRAEL
David continually grew stronger,
while Ishbosheth became weaker. Abner decided to switch
sides and offer his services to David
(2 Sam. 3:7-16).
Sending a message to David, he agreed to deliver
all of Israel into David’s hands in return for his own
David made him agree to return Michal his former
wife. Abner gave assent and returned Michal.
Abner also communicated with elders from the
other tribes, urging that they now turn their allegiance
to David, apparently with some success.
Before Abner could come across he was killed by
Joab as revenge for killing his brother (Asahel) in a
previous battle (2 Sam.
With Abner gone, two lesser
officers of Ishbosheth assassinated their king and
carried his head to David, thinking they would be
rewarded (2 Sam. 4:1-12).
As with the messenger of Saul’s death, David had
both immediately killed.
David was now made king over all of
Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-5; 1
Leaders from all of the tribes came to Hebron to
make the formal request and reach an agreement.
Since the biblical record specifically states
that a “covenant” was made at the time, it is
likely that some negotiation occurred. The people wanted
David as king, but he would have wanted some commitments
in return, guarantees that would insure a true central
David had seen enough laxity during Saul’s rule
to realize that regulation, organization, and taxation
were necessary if unity was to be achieved.
Agreement was reached and David was anointed
David’s initial problem as king over Israel was the
Philistines. Before he could fully rule, their dominance
would have to be removed.
With Israel now united the Philistines made an
attack in the Valley of Rephaim, south of Jerusalem.
David established his headquarters northeast of
Hebron at the cave of Adullam
(2 Sam. 23:13-14).
David’s army still consisted mainly of the group
gathered during his fugitive days, willing to risk their
lives if their leader wished for as much as a drink from
a spring behind enemy lines (2
God assured David of victory, and David attacked
at Baal-perazim (location unknown), defeating the
A new capital
(2 Samuel 5:6-12; 6:1-7:29; 1
Chronicles 13, 15-17)
David needed an appropriate
Hebron was central for Judah, but too far south
to serve the whole country.
Shechem was central for Israel, but too far north
Gibeah, Saul’s former capital, had been
destroyed by the Philistines.
David selected Jerusalem (fig. 3), a city still
held by the Jebusites.
Jerusalem was on the border between Judah
and the northern tribes.
Its position was defensible, and it had
no existing tribal affiliations.
To occupy it would also eliminate a
Canaanite stronghold within the country, so David
captured it, fortified it, and made it the new capital
David wanted to make Jerusalem the
religious capital as well.
He brought the ark, which had been at
Kirjath-jearim for 70 years, to the city
(2 Sam. 6:1-11).
He placed the ark in a tent amidst great
rejoicing and offering of sacrifices.
David desired to build a temple for the ark, but
God did not allow it (2 Sam.
The prohibition came through the prophet
Nathan, who is first mentioned here and was active
throughout David’s reign.
Nathan said that God would greatly bless
David and that his line would never be replaced on the
throne, but since he was a man of war, he would not be
the one to build a temple.
David’s son would be the one to build the
temple. David spoke a prayer of submission and
thanksgiving before God (2
Sam. 7:18-29). He then proceeded to gather
material toward the day when his son would build it
(1 Chron. 22:1-5, 14-16).
(2 Samuel 8; 10; 12:26-31; 1
Israel’s unity would have involved
the acquisition of land originally allotted but never
Until now Israelites had been confined mostly to
the hills, with the Philistines and Canaanites holding
the better lowlands.
Canaanite holdings along the Mediterranean to the
north, across the Esdraelon Valley, and through the
Jordan Valley were now brought under Israelite control.
The Philistines were not driven from the plain of
Philistine in Israel’s southwest, but they were confined
to a restricted territory.
David ruled from north of the Sea of Galilee, to
Beersheba in the south, and on both sides of the Jordan
The tribes had become united.
To accomplish all of this David
needed a strong army. The army consisted of three
- The original faithful 600 from
David’s fugitive days.
Troops levied from the people, constituting a
sort of revolving standing army.
- Foreign mercenaries.
The core was the 600, the group referred to as
gibborim, “mighty men.”
This term appears to be used for them, for
instance, when a group is mentioned as being with David
in his flight from Absalom (2
Sam. 16:6); also when his supporters are listed
at the revolt of Sheba (2 Sam.
20:7); later when supporters of Solomon are named
at the attempted rebellion of Adonijah
(1 Kings 1:8, 10); and
later when attendants are listed on the occasion of
David’s closing admonitions (1
The high caliber of these troops is
indicated both by the exploits described
(2 Sam. 23:8-39) and by
the exemplary conduct of one of them, Uriah the
Hittite, who when called back from battle by David would
not even go to his own home, since this comfort would be
out of keeping with his duty as a soldier
(2 Sam. 11:11; 23:39).
David also kept 24,000 in service as a regular
standing army, changing the personnel once every month
(1 Chron. 27:1-15). This
means that he had 288,000 trained men, prepared at all
times for immediate call to service as needed.
Then David kept foreign mercenaries, who appear
to have served as his private bodyguard, made up of
Cherethites and Pelethites (2
Sam. 8:18; 15:18; 20:7; 1 Kings 1:38, 44).
Believed to be Cretans and Philistines on
the basis of name comparisons. They were present, and
last heard from, at Solomon’s anointing to kingship
(1 Kings 1:38, 44).
David’s foreign victories resulted
in expanding Israel’s borders.
The first war listed in the Bible was with Moab,
east of the Dead Sea (2 Sam.
8:2; 1 Chron. 18:2).
The cause of the war is not indicated, but
David’s harsh measures point to provocation.
Moab became a vassal state, apparently
keeping her own king but having to pay tribute.
David also fought and defeated Edom, located
south of the Dead Sea (2 Sam.
The battle occurred in the “Valley of
Edom also was made a vassal state.
This victory gave David access to the Gulf
of Aqaba (fig. 5), important for trade.
David also achieved victory over Zobah in the
north (2 Sam. 8:3-12; 1 Chron.
When Arameans of Damascus came to assist
Zobah, apparently arriving after the main battle, David
defeated them as well, demanded tribute, and received
Voluntary tribute was also extended by
Hamath, located further north on the Orontes River.
All of these regions became vassal states.
As for the coastal region along the
Mediterranean, David made a treaty with Hiram, king of
Tyre, who provided material and labor for building
David’s palace (2 Sam. 5:11).
David achieved victory against Ammon to the east
(2 Sam. 10; 1 Chron. 19).
David’s kindness toward Hanun, king of
Ammon, was misunderstood; and messengers sent by David
were insulted. Ammon, fearing reprisal from David,
immediately prepared for war.
David sent Joab with Israel’s army, who
won a decisive victory.
Joab returned to Jerusalem, but Hadadezer,
defeated king of Zobah, came again with fresh troops for
a return battle. David’s army moved across the Jordan to
meet him at Helam and once more won a complete victory.
Helam is best identified with modern Alma,
30 miles east of the Sea of Galilee.
Joab laid siege to Rabbah capital of Ammon, in a
continuation of the struggle begun earlier
(2 Sam. 12:26-31; 1 Chron.
Rabbah is identified with modern Amman,
present capital of Jordan, 22 miles east of the River
It was during this siege that David sinned
with Bathsheba and killed her husband, Uriah, by placing
him at the point of heaviest fighting
(2 Sam. 11:1-27).
Rabbah was taken and David assumed the
crown of Ammon, annexing this country to Israel.
David’s authority extended from the
Gulf of Aqaba and the River of Egypt in the south, all
the way to the Euphrates in the north (fig. 6).
The River of Egypt is best taken to mean Wadi
el-Arish, reaching the Mediterranean 45 miles southwest
of Gaza, and 80 miles east of the Pelusiac mouth of the
Israel’s land now included:
All land originally allotted to the twelve
tribes, minus Philistia.
The kingdom of Ammon.
Vassal states included Moab and Edom (east
and south of the Dead Sea), the area around Damascus
(northeast), which included Zobah.
Territory that acknowledged Israelite
sovereignty through the payment of tribute included the
northern region of which Hamath was capital.
LAST YEARS OF DAVID
(2 Samuel 13-20; 1 Kings
1:1-2:11; 1 Chronicles 22; 28-29)
David’s final years were marked by
continual problems within his family. These came as
punishments for his sin and resulted in repeated
struggle for succession to Israel’s throne.
As David’s reign drew to a close, the problem of
who should succeed him became an issue. Because David
was an excellent king, and God had promised to establish
his house on the throne of Israel, it was to be expected
that one of his sons would be the successor. But which
son and how he should be identified was not clear.
With David so strong most expected him to make
the selection, but no announcement was made.
David did actually make his choice,
designating Solomon at his birth, but for some reason he
did not make this known at the time.
With no announcement made people were left to
wonder who the selection might be. If David’s other sons
knew about Solomon they sought to circumvent it.
A struggle for the throne followed,
involving David’s sons, Absalom and later Adonijah.
(2 Samuel 12-19)
Absalom was David’s third son, born
of an Aramean princess of Geshur named Maacah
(2 Sam. 3:3).
Amnon, the eldest, had been killed at Absalom’s
own hand to avenge the humiliation of Absalom’s sister,
Tamar (2 Sam. 13:1-29).
The second son, Chileab, son of Abigail (former
wife of Nabal the Carmelite) is not mentioned again
after his birth, which suggests that he died while still
This left Absalom as the logical heir to the
Absalom managed to gain favor with the northern
tribes (2 Sam. 15:1-6).
He assembled what was intended to be a personal army
like his father’s. He went to Hebron, assembled his
followers, and had himself anointed king
(2 Sam. 15:7-12).
With a considerable force of men he then marched
north against his father in Jerusalem, and David, taken
by surprise, found his only choice was to flee
(2 Sam. 15:13-17).
Those who left Jerusalem in flight
with David were his personal bodyguard, the Cherethites
and Pelethites; his faithful 600; and numerous servants.
Also Zadok and Abiathar, the two high priests, desired
to follow and bring the ark, but David sent them back,
instructing them to inform him through their two
respective sons, Ahimaaz and Jonathan, the plans of
Absalom (2 Sam. 15:24-29).
The king was able to regroup his forces at
Mahanaim, former capital of Ishbosheth, and make
preparation for the attack of his son
(2 Sam. 17:24-29).
The battle occurred near Mahanaim, in an area
called the “forest of Ephraim”
(2 Sam. 18:1-18).
With the blessing of God, David’s men won a
Contrary to David’s explicit order, Joab killed
Absalom (fig. 7).
The death of Absalom broke the revolt, and what
remained was for David to return to Jerusalem.
(2 Sam. 19:920:22).
Another revolt initiated by Sheba,
a Benjamite, called for secession on the part of the
northern tribes at the time of David’s return across the
Sheba induced the northern tribes to secede from
David’s kingdom and follow him.
Upon arrival back in Jerusalem David immediately
dispatched Amasa, his new general, to gather an army
from Judah to put down the outbreak
(2 Sam. 20:3-22). When
Amasa took longer than the three days allotted him,
David commissioned Abishai, Joab’s brother, to defeat
Though Joab was not in charge, he accompanied the
force. When Amasa was encountered along the way Joab
proceeded treacherously to kill him (much as he had done
to Abner years before).
They pressed on in pursuit of Sheba and finally
caught up with him far north at Abel of Bethmaacah
(Probably modern Tell Abil near Lake Huleh).
A serious battle did not develop. The
townspeople, led by a “wise woman,” delivered Sheba’s
severed head to David’s army in exchange for their own
accession (1 Kings
1:1-2:9; 1 Chronicles 22:6-23:1; 28-29)
Solomon was crowned king while
David still lived, resulting in a brief coregency.
Adonijah, fourth son of David, had made an
abortive attempt to seize the throne after Absalom had
failed, and Solomon was hastily made king in his place.
David spent the remaining span of
his reign in preparing both the new king, and the
people, for the period of rule before them.
He had Solomon’s new position publicly announced
and charged Solomon with the building of God’s temple.
He also spoke encouragement and instruction to
the people (1 Chron. 29:1-22).
David died “at a good old age, having enjoyed
long life, wealth and honor,” and was buried in
Jerusalem (1 Kings 2:10-11; 1
Throughout the kingdom period, the kings of Judah were buried within
the City of David.
At the southern end of the City of David,
south of the Old City of Jerusalem, there are two
monumental tunnel tombs, which many scholars believe are
the tombs of David and Solomon (fig. 8).
Unfortunately they were damaged by later
quarrying, so no identifying inscriptions survived.
One exception to this normal custom was the burial of
Uzziah. Uzziah was a leper so he was not buried with the
other kings, but “near them in a field for burial
that belonged to the kings, for people said, ‘he had
leprosy’” (2 Chr 26:23).
An inscription was found on the Mount of
Olives in 1931 dating to the first century AD which
reads, “Here were brought the bones of Uzziah, King
of Judah – do not open.”
Evidently, because of his leprosy,
Uzziah’s bones were removed from the field belonging to
the kings and transferred to yet a more remote location.
In 1868, a stone was uncovered in the Biblical city
of Dibon, on which were recorded victories over the
Israelites by Mesha, king of Moab.
The Bible records in 2
Kings 3, battles between Israel and Mesha.
It is uncertain whether the victories on the
stone were recorded before, or after, the kings of
Israel and Judah fought against king Mesha, around 850
BC, as recorded in 2 Kings
3:1-26, in which Israel, with God’s help, was
The following is a translation of
the text taken from the Mesha stone (fig. 9):
- I Mesha, son of Chemosh,
Mesha’s king, the
- Dibonite. My father governed
Moab for 30 years, then I reigned
- after my father. I made a high
place for Chemosh in Qarhoh,
- for he protected me from all
the kings and caused me to triumph over all my
- As for Omri king of Israel,
he oppressed Moab for many years, for Chemosh was
furious with his
- country. And his son followed
in his footsteps, and he also said: “I will cast
down Moab.” In my days, he spoke,
- but I triumphed over his
house. And Israel has passed away forever. Omri
occupied Medeba’s land.
- And he lived in it during his
time and in the days of his sons; 40 years; yet
- reinstalled it in my days. And
I built Baal-meon, and I made a water supply in it;
and I built
- Qaryaten. And the men of Gad
dwelt in the land of Atarot from of old, and
Israel’s king built
- Atarot for them; but I fought
against that city and I slew all the people of
- the city as revenge for
Chemosh and Moab. And I brought the altar-hearth of
his beloved, and I carted
- it before Chemosh in Kerioth.
And I established the men of Sharon and the men of
Maharith in it.
- And Chemosh said to me: “Go!
Bring Nebo against Israel.”
- So I went by night and fought
from sunrise until noon.
- taking it and slaying all
7,000 men, boys, women, girls,
- and maidservants, because I
dedicated them to Ashtar-Chemosh. And I took from
there the altar-
- hearths of YHWH, dragging them
before Chemosh. And Israel’s king built
- Jahaz, and settled there while
he did battle with me; but Chemosh drove him out
before my eyes.
- I took with me two hundred men
from Moab, all chief warriors, and sent them to
Jahaz; and I
- added it to Dibon. I
constructed Qarhoh with the wall of the forest and
- of the acropolis; along with
its gates and towers.
- I built the house of the king;
and its water reservoirs for inside
- the city; for there was no
water inside the town of Qarhoh, so I said to the
residents: “Make for yourself
- a cistern in every house”; I
cut trees for use in Qarhoh with the prisoners
- of Israel. I built Aroer and a
roadway through the Arnon.
- I built Beth-bamoth, for it
was in ruins; and I built Bezer, for it was
- And the men of Dibon were
loyal to my rule. And I reigned
- over hundreds of villages
which I added to my country. I built
- the temple of Medeba and the
temple of Diblaten and the temple of Baal-meon; and
I introduced there
- [.....] sheep of the land.
While the house of David inhabited Horonaim.
- [.....] and Chemosh said to
me: “Go down! Attack Horonaim.” So I advanced
against it, and
- Chemosh reestablished it in my
Lines 1-3 mentions King Mesha, a
Dibonite who ruled over Moab. He worshiped a Moabite god
called Chemosh, whom he attributes his victories to.
The Bible in 2 Kings 3:4
verifies Mesha was the king of Moab during their revolt
Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and used to
pay the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of
2 Kings 3:4
The bible also states in
Numbers 21:29-30, that Dibon was a city in the
land of Moab and mentions their god, Chemosh.
“ Woe to you, O Moab! You are ruined, O people of
Chemosh! He has given his sons as fugitives, And his
daughters into captivity, To an Amorite king, Sihon.
“But we have cast them down, Heshbon is ruined as far as
Dibon, Then we have laid waste even to Nophah, Which
reaches to Medeba.”
Line 10 mentions one of the twelve
tribes of Israel, Gad, and says that they dwelt in the
land of Atarot (Atarot). The Bible says:
So Moses gave to them, to the sons of Gad…the cities of
the surrounding land.
The sons of Gad built Dibon and Ataroth and Aroer,
Line 13 refers to the men of
Sharon. This land is mentioned in
1 Chronicles 5:16:
They lived in Gilead, in Bashan and in its towns, and in
all the pasture lands of Sharon, as far as their
Chronicles 5:16 (NASB)
Line 14 mentions the city of Nebo.
The Bible mentions Nebo in
Numbers 32:38 as
territory Moses gave to the tribe of Reuben & Gad.
Jeremiah the prophet also mentions Nebo as a town
of Moab in Jeremiah 48:20-22.
Line 17 speaks of another Moabite
god, Ashtar-Chemosh. The Bible says:
Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of
served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram,
the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the
sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; thus
they forsook the
LORD and did not serve Him.
Line 18 makes a reference to the
altar hearths of YHWH.
“YHWH” is the Hebrew word for God (Yahweh),
spelled just as it is used in the Bible.
Line 19 mentions the city of Jahaz.
The Bible mentions this Moabite city in
And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be
heard even unto Jahaz: therefore the armed
soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be
grievous unto him.
Line 27 mentions the town of Bezer.
Originally this town was controlled by the tribe
of Reuben according to The Bible, which says:
From the tribe of Reuben, they gave Bezer with
its pasture lands and Jahaz with its pasture lands,
Line 30 speaks of the temples of
Medeba, Diblaten, and Baal-meon, which this Moabite king
Isaiah forecast the destruction of these pagan
They have gone up to the temple and to Dibon,
even to the high places to weep. Moab wails over
Nebo and Medeba; Everyone’s head is bald and
every beard is cut off.
Line 30 & 31 says that Mesha
introduced there ... the sheep of the land.
The Bible confirms that Mesha raised sheep:
Line 31 says, “And the House of
David inhabited Horonaim.”
Here is found one of the first references outside
of the bible to King David and his descendants, who were
from the tribe of Judah.
Mesha also makes a distinction between the men of
Israel and the House of David. This is exactly how the
Bible states Israel was divided as a kingdom during this
Jehoshaphat was king of Judah from the House of
David, while Joram was the king of Israel (853 - 841),
according to 2 Kings 3.
The town of Horonaim is also mentioned in
“The sound of an outcry from Horonaim, ‘Devastation and
“Moab is broken, Her little ones have sounded out a cry
“For by the ascent of Luhith. They will ascend with
continual weeping; For at the descent of Horonaim. They
have heard the anguished cry of destruction.
“ Flee, save your lives, That you may be like a juniper
in the wilderness.
“For because of your trust in your own achievements and
treasures, Even you yourself will be captured; And
Chemosh will go off into exile. Together with his
priests and his princes.
During the coregency of Solomon and David matters
went smoothly between Solomon and those who opposed him,
but things changed when David died.
Adonijah, David’s fourth son, whose claim to the
throne was strong enough to win the support of Abiathar
and Joab, would have remained a threat to Solomon as
long as he was alive.
He provided Solomon with a reason to have
him eliminated when he asked Bathsheba, Solomon’s
mother, if he could marry Abishag, a beautiful
Shunammite girl who had ministered to David in his old
age (1 Kings 1:1-4).
Solomon refused and had his older brother
killed for what was probably a threat to his rule.
It should be noted that the custom of the
day required that a man’s concubines would become a part
of the inheritance of his heir. So Abishag would now
have belonged to Solomon.
With Adonijah removed, Solomon turned to
Adonijah’s main supporters, Abiathar and Joab.
Solomon deposed Abiathar from his office
as high priest, banishing him to his land in Anathoth
(1 Kings 2:26-27). This
left Zadok as sole high priest.
Solomon following his father’s instruction
(1 Kings 2:5-6) directed
Benaiah, former chief of the guard under David, to kill
Promise from God
(1 Kings 3:4-28; 2 Chronicles
Solomon sacrificed “a thousand
burnt offerings” to God at Gibeon where the
God showed His pleasure by appearing to Solomon
in a dream and inviting him to make a request.
Solomon humbly requested wisdom in his rule.
In further approval, God indicated that not only
would this request be granted, but also promised
Solomon “riches and honor” to the extent that no
other person of his day would be like him.
A prominent feature of Solomon’s
rule was the development of extensive defenses.
His major defense measure was the fortification
of key cities that surrounded Israel
(1 Kings 9:15-19)…Hazor,
Megiddo, Gezer, Beth-horon, and Baalath.
Troops stationed in these defense cities would
have provided a wall of protection from foreign attack
and could move quickly to put down revolution attempts
In Jerusalem itself, Solomon built both a
“wall” and the “Millo” to give added
Another significant defense feature was Solomon’s
employment of the chariot, assembling as many as 1,400
chariots, 12,000 horsemen, and 4,000 stalls for the
horses (1 Kings 10:26; 2 Chron.
From archaeological excavations, strong
defenses and chariot stables have been found at Hazor,
Gezer, Megiddo, Tanaach, and Eglon.
Although 1 Kings
9:15 does not specifically say that Hazor,
Megiddo, and Gezer were Solomon’s chariot cities they
would have been logical choices. All are located in
terrain over which chariot maneuverability could be
exploited. Megiddo controlled the strategic Aruna Pass
that linked northern and central Israel.
Solomon’s Stables (fig. 10): When the site
of Megiddo was excavated in the 1930’s archaeologists
found structures they identified as stables built to
house some of Solomon’s chariot force. The buildings
were divided by pillars into three aisles. The
excavators assumed that horses had been quartered in the
outer two rows. Mangers found in the buildings
strengthened this theory. Subsequent excavation at
Megiddo has led some archaeologists to redate the
structures to the time of Ahab (874-853) (fig. 11).
Solomon developed distant trade
One avenue of trade was through the Red Sea.
David’s southern conquest had reached to the Gulf of
Aqaba, making this sea route accessible. Solomon built a
fleet of ships leaving Eziongeber at the tip of the
Gulf (1 Kings 9:26-28).
The ships went as far as Ophir, stopping at many ports
en route, for the trip took three years
(1 Kings 10:22).
It is recorded that on their return voyage they
carried gold, silver, hardwood, precious stones, ivory,
and animals (1 Kings 10:11, 12,
The location of Ophir is unknown. Four sites are
suggested: southwest Arabia, southeast Arabia,
Somaliland, and Supara in India.
Excavations in the area have uncovered harbor
installations and walls of a type identified with
Solomon in the region of Solomon’s harbor.
Solomon’s involvement in foreign affairs was extensive.
An indication of this was his multiple marriages to
foreign women. Marriages were common seals of foreign
alliances. Among Solomon’s wives were Moabites,
Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites
(1 Kings 11:1).
It is directly stated that Solomon
made an alliance with Egypt, sealing it with his
marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter
(1 Kings 3:1).
Pharoah Siamun (978-959) captured Gezer and gave
his daughter to Solomon as a wife.
Solomon’s marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter must
have signified that he held high standing in the world
of his day.
In keeping with the importance of the alliance,
Solomon built a special house for his Egyptian bride
(1 Kings 7:8).
Solomon also gained the city Gezer through this
marriage. The Pharaoh had previously seized Gezer and
now gave it to his daughter, Solomon’s wife, as a
present (1 Kings 9:16).
Solomon fortified it as a defense city.
Archaeological excavations in 1990, by University of
Arizona and Andrews University, at Gezer discovered the
The four-entryway gate is described as
Solomonic (fig 12). It, along with the casemate wall,
were constructed on built-up foundations.
The fills for these foundations consisted
of destruction debris.
This material is dated to the latter part
of the 10th century BC. The destruction debris,
therefore, is probably from the Egyptian destruction of
Gezer mentioned in 1 Kings
9:15-17, possibly by Pharaoh Siamun.
After the destruction, the four-entryway
gate was constructed, probably by King Solomon when he
fortified the city.
Solomon made another important
alliance with the Phoenician king, Hiram I (c. 978-944).
Tyre, rebuilt by the Phoenicians in the twelfth
century, was now its capital and controlled about 150
miles of the Mediterranean coastline, north of the Bay
Phoenicia held colonies at points around the
Mediterranean, and her trade with them and other
countries was widely known.
Solomon was particularly interested in
Phoenicia’s cedar, which he was willing to trade wheat
and oil (1 Kings 5:2-11).
Visit of the Queen of Sheba
(1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chronicles
Among Solomon’s foreign visitors
was a Sabean queen from the southern tip of Arabia, the
Land of Sheba. This country is identified with the
modern country of Yemen. Solomon’s ships were likely
stopping at ports in this land.
The Queen’s journey, around 1,200 miles, may have
been motivated in part by mercantile advantages that she
saw in personal confrontation with the one who had sent
She also came to see Solomon himself, having
heard about his great wealth and wisdom.
She brought a large gift to Solomon of 120
talents of gold (a talent weighs between 75 to 80
A clay stamp that was found at Bethel shows
evidence of trade between Israel and South Arabia. The
stamp dates to about the time of Solomon. The stamp was
used to seal bags of cargo.
temple (1 Kings 5-6;
7:15-51; 2 Chronicles 2-4)
David had wanted to build the
temple, but he was forbidden by God. He passed on to
Solomon written plans (fig. 13) that had been revealed
to him by the Spirit of God (1
Chron. 28:11, 12, 19).
Solomon contracted with King Hiram
of Tyre for cedar wood and supplied 10,000 workers per
month to assist in cutting and transporting the
material. Hiram also supplied stonecutters to help
prepare the stone needed (1
Actual building began in Solomon’s
fourth year, 966 BC (1 Kings
6:1), and was completed seven years later
(1 Kings 6:38).
The building was located on Mount Moriah
(2 Chron. 3:1), the site
of Araunah’s threshing floor, where the plague had
stopped in David’s day (2 Sam.
It was also the place where Abraham had been
commanded to sacrifice Isaac
The plans for the temple called for
a building similar to the tabernacle but twice the size.
It was 90 feet long and 30 feet wide.
Similar to the tabernacle it contained two
divisions: the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.
Built of stone, it was paneled with cedar and
overlaid with gold.
The Holy of Holies housed the Ark of the
(1 Kings 7:1-12)
Solomon erected several other buildings as well,
probably locating them near the temple.
One of them was his personal residence, the
palace. It must have been an elegant structure, for it
took 13 years to build, six years longer than the
Another was the “Palace of the Forest of
Lebanon,” perhaps named because it was supported by
rows of cedar pillars. It was used in part to store arms
(1 Kings 10:16-17; Isa. 22:8).
A third building was the “Hall of the Pillars,”
perhaps a sort of splendid passage building lined with
pillars, between the “Palace of the Forest of Lebanon”
and a fourth building, the “Hall of Justice.” In this
last structure, which was used for judgment, Solomon sat
on a six-step throne of ivory overlaid with gold
(1 Kings 10:18-20).
The first pharaoh to be identified by name in the
Bible is Shishak (Sheshonq I, 943-924), who ruled during
the time of Solomon and his son Rehoboam.
Because of Solomon’s idolatry God decreed
through the prophet Ahijah that He was going to take ten
tribes from Solomon, after his death, and give them to
Jeroboam, an official in Solomon’s court
(1 Kings 11:26-39). As a
result, Solomon sought to kill Jeroboam. Jeroboam fled
to Egypt where Shishak gave him refuge
(1 Kings 11:40).
After Solomon’s death, Jeroboam returned
and became leader of the Northern Kingdom, while
Rehoboam ruled over the Southern kingdom of Judah
(1 Kings 12:1-17).
Afterwards, Shishak invaded Judah and
Israel, recorded in 1 Kings:
Now it happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, that
Shishak the king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem.
He took away the treasures of the house of the
the treasures of the king’s house, and he took
everything, even taking all the shields of gold which
Solomon had made.
2 Chronicles 12:2-4
also records Shishak’s invasion of Israel and Judah.
And it came about in King Rehoboam’s fifth year, because
they had been unfaithful to the
Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem
with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people
who came with him from Egypt were without number: the
Lubim, the Sukkiim and the Ethiopians.
He captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as
far as Jerusalem.
Chronicles 12:3-4 (NASB)
There is significant evidence of Shishak’s dealings:
There are massive relief’s on the temple
of Amun at Karnak with Shishak killing individuals, most
likely Israelites, because the context includes a list
of Israelite cites that were invaded (fig. 14). The
figure of Shishak is all but destroyed. On the left side
is the chief Egyptian god Amun leading captive cities by
ropes. Each city is represented by an oval cartouche
containing the name of the city, with a bound prisoner
on top (fig. 15).
On one of the walls of the court, Shishak
commissioned a commemorative relief of his Palestinian
campaign. Unfortunately, it is badly damaged. Enough
remains, however, to show that he not only attacked
Judah, as the Bible records, but also the northern
kingdom of Israel. The scene depicts Shishak, place
names in Israel. The section about Judah is almost
totally destroyed. Jerusalem does not appear in the
list. One of the Israelite towns is Megiddo.
At the site of Megiddo a portion of a
commemorative stela of Shishak was found by the Oriental
Institute excavations in 1926. His name can be clearly
read and the stela is without a doubt from his 925 BC
Shishak’s mummy case has also been found
and resides in the Cairo museum.
A gold bracelet was found in the tomb of
Shishak’s grandson (Sheshonq II) and is inscribed with