Kings David and Solomon: From 10th Century B.C.E. to present day Controversy
Perhaps the most famous Old Testament Kings, as well as two of the most famous Hebrew heroes of all time were, King Solomon and his father King David. Their stories have been told time and time again throughout the ages: passed down orally for centuries, then later reproduced and shared all over the globe as intricate portions of many historical religious texts including the Torah, the Koran and the Holy Bible. Biblical sources include: I Chronicles, I Kings, Ecclesiastes, as well as the accounts of many prophets. Furthermore, King David and King Solomon have been attributed to writing several Old Testament books including: the Song of Solomon, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and various Psalms. Historically, David is known for uniting the Kingdom of Israel, replacing Hebron and making Jerusalem its capitol, as well as establishing a dynasty that was held sacred in the hearts and hopes of the Jews for centuries after its demise. His son and successor Solomon is most noted for advancing David’s kingdom and for building the First Temple. In fact, according to Abba Eban (1999), author of over half a dozen historical reference books on Jewish history as well as the PBS television series “Civilization and the Jews,” “Solomon’s Temple was the crowning glory of a building program that rivaled those of the Pharaohs” (p. 50). Archaeologists claim to have found remnants of Solomon’s Temple as well in the form of a tablet dated tenth century B.C.E. (Carpenter, 2003, p. 46). However, not all historians and archaeologists agree to the authenticity of the tablet or even to the extent of King David and King Solomon’s rule. Recently, controversy has erupted concerning whether or not, King David and King Solomon, of the Old Testament (also known as the Jewish Bible) were actually the “grand builders of the united north-south monarchy in Ancient Palestine” attributed to them through the Bible and said to unravel after their demise (Halken, 2006, p. 41).
The Legacies of David and Solomon
According to Rogerson (1999):
It is no surprise that David should be one of the most important figures in the bible. As printed in the tradition his achievements were outstanding. Before his reign Israel was a defeated vassal people. Within a few years David made Israel free, and even extended his control over some small neighbouring peoples. Before his reign there was no one dominant political or religious centre in Israel. Within a few years Jerusalem had obtained a centrality that it never subsequently lost (p. 82). David was born around 1040 B.C.E. in Bethlehem, Judah (Castel, 1985, p.87). He grew up the youngest of eight sons of Jesse, and has been linked with the Ammonite royal family (Rogerson, 1999, p.78; 2 Samuel, 10: 1-2; 17:25-7). As a teenager David joined the entourage of Israeli King Saul as a minstrel and harpsichord player. It was during this time period that he first gained notoriety when he defeated the ominous giant Goliath armed with a mere slingshot. In 1 Samuel 18:20-30 it states that with a dowry of 200 Philistine foreskins he married King Saul’s daughter Michal. Unfortunately, David’s marital bliss was cut short by the jealousy of his new father-in-law. Already a seasoned warrior David was praised as a military force with songs proclaiming “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (Rogerson, 1999, p. 78). While fleeing Saul’s armies to the south, David accomplished a great many military victories alongside his former enemies the Philistines, as described in 1 Samuel. Though his military reign started as an almost nomadic band with him a “robin-hood like bandit-chief,” his strategic prowess was realized by the Judean elders and he was proclaimed King of Judah in Hebron, c.a. 1010 (although some texts have him proclaiming himself King of Judah) (Castel, 1985, p. 89; Halkin,...
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