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1. Administrator
2. Religious importance
3. Biography

Artistic representation of King Solomon, receiving the Queen of Sheba.
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Artistic representation of King Solomon, receiving the Queen of Sheba.

(Around 1000-922 BCE) King of united Israel and Judah 961-922 BCE. Solomon was son of King David and Bathsheba, and was appointed heir to the throne at the sacrifice of his older brother Adonijah.
The exact dates of his life are disputed, but generally with variations no larger than 10 years.
Solomon is by Biblical tradition considered to be the greatest king of Israel. He is remembered for keeping a large kingdom together, comprising most of today's Middle East; for building the Temple of Jerusalem; and for his wisdom.
Solomon married daughters of neighbouring kings, which according to 1 Kings 11:3 resulted in a total of 700 wives and 300 concubines. His main wife was the daughter of the Egyptian pharaoh.

Solomon is a king who has been described as a great leader, administrator and even artist. But there are elements in the sources that indicate that he could be ruthless and not attentive to the needs of his people, which eventually could have led to the disintegration of the united Israel and Judah.
Among Solomon's main achievements as an administrator was to divide the country into 12 administrative districs run by goverors, in addition to Judah. It is important to note that the districts were not bordered according to the 12 tribes.
Other achievements were to strengthened the fortifications of major towns, he made the Canaanites into slaves and entered into important alliances with King Hiram of Tyre (modern Lebanon) as well as other neighbour states.
There were advances in the fields of trade and mining, mainly because of the long period of peace between countries of the region. But the sources also indicate that the taxation burdened the society in many ways, and hindered much of the development of prosperity.

Religious importance
Several books have been ascribed to Solomon, like the Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, the Wisdom of Solomon, Psalms of Solomon and Odes of Solomon. Few scholars believe this to be correct today, many are dated to be centuries younger and the Odes of Solomon appears to be 1000 years too young.
It was the building of the Temple of Jerusalem which became the main act of importance in the emerging Judaism.

1000 BCE: Born as the 4th son of King David, son of Bathsheba.
961: Following the death of King David, Solomon becomes new king of Israel and Judah. Solomon feared the challenge from David's oldest living son, Adonijah, and had him killed.
957: Starts the building process of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is largely built with cedar and cypress wood provided for him by his ally, King Hiram of Tyre. Hiram also sent craftsmen and artisans to help in the building. The temple was part of a structure including the royal palace, the porch for the throne and the House of the Forest of Lebanon.
937: The entire temple complex is completed.
922: Dies, and is succeeded by his son Rehobaom.

By Tore Kjeilen