Day 156 (June 5): 1,000 women for Solomon, God raises three adversaries for Solomon, Solomon despondent to life

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

1 Kings 11

2 Chronicles 9:29-31

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 11:1-3, Ecclesiastes 1:11): What happened to Solomon?  He wrote so many words of wisdom.  All of these women influenced them with their gods and he became despondent?

A. If you are suggesting that Solomon’s turn to foreign gods made him despondent and write about how life is meaningless, I do not agree with that.  I honestly don’t particularly like them putting a volume like Ecclesiastes at this point, as though Solomon got depressed in his last days and wrote a depressing book.  We have no reason or evidence that this is the case.  While you certainly can argue that Ecclesiastes is a “depressing” book, I would say it’s worth reading in full as a philosophical examination of the eternal question, “what is life without God?”

Q. (1 Kings 11:11,39): God had said that if Solomon and his descendants followed the laws of God, his (or David’s) line would be placed on the throne, but if they didn’t, Israel would be uprooted from the land (1 Kings 9:6).  He is lightening Solomon’s punishment?  But, it looks like God is arranging for some major trouble for Solomon (1 Kings 11:14-26) — Hadad, Rezon and Jeroboam.  In verse 11:39, God says he will punish Solomon’s descendants, though not forever.

A. The punishment was for the entire line of kings, not merely Solomon.  Solomon’s poor decisions are but a taste of how bad it’s going to get.

Q. (1 Kings 11:41, 2 Chronicles 9:29): Any idea what these — The Book of the Acts of Solomon, The Record of Nathan the Prophet, The Prophecy of Ahijah from Shiloh and The Visions of Iddo The Seer — are or if they still exist?

A. They may, but no one has ever found them.  This doesn’t mean, however, that they do not exist.  New discoveries are made in archeology all the time, and some of the most fascinating discoveries of the modern era — the Dead Sea Scrolls (found outside of Israel) and the Nag Hammadi Library (found in Egypt) give us incredible glimpses into the writings of the ancient world.  The N/H works provide a glimpse into the world of a philosophy of Gnosticism, which was (and is) a rival of Christian thought.  This volume allowed archeologists to find volumes that are referred to in ancient Christian documents thousands of years old — i.e. from the first centuries AD — but no one had ever found them before.  There is always hope that in places like Egypt or similar locations, scrolls and other writings can last for literally thousands of years.  So even if these volumes have not been found yet, doesn’t mean that they cannot be.

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