SOLOMON 1 (10th century B.C.), the son of David by Bath - sheba, and his successor in the kingdom of Israel. The many floating and fragmentary notes of various dates that have found a place in the account of his reign in the book of Kings (q.v.) show how much Hebrew tradition was occupied with the monarch under whom the throne of Israel reached its highest glory; and that time only magnified in popular imagination the proportions of so striking a figure appears from the opinions entertained of him in subsequent writings. The magnificence and wisdom of Solomon (cf. Matt. vi. 29; Luke xi. 31) and the splendour of his reign present a vivid contrast to the troublous ages which precede and follow him, although the Biblical records prove, on closer inspection, to contain so many incongruous elements that it is very difficult to form a just estimate of his life and character. A full account is given of the circumstances of the king's accession (contrast the summary notices, i Kings xxii. 41 seq., 2 Kings xv. i, xxi. 24, xxiv. 18, etc.). He was not the true heir to the throne, but was the son of David by Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite, whom David sent to his death " in the forefront of the battle." The child of the illegitmate union died; the second was called Jedidiah (" beloved of Yah [weh]") or Shelomoh (the idea of requital or recompense may be implied); according to i Chron. iii. 5, on the other hand, Solomon was the fourth, or rather the fifth, child of Bathsheba and David. The episode forms the prelude to family rivalries. David's first-born, Amnon, perished at the hands of the third son, Absalom, who lost his life in his revolt (2 Sam. xiii.-xx.). The second, Chileab, is not mentioned in the history, and the fate of the fourth, who regarded himself as the future king, is described in i Kings i., ii. Bathsheba, relying upon David's promise that Solomon should succeed him, vigorously advanced her son's claims with the support of Zadok the priest, the military officer Benaiah, and David's bodyguard; Adonijah, for his part, had David's old priest Abiathar, the commander Joab, and the men of Judah. A more serious breach could scarcely be imagined. The adherents of Solomon gained the day, and with his accession a new regime was inaugurated, not, however, without bloodshed.
Solomon's age at his accession is not recorded. The tradition that he was only twelve (i Kings ii. 12 Septuagint; or fourteen, Jos. Ant. viii. 7, 8) may rest upon iii. 7 (" I am but a little child "; if this is not hyperbole), or upon the chronological scheme embodied in 2 Sam. xiii. 23, 38, xiv. 28, xv. 7. It agrees with his subordinate position in portions of 'Ch. i., but his independent actions in ch. ii. suggest a more mature age, and according to xi. 42, xiv. 21, his son Rehoboam was already born (but contrast again xii. 24 Septuagint, 2 Chron. xiii. 7). See further, Ency. Bib. col. 4681, n. 5- 1 Heb. Shelomoh, as though " his peace "; but the true meaning is uncertain; evidence for its connexion with the name of a god is given by H. Winckler and Zimmern, Keilinschr. u. das Alte Test., 3rd ed., pp. 224, 474 seq. The English form follows the SoXA/ wiof N.T. and Josephus ; the Lat. Salomo agrees with SaXi/ao? (one of several variant forms shown in MSS. of the LXX.).
The acute observation that 2 Sam. ix.-xx. ; 2 Kings i. ii. 1-9, 13 sqq., were evidently incorporated after the Deuteronomic redaction of the books of Samuel (K. Budde, Samuel, p. xi.) is confirmed by the framework of Kings with its annalistic material similar to that preserved in 2 Sam. v.-viii., xxi.-xxiv. ; I Kings ii. 10-^12. With this may belong iii. 3 (the compiler's judgment) ; and especially v. 3 sqq., where reference is made to David's incessant wars (2 Sam. viii.). That 2 Sam. ix.-xx., etc., had previously been omitted by the Deuteronomic redactor himself (Budde) cannot be proved. These post-Deuteronomic narratives preserve older material, but with several traces of revision, so that I Kings i. ii. now narrate both the end of David's reign and the rise of Solomon (see I. Benzinger's commentary on Kings, p. xi. ; C. Holzhey, Buck d. Konige, p. 17). The latter, however, is their present aim, and some attempt appears to have been made in them to exculpate one whose accession finds a Judaean parallel in Jehoram (2 Chron. xxi. 1-4). Thus it has been held that David's charges (ii. 1-9) were written to absolve Solomon, and there is little probability in the story that Adonijah after his pardon really requested the hand of Abishag (ii. 13-25), since in Oriental ideas this would be at once viewed as a distinct encroachment upon Solomon's rights as heir (cf. W. R. Smith, Kinship and Marriage, 2nd ed., p. no).
Every emphasis is laid on the wisdom of Solomon and his wealth. Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream and offered to grant whatever he might ask. Confessing his inexperience, the king prayed for a discerning heart, and was rewarded with the gift of wisdom together with riches and military glory. There follows an example of his sagacity: the famous story of the steps he took to determine which of two claimants was the mother of a child (iii. I6-28). 1 His wisdom excelled that of Egypt and of the children of the East; by the latter may be meant Babylonia, or more probably the Arabs, renowned through all ages for their shrewdness. Additional point is made by emphasizing his superiority over four renowned sages, sons of Mahol; but the allusion to these worthies (who are incorporated in a Judaean genealogy, i Chron. ii. 6) is no longer intelligible. He is also credited with an interest in botany and natural history (iv. 33), and later Jewish legend improved this by ascribing to him lordship over all beasts and birds and the power of understanding their speech. To this it added the sovereignty over demons, from a wrong interpretation of Eccles. ii. 8 (see Lane, Arabian Nights, introd., n. 21, and ch. i, n. 25). As his fame spread abroad, people came to hear his wisdom, and costly presents were showered upon him. The sequel was the visit of the Queen of Sheba (i Kings iv. 29-34; x.). The interesting narrative appears in another light when we consider Solomon's commercial activity and the trading intercourse between Palestine and south Arabia. 2 His wealth was in proportion to his wisdom. Trading journeys were conducted with Phoenician help to Ophir and Tarshish. With the horse-breeding districts of the north he traded in horses and chariots (x. 28 seq.; see MIZRAIM), and gold accumulated in such enormous quantities that the income for one year may be reckoned at about 4,100,000 in weight (x. ii seq., 14 sqq.). Silver was regarded as stones; the precious cedars of Lebanon as sycamores. His realm extended from Tiphsah (Thapsacus) on the Euphrates to the borders of Egypt (iv. 21, 24), and it agrees with this that he gains important conquests in "the north (2 Chron. viii. 3 seq.; but see i Kings ix. 18). He maintained a very large harem (xi.), and among his wives was the daughter of an Egyptian Pharaoh. For his distinguished consort, who brought Gezer as a dowry, a special palace was built (iii. i, ix. 16, 24), and this was only one of many building enterprises.
The description of the magnificent temple of Jerusalem, 1 For parallels, see R. Flint in Hastings's Diet. Bib. iv. 562, n. i.
For the Pompeian wall-painting representing Solomon's judgment (the figures are pygmies!), see A. Jeremias, Alles Test, im Lichte d.
alt. Orients 2nd ed., p. 492 seq. (with illustration and references).
1 For Mahommedan stories of Solomon, the hoopoe and the queen of Sheba, see the Koran, Sur. xxvii., which closely follows the second Targum to Esther i. 2, where the Jewish fables may be read in full. On this story, see also J. Halevy, Ecole pratique des hautes ttudes (1905), pp. 5-24, and the Chinese parallel in the Mittheilungen of the Berlin Seminar for Oriental Languages (1904), vii. i. pp. 117-172. For the late legends of Solomon see M. Griinbaum, Neue Beitrdge zur semit. Sage, pp. 198-237 (Leiden, 1893); G. Salzberger, Die Salomo-Sage in der semitischen Literatur (Berlin, 1907).
which occupies considerable space in Solomon's history (v.- viii.), appears in more elaborate form in the chronicler's later work. The detailed record stands in contrast to the brief account of his other buildings, e.g. the palace, which, from an Oriental point of view, was of the first importance (vii. 1-12). But the Temple and palace were adjoining buildings, separated only by a wall (cf. Ezek. xlii. 20, xliii. 7 seq.), and it cannot be said that the former had originally the prominence now ascribed to it. Nor can the accounts given by Deuteronomic writers of its significance for the religious worship of Israel be used for an estimate of contemporary religion (v. 1-6, viii.). Whatever David had instituted at Jerusalem, it is at Gibeon that Solomon observed the opening sacrificial ceremonies, and there he received the divine revelation, " for that was the great high-place " (iii. 4 sqq.). Though this is justified by a late writer (iii. 2), subsequent history shows that the high-places, like the altars to heathen deities in Jerusalem itself, long remained undisturbed; it was the Deuteronomic reformation, ascribed to Josiah, which marked the great advance in the religion of Yahweh, and under its influence the history of the monarchy has been compiled. Moreover, with the emphasis which is laid upon the Jerusalem Temple is to be associated the new superiority of Zadok, the traditional ancestor of the Zadokites, the Jerusalem priests, whose supremacy over the other Levitical families only enters into the history of a much later age (see LEVITES).
In fact, Solomon, the pious saint, is not the Solomon of the earlier writings. Political, commercial and matrimonial alliances inevitably left their mark upon national religion, and the introduction of foreign cults which ensued is characteristically viewed as an apostasy from Yahweh of which he was guilty in his old age? The Deuteronomic writer finds in it the cause of the subsequent separation of the two kingdoms (xi. 1-13), and he connects it with certain external troubles which prove to have affected the whole course of his reign. The general impression of Solomon's position in history is in fact seriously disturbed when the composite writings are closely viewed. On the one side we see genial internal conditions prevailing in the land (iv. 20, 25), or the exalted position of the Israelites as officials and overseers, while the remnant of the pre-Israelite inhabitants serve in labour gangs (ix. 20 sqq.). On the other hand is the mass of toiling Israelites, whose oppressed condition is a prelude to the later dissensions (i Kings v. 13 sqq.; cf. i Kings xii.; see the divergent tradition in 2 Chron. ii.). The description of Solomon's administration not only ignores the tribal divisions which play an important part in the separation of Israel from Judah (xii. 16; cf. 2 Sam. xix. 43-xx. 2), but represents a kingdom of modest dimensions in which Judah apparently is not included. Some north Judaean cities might be named (iv. 9 seq.), but south Judah and Hebron the seat of David's early power find no place, and it would seem as though the district which had shared in the revolt of Adonijah was freed from the duty of furnishing supplies. But the document has intricate textual peculiarities and may be the Judaean adaptation of a list originally written from the standpoint of the north-Israelite monarchy. Further speculation is caused when it is found that Solomon fortifies such cities as Megiddo, Beth-horon and Tamar, and that the Egyptian Pharaoh had slain the Canaanites of Gezer (ix. 15 sqq.). We learn, also, that Hadad, a young Edomite prince, had escaped the sanguinary campaign in the reign of David (2 Sam. viii. 13 seq.), and had taken refuge in Egypt. He was kindly received by Pharaoh, who gave him the sister of his queen Tahpenes to wife. On David's death he returned and ruled over Edom, thus not merely controlling the port of Elath and the trade-routes, but even (according to the Septuagint) oppressing Israel (xi. 14-22, 25, see Septuagint on v. 22).* Moreover, an Aramaean dependant 3 On the relation between trade and religion in old Oriental life, see the valuable remarks by G. A. Smith, Ency. Bib. col. 5157 seq.
4 The narrative contains composite features (see the literature cited in article KINGS). There is a curious resemblance between one form of the story and the Septuagint account of the rise of Jeroboam (q.v.).
of Hadadezer, king of Zobah, to the north of Palestine (see David's war, 2 Sam. viii. 3 sqq., x. 6 sqq.), deserted his lord, raised a band of followers and eventually captured Damascus, where he established a new dynasty. Like Hadad, " he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon " (xi. 23-25). To these notices must also be added the cession of territory in north Palestine to Hiram, king of Phoenicia (ix. n). It is parenthetically explained as payment for building materials, which, however, are otherwise accounted for (v. 6, n); or it was sold for 120 talents of gold (nearly 750,000 sterling), presumably to assist Solomon in continuing his varied enterprises but the true nature of the transaction has been obscured, although the consequences involved in the loss of the territory are unmistakable. If these situations can with difficulty find a place in our picture of Solomon's might, it is clear that some of them form the natural introduction to the subsequent history, when his death brought internal discontent to a head, when the north under Jeroboam refused allegiance to the south, and when the divided monarchy enters upon its eventful career by the side of the independent states of Edom, Damascus and Phoenicia.
It is now generally recognized in histories of the Old Testament that a proper estimate of Solomon's reign cannot start from narratives which represent the views of Deuteronomic writers, although,'_in so far as late narratives may rest upon older material more in accordance with the circumstances of their age, attempts are made to present reconstructions from a combination of various elements. Among the recent critical attempts to recover the underlying traditions may be mentioned those of T. K. Cheyne (Ency. Bib., art. " Solomon ") and H. Winckler ( Keilinschr. u. d. Alte Test., 3rd. ed., pp. 233 sqq.). But, in general, where the traditions are manifestly in a later form they are in agreement with later backgrounds, and it is questionable whether earlier forms can be safely recovered when it is held that they have been rewritten or when the historical kernel has been buried in legend or myth. It is impossible not to be struck with the growing development of the Israelite tribes after the invasion of Palestine, their strong position under David, the sudden expansion of the Hebrew monarchy under Solomon, and the subsequent slow decay, and this, indeed, is the picture as it presented itself to the last writers who found in the glories of the past both consolation for the present and grounds for future hopes. But this is not the original picture, and, since very contradictory representations of Solomon's reign can be clearly discerned, it is necessary in the first instance to view them in the light of an independent examination of the history of the preceding and following periods where, again, serious fluctuation of standpoint is found. Much therefore depends upon the estimate which is formed of the position of David (q.v.). See also JEWS: History, 7 seq ; PALESTINE: Old Testament History.
On Solomon's relation to philosophical and proverbial literature, see PROVERBS. Another aspect of his character appears in the remarkable " Song of Solomon," on which see CANTICLES. Still another phase is represented in the monologue of Ecclesiastes (q.v.). In the Book of Wisdom, again, the composition of an Egyptian Hellenist, who from internal evidence is judged to have lived somewhat earlier than Philo, Solomon is introduced uttering words of admonition, imbued with the spirit of Greek philosophers, to heathen sovereigns. The so-called Psalter of Solomon, on the other hand, a collection of Pharisee psalms written in Hebrew soon after the taking of Jerusalem by Pompey, and preserved to us only in a Greek version, has nothing to do with Solomon or the traditional conception of his person, and seems to owe its name to a transcriber who thus distinguished these newer pieces from the older " Psalms of David " (see SOLOMON, PSALMS OF). (S. A. C.) 1 SOLOMON ISLANDS (Ger., Salomoinselri), an archipelago of the Western Pacific Ocean, included in Melanesia, and forming a chain (in continuation of that of the Admiralty Islands and New Mecklenburg in the Bismarck Archipelago) from N.W. to S.E. between 154 40' and 162 30' E., 5 and 11 S., with a total land area of 17,000 sq. m. (For map, see PACIFIC OCEAN.) A comparatively shallow sea surrounds the islands and indicates physical connexion with the Bismarck Archipelago and New Guinea, whereas directly east of the Solomons there 1 Some sentences from W. R. Smith's article in Ency. Brit., gth ed., have been retained and in places modified.
are greater depths. The principal island at the north-west end of the chain is Bougainville (3900 sq. m.), and that at the south-east San Cristoval or Bauro. Between these the chain is double, consisting (from the north-west) of Choiseul (2260 sq. m.), Isabel (Ysabel, of about the same area as Choiseul) and Malaita (2400 sq. m.) to the north, and Vella Lavella, Ronongo, Kulambangra, Kausagi, Marovo (New Georgia or Rubiana) and the Hammond Islands, and Guadalcanal or Guanbata (2500 sq. m.). Between and around these main islands there are many smaller islands. Ongtong Java, a coral reef of many islets, lies considerably north of the main group to which, geographically, it can hardly be said to belong. 3 Bougainville, the largest of the group, contains Mt Balbi (10,170 ft.), and two active volcanoes. In Guadalcanar is Mt Lammas (8000 ft.), while the extreme heights of the other islands range- between 2500 and 5000 ft. The islands (by convention of 1899) are divided unequally between Great Britain and Germany, the boundary running through Bougainville Strait, so that that island and Buka belong to Germany (being officially administered from Kaiser Wilhelm's Land), but the rest (South Solomons) are British.
The islands are well watered, though the streams seem to be small; the coasts afford some good harbours. All the large and some of the small islands appear to be composed of ancient volcanic rock, with an incrustation of coral limestone showing here and there along the coast. The mountains generally fall steeply to the sea. There is some level land in Bougainville, but little elsewhere. Deep valleys separate the gently rounded ridges of forest-clad mountains, lofty spurs descend from the interior, and, running down to the sea, terminate frequently in bold rocky headlands 800 to looo ft. in height, as in San Cristoval (north coast). On the small high island of Florida there is much undulating grass-land interspersed with fine clumps of trees; patches of cultivated land surround its numerous villages, and plantations on the hill-sides testify to the richness of its soil. The whole chain of islands appears to be rising steadily. Some of the smaller islands are of recent calcareous formation. Barrier and fringing reefs, as well as atolls, occur in the group, but the channels between the islands are dangerous chiefly from the strong currents which set through them.
The climate is very damp and debilitating. The rainfall is unusually heavy. Fever and ague prevail on the coast. The healthiest portions are the highlands, where most exposed to the south-east trades. The dry season, with north-west winds, lasts from December to May. Vegetation is luxuriant; magnificent forests clothe the mountains, and sandalwood, ebony and lignum vitae, besides a variety of palms, are found in them. Mangrove swamps are common on the coasts. The probable geological connexion with New Guinea would account for the Papuan character of the fauna of the Solomons, which form the eastern limit of certain Papuan types. The existence of peculiar types in the Solomons, however, points to an early severance. _ Mammals are not numerous ; they include the cuscus, several species of bat, and some rats of great size. There are various peculiar species of frogs, lizards and snakes, including the great frog Rana Guppyi, from 2 to 3 ft in weight. Of birds, several parrots and other genera are characteristically Papuan and are unknown east of the Solomons.
Population. The Solomon islanders are of Melanesian ( Papuan) stock, though in different parts of the group they vary considerably in their physical characteristics, in some islands approaching the pure Papuan, in some showing Polynesian crossings and in others resembling the Malays. As a race they are small and sturdy, taller in the north than in the south. Projecting brows, deeply sunk dark eyes, short noses, either straight or arched, but always depressed at the root, and moderately thick lips, with a somewhat receding chin, are general characteristics. The mesocephalic appears to be the preponderant form of skull; though this is unusual among Melanesian races. In colour the skin varies from a black-brown to a copperish hue, but the darker are the most common shades. The hair is naturally dark, but is often dyed red or fawn, and crisp, inclining to woolly. The islanders of the Bougainville Straits have lank, almost straight, black hair and very dark skins.
To strangers the natives have long had the reputation of being treacherous. They are cannibals, infanticide is common, and head 2 Guadalcanal of the Spanish discoverers.
3 This group, so named by Abel Tasman in 1643, ' s a '? called Leuenewa or Lord Howe, and is densely inhabited by natives said to be of Polynesian origin.
hunting was formerly prevalent. The average lot of the women is that of slaves. In some cases there is belief in a good spirit inhabiting a pleasant land, and an evil spirit associated with a volcano ; also in a future life. The language is of pure Melanesian type, though a number of dialects are spoken. The natives are good agriculturists. The Solomon Islands are, in the Pacific, the eastern limit of the use of the shield. The canoes are skilfully built of planks sewn together and caulked. The high carved prow and stern give the craft almost a crescent shape. These and the gunwale are tastefully inlaid with mother-of-pearl and wreathed with shells and feathers.
The British islands are under a resident commissioner, and have some trade in copra, ivory, nuts, pearl shell and other produce. Coco-nuts, pine-apples and bananas, with some cocoa and coffee, are cultivated on small areas. The German islands have a small trade in sandalwood, tortoise-shell, etc. The total population may be roughly estimated at 180,000.
History. The Spanish navigator Alvaro Mendana must be credited with the discovery of these islands in 1567, though it is somewhat doubtful whether he was actually the first European who set eyes on them. In anticipation of their natural riches he named them Islas de Salomon. The expedition surveyed the southern portion of the group, and named the three large islands San Cristoval, Guadalcanal and Ysabel. On his return to Peru, Mendana endeavoured to organize another expedition to colonize the islands, but it was not before June 1595 that he, with Pedro Quiros as second in command, was able to set sail for this purpose. The Marquesas and Santa Cruz islands were now discovered; but on one of the latter, after various delays, Mendana died, and the expedition collapsed.
Even the position of the Solomon Islands was now in uncertainty, for the Spaniards, fearing lest they should lose the benefits expected to accrue from these discoveries, kept secret the narratives of Mendana and Quiros. The Solomon Islands were thus lost sight of until, in 1767, Philip Carteret lighted on their eastern shores at Gower Island, and passed to the north of the group, without, however, recognizing that it formed part of the Spanish discoveries. In 1768 Louis de Bougainville found his way thither. He discovered the three northern islands (Buka, Bougainville and Choiseul), and sailed through the channel which divides the two last and bears his name. In 1769 a French navigator, M. de Surville, was the first, in spite of the hostility of the natives, to make any lengthened stay in the group. He gave some of the islands the French names they still bear, 1 and brought home some detailed information concerning them which he called Terre des Arsacides (Land of the Assassins); but their identity with Mendana's Islas de Salomon was soon established by French geographers. In 1788 the English lieutenant Shortland coasted along the south side of the chain, and, supposing it to be a continuous land, named it New Georgia; and in 1792 Captain Edward Manning sailed through the strait which separates Ysabel from Choiseul and now bears his name. In the same year, and in 1793, d'Entrecasteaux surveyed portions of the coast-line of the large islands. Dumont d'Urville in 1838 continued the survey.
Traders now endeavoured to settle in the islands, and missionaries began to think of this fresh field for labour, but neither met with much success, and little was heard of the islanders save accounts of murder and plunder. In 1845 the French Marist Fathers went to Isabel, where Mgr Epaulle, first vicarapostolic of Melanesia, was killed by the natives soon after landing. Three years later this mission had to be abandoned; but in 1881 work was again resumed. In 1856 John Coleridge Patteson, afterwards bishop of Melanesia, had paid his first visit to the islands, and native teachers trained at the Melanesian mission college subsequently established themselves there. About this date the yacht " Wanderer " cruised in these seas, but her owner, Mr Benjamin Boyd, was kidnapped by the natives and never afterwards heard of. In 1873 the " foreignlabour " traffic in plantation hands for Queensland and Fiji extended its baneful influence from the New Hebrides to these islands. In 1893 the islands Malaita, Marovo, Guadalcanar 1 He called Gower, Inattendue; Ulava, Contrarietfi; and named Port Praslin, the harbour at the north-west of Ysabel.
and San Cristoval with their surrounding islets were annexed by Great Britain, and the final delimitation of German and British influence in the archipelago was made by the convention of the 14th of November 1899.
See H. B. Guppy, The Solomon Islands (London, 1887), where full references to earlier works are given; C. Ribbe, Zwei Jahre unter den Kannibalen der Salomon-Inseln (Dresden, 1903).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)