When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relation to the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions.
Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan--with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones--she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind.
Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her.
When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built,
the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed.
She said to the king, "The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true.
But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.
How happy your men must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!
Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD's eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness."
And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
(Hiram's ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones.
The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the LORD and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)
King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.
The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents,
not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the land.
King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred bekas of gold went into each shield.
He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
Then the king made a great throne inlaid with ivory and overlaid with fine gold.
The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them.
Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom.
All King Solomon's goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon's days.
The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.
King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth.
The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.
Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift--articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.
Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem.
The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills.
Solomon's horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue--the royal merchants purchased them from Kue.
They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.
King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh's daughter--Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites.
They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, "You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods." Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.
He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.
As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites.
So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done.
On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites.
He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.
Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD's command.
So the LORD said to Solomon, "Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates.
Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son.
Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen."
Then the LORD raised up against Solomon an adversary, Hadad the Edomite, from the royal line of Edom.
Earlier when David was fighting with Edom, Joab the commander of the army, who had gone up to bury the dead, had struck down all the men in Edom.
Joab and all the Israelites stayed there for six months, until they had destroyed all the men in Edom.
But Hadad, still only a boy, fled to Egypt with some Edomite officials who had served his father.
They set out from Midian and went to Paran. Then taking men from Paran with them, they went to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave Hadad a house and land and provided him with food.
Pharaoh was so pleased with Hadad that he gave him a sister of his own wife, Queen Tahpenes, in marriage.
The sister of Tahpenes bore him a son named Genubath, whom Tahpenes brought up in the royal palace. There Genubath lived with Pharaoh's own children.
While he was in Egypt, Hadad heard that David rested with his fathers and that Joab the commander of the army was also dead. Then Hadad said to Pharaoh, "Let me go, that I may return to my own country."
"What have you lacked here that you want to go back to your own country?" Pharaoh asked. "Nothing," Hadad replied, "but do let me go!"
And God raised up against Solomon another adversary, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, Hadadezer king of Zobah.
He gathered men around him and became the leader of a band of rebels when David destroyed the forces [of Zobah]; the rebels went to Damascus, where they settled and took control.
Rezon was Israel's adversary as long as Solomon lived, adding to the trouble caused by Hadad. So Rezon ruled in Aram and was hostile toward Israel.
Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was one of Solomon's officials, an Ephraimite from Zeredah, and his mother was a widow named Zeruah.
Here is the account of how he rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the supporting terraces and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father.
Now Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the house of Joseph.
About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country,
and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces.
Then he said to Jeroboam, "Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon's hand and give you ten tribes.
But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe.
I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molech the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in my ways, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my statutes and laws as David, Solomon's father, did.
" 'But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon's hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who observed my commands and statutes.
I will take the kingdom from his son's hands and give you ten tribes.
I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name.
However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel.
If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.
I will humble David's descendants because of this, but not forever.' "
Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon's death.
As for the other events of Solomon's reign--all he did and the wisdom he displayed--are they not written in the book of the annals of Solomon?
Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.
Then he rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.
Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all the Israelites had gone there to make him king.
When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt.
So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and the whole assembly of Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him:
"Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you."
Rehoboam answered, "Go away for three days and then come back to me." So the people went away.
Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. "How would you advise me to answer these people?" he asked.
They replied, "If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants."
But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.
He asked them, "What is your advice? How should we answer these people who say to me, 'Lighten the yoke your father put on us'?"
The young men who had grown up with him replied, "Tell these people who have said to you, 'Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but make our yoke lighter'--tell them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's waist.
My father laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.' "
Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam, as the king had said, "Come back to me in three days."
The king answered the people harshly. Rejecting the advice given him by the elders,
he followed the advice of the young men and said, "My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions."
So the king did not listen to the people, for this turn of events was from the LORD, to fulfill the word the LORD had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite.
When all Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king: "What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse's son? To your tents, O Israel! Look after your own house, O David!" So the Israelites went home.
But as for the Israelites who were living in the towns of Judah, Rehoboam still ruled over them.
King Rehoboam sent out Adoniram, who was in charge of forced labor, but all Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam, however, managed to get into his chariot and escape to Jerusalem.
So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.
When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he mustered the whole house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin--a hundred and eighty thousand fighting men--to make war against the house of Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon.
But this word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God:
"Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah, to the whole house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people,
'This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.' " So they obeyed the word of the LORD and went home again, as the LORD had ordered.
Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.
Jeroboam thought to himself, "The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David.
If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam."
After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."
One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan.
And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.
Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites.
He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made.
On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.