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Listen Now. Like the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings originally were one book. In the Hebrew Bible the book of Kings continued the narrative started in Samuel. The Septuagint separated them into two parts. No one knows the author of 1 and 2 Kings, though some commentators have suggested Ezra, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah as possible authors.

Because the entire work encompasses a time period of more than four hundred years, several source materials were used to compile the records. Certain clues such as literary styles, themes woven throughout the book, and the nature of material used point to a single compiler or author rather than multiple compilers or authors. First Kings opens describing the final days of King David around BC and the conspiracies surrounding his succession. When David died 1 Kings , Solomon ascended the throne and established himself as a strong and wise leader. First Kings follows the history of this divided kingdom through the year BC.

But those kings who deviated from the Law experienced curses. In addition to performing other miracles, Elijah won a dramatic confrontation with false prophets on Mount Carmel — In addition to the kings, the prophets figure heavily in this book. Solomon was known as the wisest man of his day. He was arguably the wealthiest man of his time. Solomon began to rely on his fortune, his military might, and his political alliances instead of the God who gave all of those blessings to him. He focused on the gifts, forgetting the Giver.

How often do you do the same? Are there any direct commands from God you are ignoring? Rabbinical tradition attributes the Wisdom of Solomon included within the Septuagint to Solomon, although this book was probably written in the 2nd century BCE. In this work, Solomon is portrayed as an astronomer.

Other books of wisdom poetry such as the Odes of Solomon and the Psalms of Solomon also bear his name. The Gnostic Apocalypse of Adam , which may date to the 1st or 2nd century, refers to a legend in which Solomon sends out an army of demons to seek a virgin who had fled from him, perhaps the earliest surviving mention of the later common tale that Solomon controlled demons and made them his slaves.

This tradition of Solomon's control over demons appears fully elaborated in the early pseudographical work called the Testament of Solomon with its elaborate and grotesque demonology. Historical evidence of King Solomon other than the biblical accounts has been so minimal that some scholars have understood the period of his reign as a 'Dark Age' Muhly Yigael Yadin 's excavations at Hazor , Megiddo , Beit Shean and Gezer uncovered structures that he and others have argued date from Solomon's reign, [38] but others, such as Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman , argue that they should be dated to the Omride period, more than a century after Solomon.

According to Finkelstein and Silberman, authors of The Bible Unearthed : Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts , [39] at the time of the kingdoms of David and Solomon, Jerusalem was populated by only a few hundred residents or less, which is insufficient for an empire stretching from the Euphrates to Eilath. According to The Bible Unearthed , archaeological evidence suggests that the kingdom of Israel at the time of Solomon was little more than a small city state, and so it is implausible that Solomon received tribute as large as talents of gold per year.

They suggest that because of religious prejudice, the authors of the Bible suppressed the achievements of the Omrides whom the Hebrew Bible describes as being polytheist , and instead pushed them back to a supposed golden age of Judaism and monotheists, and devotees of Yahweh. Some Biblical minimalists like Thomas L. Thompson go further, arguing that Jerusalem became a city and capable of being a state capital only in the mid-7th century.

These views are criticized by William G. Lemaire states in Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple [43] that the principal points of the biblical tradition of Solomon are generally trustworthy, although elsewhere he writes that he could find no substantiating archaeological evidence that supports the Queen of Sheba's visit to king Solomon, saying that the earliest records of trans-Arabian caravan voyages from Tayma and Sheba unto the Middle-Euphrates etc. Kitchen calculates that over 30 years, such a kingdom might have accumulated up to tons of gold, which is small compared to other examples, such as the 1, tons of gold that Alexander the Great took from Susa.

Dever states "that we now have direct Bronze and Iron Age parallels for every feature of the 'Solomonic temple' as described in the Hebrew Bible". For instance, the archaeologist Avraham Faust has argued that biblical depictions of Solomon date to later periods and do overstate his wealth, buildings, and kingdom, but that Solomon did have an acropolis and ruled over a polity larger than Jerusalem. The archaeological remains that are considered to date from the time of Solomon are notable for the fact that Canaanite material culture appears to have continued unabated; there is a distinct lack of magnificent empire, or cultural development — indeed comparing pottery from areas traditionally assigned to Israel with that of the Philistines points to the latter having been significantly more sophisticated.

However, there is a lack of physical evidence of its existence, despite some archaeological work in the area. Little archaeological excavation has been done around the area known as the Temple Mount , in what is thought to be the foundation of Solomon's Temple, because attempts to do so are met with protests by the Muslim authorities. The biblical passages that understand Tarshish as a source of King Solomon's great wealth in metals — especially silver, but also gold, tin and iron Ezekiel 27 — were linked to archaeological evidence from silver-hoards found in Phoenicia in The metals from Tarshish were reportedly obtained by Solomon in partnership with King Hiram of Phoenician Tyre Isaiah 23 , and the fleets of Tarshish-ships that sailed in their service, and the silver-hoards provide the first recognized material evidence that agrees with the ancient texts concerning Solomon's kingdom and his wealth see 'wealth' below.

Possible evidence for the described wealth of Solomon and his kingdom was discovered in ancient silver-hoards, which were found in Israel and Phoenicia and recognized for their importance in The evidence from the hoards shows that the Levant was a center of wealth in precious metals during the reign of Solomon and Hiram, and matches the texts that say the trade extended from Asia to the Atlantic Ocean.

From a critical point of view, Solomon's building of a temple for Yahweh should not be considered an act of particular devotion to Yahweh because Solomon is also described as building places of worship for a number of other deities. Some scholars believe that passages such as these in the Books of Kings were not written by the same authors who wrote the rest of the text, instead probably by the Deuteronomist.

King Solomon sinned by acquiring many foreign wives and horses because he thought he knew the reason for the biblical prohibition and thought it did not apply to him. When King Solomon married the daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh, a sandbank formed which eventually formed the "great nation of Rome" — the nation that destroyed the Second Temple Herod's Temple.

Solomon gradually lost more and more prestige until he became like a commoner. Some say he regained his status while others say he did not. In the end however, he is regarded as a righteous king and is especially praised for his diligence in building the Temple. Christianity has traditionally accepted the historical existence of Solomon, though some modern Christian scholars have also questioned at least his authorship of those biblical texts ascribed to him.

Such disputes tend to divide Christians into traditionalist and modernist camps. Some commentators see this as an issue that can be reconciled while others disagree. For instance, it has been suggested that Luke is using Joseph's genealogy and Matthew is using Mary's, but Darrell Bock states that this would be unprecedented, "especially when no other single woman appears in the line". Other suggestions include the use by one of the royal and the other of the natural line, one using the legal line and the other the physical line, or that Joseph was adopted.

Jesus makes reference to Solomon, using him for comparison purposes in his admonition against worrying about your life.

What does the Bible teach about the divine right of kings?

This account is recorded in Matthew and the parallel passage in Luke Statues of King David and Solomon stand on either side of the entrance to the basilica of El Escorial , Philip's palace, and Solomon is also depicted in a great fresco at the center of El Escorial's library. Philip identified the warrior-king David with his own father Charles V , and himself sought to emulate the thoughtful and logical character which he perceived in Solomon.

Moreover, the structure of the Escorial was inspired by that of Solomon's Temple. In Islamic tradition, Solomon is venerated as a prophet and a messenger of God , as well as a divinely appointed monarch, who ruled over the Kingdom of Israel. Unlike in the Bible where Solomon was granted an incomparable realm because God was impressed by his wish to have wisdom, [67] the Quran states that Solomon prayed earnestly to God to grant him a kingdom which would be greater than any realm before or after him. And they followed what the devils taught during the reign of Solomon.

It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but it was the devils who disbelieved. They did not teach anybody until they had said "We are a test, so do not lose faith. But they cannot harm anyone except with God's permission. And they learned what would harm them and not benefit them.

Yet they knew that whoever deals in it will have no share in the Hereafter. Miserable is what they sold their souls for, if they only knew. The Quran [70] [71] [72] ascribes to Solomon a great level of wisdom, knowledge and power. So order me that I may be grateful for Thy favors, which Thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may work the righteousness that will please Thee: and admit me, by Thy Grace, to the ranks of Thy righteous Servants.

A well-known story in the collection One Thousand and One Nights describes a genie who had displeased King Solomon and was punished by being locked in a bottle and thrown into the sea. Since the bottle was sealed with Solomon's seal, the genie was helpless to free himself, until freed many centuries later by a fisherman who discovered the bottle. Sometimes, protagonists discovered words of Solomon that were intended to help those who were lost and had unluckily reached those forbidden and deserted places.


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According to the Rabbinical literature , on account of his modest request for wisdom only, Solomon was rewarded with riches and an unprecedented glorious realm, which extended over the upper world inhabited by the angels and over the whole of the terrestrial globe with all its inhabitants, including all the beasts, fowl, and reptiles, as well as the demons and spirits. His control over the demons, spirits, and animals augmented his splendor, the demons bringing him precious stones, besides water from distant countries to irrigate his exotic plants. The beasts and fowl of their own accord entered the kitchen of Solomon's palace, so that they might be used as food for him, and extravagant meals for him were prepared daily by each of his wives and concubines, with the thought that perhaps the king would feast that day in her house.


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  • A magic ring called the " Seal of Solomon " was supposedly given to Solomon and gave him power over demons or Jinn. The magical symbol said to have been on the Seal of Solomon which made it efficacious is often considered to be the Star of David [ citation needed ] though this emblem also known as the Shield of David is known to have been associated with Judaism only as recently as the 11th century CE while the five pointed star pentagram can be found on jars and other artifacts from Jerusalem dating back to at least the 2nd and 4th centuries BCE and is more likely to have been the emblem found on the ring purportedly used by King Solomon to control the Jinn or demons.

    Asmodeus , king of demons, was one day, according to the classical Rabbis, captured by Benaiah using the ring, and was forced to remain in Solomon's service. In one tale, Asmodeus brought a man with two heads from under the earth to show Solomon; the man, unable to return, married a woman from Jerusalem and had seven sons, six of whom resembled the mother, while one resembled the father in having two heads. After their father's death, the son with two heads claimed two shares of the inheritance, arguing that he was two men; Solomon decided that the son with two heads was only one man.

    The Seal of Solomon, in some legends known as the Ring of Aandaleeb, was a highly sought after symbol of power. In several legends, different groups or individuals attempted to steal it or attain it in some manner. One legend concerning Asmodeus see: The Story of King Solomon and Ashmedai goes on to state that Solomon one day asked Asmodeus what could make demons powerful over man, and Asmodeus asked to be freed and given the ring so that he could demonstrate; Solomon agreed but Asmodeus threw the ring into the sea and it was swallowed by a fish.

    Asmodeus then swallowed the king, stood up fully with one wing touching heaven and the other earth, and spat out Solomon to a distance of miles. The Rabbis claim this was a divine punishment for Solomon's having failed to follow three divine commands, and Solomon was forced to wander from city to city, until he eventually arrived in an Ammonite city where he was forced to work in the king's kitchens.

    Solomon gained a chance to prepare a meal for the Ammonite king, which the king found so impressive that the previous cook was sacked and Solomon put in his place; the king's daughter, Naamah , subsequently fell in love with Solomon, but the family thinking Solomon a commoner disapproved, so the king decided to kill them both by sending them into the desert.

    Solomon and the king's daughter wandered the desert until they reached a coastal city, where they bought a fish to eat, which just happened to be the one which had swallowed the magic ring. Solomon was then able to regain his throne and expel Asmodeus. The element of a ring thrown into the sea and found back in a fish's belly also appeared in Herodotus ' account of Polycrates , the tyrant of Samos from c. In another familiar version of the legend of the Seal of Solomon, Asmodeus disguises himself.

    In some myths, he's disguised as King Solomon himself, while in more frequently heard versions he's disguised as a falcon, calling himself Gavyn Gavinn or Gavin , one of King Solomon's trusted friends. The concealed Asmodeus tells travelers who have ventured up to King Solomon's grand lofty palace that the Seal of Solomon was thrown into the sea. He then convinces them to plunge in and attempt to retrieve it, for if they do they would take the throne as king. Other magical items attributed to Solomon are his key and his Table.

    The former appears in the title of the Lesser Key of Solomon , a grimoire whose framing story is Solomon capturing demons using his ring, and forcing them to explain themselves to him. In The Book of Deadly Names , purportedly translated from Arabic manuscripts found hidden in a building in Spain, the "King of the Jinn" Fiqitush brings 72 Jinn before King Solomon to confess their corruptions and places of residence.

    Fiqitush tells King Solomon the recipes for curing such corruptions as each evil Jinn confesses. Angels also helped Solomon in building the Temple; though not by choice. The edifice was, according to rabbinical legend, miraculously constructed throughout, the large heavy stones rising and settling in their respective places of themselves. The general opinion of the Rabbis is that Solomon hewed the stones by means of a shamir , a mythical worm whose mere touch cleft rocks.

    According to Midrash Tehillim , the shamir was brought from paradise by Solomon's eagle; but most of the rabbis state that Solomon was informed of the worm's haunts by Asmodeus. The shamir had been entrusted by the prince of the sea to the mountain rooster alone, and the rooster had sworn to guard it well, but Solomon's men found the bird's nest, and covered it with glass.

    When the bird returned, it used the shamir to break the glass, whereupon the men scared the bird, causing it to drop the worm, which the men could then bring to Solomon. Early adherents of the Kabbalah portray Solomon as having sailed through the air on a throne of light placed on an eagle, which brought him near the heavenly gates as well as to the dark mountains behind which the fallen angels Uzza and Azzazel were chained; the eagle would rest on the chains, and Solomon, using the magic ring, would compel the two angels to reveal every mystery he desired to know.

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    According to one legend, while traveling magically, Solomon noticed a magnificent palace to which there appeared to be no entrance. He ordered the demons to climb to the roof and see if they could discover any living being within the building but they found only an eagle, which said that it was years old, but that it had never seen an entrance.

    An elder brother of the eagle, years old, was then found, but it also did not know the entrance. The eldest brother of these two birds, which was 1, years old, then declared it had been informed by its father that the door was on the west side, but that it had become hidden by sand drifted by the wind. Having discovered the entrance, Solomon found an idol inside that had in its mouth a silver tablet saying in Greek a language not thought by modern scholars to have existed years before the time of Solomon that the statue was of Shaddad, the son of 'Ad , and that it had reigned over a million cities, rode on a million horses, had under it a million vassals and slew a million warriors , yet it could not resist the angel of death.

    Solomon's throne is described at length in Targum Sheni , which is compiled from three different sources, and in two later Midrash. According to these, there were on the steps of the throne twelve golden lions, each facing a golden eagle. There were six steps to the throne, on which animals, all of gold, were arranged in the following order: on the first step a lion opposite an ox; on the second, a wolf opposite a sheep; on the third, a tiger opposite a camel; on the fourth, an eagle opposite a peacock, on the fifth, a cat opposite a cock; on the sixth, a sparrow-hawk opposite a dove.

    On the top of the throne was a dove holding a sparrow-hawk in its claws, symbolizing the dominion of Israel over the Gentiles. The first midrash claims that six steps were constructed because Solomon foresaw that six kings would sit on the throne, namely, Solomon, Rehoboam , Hezekiah , Manasseh , Amon , and Josiah. There was also on the top of the throne a golden candelabrum , on the seven branches of the one side of which were engraved the names of the seven patriarchs Adam, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Job, and on the seven of the other the names of Levi, Kohath, Amram, Moses, Aaron, Eldad, Medad, and, in addition, Hur another version has Haggai.

    Above the candelabrum was a golden jar filled with olive-oil and beneath it a golden basin which supplied the jar with oil and on which the names of Nadab, Abihu, and Eli and his two sons were engraved.

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    Over the throne, twenty-four vines were fixed to cast a shadow on the king's head. By a mechanical contrivance the throne followed Solomon wherever he wished to go. Supposedly, due to another mechanical trick, when the king reached the first step, the ox stretched forth its leg, on which Solomon leaned, a similar action taking place in the case of the animals on each of the six steps. From the sixth step the eagles raised the king and placed him in his seat, near which a golden serpent lay coiled. When the king was seated the large eagle placed the crown on his head, the serpent uncoiled itself, and the lions and eagles moved upward to form a shade over him.

    The dove then descended, took the scroll of the Law from the Ark, and placed it on Solomon's knees. When the king sat, surrounded by the Sanhedrin , to judge the people, the wheels began to turn, and the beasts and fowls began to utter their respective cries, which frightened those who had intended to bear false testimony.

    Moreover, while Solomon was ascending the throne, the lions scattered all kinds of fragrant spices.

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    After Sennacherib's fall Hezekiah gained possession of it, but when Josiah was slain by Pharaoh Necho , the latter took it away. However, according to rabbinical accounts, Necho did not know how the mechanism worked and so accidentally struck himself with one of the lions causing him to become lame; Nebuchadnezzar, into whose possession the throne subsequently came, shared a similar fate. The throne then passed to the Persians, whose king Darius was the first to sit successfully on Solomon's throne after his death; subsequently the throne came into the possession of the Greeks and Ahasuerus.

    Masonic rituals refer to King Solomon and the building of his Temple. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Salomon. For other uses, see Solomon disambiguation. For the Ghanaian football team, see King Solomon F. For the Indian Malayalam film, see King Soloman. See also: Solomon's Temple. Main article: Queen of Sheba. See also: David: Historicity. Main article: Solomon in Islam. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.

    Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. October Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved Jewish Encyclopedia. FMC terra santa. In Singer, Isidore ; et al. The Jewish Encyclopedia. Clarity, , p. New York: Simon and Schuster. London: Ward, Lock, and Co. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers. The Bible Exposition Commentary, Volume 1.