from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Solomon meets the Queen of Sheba ; Relief of Lorenzo Ghiberti at the bronze gates of Paradise of the Baptistery in Florence , 1425ff.

The King Solomon or Solomon ( Hebrew שְׁלֹמֹה Š ə lomoh ) was - according to the representation of the Bible - in the 10th century BC. Chr. Ruler of the united kingdom of Israel . According to the biblical record, he was the builder of the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem and the third king in Israel after Saul and his father David .


The name "Solomon" comes from the Hebrew . It derives from the root שלם šlm from which also the wordשָׁלוֹם šālôm , German 'peace' , see Shalom (Hebrew) , is derived. Accordingly, “Solomon” would mean “his peace”. The name can be understood in ( 2 Samuel 12.24  ELB ) as consolation because of the brother Solomon who died earlier. He is the one who brings peace to the family.

The root שלםhowever, it can also be translated as “provide replacement”. Here again there is a reference to the sibling who died previously. The translation would then be "his replacement".

In addition to the name “Solomon”, the newborn child in ( 2 Samuel 12.25  ELB ) was given the name Jedidja , which means “beloved of YHWH ”, through the prophet Nathan .

Biblical representation

Foreign and domestic policy

The united kingdom of Israel broke up after the death of Solomon around 926 v. Chr in the of. I. Jeroboam ruled the northern kingdom of Israel (capital: Samaria ; blue-colored area) and that of Rehoboam ruled Judah in the south (with its capital in Jerusalem ; ocher-colored area) on.

The only sources are the 1st Book of Kings , chap. 1–11, as well as the 2nd book of the Chronicle , chap. 1-9. Thereafter, Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba , who played a prominent role among the wives of the aging king, especially with regard to the question of succession. Solomon's reign is traditionally given as 40 years and dates from around 970 BC. BC to approx. 931 BC Calculated. However, there is no historical evidence outside of the Old Testament. The "40 years" is also a round number that has already been used quite often, which was mostly used in biblical narratives for the duration of "one generation". A reliable dating of his reign is therefore not possible.

Solomon is said to have essentially preserved and modernized the great empire created by his father and created a modern administration with a staff of officials. The kingdom is said to have been divided into twelve districts or districts ( 1 KingsEU ). After all, the army had also been modernized and equipped with combat vehicles, which made the standing army more important than the armed forces of the people. Overall, there are doubts about the Old Testament representations. Many stories refer to the 8th and 7th centuries BC. Chr., Which were exaggerated and anachronistic - legendary carried over into the reign of Solomon.

Solomon, who, according to Old Testament sources, refrained from enlarging the empire, is said to have expanded peaceful relations. The trade that he is said to have conducted with the peoples of the north and the south in association with the Phoenician king Hiram of Tire contradicts archaeological findings. The Phoenician trade and the associated shipbuilding in Eilat on the northeastern tip of the Red Sea , today's Gulf of Aqaba , could also not be made before the 8th century BC. Be done. The traditional three-year sea voyages to the gold country of Ophir , which "Solomon brought from there 420 quintals of gold" ( 1 Kings 9,26-28  GNB ), date back to the same period as did the Tarsis ships. The shipping freight from Ophir, explained elsewhere as "gold, silver, ivory, monkeys and peacocks", refers to ancient Egyptian trading lists.

Research therefore suggests that the ships sailed down either the Arabian coast or the African east coast. The place Ophir is therefore suspected south of the Zambezi in today's Zimbabwe . The related story of the Queen of Sheba ( 1 Kings 10.1-13  EU ) is considered an editorial supplement, which probably comes from the Assyrian epoch Sennacherib and Asarhaddon . The connections made with an Egyptian pharaoh are not documented in Egyptian sources. Trade relations with the gold-rich Tarsis ( Tartessos ) in Spain could actually have already taken place during Solomon's reign, as new excavation results in Huelva show: In the late Bronze Age settlement up to 35 hectares in size, Phoenician imports were discovered that lasted until the early 10th century v. Go back BC.

Cultural achievements

According to the Old Testament, Solomon expanded several cities in the country, but above all he let Jerusalem expand and built the first temple for YHWH (see Solomon Temple ) as well as his own palace ( 1 Kings 6-7  EU ).

He opened the empire to other cultures and religions, which gave him a great reputation among other peoples and was sometimes referred to in research as the "Solomonic Enlightenment". The adoption of ancient oriental wisdom became proverbial under the reign of Solomon.

Traditionally he is considered to be the author of the biblical writings Book of Proverbs , Ecclesiastes , Song of Songs and Book of Wisdom . In modern research, on the other hand, it is assumed that he was at most the collector or commissioner of some of the “Proverbs of Solomon”.

The judgment of King Solomon

Representation on Doge's Palace in Venice

This story is particularly well known and is anchored in common parlance as the Solomonic judgment . The judgment is quoted here from the standard translation of the Bible ( 1 Kings 3 : 16–28  EU ); quotation marks and paragraphs have been added to improve readability.

At that time two prostitutes came and stood before the king.
One said, “Please, Lord, I and this woman live in the same house, and I gave birth there in her presence. This woman gave birth on the third day after I gave birth. We were together; no stranger was with us in the house, only the two of us were there. Now this woman's son died during the night; because she had crushed him in his sleep. She got up in the middle of the night, took my child away from me while your maid slept, and put it by her side. But she laid her dead child by my side. When I got up in the morning to breastfeed my child, it was dead. But when I looked at it carefully that morning, it was not my child that I had given birth. "
Then the other woman called: "No, my child is alive and your child is dead."
But the first replied: "No, your child is dead and my child is alive."
It was brought before the king. So they quarreled before the king.
Then the king began: "This one says: 'My child is alive and your child is dead!" And the other one says:' No, your child is dead and my child is alive. '"And the king continued:" Get me a sword! ”Now he decided:“ Cut the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other! ”
But now the mother of the living child asked the king - the motherly love for her child was stirring in her : "Please, Lord, give her the living child, and don't kill it!"
But the other shouted: “It shouldn't belong to me or you. Cut it up! "
Then the king commanded: “Give him the living child, and do not kill it; because she is his mother. "
All Israel heard of the judgment that the king had pronounced, and they looked up to him with awe; for they knew that the wisdom of God was in him when he spoke rightly.

According to Hugo Greßmann , the biblical material of the Solomonic judgment is a wandering legend that first appeared in India in the Jātakas , spread to Tibet and China, was modified many times and reached the Near East on a still little explored way.

Myth and Criticism

The time of Solomon's reign is seen in the Bible as a time of peace and prosperity, characterized by the reproduction of a dream face from the beginning of his reign: When God promised him the granting of a wish, he wished for wisdom to rule his people justly to be able to, because he did not feel up to the task yet. God was pleased that he had not wished for long life, wealth or victories over his opponents, and so he granted him all of this for wisdom at that ( 1 Kings 3: 5–15  EU ). The story of the Solomonic judgment is characteristic of this attitude . Even in the New Testament , his rule is an example of a glorious life ( Mt 6.28–29  EU ), ( Lk 12.27  EU ).

However, the reign of Solomon is not viewed positively without reservation. On the one hand, pride sounds like secured peace, the temple, prosperity and worldwide reputation. On the other hand, Solomon is openly and implicitly criticized. Extreme polygamy is criticized - Solomon had a harem of 700 women and 300 concubines of non-Jewish origin, which led him to polytheism - and his excessiveness, which is considered a violation of God's commandment ( 1 Kings 11  EU ).

Solomon in Islam

The Queen of Sheba in the Shahnameh of Ferdosi

Also in the Koran , the holy scripture of Islam as another Abrahamic religion , Solomon - under the Arabic name form Sulaimān - is referred to as a prophet and also as the son of David - under the Arabic name form Dāwūd - and mentioned seventeen times (fourteen times in a verse from Mecca, three times in one from Medina). He is credited with having supernatural abilities such as speaking to animals and jinn . For example, he asked a jinn to take the throne of the Queen of Sheba to him when he had invited her into his kingdom, and had lower demons do heavy work such as building a temple , which he could do with the help of a ring, that an angel gave him, could control. According to one story, he lost this ring while tolerating idolatry in his kingdom, but was later able to regain it. He is also considered a particularly wise king. According to a tradition from Bukhari , he also passed the famous Solomonic judgment.

The historical person

As with his father David, it is controversial whether Solomon can be considered a historical person . If their empire had really been that big, there should have been significantly more traces in the cultural area from Egypt to Mesopotamia than the Tel-Dan inscription , discovered in 1993 , which mentions a "House of David". On the other hand, the text of the Bible already shows that the state of Solomon relied on the help of King Hiram of Tire , without whom neither the temple nor the sea would have been possible.

There is evidence of the historical existence of Solomon himself as well as Hiram and the Queen of Sheba . So lived around 740 BC A king Sa-la-ma / -nu in Moab , a king Ahiram in Tire and an Arab queen with the syllable Za-bi-be (as the letter ZBB = Zabba / Sabba). This Arab queen is also said to have brought "gifts" in the form of tribute payments to an Assyrian king. Inscriptions by the Assyrian king Tiglat-Pilnessar describe this in detail.

Apocryphal writings

In addition to the biblical writings mentioned, a number of other apocryphal works are ascribed to Solomon : The Greek and Syrian traditions know the Psalms Solomos , a collection of apocryphal psalms of Jewish origin from the 1st century BC. And the Oden Solomos , a collection of Christian songs and prayers written around 200 AD.

The Gnostic Apocalypse of Adam , presumably dated to the 1st or 2nd century, mentions a legend according to which Solomon sent an army of demons in search of a virgin who had fled from him. The traditions about Solomon as the ruler of demons are developed in Solomon's testament , also a Gnostic script, and can be found in numerous other folk traditions in Judaism and Islam.


In the Talmud , the Koran and other later traditions, many reports can be found on Solomon. The Qur'an says that King Solomon ruled over the jinn , who procured treasures for him from the sea and even built the temple of Quds (i.e. Jerusalem). He had a talisman with the true name of God on it and with which he could rule everything. Allah is also said to have given him power over animals, and he is said to have spoken the language of birds.

In the oriental popular belief, namely in the Arabian Nights , Solomon (Sulaiman, Soliman, Suleyman ) is represented as the first well-known king who serves Allah , as the epitome of wisdom, who commands people, animals and spirits and who locks the jinn in bottles and even for a short time Iblis , the devil himself, appoints the jinn to be overseer. There he is also referred to as "Lord of Ifrit " (spirits of the dead). Suleyman was therefore a very popular given name, which was also used by several caliphs and sultans.

For the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church - and thus also for the Rastafarian religion of Jamaica - Solomon plays a special role, since they consider the old Ethiopian emperors to be descendants of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

In the Middle Ages, Solomon was next to David as the ideal of a Christian s ruler . The former stood for the just, the latter for the godly, warlike king . For example, Charles IV placed his rule under the model of the two. From the beginning (speech of his ambassadors in November 1346 in the Papal Palace in Avignon ) to the end (titled as the second Solomon in the land book of Emperor Charles IV , written down in 1376) this shaped his term as Roman-German king .

Through the construction of the temple, Solomon also has a special symbolic meaning for Freemasonry .

Representations in the fine arts

Solomon on the lion throne (below). Illumination in the Mirror of Salvation , 1360

In Christian iconography , Solomon is represented with his royal attributes: crown, scepter, sword. As a single figure he often stands in the row of Old Testament kings and prophets, especially next to David, but also with the ancestors of Christ in the root of Jesse . As a virtue personification, Solomon stands for wisdom and justice; in other contexts its appearance is typologically conditioned. The sense of the figure or scene must always be interpreted in relation to the context.

Solomon's throne

His precious, six-tiered throne flanked by 12 lions is seldom depicted with the seated king himself; more often in depictions of the Madonna on the lion throne these elements symbolize the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies in salvation history.

The Judgment of Solomon

is probably the most popular and most frequent representation among the numerous scenic motifs from the life of Solomon: It is often found as an exemplary image of justice in places of jurisdiction:

  • Sculptures at Doge's Palace, Venice
  • Bremen, Upper Town Hall, mural by Bartholomäus Bruyn , 1532: ( picture )
  • Strasbourg Cathedral, south portal, (renewed in the 19th century): ( picture )

Visit of the Queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba finds the future cross beam (left half of the picture), The Queen of Sheba before Solomon (right). Fresco by Piero della Francesca in San Francesco at Arezzo , 1460

The depiction of the Queen paying homage to Solomon has been included in Christian iconography because it was typologically related to the Three Wise Men worshiping the Infant Jesus ( Klosterneuburg Altar ). Medieval legends also assign it a place in the prehistory of the discovery of the cross : on the way to Solomon, she recognizes a beam placed over a stream as the future wood of the cross.

Literature, music, film

In Western culture, the subject matter of the Solomonic Judgment also preoccupied poets and composers ( oratorios, for example, by Giacomo Carissimi , Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Georg Friedrich Handel , the melodrama by Louis-Charles Caigniez and the opera by Alexander Zemlinsky ). In the German-speaking area, the two best-known adaptations of the fable come from the investigation of Bertolt Brecht's right-wing mother . In the story The Augsburger Kreidekreis and in the play The Caucasian Chalk Circle , however, Brecht resorted to non-biblical tradition.

See also


Web links

Commons : Solomon  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. In the older literature still connected with Siamun . However, recent studies have shown that Scheschonq I was the first to carry out the Palestinian campaign. Most of the mentioned ancient Egyptian connections only arose in an editorial post-processing.
  2. Pictures: Queen of Sheba before Solomon and the Three Wise Men

Individual evidence

  1. Art. Solomon, In: WiBiLex , as of February 13, 2020.
  2. Art. שְׁלֹמֹה, In: Gesenius, 18th ed. 2013 , p. 1370
  3. Art. Solomon, In: WiBiLex , as of February 13, 2020.
  4. Art. Jedidja, In: WiBiLex , as of: September 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Alfredo Mederos Martin: La cronología de Huelva fenicia. In: AM Arruda (ed.): Fenícios e púnicos, por terra e mar. Actas do VI Congresso Internacional de Estudos Fenícios e Púnicos (Facultade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, 25 de Setembro a 1 de Outubro de 2005). Lisbon 2013, pp. 482–495. PDF version at
  6. Cf. Hugo Gressmann: The Solomon judgment. In: Deutsche Rundschau 130 (1907), pp. 212–228.
  7. Abū Isḥāq Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm aṯ-Ṯaʿlabī: Qiṣaṣ al-anbiyāʾ or ʿArāʾis al-maǧālis. Islamic stories from prophets and men of God. Translated and commented by Heribert Busse. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2006, ISBN 3-447-05266-X , Volume 9, p. 318.
  8. ^ Kurt Galling: Text book on the history of Israel. Verlag JCB Mohr, Tübingen 1950, p. 59.
  9. ^ Kurt Galling: Text book on the history of Israel. Verlag JCB Mohr, Tübingen 1950, p. 25.
  10. Heinz-Dieter Heimann : “Masterpiece” of an “arsonist”? Charles IV. Acquisition of the Mark Brandenburg - yesterday and today . In: Peter Knüvener, Jan Richter, Kurt Winkler for House of Brandenburg-Prussian History (eds.): Karl IV. - An emperor in Brandenburg . Book for the exhibition of the same name by the House of Brandenburg-Prussian History September 16, 2016 - January 22, 2017. 1st edition, Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-945256-62-6 , "Imago imperatoris", P. 20.
predecessor Office successor
David King of United Israel
970? until 931 BC Chr.
Rehoboam (southern Reich of Judah)
Jeroboam I (northern Reich of Israel)