1 Kings 1:1
David is way old now. Super old, I’ll prove it. In his old age, he can’t stay warm even covered in blankets. His servants decided that what they needed was a super-hot virgin to take care of David and warm him using her body heat. So they do. The super-hot virgin cares for and warms David. But they don’t do it. That’s my proof that David is way old: his failure to put his dick in something proves it.
One of his sons, Adonijah, decides he is going to be the next king. Adonijah is super-hot too. Like Absalom, Adonijah decides that they best way to prove he should be the next king is by running around the streets with chariots and horses and other impressive things. The parade thing works if you want to be royalty, I saw it in a Disney movie once. He won the following of some important priests, sacrificed some animals and declared himself king.
The prophet Nathan went to Bathsheba (the woman David killed a dude for) and warned her of Adonijah’s doings. Luckily for Bathsheba, she had managed to have another son after the one God killed in retribution for David killing her first husband. The child’s name was Solomon. Supposedly, David had promised Bathsheba that Solomon would be the next king of Israel. So when Nathan told her what was happening, they both went to David to ask why he was allowing Adonijah to claim his throne.
David decided to keep his word to Bathsheba. He instructed Nathan and his other priests to take Solomon and anoint him as king in view of the people. Then they were to sound the trumpets and make a loud racket about Solomon being the new king. Adonijah was in the middle of throwing a big party when the trumpets sounded. When Adonijah found out what they meant, he became scared for his life, and it totally ruined his party. Solomon had Adonijah brought to him in the palace. Adonijah bowed down to Solomon and recognized him as king, so he was allowed to go free.
And now we come to David’s death. Before he died, David told Solomon to be strong and to walk in the ways of God, keeping His laws and requirements. Then David gave Solomon a list of people he wanted dead but didn’t kill, because he was afraid God would punish him. He asks Solomon to “bring [their] gray head[s] down to the grave in blood.” By list I mean two people. Joab, for killing Amasa for no reason (I guess David still doesn’t know how Absalom died) and that guy who yelled at David to get off of his lawn. Because if you’re too chicken shit to do your own killing, you should definitely have your son do it for you. Good call, David. And he dies. Do you remember those last words that David spoke from the last book? Me either.
Adonijah, realizing that he is never going to be king, decides to ask for something else instead. He has Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, go to Solomon and ask for that super-hot chick’s (who warmed David with her own body) hand in marriage. When Bathsheba went to her son to ask the favor, Solomon told her that he would not deny her whatever she asked. But he did. And not only did he refuse to give Adonijah the super-hot chick, he killed Adonijah for good measure.
Then Solomon kicked a priest out of the priesthood, because the guy had supported Adonijah’s bid for the kingship. Then he killed Joab. In a temple no less. Joab refused to come out, so Solomon’s servant had to kill him right in front of the altar. And remember that old guy who David wanted dead? Solomon told the man to build a house in Jerusalem and never leave the city. So they old guy did that, but one day two of his slaves ran away. Since the blood-thirsty, racist laws of the old South were thousands of years away, the old man couldn’t rely on others to capture and return his slaves, so he had to go do it on his own. When Solomon discovered that the old man had left the city, he waited patiently until the old man returned with his slaves, then promptly killed him.
Solomon made peace with the Egyptians and married the pharaoh’s daughter. I thought the Israelites weren’t supposed to marry/make babies with foreigners, but… this is the king and the rules in this book change constantly, so who knows. In a dream, Solomon asks God for a “discerning heart.” Because Solomon had not asked for longevity, honor or wealth, God decided to give him all of those things, plus the discerning heart, which would help Solomon rule and judge over his people.
The discerning heart wish was pretty worthwhile. Solomon could get right to the bottom of the he said, she said bullshit. Two prostitute came to Solomon; they had each had babies within a few days of each other. One of the babies had died, and they argued back and forth in front of the king about who’s baby was alive. Solomon suggested that they cut the remaining child in half, and each woman could have a piece. One woman cried out, wanting the child given to the other woman instead of killed. The other woman seemed cool with the idea. Based on this, Solomon knew that the first woman was the true mother of the living child and gave the kid to her. We also know from this that the second woman is an idiot and awful person.
Solomon was way smart, and this was recognized by all of his subjects, as well as foreigners. He became highly sought out for his wisdom and guidance. He was also rich as hell. The Israelites were in a time of plenty, and Solomon made sure he got his cut. It was also a time of… wait for it… this doesn’t happen very often… you probably won’t believe it… peace. PEACE in Israel. Apparently, everyone in the region was tired of destroying each other and finally chilled the fuck out.
Due to the peace in the nation, Solomon decided that they finally had the time and resources to build a real temple to God. Like an impressive one. Solomon cut a deal with a king in Lebanon in order to receive the necessary lumber. And a lot of craftsmen and workers are thrown at this. A lot. Pretty much all of them.
At this point, 480 years have gone by since the Israelites settled in the promised land. The temple was about 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high. It was a quality structure, nothing could fit between the stones, and the stones were cut at the quarry. No tools were used on the stones at the actual construction site. The inside was completely covered in cedar. It must have smelled damn good. Damn good. Then he pretty much covered everything in gold. Because rich guys love to do that. And the place was incredibly decorative. Cherubim (those creepy naked flying babies) were carved into pretty much everything.It took the Israelites seven years to build the temple. Here is a picture:
Did I not tell you that the guy went nuts with the gold? It looks like Midas was trapped in there for a least a year.
If you think what Solomon built for God is super impressive, you should see what he built for himself. It took Solomon thirteen years to build his palace.
This place makes the palaces in Austria and England look adorable.
And Solomon furnished the hell out of the temple. Everything that was to be used in the temple were pretty much either gold or bronze. Once Solomon was sure that that everything you touched in the damn place would leave a nasty fingerprint, they brought the Ark thing and placed it in the temple. Then the Israelites sacrificed so many animals that they couldn’t be counted, and the spirit of God filled the temple.
Once God’s spirit filled the temple, it was time to dedicate the hell out of that temple. To kick things off, Solomon makes a really long prayer to God. Mostly, he talks about how great God is and what God should do. Apparently, you can boss God around as long you use the you’re so great sandwich method: You are the best God; if your people sin and you punish them, you should forgive them as soon as they realize what they did and apologize; you’re the bestest God ever; you should make sure my kingship lasts forever; you’re the bestest God ever times infinity. See how that works?
Next, it’s time to kill more animals. 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats to be exact. And that was just for one part of the temple. There were plenty of other sacrifices for the other parts of the temple. The people partied for seven days and nights and were then sent on their way. Hopefully with their heels in their hands and some random dude’s shirt on their backs.
After everyone else went home, God came and spoke to Solomon. He took Solomon’s bossiness in the earlier prayer more as suggestions. God talked about the promise He had made to David, that David’s line would never be broken and would forever rule over Israel. Sorta. That would happen, God said, as long as Solomon, his heirs and the people they ruled over always obeyed God. Otherwise, it’s back to slavery and sadness. Promise or no promise, God will fuck their shit up.
Solomon seems to have done little with his kingship other than force slave labor to build some impressive structures. He gave a couple of cities to the guy who had supplied the lumber. Then he gained a city that had been gifted to him and his Egyptian wife by the Pharaoh. Any foreigners living inside the borders of Israel that Solomon and his people could not “exterminate,” were forced into slavery. He also had a bunch of ships built. It doesn’t say where these ships go or what they do, but they come back with money, so let’s just assume they spend their time pillaging, like pirates.
Remember when I said that Solomon’s fame had spread pretty far outside of Israel? I wasn’t kidding. The Queen of Sheba (many agree that she was the queen of Ethiopia, but no one really knows) heard stories of Solomon’s wealth and wisdom and decided to see for herself if those stories were true. She visited Jerusalem, bringing with her a large retinue and a lot of rich stuff to give to Solomon. She was incredibly impressed with him and wanted him to mansplain pretty much everything to her. Then she gave him all of the rich stuff and went home.
Solomon continued gaining more and more wealth. Kings from surrounding lands sent him riches, and his fleet of ships came back regularly carrying everything from gold to baboons. Pretty much everything he touched was gold. Like a less-orange Trump with real hair. In fact, he was the richest king in the world at the time. The Bible double pinky swears it.
Solomon was also rich in something else, ladies. Solomon had a penchant for foreign women. He knew God had warned the Israelites not to intermarry with foreigners, because they would turn them from Him, but Solomon gives zero shits and marries whomever he wants. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And probably at least 1,000 STDs. I’m surprised his dick didn’t fall off. As it was, he began to turn from God and worshipped many of the foreign gods his wives worshipped.
Being a jealous a shit, God is not happy with Solomon. He vows to strip Solomon of his kingdom. Because of God’s love for David, God decides that instead of just taking Solomon’s kingdom from him, He will take it from his heir instead. And God will let Solomon’s son keep one tribe, that way God technically will not have broken his promise, because David’s it still king. Sort of. So God began raising enemies against Solomon. One of those enemies, Jeroboam, was a hard worker and very popular. Through a prophet, God told Jeroboam that he would be the next king over Israel. Besides the one tribe Solomon’s line would retain, everything else would go to Jeroboam. Solomon found out and tried to have Jeroboam killed, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt and hid there until Solomon died.
Which is now, Solomon is dead. No speeches, no mourning. Just dead. His son, Rehoboam succeeded him as king, at which point he will presumably lose the kingdom except for this one scrawny tribe.
Up next, more king stuff.