Sunday, May 1, 2016

Solomon Decoded: Who Was King Solomon? Ecclesiastes 1:1

"Solomon's reputation for possessing extraordinary wisdom fits the Ecclesiastes profile. David recognized his son's wisdom (1 Kings 2:6 & 9) before God gave Solomon an additional measure. After he received a 'wise and understanding heart' from the Lord (1 Kings 3:7-12), Solomon gained renown for being exceedingly wise by rendering insightful decisions (1 Kings 3:16-28), a reputation that attracted 'all the kings of the earth' to his courts (1 Kings 4:34). In addition, he composed songs and proverbs  (1 Kings 4:32), activity befitting only the ablest of sages. Solomon's wisdom, like Job's wealth, surpassed the wisdom 'of all the people of the east' (1 Kings 4:30)." -The MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV Version), The Book of Ecclesiastes: Background and Setting

WHO WAS KING SOLOMON? Ecclesiastes 1:1
"The Words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem."

1) Preacher - qoheleth - n. masculine public speaker; speaker in an assembly

Unlike the modern, common use of the word "preacher" (a minister of religion), the use of the word here to identify Solomon is better defined as public speaker, particularly one who speaks to an assembly on the discourse of human affairs. (Gesenius's Lexicon) Rather than viewing Solomon as a preacher who stood in a pulpit to speak on religion, he is better viewed in a similar vein to a Greek orator. This is most likely because the matters of the holy Temple were attended to by the Levitical Priesthood while a king was concerned with ruling his kingdom.

2) Son - ben - n. masculine male child; child by characterization; member of a guild, order, or class

Solomon defined as "son" here first speaks to his relationship to David through procreation. He was indeed the biological male child of David. However, the second definition (by characterization) speaks more to Solomon's identity in light of his father's reputation and authority. He was not only David's biological child, he was also one who was obedient to David in David's role as king or lord over his kingdom. (Gesenius's Lexicon) Finally, Solomon is defined as a member of the "guild" of David, with David's kingdom being as one body (as is Christ's church - 1 Corinthians 12:12) and Solomon as a member of that body.

3) King - melek - n. masculine king; royal

Just as expected, "king" used here to identify Solomon eludes to his rule over his kingdom and his royalty. However, looking at melek more closely we find that the authority given as king here is not through an election by men, but by the appointment of Yehovah (the proper name of the one true God). (Gesenius's Lexicon) Specifically this applies to the king of Israel and of individual Israelites. (Gesenius's Lexicon) Melek is also used when referring to the worship of idols. (Gesenius's Lexicon)

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