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Solomon Builds the Temple

To Remember: Solomon followed God's plan

Lesson 1 Kings 5-9

• David prepared Solomon by making plans, getting materials, and explaining the job to
• Solomon built the temple exactly as God had designed it.
• God was pleased and filled the temple with his presence.
o Solomon acknowledges that God doesn't need a place to live. 1 Kings 8:27
• Read the conditions of God's promise. 1 Kings 9:4-8

Sing: God is so Good

Activity: Build a model temple from a shoebox. Use gold paper and have students draw
windows for the sides, columns and a doorway for the front, etc. Have a diagram for them to go

True or False

1. David wasn't allowed to build the temple because he displeased God. F

2. Solomon made changes to God's design. F
3. God can only be one place at a time. F
4. Israel's success depended upon their faithfulness. T
5. God dwells with us now. T

Review Questions for gameboard

linguistic questions

1. Define temple.
2. Name 2 kings of Israel in this lesson.
3. Recite the memory verse.

activity questions

1. Draw a sketch of the temple.

2. Act out a priest's job in the temple.
3. Find Jerusalem on a map.

emotion questions
1. How did Solomon feel when God entered the temple?
2. What did the people feel when they saw it's beauty?
3. How did God feel when Solomon obeyed his commands?

application questions

1. Does God need a physical home?

2. Is it important for us to follow God's blueprint?
3. What must we do for God to live with us?

fact questions

1. Who went into the temple?

2. How did God show he would dwell in the temple?
3. Who sent wood to build the temple?

review questions

1. Why wasn't David allowed to build the temple?

2. What was Israel's success based upon?
3. What was the purpose of the sacrifices?
Solomon builds a church temple 1st Kings 6:1-14; 8:22-66
Have you ever started a project and it took a lot of time. Many people start projects
and never finish them. Let’s see what Solomon does when God gives him a special
Please note:This portion of the lesson is given to help in teaching the
lesson. Please read through the story and read it in the Bible. Do NOT
read from this piece of paper. Instead, make a note sheet and place it next
to the story in the Bible.
We have had many lessons on King David. David loved God and tried to live for
Him. One thing David really wanted to do was build a beautiful temple church for God.
He spent much time designing a wonderful building for God.
God, however, told David that he would not be the one to build the temple. God
told David that his son, who would be the next king, would build the temple for Him.
David gave the plans for the building to his son, Solomon. Last week we learned
how Solomon asked for wisdom and God was pleased with his request.
Solomon started building the temple for God four years after he became king. It
took them seven years to complete the amazing temple. Solomon listened to God and built
it exactly like God wanted.
The temple was rectangular and had 3 areas or rooms. The first area was like a
porch. The next area was an area where they worshiped God. The third area was a private
area called the “Holy of Holies.” This was where they thought God would “stay.”
The special holy room was lined with beautiful wood with gold over it. Carved angels
called cherubim were there also.
See how Solomon finished a task that God asked him to do
Learn how we must respect God and respect His church
Understand how God made a way for us to come to Heaven
Work for the Lord. Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. Colossians 3:23
Welcome Time
Bible Story
Teachers: This new unit is designed to help your children understand some of the stories in the Old
PLEASE remember always to include the New Testament verses—this helps each child see how God’s
ultimate plan was fulfilled in Christ!
Younger Verse
Older Verse
Lesson Goals
Life of Christ
Solomon used the finest woods and materials to build the temple. He also used the
best craftsmen to build the temple. In fact, he would not allow them to use hammers to build
the temple so that it would be quiet and respectful for God.
After the temple was built, Solomon asked the priests to come to dedicate the temple
to God. The priests brought the special box called the ark of the covenant. It was important
to God’s people. It contained the ten commandments from Moses’ time and God’s presence
was very strong wherever the box traveled.
When the box was placed in the temple, a big cloud filled the temple and Solomon
rejoiced that God’s presence was there. They praised the Lord and thanked Him for keeping
His promise to His people.
Solomon kneeled before the altar and prayed to God. He praised God for being God
and thanked Him for always keeping His promises. After that, they had a huge party to celebrate.
It lasted 14 days! It was a special time to thank God and be joyful. Everyone was
happy and glad for all the things that God had done.
Solomon started and finished a special project for God. In fact, he finished God’s
temple before he started his own palace! When we start a project, it is important for us to finish
it. Sometimes it is easy to get sidetracked or give excuses why it is hard. God wants us to
do our best like Solomon and complete a task. Three times in chapter 6 it mentions that
Solomon completed the temple. That was important. We must also complete things that we
We talked about a special place for God called the “holy of holies.” Back in Solomon’s
time, God was separated from His people. Priests took the people’s requests to God.
Something happened to change all this. When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain separating
the “holy of holies” was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51). God opened a way
for us to come to Him. He did this through His Son, Jesus. Jesus died on a cross for all the
wrong things we have done. If we come to Him and ask forgiveness for our wrongs, He will
clean us and come into our lives. Because Jesus came back to life 3 days later, we know that
with His help, we can live for Him and one day go to Heaven. Would you like to go to
Heaven? See us to help you know how to ask Jesus into your heart.
Use activities to help the kids learn values and truths from this lesson.
Ask the kids what kind of ways they can work for God not people. There should
be lots of answers!
Ask God to help us complete tasks for Him and do things His way. Ask Him to
help us always do our best.
Share snacks together and clean up!
Learning Activities
Memory Verse
Prayer Time
Snack Time/CleanUp
Planning for Sept. 19th
Elijah and the ravens
1 Kings 17:1-6
Preschool Lesson
Solomon builds a temple church
(Teachers: bring stackable blocks or Legos to use today)
Solomon was a special king who loved God very much. He was King David’s son.
promised King David that his son would build a special temple or church for God.
David spent much time drawing a special building for God. It would be shaped like
rectangle (show them what a rectangle looks like) with 3 rooms in it. It had special
from far away and there was gold all around the wood in the special room for God.
Solomon took 7 years to build this beautiful temple for God. (Count to 7) It was so
When it was finished, Solomon had a special time to praise and thank God for
being so
good to His people. They also had a special celebration or party to celebrate the
temple of God.
Solomon started and finished a special project for God. He did his best and made
temple the most beautiful thing in the kingdom. God was pleased with Solomon.
God loves us and cares for us like He loved Solomon. He wants us to love Him and
for others too.
Pray and ask God to help us love Him and love others.
Sing the song to the tune of “This is the way we wash our clothes.” Use hand
motions like
hammering etc.
This is the way we build the church,
build the church, build the church.
This is the way we build the church,
We build the church of God.
Life of Christ
Hands-On Activities
Solomon builds the temple
Use sugar cubes, marshmallows, or leftover candy to design a temple. You may
want to do
this as a project together or let each child design a temple separately.
Bring boxes to show the 3 areas of the temple. Let the kids draw on the sides how
imagine the temple looked.
Show the importance of completing a task. Bring a project for the kids to do. It
may be a
craft project or even a baking project. Talk about what would happen if the class
did not finish
the task (craft not finished; cake tasted funny or not completely cooked). Share
how we
must finish tasks and do our best job (not a halfway job). This is a great object
Draw a picture of what you think the temple looked like. Encourage the kids to be
Praise them for their creativity and imagination.
Great Prayers of the Bible: Solomon - Prayer for Wisdom
What one thing would you ask of God if you knew absolutely that it would not be refused?
Solomon had such a choice. After David died he became King over Israel and while he was at a
place called Gibeon the Lord appeared to him in a dream during the night. "God said; 'Ask!
What shall I give you?'" (I Kings 3:5) WOW! This is better than any genie in a bottle wish -
this is the God who made heaven and earth saying he could have any request without putting
conditions on it.

Solomon's answer qualifies it for inclusion as a "Great Prayer of the Bible." Here is what he
prayed for: "Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people,
that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of
Yours?" (I Kings 3:9) Solomon was asking for wisdom to be a good king. The Bible says; "The
speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.&quot (Verse 10) Now let's look
at this a little deeper by putting ourselves in two people's shoes: Solomon's and God's. First let's
try to get inside Solomon's moccasins. We have some clues into Solomon's heart because before
he made his request to God he revealed three things about what he was thinking.

Compared to David
He compared himself to his father David. Talk about having big shoes to fill! Under David the
kingdom was firmly established and all of Israel's enemies were subdued. God called David a
man after his own heart. This must have been weighing heavily upon Solomon because he says
to God; "You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked
before You in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have
continued this great kindness for him, and you have given him a son to sit on his throne, as
it is this day." (Verse 6)

In other words, Solomon wonders if God is still simply showing kindness to his father David by
placing his son on the throne. He feels under David's shadow. He has not yet felt or taken on the
authority of the kingdom in his own right.

Compared to a child
Next Solomon expresses to God how he views himself. He says; "I am a little child; I do not
know how to go out or come in." (Verse 7) When Solomon ascended the throne he was fully an
adult but he doesn't feel that way; he doesn't feel up to the job. His statement is quite a humble
admission of his inexperience and misgivings about his maturity to rule.

Compared to the people

Finally Solomon thinks about who he is going to rule over and he feels deeply inadequate and
intimidated. He says; "And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have
chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted."(Verse 8) He is saying;
"Hey, these are God's chosen people, who do I think I am that I could possibly be king over

When Solomon went to bed that night in Gibeon all these issues were no doubt weighing heavily
on his mind and had been since he first ascended the throne. Then God met him in a dream that
reflected the new king's struggling heart. It is often the case that we dream about whatever things
deeply bother us but in this instance God initiated the dream. Why did the Lord give Solomon
Carte Blanc to request anything of him?

Now it is time to slip into God's moccasins but that can be a dangerous thing to do. Who can
really know the mind of God? So with the understanding that I do not claim to be able to speak
for God nor do I desire to put words in his mouth I will tell you what I think. I think God gave
Solomon the option to ask anything because he knew he could trust him. Jesus said; "For out of
the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."(Matthew 12:34b) God saw in Solomon a heart
that was humble, not arrogant about running the whole show. He saw a man who felt he was not
equipped to be king yet who desperately wanted to be a good ruler like his father David.

A second thing is that while God knew Solomon's heart, maybe Solomon didn't. Really good
questions like the one God asked can expose our true self. Sometimes what we see in our own
heart can give us confidence to take on big challenges or it may show us how shallow we are and
in need of a new heart. Yet another thought is that God desired to honor the choice of the new
king. No matter what Solomon would ask for; nothing was too big for God. Just like a proud
parent that says to their child graduating from college; "What do you want for graduation?" If
they are wealthy they might say; "I'll get you anything you want; I'm so proud of you."

The Lord was so pleased with Solomon's request that he said; "See, I have given you a wise
and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall
any like you arise after you." (Verse 12) Solomon became the wisest man that ever lived. But
that isn't all. God told him that because he had asked for wisdom instead of long life, riches or
the life of his enemies; "I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and
honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days." (Verse 13)

What would you ask?

You may now take off those divine moccasins and put back on your own. In the beginning of
this article I asked what one thing you would request of God if you knew for sure that it would
not be refused. Have you been thinking that over? Do you think your petition would make it as
one of the great prayers of the Bible? Don't pretend with God and say something you think
sounds good or super spiritual; neither should you assume that you don't have anything
significant enough to ask because you aren't a King. This is about the heart. What is really in
your heart? Solomon's prayer was a great one because his heart was right when he prayed it.
Listen to God's promise for those who have such hearts:
"I dwell in the high and holy place; With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To
revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isaiah 57:15

Even though your prayer can no longer be included in the Bible it can be a great one in God's
eyes. And it may surprise you in the end that God gives you what you ask for - and maybe even
all that you did not ask. Just like Solomon!

Solomon's father was David, king of the united Kingdom of Israel with Bathsheba. Solomon had
many siblings including Amnon, who was killed on the order of their half-brother, Absalom, for
raping Absalom's sister, Tamar. (2 Samuel 13:1-29) Absalom was killed in the Battle of Ephraim
Wood, and Adonijah, who had tried to usurp the throne, was put to death. (1 Kings 2:13-25)

[edit] Wives

Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. The wives are described as
foreign princesses, including Pharaoh's daughter and women of Moab, Ammon, Sidon and of the
Hittites. These wives are depicted as leading Solomon astray.[3] The only wife that is mentioned
by name is Naamah, who is described as the Ammonite.[4] She was the mother of Solomon's
successor, Rehoboam.

[edit] Succession

Solomon became king after the death of his father David. According to the biblical First Book of
Kings, when David was " old and advanced in years" "he could not get warm." [5] "So they
sought for a beautiful young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the
Shunammite, and brought her to the king."[5]

While David was in this state Adonijah, David's fourth son, acted to have himself declared king,
he being heir-apparent to the throne after the death of his elder brothers Amnon and Absalom.
But Bathsheba, a wife of David and Solomon's mother, along with the prophet Nathan induced
David to proclaim Solomon king. Adonijah fled and took refuge at the altar, and received pardon
for his conduct from Solomon on the condition that he show himself "a worthy man." (1 Kings

Adonijah asked to marry Abishag the Shunammite, but Solomon denied authorization for such
an engagement, although Bathsheba now pleaded on Adonijah's behalf. He was then seized and
put to death (1 Kings 2:13-25). As made clear in the earlier story of Absalom's rebellion, to
possess the royal harem was in this society tantamount to claiming the throne;[6] evidently[says who?],
this applied even to a woman who had shared the bed of a king advanced in age.

David's general Joab was killed, in accord with David's deathbed request to Solomon, because he
had killed generals Abner and Amasa during a peace (2 Samuel 20:8-13; 1 Kings 2:5). David's
priest Abiathar was exiled by Solomon because he had sided with rival Adonijah. Abiathar is a
descendent of Eli, which has important prophetic significance. (1 Kings 2:27) [7] Shimei was
confined to Jerusalem and killed three years later, when he went to Gath to retrieve some
runaway servants, in part because he had cursed David when Absalom, David's son, rebelled
against David. (1 Kings 2:1-46) [8]
Artist's depiction of Solomon's court (Ingobertus, c. 880.)

[edit] Wisdom

One of the qualities most ascribed to Solomon is his wisdom. Solomon prays:

"Give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people and to know good and evil."1
Kings 3:9 [9]

"So God said to him, 'Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself,
nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will
do what you have asked...'" (1 Kings 3:11-12)[9] The Hebrew Bible also states that: "The whole
world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart." (1 Kings
10:24) [10]

In one account, known as the Judgment of Solomon, two women came before Solomon to
resolve a quarrel about which was the true mother of a baby. One mother had her baby die in the
night after rolling over it in her sleep and crushing it; each claims the surviving child as her own.
When Solomon suggests dividing the living child in two with a sword, the true mother is
revealed to him because she is willing to give up her child to the lying woman, as heartbreaking
a decision as it is. Solomon then declares the woman who shows compassion to be the true
mother, and gives the baby back to her.

[edit] Relationship with Queen of Sheba

Main article: Queen of Sheba
Renaissance relief of the Queen of Sheba meeting Solomon - gate of Florence

King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, painting by Piero della Francesca

In a brief, unelaborated, and enigmatic passage, the Hebrew Bible describes how the fame of
Solomon's wisdom and wealth spread far and wide, so much so that the queen of Sheba decided
that she should meet him. The queen is described as visiting with a number of gifts including
gold and rare jewels to decorate the temple, and also bringing with her a number of riddles.
When Solomon gave her "all her desire, whatsoever she asked," she left satisfied (1 Kings

Whether the passage is simply to provide a brief token foreign witness of Solomon's wealth and
wisdom, or whether there is meant to be something more significant to the queen's visit and her
riddles is unknown; nevertheless the visit of the Queen of Sheba has become the subject of
numerous stories.

Sheba is typically identified as Saba, a nation once spanning the Red Sea on the coasts of what
are now Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen, in Arabia Felix. In a Rabbinical account (e.g.
Targum Sheni), Solomon was accustomed to ordering the living creatures of the world to dance
before him (Rabbinical accounts say that Solomon had been given control over all living things
by God), but one day upon discovering that the mountain-cock or hoopoe (the Hebrew name for
the creature is Shade) was absent, he summoned it to him, and the bird told him that it had been
searching for somewhere new.

The bird had discovered a land in the east, exceedingly rich in gold, silver, and plants, whose
capital was called Kitor and whose ruler was the Queen of Sheba, and the bird, on its own
advice, was sent by Solomon to request the queen's immediate attendance at Solomon's court.

In an Ethiopian account (Kebra Nagast) it is maintained that the Queen of Sheba had sexual
relations with King Solomon (of which the Biblical and Quranic accounts give no hint) and gave
birth by the Mai Bella stream in the province of Hamasien, Eritrea. The Ethiopian tradition has a
detailed account of the affair. (See Queen of Sheba)

The child was a son who went on to become Menelik I, King of Axum, and founded a dynasty
that would reign in the eventual stalwart Christian Empire of Ethiopia for 2900+ years (less one
usurpation episode and interval of ca. 133 years until a "legitimate" male heir regained the
crown) until Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974. Menelik was said to be a practicing Jew,
had been gifted with a replica Ark of the Covenant by King Solomon, but moreover, the original
was switched and went to Axum with him and his mother, and is still there, guarded by a single
priest charged with caring for the artifact as his life's task.

The claim of such a lineage and of possession of the Ark has been an important source of
legitimacy and prestige for the Ethiopian monarchy throughout the many centuries of its
existence, and had important and lasting effects on Ethiopian culture as a whole. The Ethiopian
government and church deny all requests to view the alleged ark.[11]

Some classical-era Rabbis, attacking Solomon's moral character, have claimed instead that the
child was an ancestor of Nebuchadnezzar II, who destroyed Solomon's temple some 300 years

[edit] Solomon's sins

[edit] Islamic Perspective

In contrast to the Judeo-Christian tradition (taken from the books of Kings and Chronicles) that
Solomon (Sulayman) fell into idolatry in his declining years, Islam denies that any such event
took place, nor that Solomon ever turned away from God in any way prior to his death and views
him as famed throughout the lands for his wisdom and fair judgments. King Solomon was also a
prophet and a messenger from God. He was the youngest son of the Prophet David (Dawud).
King Solomon was a talented man with versatile gifts, and so his father had made him his heir.
After the death of Dawud he ascended the throne of Judia on account of his sagacity, power of
judgement, right understanding, and spiritual insight. The Holy Qur'an says: "And We verily
gave knowledge to Dawud and Sulayman and they said: praise be to Allah Who has preferred us
above many of his believing servants". (27: I5)

[edit] Jewish Perspective

King Solomon sinned by acquiring too many 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. Solomon gradually lost
more and more prestige until he became a commoner. Some say he regained his status while
others say he did not. [13]
[edit] Christian Perspective

According to 1 Kings 11:4 Solomon's "wives turned his heart after other gods", their own
national deities, to whom Solomon built temples, thus incurring divine anger and retribution in
the form of the division of the kingdom after Solomon's death. (1 Kings 11:9-13)

1 Kings 11 describes Solomon's descent into idolatry, particularly his turning after Ashtoreth, the
goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites. In Deuteronomy
17:16-17, a king is commanded not to multiply horses or wives, neither greatly multiply to
himself gold or silver. Solomon sins in all three of these areas. Solomon collects 666 talents of
gold each year, (1 Kings 10:14) a huge amount of money for a small nation like Israel. Solomon
gathers a large number of horses and chariots and even brings in horses from Egypt. Just as
Deuteronomy 17 warns, collecting horses and chariots takes Israel back to Egypt. Finally,
Solomon marries foreign women, and these women turn Solomon to other gods.

According to 1 Kings 11:9-13, it was because of these sins that "the Lord punishes Solomon by
tearing the kingdom in two":[2]

And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the
God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing,
that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the LORD commanded.
Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, "Since this has been your practice and you have not kept
my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from
you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your
days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom,
but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of
Jerusalem that I have chosen.

[edit] Solomon's enemies

Near the end of his life Solomon was forced to contend with several enemies including Hadad of
Edom, Rezon of Zobah, and one of his officials named Jeroboam who was from the tribe of
[edit] Death, succession of Rehoboam, and kingdom division

The United Monarchy breaks up, with Jeroboam ruling over the northern Kingdom of
Israel (blue on the map) and Rehoboam ruling the Kingdom of Judah to the south.

According to the Hebrew Bible and historical research, Solomon died of natural causes[14] at
around 80 years of age. Upon Solomon's death, his son, Rehoboam, succeeded him as king.
However, ten of the Tribes of Israel refused to accept him as king, causing the United Monarchy
to split and form the northern Kingdom of Israel ruled by Jeroboam, while Rehoboam continued
to reign in the southern Kingdom of Judah.

[edit] Building and other works

Solomon and the plan for the First Temple, illustration from a Bible card published
by the Providence Lithograph Company

A sketch of Solomon's Temple, based on descriptions in the Scriptures.

During Solomon's long reign of 40 years, the Israelite monarchy, according to the Bible, gained
its highest splendour and wealth. In a single year, according to 1 Kings 10:14, Solomon collected
tribute amounting to 666 talents of gold (39,960 pounds).

Solomon is described as surrounding himself with all the luxuries and the external grandeur of an
Eastern monarch, and his government prospered. He entered into an alliance with Hiram I, king
of Tyre, who in many ways greatly assisted him in his numerous undertakings. For some years
before his death, David was engaged in collecting materials for building a temple in Jerusalem as
a permanent abode for the Ark of the Covenant. Solomon is described as completing its
construction, with the help of an architect, also named Hiram, and other materials, sent from
King Hiram of Tyre.

After the completion of the temple, Solomon is described as erecting many other buildings of
importance in Jerusalem; for the long space of thirteen years he was engaged in the erection of a
royal palace on Ophel (a hilly promontory in central Jerusalem); Solomon also constructed great
works for the purpose of securing a plentiful supply of water for the city, and the Millo
(Septuagint, Acra) for the defense of the city. However, excavations of Jerusalem have shown a
distinct lack of monumental architecture from the era, and remains of neither the Temple nor
Solomon's palace have been found. However, a number of significant but politically sensitive
areas have not been extensively excavated, including the site where the Temple is traditionally
said to have been located.

Solomon is also described as rebuilding major cities elsewhere in Israel, creating the port of
Ezion-Geber, and constructing Tadmor in the wilderness as a commercial depot and military
outpost. Solomon is additionally described as having amassed a thousand and four hundred
chariots and twelve thousand horsemen. Though the location of Solomon's port of Ezion-Geber
is known, no remains have ever been found. More archaeological success has been achieved with
the major cities Solomon is said to have strengthened or rebuilt (for example, Hazor, Megiddo
and Gezer — 1 Kings 9:15); these all have substantial ancient remains, including impressive six-
chambered gates, and ashlar palaces, as well as trough-like structures outside buildings that early
archaeologists have identified as the stables for Solomon's horses.

According to the Bible, during Solomon's reign Israel enjoyed great commercial prosperity, with
extensive traffic being carried on by land with Tyre, Egypt, and Arabia, and by sea with Tarshish
(Spain), Ophir, and South India.

[edit] Apocryphal texts

Rabbinical tradition attributes the Wisdom of Solomon to Solomon although this book was
probably written in the 2nd century BC. 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 Jewish historian Eupolemus, who wrote about 157 BC, included copies of
apocryphal letters exchanged between Solomon and the kings of Egypt and Tyre.

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 Gnostic work called the Testament of Solomon with its elaborate and grotesque

[edit] Historical figure

Historical evidence of King Solomon, independent of the biblical accounts, is scarce. Nothing
indisputably of Solomon's reign has been found. Archaeological excavations at Hazor, Megiddo,
Beit Shean and Gezer have uncovered structures that Israeli archaeologists Yigael Yadin, Amnon
Ben-Tor, Amihai Mazar and US Professor William G. Dever have argued all belong to his reign
and all were simultaneously destroyed by the Shishaq expedition.[16] Others, such as Israel
Finkelstein and Neil Silberman, argue that these structures should be dated to the Omride period,
more than a century after Solomon's reign,[17] although they do believe that David and Solomon
were actual kings in the region.[18][19] Excavations on these sites are ongoing.

[edit] Archaeological evidence

In February 2010 archaeologist Eilat Mazar announced the excavation of what she believes is a
10th-century city wall and royal structure that she suggests, because of writing in Hebrew, to
corroborate the existence of a royal palace and fortified capital city under control of a Hebrew
king in Jerusalem in the 10th-century BC. Not all archaeologists believe that there was a strong
state at that time, and archaeologist Aren Maeir is dubious about Mazar's dating [20][21] In 2008,
excavations at Khirbat en-Nahas in southern Jordan revealed ancient copper mines and related
industrial remains that were radiocarbon-dated to the 10th century BC, the chronological time of
Solomon. This discovery raised the question of whether the mines were part of Solomon's

Solomon's Wealth and Wisdom, as in 1 Kings 3:12-13, illustration from a Bible card
published 1896 by the Providence Lithograph Company.

[edit] Biblical account criticism

According to Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman, authors of The Bible Unearthed:
Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts,[24] at the time of
the Davidic and Solomonic kingdoms, Jerusalem may have been unpopulated, or at most
populated by only a few hundred residents, leading to the conclusion that this is insufficient for
an empire stretching from the Euphrates to Eilath. According to The Bible Unearthed,
archaeological evidence also suggests that the kingdom of Israel at the time of Solomon was
little more than a small city state, and thus the collection of 666 talents of gold (which Solomon
received per year) of tribute to be an implausibly large amount of money. Although both
Finkelstein and Silberman do accept that David and Solomon were real kings of Judah about the
10th century BC,[25] they write that the earliest independent reference to the Kingdom of Israel is
about 890 BC, whilst for that of Judah is about 750 BC. They suggest that due to religious
prejudice, later writers (i.e., the Biblical authors) 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 godly rulers, i.e., monotheist, and devotees of YHWH.
Some go further like the biblical minimalists, notably Thomas L. Thompson, who state that
Jerusalem only became a city and capable of acting as a state capital in the middle of the seventh
These views are strongly criticized by William G. Dever,[27] Helga Weippert, Amihai Mazar and
Amnon Ben-Tor.

André Lemaire states in Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the
Temple[28] that the principal points of the biblical tradition of Solomon are generally trustworthy,
as does Kenneth Kitchen, who argues that Solomon ruled over a comparatively wealthy "mini-
empire", rather than a small city-state, and considers this sum of 666 talents of gold to be a rather
modest amount of money. Mr. Kitchen calculates that over a 30 year period such a kingdom
might have accumulated from this up to 500 tons of gold, which is small when compared to other
examples, such as the 1,180 tons of gold that Alexander the Great took from Susa.[29] Likewise,
the magnitude of Solomon's temple is considered excessively large by some, for example,
Finkelstein; however, others, such as Kenneth Kitchen,[30] consider it a reasonable and typically
sized structure for the region at the time.

William G. 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".[31]

The archaeological remains that are still considered to actually 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 Philistines having
been significantly more sophisticated. However there is a lack of physical evidence of its
existence, despite some archaeological work in the area.[17] This is not unexpected as the area was
devastated by the Babylonians, then rebuilt and destroyed several times.[30] Also it should be
noted that little archaeological excavation has been conducted around the area known as the
Temple Mount; in what is thought to be the foundation of Solomon's Temple as attempts to do so
are met with protest from adherents to the Muslim faith.[32]

From a critical point of view, Solomon's building of a temple for YHWH should not be seen as
an act resulting from particular devotion to YHWH, since Solomon is also described as erecting
places of worship for a number of other deities[12] (1 Kings 11:4). Solomon's apparent initial
devotion to YHWH appearing in for example his dedication prayer (1 Kings 8:14-66) are seen by
some textual scholars as a product of a much later writer, Solomon being credited with the views
only after Jerusalem had actually become the religious centre of the kingdom (rather than, for
example, Shiloh, or Bethel). Some textual scholars consider the authorship of passages such as
these in the Books of Kings to be separate from the remainder of the text, and consider these
passages to be probably the result of the Deuteronomist.[33] Such views have been challenged by
other textual scholars who maintain that there are evidences that these passages in Kings are
derived from official court records from the time of Solomon and from other contemporaneous
writings that were incorporated into the canonical books of Kings.[34][35][36]

[edit] Chronological notes

Main article: Edwin R. Thiele

Biblical scholars who believe in a historical Solomon argue that his regnal dates can be derived
by independent methods: The division of the kingdom following Solomon's death occurred at
some time in the year beginning in Nisan (in the spring) of 931 BC, as argued by Edwin Thiele,
so that his fourth year would have begun in Tishri (in the fall) of 968/967 BC. Solomon's
fourth year, in which Temple construction allegedly began, is calculated by modern scholars[38][39]
from the Tyrian king list of Menander as the year 968 BC without the use of biblical texts.
Edward Lipinski suggests that the length of Solomon's reign, which is unknown, would have
likely been 20 to 25 years starting ca. 956/5 or 951/0,[41] although the Hebrew Bible claims that
he reigned for forty years (1 Kings 11:42).

[edit] Solomon's Pools

Main article: Solomon's Pools

View inside Roman aqueduct from Solomon's Pools to Jerusalem

Solomon's Pools are located near the town of al-Khader about 5 miles southwest of Bethlehem.
They are named after the Biblical king, probably because of his mention in Ecclesiastes 2.6, that
"I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees".[42] However, more recent
evidence suggests the pools were probably the work of Herod the Great to provide source water
for the aqueduct built to supply water to Bethlehem and Jerusalem where it terminated under the
Temple Mount. These source pools consist of three open cisterns, each at different elevations,
fed from an underground spring. The total water capacity is about 3 million gallons (about 10
million liters).[43]

[edit] Jewish scriptures

King Solomon is one of the central Biblical figures in Jewish heritage that have lasting religious,
national and political aspects. As the constructor of the First Temple in Jerusalem and last ruler
of the united Kingdom of Israel before its division into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the
southern Kingdom of Judah, Solomon is associated with the peak "golden age" of the
independent Kingdom of Israel as well as a source of judicial and religious wisdom. According
to Jewish tradition, King Solomon wrote three books of the Bible:

• Mishlei (Book of Proverbs), a collection of fables and wisdom of life

• Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), a book of contemplation and his self reflection.
• Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs), a chronicle of erotic love (there are
contrasting opinions whether its subject is a woman or God).
The Hebrew word "To Solomon" (which can also be translated as "by Solomon") appears in the
title of two hymns in the book of Psalms (Tehillim), suggesting to some that Solomon wrote

[edit] Religions and Solomon

[edit] Christianity

Russian icon of King Solomon. He is depicted holding a model of the Temple. (18th
century, iconostasis of Kizhi monastery, Russia).

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.

Of the two genealogies of Jesus given in the Gospels, Matthew mentions Solomon, but Luke
does not. Jesus mentions Solomon twice. The first reference is the famous simile of Matthew
6:28-29 and Luke 12:27, in which Jesus compares the lilies of the field with "Solomon in his
glory". In the second reference Jesus alludes to the Queen of Sheba's visit to the court of David
(Matthew 12:42, Luke 11:31). Saint Stephen, in his testimony before the Sanhedrin, mentions
Solomon's construction of the Temple (Acts 7:47).

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Solomon is commemorated as a saint, with the title of
"Righteous Prophet and King". His feast day is celebrated on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers
(two Sundays before the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Lord).

The staunchly Catholic King Philip II of Spain sought to model himself after King Solomon.
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, Escorial's structure was inspired by that of Solomon's Temple.[44]

[edit] Islam
Main article Islamic view of Solomon

See also Biblical narratives and the Qur'an

Solomon also appears in the Qur'an, where he is called ‫ سليمان‬in Arabic, which is transliterated
in English variously as Sulayman, Suleiman, Sulaimaan etc. The Qur'an refers to Sulayman as
the son of David (Arabic: Dawud, Dawood, or Dawoud), a prophet and a great ruler imparted by
God with tremendous wisdom, favor, and special powers (like his father). The Qur'an states that
Sulayman ruled not only people, but also hosts of Jinn, was able to understand the language of
the birds and ants, and to see some of the hidden glory in the world that was not accessible to
most other human beings. Ruling a large kingdom that extended south into Yemen, via Queen of
Sheba who accepted Solomon's prophethood and religion. He was famed throughout the lands
for his wisdom and fair judgments. In particular, the Qur'an denies that Solomon ever turned
away from God.

And they followed what the Shayatin(devils) chanted of sorcery in the reign of Sulaiman, and
Sulaiman was not an unbeliever, but the Shayatin(devils) disbelieved, they teach people sorcery
and such things that came down to the two angels at Babel, Harut and Marut, yet they(the two
Angels) taught no person until they had said to them, "Surely, we are only a trial, therefore do
not be a disbeliever." So they learn from them(the two Angels) that by which they might cause a
separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it any one except with Allah's
permission, and they learned what harmed them and did not profit them, and certainly they know
that he who bought it should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for
which they sold their souls, had they but known this. [Qur'an 2:102]

Solomon is said to have been given control over various things, such as the wind, and
transportation. Thus the Qur'an says,

And to Solomon (We subjected) the wind, its morning (stride from sunrise till midnoon) was a
month's (journey), and its afternoon (stride from the midday decline of the sun to sunset) was a
month's (journey i.e. in one day he could travel two months' journey). And We caused a fount of
(molten) brass to flow for him, and there were jinn that worked in front of him, by the Leave of
his Lord, And whosoever of them turned aside from Our Command, We shall cause him to taste
of the torment of the blazing Fire. [Qur'an 34:12]

And before Sulayman were marshaled his hosts,- of Jinns and men and birds, and they were all
kept in order and ranks. [Qur'an 27:17]

And Solomon, accordingly grateful of God, says:

"O ye people! We have been taught the speech of birds, and on us has been bestowed from
everything: this is indeed the Grace manifest (from God)." [Qur'an 27:16]
According to the Qur'an, the death of Solomon held a lesson to be learned:

Then, when We decreed (Solomon's) death, nothing showed them his death except a little worm
of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his staff: so when he fell down, the Jinns saw
plainly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have tarried in the humiliating Penalty
(of their Task). [Qur'an 34:14]

Mausoleum of Nabi Suleman(Solomon),Aqsa Mosque compound,Jerusalam

According to Muslim tradition, when Solomon died he was standing watching the work of his
Jinn, while leaning on his cane. There he silently died, but did not fall. He remained in this
position, and the Jinn, thinking he was still alive watching them work, kept working. But
termites were eating the cane, so that the body of Solomon fell after forty days. Thereafter, the
Jinn (along with all humans) regretted that they did not know more than God had allotted them to

[edit] Fictional accounts and legends

[edit] One Thousand and One Nights
Main article One Thousand and One Nights

A well-known story in the 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.

[edit] Angels and magic

Main article Rabbinical literature

According to the Rabbinical literature, on account of his modest request for wisdom only,
Solomon was rewarded with riches and an unprecedentedly 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 700 wives and
300 concubines, with the thought that perhaps the king would feast that day in her house.

[edit] Seal of Solomon

Main article Seal of Solomon

A magic ring called the "Seal of Solomon" were supposedly given to Solomon, and gave him
power over demons. The magical symbol said to have been on the Seal of Solomon which made
it work is now better known as the Star of David. 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, owing to his huge wisdom, 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.

[edit] Solomon and Asmodeus

Main article Asmodeus

One legend concerning Asmodeus 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 400 miles. The Rabbis claim
this was a divine punishment for Solomon 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
earlier appeared in Herodotus' account of Polycrates of Samos).

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.

[edit] Artifacts

Other magical items attributed to Solomon are his key and his Table. The latter was said to be
held in Toledo, Spain during Visigoth rule and was part of the loot taken by Tarik ibn Ziyad
during the Umayyad Conquest of Iberia, according to Ibn Abd-el-Hakem's History of the
Conquest of Spain. The former appears in the title of the Lesser Key of Solomon, a grimoire
whose framing tale is Solomon capturing demons using his ring, and forcing them to explain
themselves to him.

Other forms of Solomon legend describe Solomon as having had a flying carpet that was
60 miles square, and could travel so fast that it could get from Damascus to Medina within a day.
One day, due to Solomon exhibiting pride, the wind shook the carpet and caused 40,000 men to
fall from it; Solomon on being told by the wind why this had happened, felt ashamed. Another
day Solomon was flying over an ant-infested valley and overheard an ant warning its fellow ants
to hide lest Solomon destroy them; Solomon desired to ask the ant a question, but was told it was
not becoming for the interrogator to be above and the interrogated below. Solomon then lifted
the ant above the valley, but the ant said it was not fitting that Solomon should sit on a throne
while the ant remained on the ground, so Solomon placed the ant upon his hand, and asked it
whether there was any one in the world greater than he. The ant replied that she was much
greater as otherwise God would not have sent him there to place it upon his hand; this offended
Solomon and he threw the ant down reminding it who he was, but the ant told him that it knew
Solomon was created from a corrupted drop, causing Solomon to feel ashamed.

[edit] Angels

Angels also help out Solomon in building the Temple; though not by choice. The edifice was,
according to rabbinical legend, throughout miraculously constructed, the large, heavy stones
rising to 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 cock alone,
and the cock 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.

[edit] Solomon in the Kabbalah

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 Azzael 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. Solomon is also portrayed as forcing demons to take Solomon's
friends, including Hiram, on day return trips to hell.

[edit] The palace without entrance

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 the demons only found an eagle,
which said that it was 700 years old, but that it had never seen an entrance. An elder brother of
the eagle, 900 years old, was then found, but it also did not know the entrance. The eldest brother
of these two birds, which was 1,300 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 1000 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.

[edit] Throne

Solomon at his throne, painting by Andreas Brugger, 1777

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. 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. After Solomon's death,
Pharaoh Shishak, when taking away the treasures of the Temple (I Kings xiv. 26), carried off the
throne, which remained in Egypt till Sennacherib conquered that country. 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, who their king Darius was the first to sit
successfully on Solomon's throne since his death, and after that the throne passed into the
possession of the Greeks and Ahasuerus.
Josiah of Judah
by Wayne Blank

Josiah, meaning The Lord (Jehovah) will support, was the king of Judah about 639-
608 B.C., a remarkable 31 years. He became king as an 8 year old child after his
father was treacherously assassinated by his own servants. Josiah's reign saw many
reforms that turned the kingdom of Judah back to God, at least temporarily (see
Why Babylon?), after many years of religious corruption. For that, he is known as
one of the very best kings of either Judah or Israel (see Kings of Israel and Judah and
Jews At War With Israel).

Josiah of Judah

Josiah was the son and successor of Amon on the throne of


"And the servants of Amon conspired against him, and

killed the king in his house. But the people of the land
slew all those who had conspired against King Amon,
and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in
his stead." (2 Kings 21:23-24 RSV)

Josiah's reforms began with restoration done on the Temple (see

Temples) which had fallen into a state of neglect (2 Kings 22:3-
10). While the work was being done, Hilkiah the high priest found the Book of the Law (some
believe that it could have been the original Pentateuch written by Moses), which shows how
poorly Hilkiah was doing his job - the high priest, of all people, should have had no need to
"discover" its presence:

"And Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, "I have found The Book
of The Law in The House of The Lord." (2 Kings 22:8 RSV)

Josiah's response to the discovery was dramatic:

"And when the king heard the words of The Book of The Law, he rent his clothes.
And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and
Achbor the son of Micaiah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king's
servant, saying, "Go, inquire of The Lord for me, and for the people, and for all
Judah, concerning the words of this Book that has been found; for great is the wrath
of The Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed The
Words of this Book, to do according to all that is written concerning us." (2 Kings
22:11-12 RSV)

The record of Josiah's cleansing of the kingdom shows how incredibly far Judah had descended
into idolatry:

"And the king commanded Hilkiah, the high priest, and the priests [see Levites] of
the second order, and the keepers of the threshold, to bring out of the Temple of
The Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven;
he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their
ashes to Bethel. And he deposed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had
ordained to burn incense in the high places at the cities of Judah and round about
Jerusalem; those also who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, and the moon, and
the constellations, and all the host of the heavens. And he brought out the Asherah
from the house of The Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the brook Kidron [see Kidron
Valley], and burned it at the brook Kidron, and beat it to dust and cast the dust of it
upon the graves of the common people. And he broke down the houses of the male
cult prostitutes which were in the house of The Lord, where the women wove
hangings for the Asherah."

"And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the
priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba; and he broke down the high places of the
gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one's
left at the gate of the city [see Jerusalem Gates]. However, the priests of the high places did not
come up to the altar of The Lord in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their

"And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the sons of Hinnom [see Valley Of Hinnom],
that no one might burn his son or his daughter as an offering to Molech. And he removed the
horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of The Lord,
by the chamber of Nathan-melech the chamberlain, which was in the precincts; and he burned
the chariots of the sun with fire."

"And the altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made,
and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of The Lord, he pulled
down and broke in pieces, and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. And the king defiled
the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of corruption, which
Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for
Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites." (2
Kings 23:4-13 RSV)

Josiah's life came to a tragic end, at age 39, in battle with the Egyptians:

"After all this, when Josiah had prepared the Temple, Neco king of Egypt [see The
Ancient Egyptians and Egyptian Pharaohs] went up to fight at Carchemish on the
Euphrates and Josiah went out against him. But he sent envoys to him, saying,
"What have we to do with each other, king of Judah? I am not coming against you
this day, but against the house with which I am at war; and God has commanded
me to make haste. Cease opposing God, who is with me, lest he destroy you."

"Nevertheless Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to fight with
him. He did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but joined battle in the plain
of Megiddo [see Armageddon]."

"And the archers shot King Josiah; and the king said to his servants, "Take me away, for I am
badly wounded." So his servants took him out of the chariot and carried him in his second
chariot and brought him to Jerusalem. And he died, and was buried in the tombs of his fathers.
All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah." (2 Chronicles 35:20-24 RSV)

Josiah was buried with the greatest honors, in fulfillment of Huldah's prophecy (2 Kings 22:20,
Jeremiah 34:5), and the prophet Jeremiah composed a lament for him (2 Chronicles 35:25,
Lamentations 4:20).

Fact Finder: Was there ever a king before or after who turned to The Lord as Josiah did?
2 Kings 23:25
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Uzziah (Hebrew ‫עוזיהו‬, strength of YHWH) or Azariah (Hebrew, helped by YHWH) (826-r.
810-758 BC according to Ussher,[1] or 809?-vr. 792-r. 767-742 BC according to Thiele[2]) was the
ninth king of the Southern Kingdom of Israel in direct line of descent.[3] He is notable for three

1. The evangelist Matthew[4] mentions him immediately after his great-great-

grandfather Jehoram in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, thus skipping three
2. The dates of his reign, and of alleged viceroyalties served by him under his
father Amaziah and by his son Jotham under him, are in dispute. This dispute
stems indirectly from an attempted synchrony of a king of the Northern
Kingdom (Jehu) with an Assyrian ruler (Shalmaneser III).
3. More to the point, he had a prosperous reign, and then did a foolish thing that
made him an immediate outcast and cursed the next two generations of
kings of the Southern Kingdom.


• 1 Early life and family

• 2 Possible viceroyalty
• 3 Accession
• 4 Earliest Actions
• 5 Military strength and public
• 6 Disgrace
• 7 Death and Succession
• 8 The Uzziah Tablet or Ossuary
• 9 References

• 10 See Also

Early life and family

Uzziah was the son of Amaziah and Jecoliah of Jerusalem. According to Ussher,[1] he was born
in 826 BC when his father was thirty-seven years old. Thiele's original dissertation left the
question of Uzziah's birth open, leading to a seemingly impossible situation (see below)[5]. Leslie
McFall, in an attempt to repair Thiele's oversight, suggests that Uzziah became viceroy of the
Southern Kingdom at the age of sixteen--and must therefore have been born in 809 BC, when (in
the Thiele system) his father was twelve years old.[6] This is possible, but implies that Uzziah's
grandfather Joash would have found a wife for his son while the son was very young. This,
however, is the least of the difficulties with the Thiele system.

Uzziah married Jerushah, daughter of Zadok, and by her had his son Jotham. This marriage took
place in or before the year 783 BC (Ussher)[1] or 775 BC (Thiele)[2]. This would make Uzziah
either 43 years old (Ussher) or 34 years old (Thiele) at the time. This last would also mean that
Uzziah made his marriage while he was still viceroy under his father (see below).

Possible viceroyalty
Thiele assumes that Uzziah became viceroy of the Southern Kingdom under his father Amaziah
fully twenty-four years before his father's death.[5] This is because the death of Amaziah, and the
"beginning of reign" of Uzziah, are twenty-four years out of synchrony in the Thiele system.
Larry Pierce tartly observed in 2001[5] that a strict read of Thiele's original dissertation would
lead one to believe that Uzziah began his viceroyalty fully eight years before he was born.

Subsequently, Leslie McFall suggested a corrective: that Uzziah actually became viceroy at
sixteen and began his lone reign only after his father had died. But Pierce, in his direct reply to
McFall,[6] retorted that the verse discussion Uzziah's succession (see below) says that "the
people" acclaimed Uzziah, who was sixteen years old at the time, as king. This, says Pierce,
would imply that "the people" somehow elected Uzziah as viceroy under Amaziah, and that four
years after Amaziah took the throne himself. Viceroys, Pierce continues, do not gain their offices
by popular election but by direct royal appointment. This, therefore, makes the Thiele/McFall
interpretation of II_Chronicles 26:1 difficult-to-untenable.

McFall might counter that he did not actually say that which Pierce accuses him of saying, but
rather that the people acclaimed Uzziah sole ruler upon the death of his father, and that Uzziah
had been sixteen years old when he became viceroy.

Uzziah's accession (or, in Thiele's system, the beginning of his lone reign) followed a great
tragedy.[7][8] King Amaziah realized that certain persons in his administration were plotting to kill
him. He fled to Lachish, on the Philistine border--where the remains of a high place stood as
recently as 2003. There the conspirators caught up with him and killed him. They brought him
back on horseback, and he was buried in the sepulchres of the kings in Jerusalem.[9][10]

The Bible next says that the people acclaimed Uzziah as their next king. The verse
in II Chronicles reads thus:

Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him
king in the room of his father Amaziah. II_Chronicles 26:1 (KJV)

"In his room" is an Elizabethan English phrase meaning "in his place" or "in his

While Ussher assumed that Uzziah became king at sixteen upon his father's death,[1] McFall, a
disciple of Thiele, now asserts that Uzziah became king (or rather, viceroy) at sixteen, and
became sole ruler upon his father's death, and that those two occasions were twenty-four years

The full length of his reign was fifty-two years.[11][12][8] Ussher asserts that Uzziah reigned alone
during this entire period.[1] Thiele asserts that he was viceroy for twenty-four years, sole ruler for
another eighteen years, and senior ruler (with a viceroy under him) for the last ten years of his

Earliest Actions
In any event, Uzziah moved swiftly to secure his country's border. He rebuilt the town of Eloth
and stationed a garrison in it.[13] Then he declared war against Philistia, successfully attacked the
three Philistine city-states of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod,[7] and even built military outposts in
Philistine territory.[7][14] He scored similar victories against Arab and Mehunim forces.[7] The
Ammonites paid him tribute, and his fame spread as far south as Egypt.[15][11][12]
The Bible further says that he did "right" in God's sight, essentially continuing the Godly policies
of Amaziah.[16][17][14] But, like so many other kings of the Southern Kingdom, he made no
headway in removing the high places.[18]

Military strength and public works

The Chronicler gives many details about Uzziah's military strength and the extensive armament
industry and public works projects that characterized his reign.[14] He would not seem to have
tolerated a continued 160-meter breach in the wall of Jerusalem. The Chronicler specifically
mentions the fortified anti-siege towers that he built at the valley gate, the corner gate, and at the
corner of the wall.[19] Uzziah also built several military outposts in the desert, and also built
several water projects.[20] Much of these water projects were for the benefit of the royal cattle
herd and the multiple farms and vineyards that were royal property at the time.

The army was 307,500 strong, with an officer corps of 2600. Uzziah kept these well-supplied
with an armaments industry that furnished them with shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows,
and slingshots.[21] By far Uzziah's most interesting contribution was his invention of siege
engines, and specifically the first crossbow catapults and ballistae known to the ancient world.
He placed these in the fortifications he had built along the wall of Jerusalem and throughout the
desert.[22] Most military historians hold that siege warfare began in ernest in the wars of ancient
Greece, but typically they propose that the first use of siege engines was in 429 BC. The Bible
suggests that these historians ought to revise their theories--unless, as some have suggested, the
first siege engine was a battering ram used at Troy and nicknamed "the Trojan horse."

Wood[2] states that Tiglath-Pileser III specifically recognized one "Azriau of Yaudi" as the leader
of an anti-Assyrian coalition well able to resist Assyrian expansion.[23] However, Tiglath-Pileser
is out of synchrony with Uzziah, according to Ussher.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

Uzziah ought to have read that aphorism by his ancestor Solomon. Toward the end of his reign--
perhaps in his forty-second year--he indeed became proud and haughty, so much so that he
conceived a notion of officiating at a Temple rite.[7][14][11][12][8] The high priest Azariah gathered
eighty priests behind him and confronted Uzziah. Azariah told him that he had not been
consecrated to burn incense before YHWH, and that he needed to leave the nave at once. Uzziah
indignantly refused and, censer in hand, attempted to proceed.

At that moment he was stricken with leprosy up to his forehead. The priests immediately hustled
Uzziah out of the Temple. Uzziah did not resist; he was even in a hurry to leave the Temple

Uzziah never recovered from his leprosy. He spent the next years of his life in quarantine. His
son Jotham administered the affairs of state in his place.[24][25]
Thiele suggests that Jotham may date his reign from that time, ten or twelve years before
Uzziah's death,[2] because in that year, Uzziah needed to make him his viceroy. Ussher, however,
dates Jotham's reign from the date of Uzziah's death.[1] However, Ussher seems to agree that
Uzziah fell from grace in or near the forty-second year of his reign, which was three years after
the accession of King Menahem to the throne of the Northern Kingdom.

Death and Succession

Uzziah died in either 758 BC[1] or 742 BC,[2] at the age of sixty-seven. His son Jotham
undoubtedly became viceroy ten or twelve years earlier, at the age of either fifteen or twenty-

The Uzziah Tablet or Ossuary

In 1931 Professor E. I. Sukenik at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem discovered, in
a Russian Orthodox monastery near the Mount of Olives, an inscribed tablet that
purports to come from the ossuary of King Uzziah. The legend on the tablet reads,

To this place, the remains of Uzziah, king of Judah, were placed. Do not disturb.[12][26]

This artifact has no reliable provenance at all. However, if the inscription is

authentic, then the author of that message would have two motives to warn people
against disturbing the bones:

1. They are the remains of a king, and proper respect militates against their
2. They are the remains of a leper, and as such are hazardous to the health of
any who handle them. This inscription, therefore, might have been the first
bio-hazard warning in history.

1. ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed.,
Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 553, 564,
565, 585
2. ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Leon J. Wood, A Survey of Israel's History, rev. ed. David
O'Brien, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1986 (ISBN 031034770X), pp.
3. ↑ Multiple authors. "Entries for Uzziah." <> Retrieved
June 8, 2007.
4. ↑ Matthew 1:8
5. ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Larry Pierce, Evidentialism–the Bible and Assyrian chronology TJ
15(1):62–68 April 2001
6. ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Larry Pierce, "Some Objections Considered," in James Ussher, The
Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Master Books, 2003, pp. 921-926 ISBN
7. ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Authors unknown. "King Uzziah - Biography." The Kings of
Israel, hosted at Retrieved June 8, 2007.
8. ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Claiborne, Winford. "Uzziah, Jotham, and Ahaz." International
Gospel Hour. Transcript of radio sermon first delivered November 2, 2003.
Retrieved June 8, 2007.
9. ↑ II_Kings 14:19-20
10.↑ II_Chronicles 25:27-28
11.↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Authors unknown. "Entry for Uzziah." WebBible Encyclopedia.
Retrieved June 8, 2007.
12.↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 John Argubright. "King Uzziah." Bible Believer's Archaeology,
Vol. 1: Historical Evidence That Proves the Bible., 2007.
Retrieved May 28, 2007. Requires PDF reader.
13.↑ II_Chronicles 26:2
14.↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Authors unknown. "God's Judgment Regarding King Uzziah."
The Kings of Israel, hosted at Retrieved June 8,
15.↑ II_Chronicles 26:6-8
16.↑ II_Kings 15:3
17.↑ II_Chronicles 26:4
18.↑ II_Kings 15:4
19.↑ II_Chronicles 26:9
20.↑ II_Chronicles 26:10
21.↑ II_Chronicles 26:14
22.↑ II_Chronicles 26:15
23.↑ Wood, op. cit., p. 300
24.↑ II_Kings 15:5
25.↑ II_Chronicles 26:16-23
26.↑ Authors unknown. "Uzziah." Bible Heritage Center, Inc. Retrieved June 8,

Manasseh, the Prodigal King

2 Kings 20:21 -21:18
2 Chronicles 33:10-20
Series: Old Testament Character Studies

David H. Roper

I am sure that many of you have things in your life that you would like to be able to forget,
memories that from time to time come back to haunt you. I know that I do. Many things in my
past make me feel guilty, defiled, and unacceptable. Time and again I have had to turn to the
Scriptures to find release from a sense of guilt about my past, and I have discovered that there is
encouragement and instruction there which sets me free. The story of Manasseh has ministered
to me in this respect, so I want to share with you some things the Lord has taught me from the
life of this character:King Manasseh, the prodigal king. The account begins at verse 21 of 2
Kings 20:

So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son became king in his place. Manasseh was twelve
years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was

Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah, who was one of the few kings in David's line, the kings of
Judah, called "good."Most of them were evil, Hezekiah was responsible for a spiritual revival
during his reign that swept the entire nation. He did away with the idolatry that his father, Ahaz,
had established,and purged the nation of apostasy. We know that the prophetic ministry of Isaiah
and Micah helped him in his reign, whose writings are preserved for us in the Scriptures. There
were a couple of invasions of Judah during this time by Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. On
both of these occasions the Lord used Hezekiah and Isaiah to protect Jerusalem. Although almost
all of the land of Judah was devastated by the Assyrians, the capital city was preserved.Isaiah
said that Jerusalem looked like a caretaker's hut in the midst of a cucumber field. All the fortified
cities had been destroyed but Jerusalem was left. It was Hezekiah's wise leadership that made
possible the preservation of the city and its people. He was a powerful spiritual force in Judah.

Manasseh came to the throne when he was twelve years old. He reigned for about ten years as
co-regent with his father. Then when Manasseh was twenty-two his father died and he took over
the reins of government.It is helpful to keep in our mind something of the heritage that this
young man enjoyed. He had a godly father and lived in a time of spiritual vitality and prosperity.
He had the words of the prophets Isaiah and Micah ringing in his ears. He had seen the Lord
deliver Jerusalem in a very miraculous way when it was under siege by the Assyrians. And yet
note what he did, verse 2:

And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord
dispossessed before the sons of Israel.

The nations referred to here are the Canaanite nations that were expelled by Joshua and the
twelve tribes when they first entered the land. The Canaanites worshiped sex. Archaeologists
have confirmed that this civilization was shot through with venereal disease. Even the children
were infected, which explains, in some measure, the wars of extermination. And yet the
Scriptures say that Manasseh outdid the Canaanite nations in his wickedness.Note verse 9 of
chapter 21, "...Manasseh seduced them to do evil more than the nations whom the Lord
destroyed before the sons of Israel," and verse 11, "...having done wickedly more than all the
Amorites did who were before him..."He was more wicked than the nations that God drove from
the land when the Israelites took possession of it.

Verses 3 through 9 explain the abominations that Manasseh introduced.First,

...he rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah his father had destroyed...

The father of Hezekiah was Ahaz. Ahaz had built these "high places," groves on the tops of hills
throughout Judah where idols were worshiped. Hezekiah destroyed them. Manasseh built them

...and he erected altars for Baal...

Baal was the chief Phoenician deity.

...and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done.

An Asherah was a female deity representing the goddess of sex and fertility. Many scholars
believe that the monuments built in her honor were phallic symbols. Manasseh introduced this
Assyrian sex cult into the nation of Israel.

...and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.

He worshiped the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars,and practiced astrology.

And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, "In Jerusalem I will put My name."
For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.

He placed altars to foreign gods in the temple itself--in the outer court, and in the holy place
where the priests worshiped.

And he made his son pass through the fire.

He sacrificed his own baby son to Molech, the god of the Amorites.And he

...practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists.

The Hebrew is much stronger here than the English translation.He actually took mediums and
spiritists and those who dealt in the occult and placed them in positions of leadership.

Then [as though this were not enough] he set the carved image of Asherah that he had made, in the house of
which the Lord said to David and to his son Solomon, "In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen
from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever. And I will not make the feet of Israel wander any
more from the land which I gave their fathers, if only they will observe to do according to all that I have
commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them."
He took these phallic symbols, these monuments he had built in honor of the goddess of sex, and
he put them in the Holy of Holies, in the place where the Spirit of God dwelt.

Now, it is significant that nowhere in this account is there any mention of the worship of
Jehovah. Manasseh selected his pantheon from all the cultures surrounding Israel--from the
Amorites, the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Phoenicians--but not one reference is made to the
worship of the God of Israel. Only He was excluded.Again, verse 9 says, in summary, that:

Manasseh seduced them to do evil more than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.

Verse 10:

Now the Lord spoke through His servants the prophets, saying "Because Manasseh king of Judah has done
these abominations, having done wickedly more than all the Amorites did who were before him, and has also
made Judah sin with his idols; therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Behold, I am bringing such
calamity on Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears shall tingle. And l will stretch over
Jerusalem the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab. '"

"As a surveyor would take a transit and level out a place on which to build," the Lord said, "that
is what I am going to do to Jerusalem. I will level it as I leveled Samaria and the house of Ahab.
The measure of extermination that the northern kingdom of Israel and the house of Ahab
experienced is what Jerusalem is going to experience."

"'...and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.'"

What a vivid picture! There will not be one thing left--total extermination.

"'And I will abandon the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and
they shall become as plunder and spoil to all their enemies because they have done evil in My sight, and have
been provoking Me to anger, since the day their fathers came from Egypt, even to this day.'"

There are a couple of things I want you to note. The first is this: Manasseh obviously was a
wicked man. He was perhaps the most wicked king that ever reigned over Judah. He did things
which no king had ever done before. He led Judah in doing things which no nation had ever done
before. And yet which of us can sit in judgment upon him? We all can look back into our lives
and see that we have done the same things! It is only a question of degree.We may not have
worshiped Baal and Asherah per se, but we have worshiped other things. We have set up other
idols in our lives.We worship our vocation, or the pursuit of a degree, or our house,or some boy
or girl, or man or woman. Or we may quite literally set up a phallic symbol in our own spirits,
the Holy of Holies of man, and worship sex. So we all can look back on our lives and see that we
are just as guilty as Manasseh, just as worthy of judgment. That is the first thing we need to

The second thing I want you to observe is the procedure that the Lord undertakes in order to
reclaim his man. God loved Manasseh,and because he loved him he would not let him continue
to live in rebellion. First he spoke very quietly to him. As Manasseh began to indulge in these
idolatrous practices God said, "Manasseh,Jerusalem is where my name is placed." That is,
"Jerusalem is My possession. You have no right to set up any other gods there."And then when
Manasseh didn't listen, God's voice came with greater clarity and insistence. He reminded him of
his promises, both positive and negative--promises of blessing if Manasseh would obey and of
judgment if he did not. And finally God thundered at him through the prophets so that
everywhere Manasseh turned he was faced with the voice of God. He could not avoid it.

Have you had that experience when you have turned from the Lord?First, the Lord will speak to
us in that gentle, quiet, gracious way of his. He reminds us that we belong to him. If we don't
listen he speaks with greater clarity through his word, and through his Spirit, witnessing to our
spirit. And then if we still don't listen he surrounds us with many witnesses to the truth, so that
everywhere we turn we hear the voice of God. We can't get away. In times when I have been in
headlong flight from the Lord, even when I think I've gotten away Scot-free, I hear him say,
"Psst, here I am!" I turn on the radio and, "Psst," there he is! I feel like David; if I made my bed
in hell I would hear his voice, "Here I am!" I can't get away from Him.

I had an appointment with a student at Stanford one day. I was waiting for him in front of the
chapel, but he was late. There was another student sitting on a park bench there so I sat and
started to chat with him. I discovered that he was born in China.That was interesting to me and
so I asked him a bit about his past. The Lord opened an opportunity to share the gospel with him
and to tell him of the Lord's love for him. But as I began to speak he got red in the face and very
angry, and he jumped up to his feet! His reaction was so unusually adverse that I was really
surprised. I asked him what was wrong. "Well,"he said, "I guess the reason I am reacting this
way is that I was born and raised in a Christian home. My parents were missionaries in China.
And all my life I have been running away from God. But everywhere I go God sends someone to
talk to me about my relationship with him." I said, "Brother, I can really identify with you!" God
has been called, with reverent affection, "the Hound of Heaven" because everywhere we go he
hems us in and keeps reaching out to us. That is exactly what he was doing with Manasseh.
But notice verse 16. Manasseh was determined to silence the voice of God, and the only way he
could silence that voice was to silence the prophets:

Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another...

Josephus, the Jewish historian, in writing about this event said that he "slew all the righteous
men that were among the Hebrews, nor would he spare the prophets, for he every day slew some
of them until Jerusalem was overflown with blood."There is a very substantial and long-lasting
Jewish and Christian tradition that it was during this time that Manasseh put Isaiah in a hollow
oak tree and had him sawn in two. This may be what is behind the reference in Hebrews 11 to
men of faith, some of whom were "sawn asunder." Manasseh slew the prophets.He wouldn't
listen. He didn't want to hear the voice of God. So he

...shed very much innocent blood until he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; besides his sin with
which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the Lord.

Do you know that both the author of 2 Kings and Jeremiah affirm that it was because of the sins
of Manasseh that the nation of Judah was taken captive? It was only fifty years after Manasseh's
death that the nation went into the Babylonian captivity. How would you like to be known to
posterity for that? That was Manasseh's reputation. He was responsible. Now look at verses 17
and 18:
Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh and all that he did and his sin which he committed, are they not written
in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? And Manasseh slept with his fathers and was buried in
the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza, and Amon his son became king in his place.

I remember the first time I read that passage. I thought, "That's strange! Here is a man who
thumbed his nose at God for sixty-seven years and died a ripe old age in his own bed in peace--
the most wicked king in Judah's history, and God did nothing! Isn't that strange? He reigned
longer than any other king in the history of Israel or Judah. Didn't you see, God? Weren't you
aware of what was going on? Can a person really live that way and get away with it?"

Well, you see, the problem is that the entire story of Manasseh's life is not given to us in 2 Kings.
The purpose of this book is to show us the precipitous decline of the nation. Many events in the
lives of these kings were passed by for that reason. But the account is resumed and supplemented
in 2 Chronicles. I would like you to turn with me to that record, to 2 Chronicles 33, wherein the
first nine verses we have a restatement of the first nine verses of 2 Kings 21, almost word for
word. Then verses 9 through 11 say:

Thus Manasseh misled Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the
Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel. And the Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they paid no
attention. [This is a briefer account of the ministry of the prophets to Manasseh and the people.] Therefore
[emphasis mine] the Lord brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they
captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains, and took him to Babylon.

This mighty king of Judah, with a ring in his nose and chains on his hands and feet, was dragged
off to a Babylonian dungeon!At this time Babylon was a province of Assyria.

This is one of a number of Old Testament accounts for which we have excellent secular
historical confirmation. A number of years ago Assyriologists found an inscription which dated
from the reign of Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib. Sennacherib was the king who invaded
Judah during the reign of Hezekiah, Manasseh's father.He died in 680 B.C., interestingly enough
the traditional date of Isaiah's death. Sennacherib never invaded Judah again because his last
invasion cost him 168,000 men! But his son, Esarhaddon,was a young, ambitious, militaristic
leader who was spoiling for a fight with Judah. You can see that God was preparing his
instrument to chastise Manasseh, even though Manasseh seemed to be getting by Scot-free.
Esarhaddon came to the throne in 680 and some six years later he invaded Judah. The inscription
describes this invasion.It says that, "twenty-two kings harkened to him," i.e.,he called them, and
they came! And, "of these was Manasseh,king of Judah." Esarhaddon took him off to Babylon,
and for twelve long years he languished in that Babylonian dungeon with a ring in his nose and
chains on his hands and feet.
You see, that is the end of the process that God uses in our lives to bring us around. He will
speak to us softly, and then with more insistence. Then he hems us on every side, with every
witness to the truth that he can bring to bear. And then if we refuse to listen...he lets us have our
way. He takes his hands off us,we reap what we have sown, and we become a slave to our own
passions and desires. Thus we are brought to the end of ourselves. That is what happened to

But look closely at verse 12:

And when he was in distress [the Hebrew says, "when he was hemmed in," i.e., when he was in the extremity and
had no other place to turn], he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his

Did you notice?--he entreated his God. He had lost his title but he hadn't lost his relationship.
Jehovah was still his God. You see, God intends for us to reign in life, to live in victory over
every habit and every circumstance of life. But when we rebel against him we lose our capacity
to rule, and we become enslaved to our circumstances and to our own passions and habits.But we
never lose our relationship to him, if we are truly his.So when Manasseh hit bottom he turned to
the Lord his God and he humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He said,"Lord, I
am sunk. I am beat. I've had it. I am to blame.I have sinned." Josephus says that he "esteemed
himself to be the cause of it all." He saw that he had no one else to blame. The problem was not
his circumstances, nor the culture in which he lived. He had had every advantage. The problem
wash is own rebellious heart. He came to the place where he was willing to submit that heart to
the Lord. He humbled himself greatly before the Lord his God.

Verse 13:

When he prayed to Him, He [God] was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him
again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was [the] God.

Notice the second phrase in verse 13. It is translated, "He was moved by his entreaty." The
Hebrew says, "He was interceded for him," which is awkward and untranslatable,and so it is
translated this way. But the point is that someone was standing between God and Manasseh and
was interceding for him. Thus God "was interceded." Now, who was that? Who was standing
between the Lord and Manasseh?

We have the same picture in Zechariah 3, where Zechariah sees Joshua, the high priest, standing
before the Lord of all the earth.And Satan is there to accuse him, because Joshua is clothed in
filthy garments. Satan is saying in effect, "Look at Joshua.He is filthy! He has no right to be a
priest." And the angel of Jehovah, who is the preincarnate Lord Jesus, intercedes for him, saying,
"Remove the filthy garments from him... See,I have taken your iniquity away from you... Put a
clean turban on his head..." That was the Lord Jesus interceding for Joshua.He is the one who
interceded for Manasseh. And He intercedes for us.

God may have to chasten, because he chastens those whom he loves.He may have to discipline.
He may bring hardship into our lives because of our rebellion. But He sees us as righteous in
Jesus Christ. There is no sin that you can ever commit which will disqualify you in God's sight.
You are forgiven! God never stops loving.He never stops accepting.

And so when Manasseh prayed, the Lord "heard his supplication,and brought him again to
Jerusalem to his kingdom." He was restored to his place of authority. And that is what God does
with us. We don't have to work our way back into his good graces.We don't have to prove that
we are acceptable. We just keep on walking in a forgiven state. Paul says, "In him [Christ]we
have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses,according to the riches of
his grace." And we can never,never, never look back on the past and say that anything we have
ever done disqualifies us. We are clean. We are forgiven. We are righteous in God's eyes.
Then, verse 13 says, Manasseh knew that the Lord was, literally,the God. He realized that those
idols had nothing for him--there was only one God and that is Jehovah. You see, God uses even
ours in, the most despicable sin that we could ever commit, in a redemptive way, to show us that
he is the Lord. For some reason Manasseh had to go through this process in order for him to get
where God wanted him to go. It was painful, but yet it was productive. And he knew at the end
of all these experiences that the Lord was the God.

What follows in verses 14 through 17 is an account of his activities in Jerusalem after his
kingdom was restored to him:

Now after this he built the outer wall of the city of David on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the
entrance of the Fish Gate; and he encircled the Ophel with it and made it very high.

He rebuilt and strengthened the wall and the fortress that protected the city on the east and the
southeast, overlooking the Kidron Valley. Evidently this was the place where the Assyrians had
earlier breached the wall when he was taken into captivity.So he went back to that weak spot in
the city's defenses and reinforced it.

Then he put army commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah.

He placed contingents of soldiers with commanders in each of the fortified cities in the outlying
districts. He set his defenses out beyond the walls of Jerusalem so that he would not be surprised
again by an attack right at the wall.

He also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, as well as all the altars which he
had built on the mountain of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside the city.

He purged the city of idolatry. He took every Asherah, every Baal, and threw them out of the
city. He wanted nothing more to do with them.

And he set up the altar of the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it; and he ordered
Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.

He rebuilt the altar that he had destroyed, and he offered peace and thank offerings--the two
offerings which have to do with our relationship with God--peace because we have been
reconciled to him, thanksgiving because it grows out of that reconciliation.

These steps which Manasseh took are the marks of true repentance.If one is truly repentant of the
sins he has committed he will do these things. He will recognize that there are areas where he is
weak, where he has fallen before, and he will rebuild those areas and strengthen them. Then he
will determine to guard against surprise assaults in areas where he has been defeated before.He
will move his defenses out beyond the point of weakness. He will "make no provision for the
flesh." And he will deal with every vestige of idolatry in his life. Every false God will come
under judgment and be cast out of the domain. And he will make Jesus Christ Lord.

Note the parallel with Paul's statement in 2 Corinthians 7, in which he contrasts godly sorrow
and worldly sorrow. Worldly sorrow,he says, produces death. Worldly sorrow is the sorrow we
experience because we have been caught in our sin or have reaped what we have sown, but then
there is no desire to set things right. It produces death, defeat, despair, and depression. But there
is a godly sorrow. There is a sorrow that will lead us to true repentance.Paul says that repentance
is seen in a determination to clear ourselves. He says, "Behold what earnestness...this godly
sorrow has produced in you, what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what
longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong!" That is, "You have determined to do what is
right." That is a godly sorrow. Manasseh had that kind of sorrow. He dealt not only with his
idolatrous spirit, he moved out into every area of life to deal with all causes of rebellion.

Verses 18 through 20 give us the final word on his life:

Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh. Even his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to
him in the name of the Lord God of Israel, behold, they are among the records of the kings of Israel. His
prayer also and how God was entreated by him and all his sin, his unfaithfulness, and the sites on which he
built high places and erected the Asherim and the carved images, before he humbled himself, behold, they are
written in the records of the Hozai [prophets or the seers whose writings evidently are the basis for many of our
prophetic books]. So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house. And Amon his son
became king in his place.

God gave him twenty more years of rule--ten years with his father, thirteen years of wickedness,
twelve years in the dungeon,twenty years of righteous rule. He became one of the mightiest
kings of Judah. So that is the story of Manasseh.

There are a number of things which speak to me from this biography.First, we all can identify
with Manasseh because God could write"Manasseh" over each of our lives. We all have sinned
as he sinned. Second, we can see something of the process that God uses to bring us to
repentance. First he speaks to us quietly,then with greater and greater intensity. Finally, he
disciplines us in order to bring us to the end of ourselves so that we will turn to him.

But most important, these passages speak of the completeness of the forgiveness of God.

Manasseh was notorious in Israel. He was an evil, wicked man.And yet God reestablished him
on his throne. He was fully forgiven.He lived in power and authority throughout the rest of his
years.Do you know what Manasseh's name means in Hebrew? "Forgotten."That is the name that
God writes over your sordid past. Your sins are forgotten. Every time your past comes back to
haunt you, and you say to God, "There, Lord, I have done it again,"do you know what the Lord
says to you? He says, "You've done what? I don't even remember!" He has forgotten. You can
read his own words from Hebrews 10: "Your sins and your lawless deeds I will remember no
more." He has forgotten the past.We walk on in life, forgiven.

We thank you for that complete forgiveness, Lord, and for the freedom to serve you because we
know that we are at peace with you, in Christ's name, Amen.
An artifact has been found in the annals of
archaeology that bears witness to Manasseh, who
was the son of king Hezekiah.
Manasseh, who also became king of Judah, is
mentioned by the Assyrian king Esarhaddon who
reigned 680 to 664 years before the Year of the
Lord. The inscription lists kings who were under his
submission as contributing materials to furnish his
royal palace. It reads as follow:
“I commanded the kings from the region of Hatti
as well as the areas on the other side of the
Euphrates, including Ba‘lu, king of Tyre, Manasseh,
king of Judah . . . ; a total of 22 kings from Hatti,
the seashore and islands, all of them were given the
difficult task of transporting building materials to my
palace in Nineveh, the city over which I am king.”

The story of King Manasseh is a story of a man

who went from being one of the most vile and
wicked sinners ever, to a saint. From an enemy of
God to a servant of God. A man under God’s
judgement to a man under God’s Grace and Mercy.
His story can be found in 2 Chronicles 33 (NKJV):
‘Manasseh was twelve years old when he
became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in
Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the LORD,
according to the abominations of the nations whom
the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his
father had broken down; he raised up altars for the
Baals, and made wooden images; and he
worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.
He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of
which the LORD had said, "In Jerusalem shall My
name be forever." And he built altars for all the host
of heaven in the two courts of the house of the
LORD. Also he caused his sons to pass through the
fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced
soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and
consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil
in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.
He even set a carved image, the idol which he
had made, in the house of God, of which God had
said to David and to Solomon his son, "In this house
and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the
tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever; "and I will
not again remove the foot of Israel from the land
which I have appointed for your fathers; only if they
are careful to do all that I have commanded them,
according to the whole law and the statutes and the
ordinances by the hand of Moses." So Manasseh
seduced Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to
do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had
destroyed before the children of Israel.
And the LORD spoke to Manasseh and his
people, but they would not listen. Therefore the
LORD brought upon them the captains of the army
of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with
hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried
him off to Babylon.

(Note: The reference to

Manasseh’s captivity to Babylon
was once commonly held by
liberals as a mistake on the part
of the Bible, because Nineveh
was the capital of Esarhaddon’s
Assyrian empire. However,
inscriptions from Esarhaddon
prove that he did indeed rebuild
Babylon. One such inscription
reads: “Esarhaddon .... king of
Assyria, governor of Babylon.”)

“Now when he was in affliction, he implored the

LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before
the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He
received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and
brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom.
Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.
After this he built a wall outside the City of David
on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, as far as
the entrance of the Fish Gate; and it enclosed
Ophel, and he raised it to a very great height. Then
he put military captains in all the fortified cities of
He took away the foreign gods and the idol
from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that
he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD
and in Jerusalem; and he cast them out of the city.
He also repaired the altar of the LORD, sacrificed
peace offerings and thank offerings on it, and
commanded Judah to serve the LORD God of
Israel. Nevertheless the people still sacrificed on the
high places, but only to the LORD their God



"God resists the proud, But gives grace to the

humble." Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil
and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He
will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you
sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be
turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble
yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift
you up. James 4:6-9 (NKJV)


Repentance means to change your heart and

mind towards God. To turn to him and to turn away
from your sins.
Ezekiel 18:30-32 (NKJV): "Therefore I will judge
you, O house of Israel, every one according to his
ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from
all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be
your ruin. "Cast away from you all the
transgressions which you have committed, and get
yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why
should you die, O house of Israel?
"For I have no pleasure in the death of one who
dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!"



Acts 20:21 (NKJV) “repentance toward God and

faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Mark 1:15 (NKJV) "The time is fulfilled, and the

kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in
the gospel.

A Repentance Bible Study:

Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Acts 17:30, Luke 24:47
Acts 5:31, Acts 26:20 2, Corinthians 7:9-11, Romans 2:4