Kings and The Chronicles
The books of Kings and the Chronicles contain overlapping histories that serve as apt comparisons for the life of King Solomon. While Kings contain a prophetic history in the form of narration on the life and times of monarchic Israel, from David (approximately 1000 B.C.E.) to Jehoiachin (587 B.C.E.), Chronicles contains much of the same history from a strictly theological standpoint. Kings contains a complete story including collections of written and oral traditions, combined with stories and legends, to appeal to the audience of the day. Chronicles is history presentation which includes genealogies, historical narratives, prayers, sermons, speeches and descriptions of ceremonies. Thus it is incontrovertible that both accounts, when studied together, serve to give a complete portrayal of King Solomon.
The story of Solomon is compactly contained in I Kings 3-11. While Solomon was certainly a formidable man in the history of Israel, the account found in Kings is primarily for the purpose of relating him to the era of David. For example, the longest passage in the selection is an instructive narration on the building and the dedication of the temple. The temple was built to glorify David’s Kingdom and exploit the glories and success of the reign of David, right through the reign of his son. Therefore, the traditional depiction of Solomon through the prophetic account in Kings is not one of brilliance in ruling but rather a King fallen into the glory of his father’s reign. It can be surmised that the man Solomon, the ruler, was not as influential in his day as was Solomon, the builder of the temple. The biblical accounts of the Age of Solomon were written for a popular audience interested more in the lavishness of Solomon’s reign than the mediocrity of his ruling.