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According to Deuteronomy 17:14-17, there are a couple of rules a king should follow. From the NKJV:

14 “When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.

Which roughly boils down to:

  • he must be chosen by the LORD
  • he can not be a foreigner
  • he must not acquire a great number of horses for himself
  • he must not return his people to Egypt
  • he must not have multiple wives
  • he must not acquire a lot of silver and gold

Solomon, a king considered among the wisest man in the Old Testament, appears to have violated at least 3 of those rules.

  • He had an awful lot of wives (700 plus 300 concubines, 1 Kings 11).

  • He had an awful lot of horses (40.000 stalls of horses (1 Kings 4) of which only 4.000 for military purposes (2 Chronicles 9).

  • He had an awful lot of gold (666 talents of gold each year, 1 Kings 10).

And still, he's considered one of wisest man in the history of Israel.

The rules of Deuteronomy are old. Solomon must've known them (Deuteronomy 17:18-20 is quite explicit about this). So how is a man like that considered one of the wisest if he's led astray by his women for which he is explicitly warned every day of his kingship? Even, Israel was torn apart by the sins of Salomon (1 Kings 11).

Still, In Luke 11, Jesus is considered greater than Solomon. Jesus being greater than anyone isn't a surprise, but Solomon being mentioned here as the next-best-thing despite his foolishness is.

How was Solomon still considered in such a high regard during the time of Jesus, a point at which I expect the Israelites to know of Solomon's foolishness?

I'm explicitly looking for a point-of-view.

  • Your question may or may not survive here, since it can be seen as a matter of opinion and interpretation. The Bible does speak of Solomon as being very wise, and tells several stories of his wisdom, but also speaks of him as setting his dynasty up for its own eventual downfall. – Lee Woofenden Oct 22 '17 at 20:16
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I Kings seems to imply King Solomon was the wisest of all men in all nations at his time:

1 Kings 4:29-31 (DRB)

And God gave to Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart as the sand that is on the sea shore. And the wisdom of Solomon surpassed the wisdom of all the Orientals, and of the Egyptians, and he was wiser than all men: wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda the sons of Mahol, and he was renowned in all nations round about.

Solomon wasn't perfect (in fact, we don't even know if he finally repented of his apostasy with the idols of his heathen wives: cf. 1 Kings 11:4); but the reason he had so much wealth was because God gave him it, seeing that he asked for only wisdom, and not for riches etc:

2 Chronicles 1:9-12 [Solomon said:] Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may come in and go out before thy people: for who can worthily judge this thy people, which is so great? And God said to Solomon: Because this choice hath pleased thy heart, and thou hast not asked riches, and wealth, and glory, nor the lives of them that hate thee, nor many days of life: but hast asked wisdom and knowledge, to be able to judge my people, over which I have made thee king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to thee: and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and glory, so that none of the kings before thee, nor after thee, shall be like thee.

That is, the prohibition against these things which God rewards Solomon was because of the desire to have them, not them in themselves: God here judges that such who don't want these goods are worthy of them, since they did not have an inordinate want or longing for them.

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The point of Solomon wasn't his life style for better or worse per se, but rather his God-given wisdom. There was no question too perplexing, too hidden, or too impossible for Solomon.

1 Kings 10:24 And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.

2 Chronicles 9:3-4 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.

How does Solomon's wisdom relate to Christ? Why will she rise up in judgment, as a witness against some?

Matthew 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

The rulers, the priests questioned Jesus continuously. But only for a season.

Matthew 22:46 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Mark 12:34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

Luke 20:40 And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.

Like Solomon, and even more so, Christ was challenged, but was able to answer all questions, until they dared not question Him further. Solomon answered their questions. Christ answered all of their questions.

Understanding this, we agree.

Col. 2:2-3 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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