SolomonThird king of Israel who was known for wisdom and building the first Temple More demonstrates his divinely given wisdomWisdom encompasses the qualities of experience, knowledge, and good judgment. The Old Testament book of Proverbs, which sometimes invokes a Woman as the personification of Wisdom, is a collection of aphorisms and moral teachings. Along with other biblical passages, it teaches, "The fear of the... More by reorganizing the political administration of Israel.
In the book of Kings, Solomon’s administrative organization resulting in a well-ordered bureaucracy is seen as part and parcel of Solomon’s God-given wisdom. Again, the seeds of Solomon’s destruction lie beneath the optimistic presentation:
- Even the innocent looking list of cabinet officials in verses 1-6 augurs trouble when one realizes that the list includes those who had supported Solomon following David’s death.
- The secretary in charge of “forced labor” (v. 6, emphasis added) is a harbinger of the source of Solomon’s collapse in chapters 11-12.
- The same might be said for the extensive list of verses 7-19, as heavy taxation was also a key item in the revolt against Solomon’s administration following his death. The list actually divides Israel into twelve districts, not necessarily aligned with the older tribal configurations, each with an officer who reported to Azariah son of NathanThe prophet who condemned David for adultery and promised that God would establish a Davidic dynasty More, the cabinet official (v. 5). Each district was responsible for one month of royal support (vv. 22-23, 27-28). The result was centralized control for Solomon.
- The NRSV reference to “Judah” in verse 19 is not present in the Hebrew text (it does appear in some Greek manuscripts). The verse should read, “There was one official (that is, Azariah, the cabinet official, in v. 5) over the land.” If this is the proper reading, Judah’s preferential treatment regarding the schedule of taxation must have been yet another avenue of dissent at the end of his reign.