“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You” (Psalm 89:15).
By the end of antiquity, King Solomon had become the model not just of messianic rule but of temporal, earthly rule as well. Both Christian and Islamic rulers seeking to cast themselves as king, imitate the king to whom the whole world should submit. The most famous example from the Islamic world is the ottoman ruler Suleiman the “Magnificent,” who emulated the king not just in name (Suleiman is Arabic for Solomon) but also in deed, rebuilding Jerusalem and promoting justice throughout his realm. An example from the Christian world is James I, sponsor of the King James, or the “Authorised,” Bible. Upon his death in 1625, James was compared (in his funeral sermon) to King Solomon. It was then that he was referred to as “Great Britain’s Solomon”—a lover of peace, justice, and learning. King James was well known for his wisdom. Sir Francis Bacon said this of the King in the Epistle Dedicatory of The Great Instauration (1620)[i] : “This regeneration and instauration of the sciences is...due to the age of a prince [King James I] surpassing all others in wisdom and learning......resembling Solomon as you do in most respects, in the gravity of your decisions, the peacefulness of your reign, the expansion of your heart, and, lastly, in the noble variety of books you have composed...” Sir Fernando Gorges one of the founders of Jamestown[ii], also compared James to Solomon: “This great monarch gloriously ascending his throne (1603) being born to greatness above his ancestors to whom all submitted as to another Solomon for wisdom and justice.”
The King who loved wisdom, wealth and…women
These are but two examples of a long list of Solomonic rulers that include the Byzantine emperors who ruled the Christian Roman Empire, Muslim rulers of Persia and India, and Catholic kings of Europe. Such figures have not fared well in our own age. Haile Selassie, the descendant of Solomon according to Ethiopian tradition, died under suspicious circumstances in 1975, ending one line of Solomonic rule; while the Iranian revolution, which unseated the shah of Iran from a peacock throne inspired by that of Solomon, ended another. There are rulers today who could possibly be identified with Solomon. For instance, when the next monarch of Britain is crowned, the throne used for that occasion will be King Edward’s Chair, which is modelled on Solomon’s throne. His coronation will be patterned on the anointment ritual performed on the biblical king David by the priest Zadok. Should that be Prince Charles, he resembles king Solomon in other ways apart from the throne. Solomon had many foreign wives – seven hundred wives and three-hundred concubines. They included the Egyptian Pharaoh’s daughter, Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women (1 Kings 11:1). “They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, ‘You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.’ Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love” (1 Kings 11:2). With them came many foreign gods. Solomon’s wives “…turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father” (1 Kings 11:4). One might be forgiven for suggesting that Solomon, in his later years, was a ‘Defender of Faiths’, certainly within the confines of Jerusalem. His idolatrous mistresses and consorts brought into the royal household the worship of their native deities. Shrines were built for them in Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:1, 7), the City of the Great King. Foolishly, Solomon tried to mix the worship of God with heathen rites. He suffered from greed, success, luxury, and idolatry. A title that Prince Charles covets for himself, should he become king, is, ‘Defender of Faiths’. He should pay careful heed to the life of king Solomon, for himself and for the nation. Prince Charles does not have and has not had the numbers of wives that Solomon buried himself in, but he appears to put man and idols on a par with God.
In a letter penned by Prince Charles in 1986, Charles blamed the “influx of foreign Jews”[iii] …. ‘especially from Poland’ for causing unrest in the Middle East. Writing to his friend Laurens van der Post after a tour of Arab states, the Prince argued that the exodus of European Jews in the middle of the last century “helped to cause the great problems” in the Middle East. However, on May 3rd The JC reported that Prince Charles will be the guest of honour at Platinum — Celebrating Israel at 70, at the Royal Albert Hall on 24th May. Perhaps this in preparation for him to be Defender of Faiths!
The news follows the announcement in March that Prince William is to visit Israel in the summer – the first ever official royal visit.
Islam, a religion Charles admires, has laid claim to the Queen being a descendant of the prophet Mohammed.[iv]
King Solomon had been warned that if the nation should apostatize, the Temple would be destroyed, which it was. Solomon’s disregard of God’s honour was the cause of his calamities with his enemies rising against him (1 Kings 11:14, 27). Following came the division of the kingdom, and ultimately the captivity of the ten tribes and of Judah (1 Kings 11:9-14; 2 Kings 17:14-20; Luke 19:42). Divine chastisement fell upon Solomon for his adultery and idolatry. The chastisement was upon the house of David for the idolatries imported by Solomon’s wives and the contagion that spread through the whole nation. Righteousness exalts a nation – sin ruins it, and we see this in the divided nation that was to follow, and eventually exile. The nation’s sin found her out. (Leviticus 26:31; 2 Kings 25:9; see Numbers 32:23).
As the above example suggests, the symbol of Solomonic rule is a special kind of throne, and by sitting on it a ruler showed himself (or herself, in the case of rulers like Queen Elizabeth) to be a similar kind of sovereign. According to 1 Kings 10:20, the throne was supposedly unique – “nothing like it was made in any kingdom” – but it was nonetheless something that later kings tried to emulate by following what few details are provided in the biblical text, which notes, for example, that the throne was covered in gold and flanked by lions on either side, and was mounted by way of six steps, each the resting place for two additional lions. The best-known example is the throne of Solomon fashioned for the kings of the Byzantine Empire, arguably the most sophisticated automatic contraption of the premodern world. According to Jewish legend, Solomon’s throne would literally come alive whenever the king sat on it—the golden lions sitting on each of its steps would begin roaring, other gilded beasts would begin to move, eagles would descend to place the crown on his head, songbirds would begin to sing. The throne could also rotate and even take flight. Some sources suggest it was an imitation of the heavenly throne, the throne from which God ruled the world, and its nature symbolism—the animals and plants which adorned the throne—was meant to suggest the power of a cosmocrat, a ruler who governs the entire universe and all its inhabitants. In an effort to claim this kind of power, the kings of the Byzantium had their artisans reproduce the wonders of Solomon’s throne, relying on some kind of hydraulic system to animate the beasts and trees that flanked the throne, simulate the sound of roaring lions and singing birds, and allow the throne to be raised or lowered automatically. The throne deeply impressed visitors like Liutprand of Cremona, an Italian bishop who visited Constantinople in 949 and sent a description back to Europe.
Divorce & Remarriage[v]
Should Charles, once a divorcee, become king, he is married to a divorcee who will be queen. Divorce and remarriage should be re-examined to establish if we are in the faith handed down to the saints (2 Corinthians 13:5). The Church is awash with wishy-washy doctrine producing wishy-washy-worshippers. Divorce and remarriage has struck at the heart and soul of this nation, from Parliament and Palace to the humblest streets and dwelling places, and no-one bats an eye! Rather than being Christ-like, the Church has adapted to society by becoming society-like, reflecting the world around us and not the image of the Lord. Very few preachers will touch the subject with a barge-pole, at least, not from a biblical perspective; not the lordly Archbishops, nor leaders, teachers and prophets. Yet it is one of the most important issues facing the Church in the West. While the House of Lords is honoured, even in these days to some extent, the House of the Lord is despised and rejected! Hypocrisy and superficiality of worship prevail; and the holy living of the early Church has paled into insignificance.
Many will be tuning in to the royal wedding this week. One Christian organisation is going to provide a widescreen, so that delegates attending their conference on the day of the wedding, should not miss the great event. Divorce and remarriage is enjoyed by the royal family, Princess Anne, Prince Charles; and now Prince Harry is to marry a divorcee. No-one gives it a second thought. I wonder, if Jeremiah were here today as a visitor to our shores, would he address the House of Windsor, and Prince Charles in particular, with the words he prophesied to Jehoiakim? “Shall you reign, because you can compete in cedar?” (Jeremiah 22:15-19).
American pastor, Eddie Snipes, said: “As biblical teaching is pushed aside, people are no longer standing strong in the Lord. In fact, very few have any concept of an immovable truth or even what spiritual maturity is all about.” Ministers avoid ‘controversial’ issues and doctrine. They preach God’s love to the point of error; congregations are lulled into a false sense of security.
“So it is said: ‘Wake up, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise…” (Ephesians 5:14-15).
Blessings and shalom