, in 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), as a prophet and as a great ruler imparted by God with tremendous wisdom, favor, and special powers just like his father, David. The Quran states that Sulayman had under his rule not only people, but also hosts of Jinn. It also states that Sulayman 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 common human beings. Ruling a large kingdom that extended south into Yemen, he was known throughout the lands for his wisdom and fair judgments.
Solomon is said to have been given control over various elements, such as the wind and transportation.Thus the Quran 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.
And before Sulayman were marshaled his hosts,- of Jinns and men and birds, and they were all kept in order and ranks.
And Solomon was accordingly grateful of God, he 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)."
According to the Quran, the death of Sulayman was a lesson to be learned,
Then, when We decreed (Sulayman'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).
When Sulayman was to die, he was standing watching the work of his (Jinn) slaves while reclining on his cane. There he silently passed away, but did not fall. He remained in this position, for days and the Jinns thought that he was still alive watching them work, and so they kept working extra days. But the termites were eating at the cane all these days so that the body of Sulayman fell after forty days. It was thereafter that the Jinn (along with all humans) fell in their hands that they did not know more than God had allotted them to know.
One Thousand and One Nights
A well-known story in the "
One Thousand and One Nights" describes a geniewho 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.
This story is not derived from the Qu'ran.
Demons and magic
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, fowls, 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 fowls 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.
A magic ring called the "
Seal of Solomon" was 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.
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 Polycratesof Samos).
In another familiar version of the legend of the Seal of Solomon, Asmeodeus 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 Asmeodeus 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.
Other magical items attributed to Solomon are his key and his Table. The latter was said to be held in
Toledo, Spainduring the Visigothic rule and was part of the loot taken by Tarik ibn Ziyadduring 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 grimoirewhose framing taleis Solomon capturing demons using his ring, and forcing them to explain themselves to him.
Demons 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.
Early adherents of the
Kabbalahportray 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.
Other forms of Solomon legend describe Solomon as having had a
flying carpetthat was 60 miles square, and could travel so fast that it could get from Damascusto Medinawithin 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.
According to one legend, while magically traveling 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
ita million vassals, and slew a million warriors", yet it could not resist the angel of death.
Solomon's throne is described at length in
TargumSheni, 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 King Shishak, when taking away the treasures of the Temple (comp. 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
To Solomon are attributed, by rabbinical tradition, the
Wisdom of Solomon, probably written in the 2nd century BCwhere Solomon is portrayed as an astronomer, and other books of wisdom poetrysuch as the " Odes of Solomon" and the " Psalms of Solomon". The Jewish historian Eupolemus, who wrote about 157 BC, included copies of apocryphalletters exchanged between Solomon and the kings of Egyptand Tyre.
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 Gnosticwork called the " Testament of Solomon" with its elaborate and grotesque demonology. [cite web|url=http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=897&letter=S|title=JewishEncyclopedia.com - Solomon, Testament of: ]
Friedrich Dürrenmatt's " Die Physiker", the physicist Möbius claims that Solomon appears to him and dictates the "theory of all possible inventions" (based on " Unified Field Theory").
The Divine Comedy" the spirit of Solomon appears to Dante Alighieriin the Heaven of the Sun with other exemplars of inspired wisdom.
Neal Stephenson's three-volume " The Baroque Cycle", 17th century alchemists like Isaac Newtonbelieve that Solomon created a kind of "heavier" gold with mystical properties and that it was cached in the Solomon Islandswhere it was accidentally discovered by the crew of a wayward Spanish galleon.
In the third volume of "The Baroque Cycle, The System of the World", a mysterious member of the entourage of Czar
Peter I of Russia, named "Solomon Kohan" appears in early 18th century London. The czar, traveling incognito to purchase English-made ships for his navy, explains that he added him to his court after the Sack of Azov, where Kohan had been a guest of the Pasha. Solomon Kohan is later revealed as one of the extremely long-lived "Wise" (like Enoch Root), and compares a courtyard full of inventors' work-stations to "an operation I used to have in Jerusalem a long time ago," denominating either facility as "a temple."
*There have been at least 3 English language versions filmed of the
Allan Quatermainstory, " King Solomon's Mines", written by Sir Henry Haggard. " King Solomon's Mines" is also a famous Walt Disneycomic story featuring the character Uncle Scrooge, written and drawn by Carl Barks. The diamond mines of King Solomon are also sought after in the book and in the movie "Congo" by the author of Jurassic Park Michael Crichton.
*The Israeli musical "
King Solomon and Shalmai the Shoemaker" based on a Jewish folk story about King Solomon and a shoemaker that looks exactly like him.
Händelcomposed an oratorio entitled Solomon in 1748. The story follows the basic Biblical plot.
Ernest Blochcomposed a Hebraic Rhapsody for cello and orchestra entitled Schelomo, based on King Solomon.
* In the U2 song "Wave of Sorrow" a cryptic reference is made to Solomon and David.
Isaac Rosenberg, the famous 20th century Jewish poet, references Solomon in a great number of his early poems.
* Solomon is a featured character in a one-act play by playwright John Guare, entitled "The General of Hot Desire"
Kingdom of Israel
Kingdom of Judah
Lesser Key of Solomon
Judgment of Solomon
Queen of Sheba
The Bible Unearthed
Animated Stories from the Bible- An animated Series of Biblical Heroes, including Solomon
* - A Japanese animated series conceived by
Osamu Tezukaand produced at the request of the Vaticanthat tells the story of several biblical figures, including Solomon
Seal of Solomon
This too shall pass
Seal of Solomon
*cite book|first= William G. |last= Dever |authorlink= William G. Dever |title= Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? |publisher=
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company|year= 2003 |isbn= 0-8028-0975-8
*cite book|first= Israel |last= Finkelstein |authorlink= Israel Finkelstein |coauthors=
Neil Asher Silberman|title= David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition |publisher= Free Press |year= 2006 |isbn= 0-7432-4362-5
*cite book|first= Israel |last= Finkelstein |authorlink= Israel Finkelstein |coauthors=
Neil Asher Silberman|title= The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision |Publisher= Simon & Schuster|Year= 2002 |isbn= 978-0684869131
*cite book|editor= Thomas E. Levy & Thomas Higham (eds.) |title= The Bible and Radiocarbon Dating: Archaeology, Text and Science |publisher= Equinox Publishing (UK) |location= London ; Oakville, CT. |origdate= 2005-12-30 |isbn= 978-1845530563 |oclc= 60453952
*cite book|last= Dever |first= William G. |authorlink= William G. Dever |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title= What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?: What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel |origyear= 2001 |origmonth= June |publisher= Eerdmans Pub. |location= Grand Rapids, Mich. |isbn= 978-0802847942 |oclc= 45487499 |ref= CITEREFDever2001
*cite book|last= Kitchen |first= Kenneth A. |authorlink= Kenneth Kitchen |title= On the reliability of the Old Testament |origyear= 2003 |publisher= Eerdmans |location= Grand Rapids, Mich. |isbn= 0-8028-4960-1 |oclc= |doi= |chapterurl= |quote= |ref= CITEREFKitchen2003
* [http://www.vdu.lt/~ktv/solomon A collection of King Solomon links on the web - (no longer valid link)]
* [http://www.warsofisrael.com/solommon.html Wars of King Solomon] The Wars of King Solomon: Summaries and Studies: www.warsofisrael.com
* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=894&letter=S Jewish Encyclopedia] (1901-1905)
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14135b.htm Catholic Encyclopedia: Solomon] entry by Gabriel Oussani (1913)
* Animated depiction of the life of Solomon
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = שְׁלֹמֹה ;سليمان; Šəlōmōh
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Ruler of
DATE OF BIRTH = circa 1000 BC
PLACE OF BIRTH = Israel
DATE OF DEATH = circa 900 BC
PLACE OF DEATH = Jerusalem, United Kingdom of Israel
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