King SolomonKing Solomon - King Solomon was known for his great wisdom and is often regarded as the wisest man in history.  This is reflected in his Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes (which is credited to him).  The event which most famously demonstrated his wisdom is when he judged between two women who both claimed the same child as theirs.

 

"Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him.  The one woman said, 'Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house.  It happened on the third day after I gave birth, that this woman also gave birth to a child, and we were together.  There was no stranger with us in the house, only the two of us in the house.  This woman's son died in the night, because she lay on it.  So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom.  When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead; but when I looked at him carefully in the morning, behold, he was not my son, whom I had borne.'  Then the other woman said, 'No!  For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son.'  But the first woman said, 'No!  For the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.'  Thus they spoke before the king.  Then the king said, 'The one says, "This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead one"; and the other says, "No! For your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one"'  The king said, 'Get me a sword.'  So they brought a sword before the king.  The king said, 'Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.'  Then the woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, 'Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him.'  But the other woman said, 'He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!'  Then the king said, 'Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him.  She is his mother.'  When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice." (I Kings 3:16-28, NASD)

 

The reigns are David and Solomon are considered the golden age of ancient Israel, and the nation reached its apex in wealth and power at this time.  However, unlike his father, Solomon turned from God in his later years, and this would have consequences for the entire nation of Israel after his reign.

 

"Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, 'You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, for they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.'  Solomon held fast to these in love.  He had seven hundred wives, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.  For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the destestable idol of the Ammonites.  Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as David his father had done.  Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the destestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the destestable idol of the sons of Ammon.  Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.  Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other guards; but he did not observe what the Lord had commanded." (I Kings 11:1-10, NASB)