Israel enjoyed its golden era during the reign of King Solomon. Until he ascended the throne, the nation had been plagued with wars. King Saul was continually at war with the Philistines and Amalekites, plus, he chased after David in a jealous rage. During David’s 40-year reign, he fought battles against the Philistines, Ammonites and Syrians. Furthermore, David’s own children gave him grief. Amnon raped Tamar, then was killed by Absalom. Later, Absalom rebelled and tried to take over David’s throne. Soon thereafter, Absalom was killed in battle.
Even when David was dying, another son, Adonijah, tried to claim the throne. David had told Bathsheba that Solomon would succeed him. However, Adonijah announced that he would be king, and even threw an inaugural party to celebrate his ascension to David’s throne.
Upon hearing this, Bathsheba and Nathan the prophet informed David, who, in turn, ordered Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada to take a delegation down to the Gihon Spring and anoint Solomon. When Adonijah’s guests heard that Solomon had been crowned, they became afraid and left the celebration.
Solomon was only 12 years old when he was crowned. But he took immediate steps to secure his position and was recognized as the rightful heir to the kingdom. Thus, began Israel’s golden age of divine blessing and prosperity.
According to Mattis Kantor, author of The Jewish Time Line Encyclopedia, David died on a Saturday afternoon, during the observance of Pentecost. He had been born on Pentecost and died on his 70th birthday.
Solomon was king and the nation was at peace with its neighbors. No Philistine or Amalekite army desired to attack the wise and wealthy ruler of Israel. In particular, Hiram, king of Trye, had loved David, and rejoiced at the opportunity to help Solomon build a grand Temple – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is said that during Solomon’s reign, silver and gold were as plentiful as “stones” in the city of Jerusalem (II Chron. 1:15).
A Man After God’s Own Heart
Reflecting back for a moment, life had not been easy for David, but God had extended grace and established the Davidic Covenant – the seventh covenant with mankind – promising that the Messiah would be David’s descendant.
David was no mere afterthought with God. From the beginning of Creation, God had chosen David’s lineage to produce the King of kings. Remember when Judah had committed the scarlet sin with his daughter-in-law? God announced that Judah’s offspring could not “enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation” (Deut. 23:2). Well, David was that tenth generation. And even though David was not allowed to build the Temple, having been a man of war, he prepared the plans and collected the materials.
Solomon might not have established so great a kingdom had not David prepared the way. Therefore, it is my opinion that both men were divinely ordained to be unique “Prophet Kings.”
The Prophet Kings
Not only were David and Solomon the most revered kings in Israel’s history, but they were prophets as well. Written into their persona was God’s plan for Israel’s future greatness. Solomon was a prophetic type of the King Messiah, who will establish a world kingdom of peace and prosperity that will last a thousand years.
It is plain to see that Solomon’s kingdom was a prophetic type of the Messianic kingdom. Moreover, David’s kingdom seems to have given us a preview of the Dispensation of Grace. Similar to David’s reign, the Church Age has been fraught with problems from the very beginning. The Jewish nation could not accept the messiahship of the man they crucified. They persecuted the followers of Jesus and incurred God’s wrath. The Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70. A hundred thousand were slaughtered, while thousands more were taken captive to Rome and exiled to distant lands. In A.D. 135, Hadrian overthrew Bar Kochba and deported the Jewish population to the slave markets of the world. The Romans plowed the ruins of Jerusalem and sowed salt in its furrows. They changed the name of Jerusalem to Alia Capitolina and the name of Israel to Palestine.
Rome launched a vicious persecution against followers of Jesus and continued to outlaw this new religion that had its roots in a Jewish Messiah – until the fourth century when Constantine issued the “Edict of Toleration.”
After Christian ministers were freed from Roman persecution, they began to devour each other. Like David’s kingdom, every generation experienced various problems – the Dark Ages, the Crusades, and the Inquisitions. With the Reformation came even more fragmentation. Early in the 1700s, a liberal theology emerged out of Germany that, today, seems to question every doctrine we hold dear.
In spite of it all, we live in a world filled with opportunity. It seems to me that David was a prophetic type of the Dispensation of Grace. We are a people after God’s own heart. We are loved. Salvation is offered by grace with no strings attached. The price was paid at Calvary. We are no longer under the Mosaic Law, but under a new covenant – from which the New Testament was named.
The Riddles of Solomon
Now we come to the subject of riddles. Solomon was enamored with the game. We are told that Solomon composed three thousand “proverbs.” Kings came from all over the world to hear his “wisdom” (I Kings 4:32-34). We might call them parables – or hidden messages. Of late, there’s been a lot of talk about “codes” – “Bible Codes,” “The Da Vinci Code,” etc. Well, it seems that God placed a series of riddles within the lives of David and Solomon. Perhaps Solomon included some of these riddles within the pages of the Bible.
David and Pentecost
Michael Strassfeld, author of The Jewish Holidays, a Guide and Commentary, said that David was born on Pentecost and died on Pentecost. That reminds me that the Dispensation (some say, the birth of the church) was launched on the day of Pentecost:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
“And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2: 1,2).
If David was born on Pentecost and died on Pentecost – and the church was born on Pentecost – will the Church Age end on some future Pentecost? As Peter addressed the people and quoted from the prophet Joel. In that same Old Testament chapter, Joel also mentions two outpourings of the Holy Spirit as the “early” and “latter rain.” Maybe the “down payment” came on the first Pentecost in Acts 2, and the full payment will occur on a future Pentecost. Ah! We have a riddle!
Solomon and the Kingdom
As I said earlier, Solomon seems to represent a preview of the Messianic Kingdom. Just as Solomon built the great Temple at the onset of his reign, Jesus is expected to build the third Temple when He returns to establish the Heaven’s Kingdom.
Just as Solomon established a reign of peace, Jesus is expected to establish the great Sabbath Rest. Just as Solomon married hundreds of Gentile women, Jesus is the Bridegroom and New Testament Christianity is called “the bride” (Rev. 22:17). Ah, we have a riddle!
Are There Riddles in the Psalms?
David composed two books of Psalms. But after Solomon ascended the throne, he added two more books to the Psalter. Could he have included riddles there, as well?
David collected the first and fourth books – Psalms 1-41 and 90-106. Solomon published the second and third books – Psalms 42-72 and 73-89. These four books correspond to the themes set forth in the first four Mosaic books – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Ezra added Psalms 107-150 some 500 years later.
Why did David collect the Genesis and Numbers psalms, instead of, say, the Genesis and Exodus group? And why did Solomon collect Psalms 42-89, then insert them between, rather than after, David’s two books? Do we have another riddle?
Maybe David and Solomon didn’t know that God had a prophetic plan for the Psalms. Yet, we have an uncanny development in those four collections. They seem to have given us an overview of each year of the twentieth century, beginning with Psalm 1 and 1901. If so, then we should note that David’s collection ends with Psalm 106. Does that mean that 2006 marks the turn of an era? Will we soon see the conclusion of the Church Age and the onset of the Tribulation Period? Ah! Do we have another riddle?
Since we don’t know the future, it is incumbent upon us to be cautious. But, don’t forget that Psalm 107 contains seven inverted nuns! Will something significant happen next year to bring the world closer to judgment? Now, that’s a riddle!
First published in July 2006 by Dr. J.R. Church