SOLOMON, SOLOMONIC

King Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba, ruled Israel from about 973 to 933, before the Common Era. He was an able administrator, and his political acuity enabled him to form alliances, primarily by marrying women from surrounding regions. His country prospered so well that he was able to construct a massive temple in Jerusalem.
Solomon may have been the most renowned lover of all times, and perhaps the greatest. In addition to his publicized affair with the Queen of Sheba, he is credited, by the Bible, with having married seven hundred women. Quite clearly, in addition to his wisdom, Solomon must have had enduring strength. The erotic Song of Songs is thought to have been composed by him. He is also credited with having written certain psalms and the entire Book of Ecclesiastes.
Solomon’s most famous mediation concerned a dispute by two women who claimed to be the mother of a certain child. The Bible passage reads: «And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give one half to the one, and half to the other» (I Kings 3:24-25). The woman who immediately withdrew her claim was in Solomon’s judgment the real mother. This example of astuteness is known as the judgment of Solomon.
The Queen of Sheba visited Solomon to «prove him with hard questions». He answered so well that she gave him, for starters, «a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices a great store, and precious stones». In return she received from him «all her desire, whatsoever she asked, besides that which Solomon gave her of his real bounty».