January 24, 2013

20 - King Solomon

" 'Your servant is in the midst of your chosen people, a great many too numerous to count. Give me a discerning heart to judge your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern your great people?'
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this and said unto him,
'Since you have asked for wisdom and not for long life or wealth or for the death your enemies I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart such as no one else has had or ever will!'"
1 Kings 3:6-12
It's a freakin King Solomon teddy bear! Look at his adorable scales!  It's like he's judging
whether to hug you or snuggle you!
(source: http://www.sunny-bears.com/inv/hermann+spielwaren/king-solomon-teddy-bear-19514-4.php)

Did you know that Solomon, known as Suleiman in the Quran, had a giant flying carpet, could communicate with animals, and knew how to control the djinn to do his bidding? THAT IS SO COOL. And so I present to you two Solomons. One proposes to chop babies in half to settle small court claims, the other flies around the Middle East essentially accompanied by genies. How many other world leaders can claim to be that awesome?

None. None leaders.

MP3 Download

Music Credits
Michael Levy - Shalom Chavarim


The many paintings of The Judgment of Solomon
Valentin de Boulogne
Rubens (love the anachronistic dress!)
Giorgione (holding court outside? eh, whatever)

The complete Kebra Nagast - Amazing!!
An incredible depiction of the inner sanctum of Solomon's temple - note they didn't include the purple veil though.
Solomon's temple from the side
3D viewpoint complete with surrounding wall and courtyard
Another viewpoint of the temple
I have to say, I have NO idea what any of this means...but it was so interesting to me that I had to include it.
Evidence of Solomon's wall?
Solomon's Throne

The Queen of Sheba
Surprised to see a white Queen of Sheba? Curious as to why artists throughout the ages would make an Ethiopian queen pretty darn pale? Don't read too much into it, anachronism is fairly rampant in early art. There's no malicious intentions here, just a very narrow world view.
Without knowing these two are Solomon and the Queen, one could be forgiven for assuming they're some English lord and lady. Again, in 1500 Strasbourg, Germany, I don't think they were deliberately imposing racism into their works. These people barely knew the value of soap, let alone the importance of ethnographic sensitivities.
Here we go! From an Ethiopian fresco, the Queen rides off with what is assumed to be St. George behind her. Note the clear Ethiopian/Southwest Arabian features. If you want to know what she probably looked like, here she is in all her stately beauty. Stunning!


  1. Dude, if I wanted to listen to Bible stories, I'd download the Bible on tape. Get back to history founded in fact and drop all the talk about unproven stories.

    1. You say Bible stories like this is Sunday School and the doors are locked from the outside!

      I meant what I said about covering the history of our world, and the ancient Hebrews are part of our world. Their traditions and stories have shaped the world, whether we talk about them or not. If you don't learn about Abraham or Moses (be they legendary or not), how will you put into context the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar? Or the revolt of the Maccabees? Or the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans? Or the rise of monotheism a la Christianity in the West? I'm sure you have no objections to hearing about these events, so why the disdain for these episodes?

      Please keep an open mind here. Consider that I fully plan to talk about the legendary history of Ancient Greece too, from Pelops to The Trojan War. Will there be critics of this? Maybe. But I like these stories and to me they're just as important to history as artifacts buried in the earth.

    2. In contrast to the poster above, I'm really enjoying these Israel/Judah parts, especially how they interact with the empires of the time. In school, the ancient world was always just a week of Egyptian art and mummies, then on to the Greeks.

  2. I'm loving your podcast and I'm always checking to see if you have a new episode up. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you! It means a lot to know that! (PS I just put up a new episode!)

  3. The podcast is great, I have been devouring it over the last couple of days and especially enjoyed the Gilgamesh re-telling. I was excited to listen to the parts about the Hebrews being familiar with the old testament and wanting to hear the real scoop. Is there really no other story of these people to be found anywhere other than the bible? Nothing, not even conjecture? And if the bible is all there is what is the dirt on that, who wrote it and when? Anyway, great podcast, keep up the great work!!

    1. I'm glad you're enjoying them, and you'll see that as you progress with the episodes on the Hebrews, there's more and more archaeological and historical evidence that I cite. Unfortunately for much of their early history there's simply nothing concrete outside the Old Testament, much of which was written during the reign of King Josiah of Judah, and during the captivity in Babylon. Some scholars think that when the Egyptians mention the "Habiru" people in their documents, they're referring to the Hebrews. This is still a divisive issue in the archaeological world, as a quick search reveals a lot of resources supporting or rejecting this. But as far as I know most historians disagree with the Habiru claim.
      I know, I was really hoping to find more solid information too, but every book I used in my research, every journal article everyone used the Old Testament as a primary source. So I used it too!

  4. I like the stories of the bible, and especially your interpretation of what the stories really meant. Keep up the good work!