Story Twenty

THE LAST DAYS OF SOLOMON'S REIGN
King Sŏĺo-mon the land of Ĭś̝ ra-el arose to greatness as never before and never afterward. All the countries around Ĭś̝ ra-el, and some that were far away, sent their princes to visit Sŏĺ o-mon. And every one who saw him wondered at his wisdom and his skill to answer hard questions. It was said that King Sŏĺ o-mon was the wisest man in all the world. He wrote many of the wise sayings in the Book of Proverbs, and many more that have been lost. He wrote more than a thousand songs. He spoke of trees, and of animals, and of birds, and of fishes. From many lands people came to see Sŏĺ o-mon's splendor in living and to listen to his wise words.
In a land more than a thousand miles from Jē̇-rú sā̇-lem, on the south of Ā̇́ rā́ bĭ-ȧ, in the land of Shḗ bȧ, the queen heard of Sŏĺ o-mon's wisdom. She left her home, with a great company of her nobles, riding on camels and bearing rich gifts; and she came to visit King Sŏĺ o-mon. The queen of Shḗ ba brought to Sŏĺ o-mon many hard questions, and she told him all that was in her heart. Sŏĺ o-mon answered all her questions, and showed her all the glory of his palace, and his throne, and his servants, and the richness of his table, and the steps by which he went up from his palace to the house of the Lord. And when she had heard and seen all, she said:
"All that I have heard in my own land of your wisdom and your greatness was true. But I did not believe it until I came and saw your kingdom. And not half was told me; for your wisdom and your splendor are far beyond what I had heard. Happy are those who are always before you to hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord thy God, who has set thee on the throne of Ĭś̝ ra-el!”
And the queen of Shḗ bȧ gave to Sŏĺ o-mon great treasures of gold, and sweet-smelling spices, and perfumes; and Sŏĺ o-mon also made to her rich presents. Then she went back to her own land.
Sŏĺ o-mon's great palace, where he lived in state, stood on the southern slope of Mount Mō̇-rī́ ah, a little lower than the Temple. Its pillars of cedar were very many, so that they stood like a forest; and on that account it was called "The House of the Forest of Lĕb́ a-non." From this palace a wide staircase of stone led up to the Temple, and Sŏĺ o-mon and his princes walked up these stairs when they went to worship.
But there was a dark side as well as a bright side to the reign of Sŏĺ o-mon. His palaces, and the walled cities that he built to protect his kingdom on all sides, and the splendor of his court, cost much money. To pay for these he laid heavy taxes upon his people, and from all the tribes he compelled many of the men to work on buildings, to become soldiers in his army, to labor in his fields, and to serve in his household. Before the close of Sŏĺ o-mon's reign the cry of the people rose up against Sŏĺ o-mon and his rule, on account of the heavy burdens that he had laid upon the land.
Sŏĺ o-mon was very wise in affairs of the world, but he had no feeling for the poor of the land, nor did he love God with all his heart. He chose for his queen a daughter of Phā́ raōh, the king of Ḗ ġy̆pt, and he built for her a splendid palace. And he married many other women who were the daughters of kings. These women had worshipped idols in their own homes, and to please them, Sŏĺ o-mon built on the Mount of (Wives a temple of idols, in full view of the Temple of the Lord. So images of Bā́ al, and the Ăsh́ ḗ rah, and of Chḗ mŏsh, the idol of the Mṓ ab-ītes, and of Mṓ lech, the idol of the Ăm mon-ītes, stood on the hill in front of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm; and to these images King Sŏĺ o-mon himself offered sacrifices. How great was the shame of the good men in Ĭś̝ ra-el when they saw their king surrounded by idol-priests, and bowing down upon his face before images of stone!
The Lord was very angry with Sŏĺ o-mon for all this, and the Lord said to Sŏĺo-mon, "Since you have done these wicked things, and have not kept your promise to serve me, and because you have turned aside from my commands, I will surely take away the kingdom of ‘Ĭś̝ ra-el from your son, and will give it to one of your servants. But for the sake of your father, Dā́ vid, who loved me And obeyed my commands, I will not take away from your son all the kingdom, but I will leave to him, and to his children after him, one tribe.”
The servant of King Sŏĺ o-mon, of whom the Lord spoke, was a young man of the tribe of Ḗ phră-ĭm, named Jĕr-o-bṓ am. He was a very able man, and in the building of one of Sŏĺ o-mon's castles he had charge over all the work done by the men of his tribe. One day a prophet of the Lord, named Ā̇-hí jah, met the young Jĕr-o-bṓ am as he was going out of Je-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm. A-hī́ jah took off his own mantle, which was a new one, and tore it into twelve pieces. Ten of these pieces he gave to Jĕr-o-bó am, saying to him:
"Take these ten pieces, for thus saith the Lord, the God of Ĭś̝ ra-el, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Sŏĺ o-mon's son, and will give ten tribes to you. But Sŏĺ o-mon's son shall have one tribe for my servant Dā́ vid's sake, and for the sake of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm. You shall reign over ten of the tribes of Ĭś̝ ra-el, and shall have all that you desire. And if you will do my will, saith the Lord, then I will be with you, and will give to your children and children's children to rule long over this land.”
When King Sŏĺ on-mon’s heard what the prophet Ā̇-hī́ jah had said and done, he tried to kill Jĕr-o-bṓ am. But Jĕr-o-bṓ am fled into Ḗ ġy̆pt, and stayed there until the end of Sŏĺ o-mon's reign.
Sŏĺ o-mon reigned in all forty years, as Dā́ vid had reigned before him. He died, and was buried on Mount Zī́ ŏn, and Rē-ho-bṓ am, his son, became king in his place.
Sometimes the reign of Sŏĺ o-mon has been called "the Golden Age of Ĭś̝ ra-el," because it was a time of peace, and of wide rule, and of great riches. But it would be better to call it "the Gilded Age," because under all the show and glitter of Sŏĺ o-mon's reign there were many evil things, a king allowing and helping the worship of idols, a court filled with idle and useless nobles, and the poor of the land heavily burdened with taxes and labor. The empire of Sŏĺ o-mon was ready to fall in pieces, and the fall soon came.
Lesson 30. The Temple.
(Tell Stories 19 and 20, in Part Third.)
1. What was the greatest work in the reign of Solomon? The building of the temple.
2. For what purpose was the temple built? For the house of God.
3. Where was the temple built? On Mount Moriah.
4. Of what older building was it a copy in its plan? The Tabernacle.
5. What stood in front of the temple? An open court.
6. What were the two rooms of the building? The holy place, and the holy of holies.
7. What was kept in the holy of holies? The Ark of the Covenant.
8. What was in the Ark of the Covenant? The Ten Commandments.
9. For what was Solomon known throughout the world? For his wisdom.
10. What queen came from a far country to see Solomon? The Queen of Sheba.
Lesson 31. Review of Part Third.
(Tell enough of the stories to help the pupils in answering the questions.)
1. Who was the first king of Israel? Saul.
2. Where did Saul live as king? At Gibeah.
3. What was the name of Saul's brave son? Jonathan.
4. Who spoke to Saul the word of the Lord? Samuel.
5. Why was the kingdom taken from Saul? Because he disobeyed God.
6. Whom did God choose for king in place of Saul? David.
7. Where did David live as a boy? At Bethlehem.
8. What was the name of the giant whom David killed? Goliath.
9. Where did David hide from Saul? In the wilderness.
10. What people were at war with Saul and the Israelites? The Philistines
11. Where was Saul killed? On Mount Gilboa
12. Who became king after Saul? David.
13. What city did David take from enemies and make his home? Jerusalem.
14. Who tried to make himself king in place of David? Absalom
15. Who was king after David? Solomon.
16. What did Solomon build? The temple.
PART FOURTH.-THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL.