“Solomon, the son of David, strengthened his hold on the kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly powerful.” (2 Chronicles 1:1)
When King David died, his son Solomon succeeded him as ruler of Israel. When he was young, Solomon was a faithful king and his nation was at peace. He asked God for wisdom to rule well – and his prayer was granted. Solomon built a great temple for God in Jerusalem, and wrote many songs, proverbs and parables. He became world-famous for his wisdom – and many sought his advice.
One of these people was the Queen of Sheba, who travelled from afar to visit King Solomon. She wanted his view on a number of tricky subjects. In a parallel to the visit of the wise men to the newborn Christ, she brought gold and spices as gifts for the king before returning to her homeland (1 Kings 10:1-10).
Unfortunately, in later life King Solomon rather went off the rails. Led astray by his foreign wives, he began to worship false gods. As a result, God warned Solomon that after his death, his kingdom would be divided in two. Jeroboam, who had been one of his officials, would rule over northern Israel, while the province of Judah would remain under the control of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.
King Solomon was the original Prince of Peace. The name Solomon means ‘peace’ and his reign was free from conflict. This reminds us of the message of the Christmas angels at the birth of Christ: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to all those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
This stained glass scene of King Solomon meeting the Queen of Sheba is found within the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Norwich. Created by the Hardmans firm at the turn of the 20th century, it forms part of the great ‘Queens’ Window’ within the north transept of the Cathedral. Here we see Solomon descend from his throne to meet the queen, who arrives with one of her servants bearing gifts for the king, as did the wise men with the infant Christ.
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