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History of IsraelEra of King Solomon

King Solomon was the second ruler in the Davidic dynasty, taking over as king after the death of his father, King David. Solomon built on his father's accomplishments, and the "golden age" of the Israelites peaked during his forty-year reign. Solomon continued making alliances, and developed ancient Israel into a regional economic power, building up infrastructure and industry. With borders expanding from Egypt to Syria to Mesopotamia, it was a time of peace for the Jewish people, the climax of which was the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, ushering in an era of unparalleled prosperity and religious devotion.

Solomon's wisdom was known throughout the world. In a passage in I Kings 10, the Queen of Sheba is described as coming to visit Solomon to test his knowledge firsthand. She visits Solomon bearing exotic gifts and asks him some riddles; when he satisfactorily answers them, she leaves. This intriguing, enigmatic passage has been cause for speculation throughout the centuries as to the identity of the Queen of Sheba and the precise nature of her relationship with King Solomon.

In I Kings 11, Solomon is described as turning away from God. He is punished for taking too many wives, as they led him astray and into idol worship. God tells Solomon that the punishment for his sins would be the division of his kingdom. However, because of the love God had for David, Solomon's father, He promised not tear the kingdom apart during Solomon's own reign, but rather during the reign of his son, Rehoboam. God also pledged to Solomon that his descendants would continue to have sovereignty over two tribes (Judah and Benjamin).

God's words soon came to pass, and the time of prosperity and peace came to an end not long after Solomon's death. Many people were unhappy with Solomon’s ambitious aims, and felt that he gave preferential treatment to his own tribe. The rumblings of a schism began, and after his death, the kingdom split into two, with Israel in the north, and Judah in the south. Solomon's son, Rehoboam, ruled the southern kingdom, Judah, and the kings of Judah remained in the Davidic dynasty for the next 300 years.