A LODGE WORKING IN THE ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE GRAND LEGAL LODGE OF PORTUGAL (REGULAR)
Solomon and the two Kingdoms
It is the third and last king of a united Hebrew state, however, that turned the Hebrew monarchy into something comparable to the opulent monarchies of the Middle East and Egypt. The Hebrew account portrays a wise and shrewd king, the best of all the kings of Israel. The portrait, however, isn't completely positive and some troubling aspects emerge. What emerges from the portrait of Solomon is that he desired to be a king along the model of Mesopotamian kings. He built a fabulously wealthy capital in Jerusalem with a magnificent palace and an enormous temple attached to that palace (this would become the temple of Jerusalem). He took 700 wives and over 300 concubines, most of whom were non-Hebrew (in the book of Judges, Yahweh forbids all male Hebrews to marry non-Hebrews). All of this building and wealth involved imported products: gold, copper, and cedar, which were unavailable in Israel. So Solomon taxed his people heavily, and what he couldn't pay for in taxes, he paid for in land and people. He gave twenty towns to foreign powers, and he paid Pheonicia in slave labor: every three months, 30,000 Hebrews had to perform slave labor for the King of Tyre. This, it would seem, is what Samuel meant when he said the people would pay dearly for having a king.
While the author of II Samuel, the biblical account of Solomon's reign, portrays Solomon as a good king it's clear from the account that the Hebrews living under him did not think so. Groaning under the oppression of Solomon, the Hebrews became passionately discontent, so that upon Solomon's death (around 926 to 922 BC) the ten northern tribes revolted.
Unwilling to be ruled by Solomon's son, Rehoboam, these tribes successfully seceded and established their own kingdom. The great empire of David and Solomon was gone never to be seen again; in its place were two mighty kingdoms which lost all the territory of David's once proud empire within one hundred years of Solomon's passing.