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Third king of Israel, son of David and Bathsheba, builder of the Temple, poet and man of wisdom. His reign, like his name, was one of peace, and lasted about forty years (970-931 B.C.E.). Solomon secured peace on his southern borders by marrying Pharaoh’s daughter, and kept the road to Ezion Gever with its copper mines safe and free. He used his alliance with King Hiram of Tyre, on his northwest border, to develop the arts of commerce and seafaring. Solomon was a great administrator and builder. He erected the Temple in Jerusalem and instituted its impressive services which were accompanied by singing and instrumental music. He built palaces, roads, aqueducts, and his wisdom became a byword in history and in countless legends. However, his marriages to the daughters of neighboring kings introduced into the splendor of his rule the seeds of disruption. The price of Solomon’s luxury was high taxation. His peace was earned at the cost of unrest, political conflict and the idol worship by his foreign wives. Yet Solomon’s glory and his wisdom echo through the ages in the Song of Songs, in Proverbs and in Ecclesiastes, the Scriptural works traditionally ascribed to him.

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