The sin King Solomon
by E.A. Wallis Budge, 
SOLOMON Returned to JERUSALEM
Then SOLOMON came back to the city of Jerusalem, and he went there with the elders of Jerusalem a great weeping in the house of God. And after this, the King and ZADOK the priest embraced each other, and they wept bitterly in the habitation of ZION, and they remained silent for a long time. And the elders rose up and spake unto the King, saying, “Be not thou sorrowful concerning this thing, O our Lord, for we know, from first to last, that without the Will of God ZION will not dwell [in any place], and that nothing happeneth without the Will of God. And as concerning ZION in olden time, in the days of Eli the priest, before our fathers had asked for a king, the PHILISTINES carried ZIONaway captive into [their] camp—God having neglected ISRAEL in the battle, and its priests ’AFNÎ (HOPHNI) and PÎNÂḤAS (PHINEHAS) having fallen by the edge of the sword.
The PHILISTINES carried away the Tabernacle of the Law of God, and brought it into their city, and set it in the house of their god DAGON. And DAGON was broken to pieces and destroyed, and became like dust, and their land became a desert through mice, and they ate up all the fruit of their land, and their persons became sores and boils. And they gathered together their priests, and magicians, and star-gazers, and they entreated them and said unto them, ‘How can we relieve ourselves of these sores and the tribulation which have come upon us, and upon our country?’ And those magicians meditated and withdrew themselves to be alone, and they brought their magical instruments, and pondered, and considered, and planned how they could relieve them from the tribulation of their city and their persons. And they discovered that this punishment had come upon them and their city because of ZION. And they went to their kings and their governors, and they said unto them, ‘All these things have befallen you through the heavenly Zion, the Tabernacle of the Law of God. And now, know ye how ye will take her back into her city, and her country, and her house. And we must by no means send her away empty but must give her an offering, so that she may forgive you your sins, and do away your tribulation when she hath returned to her city. And if ye will not send her to her city, no good will come of making her live with you, but ye shall continue to be punished until ye are destroyed.’
“And their kings and governors said unto their priests, ‘What gift now say ye that we ought to give her, and how shall we send her back? Find out, and tell us what we must do.’ And the priests of the PHILISTINES took counsel together again, and they said unto their kings and governors, ‘Make for her according to the heads of your houses, sixty figures of mice in gold, since mice have destroyed your land, and sixty figures of the member of a man, since your own persons have suffered from sores and boils on your members.’And the PHILISTINES made as they commanded them one hundred and twenty offerings of gold, and gave them to ZION. And again they said unto the priests, ‘How shall we send her away? And whom do ye say shall set her in her city?’ And again the magicians of the PHILISTINES said unto them, ‘Let them bring two she-camels that brought forth their firstborn at the same time, and let them attach a wagon to them—and they must keep back their young ones and shut them up in the house—and they must yoke the two she-camels together, and then set them free and let them go where they will. And if they march straight for JERUSALEM we shall know that peradventure God hath had compassion on our land; but if they wander about, and go hither and thither, and wish to turn back to the place whence they started, then we shall know that God is [still] wroth with us and that He will not remove His punishment until He hath blotted out ourselves and our city.’
“And the PHILISTINES did as the priests commanded their governors, and they sent away ZION, and prostrated themselves before her. And those camels made their way straight to the country of Judah, and they came to the threshing floor and the house of thy kinsfolk received them. And those who did not receive them were the men of the house of DÂN, and they did not do homage to ZION, for they regarded her in anger as their destroyed (?) God. And they cut up the pieces of wood of the wagon, and they made those camels to be sacrificed, and ZION returned to her place. And whilst ZION was in [her] house SAMUEL the Prophet ministered unto her, and vision and prophecy were revealed unto him, and he pleased God in all his actions, and he ruled ISRAEL for forty-eight years.
“And after him, our people entreated God to give them a king like the nations that were round about them. And SAMUEL the Prophet anointed Saul king, and he reigned forty years. And he was of the tribe of Benjamin, which was the youngest branch of the peoples of Israel. And SAMUEL the Prophet also anointed thy father DAVID. And when the Philistines fought with SAUL the King, SAUL was conquered and died with [YÔ]NÂTHÂN his son. And those of his sons who were left wished to carry away ZION when they knew that their father and their brother were dead. And then when they wished to hide her and to transfer her to the Valley of GÊLÂBÛḤÊ (GILBOA) in order that thy father David might not carry them off, she would not let them carry her away until thy father came and carried her away from their city, but not with offerings, and not with incense and burnt offerings. For it was impossible to carry ZION away unless she wished it and God wished it. And again, when thy father reigned rightly over ISRAEL he took her from the city of SAMARIA and brought her here to JERUSALEM, dancing on his feet before her, and clapping his hands because of joy for her; for she was taken by him that she might come to the city of David thy father.
As for that which thou sayest concerning the going of ZION to their city, to the country of Ethiopia, if God willed it and she herself willed it, there is no one who could prevent her; for of her own will she went, and of her own will she will return if God pleaseth. And if she doth not return it will be God’s good pleasure. And as for us, if God hath willed it JERUSALEM shall remain to us wherein thou hast built for us a house of God. And now, let not thine heart be sad, but comfort thou thyself with what we have said unto thee. And the wisdom, which the Lord God of Israel hath given thee, hath sprouted from thee. For wisdom is a strange thing. As a lamp is not the sun, and as vinegar and aloes are neither profitable nor useful additions to honey, even so, the words of fools are not beneficial to the wise man. And as smoke is to the eye, and unripe fruit to the tooth, even so, the words of fools are not beneficial to the wise.”
The answer which SOLOMON made to them
SOLOMON the King answered and said unto them, “Hearken ye unto me and to what I shall say unto you. Supposing He had taken me away whilst I was carrying ZION—what is impossible to God? And supposing He had taken you away whilst ye were carrying her—what is impossible to God? And supposing He was to make them inherit our city and destroy us—what is impossible to God? For everything is His, and none can gainsay His Will, and there is none who can transgress His command in heaven above or on earth below. He is the King Whose kingdom shall never, never pass away, Amen. But now let us go and kneel in the House of God.”
The elders of Israel together with their King went into the House of God, and they entered the Holy of Holies, and they made supplication, and prostrated themselves, and ascribed blessing to God. And SOLOMON wept in the habitation of the heavenly Zion, the Tabernacle of the Law of God, and they all wept with him, and after a little while, they held their peace. And SOLOMON answered and said unto them, “Cease ye, so that the uncircumcised people may not boast themselves over us, and may not say unto us, ‘Their glory is taken away, and God hath forsaken them.’ Reveal ye not anything else to alien folk. Let us set up these boards, which are lying here nailed together, and let us cover them over with gold, and let us decorate them after the manner of our Lady ZION, and let us lay the Book of the Law inside it. JERUSALEM the free that is in the heavens above us, which JACOB our father saw, is with us, and below it is the Gate of Heaven, this JERUSALEM on the earth. If we do the Will of God and His good pleasure, God will be with us, and will deliver us out of the hand of our enemy, and out of the hand of all those who hate us; God’s Will, and not our will, be done, and God’s good pleasure, and not our good pleasure, be done. Through this, He hath made us sorrowful. Henceforward His wrath will cool in respect of us, and He will not abandon us to our enemies, and He will not remove His mercy far from us, and He will remember the covenant with our fathers Abraham, and ISAAC, and JACOB. He will not make His word to be a lie, and will not break His covenant so that our fathers’ seed shall be destroyed.”
The Nobles of ISRAEL agreed [with the King]
Then the elders of Israel made answer and said unto him, “May thy good pleasure be done, and the good pleasure of the Lord God! As for us, none of us will transgress thy word, and we will not inform any other people that ZION hath been taken away from us.” And they established this covenant in the House of God—the elders of Israel with their King SOLOMON unto this day. And SOLOMON lived [thus] for eleven years after the taking away of ZION from him, and then his heart turned aside from the love of God, and he forgot his wisdom, through his excessive love of women. And he loved very greatly the daughter of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, whose name was MÂḲSHÂRÂ, and he brought her into the house which he had made; and there were figures of the sun, moon, and stars in the roof thereof, and it was illumined by night as brightly as by day. Its beams were made of brass, and its roof of silver, and its panels (?) of lead, and its walls of stone, red with black, and brown with white [and] green; and its floor was of blocks of sapphire stone and the sardius. And he used to go and dwell therein through his love for his house and his wife MÂḲSHÂRÂ, the daughter of Pharaoh the king of Egypt.
Now the queen possessed certain idols which her father had given her to bow down before, and because, when SOLOMON saw her sacrificing to them and worshipping them, he did not rebuke her or forsake her, God was wroth with him and made him forget his wisdom. And she multiplied her sacrifices, and her worship, and her folly, according to the stupidity of the Egyptians, and all the people of her house worshipped the idols, and learned the foolish service of idols. And enjoying the pleasure of their foolish service they worshipped with the daughter of PHARAOH, and the children of Israel joined themselves to her, and the women and their handmaidens joined themselves unto her in the worship and foolish service of idols. And SOLOMON himself found pleasure in hearing their foolish service and folly. And when she saw that he loved her, and hearkened, and held his peace, and asked many questions about the foolish service of the gods of the Egyptians, she made herself exceedingly agreeable to him, and she spoke to him with honeyed words, and with the tender speech of women, and with the sweet smile that accompanieth the presentment of an evil deed, and with the turning of the face and the assumption of a look of good intent, and with the nodding of the head. With actions of this kind, she caused his heart to turn away from his good intentions, and she enticed him to the evil of her work, wishing to drag him down into the folly of the foolish service of idols through carelessness. And as the deep sea draweth down into its depths the man who cannot swim, until the water overwhelmed him and destroyeth his life, even so, did that woman wish to submerge SOLOMON the King.
The Daughter of PHARAOH Seduced SOLOMON
Then the daughter of Pharaoh appeared before SOLOMON, and said unto him, “It is good to worship the gods like my father and all the kings of EGYPT who were before my father.” And SOLOMON answered and said unto her, “They call gods the things which have been made by the hands of the worker in metal, and the carpenter, and the potter, and the painter, and the hewer in stone, and the sculptor; these are not gods, but the work of the hand of man, in gold, and silver, in brass and lead, in iron and earthenware, and in stone, and ye call ‘our gods’ the things that are not your gods. But we worship none else than the Holy God of Israel and our Lady, the holy and heavenly ZION, the Tabernacle of the Law of God, whom He hath given us to worship, us and our seed after us.”
She answered and said unto him, “Thy son hath carried away thy Lady ZION, thy son whom thou hast begot, who springeth from an alien people into which God hath not commanded you to marry, that is to say, from an Ethiopian woman, who is not of thy color, and is not akin to thy country, and who is, moreover, black.” And Solomon answered and said unto her, “Though thou speakest thus art thou, not thyself of [that race] concerning which God hath not commanded us that we should take wives from it? And thy kin is her kin, for ye are all the children of HAM. And God, having destroyed the seed of HAM seven kings, hath made us inherit this city, that we and our seed after us may dwell therein forever. And as concerning ZION, the will of God hath been performed, and He hath given her unto them so that they may worship her. And as for me, I will neither sacrifice to nor worship thine idols, and I will not perform thy wish.”
Though she spoke in this wise unto him, and though she shewed herself gracious unto him evening and morning, and night and day, he continued to refuse her [request]. And one day she beautified and scented herself for him, and she behaved herself haughtily towards him and treated him disdainfully. And he said unto her, “What shall I do? Thou hast made thy face evil towards me, and thy regard towards me is not as it was formerly, and thy beautiful form is not as enticing as usual. Ask me, and I will give thee whatsoever thou wishest, and I will perform it for thee, so that thou mayest make thy face (or, attitude) gracious towards me as formerly”; but she held her peace and answered him never a word. And he repeated to her the words that he would do whatsoever she wished, and she said unto him, “Swear to me by the God of Israel that thou wilt pladoes not play.” And he swore to her that he would give her whatsoever she asked for and that he would do for her everything that she told him. And she tied a scarlet thread on the middle of the door of [the house of] her gods, and she brought three locusts and set them in the house of her gods. And she said unto SOLOMON, “Come to me without breaking the scarlet thread, bend thyself and kill these locusts before me and pull out their necks”; and he did so. And she said unto him, “I will henceforward do thy will, for thou hast sacrificed to my gods and hast worshipped them.” Now he had done this because of his oath so that he might not break his oath which she had made him swear, even though he knew that it was an offense (or, sin) to enter into the house of her gods.
Now God had commanded the children of Israel, saying, “Ye shall not marry strange women that ye may not be corrupted by them through their gods, and through the wickedness of their works and the sweetness of their voices; for they make soft the hearts of simple young men by the sweetness of their gentle voices, and by the beauty of their forms they destroy the wisdom of the foolish man.” Who was wiser than SOLOMON? yet he was seduced by a woman. Who was more righteous than DAVID? yet he was seduced by a woman. Who was stronger than SAMSON? yet he was seduced by a woman. Who was more handsome than ’AMNÔN? yet he was seduced by TAMAR the daughter of David his father. And ADAM was the first creation of God, yet he was seduced by EVE his wife. And through that seduction death was created for every created thing. And this seduction of men by women was caused by EVE, for we are all the children of EVE.
The sin of SOLOMON
Now SOLOMON sinned an exceedingly great sin through the worship of idols, and from being a wise man he became a fool, and his sin is written down in the Book of the Prophets. And the Archbishops who were there answered and said, “Hath God had mercy on SOLOMON for this error which is written down [as] his sin?” Yea, God hath had mercy upon him, and his name is numbered with [the names of] ABRAHAM, ISAAC, and JACOB, and DAVID his father in the Book of Life in heaven. For God is a forgiver of those who have sinned. Come now, and consider, which was the greater of the two, the sin of his father David or the sin of his son Solomon? DAVID caused URIAH to be slain in battle by means of a plan of deceit so that he might take his wife BÊRSÂBÊḤ (BATHSHEBA), the mother of Solomon; and he repented, and God had compassion on him. And when he was dying he advised his son, Solomon, saying, “Kill JOAB as he killed ’AMÊR (ABNER), and kill SHIMEI because he cursed me”; and he performed the will of his father and slew them after the death of David his father. And SOLOMON killed no one except his brother when he wished to marry the Samênâwît the wife of his father David whose name was ’ABÎS (ABISHAG). And as concerning the error of SOLOMON which is written down I will reveal it to you, even as God hath revealed it to me.