King Solomon and Temple Politics

Here is the twelfth in a series of Bible studies that present the Bible as being in the side of pacifism. This essay, “King Solomon and Temple Politics,” interprets the story of King Solomon as, when read in the context of the larger story of politics in the Old Testament, ultimately as a story of Israel’s return to the ways of Egypt. Solomon’s exercise of power politics, seen in a paradigmatic way in his construction of the Temple as a means of domesticating the faith practices of his people, pushes Israel strongly in the direction of domination.

As the story continues, Solomon’s efforts at centralizing power and gaining control over religious practices leads away from the message of Torah–and toward destruction.  In many ways, Solomon represents what will be rejected when the promise to Abraham comes to be seen as continuing apart from (in spite of) the nation state and its violent ways.

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