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King Solomon and his plans for the templeDavid and Bathsheba’s first child died because of the sin David had committed (killing Bathsheba's first husband). Their second son, Solomon, became the next King of Israel. Solomon built a magnificent temple in Jerusalem to house the Ark of the Covenant. It was also a place where the Israelites could go to worship God. The temple took seven years to build. It was made from stone, cedar wood, bronze and gold. Inside, two winged angels guarded the Ark. The walls were covered in gold flowers. The two bronze pillars represented strength and security. But to pay for the building of the temple Solomon had to raise taxes. The country became very poor. This would lead to Solomon’s downfall.

Inside Solomon's temple
The Judgment of Solomon, an engraving by Gustave Doré. Solomon is shown ordering a soldier to divide a disputed baby in half.

Solomon's wisdom

King Solomon was known for his wisdom and commitment to God. He was a diplomat and preferred negotiations and agreements to war. One day, two women came to him to ask him settle a dispute. Both had recently given birth, but one of the babies had unfortunately died. Its mother had swapped it for the living baby and pretended it was hers. Solomon ordered a soldier to cut the living baby in half. The guilty mother agreed, but the real mother broke down and begged Solomon give the baby to the other woman rather than kill it. Solomon now knew who the real mother was and gave the baby to her.

The Queen of Sheba

Solomon obtained the precious metals needed for his great buildings from copper mines in the desert to the south of Jerusalem. These are known as "King Solomon's Mines".

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