A Brief History of the Leadership Style of King Solomon
King Solomon was the third king of Israel from 962-922 BC. While King he maintained his father’s (King David) kingdom from the north and east borders of the Aramean state of Zobah to the border of Eygpt.
Solomon carried on the legacy his father left behind while developing and adding to the fortification of the kingdom. History records that Solomon was the key leader in developing the a strong chariot defenses of the country.
“Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem.” ~ 2 Chronicles 1:14
Along with creating a great army the King Solomon biography also records the practice of his recruitment of skilled laborers to develop a manufacturing enterprise.
“King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.” ~ 1 Kings 7:13-14
On one occasion while Jesus was teaching he referred to “Solomon in all his glory.” (Matthew 6:29) He said to his disciples,
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” ~ Matthew 6:28-29
The history of King Solomon shows the skills of a great leader. As one studies the life of this leader, there are skills that are revealed. Solomon was an organizer, an administrator, a builder, an entrepreneur, a diplomat, a merchant, a visionary, a dreamer and a wise man.
Solomon Was an Organizer
One of the true signs of a healthy leader can be seen in the way they can organize those who are under their leadership. The Old Testament book of 1st Kings shows how Solomon recruited a core group of leaders to help develop his kingdom.
So King Solomon ruled over all Israel. And these were his chief officials:
Azariah son of Zadok—the priest;
Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha—secretaries;
Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud—recorder;
Benaiah son of Jehoiada—commander in chief;
Zadok and Abiathar—priests;
Azariah son of Nathan—in charge of the district governors;
Zabud son of Nathan—a priest and adviser to the king;
Adoniram son of Abda—in charge of forced labor.” ~ 1 Kings 4:1-6 (italics and bold added)
Solomon Was an Administrator
A good leader is a good administrator. Solomon showed administration skills when he divided the nation of Israel into twelve districts.
Solomon had twelve district governors over all Israel, who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year. These are their names:
Ben-Hur—in the hill country of Ephraim;
Ben-Deker—in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh and Elon Bethhanan;
Ben-Hesed—in Arubboth (Sokoh and all the land of Hepher were his);
Ben-Abinadab—in Naphoth Dor (he was married to Taphath daughter of Solomon);
Baana son of Ahilud—in Taanach and Megiddo, and in all of Beth Shan next to Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth Shan to Abel Meholah across to Jokmeam;
Ben-Geber—in Ramoth Gilead (the settlements of Jair son of Manasseh in Gilead were his, as well as the region of Argob in Bashan and its sixty large walled cities with bronze gate bars);
Ahinadab son of Iddo—in Mahanaim;
Ahimaaz—in Naphtali (he had married Basemath daughter of Solomon);
Baana son of Hushai—in Asher and in Aloth;
Jehoshaphat son of Paruah—in Issachar;
Shimei son of Ela—in Benjamin;
Geber son of Uri—in Gilead (the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and the country of Og king of Bashan). He was the only governor over the district. ~ I Kings 4:7-19
In these districts, Solomon helps create organizational leaders and support groups.
Solomon Was a Builder
When it came to building, Solomon also showed his skills in teamwork and team development. In 1st Kings 5:13-16 the scriptures show the king’s skills in recruiting a building team.
- He brought together a team of 30,000 men to create a labor force(verse 13)
- He sent them out in shifts of 10,000 a month (verse 14)
- He recruited a team leader. His name was Adoniram. (verse 14)
- He had 70,000 men who were recruited in this team to be the movers and carriers of all the stonework. (verse 15)
- He recruited 80,000 men to become stonecutters.
- He also had 3,300 men who were supervisors and foremen for the work.
Solomon Was an Entrepreneur
Solomon had the ability to take something old and create something new. During the fourth year of his reign as King, Solomon started to build the a Temple. This temple project began 480 years after the people of Israel were freed from their Egyptian bondage. (1 Kings 6:1)
2 Chronicles says,
“Then Solomon began to build the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David. He began building on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign.” ~ 2 Chronicles 3:1-2
Solomon Was a Diplomat
As to Solomon’s skill as a diplomat, his behavior can be seen in how he chose his wives. Political arrangements were the cause of many of Solomon’s marriages. On one occasion, Solomon married an Egyptian Pharaoh’s daughter.
“Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem.” ~ 1 Kings 3:1
Another passage of scripture that tells of this connection is –
“Pharaoh king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer. He had set it on fire. He killed its Canaanite inhabitants and then gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter, Solomon’s wife.” ~ 1 Kings 9:16
Solomon was able to connect with kings like Pharaoh and others from very diverse groups. In his marriages, he also connected with countries and kings from surrounding areas like Moab, Ammon, and Edom.
Solomon Was a Merchant
This king showed interest in many kinds of money making adventures but according to 1 Kings 10:26-29 Solomon was a strong buyer and seller of horses.
”Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue —the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.” ~ 1 Kings 10:26-29
It does appear that Solomon’s interaction with other people had a focus toward commercial ends.
Solomon Was a Visionary and Dreamer
The first dream of Solomon was recorded 1 Kings 3:5-15.
“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.
He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.” ~ 1 Kings 3:5-15
Solomon’s second dream:
“When Solomon had finished building the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do, the Lord appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. The Lord said to him:
“I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
“As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’
“But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and will scoff and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’” ~ 1 Kings 9:1-9
Solomon Was a Wise Man
The word wisdom and the name Solomon compliment one another. The Wisdom of Solomon is a phrase that implies great skill. 1 Kings Chapter 4 has this to say about this gifted man.
“God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.” ~ I Kings 4:29-34
King Solomon is a great example of true leadership. His skills as Solomon an organizer, an administrator, a builder, an entrepreneur, a diplomat, a merchant, a visionary, a dreamer and a wise man are worth studying.
How are you doing as a leader?
Do you have the skills of King Solomon?