Ptolemy & Solomon
H. Abdul Al-Dahir
It appears that Solomon shares many of the royal characteristics and accoutrements of the early pharaohs of the Ptolemaic Dynasty namely Ptolemy Soter (the savior), Ptolemy Philadelphus and Ptolemy Euegetres.
Ptolemy Soter was thought to be the illegitimate son of Philip II of Macedon and Solomon was thought to be the son of an illegitimate marriage between David and the wife of Uriah, David’s lieutenant whom David murdered in order to marry his wife. Ptolemy served under Prince Alexander the Great and David served in the military of King Saul ben Qysh. Both David and Ptolemy I founded dynasties.
Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Solomon were sons of victorious leaders who became kings. Ptolemy II and Solomon both ruled empires. Ptolemy II and Solomon had numerous concubines and wives. Solomon took an Egyptian wife according to Both kings had elaborate courts which featured exotic animals: According to the Wiki article Ptolemy II:
“The material and literary splendour of the Alexandrian court was at its height under Ptolemy II. Pomp and splendor flourished. He had exotic animals of far off lands sent to Alexandria, and staged a procession in Alexandria in honor of Dionysus led by 24 chariots drawn by elephants and a procession of lions, leopards, panthers, camels, antelopes, wild asses, ostriches, a bear, a giraffe and a rhinoceros. According to scholars, most of the animals were in pairs – as many as eight pairs of ostriches – and although the ordinary chariots were likely led by a single elephant, others which carried a 7-foot-tall (2.1 m) golden statue may have been led by four. Although an enthusiast for Hellenic culture, he also adopted Egyptian religious concepts, which helped to bolster his image as a sovereign.”
Solomon’s extravagant palace is described in 1 Kings 7 & 10 and his zoo of exotic animals is described in 1 Kings 10:22:
“8 Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. 20 Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days. 22 The king had a fleet of trading ships[h] at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and peacocks.”
1 Kings 10 also mentions that Solomon received yarn, linen, horses and chariots from Egypt as well as a wife (1 kings 9) who was pharaoh’s daughter.
Ptolemy Philadelphus and Euegetres were noted for gathering the wisdom of empires, translating this wisdom into Greek and archiving it in the fabulous Library at Alexandria. Solomon was noted for his wisdom and was credited with authoring several biblical books, “including not only the collections of Proverbs, but also of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon and the later apocryphal book the Wisdom of Solomon.”
Solomon was credited with building a fabulous temple more or less modeled on Rameses II temple at Luxor with the 2 pillars or pylons. Ptolemy Euegetres was a builder of temples a generous patron of his religion. According to Wiki: “He is also credited with the foundation of the Serapeum, as well as the Temple of Horus at Edfu, which he commissioned in about 237 BC, although the main temple would not be finished until the reign of his son, Ptolemy IV, in 231 BC, and it would not be officially opened until 142 BC, during the reign of Ptolemy VIII. Also, the reliefs on the great pylon were only completed in the reign of Ptolemy XII. He, like many pharaohs before him, also added to the Temple of Karnak.”
Solomon’s birth name follows the pattern of the birth names of the Ptolemaic pharaohs whose birth names listed the name Ptolemy followed by the epithet ‘beloved of Ptah.” Solomon’s birth name is followed by an epithet, Jedidiah which means ‘beloved of Yah.’ A birth name followed by such an epithet is unique to Solomon in Hebrew history. Both the Ptolemaic pharaohs and Solomon were polytheists who died as polytheists. According to I Kings 11:
“King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
9 The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. 12 Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
It appears that Solomon’s character, his life and his death were modeled on that of the early pharaohs of the Ptolemaic Dynasty.