Melachim I Four: Solomon’s Nobility

“And King Solomon was king over all Israel (Kings I 4:1).” I take this to mean that Solomon wasn’t just king over the land, but that all of the people accepted his king. It seems like the people are unified at this point in a way that they were still working towards during the previous reigns. We are given the list of Solomon’s princes, the sons of the priests and other court officials.

“And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, who provided victuals for the king and his household, each man had to make provision for a month in the year (Kings I 4:7).” Here, we’re seeing the latest iteration of the governmental system of the Israelites. It seems like Solomon is setting up a class of nobility in ancient Israel. He has officers in different cities, and in several instances his nobles marry his daughters. I imagine that this bound them to him, and showed them both honor and that Solomon was personally invested in them. In this case, the monarchy is absolute and centralized, but Solomon can’t do it all alone. As the community grows, he can’t directly touch all of the people, so this new ruling class totally makes sense. I wonder how the people, who had a tribal mentality ingrained in them, accepted this shift from the tribal leaders. Did it work for them, or will this eventually contribute to the disbanding of the Israelite monarchy?

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