Pharaoh's daughter (wife of Solomon)

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This article is about Pharaoh's daughter (wife of Solomon). For other uses, see Pharaoh's Daughter (disambiguation).
Pharaoh's daughter
Solomon and Pharoah's daughter large.jpg
King Solomon and his wife Pharaoh's daughter.
Born Egypt
Spouse(s) King Solomon of the United Kingdom of Israel

Pharaoh's daughter who was the wife of Solomon is a figure in Hebrew scriptures who married the king of the United Monarchy of Israel to cement a political alliance with Egypt. Out of his vast harem, she is the only wife singled out, although she is not given a name in the texts. Her influence on Solomon is seen as the downfall of his greatness.

Scriptural texts[edit]

While there is no archaeological evidence of a marriage between an Egyptian princess and a king of united Israel, claims of one are made at several places in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Note: All scripture quotes are taken from the Jewish Publication Society, 1917 which is in the public domain.)

A marriage alliance[edit]

  • 1 Kings 3:1 says,
"And Solomon became allied to Pharaoh king of Egypt by marriage, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about."

The fact that Pharaoh's daughter has been singled out in the accounts of Solomon is significant as similar treatment is not given to his "seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines" (1 Kings 11:3). Some scholars believe this unique example was because this marriage in particular "demonstrates the wealth and power of the Hebrew monarchy, for Pharaoh's daughters did not ordinarily marry outside of their own family, and perhaps indicates the weakness of the Egyptian kingdom at this time."[1] Another scholar points out that marrying Pharaoh’s daughter is significant in light of the story of Exodus, "A descendant of former Egyptian slaves now became Pharaoh's son-in-law".[2] Most scholars believe the alliance was a result of the reputation of Solomon's father, "Under David, Israel had become a factor to be reckoned with in Eastern politics, and the Pharaoh found it prudent to secure its friendship."[3] The marriage alliance is seen by scholars as the reason for the reported increase in trade with Egypt at 1 Kings 10:28-29.[1]

City of Gezer as dowry[edit]

Location of the city of Gezer.

The Hebrew scriptures relate that the Cannanite city of Gezer had never fallen before the Israelites from Joshua to David.

  • Joshua 16:10 "And they drove not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in the midst of Ephraim, unto this day, and became servants to do taskwork."
  • Judges 1:29 "And Ephraim drove not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them."
  • 2 Samuel 5:25 "And David did so, as the Lord commanded him, and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gezer."

This situation changed when the Egyptian army invaded the city, ethnically cleansed the populace and Pharaoh turned it over to his daughter as a wedding gift, whereby it became the property of Israel.

  • 1 Kings 9:16
"Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a portion unto his daughter, Solomon's wife."

1 Kings 9:17 shows that Gezer “was now rebuilt and made a fortified city of Solomon.”[3]

The historian Josephus gives a similar account in his Antiquities of the Jews, Bk 8, Ch 6, Sec. 1: "...he [Solomon] also built cities which might be counted among the strongest, Hazor and Megiddo, and the third Gezer, which had indeed belonged to the Philistines; but Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had made an expedition against it, and besieged it, and taken it by force; and when he had slain all its inhabitants, he utterly overthrew it, and gave it as a present to his daughter, who had been married to Solomon; for which reason the king rebuilt it, as a city that was naturally strong, and might be useful in wars, and the mutations of affairs that sometimes happen. Moreover, he built two other cities not far from it, Beth-horon was the name of one of them, and Baalath of the other. He also built other cities that lay conveniently for these, in order to the enjoyment of pleasures and delicacies in them, such as were naturally of a good temperature of the air, and agreeable for fruits ripe in their proper seasons, and well watered with springs."[4]

Palace built[edit]

Depiction of Solomon directing his builders.

According to 1 Kings 9:20-23, Solomon enslaved, "All the people that were left of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites" and he had members of "the children of Israel... rule over the people that wrought in the work." The slaves produced many structures for Solomon including a palace for Pharaoh's daughter.

  • 1 Kings 7:8-12

"And [Solomon built] his [own] house where he might dwell, in the other court, within the porch, was of the like work. He made also a house for Pharaoh's daughter, whom Solomon had taken to wife, like unto this porch. All these were of costly stones, according to the measures of hewn stones, sawed with saws, within and without, even from the foundation unto the coping, and so on the outside unto the great court. And the foundation was of costly stones, even great stones, stones of ten cubits, and stones of eight cubits. And above were costly stones, after the measure of hewn stones, and cedar-wood. And the great court round about had three rows of hewn stone, and a row of cedar beams, like as the inner court of the house of the Lord, and the court of the porch of the house."

Removed from Jerusalem[edit]

1 Kings 3:1 states that Solomon brought Pharaoh's daughter "into the city of David, until he had completed building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about." Once the building was completed she was moved out of the city as were his other wives.

  • 2 Chronicles 8:11
And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her; for he said: 'No wife of mine shall dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of the Lord hath come.'
  • 1 Kings 9:24

“But Pharaoh's daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her; then did he build Millo.”

The Jewish scholar Rashi's commentary on the passage from 2 Chronicles shows that this relocation was not limited to Pharaoh's daughter. He states "Scripture explains: '…for he [Solomon] said, A woman shall not live with me in the city of David'".[5]

Pharaoh's daughter was the only wife to be moved into her own palace.

Solomon's downfall[edit]

Depiction of Solomon worshiping with his queens.

The Hebrew scriptures cast Pharaoh's daughter and all of Solomon's wives as leading Solomon into the temptation of straying from the true worship of the god of Israel, Yahweh.

  • 1 Kings 11:1-10 “Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, besides the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which The Lord said unto the children of Israel: 'Ye shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods'; Solomon did cleave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not whole with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the detestation of the Ammonites. And Solomon did that which was evil in the sight of The Lord, and went not fully after The Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the detestation of Moab, in the mount that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestation of the children of Ammon. And so did he for all his foreign wives, who offered and sacrificed unto their gods. And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.”

Josephus gives a similar account in his Antiquities of the Jews, Bk 8, Ch 7, Section 5, “Solomon was fallen headlong into unreasonable pleasures, and regarded not those admonitions; for when he had married seven hundred wives, the daughters of princes and of eminent persons, and three hundred concubines, and those besides the king of Egypt's daughter, he soon was governed by them, until he came to imitate their practices. He was forced to give them this demonstration of his kindness and affection to them, to live according to the laws of their countries. And as he grew into years, and his reason became weaker by length of time, it was not sufficient to recall to his mind the institutions of his own country; so he still more and more condemned his own God, and continued to regard the gods that his marriages had introduced nay, before this happened, he sinned, and fell into an error about the observation of the laws, when he made the images of brazen oxen that supported the brazen sea, and the images of lions about his own throne; for these he made, although it was not agreeable to piety so to do; and this he did, notwithstanding that he had his father as a most excellent and domestic pattern of virtue, and knew what a glorious character he had left behind him, because of his piety towards God.”[4]

Divine punishment[edit]

1 Kings 11:11-13 says that Solomon's actions caused Yahweh to tell the King that the only thing keeping him from rending the kingdom from him to "give it to thy servant" was "for David thy father's sake". Instead Solomon’s punishment would fall on "the hand of thy son" who was to be stripped of all but "one tribe". 1 Kings 11:14-22 says that Yahweh also "raised up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite…[who had] found great favour in the sight of Pharaoh", and 1 Kings 11:23-25 says Yahweh "raised up another adversary unto him, Rezon the son of Eliada… And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon".

Jeroboam[edit]

Depiction of Jeroboam condemning Solomon for sealing the Millo to benefit Pharaoh's daughter.

1 Kings 11:26-32 tells of another figure that is moved to act against Solomon:

  • "And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow, he also lifted up his hand against the king. And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breach of the city of David his father. And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour; and Solomon saw the young man that he was industrious, and he gave him charge over all the labour of the house of Joseph. And it came to pass at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; now Ahijah had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field. And Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces. And he said to Jeroboam: 'Take thee ten pieces; for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel: Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee—but he shall have one tribe, for My servant David's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel—because that they have forsaken Me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon; and they have not walked in My ways, to do that which is right in Mine eyes, and to keep My statutes and Mine ordinances, as did David his father."

"Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt" (1 Kings 11:40). He would return to lead a civil war against Solomon's son Rehoboam that would divide the United Kingdom of Israel (as relayed by 1 Kings 12:19-25). 1 Kings 12:3 says the main reasons that Jeroboam received popular support was because of the taxes and labour caused by all of Solomon's building projects which included the palace and Millo for the upkeep of Pharaoh's daughter. They told Rehoboam "Thy father made our yoke grievous; now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee." Rehoboam refused to listen (1 Kings 12:9-19).

Song of Solomon[edit]

Depiction of Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter reciting the Song of Solomon.

The majority of scholars who believe that Solomon was the author of the Song of Songs hold that the woman addressed in the song is Pharaoh's daughter. One of the points cited for this is the passage at Song 1:9 that states "I have compared thee, Oh my love, to a steed before Pharaoh's chariots." At Song 1:5 she is reported to say "I am black" and at Song 4:8-12 the woman is described as "my bride". A minority of scholars maintain that the song is actually about the Queen of Sheba.

Some sources refer to the object of Solomon's song as Shulamite.

John Wesley held that Psalm 45 (which he saw as "a kind of abridgement" of the Song of Solomon) also "alludes to the marriage between Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter."[6]

Rabbinical sources[edit]

Many Jewish scholars, scribes, and rabbis have commentated on the relationship of Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter portrayed in the Hebrew scriptures.

Whether the marriage was forbidden[edit]

Avraham ben Yaakov reviewing the material points out that "Solomon's move was questionable"[7] because it appeared to be outlawed by Deuteronomy 7:1-5 that said "neither shalt thou make marriages with them: thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For he will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and He will destroy thee quickly."

This objection is held to be addressed by some as the Talmud at Yevamos 76a says that Pharaoh's daughter converted to Judaism before she married Solomon. Yaakov goes on to outline Jewish thought on whether this caused the union to be ritually pure, "Some rabbis held that intermarriage would only be forbidden if the non-Israelite party to the marriage does not convert, but others held that converting them in order to marry is also forbidden."[7] Some Tannaim look at the story of Solomon marrying Pharaoh's daughter and declare it a "criminal act."[8]

There is also a discussion on Judaism's policy (which is found in the Talmud at Yevamos 24b) of forbidding conversion unless the "Jewish people is downtrodden."[9] R' Shlomo Ganzfried outlines the policy saying that "during the reigns of King David and King Solomon, when the Jews enjoyed political autonomy and financial prosperity, no converts were accepted, since they were likely to be motivated by a desire for personal security and monetary gain. Likewise, proselytes will not be accepted in the Messianic era."[9] This is held not to be the case with Pharaoh's daughter as "the Talmud explicitly states that this did not apply to the daughter of Pharaoh, who had enough wealth not to need to marry Solomon for money (Talmud Yevamos 76a)."[7]

A less settled question is whether Solomon could have converted and then married an Egyptian woman when Deuteronomy 23:8-9 states "thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land. The children of the third generation that are born unto them may enter into the assembly of the Lord." Yaakov says that "this objection is countered by a tradition (not accepted halachically) that the referenced verse applies only to an Egyptian male but not to a female (which would make the law of the Egyptian parallel to the law forbidding a Moabite but not a Moabitess [such as Ruth] from ever entering the Assembly)".[7]

Solomon's motivation[edit]

Jewish scribes say that Solomon's teacher was Shimei son of Gera, and while he lived he prevented Solomon from marrying foreign wives. The Talmud says at Ber. 8a "For as long as Shimei the son of Gera was alive Solomon did not marry the daughter of Pharaoh" (see also Midrash Tehillim to Ps. 3:1).

The Talmud at Sanhedrin 21b says Solomon knew that there were regulations in the Torah against some of his actions but at the time he felt he was wise enough to disregard them and not fall into sin "it is written: He shall not multiply wives to himself, whereon Solomon said, ‘I will multiply wives yet not let my heart be perverted.’ Yet we read, When Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart. Again it is written: He shall not multiply to himself horses; concerning which Solomon said, ‘I will multiply them, but will not cause [Israel] to return [to Egypt].’ Yet we read: And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six [hundred shekels of silver]."

Avraham ben Yaakov tries to understand Solomon's motivations in the scripture texts saying "Since PHARAOH represents the OREPH ("back of the neck", same Hebrew letters as Pharaoh) of creation as opposed to its inner face, the conversion of his daughter by Solomon and her integration into the holy edifice that he was building was a 'coup' similar to the conversion of Batya, the daughter of Pharaoh who drew Moses out of the water. The 'daughter of Pharaoh' represents the source of all the different kinds of worldly wisdom (which are her 'handmaidens'). By 'converting' and 'marrying' her, Solomon was perhaps very daringly and ambitiously striving to deepen and enhance the revelation of God's unity on all levels of creation. If so, it was apparently still over-ambitious, because Solomon proved unable to hold his 'catch' within the bounds of holiness, and indeed he himself strayed beyond them."[7] Yaakov also points out "Despite the many questions that surround it, we do not find Solomon's marriage to Pharaoh's daughter criticized in our text as being intrinsically sinful: verse 3 [1 Kings 3:3] does implicitly criticize Solomon for sacrificing at many high altars but does not criticize him for marrying Pharaoh's daughter. It was only in his old age, when Solomon took many wives, that he was criticized for allowing them to turn his heart aside from God."[7]

Timing of the marriage[edit]

The Tannaim hold that the marriage "took place on the night when the Temple was completed." This is in conflict "with Seder Olam Rabbah 15, where it is held that Solomon married Pharaoh's daughter when he began to build the temple, that is, in the fourth year of his reign (comp. I Kings 6:1)."[8] The Jewish Encyclopedia states "The particular love which he manifested for her (comp. 1 Kings 9:1) was rather a depraved passion; and she, more than all his other foreign wives, caused him to sin. He had drunk no wine during the seven years of the construction of the Temple; but on the night of its completion he celebrated his wedding with so much revelry that its sound mingled before God with that of the Israelites who celebrated the completion of the sacred edifice, and God at that time thought of destroying with the Temple the whole city of Jerusalem."[8]

More stories of Pharaoh's daughter[edit]

The Jewish Encyclopedia lists a collection of other stories about Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter, saying she "brought Solomon 1,000 different kinds of musical instruments, explaining to him that each of them was used in the worship of a special idol. She hung over his bed a canopy embroidered with gems which shone like stars; so that every time he intended to rise, he, on looking at the gems, thought it was still night. He continued to sleep, with the keys of the Temple under his pillow; and the priests therefore were unable to offer the morning sacrifice. They informed his mother, Bath-sheba, who roused the king when four hours of the day had flown. She then reprimanded him for his conduct; and the verses of Proverbs 31:1-9 are considered by the Rabbis as having been pronounced by Bathsheba on that occasion."[8]

Depth of Solomon's fall[edit]

In the Talmud at Shab. 56b the rabbinical defenders of Solomon say that the sin ascribed to him in 1 Kings 11 “is only figurative: it is not meant that Solomon fell into idolatry, but that he was guilty of failing to restrain his wives from idolatrous practices.” The Jewish Encyclopedia points out that the opinion "prevalent in rabbinical literature is that Solomon lost his royalty, riches, and even his reason on account of his sins. This legend is based on the words 'I, Kohelet, was king over Israel in Jerusalem' (Eccl. i. 12, Hebr.), which show that when he uttered them he was no longer king. He gradually fell from the highest glory into the deepest misery. At first, Solomon reigned over the inhabitants of the upper world as well as over those of the lower; then only over the inhabitants of the earth; later over Israel only; then he retained only his bed and his stick; and finally his stick alone was left to him (Sanh. 20b)."[8] Rabbi Pinchas Frankel places the blame of this fall on Solomon's wife Pharaoh's daughter. He bemoans her arrival to Solomon's court for "Unlike Pharaoh's daughter in the Story of the Exodus, who raised and developed [Moses] the Leader of the People of Israel, this daughter of Pharaoh will have the opposite effect upon this Leader of Israel, causing his level of spirituality to fall to the point where he will have to temporarily abandon the kingship."[10]

Role in rise of Jeroboam[edit]

The Talmud states that Pharaoh's daughter played a role in why Jeroboam was found worthy of becoming ruler of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. At Sanhedrin 101b it says "Why did Jeroboam merit sovereignty? Because he reproved Solomon. And why was he punished? Because he reproved him publicly. As it is written, And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father. He said thus to him: Thy father David made breaches in the wall, that Israel might come up [to Jerusalem] on the Festivals; whilst thou hast closed them, in order to exact toll for the benefit of Pharaoh's daughter. What is meant by And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king? — R. Nahman said: He took off his phylacteries in front of him."

Rashi explains that Solomon sealed up a place that was in Jerusalem, enclosed by a low wall and was filled with dirt called the Millo (mentioned in 1 Kings 11:26-32). He did this "to build within it houses for her manservants and maidservants. Concerning this Jeroboam admonished him, saying: Your father left it open for the pilgrims, and you enclosed it to make a labor force for Pharaoh’s daughter. ...the Millo he did not build for any greatness, for his father had left it for the pilgrims to pitch their tents therein, but since Pharaoh’s daughter had gone up to her house, and the Millo was adjacent to that house, then he built up the Millo."[5]

The cause of Rome[edit]

As the Hebrew scriptures often say that Yahweh raises enemies against the people of Israel when their leaders fall into sin, a similar statement is made about the story of Solomon and his Egyptian wife. The Talmud at Sanhedrin 21b says that "When Solomon married Pharaoh's daughter, Gabriel descended and stuck a reed in the sea, which gathered a sand-bank around it, on which was built the great city of Rome."

In the Kebra Nagast[edit]

According to the Kebra Nagast of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Pharaoh's daughter tricked Solomon into committing idolatry by making him swear an oath. In the text she was upset that he has slept with the Queen of Sheba and fathered Menyelek (who is held to have taken the Arc of the Covenant with him when the Queen returned with him to Africa). Solomon at first resists her calls saying "I will neither sacrifice to nor worship thine idols, and I will not perform thy wish." So "one day she beautified and scented herself for him, and she behaved herself haughtily towards him, and treated him disdainfully. And he said unto her, "What shall I do? Thou hast made thy face evil towards me, and thy regard towards me is not as it was formerly, and thy beautiful form is not as enticing as usual. Ask me, and I will give thee whatsoever thou wishest, and I will perform it for thee, so that thou mayest make thy face (or, attitude) gracious towards me as formerly"; but she held her peace and answered him never a word. And he repeated to her the words that he would do whatsoever she wished, and she said unto him, "Swear to me by the God of Israel that thou wilt not play me false." And he swore to her that he would give her whatsoever she asked for, and that he would do for her everything that she told him. And she tied a scarlet thread on the middle of the door of [the house of] her gods, and she brought three locusts and set them in the house of her gods. And she said unto Solomon, "Come to me without breaking the scarlet thread, bend thyself and kill these locusts before me and pull out their necks"; and he did so. And she said unto him, "I will henceforward do thy will, for thou hast sacrificed to my gods and hast worshipped them." Now he had done thus because of his oath, so that he might not break his oath which she had made him to swear, even though he knew that it was an offence (or, sin) to enter into the house of her gods."[11]

Naming the Pharaoh[edit]

While some scholars go so far as to attempt to name the Pharaoh's daughter, most theories try to advance a claim of identity for the name of her father that the scriptures say gave her to Solomon as a bride.

Stephen Franklin claims that she is the daughter of Sheshonk I and cites the Yikhus Letter of the Sans Hassidim to claim her name is Nicaule, or Tashere.[12]

The Catholic Encyclopedia states that "The Pharaoh was probably Psieukhannit (Psebkhan) II, the last king of the 21st dynasty, who had his capitol at Zoan (Tanis), and ruled over the Delta."[3]

Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews - Bk 8, Ch 6, Segment 2 states “the kings of Egypt from Menes, who built Memphis, and was many years earlier than our forefather Abraham, until Solomon, where the interval was more than one thousand three hundred years, were called Pharaohs… As for myself, I have discovered from our own books, that after Pharaoh, the father-in-law of Solomon, no other king of Egypt did any longer use that name; and that it was after that time when the forenamed queen of Egypt and Ethiopia came to Solomon, concerning whom we shall inform the reader presently; but I have now made mention of these things, that I may prove that our books and those of the Egyptians agree together in many things.”[4]

The only mention in the Bible of a Pharaoh who might be Siamun is the text from 1 Kings and we have no other historical sources that clearly identify what really happened. The Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen (and others) argue that Siamun conquered Giza and gave it to Solomon. Others such as Paul S Ash and Mark W. Chavalas disagree, and Chavalas states that "it is impossible to conclude which Egyptian monarch ruled concurrently with David and Solomon".[13] Professor Edward Lipinski argues that Gezer, then unfortified, was destroyed late in the 10th century (and thus not contemporary with Solomon) and that the most likely Pharaoh was Shoshenq I. "The attempt at relating the destruction of Gezer to the hypothetical relationship between Siamun and Solomon cannot be justified factually, since Siamun's death precedes Solomon's accession."[14]

Questions of Egyptologists[edit]

Amenhotep II followed Egyptian tradition of refusing to allow marriage alliances with Egyptian princesses.

Egyptologists see a problem with the story of Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter. The issue lies in the fact that there is no record of Egyptian princesses around this time being used to form marriage alliances. As Brian Roberts stated, "The problem is not with the synchronism of Solomon and [Pharaoh] Siamun per se, yet with the problems of attempting to fit the process of marrying out a daughter to a foreign leader. It is not a thing the ultra-orthodox Dynasty 21 would have done... We have an earlier example of the opposite, in fact. The king of the Mitanni had asked Amenhotep II for his daughter's hand in order to cement a political alliance. Amenhotep refused, offended by the suggestion that an Egyptian princess be submitted for that ridicule of being married off to a foreign leader."[15]

Another source points out that except for the story in the Hebrew scriptures there is no other claim that this happened. It states: "Royal women were married to their brothers or in some cases the father to keep the throne in the family. Royal women were never married to foreign kings or princes... There is a written account that the King of Babylon sent a princess to King Amenhotep III to marry and requested an Egyptian Princess be sent to Babylon to marry him. Amenhotep III turned down the request replying, 'That since the days of old no Egyptian king’s daughter has been given to anyone.' Foreign princesses were welcomed to marry the Pharaoh but Egyptian princess did not marry foreign kings or princes. Any foreign princess that married the Pharaoh came with a large dowry and many attendants, she settled into life at the palace by taking an Egyptian name and becoming a minor (second) wife."[16]

Parallels with Amenhotep III and Sitamun[edit]

Bust of Amenhotep III whose marriage to Pharaoh's daughter Sitamun is seen as parallel with Solomon and the subject of this article.

A contemporary theory among some modern archaeologists and biblical scholars is that the stories in the Hebrew scriptures about the range and power of the United Kingdom of Israel are exaggerated by its authors. Charles Pope outlines the work of Ahmed Osman in support of one aspect of this theory, "that the story of Solomon was patterned specifically after the life of Amenhotep III."[17] The article points out that “To be consistent with the pattern of other great Bronze and Iron Age cultures in the ancient Near East (Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Hittite), it would be expected that numerous documents, art, and inscriptions on buildings or public monuments would have been left by such a great king or by his descendants later in honor of him. Yet no article of any kind bearing his name has ever been found.”[17] At Gezer "The name of Solomon was not found, but the cartouche of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep III instead... It was during Amenhotep III's reign that Gezer and other major Palestine cities were refortified as royal Egyptian garrisons, and endowed with fine temples and palaces."[17] While no record of an Egyptian princess being given to a foreigner exists outside the Bible, "It was customary and obligatory for Amenhotep III to marry 'the daughter of Pharaoh' in order to secure the throne. This is precisely what was done when he was married to Sitamun, the daughter of his father, Pharaoh Thutmose IV."[17]

Amenhotep III’s “harem included two princesses from Babylon, two princesses from Syria, two princesses from Mitanni, and like Solomon's harem, it included a princess from each of the seven nations listed in 1 Kings 11:1. As the mightiest king of the Middle East, Amenhotep did not send any of his own daughters to other kings in exchange, nor did any other Pharaoh of this dynasty (or likely any other throughout Egypt's history). He specifically denied a request by the king of Babylon for an Egyptian wife. Importantly, the Bible emphasizes Solomon's Egyptian bride, but does not mention that Solomon had any Hebrew wives. Rehoboam, who is said to have succeeded Solomon, was the son of an Ammonite princess.”[17]

As Amenhotep III entered his old age, "The long years of indulgence had taken their toll and he had many ailments. As a compassionate gesture, his Mitanni brother-in-law sent him an idol of the [Mesopotamian] goddess Ishtar".[17] Similarly the story of Solomon describes him in his old age being influenced by foreign religion through members of his family.

Other parallels are presented and the article concludes, "Solomon is said to have had 'a thousand and four hundred' chariots (1 Kings 1:26). This represents a prodigious army by ancient standards, and one which could only have been amassed over a long period of time by an established civilization. Yet we are told that only five years after the great King Solomon's death, the Egyptian Pharaoh Shishak and his allies invaded Judah and captured its fortified cities with little or no military resistance (2 Chron. 12). The Bible adds that Jerusalem itself was spared only after delivering up the entirety of King Solomon's accumulated wealth to Shishak. The rapidness with which Solomon's empire was established, as described by the Bible, and the ease with which it shortly thereafter submitted to a foreign power is also not consistent with the pattern set by other great ancient civilizations."[17]

Higher criticism[edit]

In the branch of literary analysis that examines the Bible, called higher criticism, the story of Solomon falling into idolatry by the influence of Pharaoh's daughter and his other foreign wives is "customarily seen as the handiwork of the 'deuteronomistic historian(s)'" who are held to have written, compiled, or edited texts to legitimize the reforms of Hezekiah's grandson, King Josiah who reigned from ca 641 BCE to 609 BCE (over 280 years after Solomon's death according to Bible scholars).[18] Scholarly consensus in this field holds that "Solomon's wives/women were introduced in the 'Josianic' (customarily Dtr) edition of Kings as a theological construct to blame the schism [between Judah and the Northern Kingdom of Israel] on his misdeeds".[18] These scholars hold that the "author-compiler [of 1 Kings and 2 Kings] drew upon a contemporary tradition attributing certain cultic installations ('bamoth' [“High places” which were popular sites for religious pilgrims]) on the Mount of Olives to Solomon (2 Kings 23:13), from which he inferred that it were Solomon's wives who had led him astray".[18] Most scholars of higher criticism believe that an author-compiler treated a mythological account as a reflection of actual historical events, but that it was "not historical" and probably arose "in Hezekiah's era in conjunction with the reopening of the Silwan cemetery in the slopes of the Mount of Olives".[18] These scholars hold that the "Pharaoh's daughter tradition" was also written or compiled in Hezekiah's time and may have been present in a narrative presentation of history that predated Josiah.[18] They hold that an author-compiler living after the Babylonian Exile recast the theme of the Books of Kings "from one of too many wives/women (consistent with Deut 17:17a) to one of alien wives, reflecting the same extreme xenophobia which finally carried the day in post-Exilic Yehud (cf. Ezra 9-10; Neh 13:23-30a) when Solomon is known to have been a negative role-model in this regard (Neh 13:26); none of this material sheds any light on the 'historical Solomon'."[18]

Handel's oratorio[edit]

Pharaoh's daughter is a main figure in a three act oratorio called Solomon written by the composer George Frideric Handel. It was composed “between May 5th and June 13th 1748 and it was first performed at Covent Garden on March 17th 1749”.[19] The first act deals with the dedication of the temple and Solomon's marriage to Pharaoh's daughter. The second act is about the story of his judgement between the two women both claiming the same baby. The third act is about the visit of the Queen of Sheba, “who is dazzled by his wisdom and the splendour of his court.”[19]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gerald A. Larue. "Old Testament Life and Literature (1968)".  Retrieved on Jan. 15, 2007
  2. ^ Dr. Thomas L. Constable (2006). "Notes on 1 Kings".  Retrieved on Jan. 15, 2007
  3. ^ a b c Gabriel Oussani (July 1, 1912). "Solomon". The Catholic Encyclopedia.  Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2007
  4. ^ a b c William Whiston. "Antiquities of the Jews, Bk 8, Ch 6".  Retrieved on Jan. 18, 2007
  5. ^ a b "Scriptures with Rashi’s Commentary".  Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2007
  6. ^ John Wesley. "Introduction to the Song of Solomon".  Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2007
  7. ^ a b c d e f Avraham ben Yaakov. "Solomon's Marriage To Pharaoh's Daughter".  Retrieved on Jan. 15, 2007
  8. ^ a b c d e Emil G. Hirsch. "Solomon". The Jewish Encyclopedia.  Retrieved on Jan. 16, 2007
  9. ^ a b R' Shlomo Ganzfried. "Parshas Yisro 5765". p. 2.  Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2007
  10. ^ Rabbi Pinchas Frankel. "Haftarah for Parshat Vayechi – 5760". 
  11. ^ Translated by E. A. Wallis Budge (1932). "Kebra Nagast - How the Daughter of Pharaoh Seduced Solomon".  Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2007
  12. ^ Stephen E. Franklin. "Chapter One: Solomon and Shoshenq". 
  13. ^ Chavalas, Mark W.; Ash, Paul S. (Spring 2001). "Review of David, Solomon and Egypt: A Reassessment by Paul S. Ash". Journal of Biblical Literature 120 (1): 152–153. doi:10.2307/3268603. 
  14. ^ Lipinski, Edward (2006). On the Skirts of Canaan in the Iron Age (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta). Leuven, Belgium: Peeters. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-90-429-1798-9. 
  15. ^ Brian Roberts. "ANE - Solomon taking an Egyptian wife (to David Lorton)".  Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2007
  16. ^ "Women In Ancient Egypt". Dec 2, 2004. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Charles N. Pope. "The Gospel According to Egypt : Epitome of Ahmed Osman's books".  Retrieved on Jan. 18, 2007
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Loving too well: The negative portrayal of Solomon and the composition of the Kings history".  Retrieved on Jan. 17, 2007
  19. ^ a b "Handel’s three act oratorio – Solomon".  Retrieved on Jan. 18, 2007
 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEmil G. Hirsch et al (1901–1906). "Solomon". Jewish Encyclopedia. 
 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.