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Old 01-09-2018, 07:04 PM   #1
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On Solomon

So here I am on my break at work, when I manage to irk my own mind.

It seems to me that Solomon is portrayed quite differently in the Old Testament compared to the Qur'an. In talking with my Jehovah's Witness coworker, he went as far as saying that he isn't sure if Solomon was still in God's favor at all by the end of his life, and that he was not a very good person. However, of most of his misdeeds (to my knowledge) are not present in the Qur'an. This has caused a struggle for me, in that I'm not sure how a prophet could sin like that. At the same time I believe in much of the Bible.

What is the Baha'i perspective on Solomon's sins? Is there a way to reconcile the two accounts?
 
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:41 PM   #2
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And who are we to question Solomon when, after more than 2000 years, we haven't come close to putting his wisdom into practice?

1 Kings 3:16-28
Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him. The one woman said, "Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. "It happened on the third day after I gave birth, that this woman also gave birth to a child, and we were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, only the two of us in the house. read more.
"This woman's son died in the night, because she lay on it. "So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom. "When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead; but when I looked at him carefully in the morning, behold, he was not my son, whom I had borne." Then the other woman said, "No! For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son." But the first woman said, "No! For the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son." Thus they spoke before the king. Then the king said, "The one says, 'This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead one'; and the other says, 'No! For your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.'" The king said, "Get me a sword." So they brought a sword before the king. The king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other." Then the woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, "Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him." But the other said, "He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!" Then the king said, "Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She is his mother." When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.

A view from a

gnat,

who works with complex custody cases
 
Old 01-09-2018, 08:04 PM   #3
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I love that story! But it has nothing to do with my question haha. I'm questioning whether or not he committed the sins the Bible attributes to him since they are not mentioned in the Qur'an - and I think I've found a way to reconcile the two stories in viewing the Bibles story symbolically.

When I get home I will edit this post with my findings. Thank you again for the story, that in particular is one of my favourites! Reading this back I sound mean. But I really don't intend to sound as such, hopefully you understand haha.
 
Old 01-09-2018, 08:11 PM   #4
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And whether he did or not, as far as I understand, it was because God used him as a showpiece, so those sins are beyond our comprehension.

Best,

from a stupid

gnat
 
Old 01-10-2018, 06:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saveyist View Post
So here I am on my break at work, when I manage to irk my own mind.

It seems to me that Solomon is portrayed quite differently in the Old Testament compared to the Qur'an. In talking with my Jehovah's Witness coworker, he went as far as saying that he isn't sure if Solomon was still in God's favor at all by the end of his life, and that he was not a very good person. However, of most of his misdeeds (to my knowledge) are not present in the Qur'an. This has caused a struggle for me, in that I'm not sure how a prophet could sin like that. At the same time I believe in much of the Bible.

What is the Baha'i perspective on Solomon's sins? Is there a way to reconcile the two accounts?
So basically the Story of Solomon is the same in both Biblical, apocryphal Jewish, and Quranic accounts, at least at first:

Where Solomon is a great prophet-king bestowed with divine wisdom and so mighty that he uses his God-granted powers to humble and control even demons.

The texts are in agreement, up until the point of his sins.

According to the Bible Solomon took many wives in political marriages to secure his realm, and allowed those wives to worship their own gods from the nations they came from, and have their own temples to those gods. The Bible further relates that Solomon is then tempted into worshiping those false idols, and he falls from grace.

Not only is this tale merely absent from the Quran, in fact the Quran goes so far as to refute the claim: "And they followed what the devils taught during the reign of Solomon. It was not Solomon who disbelieved, but it was the devils who disbelieved." (2:102)

So according to the Quran, Solomon never turned to idolatry, but rather it was demons that led people astray turning them to idolatry during Solomon's time. So as for his sins and downfall, according to the Quran the Bible had that part of the story wrong, and due to demons promulgating idolatry at this time the people as a whole thought that the King himself supported idol-worship.

Now onto the subject of "demons", because Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sources all mention demons (and in the Muslim cases, djinn) in relation to Solomon. All three faiths speak as if demons are real, and all three faiths agree that he used divine powers to force demonic entities to submit. All three faiths also teach that he gave mankind mystical secrets to, essentially, invoke God's power to disempower demons.

Now the Baha'i Faith teaches that stories of "demons" are meant as metaphor, which would open up a potentially large discussion into what exactly the demons in these stories refer to, as all three of our fellow Abrahamic faiths are quite set on the idea as Solomon having some sort of divine power over literal demons and djinn.
 
Old 01-10-2018, 04:52 PM   #6
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Ahh, thank you! I have learned much on Solomon's sins yesterday and today.

My thought as to his construction of pagan temples in the Bible is this:

There is a Hadith which Muhammad speaks a story about Solomon (Here: "Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Once Solomon, son of David said, '(By Allah) Tonight I will have sexual intercourse with one hundred (or ninety-nine) women each of whom will give birth to a knight who will fight in Allah's Cause.' On that a (i.e. if Allah wills) but he did not say, 'Allah willing.' Therefore only one of those women conceived and gave birth to a half-man. By Him in Whose Hands Muhammad's life is, if he had said, "Allah willing', (he would have begotten sons) all of whom would have been knights striving in Allah's Cause.")

My thought yesterday was that when the Tanakh speaks of Solomon constructing pagan temples, it is symbolic for this hadith. Since he did not say what he was meant to, none of the children of the women were born. In his error, it was as if he had constructed pagan temples in them, in the sense that in not saying the words, nothing good yielded from the actions that night. Just a random theory I came up with though :P
 
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