By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on
Solomon (970-930 BC) (I Kings 2:12–11:42) did not engage in military campaigns as his father David had. Instead Solomon entered treaties, many of which involved large sacrifices on his part. For example, Solomon began a maritime trade venture with Hiram of Tyre (1 Kings 9:26-28;10:11,22); however, he also bestowed 20 towns in the Galilee to Hiram of Tyre (1 Kings 9:10-14). In a more advantageous treaty, Solomon married the pharaoh's daughter as part of a treaty (1 Kings 3:1) and was granted Gezer as a gift (1 Kings 9:16).
Solomon established 12 administrative districts, not including Judah (1 Kings 4:7-19) and thus received tax payments of grain and food for each month of the year. These districts were old Canaanite towns that had been incorporated during David's reign (II-VII) and also tribal districts (VIII-XII); Judah was not included. The district Ephraim was administrated by Jeroboam, who would later lead the split of the United Monarchy under the reign of Solomon's son Rehoboam.
Solomon built a new temple (967-960 BC) (1 Kings 6:1-36) as well as a new palace (960-947 BC) (1 Kings 7:1-12) in Jerusalem. He also fortified Jerusalem, as well as many other settlements (1 Kings 9:15-19); in another defensive move, he acquired chariots, horses and gold (1 Kings 10:26-28). Solomon allegedly disgraced God by acquiring so many horses and so much gold (1 Kings 11:1-40), and the Old Testament offers this as a reason for the fractionation of the kingdom under Rehoboam.
Architecture under Solomon's reign is signified by: columns crowned by stylized palm frawns (palmettes); an altar with many accoutrements (like at Tel Dan); and a long series of stone steps. These paralleled the temples from the Iron Age (Arad and Tel Tayinat) as well as the Late Bronze Age ('Ain Dara). The palmette capitals (aka proto-aeolic capitals) were strongly similar to Phoenician architecture. Solomonic six-chambered gates were gates composed of a hallway, which three hallways emanating from each side (a total of six chambers).
Solomonic six-chambered gates were found at Gezer, Hazor, Ashdod, Lachish and Megiddo. While they represent a unified architecture, it is debatable whether these were due to a unified political structure.