Was King Solomon Saved?
Solomon was a great man, rich, wise, yea, an elect saint; yet one who had also fallen into manifold faults, whom the LORD allowed to die, without recording expressly any thing of his recovery, though we make no doubt of it. We shall endeavour to make this clear from these considerations:
First, from the LORD’s promises to him (2nd Samuel 7:14-15), where these three things are observable which the LORD undertakes concerning him:
1. That He will be to him a Father.
2. That He will correct him with the rods of men, if he shall sin: which says He would not eternally punish him.
3. That He would not do with him as He did with Saul, whom He rejected; He would not take away His mercy from Solomon, as He had done from him: and if no more were in these promises but what is temporal, there would be no great consolation in them to David (whose consolation is one chief part of the intention of that place.)
Beside, these promises, (Psalm 89:31-33, which are the same as these in 2nd Samuel 7) are looked upon as special evidences of God’s Love, and particular promises of His saving-covenant.
2. When he is born, the LORD gives him his name, yea, sends Nathan, 2nd Samuel 12 with this warrant, to name him Jedidiah, because the LORD loved him; which cannot be a love arising from any thing in him, as if He had been well pleased with his behavior, (Solomon had not yet done anything good or evil) but it must be a love prior to his works, and so not arising from his good deeds, and therefore not cut off by his sins. This is similar to the love God had to Jacob, before he had done good or evil (Romans 9:11), and must speak out of electing-love, as it doth in that place.
3. He is made use of by the Spirit to be a Penman of Holy Writ, and a prophet of the LORD; all which are by our LORD, (Luke 13:28) said, to “sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the kingdom of heaven.” There is no reason to exclude him, seeing that universal assertion (all the prophets, &c.) would not be a truth, unless he were there. Although some wicked men have prophesied, as Balaam did, yet are they never accounted prophets of the Lord, as Solomon was, but false prophets and enchanters; neither were they Penman of Holy Writ; who were, as Peter calleth them, “Holy men of God, speaking as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost.” (2nd Peter 1:21)
4. Neither are the particular privileges and he was admitted unto to be forgotten; by him the LORD built the Temple, by him the covenant was explicitly renewed with God (I Kings 8:9). And his prayers are often particularly mentioned, to be heard; yea after his death, some testimonies are recorded of him, which cannot agree with his rejection: see 2nd Chronicles 11:17. There the ways of Solomon are put in, as commendable with David’s, though there were defects in both; and this being immediately after Solomon’s death, it would seem he left the worship of God pure, and so had returned from his idolatry, though all the monuments of it were not abolished. And especially in this, he was singularly privileged, that, in a most lively way, he was the Type of our blessed Lord Jesus, in his intercession, reign, and peaceable government: beside, that by a particular covenant, the kingdom of Christ, and his descent from him, was established to him.
5. It’s of weight also, that it seems more than probable, that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes after his recovery; it being neither amongst the Proverbs, nor Songs which are mentioned, I Kings 4:32. And in it, he speaks out of experiences he had both of folly and madness, and the vanity he had found in all created things, even when he had finished his experiment of all the possible ways of attaining, either the knowledge of their perfections, or satisfaction in the enjoyment of them.
The Scriptures therefore, hath not left his recovery altogether dark; yet, as to any historical evidence thereof, the LORD hath so ordered that he passeth away under a cloud, for these good ends:
First, thereby, Solomon is chastened with the rods of men (even after death) upon his name; for his failures are set down expressly, but his recovery (as to any direct testimony thereof) is passed over.
2. By this, the LORD makes His displeasure with Solomon’s failures always known; though he had favour to his person, and gave him his soul for a prey.
3. And thus the LORD would warn others from declining, and hereby teach His people, to be afraid to rest upon gifts; yea, or upon graces, seeing He hath left this matter so far in the dark, as might yield an occasion (as it were) to question the eternal condition of Solomon.
4. It may be also, that Solomon after his recovery, did never recover his former lustre, nor attain to such a profitable way of appearing in God’s public matters, for which formally he had been so observable: for so it is taken notice of David, after his fall, that his following life is stained, as different from what went before; therefore it is the accommodation of Jehosaphat (1st Chronicles 17:3), that he walked in the first ways of his father David, which certainly, it is not done to condemn David’s state after that time, but to leave that mark (as a chastisement) on his failings: and seeing Solomon’s were greater, therefore may this silence of his recovery, be more universal as to him.