Is the number Solomon's wives significant?

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Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
Is the number of Solomon's wives significant?

I was just wondering if there is any significance to the number of wives and concubines Solomon had.

I know the number 7, 3 and 10/100/1000/10000 are often used in scriptures and often have specific significance especially in prophetic writtings. Would this be the case when it come to the wives and concubines of Solomon especially when we take in consideration the picture of Christ represented in Solomon?

From the few commentaries I have I couldn't find any reference to it, is there something to it or do I have too much imagination?
 
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J. Dean

Puritan Board Junior
Yeah it's significant. It tells us Solomon didn't use restraint! (I say that half in jest, but I'm sort of serious too)
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
Yeah it's significant. It tells us Solomon didn't use restraint! (I say that half in jest, but I'm sort of serious too)

I do not disagree but I was thinking more of pictures. Is there a picture of Christ and his church in Solomon and his wives? Is there theological significance in the numbers or is it just a coincidence?
 

nicnap

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I do not disagree but I was thinking more of pictures. Is there a picture of Christ and his church in Solomon and his wives? Is there theological significance in the numbers or is it just a coincidence?

Friend,

Not everything is a type. Further, Christ has 1 bride, not multiple. Just be careful of trying to find Jesus behind every rock. All of Scripture points to Christ, but not all of it does it directly. The number of Solomon's wives was just that ... the number of his wives.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally Posted by Fogetaboutit
I do not disagree but I was thinking more of pictures. Is there a picture of Christ and his church in Solomon and his wives? Is there theological significance in the numbers or is it just a coincidence?
Friend,

Not everything is a type. Further, Christ has 1 bride, not multiple. Just be careful of trying to find Jesus behind every rock. All of Scripture points to Christ, but not all of it does it directly. The number of Solomon's wives was just that ... the number of his wives.

I wasn't looking to add things that are not there, I was just wondering if numbers were a coincidence, I just found it odd that he had exacly 700 wives and exaclty 300 concubines which amount exactly to 1000. Wive being bound by covenant, concubine being his but not bound by a covenant.

I know Christ only has one bride but there is a parable with 10 virgin which represent his brides. I know the story of Solomon is not a parable or anything but I just thought the numbers were interesting. I was not being dogmatic only curious.

thanks for your input.
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
I just think he had way too many wives, probably not meant to be literal. And I do not see any Christological link in the number. I see the mention of wives as telling of 2 of Salomon's problems. He seems to have acquired too much wealth and military as per Deuteronomic prescription for the king and more importantly it was the foreign wives who led him into idol worship and ultimately the downward spiral of all of Israel. Also note that the daughter of Pharaoh is mentioned 3 times as a clue that he was wayward.
 

nicnap

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I wasn't looking to add things that are not there, I was just wondering if numbers were a coincidence, I just found it odd that he had exacly 700 wives and exaclty 300 concubines which amount exactly to 1000. Wive being bound by covenant, concubine being his but not bound by a covenant.

I know Christ only has one bride but there is a parable with 10 virgin which represent his brides. I know the story of Solomon is not a parable or anything but I just thought the numbers were interesting. I was not being dogmatic only curious.

thanks for your input.

I wasn't seeking to give offense, I hope I did not. I was just trying to point out that sometimes a number is just a number.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
I was just wondering because almost everytime I hear Solomon mentionned in a study or a discussion the only thing most people retain of him is his lust and his idololatry and I often hear people doubting his salvation. I think his downfall is showing us that wisdom cannot make somebody righteous in itself but I think Solomon is a significant character. God chose him to build his temple after all.

---------- Post added at 11:29 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:26 AM ----------

I wasn't seeking to give offense, I hope I did not. I was just trying to point out that sometimes a number is just a number.

thanks, that is why I asked the question here, to get the input of brothers who are wiser than me. No offense here, I just wanted to clarify that I was not dogmatic in my question.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
It can seem difficult to say that some numbers are not symbolical - after all, Solomon's income is 666 talents of gold. And when there are round numbers it is perhaps especially tempting.

But say you took a number as being symbolic, as being more than just a relation of units counted - how do you determine the significance? In many instances it seems like an essentially arbitrary interpretation.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
It shows how ungodly you can be and still be a child of God, as with his father David engaging in murder and adultery.

The lesson to be taken from that isn't to be like David and Solomon, but to be better than them, and that justification is by grace through faith. A person's sanctification can be rather poor or marred by great backsliding and yet he is a true believer after all. None of our sanctification is that hot anyway.

Etienne
I do not disagree but I was thinking more of pictures. Is there a picture of Christ and his church in Solomon and his wives? Is there theological significance in the numbers or is it just a coincidence?

Types and pictures of Christ do not involve morally inappropriate elements. David and Solomon are notable types of Christ but not in their bad behaviour. David doesn't typify Christ in his adultery and murder, and Solomon doesn't in his polygamy, idolatry, avariciousness, etc.

It's a measure of the Lord's condescension that he permits sinful men to be types and shadows of Himself.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
Types and pictures of Christ do not involve morally inappropriate elements. David and Solomon are notable types of Christ but not in their bad behaviour. David doesn't typify Christ in his adultery and murder, and Solomon doesn't in his polygamy, idolatry, avariciousness, etc.

This is another question I had, was polygamy a sin, I know scripture teaches us especially in the new testament that monogamy was God's original desing, but I cannot think of any instances where polygamy is forbidden in the Old Testament. I don't think we can equate polygamy with adultery and murder.

My thinking was that during Solomon's reign Israel was at peace and united, he was incredibly rich and he built the temple, these earthly realities could have pointed to the spiritual realities Christ brought to his people.(spiritual peace, spiritual riches and the building of his spiritual temple).

I thought the number of wives and concubines was interesting since 10/100/1000 etc often represent "fullness" and 7 often represent "completeness". Since the church is often referred to as the bride of Christ I thought is could have been a representation of the visible and invisible church, the 700 hundred wives being bound and sealed by a covenant as opposed to the concubines. But as I said I probably had to much imagination since nobody else seem to have interpreted it that way.
 
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J. Dean

Puritan Board Junior
At the very least, polygamy is looked at as out of the ordinary. No, you cannot find a passage in Scripture that specifically says "thou shalt not commit polygamy" (else we would have seen it in the Pentateuch, which does in fact not specifically forbid polygamy, but rather makes provisions for a man with two wives, as he is to be fair with his substance to both wives, even if one is not as loved as the other). But it doesn't seem like the rule for the day, either.

And that being said, polygamy is outlawed by the U.S. government, and therefore whether we believe in it or not we are to obey the law of the land in abstaining from it.

And as James wisely noted above, would you really want to have more than one wife?
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
And that being said, polygamy is outlawed by the U.S. government, and therefore whether we believe in it or not we are to obey the law of the land in abstaining from it.

And as James wisely noted above, would you really want to have more than one wife?

Just to make this clear, I was in no way promoting polygamy, I have absolutely no interest in having more than one wife :D, I was just asking if polygamy in the Old Testament is to be looked at as a sin and if so what is the scriptural support.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Given that the numbers are 700 (completeness) + 300 = 1000 (more completeness), I would say that the author might be trying to tell us that Solomon's error was great and unrestrained. He fell completely and fully into this error.

I don't think we can know for sure that this is the author's intent. And it would be unwise to use such speculation as the basis for understanding the entire report. Yet, the nature of the numbers lends itself to such a possibility.

I also believe the numbers are an acurate historical report. They're rounded off, probably, both for simplicity and perhaps to point out the fullness of Solomon's error. But they are substantially accurate.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
Maybe I'm wrong here but I was under the impression that although 7 and 10 are complete numbers they do not have the exact same symbolism.

I thought 10/100/1000 respresented "fullness" in general, kind of the same way we look at the word "all", when debating calvinism, as representing a general group of person and not necessarily every single person that ever lived.

On the other hand 7 would represent "perfect completeness" as in fully numbered and not in a general sense.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Maybe I'm wrong here but I was under the impression that although 7 and 10 are complete numbers they do not have the exact same symbolism.

I thought 10/100/1000 respresented "fullness" in general, kind of the same way we look at the word "all", when debating calvinism, as representing a general group of person and not necessarily every single person that ever lived.

On the other hand 7 would represent "perfect completeness" as in fully numbered and not in a general sense.

Maybe. I'd be careful not to over-analyze it. A general idea of what it might be communicating is probably as far as we ought to go.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
Maybe. I'd be careful not to over-analyze it. A general idea of what it might be communicating is probably as far as we ought to go.

I agree, and as I said I was just curious about this, I was not planning to base my theological understanding on this.
 

J. Dean

Puritan Board Junior
Wasn't it Freud who (in a rare moment of lucidity) said "Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar"?
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Wasn't it Freud who (in a rare moment of lucidity) said "Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar"?

He also said that after his long career that the one thing he couldn't figure out was what a women wanted, imagine trying to figure out what 700 women wanted. I think that that is beauty of God's wisdom. What we as males need women have and what they need we have. We don't make sense to them and they don't make sense to us, it keeps life interesting. I think women are amazing creatures watching my daughter grow up. My own thoughts on women are summed up in this saying I made up, God made Eve second not because they are second class but He was saving the best for last.

That is what is amazing about the biblical view of marraige you both get fullfill eachother's needs and learn more about eachother everyday, God knew what he was doing. That is all the off topic comments I'll make, sorry for that.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Maybe. I'd be careful not to over-analyze it. A general idea of what it might be communicating is probably as far as we ought to go.

I agree, and as I said I was just curious about this, I was not planning to base my theological understanding on this.

"Wondeful things in the Bible are seen
Some by you
And some by me"

Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us genuine illumination of the Scriptures, but it's good for biblical interpretation to be done in the (Reformed) Church collectively where there are a multitude of counsellors.

Polygamy is not the moral ideal, although in a sense it was "tolerated" in the childhood Church, as we might tolerate a pecadillo in a child because we think he is not ready for the moral ideal and we may exasperate him.

How widespread it was outside royal circles is difficult to say. Solomon was warned against it in Deuteronomy 17,
"When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, 'I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,'
you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never return that way again.' And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. (Deut 17:14-17, ESV)

Some believe this to be an anti-polygamy verse too:
And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive (Lev 18:18)

A number of the biblical narratives that have polygamy in them show at the very least the lack of godly wisdom in taking an extra wife or wives.

It's difficult to see Solomon's polygamy as being a type of Christ and the Church, as it was Solomon's immorality. The New Testament never hints that polygamy is a picture of Christ and His Church, or that we as individual believers are the brides of Christ. The Church collectively is the one bride of Christ.
 
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