Damien F. Mackey
This article is dedicated to that “poor wise man [whom] no one remembered”,
of whom King Solomon told in Ecclesiastes 9:14-15.
Whereas I Kings 10 speaks of King Solomon as a king of the highest international reputation, wealth and power, “greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth” (v. 23), current historians and archaeologists have concluded, in their wisdom, that Solomon could have been, at the most, only a tin pot king ruling over a miserable phase of Israelite history.
Such an unenlightened view I had cause to be critical of in:
when I wrote:
… the conventional chronology with its underlying stratigraphy has led to archaeologists systematically deleting ancient Israel (Moses; Exodus; Conquest; David, Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, etc.) from the history books. Late last year, the leading Israeli archaeologist, Israel Finkelstein, was quoted [in “Kings of Controversy”, National Geographic (David and Solomon, December 2010), p. 85] as saying: “Now Solomon. I think I destroyed Solomon, so to speak. Sorry for that!” Not only Solomon, but all the others as well. That is because the likes of professor Finkelstein and his colleagues are always constrained by the erroneous Sothic chronology to look at the wrong strata for the Conquest, David and Solomon (Iron Age instead of Late Bronze Age [including some Middle Bronze] in the latter case). Thanks to the conventional scheme, it is biblical history that is currently losing just about every battle. ….
[End of quote]
That the moribund conventional scheme of history must of necessity pass into oblivion, however, as it must inevitably be superseded by a wise (‘Solomonic’) revisionism, was well summed up by this correspondent (whose prediction of “soon”, though, may be a bit over optimistic), who wrote to me:
…. Those holding to the old orthodoxy of Egyptian History will soon vanish and out of the mists will arise a new historical chronology that will again dramatically shorten the length of Egyptian chronology. I think the works of Velikovsky, Courville … and others will eventually unseat the modern Pharisees and Sadduccees who hold sway over the old orthodoxy which is dying as the revisionists get their ideas out in the internet. I hope that you are actively engaged in further research and I suspect you realize that the Hebrew Chronology which influenced three of the major religions in history is more critical than the Egyptian documents that are carved in stone as almost nothing in the Egyptian Chronology matches that of the Hebrews. Keep up the great research.
[End of quote]
The case of the glorious King Solomon is a testament to the lack of fruitfulness of the withered tree that is conventionalism. By total contrast a judicious revisionism, that properly re-aligns biblical with secular history, overflows with abundance. King Solomon, withered by the biblical minimalists to something resembling a dried prune, or, worse, reduced to non-existence by the likes of Finkelstein, is all of a sudden found to have been in reality a multi-dimensional historical character of epic proportions, influencing and ruling over, not only the kingdom of Israel, but indeed an empire.
In his day King Solomon was, indeed, a King of Kings.
King Solomon in the Bible
Most of us, probably, are generally familiar with the biblical representations of the famous and wise king, Solomon, as provided in the Bible’s historical books of Kings and Chronicles, and in the wisdom books attributed to him (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon), and also in the New Testament. That the tiny kingdom of Israel would have been far too small to have encompassed, all on its own, one so wise and great as King Solomon, son of David, might be concluded from these magnificent biblical descriptions of him. And even these appear to expend no real effort going into details about the imperialistic developments of his reign, cutting short the story of King Solomon at the point where he begins to fade away from his former pure Yahwism, to become a figure of great international prominence.
Suffice it here to give the glorious account of King Solomon just from I Kings 10:
1 When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. 2 Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5 the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.
6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7 But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8 How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9 Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”
10 And she gave the king 120 talents of gold, large quantities of spices, and precious stones. Never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
11 (Hiram’s ships brought gold from Ophir; and from there they brought great cargoes of almugwood and precious stones. 12 The king used the almugwood to make supports for the temple of the Lord and for the royal palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. So much almugwood has never been imported or seen since that day.)
13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba all she desired and asked for, besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty. Then she left and returned with her retinue to her own country.
14 The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents, 15 not including the revenues from merchants and traders and from all the Arabian kings and the governors of the territories.
16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. 17 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold, with three minas of gold in each shield. The king put them in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon.
18 Then the king made a great throne covered with ivory and overlaid with fine gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and its back had a rounded top. On both sides of the seat were armrests, with a lion standing beside each of them. 20 Twelve lions stood on the six steps, one at either end of each step. Nothing like it had ever been made for any other kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s goblets were gold, and all the household articles in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days.
progressing on now to the brief account (apparently of no major interest to biblical scribes) of Solomon’s most impressive mercantile career:
22 The king had a fleet of trading ships at sea along with the ships of Hiram. Once every three years it returned, carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons.
23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.
26 Solomon accumulated chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he kept in the chariot cities and also with him in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar as plentiful as sycamore-fig trees in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Kue—the royal merchants purchased them from Kue at the current price. 29 They imported a chariot from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty. They also exported them to all the kings of the Hittites and of the Arameans.
It will be largely this latter part of King Solomon’s career, when the pious Hebrew scribes themselves generally lose interest in him, that the Greeks will pick him up as the wise Solon (see “King Solomon as Solon” below), the experienced traveller who visited Egypt. My conclusion there will therefore be that ‘Solon of Athens’, though actually based on a true historical character of the C10th BC (conventional dating), is a complete fiction as an Athenian Lawgiver of the C7th-C6th’s BC.
King Solomon as Senenmut
The 18th Dynasty Egyptians also picked up King Solomon, particularly during this later, multinational phase of his career. But, in this case, he is a real historical character, Solomon-in-Egypt. We find him there in that land as the great and most prominent Steward, Senenmut (or Senmut), during the co-reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III.
My belief that one so world-renowned as King Solomon, at least according to the Bible, could not (if he were real) have been contained solely within Palestine, but must have been influential also and recorded in the histories of the other nations, had led me to keep an eye out for evidence of the wise king in the appropriate ancient records.
As a revisionist researcher, I have accepted Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky’s absolutely vital – as I consider it to be – re-alignment of the United Kingdom Era of Israelite history (of kings Saul, David and Solomon) with the early 18th Dynasty period of ancient Egyptian history (Ages in Chaos, I, 1952).
According to the conventional history, on the other hand, the 18th Dynasty began in c. 1550 BC, about half a millennium before Israel’s United Kingdom.
Dr. Donovan Courville had also basically accepted this segment of Velikovsky’s revision (The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications, I and II, 1971).
My own original discovery (as I think) of King Solomon in the Egyptian records came about in the process of my defending Velikovsky’s identification of 18th Dynasty Queen Hatshepsut as the biblical ‘Queen (of) Sheba’. For a full description of this defence, see my:
As I was preparing this particular article for publication in the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies, Chronology and Catastrophism Review (UK), in 1997, and thus perusing the career of Hatshepsut, I was struck by the constant intrusion therein of the mysterious, and quasi-regal, Steward, Senenmut (Senmut), he frequently being described by Egyptologists as if he were ‘the real power behind the throne’.
And this was no small accolade, given the status in Egyptian history of Hatshepsut herself, arguably the greatest female in ancient Egyptian history, and Thutmose III, known as ‘the Napoleon’ of ancient Egypt.
So, Senenmut came to be incorporated into that article as a further major proof in favour of Velikovsky’s thesis:
New evidence is brought forward [in this article] in support of Velikovsky’s ingenious thesis that Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh of Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, was in fact the biblical Queen of Sheba. That new evidence is the presence of Solomon himself in the Egyptian inscriptions in the person of Hatshepsut’s great Steward, Senenmut.
Further on, I wrote:
Senenmut is a complete enigma to historians. His ancestry was not unequivocally Egyptian. According to one of his statues ‘I was in this land under [her] command since the occurrence of the death of [her] predecessor …’ . His ‘ancestors were not found in writing’, or – variously translated ‘[whose name] is not to be found amongst the annals of the ancestors’ . Both indicate that Senenmut did not hail from Egypt. Further possible hints that Senenmut was a foreigner were his fascination with the Egyptian language, his ‘idiosyncracies in regard to the Egyptian language – the uncommon substitution of certain hieroglyphs’ and his penchant for creating cryptograms, e.g. in relation to Hatshepsut’s throne name, Make-ra . His appearance, as depicted on statues does not provide any clues. The most outstanding feature is ‘his massive wig’ , an Egyptian feature. However, Solomon was thoroughly Egyptianised – two of his high officials in Jerusalem bore Egyptian names Shisha and Eli-horeph (I Kings 4:3).
[End of quote]
More recently, I have gone so far as to propose that the Egyptian name, ‘Senenmut’, may be compatible with ‘Solomon’, in:
That the pattern of Solomon’s coronation by King David follows remarkably closely that of Hatshepsut’s, by Thutmose I, I have shown in:
Thutmose I Crowns Hatshepsut
From the above articles it is apparent that Israelite practice, religion, wisdom, love poetry, Phoenician-based architecture, psalmody, was flowing abundantly into 18th Dynasty Egypt. And this cultural flow would continue at least down to as late as the era of the heretic pharaoh, Akhnaton, whose Sun Hymn is commonly considered to bear a striking resemblance to the biblical Psalm 104 (and to have influenced the latter, according to the back-to-front distortions of Sothic chronology).
It can now be understood why the enigmatic Senenmut had been able to exert such power and influence at the time, and also why he is often depicted so intimately with Hatshepsut’s young daughter, Neferure, who must have been Senenmut’s own daughter as well.
King Solomon as Solon
It is actually with King Solomon’s burgeoning internationalism, coupled with his apostasy from Yahwism, that the biblical scribes tend to ‘shut the book’ on him, so that we learn precious little about – what is so fascinating from an historical and archaeological point of view – this imperialistic phase of his career. As I wrote in the “Solomon and Sheba” article: “The Bible mentions this only in passing, regarding Solomon’s growing mercantile interests (I Kings 10:23-29), but then quickly loses interest in Solomon who had by now begun to abandon pure Yahwism”.
However, that phase of King Solomon’s career obviously struck a chord with the pragmatic Greeks, who re-cast the wise biblical king in their own image and likeness, as the shrewd statesman, Solon.
I already wrote about this as well in “Solomon and Sheba”:
APPENDIX B: SOLOMON IN GREEK FOLKLORE
There is a case in Greek “history” of a wise lawgiver who nonetheless over-organised his country, to the point of his being unable to satisfy either rich or poor, and who then went off travelling for a decade (notably in Egypt). This was Solon, who has come down to us as the first great Athenian statesman. Plutarch  tells that, with people coming to visit Solon every day, either to praise him or to ask him probing questions about the meaning of his laws, he left Athens for a time, realising that “In great affairs you cannot please all parties”. According to Plutarch:
[Solon] made his commercial interests as a ship-owner an excuse to travel and sailed away … for ten years from the Athenians, in the hope that during this period they would become accustomed to his laws. He went first of all to Egypt and stayed for a while, as he mentions himself
‘where the Nile pours forth its waters by the shore of Canopus’.
We recall Solon’s intellectual encounters with the Egyptian priests at Heliopolis and Saïs (in the Nile Delta), as described in Plutarch’s “Life of Solon” and Plato’s “Timaeus” .
[End of quote]
The Greeks obviously preserved only the dimmest of recollections, albeit distorted, about the biblical king’s sojourn in, and influence over, Egypt; a phase that was actually – as we have read – most significant indeed. I continued in the same article:
The chronology and parentage of Solon were disputed even in ancient times . Since he was a wise statesman, an intellectual (poet, writer) whose administrative reforms, though brilliant, eventually led to hardship for the poor and disenchantment for the wealthy; and since Solon’s name is virtually identical to that of “Solomon”; and since he went to Egypt (also to Cyprus, Sidon and Lydia) for about a decade at the time when he was involved in the shipping business, then I suggest that “Solon” of the Greeks was their version of Solomon, in the mid-to-late period of his reign. The Greeks picked up the story and transferred it from Jerusalem to Athens, just as they (or, at least Herodotus) later confused Sennacherib’s attack on Jerusalem (c. 700 BC), by relocating it to Pelusium in Egypt .
[End of quote]
I then made a further observation along the same lines, one most relevant to my arguments in various articles on the matter of Greek appropriations of Hebrew culture, for example:
I wrote (“Solomon and Sheba”):
Much has been attributed to the Greeks that did not belong to them – e.g. Breasted  made the point that Hatshepsut’s marvellous temple structure was a witness to the fact that the Egyptians had developed architectural styles for which the later Greeks would be credited as originators. Given the Greeks’ tendency to distort history, or to appropriate inventions, one would not expect to find in Solon a perfect, mirror-image of King Solomon. Thanks to historical revisions , we now know that the “Dark Age” between the Mycenaean (or Heroic) period of Greek history (concurrent with the time of Hatshepsut) and the Archaic period (that commences with Solon), is an artificial construct. This makes it even more plausible that Hatshepsut and Solomon were contemporaries of “Solon”. The tales of Solon’s travels to Egypt, Sidon and Lydia (land of the Hittites) may well reflect to some degree Solomon’s desire to appease his foreign women – Egyptian, Sidonian and Hittite – by building shrines for them (I Kings 11: 1, 7-8). Both Solomon and Solon are portrayed as being the wisest amongst the wise. In the pragmatic Greek version Solon prayed for wealth rather than wisdom – but ‘justly acquired wealth’, since Zeus punishes evil . In the Hebrew version, God gave ‘riches and honour’ to Solomon because he had not asked for them, but had prayed instead for ‘a wise and discerning mind’, to enable him properly to govern his people (I Kings 3:12-13).
[End of quote]
A propos of this appropriating by the Greeks, now in regard to Solon, a supposed Athenian, we find when we read E. Yamauchi’s “Two reformers compared: Solon of Athens and Nehemiah of Jerusalem” (Bible world. New York: KTAV, 1980. pp. 269-292], that Solon’s laws turn out to be strikingly Jewish (biblical). In such fashion has the original King Solomon become dislocated, de-throned, and then re-made in the folklore of the ancients.
Whilst in the past I have even gone so far as to argue that King Solomon was the same as the formidable King Hammurabi of Babylon, whom Dr. D. Courville has cleverly described as “floating about in a liquid chronology of Chaldea” (The Exodus Problem, Vol. II, p. 289), I have since modified to:
King Solomon as a Contemporary
of King Hammurabi of Babylon
Amongst my up-dated articles on this contemporaneity is this one:
I am more inclined now to think that Hammurabi may have been the biblical Huram-abi:
Huram-Abi King of Artisans
Whilst I now have no doubt that the era of Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim was as contemporaries of David and Solomon, this is a long way later than is the conventional placement of him. According to Kevin Knight in his New Advent offline article, entitled “Hammurabi” (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07125a.htm):
The King-lists would suggest 2342 B.C. as the date of [Hammurabi’s] accession; but it is now commonly believed that these lists need to be interpreted, for from the “Chronicles concerning early Babylonian Kings”, published by L. W. King (1907), it appears that the first and second Babylonian dynasties were not successive, but in part contemporary; the first kings of the second dynasty (that of Shesh-ha) ruled not at Babylon, but on “the Sea-country”. Other indications furnished by Nabonidus, Assurbanipal, and Berosus lead us to lower the above date. [Thureau-Dangin] and Ungnad place the reign of Hammurabi between 2130 and 2088 B.C.; Tofteen adopts the dates 2121-2066 B.C.; King suggests 1990-1950 B.C.; Father Scheil, O.P., says 2056 B.C. is the probable date of the king’s accession, which Father Dhorme places in 2041.
[End of quote]
In other words, the conventional chronologists really have had no idea in which era to place the great Hammurabi. Today, c. 1800-1750 BC would be the favoured period for the king. Naturally, revisionists, too, have tried their hand at historically anchoring King Hammurabi in a far more secure fashion. Dr. Courville himself had attempted to secure that anchor to the era of the Judges, in c. 1400 BC. However, the revision of Mesopotamian history – necessary like that of Egyptian chronology – has yet to be undertaken in a really systematic fashion. And Courville’s location of Hammurabi in the Judges era is based on the flimsiest evidence.
Far more satisfactory, as it seems to me, has been the effort of Dean Hickman in a paper that provides a very significant blueprint, as a start, I believe, for the revision of Mesopotamian history. I consider Hickman’s re-location of Hammurabi to the time of David and Solomon (almost a millennium later than the conventional placement of him) to be right on track, considering that it has led to a multitude of biblico-historical correspondences.
In the “Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim” article I wrote on this:
In an article published in 1986, entitled “The Dating of Hammurabi” , its author Professor George Albert Hickman, Dean of Toronto University, argued for an early C10th BC placement for King Hammurabi of Babylon (conventionally dated to c. C19th BC); thereby making him a contemporary of David and Solomon. Hickman went even further than this and provided an outline revision of Mesopotamian history down to the mid-C9th, which, despite certain deficiencies, rendered some very plausible synchronisms between the Mesopotamian kings and their neighbours. Surprisingly though, as far as I am aware, Hickman’s article does not appear to have stimulated much interest or discussion amongst revisionists. One possible reason for this may be that he, like Velikovsky, was not able to offer a satisfactory revision of Mesopotamian history for the troublesome el Amarna [EA] period of Pharaoh Akhnaton (conventionally dated to c. 1350 BC). The effect of Hickman’s revision, in bringing Hammurabi and his dynasty down some 800-900 years, into and beyond the C10th, was to clutter the EA period all the more. He made no real attempt to tie up the loose kings that he had circulating around in this period. This is unfortunate in that EA, probably more than any other period, is in need of a satisfactory solution as regards Mesopotamian chronology if the revision is to be taken seriously by the experts.
I neither will be attempting here the ambitious but necessary task of solving the Mesopotamian problems of EA …. [I have worked on that in other articles]. I just wish to consolidate one area only of Hickman’s research: the era of Solomon. 
Now, just as Hickman began his interesting article with mention of Zimri-Lim, king of Mari – and certain events that occurred during his reign and that of his father, Iahdulim – it will be this same Zimri-Lim who will become the central character of this article. Hickman had managed to identify most of Zimri-Lim’s outstanding contemporaries with major characters of the C10th world, but he did not actually link Zimri-Lim or his father with any particular persons. The identification of Zimri-Lim, king of Mari, will therefore be the special task of this article.
I believe that a very satisfactory identification can be made between Zimri-Lim and Rezin (or Rezon), Syrian adversary of King Solomon, and son of Eliada (I Kings 11:23). …. It is wholly in keeping with the framework established by Hickman for the era of Hammurabi, Zimri-Lim’s contemporary, and may thus serve to reinforce Hickman’s thesis. Logically it must follow from this identification that Zimri-Lim’s father, Iahdulim/Yahdu-Lim, be identified with Rezin’s father, Eliada. The similarity in the names Iahdulim and El-iada is actually quite striking. 
Hickman’s first notable identification between a Mari correspondent and a C10th character was to equate Shamsi-Adad I (c. C19th BC) with David’s mighty adversary, Hadadezer, the Syrian . Not only David, but Saul also, had to contend with the aggressive kings of Zobah in Aram, or ancient Syria (I and II Samuel). Yet, according to conventional opinion, the kings of Zobah (pronounced Tzobah) are not supposed to have left any inscriptions concerning their accomplishments . In CAH, we read that the name Zobah occurs in the Assyrian documents of the C8th and C7th’s as “Subatu, Subutu or Subiti” . Josephus called Zobah, “Sophene”, and its king, “Hadad” . Accordingly, Hickman identified Shamsi-Adad, son of Ilu-kabkabu, with biblical Hadadezer, son of Rekhob. And he added that the ubiquitous Shamsi-Adad’s best known city of Shubat-Enlil was to be equated with Hadadezer’s city of Zobah or Subatu . Hickman also provided an interesting explanation as to why he thought that Rekhob, the name of Hadadezer’s father, bore “some resemblance to Ilu-kabkabu”, the name of Shamsi-Adad’s father .
The next task was to identify the regions wherein lay the kingdom of Shamsi-Adad and his alter ego Hadadezer. Shamsi-Adad’s kingdom is known to have included the plain of Assyria, stretching southward through the middle Euphrates Valley almost to the latitude of Eshnunna . ….
[End of quotes]
I, following Charles Pellegrino (Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, William Morrow, 1995), was able to draw comparisons between the legislation written in the Hebrew Torah and the laws of Hammurabi:
Pellegrino [p. 129] tells of the following likenesses between Moses’s and Hammurabi’s respective mode of reception of their covenants (ibid.):
As with Moses, Hammurabi receives the laws by divine revelation (they are communicated to him in a covenant with the Sun-god Shamash). As with the Mosaic laws, they are engraved on a sacred stone tablet, and although the penalties for crimes may sometimes differ, there are instances in which Moses echoes [sic] Hammurabi with such spine-chilling fidelity that it is easy to believe the Hebrew tribes heartily absorbed Amorite Canaanite culture [sic], even as they strove to displace it.
… Hammurabi wrote,
“If a seignior’s ox was a gorer and his city council made it known to him that it was a gorer, but he did not pad its horns or tie up his ox, and that ox gored to death a member of the aristocracy, he shall give half a mina of silver …”. More than three hundred years later Exodus 21:29 echoed [sic], “But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death”.
“If a seignior has destroyed the eye of a member of the aristocracy, they shall destroy his eye”, proclaims the Hammurabi stone, and, “if he had broken another seignior’s bone, they shall break his bone”. In Exodus 21:23-25 we read, “You shall give life for life eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe”.
[End of quotes]
According to a Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Babylonian_Dynasty) Hammurabi’s Babylonian Code was most like that of the Hebrews (though chronological reasons would prevent Wikipedia, and others of a conventional persuasion, from recognising any dependence of the Code upon the Hebrew version):
Of all the ancient legislations, that of the Hebrews alone can stand comparison with the Babylonian Code. The many points of resemblance between the two, the Babylonian origin of the father of the Hebrew race, the long relations of Babylon with the land of Amurru, have prompted modern scholars to investigate whether the undeniable relation of the two codes is not one of dependence. …. Needless to notice that Hammurabi is in no wise indebted to the Hebrew Law [sic].
Knight regards the Code as both sophisticated and superior in part to later Roman Law (op. cit.):
Hammurabi’s Code cannot by any means be regarded as a faltering attempt to frame laws among a young and inexperienced people. Such a masterpiece of legislation could befit only a thriving and well-organized nation, given to agriculture and commerce, long since grown familiar with the security afforded by written deeds drawn up with all the niceties and solemnities which clever jurists could devise, and accustomed to transact no business otherwise. It is inspired throughout by an appreciation of the right and humane sentiments that make it surpass by far the stern old Roman law.
Further here we read, along the lines of what we had earlier read from Pellegrino:
A carving at the top of the stele portrays Hammurabi receiving the laws from the god Shamash, and the preface states that Hammurabi was chosen by the gods of his people to bring the laws to them. Parallels to this divine inspiration for laws can be seen in the laws given to Moses for the ancient Hebrews.
Mosaic Law passed on to Solomon
As usual, King David was the wise influence for the right formation of the young Solomon. Thus, continuing with the “Hammurabi” article, I wrote:
That Moses and the tradition he fostered was utterly essential to the young Solomon, and that the latter had been prepared by his father, king David, to live by Moses’ laws and statutes, is apparent from these words of counsel given to him by his ageing father (1 Kings 2:2): ‘Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statues, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn’.
“There are also some interesting speculations showing some parallels between the Bible and the life and laws of Hammurabi. One theme concept in both the Levitical law and the Code of Hammurabi that repeat … again and again are, namely: “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise”. (Exodus 21:24-25). Although Hammurabi did not know it, the principles in his laws reflected the Biblical principle of sowing and reaping as found in Galatians 6:78 and Proverbs 22:8: “Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows”. (Galatians 6:7) .
“He who sows wickedness reaps trouble”. (Proverbs 22:8a).
Likewise we read in the Book of Ecclesiastes of king Solomon (12:9-14):
Besides being wise, the Teacher [Qoheleth] also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs.  The Teacher sought to find pleasing words, and he wrote words of truth plainly. The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings that are given by one shepherd. Of anything beyond these, my child, beware. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter: all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. ….
Now Hammurabi’s Code too, just like Solomon’s Ecclesiastes, starts with a Preface (similarly the Book of Proverbs has a Prologue) and ends with an Epilogue, in which we find an echo of many of Solomon’s above sentiments, and others, beginning with Hammurabi as wise, as a teacher, and as a protecting shepherd king. Let us consider firstly Hammurabi’s Epilogue, in relation to Solomon’s (Ecclesiastes’) Epilogue above (buzz words given in italics):
HAMMURABI’S CODE OF LAWS
Translated by L. W. King
LAWS of justice which Hammurabi, the wise king, established. A righteous law, and pious statute did he teach the land. Hammurabi, the protecting king am I. I have not withdrawn myself from the men, whom Bel gave to me, the rule over whom Marduk gave to me, I was not negligent, but I made them a peaceful abiding-place. I expounded all great difficulties, I made the light shine upon them. … I am the salvation-bearing shepherd .. . .
Wisdom 1:1: “Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth …”.
Ecclesiastes 9:1: “ … how the righteous and the wise … are in the hand of God”.
1 Kings 4:29: “God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding, as vast as the sand on the seashore”.
As we are going to find, Solomon was not shy about broadcasting his wisdom and the fact that he had exceeded all others in it.
For example (Ecclesiastes 1:16): “I said to myself, ‘I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has great experience of wisdom and knowledge’.”
Similarly, Knight writes of Hammurabi: “The conclusion of the inscription sounds like a hymn of high-keyed self-praise”. Indeed, that Hammurabi had no doubt in his own mind that he was the wisest of all is evident from this next statement (Epilogue): “… there is no wisdom like unto mine …”.
However, just as Solomon, in his ‘Prayer for Wisdom’ (Book of Wisdom 7:15-17), had attributed his wisdom to God:
“May God grant me to speak with judgment, and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received; for He is the guide even of wisdom and the corrector of the wise. For both we and our words are in His hand, as are all understanding and skill in crafts. For it is He who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists …”.
So did the by now polytheistic Hammurabi attribute his wisdom to the Babylonian gods (Epilogue):
“… with the keen vision with which Ea endowed me, with the wisdom that Marduk gave me, I have … subdued the earth, brought prosperity to the land, guaranteed security to the inhabitants in their homes; a disturber was not permitted. The great gods have called me …”.
“I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem applied my mind to seek and search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven …”. Eccl. 1:12.
“I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know that wickedness is folly and that foolishness is madness”. Eccl. 7:25.
Solomon too, like Hammurabi, exhorted other kings and officials to follow his way. Compare for instance Wisdom 6:1-9:
Listen therefore, O kings, and understand; learn, O judges of the ends of the earth. Give ear you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations. For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High; he will search out your works and inquire into your plans. Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, or keep the law, or walk according to the purpose of God, he will come upon you terribly and swiftly, because severe judgment falls on those in high places. For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested. For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of anyone, or show deference to greatness; because he himself made both small and great, and he takes thought for all alike. But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty. To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed, so that you may learn wisdom and not transgress.
with these parts of Hammurabi’s Epilogue:
In future time, through all coming generations, let the king, who may be in the land, observe the words of righteousness which I have written on my monument; let him not alter the law of the land which I have given, the edicts which I have enacted; my monument let him not mar. If such a ruler have wisdom, and be able to keep his land in order, he shall observe the words which I have written in this inscription; the rule, statute, and law of the land which I have given; the decisions which I have made will this inscription show him; let him rule his subjects accordingly, speak justice to them, give right decisions, root out the miscreants and criminals from this land, and grant prosperity to his subjects.
And, more threateningly:
If a succeeding ruler considers my words, which I have written in this my inscription, if he do not annul my law, nor corrupt my words, nor change my monument, then may Shamash lengthen that king’s reign, as he has that of me, the king of righteousness, that he may reign in righteousness over his subjects. If this ruler do not esteem my words, which I have written in my inscription, if he despise my curses, and fear not the curse of God, if he destroy the law which I have given, corrupt my words, change my monument, efface my name, write his name there, or on account of the curses commission another so to do, that man, whether king or ruler, patesi, or commoner, no matter what he be, may the great God (Anu), the Father of the gods, who has ordered my rule, withdraw from him the glory of royalty, break his scepter, curse his destiny. May Bel, the lord, who fixeth destiny, whose command cannot be altered, who has made my kingdom great, order a rebellion which his hand cannot control; may he let the wind of the overthrow of his habitation blow, may he ordain the years of his rule in groaning, years of scarcity, years of famine, darkness without light, death with seeing eyes be fated to him; may he (Bel) order with his potent mouth the destruction of his city, the dispersion of his subjects, the cutting off of his rule, the removal of his name and memory from the land. May Belit, the great Mother, whose command is potent in E-Kur (the Babylonian Olympus), the Mistress, who harkens graciously to my petitions, in the seat of judgment and decision (where Bel fixes destiny), turn his affairs evil before Bel, and put the devastation of his land, the destruction of his subjects, the pouring out of his life like water into the mouth of King Bel.
And in the same fashion Hammurabi goes on and on, before similarly concluding:
May he lament the loss of his life-power, and may the great gods of heaven and earth, the Anunaki, altogether inflict a curse and evil upon the confines of the temple, the walls of this E-barra (the Sun temple of Sippara), upon his dominion, his land, his warriors, his subjects, and his troops. May Bel curse him with the potent curses of his mouth that cannot be altered, and may they come upon him forthwith.