Solomon relied on alliances and exchanges of presents and diplomatic letters with other leaders to create a climate of international friendship. He solidified the cause of peace by a series of politically expeditious marriages with foreign women, daughters and sisters of rulers of other countries or independent rulers as in the case of Queen Sheba. Kings I records that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines, although this number may be an exaggeration. Solomon’s diplomatic efforts resulted in a large and secure empire that was strengthened by virtue of its ties to its neighbors and a reign of relative peace.
As David had defeated neighboring countries which had been hostile to Israel, Solomon ruled Israel for nearly forty years without serious threat living up to his name that denoted peace. Due to the reign of peace and prosperity and avoidance of the costs of war Solomon was free to embark on a numerous construction projects and organizational reforms. According to Otto Eissfeldt, the German biblical scholar, there were five characteristic features of Solomon’s reign:
- Change in his kingdom’s military organization and the introduction of chariotry as an essential arm of war;
- The creation of new administrative districts;
- Changes in the taxation system;
- The refinement of court procedure and the maintenance of diplomatic relations with foreign courts; and
- Building activity on a large scale, including the royal palace and its adjoining temple, and fortified barrack for his garrisons in the north.
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