1 Kings 3:7 New International Version

"Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.

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    Seriously ? Lone passages dropped from an airplane, with little to no context ? Spartan mode ?
    – Lucian
    Oct 12, 2020 at 20:50

5 Answers 5


The age of Solomon is not recorded. However, we have the following facts that suggest, in agreement with most non-Biblical sources, that Solomon was about 20 years old when he became king.

  • he reigned for 40 years making him 60 when he died. 1 Kings 11:42, 2 Chron 9:30.
  • At Solomon's death, his son Rehoboam took the throne and was aged 41 years. 1 Kings 14:21. This means Solomon was about 19 when Rehoboam was born, and about 18 when he was married.
  • David was 70 when he died. This means that David was about 50 when Solomon was born. This would explain the time needed for all the events that occurred between 2 Sam 12 - 24, including: Amnon's rape of Tamar (2 Sam 13); Absalom's murder of Amnon 2 years later (2 Sam 13:23); Absalom's return to Jerusalem after 3 years (2 Sam 13:38); Preparations for Absalom's Conspiracy of 4 years (2 Sam 15:7); Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam 15-19); Sheba's rebellion (2 Sam 20); 3 years of famine (2 Sam 21:1); David's census (2 Sam 24); Preparations for rebellion of Adonijah (1 Kings 1). That is, about 20 years of events.

Thus, we cannot be sure, but it strongly appears that Solomon was about 20 when he took the throne. It should be noted that David reigned for 40 years so that Solomon began his reign 10 years younger than David.

In understanding 1 Kings 3:7, the Pulpit commentary observes:

"a little child": These words are generally understood as indicating Solomon's humility rather than his age. No doubt, there is some exaggeration in the expression, which manifestly is not to be taken au pied de la lettre; at the same time it is questionable whether such words would be used of himself by a young man of twenty, which Solomon is commonly supposed to have been. See on 1 Kings 2:2, and 1 Kings 12:8]

Matthew Poole reaches the same conclusion:

"I am but a little child"; so he was in years; not as if he were now but twelve years old, as many gather from this name of child; for that name is given to Ishmael when eighteen years old, Genesis 21:14,15, and to Rehoboam when forty-one years old, 2 Chronicles 13:7, where the word is the same in the Hebrew; and before this time David calls him a wise man, 1 Kings 2:9: but he was now not above twenty years old; and withal, (which he principally intends,) he was raw and unexperienced, as a child, in state affairs, and altogether unfit for so hard a task.

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    Jan 8, 2023 at 18:55
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    Jan 8, 2023 at 20:16

When was Solomon born? Here is a step-by-step chronological look...

David reigned 40 years. First seven years were in Hebron.

David conquered Jerusalem, and moved Ark to Jerusalem in his 7th year.

"In the course of time" (2 Samuel 10:1) suggests some time had passed before the battle with the Ammonites, when David defeated the Arameans and subjugated them so they would not help the Ammonites any more.

"In the spring" (2 Samuel 11:1) suggests the next year after the defeat of the Arameans. This is when David cohabited with Bathsheba.

So, give three years minimum for "in the course of time" and one more year for "in the spring" and the adultery took place in David's 11th year as ruler, or later.

Bathsheba's child (the one conceived in David's adultery) was born and died in David's 12th year, or later.

There were four living sons Bathsheba bore for David (1 Chronicles 3:5). Since the listing in Chronicles and 2 Samuel 5:14 are identical, it is reasonable to assume the list is in chronological order, with the result ...

  • Bathsheba's first living son, Shammua was born in 13th year of David's reign or later.
  • Bathsheba's second son, Shobab - 14th year or later.
  • Bathsheba's third son, Nathan - 15th year or later.
  • Bathsheba's fourth son, Solomon - 16th year, at the earliest.

Thus, since David reigned 40 years, Solomon would be 24 years old or younger when he became king.

Summary: 7 years in Hebron + 3 (in the course of time) + 1 (adultery) + 1 (lost child) + 4 (Solomon is 4th son of Bathsheba) = 16th year of David's reign earliest that Solomon could be born. 40 - 16 = 24 = oldest age of Solomon when David died.


Solomon calling himself “a little child” in 1 Kings 3:7  wasn't making reference to his age but his inexperience and little knowledge in life.

The Bible did not give the specific age of Solomon when he became King. But we can make the calculation.

David being the father of Solomon took the throne at age 30.

He reigned for 40 years.

Died at 70 years of age.

David meets Solomon's mother(Bathsheba) in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 11:1-3).

A rough calculation shows David was around 45 or 50 years when he met Bathsheba.

So 70 - 45 = 25

70 - 50 = 20

Solomon would be 20 to 25 years when he became King.


it would be nice to have an absolute minimum and maximum for Solomon's age. all we have are rough calculations.


There are posssible clues in the restricted part played by Solomon in the political crisis (1 Kings ch1 which began his reign.

David's promise that Solomon should succeed him had been made directly to his mother Bathsheba (v17). When Nathan saw the need to fight against Adonijah's plotting, he spoke directly to Bathsheba (v11). Bathsheba then went to the king to claim the promise, without (apparently) taking Solomon with her to plead his own case (v15). And if Solomon was not yet old enough to be a plausible leader in battle, that would certainly weaken his political case in the eyes of the people.

Then in ch2, Adonijah has a request to make of Solomon, and hopes to gain it through the intercession of Bathsheba, as if the king might be under his mother's thumb; "He will not refuse you" (ch2 vv13-18). And Solomon himself says to her "I will not refuse you" (v20). But when Solomon hears the request, he understands better than Bathsheba that the request is politically dangerous to himself; he must act quickly to clamp down on this new devious threat. That is the first sign of independent political maturity.

So by the way he conducts himself and is treated during this crisis, I would have thought him a little younger than twenty. Fourteen or sixteen, perhaps.

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