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In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon looks back over his wasted years and finds no joy in them, only futility, vanity, and “a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). He concludes that everything is meaningless – wisdom, pleasure, toil, advancement, riches – you name it, Solomon had been there, done it and found it all to be meaningless.

What’s more serious, though, is the spectacular manner in which he turned away from God, took unto himself hundreds of wives and concubines, daughters from the pagan nations, and abandoned the worship of the one, true God.

“He had seven hundred wives of royal birth, and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God as the heart of David his father had been” (1 Kings 11:4).

To please his wives, Solomon even got involved in sacrificing to Chemosh and Molech, gods that required “detestable” acts to be performed (1 Kings 11:7-8).

Yet he appears to have learned a salutary lesson before he died:

“Now all has been heard; / here is the conclusion of the matter: / Fear God and keep his commandments, / for this is the duty of all mankind. / For God will bring every deed into judgment, / including every hidden thing, / whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14).

Having just finished reading the book of Ecclesiastes I would like to ask if there is any biblical basis for thinking that Solomon returned to God and was forgiven by God for his sinful life.

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Nathan prophesied to David in

2 Samuel 7:11 “ ‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.

I believe that God punished Solomon for his sins but still loved him. Saul, on the other hand, was not saved.

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  • This is, of course, messianic prophecy but I agree that there is the immediate meaning, in reference to the immediate 'son of David', which could well point to a positive conclusion for Solomon, personally. (Up-voted +1.) – Nigel J Jan 20 at 17:58
  • Yes, God promised David that his own flesh and blood (Solomon) would succeed him and it would fall to Solomon to build God's temple. Jesus never did wrong, but Solomon certainly deserved God's punishment. Yet God's love for Solomon would never be taken away from him. Thank you for finding these verses of Scripture. – Lesley Jan 24 at 9:49
  • God bless you for good. – Tony Chan Jan 24 at 15:23
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The following answer is based on the important assumption that Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon as strongly implied in Eccl 1:1 and as commonly accepted traditionally. [There are some who doubt this but I will assume a Solomonic authorship here.]

Solomon records his various efforts to find fulfillment and "happiness" in various activities such as

  • Hedonism, Eccl 2:1-11
  • Intellectual knowledge, Eccl 1:12-18, 2:12-16
  • Wisdom, Eccl 7:1 - 8:1
  • Riches, Eccl 5:8 - 6:12
  • Hard work, Eccl 2:17-26

In all things, Solomon concludes that it is a waste of time. He concludes several things:

  • We must all die, Eccl 9:5, 6, 10
  • Enjoy small pleasures of life
  • There is a divine judgement waiting for all - use time wisely, Eccl 12:14
  • The greatest satisfaction is in serving the God of heaven, Eccl 12:1-13

Ecclesiastes is the record of someone who tried everything and concludes that the old fashioned way of serving God faithfully is the best. Solomon learned this lesson very late in life BUT encourages everyone else to learn it in their youth (Eccl 12:1).

Thus, the very existence of the the book of Ecclesiastes is evidence that Solomon turned back to God and wanted all else to do the same and NOT repeat his mistakes.

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  • Yes, agreed. Up-voted +1. – Nigel J Jan 21 at 3:36
  • Yes, Solomon realised the error of his ways and Ecclesiastes is a clear warning for all to turn to God and serve Him. – Lesley Jan 24 at 9:42
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My answer is the entire content of the Song of Songs, which I have put into accurate English verse (as is the Hebrew original) since nobody else (such as Wordsworth, or Coleridge or Milton) had thought to do.

If indeed it was Solomon who wrote the Song of all Songs, in his latter years, then is it the case that he found, in those spiritual utterances of a Bride and a Bridegroom who are, clearly, a spiritual expression of something far beyond the natural of this present world, found that which he had sought in his privileged position : and had never been able to discover in this present life ?

The Song expresses a perfection, a love, a fulfilment, a joy, beyond all that this world can give.

The Song is an utterance that captures the very best of this world (its beauty, its loveliness, its odour of spices, its taste of vintage wine) and lifts it out of the natural into another realm, that cannot yet be fully experienced while time still runs and while this present world still stands.

Not a thousand women was enough, this Song has more.

Not all the gold (not even 666 talents, an astonishing portent) and all the silver and all the envy of the surrounding nations : not all of it can compare. Nothing compares.

If Solomon wrote this song, or if someone else did and it still expresses, for Solomon, what Solomon really yearned for, then yes, I see strong evidence that repentance and true faith were granted, by the Lord, to the son of David.

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    There is a deep spiritual significance in the Song of Songs and I suspect, like you, that it expresses Solomon's heartfelt yearnings. – Lesley Jan 24 at 9:44

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