King Solomon versus Paul the Apostle – an analysis

King Solomon versus Paul the Apostle – an analysis

King Solomon and the apostle Paul are two men in Scripture, one from the Old Testament and one from the New, who played significant roles in the outworking of events that shaped history. Both were chosen of God, both had prominent positions, both were instrumental and influential in their spheres of operation, and both had a profound and lasting impact upon their immediate and distant environments, extending consequentially upon the generations to come. However, their lives were very different, and the ultimate outcomes stand in stark contrast when compared side by side, leaving a valuable and sobering lesson for us all.

Let’s take a look from the time they were called by God, and see what the final conclusion drawn from their lives is.

King Solomon

Apostle Paul

Called of God
1 Chronicles 22:9,10a
Called of God
Acts 22:6–16
King of Israel
1 Kings 1:39
Citizen of Rome
Acts 22:27,28
Gained wisdom and knowledge
1 Kings 4:29,30; 2 Chronicles 1:12
Considered his learning dung in comparison to knowing Christ
Philippians 3:8,9
2 Chronicles 2:11,12; 9:5–8
2 Corinthians 11:7
Built God’s house
1 Kings 5:5
Built God’s Church
Acts 18:7–11
Palaces and country houses
1 Kings 7:1–12
Prisons and homeless
Acts 16:23; 25:14; 1 Corinthians 4:11
Royal robes
Matthew 6:29
Poorly clothed
1 Corinthians 4:11
Adorned with splendour
Matthew 6:29
Adorned with shackles
Acts 26:29; Colossians 4:18
Very wealthy
2 Chronicles 1:12b,15; 9:13,14,22; 1 Kings 10:14,15
Not wealthy
1 Corinthians 4:11–13
Wanting for nothing
1 Kings 4:22,23,27
Having need
1 Corinthians 4:11; Philippians 4:12
1 Kings 4:22,23
Knowing hunger
1 Corinthians 4:11; 2 Corinthians 11:27
Was Served
1 Kings 4:21
Was a servant
Romans 1:1
Safety and security
1 Kings 4:25
Shipwrecks and danger
Acts 27:13–44; 2 Corinthians 11:26
1 Kings 4:1,21
Acts 28:16
1 Kings 5:4
Acts 14:8–15
1 Kings 4:24
Acts 13:8; 17:13; 21:27–28
1 Chronicles 22:9
Acts 19:29; 21:30,31
Arrived in a palanquin (Litter)
Song of Solomon 3:6,7,9
Departed in a basket
Acts 9:25
Had the world come to him
1 Kings 4:34
He went to the world
Acts 16:9,10; 19:8–10
Expounded his wisdom
2 Chronicles 9:23
Expounded God’s Word
Ephesians 3:3,8,9
2 Chronicles 9:3,4; Ecclesiastes 2:3,10a
2 Corinthians 4:8–12
Pleasure seeker
Ecclesiastes 2:1,10b
Purity seeker
2 Corinthians 7:1
Ecclesiastes 2:4,9
Philippians 4:11
Ecclesiastes 2:4–9
Titus 2:11,12; 1 Corinthians 6:12
Embraced the world
Ecclesiastes 1:17; 2:10; 1 Kings 11:1
Separated from the world
2 Corinthians 6:17
Walked according to the flesh
1 Kings 2:1,3
Walked according to the Spirit
2 Corinthians 10:3; Galatians 5:16
Earthy treasures
2 Chronicles 9:24; Ecclesiastes 2:8
Heavenly treasures
Philippians 3:14; 2 Corinthians 4:18
Sought out the things below
Ecclesiastes 1:13
Sought out the things above
Ephesians 3:16–21; Colossians 3:2
Took much
2 Kings 4:22–24, 27
Gave much
2 Corinthians 11:27–29; 12:14,15
Heavy hand
2 Chronicles 10:4
Helping hand
1 Corinthians 9:19
Placed heavy yolk/burden
1 Kings 12:4
No burden
1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:8
Ordered whippings
2 Chronicles 10:11
Received whippings
2 Corinthians 11:24,25
Many wives
1 Kings 11:3
No wife
1 Corinthians 7:8
Disobedient to God’s command
1 Kings 11:1,2,9,10
Obedient to God’s call 
Acts 26:19
Unequally yoked
1 Kings 11:1,2
Not unequally yoked
2 Corinthians 6:14–16
Consented to women spiritually influencing man (himself)
1 Kings 11:4
Commanded that men were to spiritually teach women (their wives)
1 Timothy 2:11,12; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35
1 Kings 11:1,2,11; Deuteronomy 17:14–20
Denounced sin
Romans 6:1,2
Would not give up sin
1 Kings 11:2b,33
Renounced / Removed sin
Romans 6:12–15; 8:12,13; Hebrews 12:1,2
Lacked the fear of the LORD*
Proverbs 3:7; 14:16
Walked in the fear of the LORD
2 Corinthians 5:10,11
Gave himself to idolatry
1 Kings 11:5
Consecrated himself to God alone
Galatians 2:20
Divided in loyalty
1 Kings 11:4
Remained loyal
Philippians 3:7–12; 2 Timothy 4:7
Did evil by not fully following the LORD
1 Kings 11:6
Did righteously by following the LORD
1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:8,9
Turned away
1 Kings 11:4
Pressed on
Philippians 3:12–14
Became a “hunter”
1 Kings 11:40
Acts 14:6; 2 Corinthians 11:33
Sought to preserve his kingdom
1 Kings 11:37–40a
Sought to pour himself out for God’s Kingdom
2 Timothy 4:6; Philippians 2:17


Consequences of Conduct

Set the foundation for Israel to fall back into idolatry – was the start of Israel’s degeneration after their ascension
1 Kings 11:7,8
Set the foundation for the Church to ascend to godliness from the depths of degeneration
1 Corinthians 2:2; 15:1–4; 2 Corinthians 6:17,18
Was an influence that led the people back to pagan/idol worship, and away from God
1 Kings 11:7–10
Was an influence that led the people away from pagan/idol worship, and towards God
Acts 17:22–31; 1 Thessalonians 1:9,10
1 Kings 11:11; 12:16
1 Corinthians 15:8–10
The people rebelled
2 Chronicles 10:16,19
The Church obeyed
1 Thessalonians 1:3,4; 4:9,10
Caused the kingdom of Israel to be divided
1 Kings 11:11–13,30,31
Caused the church to be united
Colossians 3:10,11; Ephesians 2:11–16
Songs of lament
Ecclesiastes 2:16
Songs of praise
Philippians 1:3,4; Hebrews 13:15
Bitter discontentment
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:17,18
Glorious fulfilment
2 Timothy 4:7,8


It is clearly evident that God will hold true to His word, no matter who we are, where we are, or what place of prominence, rule of power, or influential presence we possess. Wisdom without obedience is actually no wisdom at all, and as the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, where the fear of the LORD is lacking, so is true wisdom. Authority, power, influence, and wealth outside of obedience to God has the potential of being a very strong cocktail for destruction.

Although Solomon did evil and his sin brought about destructiveness, he was able to provide us with the conclusion to the whole matter: “Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14).

May we not wait until the end of our lives to draw the same conclusion. Let us heed Solomon’s words, “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:7), and may we listen to and follow Paul’s instructions, observing with open eyes the parallel analysis of king Solomon and the apostle Paul.


Judson McCawl

*From the conduct of Solomon and his practises, it is conceivable, and believed, that much of his concluding wisdom and fear of the LORD was not practised during his lifetime, but was the conclusion drawn by him at the end of his life, when it seems that he then repented before the LORD for his sin and evil deeds. This is in contrast to Paul, who practised what he preached and was able to say, “What you have seen in me, do those things” and “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”

Note: It is suggested to read the events in completeness in order to gain a complete overview and true perspective of what I’ve put down in point form above, as selective scriptures can isolate the points, but not give a total overview. I’m sure that what I’ve provided is not exhaustive!

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