Icon of Solomon the King and Prophet – P83


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Movable Church Feast Day 1

Sunday before Nativity


Egg Tempera


Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia




15th c. (Late)


This icon is part of a 1497 Russian icon (with P78 and P82) of the prophets from Dormition Church, St. Cyril of Belozersk Monastery.   The Prophet Solomon was the son of King David, who had reunited the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah.  Because Solomon knew from the first that he was incapable of ruling this kingdom of God’s People without wisdom from on high, he prayed humbly for this ability, saying, “Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy People, that I may discern between good and bad, for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people” (I Kings 3:9).  Humility is therefore the greatest wisdom.

By God’s grace and by this humility, King Solomon was endowed by God with the greatest wisdom of that time, and possibly all time until Christ.  During his reign the united Israel became very rich and famous, with royalty and many others visiting Jerusalem from distant places to seek counsel from the manifest wisdom of this saintly king.  Unfortunately, for a time, King Solomon was influenced by his foreign wives to allow worship of idols in Israel, but he repented before he died.