King Solomon has been one of the most intriguing characters of the Old Testament to me and I have learned a lot from teaching through Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon on numerous occasions. I was excited then to get a copy of Philip Graham Ryken’s biography King Solomon: The Temptation of Money, Sex, and Power. Many biblical biographies have fallen victim of being an exercise in missing the point and being mere fluff. Not so with this volume.
Ryken has done a masterful job in combining the biblical narrative of Solomon’s life with Solomon’s own autobiographical sketches from Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. He forms not just a factual overview of Solomon’s life, but draws life lessons from this larger-than-life Old Testament character. Thus, not only do we get details on Solomon’s life from start to finish, we get details on Solomon’s temple, his other kingly achievements, a synopsis of his wisdom, the impact of his rise and fall, and the ramifications on the generations that followed his reign. It is in these details that Ryken succeeds greatly in making Solomon’s life applicable to our own life and our sin, and ultimately demonstrating how Solomon’s life points to the need of salvation through the cross of Christ.
All in all, Ryken has painted a stirring biography of one of the Old Testament’s most colorful and teachable characters. This is neither a cursory nor merely academic biography. King Solomon is a highly readable and relevant addition to anyone’s library who is looking to learn from one of the key witnesses among the “cloud of witnesses” who cheers us on to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1-2, cf. Hebrews 11). – Todd Burgett, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
King Solomon had all the fame and fortune that any man could want. He was the world’s wisest and wealthiest king. And yet, tragically, he threw it all away for the love of money, the pleasures of sex, and the powers of an earthly kingdom.
In studying the life of Solomon, we see both the true greatness and the tragic failure of our own humanity—from godly devotion to self-serving excess. Even in the midst of our best intentions, we are all prone to succumb to the same temptations of money, sex, and power. And if Solomon’s incredible wisdom could not prevent him from such tragic mistakes, then how are we to triumph over the same temptations?
Philip Graham Ryken shows us how, by the grace of God, to prevent those downfalls and to seek God’s glory amid earthly temptations through this rich, Christ-centered study of the life of Solomon.