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Bible Q

How old was Solomon when he began his reign?

The age of Solomon when he began to reign is unknown. However, we can work out some dates and establish an approximate age. The following dates are explained in The Times (chapter 3)

1041BC David born
1011BC David starts to reign, age 30 (2 Samuel 5:4-5)
971BC David dies, age 70 (1 Kings 2:11)
971BC Solomon starts to reign (1 Kings 2:12)
931BC Solomon dies (1 Kings 11:42)

Solomon was born well after David became king, although we can’t be sure of the date. We do know that it was probably several years after David moved to Jerusalem: he appears to have been in Jerusalem for some time when he met Solomon’s mother Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-3), and then there has to be another couple of years to allow for Bathsheba’s first pregnancy, marriage to David, and then a second pregnancy. So that places Solomon’s birth at least 10 years into David’s reign, which means that Solomon was under 30 when he became king. Shortly after he became king he married the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1) which would suggest he was probably at least 20 years old.

He describes himself as a “little child” (1 Kings 3:7), although that is surely an exaggeration.

In summary, we can be reasonably confident that Solomon was in his 20s when he became king, but it is not possible to be more precise.

3 Replies to “How old was Solomon when he began his reign?”

  1. Hi Michael,

    I have been researching the age of Solomon when he became king and came to your website. His son was born the year before he came to office. If he was only 20, that would make him 19 years of age when his son was born. However, we are also told that Solomon set up 12 officers in his new government to provide the needs of the temple, which I believe was finished 11 years after he became king. The Bible says that 2 of those officers were married to Solomon’s daughters. What is marriage age? It appears that these two daughters were several years older than Solomon’s son. These facts appear to make Solomon much older that 20, closer to 30 years of age.
    Do you have any thoughts on this?

    • I think you are referring to 1 Kings 4:7-19 where Solomon appointed 12 district governors, two of whom were married to his daughters (1 Kings 4:11,15). These supplied provisions to the royal household but not the temple. So I don’t think we should date their appointment to when the temple was built. Most likely, these were the twelve in office at the time the list was compiled, which could have been at any time during his reign.

  2. That’s really interesting I had a school project on Solomon. This article really helped!