By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
Odds are you actually know Jedediah in the Bible, but he goes under a different name, King Solomon. Some people in the Old Testament had two different names. Esther, for instance, has Hadassah. Daniel also goes by Belteshazzar, etc.
Jedediah, sometimes spelled Jedidiah, was the son of King David and the eventual king of Israel. We will uncover his story and what we can learn from his life.
What Does Jedediah or Jedidiah Mean?
Jedidiah's slash Jedediah's name means "beloved of the Lord."
For those unfamiliar with David's promiscuous sexual history, he laid eyes on a married woman named Bathsheba. Likely without her consent, he asked her to sleep with him, and she got pregnant.
To add insult to injury, David tries to cover up his sin by tricking her husband, Uriah, into sleeping with her. Uriah refuses. So David sends him out on the battlefield to get slaughtered.
David then takes Bathsheba as one of his wives.
The Lord punishes David by having Bathsheba miscarry the baby.
However, the Lord later allows the couple to have a child. We know this child by his more popular name, Solomon.
After some sibling rivalry and political upheaval, Solomon becomes the next heir to the throne.
Solomon's name also means peace. A boy beloved by God did bring peace to Israel for a time. The pax romana of Israel did exist during his reign. Unfortunately, it didn't last long after.
What Did Jedediah Do in the Bible?
It's hard to boil down everything Jedediah did, as he is one of the most prominent people in Israel's history. We can, however, boil it down to ten of the most important facts about his life.
1. He Asked God for Wisdom.
And God granted him this. God allowed for Solomon/Jedediah to ask for anything. Instead of riches or land, he requested wisdom. Impressed by this request, God gave him everything because of this prayer's wisdom (buh dum tssh). Solomon ended up being one of the richest men in Earth's history.
2. Israel Did Experience Peace in His Time.
David had been a warring king. He conquered several territories. During the reign of Solomon, we see Israel expanding to the furthest it will ever go.
David and Solomon make up what we call "The Golden Age of Israel."
3. He married several wives and concubines.
Altogether? 1000 wives and concubines. He mostly married these women for political purposes (to have alliances with their home countries, aided by whatever children he had with thne). However, because he did this, several of them led him astray. He ended up allowing pagan practices to infiltrate the land.
4. He authored several books of the Bible.
Most of Proverbs, all of Ecclesiastes, and all of Song of Solomon are attributed to him. He penned much of the wisdom literature we have in the Old Testament.
Proverbs deals with sayings of wisdom that will lead to a prosperous life.
Ecclesiastes talks about when these principles fall short and when humanity experiences disappointment.
Song of Solomon is a love letter to a woman and is often seen as God's view of Israel and, later, the church.
5. He Built the Temple.
God didn't allow David to build the temple due to the amount of blood he shed. However, this paved the way for Solomon to build the first temple in Israel.
Under the riches Solomon accumulates, he ensures that the building spares no expense, and this becomes the crowning jewel of Israel until the Babylonians destroy it the first time.
6. Israel Split After His Death.
Only three kings ruled over a unified Israel. Saul, David, and then Solomon/Jedediah. After Solomon's death, Israel splits into two—as two rulers lead the charge, Rehoboam and Jeroboam.
7. Not Everyone Loved Jedediah
Although Solomon's wisdom earned him the respect of rulers such as the Queen of Sheba, we get the hint that not all of Israel loved him after his death. He ruled with an iron fist, and people begged his son to ease the reins. Solomon's son refuses, hence why Israel splits.
8. Jedediah Had a Lot of Family Drama
He had some pretty messed up siblings. Some of his siblings committed rape. Some tried to overthrow David and supplant his throne. Solomon didn't have the best role models as king of Israel.
Once again, this shows the dangers of polygamy. Never once in the Bible do we see a positive example of taking multiple wives.
9. He Experienced a Lot of Regret Toward the End of His Life
Ecclesiastes gives us a very good picture of his late-life reflections. He learned that chasing pleasure and wealth was meaningless. He encourages readers not to go down the same path he did.
10. He's in Jesus' Genealogy
This, for Solomon, probably would be seen as a crowning jewel in his mind. Solomon comes from the line of David, the same line in which Jesus hails. Solomon would've considered it an honor to be in the same family tree as our Savior.
What Can We Learn from Jedediah?
Jedediah has a great deal to teach us. After all, he did pen three books of wisdom. We can't summarize everything here, as entire Bible studies have devoted themselves to this subject. However, we can have a few takeaways from the life of Jedediah.
1. Wisdom Is Priceless.
Solomon stepped into his role as king at a very young age, twenty. I don't know about you, but at the age of 20, I would've craved riches and stability. Not wisdom.
Solomon's request played into a lifetime of wisdom and strong political leadership. However, he allowed his brain to cloud his judgment. Wisdom could only get him so far when lust or quick romance obscured his vision and he pursued many romantic partners.
In several Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, Jedediah talks about how promiscuous women can lead to the fall of men. While he uses women as his example, we can sense his dissatisfaction lies in lust and multiple marriages (a problem that men or women can fall into, seeking pleasure over discernment). Wisdom is beautiful, but it must be rooted in the Lord. Otherwise, it's meaningless.
2. Marriage to One Godly Person Is God's Model
We see from Jedediah's example about the dangers of marrying multiple spouses, and especially spouses who did not know the Lord. They convinced him to kneel before other gods. To build statues in his kingdom toward forward deities.
The Bible encourages us not to be unequally yoked for this reason. We need to pursue godly relationships with those who share our values. After all, God should be at the center of our hearts and our calling.
If we marry someone who doesn't understand that, we can fight against them for our beliefs. Or, in the case of Solomon, going astray.
3. A Lifetime of Reflection Leads to Greater Wisdom
I recently finished all three books of Solomon, and I see great growth throughout his writings.
He learned from his mistakes and admonished readers not to fall into the same traps he did.
We often remember Jedediah for his mistakes. After all, the greater the power someone has, the more we hold them accountable for their errors.
But let us admire him for realizing how much he messed up and the wisdom he gleaned from it. It should spur us into humility as we reflect on our mistakes and realize how much we've grown.
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Hope Bolinger is an acquisitions editor at End Game Press, and the author of almost 30 books. More than 1500 of her works have been featured in various publications. Check out her books at hopebolinger.com for clean books in most genres, great for adults and kids.
This article is part of our People from the Bible Series featuring the most well-known historical names and figures from Scripture. We have compiled these articles to help you study those whom God chose to set before us as examples in His Word. May their lives and walks with God strengthen your faith and encourage your soul.
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The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
If you’ve ever felt like Jesus couldn’t love you, then please keep reading. The Bible is filled with unlikely people Jesus loved. Has life tarnished you, and perhaps you feel unworthy of God’s love? I certainly didn’t live a saint’s life, but I believe God forgave me and loves me. I just didn’t understand the depth of His love, nor the power of it.
While all of us can be unlikely candidates for the love of Christ, we will focus on the unlikely people Jesus loved.
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