SOLOMON’S SERVANTS (Heb. ‘avedhê shelōmōh). The descendants of Solomon’s servants are named among those returning from Babylon to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel (
SOLOMON’s SERVANTS. A class of state slaves in Israel instituted by Solomon.
All subordinates of a king might be considered his servants. The feast which Solomon gave for all his “servants” (
R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel (1965), 88-90, 141, 142; M. Haran, “The Gibeonites, the Nethinim and the Servants of Solomon” in Judah and Jerusalem (1957), 37-45; I. Mendelsohn, Slavery in the Ancient Near East (1949), 92-106; A. F. Rainey, “Compulsory Labour Gangs in Ancient Israel,” IEJ (1970), 191-202.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
See Solomon’s SERVANTS.
What their duties in the house of God may have been is not stated in the records. These must have been more or less menial, the more formal and honorable duties being reserved for "the priests and Levites, the singers, (and) porters" (
The number of those who returned with Zerubbabel was not great, together with the Nethinim being only 392. This does not appear to have been sufficient for the needs of the sanctuary, since Ezra, in preparation for his expedition in 458 BC, made special appeal for Nethinim to go with him, of whom 220 responded (
A question of some interest and of difference of opinion is whether Solomon’s Servants were Levites or non-Israelites. The latter view is the more generally held, for the following reasons; (1) After the completion of the Temple and his other great buildings a large body of workmen, whom Solomon had drafted from the non-Israelite population, were without occupation, and might well have been assigned to the menial duties of the Temple (
But, on the other hand, equally strong arguments favor their Levitical descent:
(1) Levites also are called douloi in 1 Esdras; (2) it is more probable that Ezekiel refers to the abuses of Athaliah, Ahaz and Manasseh than to the institutions of David and Solomon;
(3) Ezra specifically classifies the Nethinim as Levites (8:15-20);
(4) there is not the slightest intimation in the text of
(5) it is not probable that Ezra and Nehemiah, or Zerubbabel, with their strict views of Israelite privilege (compare