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Solomon’s Servants

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” (1 Kings 3:15) certainly included his officials, if not exclusively so. These officials are named in 1 Kings 4:1-19. But the Heb. term עַבְדֵ֣י שְׁלֹמֹ֑ה, tr. “Solomon’s servants,” does not refer generally to all those who served Solomon in any capacity. Rather, it is a technical term referring to a class of state slaves in Israel.

Bibliography 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.

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SOLOMON’S SERVANTS (Heb. ‘avedhê shelōmōh). The descendants of Solomon’s servants are named among those returning from Babylon to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel (Ezra.2.55, Ezra.2.58; Neh.7.57, Neh.7.60; Neh.11.3). In the days of Solomon some were appointed to care for certain temple duties, and the descendants of these servants presumably carried on the same kind of duties. Whether they were Levites or non-Israelites is not known.

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