Old Testament Summary Lesson 26: “King Solomon: Man Of Wisdom Man Of Foolishness”
- Black Ethiopian Jews: “In Ethiopia, members of this group refer to themselves as Beta Israel . . . They practice an early form of Judaism . . . According to their tradition, their ancestors were Jerusalem notables who came with Menelik, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, when he returned home.” “They said that he brought Judaic customs and civil law to Ethiopia.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) About 130,000 have returned to Israel since the 1990’s.
- Judaic Symbols Date to David’s and Solomon’s Times: One of the most popular is known by non-Jews as The Star of David. Jews call it the Magen David. ” . . . tradition tells us that King David wore a magen David on his shield, and that King Solomon had the symbol inscribed on his ring . . . “During the early Middle Ages, Christians decorated their churches . . . with the magen David. For Muslims it was a magical sign; in Arabic sources . . . also known as the “seal of Solomon . . .” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Urim and Thummim: The Magen David is always shown as two triangles, interwoven. According to statements attributed to Joseph Smith, the Urim and Thummim were two triangular stones connected by a silver bow. One pointed up and the other pointed down. Superimposed they make a fascinating Magen David!
- Temple Curtains: Since Later-day Saints have such an intense interest in temple culture and its ritual sym¬bolism, a few comments about the temple may be interesting. There were curtains in the temple that the Sanhedrin sat behind when speaking with participants in the temple. “. . . the Great Sanhedrin was the name of the unique court consisting of . . . judges which sat in a special part of the Temple in Jerusalem. These judges had to know a great many languages in order to understand the witnesses and the litigants without an interpreter (who might change — ever so slight¬ly the original statement). They never saw the litigants or the accused, in case their judgment might be influenced by their appearance.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Marriage Customs: Nowadays, a curtain or cloth is used to create a canopy (Huppah) under which marriages are performed. This cloth is usually a “Tallit,” a garment that represents the clothing used in temple times with marks (four sets of strings with knots) that represent binding ourselves to keep the commandments. “. . . it was customary for the groom to cover the bride’s head with his tallit as a symbol of sheltering her . . . among Orthodox Jews, the preferred custom is to erect the huppah outside, or at least in a spot open to the sky, underneath the stars,” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Homes Becomes Temples: “With the destruction of the Second Temple . . . it was then said: “Now that there is no altar, a man’s table . . . and prayer takes the place of the sacrifices.” “The Talmud describes in . . . persons should engage in a discussion of Torah during the meal so that they will be “as though they had eaten at the table of God.” . . . the table is regarded as a substitute for the altar in the Temple . . . (a) benediction (after meals), called Boneh Yerushalayim . . . asks God . . . to restore the Temple . . .” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)