It is always with pleasure and profound esteem that the Vagabond slowly turns the leaves of the world's most wonderful book and--even as sipping old wine--drinks and muses of the wisdom of years long ago. Especially is this true when the narrative is woven with colorful parables and wise sayings--and especially when the story is told by the inimitable Professor Lake.
The Story which Professor Lake will interpret this morning at 12 in the Fogg Large Room has to do with Solomon, the wise king of Israel, and his clever alliances with Hiram, king of Tyre, one "filled with wisdom and understanding and cunning to work...in brass."
Solomon was no parlor philosopher; his wisdom and proverbs are the result of dear experience. His business experiences taught him the power of gold and clever dealings. Seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines gave him ample opportunity to speak authoritatively on that subject. His reorganization of the internal administration of his kingdom; his wise utilization of the control of the caravan routes that led from Egypt and Arabia to Phoenicia and Syria; his great commercial undertakings as middleman and carrier; his zeal for monoplies; and all in all with his faith in the Lord laid the foundations of his vast national wealth and showed his people and the world that indeed here, as the scriptures says, "was the man."
It is no wonder that when the Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon and saw with her own eyes his great splendor and wealth and harem, she could not but break in spirit and confess that indeed, "That half was not told."
Nor is even half the story told without mention of the well known Solomonic judgment in which he decided the question to whom the baby, which two harlots claimed, belonged by threatening to "Divide the child in two, and give half to one and half to the other."
With all his clever and sometimes shady deals and in spite of the fact that his harem did finally bring his ruin. Solomon lives in the literature of the Bible as one of the most human, the wisest, and a God-fearing man. This son of David, son of Bath-sheba, even as his wise words, has become "a proverb and a byword among the people."