Writing Tip — King Solomon as a Fictional Character


Writing about Solomon and Ecclesiastes a week ago reminded me of what great inspiration Solomon can provide in developing a fictional character based on his life.

I don’t mean as a character in historical novels where an author fleshes out a Biblical story. Solomon works well as a characters in any time period, even ours.

We know more about Solomon than most people we read about in the Bible:

  1. The history of his parents David and Bathsheba.
  2. The stories of the tragic lives of his half-siblings Amnon, Tamar, and Absalom
  3. Solomon’s own clash over the throne with another half-brother Adonijah.
  4. Solomon’s personality and character become evident. How his humble desire to serve God as king gives way to his own desires for pleasing his wives which comes to mean more than pleasing God.

If I used Solomon for a contemporary character, I might cast him as the CEO of an innovative tech company, founded by his far-seeing father. This modern Solomon takes the company to new heights of greatness. Instead of being wise, I could say he is brilliant in business, but the pursuit of some personal indulgence, not necessarily women, make him appear stupid even to his friends.

In the end, the company is broken up, and his son, or daughter, only inherits a fraction of it.

This story arc will work with just about any occupation:

  • a dazzling politician
  • a successful actor
  • a stunningly skilled surgeon

It will work in any genre too:

  • a king in a fantasy world
  • politician in a crime novel
  • a powerful British duke in a historical romance

Because I am using Solomon as just inspiration, I can change his story to suit my narrative needs. Instead of the fictional Solomon ending his days with most of his power gone, at odds with God, I could have him repent, learn from his mistakes, and die a happy man.

What possibilities do you see for using the story of Solomon as inspiration for a character?

Scripture Saturdays

bible-2723644_1280I recently finished reading Ecclesiastes. It’s one of my favorite books of the Bible, although it puzzles me as much as it interests me. The book has great insight, but no hope, which is strange for a book in the Bible.

The writer, King Solomon, is the most depressed person in the Bible and seems to be of two minds. Solomon says he had tried every activity from folly to wisdom and decided everything is “meaningless” or “vanities”. Both the wicked and the good end up dead, so what does it matter how you live?

Then he turns around and says the fear of God is the whole point of life. Solomon seems to acknowledge God and our purpose to serve him but doesn’t seem to think this service has a point.

The only way can explain this attitude is that Solomon wrote this book toward the end of his life. He had already started his journey away from God. Maybe by this time Solomon knew God was taking most of Israel away from him and only leaving his son Rehoboam two tribes. For all his wisdom and wealth, ¬†Solomon couldn’t pass a whole kingdom on to his son.

But where Solomon differs from his father David is this realization that life has grown empty doesn’t lead him to repentance. Nowhere in the Bible does it mention that Solomon asks his sins to be forgiven, like David did. He just gets depressed and declares all of life is futile, instead of considering only his life is futile because he quit obeying God.

“Writing Prompts & Thoughts” & Idea … Oh My” is a site with another view on Ecclesiastes. If you have read the book, what are your thoughts? I would live to here a different interpretation than mine.


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