Solomon loved beauty. But lately he had been too preoccupied to enjoy the natural beauties that infused even the bleak Judean landscape surrounding Jerusalem. He hadn’t even gone for a walk in his gardens or orchards for months. But tonight, he felt a need to be distracted from his thoughts and he took a moonlit stroll through the palace grounds before going to bed.
It had been a particularly trying day. He had needed to settle a boundary dispute between two important landowners, both of whom were sure that their neighbor had moved the boundaries between their holdings for their own favor. He had been tempted to expropriate the disputed strip, along with a generous addition on each side, and build a road on it, and let them stew. But the road wouldn’t have led anywhere particularly useful, and would have cost a lot of money. So, he swallowed his testiness and sent several of his engineers to survey the strip and divide it in half. Presumably this would just place the boundary back where it had always been, but it would at least ensure that the quarreling stopped.
And then the matron of the woman’s quarters came to him for help in settling an upheaval amongst his wives. The Egyptian princess had decided that she needed some extra servants to give her house its annual cleaning. She had always considered herself to be Solomon’s queen, since she was the first of his wives with royal blood. She descended on the women’s quarters in the form of a one person press-gang intent on conscripting several of Solomon’s concubines for temporary service in her private quarters. Most of the wives were antagonistic to her already, given her superior attitude, and didn’t take kindly to this hostile takeover.
The matron tried to settle everyone down. But the Egyptian princess insisted that she had the right to conscript anyone she wanted. Since she wouldn’t accept the matron’s authority, Solomon ended up going to the quarters himself and settling them down. He pacified the spluttering princess with the promise that she could have several of the palace servants to help her in the morning. He also suggested to her that in the future she might want to take any such requests to his household manager, who could deal with them. He pointedly reminded the rest of the women that the matron was in charge and that it would be in their best interests to listen to her.
He pushed aside his memories of the day’s events and stopped for a while to watch the moon rising over the Mount of Olives. “I should do this more often,” he thought. “This is like a balm for a troubled soul.”
He remembered a song his father had written years ago, and quoted the words softly… “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
He slept well that night.