🔼The name Solomon: Summary
- Recompense, Completeness, Peace
- From the verb שלם (shalem), to be or make whole or complete.
🔼The name Solomon in the Bible
David already had at least six sons and a daughter when Solomon was born, and Bathsheba bore David another three sons besides Solomon. Then there were nine sons of other wives and an untold number of sons with various concubines. Solomon grew up to be the celebrated peace king of the great united kingdom of Israel, and the builder of the splendid Temple of YHWH in Jerusalem (see our article on the name Hannibal for some context).
Our name appears a total of 12 times in the Greek New Testament, but only in the Gospels and Acts, where it is spelled Σολομων (see full concordance). Note that Solomon is an ancestor of Christ only according to Matthew (Matthew 1:6). The evangelist Luke traces Jesus' lineage through Solomon's brother Nathan (Luke 3:31).
🔼Etymology of the name Solomon
The name Solomon comes from the fertile and familiar root שלם (shalem), to be or make whole or complete:
The verb שלם (shalem) means to be or make whole or complete, and is also used to describe a righteous recompense or proper restitution (whether positive or not). The familiar noun שלום (shalom) means wholeness, completeness or peace.
Other derivatives are: noun שלם (shelem), peace offering; verb שלם (shalam), to be in a covenant of peace; adjective שלם (shalem), perfect, whole, complete, safe; noun שלם (shillem), recompense; nouns שלמן (shalmon), שלום (shillum), שלם (shillum) and שלמה (shilluma), reward or proper recompense.
The noun שלמה (shilluma) is identical to our name Sholomoh, and is used in Psalm 91:8 in the meaning of reward or recompense (of the wicked). This illustrates the perhaps anti-intuitive notion that a bad result of something that was bad to begin with, is still very good (or rather: just).
Although Psalm 91 is anonymous and tradition demands that Solomon is the great peace-king, his name may have stemmed from David's deep remorse and grief over losing Solomon's older sibling. When Solomon is born, the prophet Nathan receives word from the Lord that this child is loved by God. Hence he names him Jedidiah (2 Samuel 12:25), although this name is (sadly) never again used.
Despite popular belief that Solomon means peace, the name Solomon means Recompense, or Fair Penalty.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names steers clear from the hints of Psalm 91 and views the name Solomon as an intensitive from the word שלום (shalom) meaning peace. Thus Jones reads Peaceable. NOBSE Study Bible Name List simply reads Peace.
A name that is related to Solomon is Absalom, the name of David's son number three and older half-brother of Solomon (2 Samuel 3:3). Even the name of the city from which David ruled was derived from this root: Jerusalem, but peace continued to shun the house of David.