The Testament of Solomon
The Testament of Solomon is apocryphal, it is not accepted as part of the Scriptures by any Christian group. Testament is a Wisdom book intended for Christian audiences. While the Bible’s Wisdom books are all in the Old Testament – Ecclesiastes, Job, Sirach, and so on, this is written for Christian audiences. Specific miracles of Christ are described, “prophecies” of Christ are unusual specific, and one goal of the book is clearly to show that Solomon was a type of Christ in the role of Exorcist, which implies (an uncontroversial claim) that all Christians share in Christ’s office of Exorcist.
The Testament of Solomon is a witness to a pre-Augustinian stage of thought, in the first few centuries of the Church when the “balance” between Good and Evil was still a concept taken seriously by some Christian thinkers.
Some Conversations While Building the Temple
On the Surface, the Testament of Solomon is a deathbed recounting by Solomon of part of the building of the Temple, with a brief cameo by the Queen of Sheba, using the title given to her by Christ, “the Queen of the South”:
And among them also the queen of the South, being a witch, came in great concern and bowed low before me to the earth. And having heard my wisdom, she glorified the God of Israel, and she made formal trial of all my wisdom, of all love in which I instructed her, according to the wisdom imparted to me. And all the sons of Israel glorified God.
And the queen of the South saw all this, and marvelled, glorifying the God of Israel; and she beheld the Temple of the Lord being builded. And she gave a siklos1 of gold and one hundred myriads of silver and choice bronze, and she went into the Temple. And (she beheld) the altar of incense and the brazen supports of this altar, and the gems of the lamps flashing forth of different colors, and of the lamp-stand of stone, and of emerald, and hyacinth, and sapphire; and she beheld the vessels of gold, and silver, and bronze, and wood, and the folds of skins dyed red with madder. And she saw the bases of the pillars of the Temple of the Lord. All were of one gold …apart from the demons whom I condemned to labor. And there was peace in the circle of my kingdom and over all the earth.
Testament of Solomon: 109, 116
As in the Qur’an and the Second Targum of Esther, Solomon is able to force demons to participate in the construction of the Temple. But while such work is mentioned in passing or qualified in those works:
And for Solomon the wind: its morning course was a month’s journey and its evening course was a month’s journey. We made a font of copper flow for him, and some of the jinn who would work for him by the permission of his Lord, and if any of them swerved from Our command, We would make him taste the punishment of the Blaze. They built for him as many temples as he wished, and figures, basins like cisterns, and cauldrons fixed.
is the primary theme of the Testament of Solomon: in detail, the author of this work describes various demons and their contributions to the Temple.
According to the Testament of Solomon, beyond Good and Evil is the Glory of God, and evil spirits can be controlled by humans through hidden spirits to bring about this glory. Even the water from the Temple is supplied via the mediation of demons:
And I Solomon, when I heard this, glorified the God of heaven and earth. And I commanded them to fetch water in the Temple of God. And I furthermore prayed to the Lord God to cause the demons without, that hamper humanity, to be bound and made to approach the Temple of God. Some of these demons I condemned to do the heavy work of the construction of the Temple of God. Others I shut up in prisons. Others I ordered to wrestle with fire in (the making of) gold and silver, sitting down by lead and spoon. And to make ready places for the other demons in which they should be confined.
Testament of Solomon: 107
Not just that, but specific miracles of the Old Testament and New Testament are also implied to be the work of demons, controlled by the arch-exorcist, Christ:
And I said to him: “By what angel art thou frustrated?”
And he answered: “By the only-ruling God, that hath authority over me even to be heard. He that is to be born of a virgin and crucified by the Jews on a cross.