Thursday, May 2, 2019

THE HEART OF A KING by Jill Eileen Smith, Reviewed by Trixi Oberembt

Listen , my son! Listen, son of my womb! Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers! Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. (pg. 186)
I've always wondered why King Solomon in all the wisdom God gave him at the beginning of his reign, was foolish in disobeying God's laws in the end. Jill Eileen Smith explores this question in The Heart of a King, taking literary license since scripture doesn't expound on many facets of his life or those of his wives. As I read this fictional account of a true story, I had to shake my head at Solomon whenever he justified his actions in disobeying what God so clearly told him not to do. As in the case of his second wife Siti; she worshiped the goddess Bastet and he built her a palace outside the walls of Jerusalem for her to honor her goddess and to display Bastet's images. In his thinking, as long as it wasn't seen or placed inside the walls, it was okay. He also justified that since his heart remained true to Adonai, he could take many foreign wives, horses and chariots as gifts from the kings and dignitaries to keep his kingdom peaceful. For anyone who knows scripture, would know that Solomon was unwise in these things.
Ultimately, this reminded me that in many ways we can be the same in making excuses or justifying our actions and decisions. The more we justify, the more our hearts turn from the Lord. For me, this book laid bare my own failings in taking seriously what God has said not to do or say or see in my own life. And how many ways even the most seemingly insignificant compromise can have devastating effects. It was a real eye-opener for me! I know oftentimes when I read how the Israelites turned from God in the desert and complained, I shake my head. But how often do I do that in my own life? How often to I complain when God has given me so much or answered my many prayers? 

Oh that we would be the opposite of Solomon!
I love how the author can bring what is in Scripture to life and flesh out the people we only read about. They were real with feelings, failures, struggles, and shortcomings. I think every time I read Jill's biblical fiction novels, she makes me look inward to my own self and evaluate my own heart. And that's a good thing in my book! It brings me closer to the heart of God every time.
To those who have tasted what is forbidden only to find it meaningless. May Solomon's wisdom and the love he craved show you a better way. ~Jill Eileen Smith
*I received a complimentary copy from Revell on the authors behalf and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *

BackCover Blurb:
King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could--and did--have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all his wisdom, did he or the women in his life ever find what they searched for all of their lives?

In this engrossing novel, you'll find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you'll meet Solomon and four of the women he loved: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and the eyes of these women, you'll ask yourself the ultimate question: Did Solomon's wisdom ultimately benefit him and those he loved . . . or did it betray them?

Available in hardcover, paperback and digital ebook:
Buy The Heart of a King at Amazon
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