Solomon’s Lesson in Humility
Marc Eliany © All Rights Reserved.
During David’s reign, a man sent his son on business to Ifrikia. The son took the road each day with dawn while resting always upon sundown, until his arrival to Aghamat, on the outskirts of Marrakech.
When the young man concluded his affairs and took the road back to Jerusalem, any river he came to cross swelled. The youngster delayed his crossing each time until the water subsided. One day, a caravan crossed a powerful stream he would not negotiate and drowned. The young man crossed the river when the torrent subsided, gathering maggots of gold and strings of pearls he found along his path.
It was a time when a trip from Jerusalem to Ifrikia took a long time and much happened in between and when the young man arrived home, he found that his father had died and that one of his slaves appropriated his wealth as if he was the sole heir. The young man mourned his father, making no attempt to re-appropriate his inheritance.
One day, Solomon, King David’s son, heard the tale of the young man and decided to render justice and unravel the truth. Solomon exhumed the old man’s corpse and dyed one of the bones with the blood of the alleged heirs. The blood of the true heir permeated the bone and thus he secured his inheritance. This is to teach us that wisdom was widespread in ancient times, way before the invention of modern sciences and before the knowledge of the DNA spread.
When Solomon became king, his possessions grew beyond the prescribed in heaven and earth. And the wise in the land pleaded with him to reduce the burden he placed on the Israelites and angels warned him of a pending lesson in humility if he did not mend his ways. But Solomon remained unmindful of all injunctions and an edict came down from Heaven to banish him to live a life of a beggar in far away lands.
Hungry and deprived, Solomon wandered from land to land until he arrived to Aghamat, which was the edge of the world in ancient times. Solomon told anyone who cared that he was the son of David, the mighty king of the Israelites but even the priests of Aghamat who knew his countenance in Jerusalem, could not recognize him, causing him much despair.
One day the heir to whom Solomon restored the inheritance returned to Aghamat on business and as usual, he held a banquet for rich and poor alike before returning to Jerusalem. Solomon, who stood among the poor, was called to pronounce the blessing on the bread and as soon as he opened his mouth, the heir recognized the king and kneeled before his grace to the bewilderment of every one present.
Solomon journeyed about three years before this incident but once he was recognized, the gates of Heaven opened and in a twinkling of an eye, the Merciful transported him back to Jerusalem. And when Solomon vowed to rid himself of his possessions and live in humility, befitting a monarch in Israel, he was anointed king again. Ever since, it has been a tradition in the Maghreb for the wise to live in great modesty.