Troublesome Topic: Only Two Daughters

Of all Solomon’s children we are only given the name of three of them; two of them are girls and the other is the son that followed Solomon as king. The name of that son is not mentioned until he became king.

I believe that if the Shulammite had given birth to a son, he would have been the next king. I also think that the two daughters that are mentioned by name were most likely the children of his favorite wife, Shuly. Therefore I am convinced that Solomon and Shuly only had two children, both of them were girls.

According to I Kings 4 verses 11 and 15, one was named Taphath, and the other Basemath. Taphath is thought to come from a word that meant “dripping” or “drops,” and most likely referred to something that was dripping with aromatic oils. It also meant “discourse or inspired speech,” and was used of prophesying, but it is the first meaning that seems to fit best for any connection to the Song of Solomon. The name Basemath came from a word which meant “fragrant spices.” To continue the theory I am developing here, I would say that, despite the difficulties in childbirth, and the close call in the delivery of the second daughter, they decided to name their daughters pleasant names, names that would guide them in becoming wonderful wives someday, not negative names that focused only on the difficulty in childbirth. Notice that both these names fit perfectly with the themes expressed by the symbolism of The Song. In fact, the word from which they got Taphath is used three times in The Song (4:11, 5:5 and 5:13), and the word from which Basemath was derived is used six times (4:10, 4:16. 5:1, 5:13, 6:2 and 8:14). If this line of thinking is correct, Solomon and his favorite wife wove into their special song the names of their two daughters.

As mentioned above, I envision that there were problems with the delivery of each of these girls. I imagine it happening something like this. With the delivery of their first daughter Shuly got what we now call a puerperal fever due to contamination during the delivery. This was very common in those days because they did not understand about infections, so they did not practice good hygiene. But Solomon had her treated with lots of plant oils and she got better. She almost died while delivering their second daughter. This time the level of infection was greater but she lived because Solomon anticipated the problem and had lots of the plant oils available and they were applied immediately.

He had already told her that if they had a son, he would be the next king. However, after this second close call Solomon vowed to not get her pregnant again. He accepted the reality that the successor to his throne would not be a son of the Shulammite. He would rather have that happen than lose the only wife he considered to be a true wife in every way.

The next lesson is: A Language Called Symbolism