one and forty years old

2 Chronicles 12:13

12:13 one and forty years old. Since Solomon reigned just forty years, Rehoboam was born a year before he became king, while Solomon was still quite young. Presumably he had married Naamah (whose name means “sweetness”) a year before that. Since Rehoboam is the only son of Solomon whose name is recorded (though he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines—I Kings 11:3), Rehoboam must have been Solomon’s firstborn son and the one to whom he wanted to give his throne. All of this would imply that Naamah was the wife he truly loved, and therefore the beautiful “fairest among women” so praised by the youthful Solomon in his “Song of Solomon.” Naamah was not a native Israelite, being an Ammonitess, which perhaps correlates with her description of herself as “black, but comely” because “the sun hath looked upon me” (Song of Solomon 1:5-6), and also with her references to “the daughters of Jerusalem” Song of Solomon 2:7) as though she were not Jewish herself.

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