Handel used the summer months of 1748 to write oratorios for the coming season and composed the two distinct works Solomon and Susanna. It remains unknown who wrote the two libretti. Based on the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles from the Bible, as well as Antiquitates Judaicae by Flavius Josephus, the libretto presents three extensive scenes from the reign of Solomon. The work has no unified plot; instead, allegorical scenes pay homage to a ruler of the ancient world.
However, Handel’s Solomon was less a celebration of the reigning king than a call to his subjects to take Solomon as an example for a comparison of social ideals and the genuine virtues of a ruler. The music he wrote for it is one of his most mysterious scores, full of musical ambiguities. The subtle irony of the oratorio, which also hints at the future of the psychologically more sophisticated musical theatre, seems to have disturbed the audience of the time. In Handel’s lifetime, Solomon was only performed four times following the premiere.