Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Solomon on the Billboard Hot 100

By David Bragg

    On December 4, 1965 King Solomon of Old Testament fame, the successor of David (the man after God’s own heart; Acts 13:22) and the wisest man who ever lived had the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His song, Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season), can be found in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
    Solomon, who received no royalties for his composition, has folk singer/songwriter and anti-war activist Pete Seeger to thank for his long-delayed success. Seeger contributed only six words at the end of the song, seven if you count the title: Turn! Turn! Turn! It was first recorded in 1959 by Seeger, then in 1962 by the Limeliters, and most successfully by the Bryds in 1965 when it became an international hit which holds the record for the oldest lyrics of any number one song.
    In Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon writes of the ever-changing phases of life as we face, by chance, various emotions and circumstances (“a time to every purpose under the heaven”). Seeger’s song, an anti-war anthem, emphasized that there was “a time of war, and a time of peace.” But consider this observation: “There is a time to laugh; a time to mourn.” What an appropriate snapshot of daily life mixed with happy moments and crushingly sad ones. Isn’t it great that, in Christ, we can weather these constantly shifting emotions with a deeply rooted joy? Persecuted. Tempted. Tried. Christians can rejoice in all those times because of the joy in Christ that  enables us to “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

- David Bragg serves as one of the ministers at the Northwest Church of Christ in Greensboro, NC and is co-editor of BulletinGold. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: or his blog:

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