Sing a Song of Solomon, a pocket full of pry--but the Sage is promised no peace as long as novelists (even those with noblest intent) may reap from the Good Book. This Solomon portrait has few complications scholarship-wise, and nothing to rock the barge subtlety-wise. Set that man up with a chain of hotels and you could take him anywhere in the twentieth century. Of course, since most of his speech is supplied by the Bible, Solomon, in general talks good. All the judgments, the wise sayings seem to be there--count 'em--but often the context is extraordinary. The Song, a bonus not often awarded to Solomon, appears as a swinging trio as Solomon's wife-but-in-name flies off with a lover. Rather a relief to hear Solomon's deathbed mutter as he learns of his son's latest beloved: ""A good family."" Sound. Nathan the Prophet, usually within carshot at peak moments, tells the story of Bathsheba's scheming, wars and uneasy peace, the loss of the ark ('twas Bathsheba, Nathan's son and a militant dissident Benaiah, who were responsible) and Solomon's growth from boy-to-unhappy king. The author is continuing his studies of beginnings of the Jewish faith (The Soldier and the Sage, 1966: Trial and Triumph, 1965) but like many biblical novelists, he-is inclined to eradicate rather than illuminate the dark mystery and beauty of the ancient stories. Unheard is the voice of the turtle.