Around forty years ago, standing in a bookstore, I read the first chapter of a novel: the opening was set in King Solomon's court, at the moment that he was recounting to his courtiers his dream (described in the Bible at 1 Kings 3:4-15). I think the scene is being described by a scribe or some other flunky. I have regretted not buying the book more than once! Looking back, I feel the author did an excellent job of showing a dictator manipulating his court.
I remember neither the author nor the title, but this book was not Dan Jacobson's The Rape of Tamar. It was a large format paperback, I think written in English, partly because it was a bookstore in New Zealand, and partly because I think I might have been more likely to remember if the book had been a translation. I do not think this book could have been written later than 1985.