We cannot be sure, but one possibility is that they were notable women that Solomon encountered at his royal court.
In Ecclesiastes chapter 2, Solomon mentioned various things he had accomplished, including his extensive building projects. He added: “I accumulated also silver and gold for myself, and property peculiar to kings and the jurisdictional districts. I made male singers and female singers for myself and the exquisite delights of the sons of mankind, a lady, even ladies.”—Eccl. 2:8.
Many commentators assume that the “ladies” to whom Solomon was referring were the many foreign wives and concubines that he had in his later years, women who led him into false worship. (1 Ki. 11:1-4) However, there are problems with that explanation. When Solomon wrote these words, he already was acquainted with the “lady, even ladies.” And at that point, he still had Jehovah’s approval, for God was inspiring him to write books of the Bible. That hardly fits his situation in later years when he had hundreds of foreign wives and concubines and he took up false worship.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon said that he had “sought to find the delightful words and the writing of correct words of truth.” (Eccl. 12:10) He obviously knew the words for “wife,” “queen,” and “concubine,” because he used those words in his inspired writings. (Prov. 5:18; 12:4; 18:22; Eccl. 9:9; Song of Sol. 6:8, 9) But at Ecclesiastes 2:8, those familiar words are not used.
In the words “lady, even ladies,” we find the only instances (singular and plural) in the Bible of an unusual Hebrew word. Scholars admit that its meaning is uncertain. Many Bible translators take the phrase at Ecclesiastes 2:8 to refer to women, expressed in singular and then the plural or superlative degree. The rendering “lady, even ladies” conveys that sense.
Solomon was renowned, so much so that a queen from the wealthy kingdom of Sheba heard of him, visited, and was impressed. (1 Ki. 10:1, 2) That points to one possible meaning to Solomon’s mention of “a lady, even ladies.” He may have been referring to outstanding women whom he encountered at his court during the many years when he still had God’s favor.