1 Kings Chapter 3

After the death of King David, the kingdom had been established greatly under Solomon. He had rid his kingdom of those who he knew would have destroyed it with rebellion. Solomon’s reign began with peace and strength. Chapter 3 begins as follows:

1 And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.
2 Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the Lord, until those days.
3 And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.
4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.

Solomon made a marriage relationship with the Pharaoh, by taking Pharaoh’s daughter to wife. They lived in the city of David. Solomon built up the city of David, including a house for himself, for the Lord, and a wall around Jerusalem. Up until this time, a house to the Lord had not been built. David had wanted to build a house to the Lord, but the Lord had instructed him not to do so, because he would allow his posterity to build His house in the place He wanted it built. The people had made sacrifices in other places up until the reign of Solomon. Solomon was a righteous man, and loved the Lord and kept the commandments as his father had instructed him to do. Solomon went to Gibeon to make sacrifice to the Lord, which had been the location of a tabernacle to the Lord.

The Lord’s wisdom is far greater than our own. I am not sure why David had not been allowed to build the temple of the Lord, but that is how the Lord wanted it. Instead, the right timing and place would fall in the reign of Solomon, and it would be great.

5 In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
7 And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
15 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, asking what Solomon desired of him. Solomon acknowledged the great blessings that had been given to his father by the Lord, including the opportunity for him to sit upon the throne. Solomon felt he was not up to the task of being king, which is a typical feeling of those who are given these great callings of the Lord. He felt insignificant among a great and chosen people, so he asked for the ability to discern between good and bad and to judge the people with an understanding heart. The Lord was pleased with Solomon’s request, and blessed him with a wise and understanding heart, which he would be known for throughout history. His blessing of wisdom, was a blessing of the spirit and he was not simply wise to the things of the world, but spiritually wise, so that he could discern good from evil. He also blessed him with those worldly things that he had not asked for, even riches and honor. The Lord told him that he would be blessed with a long life, if he would keep the commandments like his father David. When Solomon woke up from the dream, he went to Jerusalem, offered sacrifices to the Lord and had a feast.

16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.
17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.
18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.
19 And this woman’s child died in the night; because she overlaid it.
20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.
21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.
22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.
23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.
24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.
25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

Two harlots came before Solomon, to have a dispute resolved that had risen between them. The women lived together, the first who spoke had given birth and then three days later the second also had a child. They were the only two in the house. The first claimed that the second’s woman’s child died in the night when she laid on it, and that she got up and traded the children while the first slept. When she awoke to feed her baby, she saw that it was not her baby that was next to her. The first said that she confronted the other woman, who said that the living child was her own. Solomon heard the complaint. He repeated their problem back to them and then in his wisdom, Solomon commanded his servants to bring him a sword, which they did. He told the servants to divide the child, giving a half to each woman. The mother of the baby told Solomon to give the baby to the other woman so that the baby would not be killed, while the other woman said for the baby to be divided. This was evidence of the true mother of the child, and so King Solomon pronounced judgement, that the child was to be given to the first, who had not wanted the baby killed, because she was the child’s mother. This was a bold way to judge this complaint that had been brought before him, and as the people of Israel heard of it, they saw that he truly was a wise judge.

Solomon was starting out as a good king for the people of Israel. Rather than seek after the things of the world, he desired to be wise. I think he felt the weight of his calling and truly wanted to magnify it and be the king that God wanted him to be. He did not want to judge others unfairly, but wanted to be able to tell what of the issues brought before him were good or bad. Because of this strong desire in him, he was blessed with more than he had expected. But, it was not his wealth that caused him to become known. It was the greatness of his wisdom, which was displayed as he judged between the two women. God was with him and helped him discern the good between them. Solomon was inspired to know that a mother would not allow her child to be destroyed.

The blessing of wisdom is not reserved only for great kings, but we all can seek after it just as Solomon did. It would be so good if more people turned to God and asked for the ability to discern and judge righteously, for wisdom before wealth. When we are given callings of the Lord, especially as a parent, we should desire the wisdom we need to fulfill that calling. I know, as a parent especially, I could use divine assistance in knowing how to do all that is expected and required of me. Moreover, every person would be greatly blessed to desire to do their best first, before having the best. Disciples of Christ should seek to be better servants of God, and like Solomon, they will be blessed with more than just help to be better, even with the blessings of the things of this world. This is because God loves us. He is a loving Father in Heaven, who desires to give blessings to all His children, both spiritual and physical blessings.

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