- 1 Kings 2:13-46; 3:1; 9:16; 3:2-3
- 2 Chron. 1:2-6
- 1 Kings 3:5-28
Solomon has taken over for his father David, who recently died. His first few recorded actions as king are to deal with problems that arose prior to his taking the throne. Solomon had his brother Adonijah executed because Adonijah asked to marry the girl who was assigned to keep David company in his last days. Solomon perceived this as an attempt by Adonijah to win over the kingdom even after Solomon had been clearly made king. Also, Solomon heeded David’s advice and had Joab, commander of the army, executed for his murder of Abner and Amasa during David’s reign. (Curiously, this is yet another example where David failed to do the right thing by not executing Joab for his crimes during his own reign.)
Benaiah took over Joab’s role as commander. Solomon had the priest Abiathar sent home and reassigned to other duties as punishment for his allegiance to Adonijah. Zadok replaced Abiathar as Solomon’s priest. Lastly, Saul’s relative Shimei—the one who threw rocks at David as he fled Jerusalem during Absalom’s conspiracy—was executed for breaking a promise to Solomon that he would remain in the city of Jerusalem. After these things, 1 Kings 2:46 says, “The kingdom was now firmly established in Solomon’s hands.“
After these things Solomon married the Egyptian Pharaoh’s daughter. Solomon’s weakness was his attraction to foreign women whom he eventually married. They would ultimately turn his heart away from GOD to idols. Additionally, Solomon offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places, which was contrary to GOD’s will. Besides this, he walked in David’s footsteps—at least early on.
After his marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter, Solomon went to Jerusalem along with the nation’s leaders and heads of families, and there Solomon offered 1,000 sacrifices at the bronze altar at Gibeon. While staying at Gibeon, GOD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night and asked what Solomon wanted GOD to give him. Solomon responded that he wanted the LORD to give him a wise and discerning heart so that he could properly lead GOD’s people, for he was very young and overwhelmed by the responsibility.
GOD promised to make him the wisest man to ever live, and as a reward for asking for wisdom, He would give Solomon long life and riches as well. When Solomon awoke, he returned to Jerusalem and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to GOD before the ark of the covenant.
One day two women, prostitutes, came to Solomon claiming that they had both had a baby and, during the night, the other woman’s child died and their baby was the living child. Solomon, in his GOD-given wisdom, asked for a sword and told them to cut the living child in two and give half a child to each woman. The living child’s mother interceded and gave up her claim as being that baby’s mother, seeking to spare the baby’s life. The other woman agreed with Solomon’s judgment that the child should be cut in two. Solomon knew instantly that the compassionate woman was the child’s real mother, and he gave the child to her. All the nation of Israel was in awe because of Solomon’s wisdom.
Solomon would later write, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; 11 For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. (Prov. 8:10-11)
GOD may not speak to us in dreams, but we can still pray for wisdom. GOD longs to bless us with what is best for us, and it is His will that we be wise and not foolish. Practically speaking, wisdom is acquired by listening, paying attention, learning and experience. GOD has blessed us with His complete revealed word—His own thoughts—for our benefit. If we want to gain wisdom, we are going to have to seek for it. That takes effort. And GOD rewards those who put forth effort. The one who gets wisdom ultimately receives the greatest gift—GOD. Pursue wisdom with all your might. Pursue GOD!