1 Kings 3

1 Kings 3

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Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom

Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem. The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the LORD.

Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.

Solomon’s Wisdom

Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house. And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.” But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king.

Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.’” And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king. And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.” Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.” And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.


1 Kings 3 Commentary

by Hank Workman

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

James 1:5

It is probably one of my favorite stories of Solomon. As his kingship had been established, God appeared and asked what Solomon needed. His response was for a discerning heart, the wisdom to carry out this large task of leading a nation.

I think this answer really states the struggle that lay before Solomon. We have no clue that there was a fear of taking this responsibility – but Solomon took the responsibility seriously. He was given an incredibly significant role in the kingdom – king! There had already been jockeying for placement as the first 2 chapters of the book reveal. Heavy expectations were even put on him from his father to clean up the mess he had not dealt with. Seriously, can you imagine the pressure? But this role was given to him; he knew it would be hard and wanted not God’s blessing but God’s help. And this part is what is worth noting. Solomon asked for wisdom and discernment to carry out his job. He didn’t ask God to do the job for him.

Many times we too face very daunting tasks. Sometimes we are in situations where what we would prefer was God to simply work it out. And He does do that… sometimes. But for the most part, God wants to work through us. We have a role He’s placed us in and wants us to rely on Him so He can accomplish His plan. Instead of asking God to ‘rescue’ us or work things out, we should pray for discernment to act in His will.

1 Kings 3 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Incredibly, we see both the pinnacle of Solomon’s character as well as a foreshadowing of his downfall here in chapter 3.

Solomon desired to serve the Lord. He could have asked God for anything, but he chose to seek what would fulfill his calling and purpose. This is impressive, especially because he was only about 20 years old at the time!

However, Solomon loved foreign women and he married lots of them.

Solomon made an alliance with the king of Egypt by marrying his daughter. He brought her to live in David’s City until he had finished building his palace, the Temple, and the wall around Jerusalem.

1 Kings 3:1 GNB

If you remember, Nehemiah was furious when the men of Israel acted in the same way as Solomon. He ripped out some beard hair over it!

I reprimanded the men, called down curses on them, beat them, and pulled out their hair. Then I made them take an oath in God’s name that never again would they or their children intermarry with foreigners. 26 I told them, “It was foreign women that made King Solomon sin. Here was a man who was greater than any of the kings of other nations. God loved him and made him king over all of Israel, and yet he fell into this sin.

Nehemiah 13:25-26 GNB

All of us have a calling and a purpose, yet, all of us battle a sin struggle. Unfortunately, Solomon’s great wisdom could not overcome his desire for women. Even the wisest human being in the world couldn’t outsmart sin. This is another reminder of the crippling nature of sin and how desperate we must be for Jesus!

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