Lesson 37 – Solomon the King
• What do you think was the main point of the story of Solomon’s Dream in 1 Kings 3:3-15?
• What principle of human nature did Solomon use in deciding who the real mother was?
What risk did Solomon take in that story?
· If Solomon had amassed the kind of wealth described in chapter 10 what do you think the standard of living was among his subjects?
(Skim the Bible background material to answer the following questions)
· What were some of Solomon’s outstanding qualities?
· What other projects benefited the Israelites during Solomon’s reign?
“Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the HOLY ONE your God, walking in God’s ways and keeping God’s statutes.”
2But David also had great faults. Like many great leaders who had the respect and affection of the community, David could exempt himself from the normal moral requirements of the society. His affair with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his most loyal warriors, was disgraceful, and it ended with David's plotting and ordering the murder of Bathsheba's husband. He could not deal effectively with his children, with the result that one son raped David's daughter Tamar and was later killed by another son. Absalom, his favorite son, led a rebellion against David and died in the battle that followed, causing David agonizing grief. David's later years are more a story of the collapse of his leadership than an account of how this talented man prospered under God's favor.
3When David was on his deathbed, his inability to manage his affairs was frightfully costly. Who was to be king after him? His eldest surviving son, Adonijah, considered himself to be the rightful heir, and he had some of David's strongest leaders speaking up for him to succeed David. But Bathsheba was determined that her son Solomon should take the throne after David. A palace revolution was prevented by quick action by her and Nathan to have Solomon crowned king.
4Solomon's career as king of
5Several incidents in Solomon's life help us to gauge his
importance. One of these comes early in his career. Solomon boldly goes to an
important holy place to seek God's will, a holy place north of the city of
The reply God gives to Solomon in the dream shows how pleasing that request of Solomon was. Solomon did not ask for wealth or fame for himself; he thought of others, of his public responsibilities, and he asked God to help him fulfill those responsibilities faithfully and well. Solomon's wisdom is understood not just to be his personal talent or achievement. It is a gift of God.
'We hear of no acts of warfare
during Solomon's long reign. One reason is that David had already established
peace with his neighbors. But Solomon did much to strengthen these relations
with the neighbors. One way that he did so was by the taking of the daughters
of foreign kings to be his wives; these marriages were political acts more than
love matches, of course. Solomon's skill in international commerce brought
great wealth and influence to the
8One of the fascinating stories of
Solomon's wealth and wisdom involves the Queen of Sheba, probably one of the kingdoms
at the southwest end of the
9Solomon brought material greatness to
1 Kings 3
a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of
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 his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places.
The king went
And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, 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 today.
And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.
And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted.
Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?"
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.
God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right,
I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.
I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you.
If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life."
awoke; it had been a dream. He came to
Later, two women who were prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.
The one woman said, "Please, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house.
Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were together; there was no one else with us in the house, only the two of us were in the house.
Then this woman's son died in the night, because she lay on him.
She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your servant slept. She laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast.
When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead; but when I looked at him closely in the morning, clearly it was not the son I had borne."
But the other woman said, "No, the living son is mine, and the dead son is yours." The first said, "No, the dead son is yours, and the living son is mine." So they argued before the king.
Then the king said, "The one says, 'This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead'; while the other says, 'Not so! Your son is dead, and my son is the living one.'"
So the king said, "Bring me a sword," and they brought a sword before the king.
The king said, "Divide the living boy in two; then give half to the one, and half to the other."
But the woman whose son was alive said to the king--because compassion for her son burned within her--"Please, my lord, give her the living boy; certainly do not kill him!" The other said, "It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it."
Then the king responded: "Give the first woman the living boy; do not kill him. She is his mother."
1 Kings 10:1-10
Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her.
When the queen of Sheba had observed all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his valets, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her.
So she said to the king, "The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom,
but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. Not even half had been told me; your wisdom and prosperity far surpass the report that I had heard.
Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom!
the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of
Then she gave
the king one hundred twenty talents of gold, a great quantity of spices, and
precious stones; never again did spices come in such quantity as that which the