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Bible Studies For Life

Solomon                 Session 2                     22 OCT 17

Solomon was born in 848 BC, Solomon died at age 52 in 796 BC, ruling as king for 40 years -- the best years in all of Israel's history, but only 40 years of peace and prosperity. These were not 40 years of following the Law, particularly by Solomon.

            Solomon makes a most serious sin. In violation of the Law's prohibition about foreign wives, he takes 700 wives and 300 concubines, which included numerous foreign women. Interesting, Moses warns that the king should not have too many horses or too many wives (Deut. 17:17).

            God let Moses know about the turning away from Him as their leader to a king in 1 SAM 8:1-22. So Moses set several warning about this before them in (Deu 17:14-17 RSV) ""When you come to the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and dwell in it, and then say, 'I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me'; you may indeed set as king over you him whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not multiply horses for himself, or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never return that way again. And he shall not multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply for himself silver and gold." This does not give permission for multiple wives but is an accommodation to the society of the day that men did often take several wives.

            So certain was Moses that this would happen, he set a commandment for the kings to follow. THEY WERE TO PERSONALLY MAKE A COPY OF THE LAW BY THEIR OWN HAND! (Deu 17:18-20 RSV) ""And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, from that which is in the charge of the Levitical priests; and it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them; that his heart may not be lifted up above his brethren, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left; so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel." You probably never heard of this in the Law. Note carefully “that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left.” Solomon did not Keep and Do! Note what Jesus said in (Mat 11:19b RSV) "Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds."

Little aids learning better than to write out what you are studying. We do not know if any of the kings did this. It certainly would seem this was not done by Saul, David, and Solomon.

 

1 KINGS 3:1 Solomon made an alliance with Egypt and sealed it with his marriage to Pharaoh's daughter. This indicates that Solomon held high standing in the world of his day, because it was not common for Egyptian pharaohs to allow their daughters to marry foreigners. It also indicated spiritual compromise by Solomon that later affected not only his wives but his country and himself (1 KINGS 11:2). How wise was that?

God works within the now. While he knows the future, because of freewill he does not force the future that He wants. God does not control the future as to human events, except in the macro sense. God knew of Solomon’s sin tendency toward women and what it would lead to in the future, if Solomon didn’t change. But change, under freewill, is always a possibility and personal. Solomon’s request for wisdom to govern and judge as a good king opened the potential for a changed direction. But wisdom does not guarantee righteousness.

1 KINGS 3:2 The temple, for which David had developed the plans and obtained the main materials, was not yet built. So the people gathered on high places so they could be closer to God (that was their perception and previous practice).

1 KINGS 3:3 This showed that Solomon loved Yahweh. And he started his career “walking in the statutes of David his father.” But like his father, he would soon not keep many of them. He did not worship in the same places as David.

1 KINGS 3:4 The tabernacle now stood in Gibeon. It had been moved from Nob, probably after Saul's slaughter of the priests of Nob (1 Sam. 22:18, 19; 2 Chr. 1:3). So it was probably on this “great high place.” Solomon made offerings proportional to his wealth.

1 KINGS 3:5 This form of communications was a standard method for God to speak to the few select people He did so directly. Yahweh (probably God the Father) respected the offerings of Solomon so He said He would grant any request. What would you have asked? We must put Solomon’s reply in the context that he already had a lot of money and physical comforts.

1 KINGS 3:6-7 Solomon tied his request to the history of God’s active relationship with his father. We could speculate in many directions as to why he did so. The fact is we do not know why.

1 KINGS 3:7-8 Solomon acknowledged that he was a novice at being king. From this and David’s history, I think it is fair to say David did not train Solomon is any manner of government

1 KINGS 3:9 Solomon desired more than all else to judge the people righteously. So he asked for an “understanding mind.” This is not exactly “wisdom.” Understanding in the Hebrew is 8085. shama', shaw-mah'; a prim. root; to hear intelligently (often with impl. of attention, obedience, etc.; caus. to tell, etc.):-- X attentively, call (gather) together, X carefully, X certainly, consent, consider, be content, declare, X diligently, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear (-ken, tell), X indeed, listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim (-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, X surely, tell, understand, whosoever [heareth], witness. While wisdom in the Hebrew means 2451. chokmah, khok-maw'; from H2449; wisdom (in a good sense):--skillful, wisdom, wisely, wit. So what Solomon asked for does not innately include the skill to do it successfully.

1 KINGS 3:10 This pleased God.

1 KINGS 3:11-12 So he gave Solomon “a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.” He gave more than Solomon had asked. Wisdom is basically the ability to use knowledge correctly. This means Solomon still had to learn the necessary knowledge so wisdom could be derived from it. And just because one has ability, does not mean the person will use the ability properly. So God included wisdom to the understanding requested by Solomon. This fact makes the later sinning by Solomon so difficult to comprehend.

1 KINGS 3:13-14 Yet “long life or riches” is important to humans. Who really wants to live a short life? And a poor life? Note the condition God placed on this. (1 Ki 3:14 RSV) “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."" Note the Law’s if-then. Note the requirements of the Law to “keep and do.” So we have wealth for national prestige and personal health based upon spiritual righteousness. But is this a general or special case with Solomon? Does it apply to any Christian who asks for it? Will long life come with it? (James 1:5 RSV)  "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him." (James 3:13 RSV)  "Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom." This is vital since Jesus said (Mat 7:21 RSV)  ""Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." But remember, wisdom comes from knowledge. Therefore, correct and consistent Bible study is still a necessary and vital requirement in having wisdom. Reference (2 Pet 1:5-7 RSV) "For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, {6} and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, {7} and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love."

1 KINGS 3:15 Solomon spent is life seeking what the ability of wisdom should have told him. The book of the Ecclesiastes is the story of this waste of a life. It doesn’t begin to cover the negative impact it had upon Israel. Did God’s giving of wisdom come from spending a life of sinning to come to the conclusion (Eccl 1:2 RSV) "Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity."? As a result of the entry of sin with its tragic consequences to mankind and the world, life itself apart from God is absolutely empty, useless, and vain (see Rom. 8:20 as the only New Testament allusion to Ecclesiastes). Solomon did not have to learn this the way he did. He was wise in telling others what to do, but he did not take the wisdom available to him to himself.

1 KINGS 4:29-30 When God gives, it is generously. Solomon became the fountain of wisdom, beyond any wise person on the region. But Solomon shows to know something and to practice it as often two different issues. We are to keep and Do God’s wisdom!

1 KINGS 4:31 Who these wise men were is unknown.

1 KINGS 4:32-33 Many of Solomon's proverbs are recorded in the book of Proverbs. Some of his songs may be reflected in the Song of Solomon. The Song of Solomon is about a foreign woman! Today’s Jews believe all Solomon’s wives converted to Judaism before they married Solomon. But this is not the case.  (See Session 11)

1 KINGS 4:34 His wisdom ability spread throughout the known world and many used him as an advisor. Note (Luke 11:31 RSV) "The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here." Jesus is the wisest!

 

            It is clear that bad people can often say (and do) good things. Never let that make you think because of what they say or do, they are also good! Once again: (Mat 7:21-23 RSV) ""Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. {22} On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' {23} And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'"

           

WISDOM for Christians

            All this rests upon “What is wisdom?” Wisdom is the ability to use true knowledge correctly. That is why Peter set the sequence of Growth toward Agape Love so specifically. (2 Pet 1:5-7 RSV) "For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love."

            Spiritual wisdom is knowing Jesus: (1 Cor 1:30 RSV) "He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption;" (1 Cor 2:7 RSV) "But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification." Without this spiritual wisdom, we cannot glorify the Father with our lives. (Eph 1:9 RSV) "For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ"

            As with Solomon, we are to ask the Father for wisdom. (James 1:5 RSV) "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him." But as noted above, if you do not have a correct and solid doctrinal knowledge, the Father will be unable to give you wisdom!

            And this wisdom is ACTIVE! (James 3:17 RSV) "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity." It is a Keep and Do wisdom.

 

Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher. ganotemd@outlook.com Home Page: http://dma1.org/~ganotemd/lesson.htm