Solomon Requests Wisdom

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The scene shifts in this chapter from Solomon taking care of his enemies to taking care of the kingdom. In verse one we find him forming a marriage alliance with Pharaoh, King of Egypt, for his daughter which was clearly a diplomatic alliance. Solomon was not as careful about marrying non-Israelites as he should have been (Ex. 34:16).


Solomon began his reign in the steps of his father David, in love and obedience to the Lord. We see his dedication to the Lord as he goes to the place of worship. From the time the Israelites arrived in Canaan, the central place of worship had shifted from one location to another. God had not yet chosen a permanent and exclusive place for His worship. So Solomon went to Gibeon to make sacrifice. Just the fact that the King selected Gibeon made this the principal place of worship.


The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream. Such revelations were not uncommon in ancient Israel (Gen. 28:10-15). God told Solomon that he could ask for whatever he wanted. In response to this offer the King did not seek personal gain, but something far more practical, wisdom. His request pleased the Lord, who granted him both the wisdom which he sought and the other benefits for which he had not asked (vv. 12-13). God also promised him length of days if he would obey Him. This promise was never fully realized (11:42) because of his apostasy later in life.


Notice that Solomon asked for wisdom to carry out his job. He did not ask God to do his job for him. I should not ask God to do for me what He wants to do through me.

I Kings 3:1-15 (English Standard Version)

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.

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