New European Version: Old Testament

Deeper commentary on this chapter

Audio talks on this chapter:

 

Video presentations on this chapter:

 

Other material relevant to this chapter:

Solomon As A Type Of Christ

 Solomon And Wisdom

Hear this chapter read:

 

 

About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan


CHAPTER 3 Aug. 9 
Solomon Asks for Wisdom
Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of Yahweh, and the wall of Jerusalem all around. 2At that time the people sacrificed in the high places, because there was no house built for the name of Yahweh. 3Solomon loved Yahweh, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places. 4The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place. Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5In Gibeon Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, Ask what I shall give you. 6Solomon said, You have shown to Your servant David my father great grace, according as he walked before You in truth, righteousness and in uprightness of heart with You. You have kept for him this great grace, that You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7Now, Yahweh my God, You have made Your servant king instead of David my father. I am but a little child. I don’t know how to go out or come in. 8Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people, that can’t be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9Give Your servant therefore an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to judge this Your great people? 10The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11God said to him, Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself long life, neither have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice; 12therefore I have done according to your word. Behold, I have already given you a wise and an understanding heart; so that there has been none like you before you, neither after you shall any arise like you. 13I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches and honour, so that there shall not be any among the kings like you, all your days. 14If you will walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days. 15Solomon awoke; and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and offered up burnt offerings, offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.
The Two Prostitutes
16Then two women who were prostitutes came to the king, and stood before him. 17The one woman said, Oh my lord, I and this woman live in one house. I gave birth with her in the house. 18It happened the third day after I gave birth, that this woman gave birth also. We were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, just us two in the house. 19This woman’s child died in the night, because she lay on it. 20She arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while your handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, it was dead; but when I had looked at it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, whom I bore. 22The other woman said, No; but the living is my son, and the dead is your son. The other said, No; but the dead is your son, and the living is my son. Thus they spoke before the king. 23Then the king said, The one says, ‘This is my son who lives, and your son is the dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one’. 24The king said, Get me a sword. They brought a sword before the king. 25The king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. 26Then the woman whose the living child was spoke to the king, for her heart yearned over her son, and she said, Oh my lord, give her the living child, and in no way kill it! But the other said, It shall be neither mine nor yours. Divide it. 27Then the king answered, Give her the living child, and in no way kill it. She is its mother. 28All Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do justice.

Commentary


3:3 It seems that Solomon loved God insofar as this was a living out of parental expectations; David is spoken of by both Solomon and the record as Solomon’s “father” hundreds of times. Yet God will work in our lives so that our love of Him is purely of our own account, rather than the living out of parental or others’ expectations.

3:12¬†I have already given you- God may have prepared great things potentially for us, which are only ‘released’ by our prayer for them. Solomon asked God for a wise heart- but he was told that God had already given him this. The process of educating Solomon in wisdom would have started long before; but it was released, as it were, by Solomon’s specific prayer.

3:26 Solomon immediately demonstrated his wisdom by the way he judged between the two prostitutes who came to him. They lived in the same house, and had given birth at the same time. The whole situation spoke of the kind of shameless prostitution which the Mosaic Law demanded should be punished by death. But the way of Divine wisdom in this case was not to automatically apply Divine law in condemning sinners. Instead, by cutting to the conscience within those women, and appealing to it, they were led to at least the possibility of repentance, transformation, salvation. Solomon’s wisdom was given him in order to know how to guide God’s great people. The way of wisdom is therefore sometimes not to press a point when someone’s in the wrong. We see this in all levels of relationships. There are weak points in relationships, fissure lines, which when pressed or brought under tension will cause earthquakes and destruction. It’s best not to press on them; and yet if they are ignored, then the quality of relationship suffers and descends into interacting only over ‘safe’ matters. So what are we to do? By not raising the obvious issue- you’re prostitutes and must be put to death- Solomon showed grace, but he showed it in such a way that those women surely couldn’t have felt the same again; rather like the woman taken in adultery. The very fact she was not condemned by the One who could condemn her- meant that she went away indeed vowing to “sin no more”.