“Give Your Servant a Discerning Heart”

King Solomon

Solomon was born to David and Bathsheba after their illegitimate child had died (2 Samuel 12:24). When David was old, he appointed Solomon to be king after him. He quickly established his rule over all Israel after David’s death (1 Kings 1 – 2).

Early in his reign, Solomon went to an important high place to offer sacrifices. God appeared to him in a dream and told him to ask for whatever he wanted. Solomon replied, “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (1 Kings 3:9).

This request pleased God so much that He also promised to make Solomon rich and famous. His wealth and wisdom were renowned throughout the ancient world. Indeed, “Solomon’s wisdom was greater than all the men of the East, and…all the wisdom of Egypt…And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations” (1 Kings 4:30-31).

He undertook massive construction projects. He spent seven years building a temple for God, and thirteen years building a palace for himself (1 Kings 6 – 8). He completed many other projects as well, conscripting large labor forces from the Canaanites who remained in the land (1 Kings 9:10-28).

Throughout this time, his wealth grew enormously. He had so much gold that “nothing [in his house] was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value…the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones” (1 Kings 10:21, 27). God had made him “greater in riches and wisdom that all the other kings of the earth” (1 Kings 10:23).

But alas, he “loved many foreign women…and his wives led him astray…his wives turned his heart after other gods” (1 Kings 11:1-4). He built temples to their gods and joined them in their pagan worship. So God raised up adversaries against him and took most of the kingdom away from his son.

You can read Solomon’s full story in 1 Kings 1 – 11.

Solomon & Jesus
The Jewish leaders often asked Jesus for a miraculous sign. On one occasion, He rebuked them with a reference to Solomon: “The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:42).

Paul says, “In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). Solomon was endowed with wisdom by God, but Jesus is the treasury of that wisdom!

The Israelites prospered under Solomon’s reign and lived in peace. They “lived in safety, each man under his own vine and fig tree” (1 Kings 4:25). The prophets often use this language to describe the Messianic age. Solomon’s reign gives us a foretaste of the blessings to come under Jesus’ reign as Messiah.

New Testament Perspective
Solomon is an Old Testament person, but we must see him from a New Testament perspective. He is more than just an ancient king who had tons of wealth and women. He displays the wisdom that was personified in our Lord Jesus. And his reign causes us to yearn for the blessings we will receive in His eternal kingdom.

Solomon also provides a good contrast to Jesus. What are some key differences between them? Leave your thoughts with a comment below!

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