"Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to
judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to
judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon
had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing,
and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself,
nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself
understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words:
lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none
like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee."
- 1 Kings 3:9-12
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
David ordained that his son Solomon become the next king. He then gave Solomon
the plans for the Temple and said:
1 Chr 28:9-11 "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your
father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD
searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek
Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off
forever. "Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the
sanctuary; be strong, and do it."
Soon after this, the Lord appeared to Solomon and offered him anything he wished
I Kings 3:5-14 At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by
night; and God said, "Ask! What shall I give you?" And Solomon said: "You have
shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You
in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with You; You have
continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on
his throne, as it is this day. "Now, O LORD my God, You have made Your servant
king instead of my father David, but I am 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 numerous to be numbered or counted. "Therefore
give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may
discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of
The speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing. Then God said
to him: "Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for
yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your
enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, "behold,
I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and
understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor
shall any like you arise after you. "And I have also given you what you have not
asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among
the kings all your days. "So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My
commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."
Solomon became Israel's most magnificent king. He built the marvelous Temple and
God's favor was with him. When he had finished the Temple he made sacrifices and
said a public prayer:
I Kings 8:27-30 "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold,
heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple
which I have built! "Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication,
O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is
praying before You today: "that Your eyes may be open toward this temple night
and day, toward the place of which You said, 'My name shall be there,' that You
may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. "And may You
hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray
toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear,
forgive. . ."
Then God revealed His glory:
2 Chr 7:1-3 "When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from
heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the
LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD,
because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD'S house. When all the children
of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD on the temple,
they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised
the LORD, saying: "For He is good, for His mercy endures forever."
During his reign he made Israel a world power and great wealth flowed into the
kingdom. He had such great wisdom from God that people came from distant lands
to here him. He taught many proverbs and wrote Ecclesiastes and Songs. Yet
Solomon did more than any other king to break down the kingdom and to destroy
its true foundations. His biggest mistake was in disobeying God by taking many
wives, and marrying the daughters of foreign kings. He had 700 wives and 300
concubines. He allowed them to build altars to "Astarte"
Babylonia and Astoreth in Phoenicia) the fertility goddess and other pagan gods.
The instructions in the Law for a king were as follows:
Deut 17:14-20 "When you come to the land which the LORD your God is
giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, 'I will set a king over me
like all the nations that are around me,' "you shall surely set a king over you
whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as
king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.
"But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to
Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, 'You shall not return
that way again.' "Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart
turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.
"Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall
write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests,
the Levites. "And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his
life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all
the words of this law and these statutes, "that his heart may not be lifted
above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right
hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his
children in the midst of Israel."
Though Solomon was gifted with incredible wisdom, his heart led him astray.
Toward the end of his life troubles began to appear through powerful factions,
and enemies raised up both within and without the nation. Though Solomon made
Jerusalem one of the wonders of the world, the kingdom was ready for a collapse.
When Solomon died (about 922 BC) the kingdom split in two.