God asks King Solomon in a dream what gift he would prefer. And Solomon has the option of choosing anything he wants: courage, strength, money, or celebrity. He prefers a heart that is kind. He needs wisdom to make smart decisions for his people. God is so pleased with Solomon's decision that He lavishes him with all other pleasant things. (For more on this, see I Kings 3:5-15.)
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Though I appreciated Solomon's decision to have an understanding heart rather than a greedy one that wished for a large sum of money, the whole situation seemed a little unjust to me. I questioned why God wasn't approaching me and asking what I wanted from Him. I had a long list of things I wanted Him to do if He would just do it. For one thing, I'd like to improve my ability to love. For another, be more patient. Then there was grace and humility. Also, throw in a compassionate heart – I could use it, I reasoned.
Everyone wishes they could be better at certain things. For example, one of my friends was really bashful. She didn't want to be this way, but she couldn't figure out how to change. She, too, could have benefited from the kind of assistance God provided Solomon.
But, I reasoned, such kind of assistance was not for ordinary people like my friend and me. In Bible times, it was only for kings. And boy, was I displeased about it.
For the longest time, no matter what I did, I felt inadequate. I felt as if I wasn't good enough. All I saw were people who were kinder, stronger, and more loving when I looked around. So I strived to be a better person every day. I prayed to God to assist me in becoming a better person. But, even when I worked extremely hard on one of the areas I didn't feel I was particularly strong in, I still felt I was falling short.
Until one day, when I reread the narrative, it dawned on me that maybe I was misreading it.
It came to me that Solomon's story isn't so much about how unique Solomon was that God would bestow all of these treasures on him. Rather, it demonstrates what it takes to have a compassionate heart – to be graceful, loving, and smart. And, to to my amazement, I discovered that it has nothing to do with being a king, living in Bible times, or even being “chosen,” a person chosen for unique gifts.
What was the counsel of Ahithophel?
“A man, like Balaam, whose tremendous intellect was not taken in humility as a gift from heaven, and therefore became a stumbling-block to him,” according to the Talmud. “One of those who, while casting longing gazes at things that do not belong to them, loses also the things that they possess,” he said. As a result, Almighty God allowed Ahithophel access to the Divine powers of the Holy Name (YHWH). He was regarded as an oracle like the Urim and Thummim because he was conversant with Divine wisdom and knowledge as communicated through the Holy Spirit. “…and, as wise as he was, his scholarship was equal to it. As a result, David did not hesitate to follow Ahithophel's instructions, despite the fact that Ahithophel was a young man, just thirty-three years old at the time of his death. The only quality he lacked was real religiosity, which proved to be his demise in the end, as it led him to join Absalom in his revolt against David. As a result, he lost even his portion of the future planet. He was led astray by astrological and other signs, which he misinterpreted as predictions of his own kingdom when, in fact, they pointed to his granddaughter Bath-regal sheba's destiny. He cunningly persuaded Absalom to perform an unheard-of crime, possessed by his erroneous belief. Absalom would gain nothing from his rebellion since, even if he succeeded in ruining his father, he would still be held accountable and sentenced to death for his violation of family purity, and the route to the throne would be clear for Ahithophel, Israel's great sage.” However, in the hour of peril, he kept his mystic knowledge from King David, and as a result, he was doomed to die by strangling. “The two great sages of the world, Ahitophel of Israel and Balaam of the heathen nations, died in shame because they did not show thankfulness to God for their wisdom. They are addressed by the prophetic word: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,' (Jeremiah 9:23).”
David is also supposed to have had many tense interactions with Ahithophel throughout his reign. The monarch appears to have overlooked Ahithophel in his nominations of judges and other officials shortly after his accession. As a result, when David sought advice from Ahithophel about the visitation on Uzzah during the attempted transfer of the ark (2 Samuel 6:6; see Uzzah), the latter mockingly recommended that he should consult his own wise men. Only after David's curse, that whomever discovered a cure and kept it hidden would surely die, did Ahithophel provide him some hazy advise, obfuscating the genuine answer, which was that the ark must be carried on men's shoulders rather than on a cart.
Who gave Solomon the wood for the temple?
King David wanted to build a temple for God at first, but God told him through the prophet Nathan, “You are not to build a house for my name, since you are a warrior who has shed blood,” according to the Bible. He did, however, choose Solomon to construct the temple. Before his death, David entrusted his son Solomon the plans for the temple's construction, as well as instructions for the priests and Levites, as well as all of the temple's work. He also offered Solomon his own money to help build the temple, and he requested the people to contribute money as well.
Hiram king of Tyre, who had been acquainted with his father David and had supplied David plenty of wood to build his palace, received a message from King Solomon. Solomon stated in this communication that he wished to build a temple for the Lord and requested that Hiram supply him wood. Hiram stated that he would if Solomon provided food in exchange for the expense of the wood and labor performed by the people. Hiram gave Solomon all the cedar and pine logs he desired, and Solomon gave Hiram wheat for his family as well as twenty thousand baths (about 115,000 gallons or 434 000 liters) of olive oil. The wood was cut down by King Hiram, and they were sent on their way.
How did Solomon get his wisdom?
He sacrificed to God in 1 Kings, and God later appeared to him in a dream, asking Solomon what he wanted from God. Solomon had requested wisdom. Because Solomon did not seek for self-serving rewards like long life or the death of his adversaries, God personally answered Solomon's petition, granting him tremendous wisdom.
Why is God pleased with Solomon's request?
Solomon's knowledge was limitless. Even those who have never read the Bible are aware of this, as tales have enlarged his renown outside the book. In one such narrative, Solomon is nearly fooled by a room full of artificial wildflowers, where just one actual bloom grows. Will Solomon be able to find the genuine flower? He accomplishes this by following a bee.
No riddle could ever stun the great Israelite monarch with such insight. With wisdom like this, we imagine Solomon occupying his days with puzzles: the smart men approach his throne one by one, asking impossible brain teasers, and Solomon dismisses them with the answers.
However, as wise as Solomon was, he is not the guy depicted in scripture, and the popular image makes it easy to overlook what genuinely delighted God and inspired him to make Solomon so wise.
The language in 1 Kings, on the other hand, indicates something significantly more intriguing.
When God makes his incredibly generous gift to Solomon”As what I shall give you” (1 Kings 3:5)Solomon praises God for keeping his promises. David has had one promise fulfilled, as God has given him “a son to sit on his throne this day” (1 Kings 3:6). But Solomon is aware of more than just this short-term promise. Solomon also acknowledges that he rules over Abraham's promised country, and that God's people (“whom you have chosen”) are as many as God promised: “a mighty people, too numerous to be numbered or counted for multitude” (1 Kings 3:8). As a result, Solomon is also keeping track of God's long-term promise, and the fact that God is employing him in this larger plan humbles him (he is “a young kid” who “does not know how to go out or come in” (1 Kings 3:7)).
All of this serves as a warm-up for Solomon's renowned appeal. When he finally asks God for something, he doesn't ask for wisdom in general, but rather for “an understanding mind to lead your people, so that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9, emphasis added). His ambition is to be a wise judge and a wise leader of “your magnificent people” (1 Kings 3:9). “The wellbeing of God's people drives Solomon's plea,” says analyst Dale Ralph Davis.
This is why Solomon's desire to judge God's people well “pleased the Lord” (1 Kings 3:10). And it was because of this that God bestowed material prosperity as well as intelligence upon him.
The anecdote that follows, the famous occurrence between the two prostitutes with the one live kid, emphasizes Solomon's wisdom to judge. Solomon shows “insight to recognize the difference between righteous and unjust men even when he has no corroborating evidence,” according to Paul House, in threatening to separate the child. The Israelites know that this is more than just a puzzle-solving ability; it is “God's wisdom” (1 Kings 3:28). Solomon's decision plainly demonstrates that his request was granted.
At first glance, focusing on Solomon's purpose may appear to be splitting hairs, because Solomon's wisdom was renowned for its incisiveness, regardless of the original discourse. After all, he is the creator of numerous proverbs and is widely believed to be the author of Ecclesiastes, both of which are rich in wisdom.
However, it is important to note that God was not satisfied solely by the quest of wisdom. God was pleased because Solomon was following Jesus' advice in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Solomon desired God's pleasure rather than his own pleasure and power. He was trying to do the best he could as a judge for God's people, which he accomplished with the two prostitutes. Is it any surprise that God's reaction to Solomon resembled that which Jesus promises? God bestowed “these things” upon Solomon, “these things” being riches and honor in Solomon's case.
The account of Solomon's prayer, however, demonstrates the need of God's people. Israel, God's people, required a competent ruler to serve as their judge and instruct them in the ways of righteousness. They had already gone without a righteous king, and “everyone performed what was right in his own eyes” during that period (Judges 21:25). Returning to that path meant returning to a path of devastation.
And it's clear that this urge didn't go away with Solomon. We, too, require a wise ruler, a monarch, to guide us down the paths of justice and to judge between good and evil on our behalf. The ruler, that king from David's line, is Jesus (Matthew 1:6-16; Acts 13:23, 36).
And, as with Solomon, it's critical that we understand this king not just as an incredibly wise ruler, but as someone who put God's people first. Solomon recognized God's true glory and begged for wisdom to guide God's people to that glory. God is honored, Jesus saw, not in making much of his own wisdom or divine nature, but in reserving it for his father's people (Philippians 2:6-8).
Solomon's humility and prioritizing of others delighted God, just as Christ's humility compels the Father to bestow the name that is beyond other names on him (Philippians 2:9-11). Finally, understanding why God was pleased to bestow wisdom on Solomon not only helps us value what God values (humility, sacrifice), but it also helps us see how central such values are to the Gospel of Jesus, the gospel of the one who has finished what God began with Solomon, not only judging between good and evil, but also making us good (1 Peter 2:25).
Who was King David's counselor?
Ahithophel, also spelled Achitophel, was one of King David's most trusted counsellors in the Old Testament. He was a key figure in David's son Absalom's insurrection, and Ahithophel's defection dealt a serious blow to David.
What counselor of Absalom was actually a spy for David?
According to the Hebrew Bible, Hushai (hus'-sha-i) or Chusai was David's buddy and spy. During Absalom's rebellion, as related in the Second Book of Samuel, he offers to serve as an adviser to Absalom in order to thwart his plans while secretly passing information to David. Absalom deferred to his counsel and did not follow the retreating David right away, giving David time to recover and gather his men. Hushai's wisdom contributed to Absalom's quick defeat.
How many wives David had?
During his 7-1/2 years as king of Judah in Hebron, David married Ahinoam, Abigail, Maacha, Haggith, Abital, and Eglah. David married Bathsheba after relocating his capital to Jerusalem. Each of David's first six wives gave birth to a son, while Bathsheba gave birth to four. David had 19 sons by various women and one daughter, Tamar, according to the Bible.
What were Solomon's goals in building the Temple?
The First Temple in Jerusalem was erected by King Solomon as a memorial to God and as a permanent home for the Ark of the Covenant.