1 Kings 3 – “Solomon’s Wisdom”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Solomon marries Pharaoh’s daughter. After offering 1,ooo burnt offerings in Gibeon, God promises Solomon wisdom, glory, wealth, and long life. Solomon demonstrates his newfound wisdom by deciding a court case between two disputing mothers.

II. Photo
Solomon is admired for his judiciousness: “When all Israel heard the decision that the king had rendered, they stood in awe of the king; for they saw that he possessed divine wisdom to execute justice.” (v. 28)

III. Important Verses
1: Solomon allied himself by marriage with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He married Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her to the City of David [to live there] until he had finished building his palace, and the House of the LORD, and the walls around Jerusalem.
2-3: The people, however, continued to offer sacrifices at the open shrines, because up to that time no house had been built for the name of the LORD. And Solomon, though he loved the LORD and followed the practices of his father David, also sacrificed and offered at the shrines.
4: The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the largest shrine; on that altar Solomon presented a thousand burnt offerings.
10-14: The LORD was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. And God said to him, “Because you asked for this — you did not ask for long life, you did not ask for riches, you did not ask for the life of your enemies, but you asked for discernment in dispensing justice — I now do as you have spoken. I grant you a wise and discerning mind; there has never been anyone like you before, nor will anyone like you arise again. And I also grant you what you did not ask for — both riches and glory all your life — the like of which no king has ever had. And I will further grant you long life, if you will walk in My ways and observe My laws and commandments, as did your father David.”
23-27: The king said, “One says, ‘This is my son, the live one, and the dead one is yours’; and the other says, ‘No, the dead boy is yours, mine is the live one.’ So the king gave the order, “Fetch me a sword.” A sword was brought before the king, and the king said, “Cut the live child in two, and give half to one and half to the other.” But the woman whose son was the live one pleaded with the king, for she was overcome with compassion for her son. “Please, my lord,” she cried, “give her the live child; only don’t kill it!” The other insisted, “It shall be neither yours nor mine; cut it in two!” Then the king spoke up. “Give the live child to her,” he said, “and do not put it to death; she is its mother.”
28: When all Israel heard the decision that the king had rendered, they stood in awe of the king; for they saw that he possessed divine wisdom to execute justice.

IV. Outline
1. Solomon marries Pharaoh’s daughter
2-3. Sacrifice at high places
4. Solomon’s 1,000 offerings at Gibeon
5. God asks Solomon what he can grant him
6-9. Solomon request wisdom to judge the people
10-15. God promises him that and much more
16-22. Two woman go to law over a son
23-25. Solomon orders the child to be split in two
26-27. The case is settled
28. The people awe Solomon’s wisdom

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
De Vries, Simon John. “1 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 12 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
Longe, Burke O. “1 Kings with an Introduction to Historical Literature” Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 9 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1984).
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