Read chapter in full: www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=1Kings+003
CHAPTER 3 (ESV)
5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 6 And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. 7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”
10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
- Solomon presents himself to God in all humility and asks for an “understanding mind” (v9). In God’s answer, as in David’s last words (2:6, 9), wisdom is the focus.
- For David, wisdom was often political savvy. For God, wisdom is having “understanding to discern what is right” (v11). It is reverence for God and knowledge for the law that lead the wise to “walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments,” as God counsels Solomon (v14).
- The text places the Solomon of Chapter 2, the shrewd political realist, next to the Solomon of Chapter 3, the humble seeker of wisdom, and the unapologetic insertion of Solomon marrying the Egyptian princess in the beginning of Ch 3. The author didn’t make any attempt to harmonize these views. This placement suggests that the complexities within Solomon are within all of us as we struggle with the obligations and seductions of power.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Prov 9:10)
Lord, help me to fear You and obey Your word so that I may not stray from Your way.