The Wisdom of Solomon: A Cautionary Tale

I recently downloaded the Bible from Faith Comes by Hearing. I like listening right before I go to bed, so I am putting good things in my brain and soul. Then my subconscious can mull over it while I am sleeping. I was listening to 1 Kings 3. The Lord appears to Solomon in a dream and told him to ask for anything he wanted, and it would be given to him. Verses 6 – 9 from The Living Bible:

“You were wonderfully kind to my father David because he was honest and true and faithful to you, and obeyed your commands. And now you have continued your kindness to him by giving him a son to succeed him. O Lord my God, now you have made me the king instead of my father David, but I am as a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am among your own chosen people, a nation so great that they are almost too many people to count! Give me an understanding mind, so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. For who by himself is able to carry such a heavy responsibility?”

 

In verse 10, “The Lord was pleased with his reply and was glad that

Solomon had asked for wisdom.”  The in verse 14 the Lord said, “And I will give you a long life if you follow and obey my laws as your father David did.”

I believe that Solomon had to be aware that there are consequences to your actions. His mom was Bathsheba. I’m pretty sure that he would have heard the tale on how his mom met his dad and what ensued.

David saw her taking a bath in her house one afternoon, and thought her very beautiful. He learned that she was already married, but sent for her anyway and made love to her. (See the whole story in 2 Samuel 11) Shortly thereafter, she found out she was pregnant, and sent David a message.

I can picture David going into panic mode. “Oh no, how am I going to fix this?”  So he sent for Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, trying to get him to come home from the war and sleep with his wife. This way folks would not find out who the real father was. But Uriah wouldn’t do it. He wouldn’t take comfort from his wife while his friends were still enduring hardship.

So what happens sometimes we’ve really blown it, don’t confess it and make it right? We might do our best to cover it up, which in hindsight, only makes matters worse! (Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.)

So David had Uriah sent out to the thick of the battle, where he gets killed.

Bathsheba heard about it and mourned for him. When her time of mourning was over, David brought her to his palace, and made her his wife. She then gave birth to a son, who would have been Solomon’s older brother.

So that means at least eight months passed since Bathsheba found out she was pregnant, and David thought he got away with murder.

But God is a just God, and was not pleased with what David did. The prophet Nathan was sent from the Lord to confront him about it. David acknowledged his sin. And the baby got sick and died. David comforted Bathsheba about the loss of the child, and she became pregnant with Solomon.

Solomon must have been told, or heard stories of why his older brother died, that you can’t turn your back on God and sin against him without facing the consequences.

God gave him wisdom, “more wisdom and understanding than anyone has ever had before or will ever have again.” (1 Kings 3:12 [The Good News Bible])

But guess what? He still had freedom of choice! Just as we do! He was fallen from God in sin just like us! Although Solomon was so wise and loved the Lord, he still chose not to obey him regarding who he married.

When I got to this part of the story, I got the felt like I was in a movie theater, the kind where a horror movie is playing and the psycho killer is knocking on the door of the cabin in the middle of the night and the teenager is going to open the door, and everyone in the theater shouts out, “No, don’t do it!”

That is what I wanted to shout to Solomon. No! Don’t do it! Maybe he thought he was smart enough to navigate not worshipping the gods of his wives. That he was smart enough to stay true to the Lord.

Some Bible scholars believe that Solomon wrote a good deal of the book Proverbs. In chapter 21:30, he writes, “All your brilliant wisdom and clever insight will be of no help at all if the Lord is against you.” [The Passion Translation] If only he heeded his own words.

1 Kings 11 says that Solomon loved many foreign women. He married them even though the Lord had commanded the Israelites not to intermarry because it would cause them to give their loyalty to other gods, and turn from him, the Lord.

1 Kings 11:2 “Yet Solomon did it anyway.”

1 Kings 11:6 “He did what was wrong and refused to follow the Lord.”

He married 700 women and had 300 concubines. 1000 women living under the same roof! Eeegads! Say it isn’t so?! When I was in college, living in the dorms, after a few months, my girl roommates and I synced up. Our “time of the month,” that is. So how did Solomon handle 1000 women having PMS at the exact same time?!  This was well before Oprah cleared the air about this topic on her show in the 1980’s. Well before they even knew what PMS was and had pharmaceutical companies creating the marriage saving pills to ease all symptoms that go along with it. Trust me, I speak from experience.

I also wonder how it is possible to have a deep meaningful relationship with 700 wives. God created one wife for Adam. I’m pretty sure the Creator of the universe intended a single, monogamous relationship to fulfill us. It is satisfying to work together toward a goal and work through your differences. To come through it stronger, together.

I’ll also bet none of the 700 wives was like a Proverbs 31 woman. Probably more like wife described on this bumper sticker I saw. “My wife gives me sound advice. 99% sound, 1% advice.”

Solomon chose not to follow the Lord. In verse 9, “Jehovah was very angry with Solomon about this, for Solomon was no longer interested in the Lord God…”  God promised and gave Solomon wisdom and unbelievable riches, and Solomon did not keep up his end, nor would he repent and turn back to God. So God told him he would tear his kingdom away from him, but not while he was still alive.

This whole story gives me pause. I’m not even in the same zip code with Solomon’s wisdom. So I could mess up just as easily. But that is why we have these stories that God provided to us in the Bible. They show us how to do some things and how to not do others. We have a huge advantage that Solomon did not have. We have Jesus living inside us! He gave himself once and for all (and I do mean for all!) as a sacrifice to forgive our sins, give us a hope in eternal life, and intercede for us before the Father!

In closing, I like to picture Jesus is always at my side, (because he actually is) and would I want him to witness what I am about to do? Proverbs 15:3a [The Passion Translation] states, “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere and he takes note of everything that happens.” In other words, you can’t pull anything over on God, no matter how wise you are.

 

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5 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Solomon: A Cautionary Tale

  1. Thanks for inviting me! I’m looking forward to reading more! My oldest daughter is aspiring to be a Christian song writer, and tonight she wrote a song about how if we could see into the future, and took all the right turns in life, the past would become irrelevant. David’s “mistakes” became a very important part of his future, and ours! The Lord can use all of our mistakes for His glory!

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  2. You are a great writer. Thank you for liking my most recent post. I often think of David and his indiscretions, but I forget about Solomon. That God says in 1 Kings 11:4 that Solomon was not wholly true to God in his heart “as was the heart of David his father” (ESV) is remarkable, considering how bad David messed up. And not just once. I think of David often in regard to the heart, even when actions don’t line up. A heart after God is the most important thing.

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    1. Thanks for your words of encouragement! I am just excited to be using the way God made me to share what He lays on my mind and heart. Thinking of your comments, I am glad that God gives us the Holy Spirit to have a heart after God, and that we are forgiven when we do mess up.

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