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One Kings Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

1 Kings 3:1 And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.

made affinity with Pharaoh. Most, if not all, of Solomon's wives were acquired, like Pharaoh's daughter, for political reasons. This proved a terrible mistake, for it was contrary to the command of God (Deuteronomy 17:17).

1 Kings 3:2 Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days.

high places. Worship in high places was forbidden in the Mosaic law (Leviticus 26:30) because of its universal association with the idolatrous polytheistic pantheism of other nations. Such practice probably originated at the Tower of Babel, then was carried worldwide by the subsequent dispersion. At the same time the people had been commanded to bring their sacrifices to the tabernacle, and the tabernacle at this time had been erected on the high place at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39; 21:29), after temporary sojourns at Gilgal, Shiloh and Nob. It is possible that this situation contributed to David's strong desire to build a permanent temple for the worship of God at Jerusalem.

1 Kings 3:3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.

1 Kings 3:4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.

1 Kings 3:5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.

1 Kings 3:6 And Solomon said, Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

1 Kings 3:7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

a little child. Actually Solomon was less than twenty years old when he became king. With the many external enemies of Israel and the complex internal intrigues surrounding him in Jerusalem, he surely needed divine wisdom, and God was pleased when this was his request. That such a young man could exhibit such wisdom was a great testimony to the reality of God and His choice of Solomon as king (1 Kings 4:29-34). Despite Solomon's later failures, God greatly used him, even to serve as human author of part of His Word.

1 Kings 3:8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

1 Kings 3:9 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?

1 Kings 3:10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

1 Kings 3:11 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;

1 Kings 3:12 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 3:13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.

1 Kings 3:14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

1 Kings 3:15 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.

before the ark. The tabernacle at this time was apparently at Gibeon, on a hill six miles from Jerusalem, which would be the reason why Solomon offered sacrifices there (1 Kings 3:4). The ark, however, was still housed in a temporary enclosure in Jerusalem. After his special visitation from God, Solomon evidently decided it was more appropriate to present his offerings at the place where the temple would soon be built.

1 Kings 3:16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.

that were harlots. It is a remarkable testimony to Solomon's concern at this stage of his life that he was willing even to adjudicate a dispute between harlots.

1 Kings 3:17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.

1 Kings 3:18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.

1 Kings 3:19 And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.

1 Kings 3:20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.

1 Kings 3:21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.

1 Kings 3:22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.

the other woman. This woman did not really want the child herself (as shown by her readiness to have the child slain) but simply wanted, for some reason, to hurt her rival. She had carelessly (or perhaps even intentionally) killed her own baby, and she would prefer to have the other child also die than to have the inconvenience of having it in the house with a caring mother.

1 Kings 3:23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.

1 Kings 3:24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.

1 Kings 3:25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.

1 Kings 3:26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.

1 Kings 3:27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

1 Kings 3:28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

the wisdom of God. This important phrase, “the wisdom of God,” occurs seven times in the Bible. Here and in Ezra 7:25, it is used to indicate that the wisdom of God may be manifested by chosen men, but only in agreement with His revealed word in the Scriptures. Christ used it in Luke 11:49 with the same emphasis. Paul used it three times (1 Corinthians 1:21, 24; 2:7) to contrast human wisdom with God's wisdom in Christ and the Scriptures. He used it once more (Ephesians 3:10) to reveal that we ourselves can manifest by our lives and words God's revealed wisdom, even to angels.