King Solomon the Wisest Man Who Ever Lived?

King Solomon, is said to be the wises man to ever live but first he had to be installed as king over his brothers. King David is now old, and having many wives and concubines, he has several sons. Adonijah is the next oldest of David’s sons after Absalom. Since Absalom is dead, Adonijah feels he is next in line to become king. Now David has already decided that Solomon will succeed him, but evidently he hasn’t told everyone else in the “extended family” about that decision.

Adonijah has the support of Joab the commander of the army and the priest Abiathar. Throws himself a big party to declare himself king. Keep in mind, David is still alive and still king. The prophet Nathan comes to Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, yes that Bathsheba, and alerts her to Adonijah’s plan. She, of course, goes to David and tells him of Adonijah’s scheme.


Solomon Installed as king


David reaffirms to Bathsheba, that yes Solomon is to succeed him. They then have the prophet Nathan and the priest Zadok anoint Solomon king and have him take the throne immediately instead of waiting for David’s death.

1 Kings 1:29-30

29 Then the king vowed and said, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life from all distress, 30 certainly as I vowed to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Your son Solomon certainly shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place’; I will indeed do so this day.”

Adonijah, and his party, hear the commotion in the city announcing Solomon as king, and he runs for his life. He’s afraid Solomon will have him killed for trying to make himself king. A common occurrence in these ancient kingdoms.


1 Kings 1:51-52

51 Now it was reported to Solomon, saying, “Behold, Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon, for behold, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘May King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’” 52 And Solomon said, “If he is a worthy man, not one of his hairs will fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he will die.”

As David senses his time is near, and with his son Solomon established as king of Israel, he gives Solomon the following advice. Follow the LORD and you will prosper.

1 Kings 2:2-4

2 “I am going the way of all the earth. So be strong, and prove yourself a man. 3 Do your duty to the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, so that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, 4 so that the Lord may fulfill His promise which He spoke regarding me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful about their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and all their soul, you shall not be deprived of a man to occupy the throne of Israel.’

Seems like we’ve heard this before, and we have. It is a very common refrain throughout the Bible. Obedience brings blessing, disobedience brings discipline and curses. GOD makes it very clear, and he repeats it often, so we have no excuse.


King David passes the kingdom to his son Solomon

David “slept with his ancestors” and Solomon does some house cleaning. Adonijah and Joab, who supported Adonijah are put to death and the priest Abiathar is removed from his position and sent away. Shimei, the servant of Saul who cursed David as he evacuated Jerusalem ahead of Absalom’s rebellion, is placed under house arrest. Told not to leave Jerusalem, and he will live, but if he leaves, then…….. The blood will be on his own hands.


Solomon’s Request and Reward


Now that Solomon is king and fully in control of Israel, the LORD appears to him in a dream. GOD asks him what he wants to be given him. Solomon asks for wisdom and discernment, recognizing that he has an enormous responsibility to lead the chosen people of GOD. This pleased the LORD that he didn’t ask for long life or wealth, but for the wisdom to lead the nation.

1 Kings 3:10-13

10 Now it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself a long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the lives of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. 13 I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days.


King Solomon’s request for wisdom

King Solomon becomes the wisest man to ever live and the people of Israel were at peace and lived in safety during Solomon’s lifetime. Kings came from all the nations to hear the wisdom of Solomon and he was sovereign over all the territory from Egypt to the Euphrates river. Now he turns his attention to the building of the house of the LORD.

1 Kings 6:11-13

11 Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying, 12 “As for this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will fulfill My word with you which I spoke to David your father. 13 And I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not abandon My people Israel.”


Solomon Builds the LORD’s Temple


It’s been now, four hundred and eighty years since Israel came out of Egypt, and now king Solomon begins the building of the temple. The house that David wanted to build but the LORD told him no. David did, however, provide for the building of the LORD’s house. He had accumulated materials and wealth for use in the construction, now Solomon will complete the task.


The House Solomon constructs is incredibly ornate. The entire house is overlaid with gold. The finest craftsmen are enlisted for the construction and the finest materials are imported from all the nations. From the altar, to the curtains, to the utensils, wash basins and furnishings, everything was made to be the finest available anywhere.

1 Kings 6:37-38

37 In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv. 38 And in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, that is, the eighth month, the house was finished in all its parts and in accordance with all its plans. So he was seven years in building it.

King Solomon calls all of Israel together to dedicate the house of the LORD. The priests brought the ark of the covenant and placed it in the holy place. When the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD. The glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.

In his prayer of dedication, Solomon acknowledges that, “Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built.” And, he repeats a familiar phrase, ” so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other.”


king Solomon's Temple - Solomon the wisest man who ever lived?
Solomon completes the House of the LORD

From the exodus from Egypt, God has been demonstrating to everyone that he is GOD, and there is no other. He is long-suffering, but not without limits as we will see. After the dedication, LORD appears to king Solomon again. He tells him that he has heard his prayer and has consecrated this house that you have built. That his heart and his eyes will be for all time.

But, the LORD also warns king Solomon:

1 Kings 9:6-7

6 “But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have placed before you, but you go and serve other gods and worship them, 7 then I will cut Israel off from the land which I have given them, and the house which I have consecrated for My name, I will expel from My sight. So Israel will become a saying and an object of derision among all peoples.

Again, blessings if you obey, curses if you disobey. It is not the first time we’ve read this. God is thorough and repeats this warning. Yet, we forget or ignore, or simply rebel to follow “our own way”. The results are discipline, punishment and eventually for Israel, exile from the promised land. Solomon, despite all the wisdom given him by the LORD, still has his weaknesses, as we all do.


Solomon’s Wisdom and Weakness


King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. Yes his wisdom was legendary. Kings came from the nations just to hear his wisdom. He wrote the book of Proverbs, the book of Ecclesiastes, and composed over 1000 songs. Solomon amassed enormous wealth, what could possibly go wrong? What more could a man want?

Simple answer: Women, yes sex, like his daddy before him, David. Solomon had a weakness for women, foreign women at that, which the LORD had told the Isrealites not to get involved with or they will surely cause you to follow their gods. Well, Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, and they turned his heart away from the LORD.


King Solomon and his many wives
King Solomon and his many wives

King Solomon begins to worship other gods, the gods of his wives. He does what is evil in the sight of the LORD.

1 Kings 11:11-13

11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Since you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will certainly tear the kingdom away from you, and will give it to your servant. 12 However, I will not do it in your days, only for the sake of your father David; but I will tear it away from the hand of your son. 13 Yet I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

The LORD had warned Solomon, as he had all of Israel, and us for that matter, do not worship other gods. So, GOD raised up adversaries for Solomon. No longer did he have peace on all sides, now he was faced with hostile kingdoms and Jeroboam son of Nebat, and Ephramite, a servant of king Solomon, rebelled against the king.

The prophet Ahijah goes to Jeroboam and delivers the LORD’s message that GOD is tearing the kingdom from Solomon and giving ten tribes to Jeroboam. He will be king of over Israel with the promise that, “IF you walk in my ways and do what is right in my sight, I will be with you and build you and enduring house, as I built for David.”

King Solomon tries to capture and kill Jeroboam, but he flees to Egypt until the death of king Solomon. Another familiar story line, we always seem to be fleeing to Egypt. Solomon dies and his son Rehoboam succeeds him as king. For all his wisdom, and wealth Solomon, like all of us eventually, “slept with his ancestors”.


Solomon’s Son and a Divided Kingdom


After king Solomon’s death, Jeroboam returns from Egypt and he and all of Israel come to Rehoboam to ask for some “tax cuts”. Evidently Solomon had taxed the people heavily to pay for his lavish lifestyle. Rehoboam seeks first the council of his father, Solomon’s, advisers who encourage him to heed the people and lighten the taxes. But, Rehoboam has some younger advisers that he grew up with that have some different advice.

The young men advise king Solomon to increase the tax burden. “My father disciplined you with whips, I will discipline you with scorpions.” The people of Israel of course were not please to hear that and the 10 tribes of Israel rebelled and followed Jeroboam son of Nebat. This was a fulfillment of the word of the LORD through the prophet Ahijah that he spoke to Jeroboam before he fled to Egypt.


the lords army
Israel Rebels against the house of David

So Israel is in rebellion against the house of David and they make Jeroboam their king. The beginning of the divided kingdom of Israel. Judah and Benjamin under Rehoboam, and the other 10 tribes under Jeroboam. The story continues to get worse from here as we shall see.

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May the LORD bless and keep you always and give you the wisdom to heed his instructions


The sinner in the mirror

Rex McMahon

The Sinner in the Mirror

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