SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
1 Kings 3:1-4:34
3:1 Solomon made an alliance by marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt; he married Pharaoh’s daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he could finish building his residence and the temple of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem. 2 Now the people were offering sacrifices at the high places, because in those days a temple had not yet been built to honor the Lord. 3 Solomon demonstrated his loyalty to the Lord by following the practices of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.
4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for it had the most prominent of the high places. Solomon would offer up 1,000 burnt sacrifices on the altar there. 5 One night in Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream. God said, “Tell me what I should give you.” 6 Solomon replied, “You demonstrated great loyalty to your servant, my father David, as he served you faithfully, properly, and sincerely. You have maintained this great loyalty to this day by allowing his son to sit on his throne. 7 Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in my father David’s place, even though I am only a young man and am inexperienced. 8 Your servant stands among your chosen people; they are a great nation that is too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning mind so he can make judicial decisions for your people and distinguish right from wrong. Otherwise no one is able to make judicial decisions for this great nation of yours.” 10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon made this request. 11 God said to him, “Because you asked for the ability to make wise judicial decisions, and not for long life, or riches, or vengeance on your enemies, 12 I grant your request and give you a wise and discerning mind superior to that of anyone who has preceded or will succeed you. 13 Furthermore, I am giving you what you did not request—riches and honor so that you will be the greatest king of your generation. 14 If you follow my instructions by obeying my rules and regulations, just as your father David did, then I will grant you long life.” 15 Solomon then woke up and realized it was a dream. He went to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant, offered up burnt sacrifices, presented peace offerings, and held a feast for all his servants.
16 Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of the women said, “My master, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was with me in the house. 18 Then three days after I had my baby, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one else in the house except the two of us. 19 This woman’s child suffocated during the night when she rolled on top of him. 20 She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side, while your servant was sleeping. She put him in her arms, and put her dead son in my arms. 21 I got up in the morning to nurse my son, and there he was, dead! But when I examined him carefully in the morning, I realized it was not my baby.” 22 The other woman said, “No! My son is alive; your son is dead!” But the first woman replied, “No, your son is dead; my son is alive.” Each presented her case before the king.
23 The king said, “One says, ‘My son is alive; your son is dead,’ while the other says, ‘No, your son is dead; my son is alive.’” 24 The king ordered, “Get me a sword.” So they placed a sword before the king. 25 The king then said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other!” 26 The real mother spoke up to the king, for her motherly instincts were awakened. She said, “My master, give her the living child! Whatever you do, don’t kill him!” But the other woman said, “Neither one of us will have him. Let them cut him in two!” 27 The king responded, “Give the first woman the living child; don’t kill him. She is the mother.” 28 When all Israel heard about the judicial decision which the king had rendered, they respected the king, for they realized that he possessed divine wisdom to make judicial decisions.
4:1 King Solomon ruled over all Israel. 2 These were his officials:
Azariah son of Zadok was the priest.
3 Elihoreph and Ahijah, the sons of Shisha, wrote down what happened.
Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was in charge of the records.
4 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was commander of the army.
Zadok and Abiathar were priests.
5 Azariah son of Nathan was supervisor of the district governors.
Zabud son of Nathan was a priest and adviser to the king.
6 Ahishar was supervisor of the palace.
Adoniram son of Abda was supervisor of the work crews.
7 Solomon had 12 district governors appointed throughout Israel who acquired supplies for the king and his palace. Each was responsible for one month in the year. 8 These were their names:
Ben Hur was in charge of the hill country of Ephraim.
9 Ben Deker was in charge of Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh, and Elon Beth Hanan.
10 Ben Hesed was in charge of Arubboth; he controlled Socoh and all the territory of Hepher.
11 Ben Abinadab was in charge of Naphath Dor. (He was married to Solomon’s daughter Taphath.)
12 Baana son of Ahilud was in charge of Taanach and Megiddo, as well as all of Beth Shean next to Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth Shean to Abel Meholah and on past Jokmeam.
13 Ben Geber was in charge of Ramoth Gilead; he controlled the villages of Jair son of Manasseh in Gilead, as well as the region of Argob in Bashan, including 60 large walled cities with bronze bars locking their gates.
14 Ahinadab son of Iddo was in charge of Mahanaim.
15 Ahimaaz was in charge of Naphtali. (He married Solomon’s daughter Basemath.)
16 Baana son of Hushai was in charge of Asher and Aloth.
17 Jehoshaphat son of Paruah was in charge of Issachar.
18 Shimei son of Ela was in charge of Benjamin.
19 Geber son of Uri was in charge of the land of Gilead (the territory which had once belonged to King Sihon of the Amorites and to King Og of Bashan). He was sole governor of the area.
20 The people of Judah and Israel were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore; they had plenty to eat and drink and were happy. 21 (5:1) Solomon ruled all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These kingdoms paid tribute as Solomon’s subjects throughout his lifetime. 22 Each day Solomon’s royal court consumed 30 cors of finely milled flour, 60 cors of cereal, 23 10 calves fattened in the stall, 20 calves from the pasture, and 100 sheep, not to mention rams, gazelles, deer, and well-fed birds. 24 His royal court was so large because he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River from Tiphsah to Gaza; he was at peace with all his neighbors. 25 All the people of Judah and Israel had security; everyone from Dan to Beer Sheba enjoyed the produce of their vines and fig trees throughout Solomon’s lifetime. 26 Solomon had 4,000 stalls for his chariot horses and 12,000 horses. 27 The district governors acquired supplies for King Solomon and all who ate in his royal palace. Each was responsible for one month in the year; they made sure nothing was lacking. 28 Each one also brought to the assigned location his quota of barley and straw for the various horses.
29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment; the breadth of his understanding was as infinite as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon was wiser than all the men of the east and all the sages of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than any man, including Ethan the Ezrahite or Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol. He was famous in all the neighboring nations. 32 He composed 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. 33 He produced manuals on botany, describing every kind of plant, from the cedars of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows on walls. He also produced manuals on biology, describing animals, birds, insects, and fish. 34 People from all nations came to hear Solomon’s display of wisdom; they came from all the kings of the earth who heard about his wisdom.