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Saturday Study

Saturday Study

Solomon (8.8.20)

As we look at the life of Solomon, we see a man that started out well and ended badly. You have read about the beginning of Solomon this week. This beginning was challenging, but it is important for us to understand the significance of a few of these events. Today, we will look at Solomon’s beginnings, God’s blessing of Solomon, the judgment of God on Solomon, and the consequences of Solomon’s action. We will then close with some reflection for us.

First, David honors a promise made to put Solomon on the throne (1 Chronicles 22:9, 2 Samuel 7:12). David acknowledges His promise to put Solomon on the throne. Not only does David say this, but puts his plan in motion to bring about the kingship of Solomon.

1 Kings 1:29-30 And the king swore saying, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ even so will I do this day.”

There are a couple of things we should take note of here. First, notice David’s declaration about who God is and what He has done. Is there any doubt that David is trusting in God? David acknowledges God as his redeemer. David trusts God so much that he would not harm the person that was God’s anointed king. David waits until God has removed all obstacles. This is what real faith looks like.

In 1 Kings 3, we see these words about Solomon: “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father …” It should be noted here that, two verses before this, it is stated that Solomon made a marriage alliance with the Pharaoh. This is an important note to remember. If you remember, in the Old Testament, Israel was not to make any alliances, but they were to trust in the Lord. Whenever we break God’s commands, bad things happen. I do not think Solomon realized that this was a slippery slope. Still, God blesses Solomon because he obeyed His statutes like David his father.

Solomon is significant in that God asked him what He (God) might grant him (Solomon). How would you answer that question from God? Solomon asks for wisdom to guide the people of Israel. God is pleased with this decision and grants even more abundantly than what Solomon has asked for.

If only we could end the story of Solomon there, but we cannot. Solomon builds the temple of God that David had wanted to build, but God had said, “No.” (2 Samuel 7:11, 1 Chronicles 22). We see that Solomon amasses slaves, land, gold, and women.

1 Kings 11:1-9 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh … He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth … So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord … And the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel who had appeared to him twice

I hope you feel the weight of these verses. There is a reason God told the Israelites not to collect foreign wives—they lead your heart astray. We see this multiple times in Scripture. This is one of the reasons why God tells us, in Corinthians, not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath light with darkness, or God with idols. If we link ourselves to those who have a different worldview and are not surrendered to the Lordship of Christ, they will lead us astray. There are few things potent enough, or powerful enough, to pull someone way from the Lord than a love relationship with another who does not press them into Christ.

The Lord then promises to take the kingdom away from, and raise up adversaries against, Solomon. God tears the kingdom in half under Rehoboam, and from there the downward spiral of Israel progresses. Finally, we read that Solomon laid down with his fathers and slept.

During his life, Solomon wrote Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and most of Proverbs. It is amazing that someone who knew so much could still slide down the slope of sin so late in life. Solomon was old, the text says, when he was corrupted by his wives.

Now that we have looked briefly at the life of Solomon, there are some lessons we can glean from it. I hope these are a blessing to you as you meditate on this text.

  1. God is merciful and gracious; His steadfast love endures. All through this story, we see God’s promises being fulfilled. We also see God’s mercy and grace, by letting David live and giving him a second son with Bathsheba. We see God blessing in spite of the sin of polygamy. This was culturally accepted but was not God’s design for marriage—one man and one woman. God had every right to destroy David and Solomon, but He didn’t. He mercifully walked with them and blessed them. Even in the end, He was merciful to Solomon. God had every right to take the kingdom immediately from Solomon, but He did not. He left it, because His servant David walked in His statues. God is gracious to us in sending His son in our place to pay for our sins.
  2. Slippery are the slopes of sin. The small foxes spoil the vineyard. Solomon started making small concessions; then his pleasure ran away with him, and he compromised his beliefs. The saying going goes, “Sin will take us further than we want to go, keep us longer than we want to stay, and cost us more than we want to pay.” I don’t think, if Solomon had known the consequences of his sins, he would have been willing to take the same course of action. In what ways are you allowing small sin to take you down a path you do not want to go? Sin’s pleasures are fleeting.
  1. Guard your life until the end. 1 Kings 11:4 tells us that when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away from God. We need to finish the race strong. The law of inertia states that an object will stay in motion unless acted upon; this acting upon will create friction. Friction in an engine will wear down its parts so they need to be replaced, or the engine stops moving. When we continually surround ourselves with the world’s thoughts and actions, they will wear us down. This was the case with Solomon. His pagan wives and their constant influences on him, slowly wore him down over time. Please heed the warning in this text to guard your heart. We are to go into the world and glorify God, but we are not of the world. We need to make sure that we are spending time with God and fellow believers who will not let us hold to, nor be molded by, the world, and they will help catch us when we slip. Ways in which to guard our heart are to pray, study of the word, being in biblical friendships/accountability, and not spending all our time in the world. We need go out into the world and actively seek to proclaim Christ.
  1. We must keep Solomon’s point of view in mind. In Ecclesiastes 1:14 he says, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” Without God, human wisdom (2:14-16), labor (2:18-23), amassing things (2:26), life itself (3:18-22), competition (4:4), selfish overwork (4:7-8), power and authority (4:16), greed (5:10), wealth and accolades (6:1-2), and perfunctory religion (8:10-14) are meaningless. When Solomon says, “Everything is meaningless,” he does not mean that everything in the world has no value. Rather, his point is that all human efforts apart from God’s will are meaningless. Solomon had it all, and he had tried everything, but when he left God out of the equation, nothing satisfied him. That’s why Solomon ends his book this way: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

I hope you have grown from this brief look at Solomon. The Lord used him greatly, and it is sad to read those lines in chapter 11 that say Solomon’s heart was turned away from God. But, we can see that little missteps along the way lead to bigger missteps. Spend some time with the Lord and ask Him to show you how you are misstepping. Confess them and repent (change your practices). Seek His commands in Scripture, and diligently obey them so you can remain steadfast in your fighting this battle for your King.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Joshua Kirstine

Disciples Church

Solomon

Ecclesiastes 2

The Vanity of Self-Indulgence

2:1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity.1 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines,2 the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

The Vanity of Living Wisely

12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. 14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. 16 For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! 17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

The Vanity of Toil

18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment3 in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him4 who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Footnotes

[1] 2:1 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verses 11, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26 (see note on 1:2)

[2] 2:8 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain

[3] 2:24 Or and make his soul see good

[4] 2:25 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts apart from me

(ESV)

Solomon

1 Kings 4

Solomon’s Officials

4:1 King Solomon was king over all Israel, and these were his high officials: Azariah the son of Zadok was the priest; Elihoreph and Ahijah the sons of Shisha were secretaries; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was in command of the army; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers; Zabud the son of Nathan was priest and king’s friend; Ahishar was in charge of the palace; and Adoniram the son of Abda was in charge of the forced labor.

Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, who provided food for the king and his household. Each man had to make provision for one month in the year. These were their names: Ben-hur, in the hill country of Ephraim; Ben-deker, in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, and Elonbeth-hanan; 10 Ben-hesed, in Arubboth (to him belonged Socoh and all the land of Hepher); 11 Ben-abinadab, in all Naphath-dor (he had Taphath the daughter of Solomon as his wife); 12 Baana the son of Ahilud, in Taanach, Megiddo, and all Beth-shean that is beside Zarethan below Jezreel, and from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah, as far as the other side of Jokmeam; 13 Ben-geber, in Ramoth-gilead (he had the villages of Jair the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead, and he had the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, sixty great cities with walls and bronze bars); 14 Ahinadab the son of Iddo, in Mahanaim; 15 Ahimaaz, in Naphtali (he had taken Basemath the daughter of Solomon as his wife); 16 Baana the son of Hushai, in Asher and Bealoth; 17 Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar; 18 Shimei the son of Ela, in Benjamin; 19 Geber the son of Uri, in the land of Gilead, the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and of Og king of Bashan. And there was one governor who was over the land.

Solomon’s Wealth and Wisdom

20 Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy. 1 21 Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates2 to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.

22 Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty cors3 of fine flour and sixty cors of meal, 23 ten fat oxen, and twenty pasture-fed cattle, a hundred sheep, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fattened fowl. 24 For he had dominion over all the region west of the Euphrates4 from Tiphsah to Gaza, over all the kings west of the Euphrates. And he had peace on all sides around him. 25 And Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon. 26 Solomon also had 40,0005 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. 27 And those officers supplied provisions for King Solomon, and for all who came to King Solomon’s table, each one in his month. They let nothing be lacking. 28 Barley also and straw for the horses and swift steeds they brought to the place where it was required, each according to his duty.

29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, 30 so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. 32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. 33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. 34 And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

Footnotes

[1] 4:20 Ch 5:1 in Hebrew

[2] 4:21 Hebrew the River

[3] 4:22 A cor was about 6 bushels or 220 liters

[4] 4:24 Hebrew the River; twice in this verse

[5] 4:26 Hebrew; one Hebrew manuscript (see 2 Chronicles 9:25 and Septuagint of 1 Kings 10:26) 4,000

(ESV)

Solomon

1 Kings 3

Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom

3:1 Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He took Pharaoh’s daughter and brought her into the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the LORD and the wall around Jerusalem. The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the LORD.

Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 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. 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. 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. 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.”

15 And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.

Solomon’s Wisdom

16 Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. 18 Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house. 19 And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20 And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. 21 When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.” 22 But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king.

23 Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.’” 24 And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king. 25 And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” 26 Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.” 27 Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.” 28 And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.

(ESV)

Solomon

1 Kings 2

David’s Instructions to Solomon

2:1 When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the LORD may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack1 a man on the throne of Israel.’

“Moreover, you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner the son of Ner, and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed, avenging2 in time of peace for blood that had been shed in war, and putting the blood of war3 on the belt around his4 waist and on the sandals on his feet. Act therefore according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace. But deal loyally with the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for with such loyalty5 they met me when I fled from Absalom your brother. And there is also with you Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim. But when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Now therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man. You will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.”

The Death of David

10 Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David. 11 And the time that David reigned over Israel was forty years. He reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. 12 So Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.

Solomon’s Reign Established

13 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, “Do you come peacefully?” He said, “Peacefully.” 14 Then he said, “I have something to say to you.” She said, “Speak.” 15 He said, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel fully expected me to reign. However, the kingdom has turned about and become my brother’s, for it was his from the LORD. 16 And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me.” She said to him, “Speak.” 17 And he said, “Please ask King Solomon—he will not refuse you—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.” 18 Bathsheba said, “Very well; I will speak for you to the king.”

19 So Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her and bowed down to her. Then he sat on his throne and had a seat brought for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right. 20 Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Make your request, my mother, for I will not refuse you.” 21 She said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as his wife.” 22 King Solomon answered his mother, “And why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also, for he is my older brother, and on his side are Abiathar6 the priest and Joab the son of Zeruiah.” 23 Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, “God do so to me and more also if this word does not cost Adonijah his life! 24 Now therefore as the LORD lives, who has established me and placed me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today.” 25 So King Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and he struck him down, and he died.

26 And to Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go to Anathoth, to your estate, for you deserve death. But I will not at this time put you to death, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father, and because you shared in all my father’s affliction.” 27 So Solomon expelled Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, thus fulfilling the word of the LORD that he had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

28 When the news came to Joab—for Joab had supported Adonijah although he had not supported Absalom—Joab fled to the tent of the LORD and caught hold of the horns of the altar. 29 And when it was told King Solomon, “Joab has fled to the tent of the LORD, and behold, he is beside the altar,” Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, strike him down.” 30 So Benaiah came to the tent of the LORD and said to him, “The king commands, ‘Come out.’” But he said, “No, I will die here.” Then Benaiah brought the king word again, saying, “Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.” 31 The king replied to him, “Do as he has said, strike him down and bury him, and thus take away from me and from my father’s house the guilt for the blood that Joab shed without cause. 32 The LORD will bring back his bloody deeds on his own head, because, without the knowledge of my father David, he attacked and killed with the sword two men more righteous and better than himself, Abner the son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah. 33 So shall their blood come back on the head of Joab and on the head of his descendants forever. But for David and for his descendants and for his house and for his throne there shall be peace from the LORD forevermore.” 34 Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and struck him down and put him to death. And he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. 35 The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada over the army in place of Joab, and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.

36 Then the king sent and summoned Shimei and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there to any place whatever. 37 For on the day you go out and cross the brook Kidron, know for certain that you shall die. Your blood shall be on your own head.” 38 And Shimei said to the king, “What you say is good; as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do.” So Shimei lived in Jerusalem many days.

39 But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shimei’s servants ran away to Achish, son of Maacah, king of Gath. And when it was told Shimei, “Behold, your servants are in Gath,” 40 Shimei arose and saddled a donkey and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants. Shimei went and brought his servants from Gath. 41 And when Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned, 42 the king sent and summoned Shimei and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the LORD and solemnly warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go out and go to any place whatever, you shall die’? And you said to me, ‘What you say is good; I will obey.’ 43 Why then have you not kept your oath to the LORD and the commandment with which I commanded you?” 44 The king also said to Shimei, “You know in your own heart all the harm that you did to David my father. So the LORD will bring back your harm on your own head. 45 But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.” 46 Then the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and he went out and struck him down, and he died.

So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

Footnotes

[1] 2:4 Hebrew there shall not be cut off for you

[2] 2:5 Septuagint; Hebrew placing

[3] 2:5 Septuagint innocent blood

[4] 2:5 Septuagint my; twice in this verse

[5] 2:7 Or steadfast love

[6] 2:22 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew and for him and for Abiathar

(ESV)