At the end of the previous chapter we have an example of the wisdom God gave to Solomon. In this chapter we read about his wealth and prosperity. He receives what God has promised to give him after he has asked for wisdom (1Kgs 3:1313I 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.). We see his wisdom here in the way in which he has regulated and maintains internal order in his empire:
1. his princes (verses 1-61Now King Solomon was king over all Israel.2These were his officials: Azariah the son of Zadok [was] the priest;3Elihoreph and Ahijah, the sons of Shisha [were] secretaries; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud [was] the recorder;4and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada [was] over the army; and Zadok and Abiathar [were] priests;5and Azariah the son of Nathan [was] over the deputies; and Zabud the son of Nathan, a priest, [was] the king’s friend;6and Ahishar was over the household; and Adoniram the son of Abda [was] over the men subject to forced labor.),
2. his governors who provide for his food (verses 7-19,277Solomon had twelve deputies over all Israel, who provided for the king and his household; each man had to provide for a month in the year.8These are their names: Ben-hur, in the hill country of Ephraim;9Ben-deker in Makaz and Shaalbim and Beth-shemesh and Elonbeth-hanan;10Ben-hesed, in Arubboth (Socoh [was] his and all the land of Hepher);11Ben-abinadab, [in] all the height of Dor (Taphath the daughter of Solomon was his wife);12Baana the son of Ahilud, [in] Taanach and Megiddo, and all Beth-shean which is beside Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth-shean to Abel-meholah as far as the other side of Jokmeam;13Ben-geber, in Ramoth-gilead (the towns of Jair, the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead were his: the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, sixty great cities with walls and bronze bars [were] his);14Ahinadab the son of Iddo, [in] Mahanaim;15Ahimaaz, in Naphtali (he also married Basemath the daughter of Solomon);16Baana the son of Hushai, in Asher and Bealoth;17Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar;18Shimei the son of Ela, in Benjamin;19Geber the son of Uri, in the land of Gilead, the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and of Og king of Bashan; and [he was] the only deputy who [was] in the land.27Those deputies provided for King Solomon and all who came to King Solomon’s table, each in his month; they left nothing lacking.),
3. the number, prosperity and peace of its subjects (verses 20,2520Judah and Israel [were] as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; [they] were eating and drinking and rejoicing.25So Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.),
4. the vastness of his rule (verses 21,2421Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River [to] the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt; [they] brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.24For he had dominion over everything west of the River, from Tiphsah even to Gaza, over all the kings west of the River; and he had peace on all sides around about him.),
5. the amount of food for his home (verses 22-2322Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty kors of fine flour and sixty kors of meal,23ten fat oxen, twenty pasture-fed oxen, a hundred sheep besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fattened fowl.) and
6. the food for his horses (verse 2626Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen.).
The chapter concludes with a detailed description of his wisdom and knowledge and the fame that comes from it (verses 29-3429Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore.30Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.31For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was [known] in all the surrounding nations.32He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.33He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.34Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.). But however great Solomon may be, the Lord Jesus is infinitely greater than he (Mt 12:4242[The] Queen of [the] South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.).
The situation under Solomon’s government is very different from that under his father David’s government. David has always had to deal with internal revolt and also with enemies from outside. Solomon, after having dealt with some remaining enemies, until his public abandoning of the LORD (1Kgs 11:1-81Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,2from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you, [for] they will surely turn your heart away after their gods.” Solomon held fast to these in love.3He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away.4For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father [had been].5For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians and after Milcom the detestable idol of the Ammonites.6Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father [had done].7Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon.8Thus also he did for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.), has known only peace, security, joy and abundance.
He has an army and an army commander, but he has not waged any war with a hostile power. None of the nations who are subject to him has tried to cast off his yoke or make any effort. On the contrary, they were happy in their dependence on him. Herein, his kingdom is a type of the kingdom of the Messiah. For the Messiah is promised that He will have the nations to His inheritance (Psa 2:88‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the [very] ends of the earth as Your possession.
) and that princes will bow down before Him (Isa 49:77Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel [and] its Holy One,
To the despised One,
To the One abhorred by the nation,
To the Servant of rulers,
“Kings will see and arise,
Princes will also bow down,
Because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.”