1 Kings
Introduction 1-19 The Rule of Solomon 20-28 The Greatness of Solomon 29-34 The Wisdom of Solomon
Introduction

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.”
).


The Rule of Solomon

1Now 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. 7Solomon 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.

Solomon rules over “all Israel” (verse 11Now King Solomon was king over all Israel.), that is to say over an as yet undivided empire. The whole empire is under his authority. In his government of the empire he has appointed several people as officials to perform different tasks. The first official who is mentioned is a priest (verse 22These were his officials: Azariah the son of Zadok [was] the priest;). The fact that Azariah is the priest probably means that he is the high priest. Here the priesthood is attached to the kingship. The Lord Jesus is the true King-Priest (cf. Zec 6:1313Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.”‘).

To be a good official we must be a priest. This means that our relationship to God, our approach to Him, determines our kingship towards people. Peter speaks about this in relation to us in his letter. He first says that we are “a holy priesthood” (1Pet 2:55you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.) and that we offer up spiritual sacrifices. That is what happens towards God. Then he speaks of “a royal priesthood” (1Pet 2:99But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [God’s] own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;). That is what is happening towards the people.

The secretaries, or writers (verse 3a3Elihoreph and Ahijah, the sons of Shisha [were] secretaries; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud [was] the recorder;), have an important task. They prepare royal decrees or ordinances for trade treaties and military unions, of which they keep the official records. There is also a recorder – who had also served under David (2Sam 8:1616Joab the son of Zeruiah [was] over the army, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud [was] recorder.; 20:2424and Adoram was over the forced labor, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was the recorder;) – someone who is over the army, someone who is over the deputies, a priest who is a friend of the king, someone who is over the household and someone who is over the men subject to forced labor (verses 3b-63Elihoreph 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.).

This division of tasks among the officials indicates that everyone has his own responsibility, each of whom must be faithful in order to fulfil the task assigned to him in accordance with the law. As long as all are aware of their direct responsibility to Solomon, everything goes well. It goes wrong when tasks are transferred from one another without having received an assignment from Solomon. This is exactly how it works in the church. If everyone listens to the Lord Jesus and does what He says, things go well.

In addition to the officials, Solomon also appointed “twelve deputies over all Israel” (verse 77Solomon 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.) to serve him and his interests. Every deputy has a duty for a month to provide for the king and his household. Dividing his task over so many people and deploying them at different times is wise policy.

The distribution of the burden makes the task to be performed a task of which no one will succumb because too much and too long work would have to be done. It is like caring for the tabernacle and the temple which was also a care divided over a large number of priests and Levites. It also reduced the risk of abusing the position in order to enrich oneself or to obtain special benefits.

Two of the deputies are married to Solomon’s daughters, which means an extra honor in addition to the position they hold. One of them is Ben-abinadab which means son of Abinadab (verse 1111Ben-abinadab, [in] all the height of Dor (Taphath the daughter of Solomon was his wife);), with whom the ark has been in the house for twenty years (1Sam 7:1-21And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the LORD and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD.2From the day that the ark remained at Kiriath-jearim, the time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.). The other is Ahimaaz (verse 1515Ahimaaz, in Naphtali (he also married Basemath the daughter of Solomon);).

The deputies are divided over the country, each being given its own area of responsibility. This also has a lesson for the church. Not only are there tasks to be performed, there is also an area in which each is working (2Cor 10:15-1615not boasting beyond [our] measure, [that is], in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you,16so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, [and] not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another.). We must respect the field of work that the Lord has given someone. For example, we won’t be spreading the gospel tracts in an area if we know others are already there bringing the gospel.


The Greatness of Solomon

20Judah and Israel [were] as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; [they] were eating and drinking and rejoicing. 21Now 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. 22Solomon’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. 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. 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. 26Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. 27Those deputies provided for King Solomon and all who came to King Solomon’s table, each in his month; they left nothing lacking. 28They also brought barley and straw for the horses and swift steeds to the place where it should be, each according to his charge.

Solomon rules over a people “as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance” (verse 2020Judah and Israel [were] as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; [they] were eating and drinking and rejoicing.). “In a multitude of people is a king’s glory” (Pro 14:28a28In a multitude of people is a king’s glory,
But in the dearth of people is a prince’s ruin.
). If that is true for Solomon, how much more so than for the Lord Jesus. Those people eat and drink and rejoice. How could it be otherwise with such a king in power, who punishes evil and rewards good.

Here we have a beautiful picture of the situation in the kingdom of peace under the reign of the Lord Jesus. It is a preliminary fulfillment of the promise to numerous descendants (Gen 22:16-17a16and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,17indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.) and the provision of food and drink (Lev 26:55Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land.). So it can be in our personal lives and among the people of God as a whole if the Lord Jesus, as the true Solomon, holds the rule in our lives and in the lives of each of His own.

They have joy in using their abundance of food and drink. Solomon not only enjoyed all the good things himself in abundance, but he also enabled all his subjects to do the same. He taught them that God has given them this abundance to make use of it with gratitude and satisfaction. Man may eat his bread with joy and drink his wine with a happy heart: “Go [then], eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works” (Ecc 9:77Go [then], eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.). David has preceded the people in his psalms in the comforting pleasure of fellowship with God. Solomon leads them in the pleasant use of the good things of life.

As for the current situation under Solomon, the joy and peace are of limited duration. This is already apparent when we read about “Judah and Israel” at the beginning of verse 2020Judah and Israel [were] as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; [they] were eating and drinking and rejoicing., which reminds us that there will be a separation in the unity of the kingdom between Judah and Israel. It is as if the writer indicates that there is unfaithfulness below the surface which, as the history shows, will lead to the division of the empire in these two parts.

Another characteristic of the kingdom – after the officials and the food supply – is its size (verse 2121Now 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.), which is also a preliminary fulfillment of the promised extent (Gen 15:18-2118On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,
“To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:
19the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite20and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim21and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”
). The border runs from the Euphrates in the northeast to the area of the Philistines in the west and Egypt in the southwest.

The quantity of food Solomon needs (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.) also shows his greatness. The quantity that is available for Nehemiah at a later date strikingly contrasts with that of Solomon (Neh 5:17-1817Moreover, [there were] at my table one hundred and fifty Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us.18Now that which was prepared for each day was one ox [and] six choice sheep, also birds were prepared for me; and once in ten days all sorts of wine [were furnished] in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the governor’s food [allowance], because the servitude was heavy on this people.). Ahasveros once made a feast to show his royal glory to his servants. That feast lasts 180 days (Est 1:3-43in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his princes and attendants, the army [officers] of Persia and Media, the nobles and the princes of his provinces being in his presence.4And he displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty for many days, 180 days.). The glory of Solomon is that he has, so to speak, a table for the whole people and that throughout his life (verse 2525So 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.). However, Christ transcends everything. He has a table – a table is a picture of fellowship – at which all His own may be forever to feed themselves with the inexhaustible glories of His Person.

By the way, the supply by the people of these large quantities of food and all other necessities for such a royal household means that the people are prosperous. The income of Solomon also comes from the surrounding countries. Thirty kors of fine flour are about 6,500 liters and sixty kors of meal are the double. Derived from these quantities, it has been calculated that Solomon’s royal household consisted of approximately 14,000 persons.

We see how the kingdom of peace takes shape, even if it is not in its final, definitive form (verses 24-2524For 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.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.). Never has there been an empire that refers so beautifully to the empire of the Lord Jesus as this of Solomon. The people dwell at rest, “each one under his vine and his fig tree”. This expression is used for the kingdom of peace under the reign of the Messiah by the prophets Micaiah and Zechariah (Mic 4:44Each of them will sit under his vine
And under his fig tree,
With no one to make [them] afraid,
For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.
; Zec 3:1010‘In that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to [sit] under [his] vine and under [his] fig tree.’”). Peace and justice (Jer 23:5-65“Behold, [the] days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
6“In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
‘The LORD our righteousness.’
), represented in the fig tree, and joy, represented in the vine (Jdg 9:13a13But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?’), are generally enjoyed in the realm of peace.

The people are at ease, they live safely. No one is jealous of what another has. There is no dissatisfaction. There is also no fear of danger from enemies, from outside or inside. Everyone is happy. Each one of them dwells under his vine and under his fig tree. Solomon does not claim anyone’s possessions for himself, he does not take anyone’s field or vineyard, as it is said that the king would do whom the people had desired (1Sam 8:1414He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give [them] to his servants.). Everyone who has a vine and a fig tree eats the fruits of it. The peace in the land is so great that everyone lives just as safely under the shadow of his vine and fig tree as within the walls of a city.

This pleasant state of Israel extends from Dan to Berseba, which is the whole country from the extreme north to the extreme south (Jdg 20:11Then all the sons of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to the LORD at Mizpah.). In no part of the country is there any risk of external danger or internal unrest. Wherever someone is, he sees abundance, peace and contentment everywhere. This situation continues throughout the days of Solomon.

The characteristics of the realm apply to us in their spiritual sense. For us it is about peace, joy (vine) and righteousness (fig tree) (Rom 14:1717for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.). Every believer who places himself under the authority of the Lord Jesus experiences it realm of peace in its characteristics, in the midst of a world of misery and sorrow.

The many horses also contribute to Solomon’s glory and greatness (verses 26-2826Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen.27Those deputies provided for King Solomon and all who came to King Solomon’s table, each in his month; they left nothing lacking.28They also brought barley and straw for the horses and swift steeds to the place where it should be, each according to his charge.). The numerous horses and chariots (2Chr 1:1414Solomon amassed chariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem.) are stationed, except in Jerusalem, in various places, in the so-called ‘chariot cities’ (2Chr 9:2525Now Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he stationed them in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem.). The deputies provide Solomon and his family with food once a year for one month each, leaving nothing lacking (verse 2727Those deputies provided for King Solomon and all who came to King Solomon’s table, each in his month; they left nothing lacking.). Thus we should provide the members of God’s people with food and leave nothing lacking, but “declaring … the whole purpose of God” to them (Acts 20:2727For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.). Do we long to be a “faithful and sensible slave” (Mt 24:4545“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?)?

The deputies provide both the horses and swift steeds with food by bringing it to them. This contains the spiritual lesson that we may provide all the servants of the Lord with what they need, in whatever way they are doing. This can be through financial support, for example, or also through spiritual encouragement.


The Wisdom of Solomon

29Now 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.

All that Solomon possesses in wisdom, discernment and mind, he has received from God. He not only rules through them, but it also gives him ‘name reputation’ (verse 3131For 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.), that is to say that one speaks about him with respect.

Wisdom, discernment and mind are different concepts that show how much he is a man of insight. “Wisdom” is more the practical wisdom of life, the ability to do and act and to choose the effective. “Discernment” is more the sharpness of the mind to judge difficult and complex problems correctly. Understanding or “mind” is the spiritual ability to contain the most diverse fields of science.

His wisdom, discernment and mind are described as “the sand that is on the sea shore”. These words are also used to indicate the size of the people (Gen 22:17a17indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.). This means that his understanding is so great that he encompasses the whole people. He takes care of all their needs and makes all their occasions his own. The Lord Jesus will do this in the kingdom of peace for everyone, and He does this now for all His own.

His wisdom is compared to other wisdom. His “wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt”. Possibly the sons of the East are the Chaldeans or Babylonians. That area, and Egypt too, are areas known for their wisdom. The magi or wise men come from the east (Mt 2:11Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,) and Moses is “Moses was educated in all the learning [or: wisdom, Darby Translation] of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:2222Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.; Isa 19:11-1211The princes of Zoan are mere fools;
The advice of Pharaoh’s wisest advisers has become stupid.
How can you [men] say to Pharaoh,
“I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings”?
12Well then, where are your wise men?
Please let them tell you,
And let them understand what the LORD of hosts
Has purposed against Egypt.
).

There is a worldly wisdom, but Solomon is wiser than all the wisdom of the world. The wisdom of the world has a certain value on earthly territory. However, this wisdom should not have any influence among believers regarding the knowledge of Christ, because it harms the wisdom that is only in Christ (Col 2:88See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.). Christ is the “wisdom from God” (1Cor 1:3030But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,).

His wisdom is also greater than all the wise men of God’s people. Men are mentioned from Judah, among them are the singers Ethan and Heman chosen by David (1Chr 15:1919So the singers, Heman, Asaph and Ethan [were appointed] to sound aloud cymbals of bronze;; 25:55All these [were] the sons of Heman the king’s seer to exalt him according to the words of God, for God gave fourteen sons and three daughters to Heman.). From Ethan and Heman we have psalms in the Bible (Psa 89; 88). They are wise men who God has been able to use for psalms that express the greatest wisdom. Ethan speaks in his psalm (Psalm 89) of grace and Heman (Psalm 88) of someone who is deeply impressed by the consequences of disobedience to God.

His proverbs, his songs, and his knowledge reflect the excellent spirit with which Solomon is endowed by God. He did not keep his knowledge and wisdom for himself, but passed it on to others, so that they can take profit of it as well. For us too, some expressions have been preserved, for our benefit. Of his 3,000 proverbs we have about 600 in the Bible, in the book of Proverbs. From his 1,005 songs we have in the Bible the book of Song of Songs and some psalms (Psalms 72; 127). Of all that he has spoken and written, we have only that part in the Bible. That is the part that is of lasting value to God’s people throughout all times.

He spoke about the great and small things of creation, about the most impressive (“the cedar”) and unobtrusive (“the hyssop”) parts of it. The cedar and the hyssop are also spoken about in the cleansing of the leper, where we see that the large and small of man must all be judged (Lev 14:4-74then the priest shall give orders to take two live clean birds and cedar wood and a scarlet string and hyssop for the one who is to be cleansed.5The priest shall also give orders to slay the one bird in an earthenware vessel over running water.6[As for] the live bird, he shall take it together with the cedar wood and the scarlet string and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was slain over the running water.7He shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be cleansed from the leprosy and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the live bird go free over the open field.). He also talks about the animals, which we also have in Genesis 1. He knows them as Adam knew them. Adam ruled them and Solomon rules them by his wisdom.

His knowledge gives him dominion. He knows the life of every living being and every plant. He knows their origin, their development, their relationship to each other and to the whole of creation. Today he would be called ‘a walking encyclopedia’. Although his knowledge of creation is not perfect, it reminds us of the time when all the secrets of creation will be revealed by Him Who will deliver the now still sighing creation from the curse (Rom 8:2121that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.). Then everything will be restored in perfect harmony with each other.

The fame of his wisdom is all over the earth (verse 3434Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.). In the following chapters we have two examples of rulers coming from far to hear his wisdom. These are Hiram, the king of Tyre (1Kgs 5:11Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram had always been a friend of David.), and the queen of Sheba (1Kgs 10:11Now when the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with difficult questions.).


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