If this is your first viewing, please see my Introduction before reading this.
13 April. 1 Kings chapters 3-5
What do you give the man who has everything? Here we read of the vision in which God offers Solomon anything he wants. Instead of anything material, he asks for wisdom to make him a good ruler. That was to be the foundation for an astonishing kingship. Almost immediately (if the stories here are in their right order) he gives what is perhaps his most famous judgement, ruling that of two women who argue who is a child’s mother, the one willing to part with him rather than see him come to harm is the right one. Sadly, as we all know from the tragedies of “Bay Peter” and others like him, there are still those parents who are willing to let their children be harmed, or even abuse them themselves.
Solomon’s wisdom, we are told, extends beyond wise law-giving, as he was a great naturalist, philosopher and song writer. Such polymaths (people who excel in many aspects of human knowledge and experience) are rare, but greatly to be valued.
Solomon then begins his life’s great work – the building of a great temple in Jerusalem as a permanent replacement for the tabernacle tent of the Exodus years. Much of the rest of the book will be taken up with it, just as the great cathedrals of Europe took a lifetime or more to complete. Like them, construction required vast numbers of masons, joiners and other craftsmen. Interestingly, although this is to be the great place for worship for the Israelites, Solomon not only accepts but seeks the skills of foreign workers, in this case the Sidonians and Lebanese. Let those who seek to reduce immigration in our own day take note!