King Solomon is often referred to as the wisest man who ever lived. Was he?
1 Kings 3 tells the story. When the Lord asks Solomon what he wants the Lord to give him, the young king does not ask for wealth or fame or military conquest over his enemies or even for a long healthy life. Solomon asks the Lord for wisdom and understanding.
The Lord answers Solomon’s request. “12 I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! 13 And I will also give you…riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!”
In our chapters today we see some of the fulfillment of the promises God made to Solomon in his youth. When the Queen of Sheba comes to visit, she is “overwhelmed” with the beauty of the buildings he has built. She is “amazed” at the bountiful, delicious food, the organization of his staff and the temple services.
But here is an important part of the story. Before she even travels to Judah, the queen has heard of Solomon’s wisdom and the greatness of his country, Israel. Then when she arrives, the first thing on her agenda is to spend time talking and listening to Solomon. Getting to know him personally. Asking lots of deep questions. Listening to his story, his testimony. Before the palace tour, before the gift exchange, this queen wants to understand the man. And in understanding the man, she comes to understand his God.
Shortly before she returns to her own country, the queen makes a speech. 8 “Praise the Lord your God, who delights in you and has placed you on the throne as king to rule for him. Because God loves Israel and desires this kingdom to last forever, he has made you king over them so you can rule with justice and righteousness.”
In getting to know the king of Israel, the queen has been introduced to the God of Israel. She praises God. She acknowledges that it is God who has placed Solomon on the throne to rule for Him. And she accepts that Israel’s God is a God of love and justice and righteousness.
After today’s reading, ask yourself a few questions. When others see me, do they see my successes and accomplishments? my wealth and possessions? my education and degrees? my talents and abilities? my popularity and influence? Or do they begin to see and come to know my God?
is one of the pastors of the Hood View Church. He has been married to Betty for 36 years. Together they have two adult children. Mitch and Bella made them grandparents on October 31 when Leavitt was born. Elissa and Dustin had their son, Josiah, on April 10. Jim enjoys life and can't wait to check out eternal life.
The Word of Promise audio Bible is used by permission. For more information and to purchase the complete audio Bible go to https://www.wordofpromiseapp.com/.
2 Chronicles 9
The Queen of Sheba’s Praise of Solomon
1 Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with hard questions, having a very great retinue, camels that bore spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. 2 So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for Solomon that he could not explain it to her. 3 And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 4 the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers and their apparel, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her.
5 Then she said to the king: “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. 6 However I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me. You exceed the fame of which I heard. 7 Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! 8 Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on His throne to be king for the Lord your God! Because your God has loved Israel, to establish them forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and righteousness.”
9 And she gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, spices in great abundance, and precious stones; there never were any spices such as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
10 Also, the servants of Hiram and the servants of Solomon, who brought gold from Ophir, brought algum wood and precious stones. 11 And the king made walkways of the algum wood for the house of the Lord and for the king’s house, also harps and stringed instruments for singers; and there were none such as these seen before in the land of Judah.
12 Now King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, much more than she had brought to the king. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants.
Solomon’s Great Wealth
13 The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, 14 besides what the traveling merchants and traders brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon. 15 And King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of hammered gold went into each shield. 16 He also made three hundred shields of hammered gold; three hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon.
17 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. 18 The throne had six steps, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne; there were armrests on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the armrests. 19 Twelve lions stood there, one on each side of the six steps; nothing like this had been made for any other kingdom.
20 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were pure gold. Not one was silver, for this was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon. 21 For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram. Once every three years the merchant ships came, bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.
22 So King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. 23 And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 24 Each man brought his present: articles of silver and gold, garments, armor, spices, horses, and mules, at a set rate year by year.
25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem.
26 So he reigned over all the kings from the River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedar trees as abundant as the sycamores which are in the lowland. 28 And they brought horses to Solomon from Egypt and from all lands.
Death of Solomon
29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat? 30 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 31 Then Solomon rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David his father. And Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.
2 Chronicles 10
The Revolt Against Rehoboam
1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king. 2 So it happened, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard it (he was in Egypt, where he had fled from the presence of King Solomon), that Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3 Then they sent for him and called him. And Jeroboam and all Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, saying, 4 “Your father made our yoke heavy; now therefore, lighten the burdensome service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.”
5 So he said to them, “Come back to me after three days.” And the people departed.
6 Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, saying, “How do you advise me to answer these people?”
7 And they spoke to him, saying, “If you are kind to these people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be your servants forever.”
8 But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him. 9 And he said to them, “What advice do you give? How should we answer this people who have spoken to me, saying, ‘Lighten the yoke which your father put on us’?”
10 Then the young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, “Thus you should speak to the people who have spoken to you, saying, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter on us’—thus you shall say to them: ‘My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s waist! 11 And now, whereas my father put a heavy yoke on you, I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!’ ”
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king had directed, saying, “Come back to me the third day.” 13 Then the king answered them roughly. King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders, 14 and he spoke to them according to the advice of the young men, saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scourges!” 15 So the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from God, that the Lord might fulfill His word, which He had spoken by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.
16 Now when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, saying:
“What share have we in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
Every man to your tents, O Israel!
Now see to your own house, O David!”
So all Israel departed to their tents. 17 But Rehoboam reigned over the children of Israel who dwelt in the cities of Judah.
18 Then King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was in charge of revenue; but the children of Israel stoned him with stones, and he died. Therefore King Rehoboam mounted his chariot in haste to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
2 Chronicles 11
Rehoboam’s Reign in Judah
1 Now when Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled from the house of Judah and Benjamin one hundred and eighty thousand chosen men who were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might restore the kingdom to Rehoboam.
2 But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 3 “Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying, 4 ‘Thus says the Lord: “You shall not go up or fight against your brethren! Let every man return to his house, for this thing is from Me.” ’ ” Therefore they obeyed the words of the Lord, and turned back from attacking Jeroboam.
Rehoboam Fortifies the Cities
5 So Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defense in Judah. 6 And he built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth Zur, Sochoh, Adullam, 8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and Benjamin, fortified cities. 11 And he fortified the strongholds, and put captains in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. 12 Also in every city he put shields and spears, and made them very strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.
Priests and Levites Move to Judah
13 And from all their territories the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel took their stand with him. 14 For the Levites left their common-lands and their possessions and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them from serving as priests to the Lord. 15 Then he appointed for himself priests for the high places, for the demons, and the calf idols which he had made. 16 And after the Levites left, those from all the tribes of Israel, such as set their heart to seek the Lord God of Israel, came to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers. 17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong for three years, because they walked in the way of David and Solomon for three years.
The Family of Rehoboam
18 Then Rehoboam took for himself as wife Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David, and of Abihail the daughter of Eliah the son of Jesse. 19 And she bore him children: Jeush, Shamariah, and Zaham. 20 After her he took Maachah the granddaughter of Absalom; and she bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Now Rehoboam loved Maachah the granddaughter of Absalom more than all his wives and his concubines; for he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and begot twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. 22 And Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maachah as chief, to be leader among his brothers; for he intended to make him king. 23 He dealt wisely, and dispersed some of his sons throughout all the territories of Judah and Benjamin, to every fortified city; and he gave them provisions in abundance. He also sought many wives for them.
2 Chronicles 12
Egypt Attacks Judah
1 Now it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom and had strengthened himself, that he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel along with him. 2 And it happened in the fifth year of King Rehoboam that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the Lord, 3 with twelve hundred chariots, sixty thousand horsemen, and people without number who came with him out of Egypt—the Lubim and the Sukkiim and the Ethiopians. 4 And he took the fortified cities of Judah and came to Jerusalem.
5 Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah, who were gathered together in Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord: ‘You have forsaken Me, and therefore I also have left you in the hand of Shishak.’ ”
6 So the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, “The Lord is righteous.”
7 Now when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance. My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. 8 Nevertheless they will be his servants, that they may distinguish My service from the service of the kingdoms of the nations.”
9 So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house; he took everything. He also carried away the gold shields which Solomon had made. 10 Then King Rehoboam made bronze shields in their place, and committed them to the hands of the captains of the guard, who guarded the doorway of the king’s house. 11 And whenever the king entered the house of the Lord, the guard would go and bring them out; then they would take them back into the guardroom. 12 When he humbled himself, the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to destroy him completely; and things also went well in Judah.
The End of Rehoboam’s Reign
13 Thus King Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Now Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he became king; and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there. His mother’s name was Naamah, an Ammonitess. 14 And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord.
15 The acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days. 16 So Rehoboam rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. Then Abijah his son reigned in his place.
The Tragedy of the Wicked, and the Blessedness of Trust in God
A Psalm of Asaph.
1 Truly God is good to Israel,
To such as are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
3 For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no pangs in their death,
But their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men,
Nor are they plagued like other men.
6 Therefore pride serves as their necklace;
Violence covers them like a garment.
7 Their eyes bulge with abundance;
They have more than heart could wish.
8 They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression;
They speak loftily.
9 They set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue walks through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return here,
And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
11 And they say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.
13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
And washed my hands in innocence.
14 For all day long I have been plagued,
And chastened every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
16 When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment!
They are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awakes,
So, Lord, when You awake,
You shall despise their image.
21 Thus my heart was grieved,
And I was vexed in my mind.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You hold me by my right hand.
24 You will guide me with Your counsel,
And afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish;
You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God;
I have put my trust in the Lord God,
That I may declare all Your works.