Study Notes

1Kings 3:1-5:18

3:1 Marriage Alliance

In ages past, it was commonplace for rulers of nations to insure peace by intermarrying with the kings' families. Thus, Solomon married the Egyptian Pharaoh's daughter - an idolater who worshiped false gods. I'm sure Solomon justified the action by thinking, "Well, this is for the good of Israel. And, I can lead her to the Lord."

Today, there are many Christians that date unsaved people. Oh, how it grieves the heart of God! For He knows what can happen. The heart of the believer can begin to conform to that of the unbeliever. Their heart for God can grow cold. That's why Paul warned,

2Cor. 6:14-15 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

Of course, it seems innocent enough at this point in Solomon's life. But this is the foothold that the devil got, the little compromise that led to worse things. In chapter 11, we will read,

1Kgs. 11:1-4 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the sons of Israel, "You shall not associate with them, neither shall they associate with you, {for} they will surely turn your heart away after their gods." Solomon held fast to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For it came about 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.

With hindsight, we can always see that great sin begins with small sin. One sinful marriage became one thousand. One unbelieving woman started the downward slide of Solomon's heart.

3:2-4 No House For God

At this time, there was not yet a permanent structure for the Lord. A tabernacle had been set up, but I don't know if it was the original that Moses had constructed. I don't know if the original tabernacle's tent had survived those many years (almost 500) and wars. However, we do know that he'd pitched a tent, and that the ark (2Sam 6:17), the anointing oil (1Kings 1:39), the holy utensils (1Kings 8:4), and the altar (1Kings 2:28-29) were there. The assumption is that the inventory of the tabernacle altars, table, lampstand, etc. was intact. But rather than worship at the flimsy tent, the people were sacrificing on the high places.

High Places

What were the high places? They were areas up on hills or mountains in which the Canaanites worshiped their false gods (Num 22:41). These sites typically had altars, idols, buildings, and symbols of stone and wood. Of course, God hated the pagans' high places (Lev 26:30; Num 33:52; Deut 33:29), but it apparently was a common compromise among the Israelites to sacrifice on the high places. Even the prophet Samuel sacrificed on the high places (1Sam 9:14).

We have a tendency to think that just because something is common among believers, it must be all right. We think that as long as there are some Christians that do this or that we must be on solid ground with that practice or behavior. But sin is certainly sin, regardless of how many people are doing it.

Another thing that can throw us is the fact that God in His grace will speak or minister to us while we are involved in that practice or behavior. When that happens, we begin to think that it's actually the right place to be, since God met us there. But again, even though God is gracious and meets us where we're at, sin is sin.


Thus, it says,

1Kgs. 3:3 Now Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.

There's the word "except." He loved God, except. I wonder if there were a sentence to be written about each of us, what it would say? "He loved God, except he did this." "She loved God, except she did that." The greatest commandment says,


All means everything: there shouldn't be an "except" in our hearts.

Solomon was sacrificing at a high place in Ghib-OHN. Right God, wrong place.

3:5-10 Ask What You Wish

That night, the Lord spoke to Solomon in a dream. Again we see that God is gracious, not waiting for our spiritual perfection in order to minister or speak to us.

He asked Solomon what he wanted. If the Lord asked you this, what would you ask for? Most of us initially think of self-centered things like, "Lord, I want to be wealthy for the rest of my life." "Lord, I want my dreams of starting a business to come true."

But hopefully, we would have more purity of heart than that. "Lord, I want to love my wife more." "Lord, I want to be a more godly woman." "Lord, I want to be free from these addictions so that I can serve you without being in defeat any longer."

What did Solomon ask for? He said, "Lord, I'm pretty young to be the king, especially of such a huge country. Would you give me understanding to discern good and evil when I judge?"

Wow. What a phenomenal thing to ask. The Lord was pleased.

3:11-14 Even More

Because Solomon had not asked for selfish gain or personal exaltation, God granted him even more. This principle continues today. When we seek selfishly, we reap sparingly. But if we look outwardly, God blesses abundantly.

Eph. 3:20 ...Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think...

God has so much to bless us with, but only if our priorities are in order.

Matt. 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

If you're seeking to build your own kingdom, you're on your own. But if you're seeking to build God's kingdom, He will give you increase above what you can imagine. He will give you, as He did Solomon, "what you have not asked."

3:15 Offering In Jerusalem

Once the Lord had met him where he was at, Solomon wanted to please the Lord. Therefore, he offered his sacrifices in Jerusalem instead.

Once again, we see an illustration of the principle that,

Rom. 2:4 ...the kindness of God leads you to repentance...

As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!

3:16-22 A Baby Dispute

This is a well-known account that illustrates the wisdom of Solomon. We've heard it so many times, that it can become obvious and predictable. But put yourself in Solomon's situation. Here are two prostitutes who have a dispute over whose baby remains alive. There is no photographic evidence, no hospital records, no DNA testing, no lie detectors. Both women stick to their stories, each arguing that they are in fact the true mother of the remaining baby. What will you do? How will you decide? Will you order that the women be given joint custody? Make your best guess?

3:23-28 Solomon's Decision

Solomon decided to feign that he would have the child cut in half. This immediately revealed the hearts of the two women.

(4:1-19) Solomon's Officials

These 19 verses detail the names of the officials in Solomon's kingdom.

4:20-28 The Abundance Of The Kingdom

Financially, it was a good time in Israel. The economy was healthy, their borders were secure, the army was strong, food was abundant, and the population was increasing.

4:29-34 Solomon's Wisdom

God granted such wisdom to Solomon that the Scripture says he was wiser even than

1Kgs. 4:31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ay-THAWN the EZ-raw-hite, Hay-MAWN, Kal-KOLE and Dar-DAH, the sons of Maw-KHOLE.

Apparently, these were the brightest minds of the day, but Solomon outshined them all.

He also was a poet, a songwriter, a scientist, and a biologist. People would travel great distances just to hear him speak.

5:1-6 Solomon's Intention To Build The Temple

Khee-RAWM, the king of Tyre, was the man that had sent his own carpenters and stonemasons with supplies to build David's house (2Sam 5:11).

Now that David's son Solomon is king, Khee-RAWM blesses him by sending servants to ask what could be done. Solomon sent word back saying, "I'm going to build a temple for the Lord. The way you could bless me is to let me buy timber from your guys in Tsee-DONE, since they're the best timber cutters around."

Now remember, the Tsee-DON-ians were Canaanites. But Solomon wanted the best timber for the house of the Lord, and bought it from them.

Many of us have been trained by other Christians to only do business with other Christians. Bank at the Christian-owned bank, eat at the Christian-owned restaurant, shop at the Christian-owned store. But there are two problems with that. Number one, we're supposed to be wise stewards of the money God entrusts to us (Luke 16:11). If the Christian business offers an inferior product for a higher price, it's not wise stewardship for us to get it there.

Number two, there is another principle, and that is the xenophobia that many Christians have towards the people of the world. We seclude ourselves into little communities and clans, not coming into contact with "those" people. But while we are told not to be of the world, we are not told to hide from it. Quite the contrary, in fact. Paul told the Corinthians,

1Cor. 5:9-11 I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I {did} not at all {mean} with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person...

The immoral people to avoid are the immoral Christians, not the immoral unbelievers! We've got to be in the world, being the light of the world because God so loved the world!

Solomon knew that the best timber would be from the Tsee-DON-ians. He didn't boycott their business because they were Canaanites.

5:7-12 Hiram's Cooperation

Look at the result Solomon's request to work together brought about: Khee-RAWM gave glory to the Lord. There was peace between the two of them, and they made a covenant.

5:13-18 The Forced Laborers

Solomon now begins the process of gathering the raw materials for the temple, having the laborers work one month on, two months off. Next week, we will see the beginning of the building.

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