The Truth About King Solomon – Part 1: Raised from Adultery, Polygamy, and Greed
The life of King Solomon is perhaps one of my favorite wells to draw inspiration and wisdom. It’s easy to gloss over the complexities, but there’s so many layers to unpack. It’s a story of lust, strategy, triumph, and tragedy. Not to mention, captivating. Makes “Game of Thrones” seem like child’s play.
When it comes to Solomon, we’re a talking about the son of one of the most powerful kings who ever lived, whose mother was seduced, and her first husband was sent to his death. We’re talking about a man who witnessed as his family turned on each other for the sake of greed or revenge. A man whose sister was raped by a half-brother. A man who received the greatest wisdom and wealth ever bestowed…and yet he threw it all away by putting the love of women before his love of God.
In the Books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, Solomon passed down his inspired wisdom to teach us how to avoid the same mistakes. As much as my peers used to call me “arrogant,” I think true arrogance would be to read his words and think to myself, “that wouldn’t happen to me.”
So, let’s back it up and really dive into who he was and what he saw as a young child that shaped the king he’d grow up to be.
The Adultery of David and Bathsheba
King David…Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath. It’s a childhood classic. The smaller, younger David defeated the 9-foot giant of a man in Goliath by slinging a stone to the Philistine’s head. Of course, it wasn’t David acting on his own. God (Jehovah) was with him. It was God who guided the stone that killed Goliath.
But even before he killed Goliath, hahaha! You get a sense of David’s zeal when he visited his older brothers on the battlelines and saw Goliath taunting the Israelites to combat.
Young David’s response in 1st Samuel 17:26 was “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
David is one of the few (if not, the only) men in the Bible where it is said that he had a heart after God himself. And I don’t think that should be overlooked. It’s like I always say, the New Testament teaches you the Gospels (Greek, for good news). But the Old Testament teaches you about God’s character, his personality. Yes, there is a lot of death and destruction, but there’s usually a cause and effect.
Back before David slew Goliath, he was just a shepherd boy, the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons. God had anointed David to replace King Saul because Saul disobeyed God’s command to destroy the Amalekites. (1st Sam. 1:15) The Amalekites were a group of people who had attacked and raided the Israelites generations earlier when they were out in the desert wilderness for 40 years. Thus, God declared he would blot out the Amalekites…out of love and vengeance for his chosen people.
When King Saul disobeyed by failing to kill the women and children, I believe he was leaning upon his own human empathy and understanding instead of trusting in the word of God. A lesson we can relate to today when you hear people criticize Christ’s teachings because they personally don’t understand or think it’s mean and intolerant.
When David became king with God’s backing, he set out to expand Israel’s borders and eliminate God’s enemies, we’re talking about pagans who worshiped false Gods and sacrificed their children…an abomination in the eyes of Jehovah. So yes, while David was known for his musical talents, dancing in the streets with his people and his zeal to do what’s good in God’s eyes…he was also a warrior king. He killed thousands.
And though he clearly had a love for God…David wasn’t perfect. That’s not to make light of what he did. What King David did was horrible, diabolical even by today’s standards. David was already married with children of his own. And in 2nd Samuel Chapter 11, we learn that while David had sent his commanders and soldiers out to fight the nations of Syria and Ammon, David stayed in Jerusalem.
And there…one afternoon, as he was walking on the rooftop of his home, King David spotted Bathsheba bathing from afar. The Bible describes her as a very beautiful woman. David sent to inquire about her. He learned that she was married to one of his soldiers, Uriah…but still had sex with her anyway. And when David found out she was pregnant, he attempted what we see a lot of people doing more and more these days. Paternity Fraud.
Paternity fraud is nothing new. For those who don’t know, Paternity Fraud is when a man is deceived, whether it’s intentional or not, into believing that a child is biologically his, when in fact, the child is actually the son or daughter of another man. Cuckled, I believe is another term for it and even in the U.S, there are little laws for protection or recompense for men who fall prey to it.
When King David found out Bathsheba was pregnant, the first thing he attempted was to facilitate paternity fraud. As if bedding his soldier’s wife wasn’t bad enough, David brought Uriah back from the war and encouraged Uriah to lay with his wife for a night before going back to the war.
But Uriah…wanting to be a good soldier and set an example for his men, didn’t go home. He slept alongside the other servants and told King David that he couldn’t in good conscience go home and enjoy his wife, knowing that his brothers-in-arms were at war. So David smoozed him some more with drinks and then sent him back to the field.
In 2nd Samuel 11:14, we learned the King David wrote to the commander and said, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down and die.”
When Bathsheba learned that Uriah had been killed, it’s written that she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent to have her brought to his house and she became his wife. These were the parents of King Solomon.
Just because all this is written in the Bible…it doesn’t mean God approves of such behavior. That’s what I don’t get when people say things like, “Slavery’s in the Bible!” or “See! David had multiple wives”…God was greatly disappointed in David. He sent his prophet Nathan to rebuke David for his behavior and as punishment, David and Bathsheba lost their first son…the one she was pregnant with before Uriah was killed.
One of the most important lessons we can learn from David, is that unlike many future kings, David almost always shows remorse, regret, and contrition when he offends our Heavenly Father. He showed remorse when Nathan rebuked him in the matter of Uriah’s death. He showed remorse after the vanity of wanting to take a Census over all of Israel.
However, just because God is a merciful and forgiving father…it doesn’t mean we don’t have to live with the consequences of our mistakes. King David’s life was full of victories…but his actions jeopardized his kingdom and set into motion the turbulence that led to Solomon’s traumatic childhood.
The Rivalry of Brothers
When it comes to King David…most people know about his “son”. Meaning singular. They know about Solomon. The thing is, King David had eight wives. He had over eighteen sons and daughters. Some were half brothers and sisters, and some had the same mom and same fathers. This is very important to keep in mind.
Before Solomon had risen to prominence as David’s most famous son…there was another. Solomon was just a child when his older brothers had the spotlight. And among the 18 siblings, the one favored by everyone including King David for his beauty, strength, and courage was a man named Absalom.
In the scriptures, little is known about his military exploits before the events of 2nd Samuel Chapter 13, but from my reading, I think it’s safe to assume Absalom’s influence with the military was significant. As you’re about to see.
As I mentioned, David had eighteen sons and daughters by eight wives. The eldest son, was a man named Amnon. Amnon had a problem. He was deeply in love with his half-sister, a woman named Tamar.
Tamar…was the full-blooded sister of the more charismatic and powerful Absalom. You get a sense of the family dynamics in 2nd Samuel 13:4 where Amnon tells his best friend and fellow cousin, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
In Chapter 13, we learn that Amnon pretended to be ill and when King David came to see him, Amnon requested for Tamar to come and make cakes for him to eat. Seems harmless, right?
But when Amnon sent everyone out of the room so that Tamar could feed it to him alone, he took hold of Tamar and encouraged her to have sex with him. She said no. She begged him not to violate her, telling him that it’s outrageous and would put her to shame.
In verse 14, it says that “he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.” …This is rape…
And once he was finished, verse 15 tells us that his love for her so quickly turned to great hatred. Amnon ordered Tamar to get up and go, but she was beside herself grief and anguish, saying “No, my brother, for this is wrong, in sending me away is greater than the other that you did.” That’s when Amnon called for a guard to put her out of his presence.
Ladies and gentlemen…shouldn’t be too hard for us to comprehend the magnitude of injustice, anger, and rage. If I feel this as a spectator born in 1986, over 3,000 years since the crime took place…can you imagine how Prince Absalom felt when he found out what his older half-brother did to his sister?
Absalom shows his cunning, I think, proving himself to be a strong man not just physically, but mentally. A lot of people, when they think of strength, they assume it’s the one who shouts the loudest and unleashes his temper whenever provoked. Allow me to explain the difference between revenge and a reaction:
If you walk up and hit me with the intent to cause harm…regardless of who you are, one shouldn’t be surprised if I haul back and knock the brakes off you. This isn’t revenge. It’s a reaction provoked in the heat of the moment before I’ve had a chance to calm down and think about what’s going on. Good or bad, this isn’t evil…its instinct, in which, the reaction varies from person to person.
What’s not good, however, is for me to think about what you did and carry that anger for weeks or months, just plotting to get back at you for what you did. When Christ teaches us to forgive, its things like this that he’s talking about. There’s a scripture about turning the other cheek…I don’t believe that relates to simply letting someone beat you down, but to let go of that anger and forgive them once the confrontation is over, or at the very least, once you’ve returned to your senses.
Forgiving what Amnon did to his sister Tamar…that’s rough. I’m not about to sit here and judge Absalom for his action or how he chose to handle that. But here’s what the scriptures say: “When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.” (2nd Samuel 13:21-22)
When I read those scriptures, I surmised that Absalom plotted his revenge, calculated it, and never let on that he was seething with rage. This shows cunning, because starting in verse 23, we learn that he exacted his vengeance two years later. That’s two years, 365 days each of holding back, of keeping all that anger bottled up inside to unleash at the right moment.
Two years after the rape of Tamar, Absalom hosted a feast and invited all his brothers; one could assume a young Solomon was there.
Absalom instructed his servants to get Amnon, the eldest brother, drunk. And when he gave the command, the servants struck Amnon dead. It was during such chaos that all the brothers thought they were in danger. Each took to their mules and fled. News flew faster, and King David received the fake news that all his sons were killed by Absalom. He eventually learned the truth, however, and Absalom was forced to flee to his grandfather’s kingdom in Geshur. He stayed there for three years.
Despite what happened, David still loved and favored Absalom. Keep in mind, young Solomon’s alive and bearing witness to all of this. After three years, David allowed Absalom to come back to Jerusalem but to live in his own house and out of his presence. I’m assuming this means away from David’s home and places of business.
But as I alluded to earlier…Absalom was a ridiculously popular figure. In 2nd Samuel 14:25, it tells us that “in all Israel there was no one so much to be praised for his handsome appearance as Absalom.” Absalom exuded everything they wanted in a king.
After living in Jerusalem for two years, yet out of the king’s presence, it was only a matter of time before Absalom felt it was time for him to displace his father as king. He rallied the people against his elderly father, and it got to the point that King David had to flee Jerusalem with Solomon and his royal household.
It was a civil war where David faced numerous adversities, even being cursed by a man named Shimei from the house of Saul…a figure Solomon would remember when he becomes king. In the end, Absalom’s forces met with King David’s to battle in the Woods of Ephraim and there, Absalom was killed. The scriptures say that Absalom was fleeing from battle when his head (likely hair) got caught on the branch of a tree and he was hanging there…before Joab killed Absalom with three javelins (or spears).
SOLOMON’S ASCENSION TO THE THRONE
As King David’s eventful life was drawing to a close, time came for him to pick his successor. Who would be the next ruler of one of the most powerful nations in the known world? Well, King David swore to Bathsheba that their son Solomon would be his successor.
In 1st Chronicles 28:9, King David tells Solomon to “know the God of Israel” with a whole heart and a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought.
This is something no one should take lightly. When it comes to our heavenly father, there is no privacy. Your thoughts are not hidden from his sights. Your wants, your motives, your intentions, God sees it all. This shouldn’t be disparaging, but instead, comforting.
If you read the scriptures and believe, then you should know that whatever you’re afraid of admitting or confessing, God already knows about it! God already sees it in your heart. Thus, you should pray to Him for strength and guidance.
Solomon was taught this as a young man even before God appeared to him in his dream. Think about it. As King David lay dying, charging, entrusting his beloved Israel to his son, Solomon had already seen so much. He knew his father’s mistakes, his triumphs and losses. He witnessed the conflicts and internal strife of his older brothers…and it wasn’t over yet.
While David had chosen Solomon to be the next king…Solomon still had another older brother who tried to seize the throne for himself. I’d like to point out, siblings squabbling for the throne aren’t exclusive to Israel or God’s chosen people. Just recently, I’ve been doing research on the Ottoman Empire and for generations, it was basically an accepted tradition that when the Sultan dies, the next Sultan would have his brothers strangled to eliminate all threats. And sometimes, these sultans would have as many as 15-20 brothers. All dead in an instant.
Adonijah was the fourth son of King David, Solomon’s older half-brother from a different mother. In a classic power move, Adonijah started drawing support from court officials, notably the commander of the army, Joab and other priests in a plot to usurp the throne. In 1st Kings Chapter 1, we see that Adonijah had a feast with sacrificed animals, inviting all his brothers except for Solomon. This right here should tell you that Adonijah was at least aware of his father’s wishes and was willingly to defy him. All of this took place while David was still alive.
Nevertheless, King David had Solomon anointed as the next King of Israel. Solomon took the throne with much rejoicing, the city in uproar, and trumpets blaring. The celebration was so loud that Adonijah could hear it from their feast some distance away. When he asked what was going on, he learned that Solomon was installed as king. Understandably, Adonijah’s guests all became fearful and rose to go their own way. In verse 50, it says that even Adonijah recognized Solomon’s position and feared him at that point.
Adonijah…you got to remember, this is still Solomon’s big brother. Whether it was an act of contrition or fear, Solomon hears that Adonijah had grabbed the horns of the altar where the priests made sacrifices. It seemed as if Adonijah was seeking God’s protection and Solomon said… “If he will show himself a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall on the earth. But if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.”
Then, King David died and Solomon’s reign began.
In 2nd Kings Chapter 2, we read that the matter of Adonijah isn’t over. Moreover, we see that Solomon’s mother Bathsheba plays a significant role in Solomon’s life. You can see he truly cares and cherishes her when he stood up to greet her and bowed to her. He requests that a seat be brought for her by his throne.
If you read that chapter, you could take it at face value. But for us here in the year 2021, there’s a lot to unpack when it comes to what happens to Adonijah, why Solomon gave such reverence to his mother, Bathsheba, or why it was important to be recorded in scripture.
When it comes to Bathsheba…Solomon’s reverence for her heeds the commandment of honoring thy mother and father. But when David was king, we don’t read any mention of Jesse or his mother playing a huge part in his reign after he became king. It could be because they were dead by then.
You can tell Bathsheba is godly in a number of ways. First off, there’s the great prophet Nathan who continually trusts in Bathsheba with information regarding Solomon’s wellbeing and the wishes of King David. Secondly, Bathsheba was perhaps the first to show remorse, shame, and regret when she learned of what happened to her first husband Uriah. I mean…can you imagine? As if being seduced by the great king to commit adultery wasn’t enough, her husband is killed soon after she gets pregnant, and she loses that first child as punishment.
And lastly, you can tell Bathsheba is godly in her innocence. Bathsheba’s push to have Solomon made king wasn’t by the promise King David made to her. In history, there’s countless examples of women seeking power and influence through their sons the king, but we don’t see it with Bathsheba. Of course, keeping an open mind, just because it isn’t recorded in scripture, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
In 1st Kings Chapter 2, Solomon’s big brother Adonijah approaches Solomon’s mother Bathsheba in a last-ditch effort to gain prominence. Adonijah asks Bathsheba to go to Solomon and ask that a woman named Abishag, the Shunammite, to be made Adonijah’s wife. Bathsheba agrees to do this. To Bathsheba, this was just an innocent request. What harm could it do to give Adonijah a wife? I think that really shows her heart. Not a schemer. Not one of plots and intrigues.
Meanwhile, lol, you really learn a lot about Solomon’s character in his response. Which I love so much! Remember, God hadn’t appeared in his dream yet to grant him his wish for wisdom. So Solomon’s reaction and response are mainly due to his experience at so young an age, a discerning mind, crafted by the years of witnessing so much betrayal and heartache from schemes and deception.
Immediately, he discerned that Adonijah’s request for Abishag’s hand in marriage was a tactic. You see, Abishag was a young beautiful woman who was with King David’s side at the time of his death. Some sources say that Abishag was a concubine of sorts. It’s already been established that David had multiple wives. (again, this isn’t to prove God condones such behavior, merely stating that it happened).
In ancient customs, the concubines and multiple wives were early forms of a harem. The harem was a sign of kingship. So, by asking for the beautiful concubine who was known to be by King David’s side at the time of his death, Adonijah was planning on using it as another ploy to signify to the entire kingdom that he was the rightful king.
In the rest of Chapter 2, you really see Solomon’s patience and frustration boil over as he starts to clean house. He sent one of his father’s most dependable warriors, Benaiah, to kill his brother Adonijah. He expels the priest Abiathar, which fulfilled a prophecy that Eli’s line of priests would be cut off. Joab, the Commander who sided with Adonijah was hunted down. He tried to do what Adonijah did earlier by grabbing hold of the horn of the altar…but that didn’t work. He was struck down right where he was. And eventually, the last of his father’s enemies, a man named Shimei who cursed David when David was on the run from Absalom… Solomon had Shimei killed as well.
Thus was the beginning of Solomon’s reign. The lessons? Sooo many!!!
Lesson 1. when God says “Vengeance is mine” in Deuteronomy 32:35, we should trust and have faith that god will take care of our enemies at his appointed time. This should make it easier for us to follow Christ’s teachings when it comes to forgiveness, because I get it. It’s not fair. When someone insults you, attacks you, or makes an effort to destroy and ruin you, I think it’s human nature for a lot of us to want to inflict the same pain we feel on our enemies. Revenge is and can be satisfying, no doubt.
But there’s a conflict in us as Christians, isn’t there. If Jesus Christ can be stretched out on a cross with nails driven through his hands and ankles, with each breath causing his flesh to tear, blood filling his lungs…if he can suffer through all of that for our sakes and still cry out for God to forgive those who know not what they do…what kind of Christians are we to hold on to such anger and hate, yearning for our enemies’ pain and destruction?
Even King David, one who was clearly favored by God himself, suffered from the hands of so many, and yet died without seeing a lot of his enemies pay for their offenses. Trust in God. Trust in Jesus. We are his flock. The Good Shepherd will protect us and handle the wolves that lurk to pluck us off.
Lesson 2. I won’t say whether Solomon’s decisions to kill Adonijah and Joab were right or wrong, but it shows the mind of one who plans on taking his rule seriously. Adonijah was his older brother. Joab served his father as commander of his army for decades. The decision to have them killed couldn’t have been an easy one, but was clearly for the good of the kingdom…God’s chosen people.
Lesson 3. The turmoil, trauma, and treachery Solomon had to endure and bear witness to at so young an age shaped his mind, hardened his heart, and prepared him to be king. Too many times we see what’s going on around us, our own personal sufferings and we’re so quick to blame God or lament without fully taking in the positives of our predicament.
I don’t want to get too off topic, but this year, I had just purchased my first home and there were sooo many problems with it from the get-go. My living room floor was uneven, so I had to have a crew in and drill a large pit through the concrete. It forced me to sleep on the floor of my home office for a month and there was a mad scramble to have everything fixed and in order by the time my parents came to visit the day after the Super Bowl.
It was extremely stressful and yet…I kinda enjoyed it. It certainly made the days interesting and when the place was all fixed up, I gained a greater appreciation for the condo than I probably would’ve before. Lol, I’m 34-years-old, but my sense of hearing and smell is 10x better than before. I can hear a single drop of water from behind walls and around corners like you wouldn’t believe, allowing me to catch problems before they got worse (catastrophic)…
Maybe that’s not the best example…But my point is, whatever cards you’ve been dealt, whatever life throws at you…instead of letting it get you depressed or looking for someone to blame…see the blessings in it! If your date bailed on you, if your crush rejects you…you could see that as “woe is me…” or you could see it as “I’ve been spared and dodged a bullet”.
Whatever happens just trust in God. As I’ll get into with Part 2, that’s the true wisdom. As Solomon wrote in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the most Holy One is understanding”.
The Truth About King Solomon – Part 2: The Greatest Weakness of Men
When it comes to the Old Testament…sometimes I really do take the stories of God’s servants to heart. As if I’m reading the memoirs of my own blood brothers who died long ago and passed down what happened to them, what they did wrong, and how to avoid making the same mistakes.
As I mentioned in previous essays, the first time I read about Solomon praying for wisdom…it really had a life-changing effect on me. I felt so much shame because, until then, all I did was constantly pray for success as an author or success in finding a beautiful woman who I could call my wife. It was all for me, whereas Solomon prayed for the ability to help others.
To give you a recap in case you haven’t read Part 1, Solomon is the new king of the powerful nation of Israel. The third king, in fact, following the succession of King Saul, then his father King David, an extraordinary man who was said to have a heart after God himself.
Solomon had a very turbulent upbringing. His mother was seduced while still married to another man. His eldest half-brother raped his half-sister. Another half-brother, the popular Absalom, tried to take the throne from his father King David. And while David swore to make Solomon the next king, another half-brother tried to usurp the throne through nefarious schemes.
Almost in Godfather-like fashion, Solomon finally had enough of all the games and treachery and cleaned his house. He had his older brother killed, the commander of his father’s army killed, another man who cursed his father was killed, and he exiled a priest to end the line of Eli.
Now…we pick it up in 1st Kings Chapter 3. Here, we read that Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father. It’s here that we learn about God appearing to Solomon in a dream and saying “Ask what I shall give you.”
Can you imagine…here we have God blessing Solomon with pretty much a blank check to ask for anything he could possibly want. I remember when I first read this in earnest. I was about 28-years-old and, up to this point in my life, I had committed myself to becoming a successful published author. My dedication was borderline obsessive. For over five years since graduating college, I spent nights, weekends, holidays, and vacations writing books, developing characters, sending thousands of query letters to agents all in my pursuit of getting published.
I know it’s difficult for most to fathom if you’ve never had an extraordinary goal. Every time I try to explain it to others, they just gloss over it as if this was nothing more than a hobby, like working on a boat or fixing up cars. It isn’t. Being an author is a solitary occupation. There’s so much research that goes into it. You have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to think about what they want, their motives, their drive, their passions. Each new story changed me, because with each new story I discovered something new about myself. And as Solomon teaches us in the book of Ecclesiastes, with much knowledge comes much sorrow and frustration. (Eccl. 1:18)
So when God asked the young King Solomon for what he wanted…one would think he’d ask for money, power, success on the battlefield, fame or glory, right? Nope…Starting in 1st Kings 3:7, Solomon said, “you have made your servant king in place of David, my father, although I am but a little child. And your servant is in the midst of your great chosen people. Give your servant, therefore, and understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil.”
The first time I read that…I was moved to tears. I remember weeping with such shame and anger. All this time, I had been so stupid and selfish. All my prayers had been for myself.
When God asked Solomon for what he wanted, Solomon asked for the wisdom to govern God’s people. He prayed for the sake of others. Reading that was one of the catalysts that prompted me to change my life. It changed my priorities. To the day I die, I’ll always be an author…but no longer would it be my everything. No longer would it come before my love of God and the endeavor to do what’s good in God’s eyes.
In Verse 10, we learn how Solomon’s requests pleased God. It says, “It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, Behold! I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.”
In verse 13, God goes on to say, “I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my always, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”
Wow…So, there’s so much to unpack here. SO MUCH! I encourage you to stop and really take time to soak in what’s written because there’s so many lessons we can apply to our lives, here, now, today. It goes against the lies we’ve been told by the world. Here’s what I’ve garnered:
Lesson 1) In Matt 6:33, Jesus Christ essentially said the same thing to us. “Seek first the kingdom of heaven and all things will be added onto you.” What this means, is that we should always seek to do God’s will before our own, before the will of other humans. If you do this, you will be blessed.
And keep in mind, that “rich” is a word that could mean different things to different people. Most people ascribe it to money and wealth. Some ascribe it to the love and friendship you have from others. Here we learn that the greatest riches of all is our pursuit of pleasing our heavenly father. If you make that your number one priority, you will be blessed in more ways than the world can ever provide.
Lesson 2) “I will give you a wise and discerning mind so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.”
…when you read those words, what does that tell you about Solomon? A wise and discerning mind, the likes of which have never been nor shall there ever be after you.
What that tells me is that Solomon is wisest man who ever lived. Simply put, wisdom is the understanding ability to apply knowledge to our practical lives. James 1:5 tells us that anyone who lacks it, can acquire it if they simply pray and ask for it (which is what I do everyday).
With God giving Solomon a discerning mind, that tells us that Solomon knows what’s right and what’s wrong. This man cannot claim ignorance. He can never use the excuse of “I didn’t know” or “I was tricked and deceived.” I believe this is a gift to a righteous man, but a curse to one who lacks discipline and self-control. What do I mean? Well, let’s make this simple.
I like Krispy Kreme donuts. They’re friggin delicious. If I didn’t know how much calories they had, or how the sugar and carbs would make me fat, I would eat Krispy Kreme for breakfast, lunch, and dinner till I was full. This would be a blissful, happy existence.
However…because I know that an over-consumption of Krispy Kreme donuts can result in diabetes, obesity, and poor health, it takes discipline to eat but one every now and then, and to make sure I work off the calories before going to bed. If I lacked that discipline and ate Krispy Kreme donuts, yet “knowing” full well that it’s bad for my health and I’m likely to get fat with medical bills and declining attractiveness, it would make me miserable. This is not wise.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a major point to keep in mind when it comes to Solomon’s life. Solomon had the wisdom. He knows which choice is the wisest. The keyword here is “choice.” In the beginning, Solomon does many great things in the eyes of God. But in the end, his choices lead to his downfall. And I can only imagine how horrible he must have felt, knowing what’s right and wrong, yet he did what was wrong anyway.
Also, I want to emphasize how even in the Old Testament, all of us are encouraged to judge what’s right and wrong. This is what it means to have a discerning mind. Way too often we hear (mainly from people who are doing the wrong thing) how we shouldn’t judge. Or “only God can judge me”. Or “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
When the Bible’s talking about how we shouldn’t judge, it’s relating to our condemning and executing punishment on sinners. Meaning, it’s not our place to say whether a person is going to hell or not, or whether a person can’t be saved. WE ARE in fact, encouraged to judge whether the person is doing what’s right or what’s wrong.
The Apostle Paul says in many of his letters how we’re supposed to encourage the sinner to repent and correct themselves or disassociate ourselves from that un-repenting sinner. This requires us to think for ourselves and conclude what’s right or wrong. Reading the Bible to learn about God’s Character and Christ’s Teachings helps us to have a better discerning mind.
Lesson 3) Going back to what God told Solomon during the dream, God tells him, “IF you walk in my ways always...” This tells us that God’s blessing comes with conditions. One of the greatest lies the world has been feeding us is that we “deserve _____”. This is a falsehood that feeds delusion and sparks frustration and despair because, the older you get, the more you realize that what you “think” you deserve isn’t happening.
Yes, Jesus Christ died for our sins, giving us the hope of everlasting life…but this is the “hope” of everlasting life. Not the guarantee of it. Time and time again, Jesus and the Apostles emphasize that Christians must repent from their worldly lifestyles and turn to Christ for salvation. Those who are ashamed of Jesus, Jesus will be ashamed of him when he returns in the clouds of glory (Luke 9:26). These are conditions.
So if you’re out here having casual sex out of marriage, committing adultery, slandering, indulging in the love of money but think that you’re guaranteed a place in heaven simply because you “say” you acknowledge that Jesus Christ existed and died for our sins, you’re sorely mistaken. God reads our hearts. While I can “say” I “acknowledge” something all day, God can peer through the words to see if we really mean what we say, if we’re really seeking to do God’s will.
With everything you want to accomplish in life, you have to work for it. You have to maintain it. You have to pursue it. If you want _____, you must accept the conditions that are required to attain it. These are the facts of life. Yes, sometimes it seems as if people had everything handed to them, or that some have it better than you, or that it’s not fair that you have to work twice as hard as someone else. But even there, one could ascribe their lot in life to their parents who did sacrifice and toil under the necessary conditions so that they’re children could have an easier life. While your parents did not.
Just a quick aside, but expounding on that point, I remember watching a documentary about New York where a 2nd Generation Irishman came home as a child in the 1940s, where his family lived in a squalid tenement. This child walked by his parent’s bedroom door and could hear his father crying as he sat on the edge of his bed. His father was an immigrant who worked long 12-hour day shifts to put food on the table, so that his children could live a better life than he had growing up. This is self-sacrificing love. And the Irishman in the documentary said, “I’ll never forget my father’s tears. And I always remembered that I had to honor it. I had to honor that pain.”
Lol, I know that’s a lot to take away from a handful of scriptures. As always, I encourage you to read the Bible and think for yourself. But just like David’s sin of committing adultery with Bathsheba had a disastrous ripple effect on his family…Solomon’s sins will do the same. As a single Christian man who dreams of bringing children into this world and teaching them to live godly lives…I do not take these lessons lightly.
After the dream where Solomon asked for wisdom, we see the astonishing display of intelligence that most people are familiar with. This is the incident where two quarreling women bring a baby before Solomon, each claiming to be the child’s mother.
Two pregnant women were living in the same house. Both gave birth within days of each other. The baby of one mother died because she laid on him, while the baby of the other lived. And in the middle of the night, the mother of the dead baby stole the living baby and replaced it with the dead one.
Quite insidious, really. I’ve actually seen other incidents like this in modern criminal cases, demonstrating how strong the inclination of motherhood is. Even in other animals, such as penguins, I’ve seen where the mother of a dead chick will try and steal a living one to nurse as her own.
But still, what’s a king to do?
King Solomon says in 1st Kings 3:24, “’Bring me a sword.’ So a sword was brought before the king. And the king said, ‘Divide the living child in two and give half to the one and half to the other.”
That’s when the mother of the living child cried out, “Oh, my lord! Give her the living child and by no means put him to death.”
But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours. Divide him!”
Solomon then ordered to give the living child to the right mother and discerned that she was mother, putting the court in awe because they had perceived that the wisdom of God was in Solomon to do justice.
What I like about this, is…there is no “agree to disagree” as we see with a lot of moral and ethical arguments. There is right, and there is wrong. I believe strong leaders, the best leaders are the ones who are able to make the hard decision in the face of overwhelming emotion. Because that’s what Solomon was faced with. Can you imagine his throne room? This is a sensitive situation. There’s a lot of crying, a lot of screaming. A lot of histrionics and despite all that, Solomon judged with sound logic and wisdom.
And just as God had told Solomon, the king’s wealth continued to increase as the days went by. In 1st Kings Chapter 4, we learn that the lands of his Empire had extended to border next to Egypt. He had dominion over the Euphrates and there was peace. Verse 26 tells us that he had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots and 12,000 horsemen. Honestly, think of the largest football stadiums and it won’t even come close to the magnitude.
It’s said that his wisdom surpassed all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. He spoke 3,000 proverbs and his songs numbered 1,005. And people of all nations came to hear his wisdom.
Most notably, there was the Queen of Sheba who came to verify Solomon’s reputation. She came with riddles (hard questions) designed to test Solomon and it’s written, that Solomon answered all of her questions; there was nothing hidden from Solomon that he could not explain to her. The queen saw how happy Solomon’s people were, how prosperous they were. She couldn’t help but glorify Solomon’s God, the one true God, for all he’s done.
Among his crowning achievements was the building of the Temple. This was to be the resting place for the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments Moses collected, written by God’s own hand. Until then, the Ark was moved about in sacred tents called the Tabernacle.
This was important to Solomon because ever since his father was king, David dreamed of creating a great and magnificent temple to house the Ark. It was during David’s reign that he began amassing the materials to build it, such as timber and gold. But alas, David was not permitted to construct the temple because he had shed so much blood, too many wars in his years. Thus, the charge was passed down to Solomon.
1st Kings Chapter 6 describes how beautiful, enormous, and grand this Temple was. The scriptures lay out the blueprint where we learn that main building was about 105 feet long, 35 feet wide, and 52 feet high. This is just the main keep, not including the outer walls surrounding the temple. The inner sanctuary was overlain with gold so that no wood or stone was visible. We see the designs of cherubim, palm trees, lamps, and open flowers.
It took seven years from foundation to finish. And what’s interesting is in 1st Kings Chapter 7, we learned that Solomon concentrated his efforts on building the Temple of God BEFORE he worked on building his own palace. Can’t overlook that. Not to mention, you see a stark contrast in such zeal compared to the Hebrews who returned after seventy years of Babylonian captivity, as in the book of Malachi.
When all was said and done, King Solomon gathered the people for the Ark to be brought into the Temple. It was a glorious celebration. We’re talking about well over 400 years since God’s people were delivered from Egypt and they received the Ark, transporting it from place to place until now, it had a home. I encourage everyone read Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication during this assembly. It really does show so much love and zeal, the passion Solomon had for God and all his majestic wonders.
As awesome as Solomon was to have accomplished so much and praising God’s name…in 1st Kings Chapter 9, we learn that God appeared to Solomon in a dream, a second time. What’s remarkable about this dream is that it reinforces what we discussed earlier…the conditions of God’s blessings.
In Chapter 9, God appears to Solomon and commends him for building the temple and recognizes it, a positive compliment as a father to his son. But again, God tells Solomon…If you walk before me with integrity in your heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever…notice the IF…
In Verse 6, God warns, “But if you turn aside from following me, you or your children and do not keep my commandments and my statutes, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, and the house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight. And this house will become a heap of ruins. Everyone passing by it will be astonished and they will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord their God who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them.”
Ladies and Gentlemen, God gives us a simple cause and effect as he has given us in the Scriptures time and time again.
Mind you, he had already given Solomon the wisest most discerning mind of anyone on the planet. Why then, do you think he would come to him in another dream and remind him of the consequences? Why do you think he specifically noted the egregious sin of worshiping false gods?
I think I know why…and heads up, this is likely to offend a lot of people. For that, I do apologize. It’s out of love, not malice that I say these things. Because more and more, people are afraid to speak the truth. And if the truth isn’t out there, then it’s a world of lies. And while lies may be enticing at first, in the end, regret and heartache over having been deceived settles in. You can get that life back. Time is money but money can’t turn back the clock.
I believe the reason why God appeared and warned Solomon specifically about being led astray and worshiping false gods…was because he knows our hearts. Since the very beginning, our greatest weakness as Men has been putting our love of women before our love of God. Meaning, if God tells us to do one thing, but doing the opposite will get the woman we desire to love us and give us affection…we’ll pick women. Allow me to explain.
Throughout all history, there has indeed been a patriarchy where it’s primarily the men who enforce the law, administer justice, and dictate the policies of society. But I dare say, this patriarchy was commanded by God. Men are supposed to be the head of our households, men are supposed to lead. This is what God has commanded (Ephesians 5:22-28), explained (Gen. 3:16), and instructed (Titus 2: 3-5). And in so many ways, including biologically, it makes sense. It wasn’t until the modern age of technology that humans have dared to go against this order on such a massive scale.
What I mean by that is, once upon a time…Families took precedence. Husbands and wives had numerous children for the sake of survival, to manage farms, ward off enemies, protect the harvest, to protect what they built. People depended on families more so than the government. But since the mid 1900s, the government has taken the place of fathers. Technology has eliminated a lot of the brawn, grit, and courage men used to possess. These have reduced the role and necessity of men in families, marking the beginning of new generations where the masculine qualities and virtues of old gradually fizzled out, not being passed down, and certainly not valued.
To go against God’s natural order is one of the main reasons why mainstream society is so frustrated. There’s so many videos coming out of my fellow Millennials talking about how they don’t want to get married, yet they have children and all kinds of sex outside of wedlock. There’s something missing.
I think without even realizing, humans subconsciously know something’s not working. It’s God’s moral law imprinted in their hearts. But so many have ignored that triggered internal alarm for so long that they’ve become desensitized to it.
One could make a good argument that to please women is actually an effort to please ourselves. But even going with that, it coincides with my belief that on the most fundamental level, the love, affection, and companionship from a woman is what every man desires. God himself recognized it…which was why he created women. (Gen. 2:18)
Easy…I know that’s not what Kingz and Queenz want to hear if you buy into the philosophy of “I don’t need nobody”. But if you believe in the Bible and trust in God, then you should know (or learn) that there are indeed “Gender Roles” between Men and Women. We are social creatures. Solomon himself said in Proverbs 18:1 that “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire, he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
…meaning they’re selfish. Heard of “self-love”? Self-love is being pushed by nearly every beauty on Instagram. But in 2nd Timothy 3:2, the Apostle Paul explains how self-love is a sin with disastrous consequences.
These are not meant to oppress us, but to help us. To go against these God-given roles, is the reason why a lot of my Millennial peers are so frustrated these days. Mainly because Satan has infiltrated our culture and entertainment to convince the world, men and women, that they don’t need God to tell them what to do or how best to live their lives. Satan’s convinced the world that humans know better than God.
Really hammering this point home, if you go back to Adam and Eve, you see the first example of man being led astray. Adam had existed with God for some time (I’d reckon decades) as God created all the animals in the world and Adam named them. Then, God noted that it’s not good for man to be alone, so he created Eve.
In the Book of Genesis, we learn that Eve was deceived by Satan into eating from the fruit of the forbidden tree. And when Eve brought the fruit to Adam to partake, right there, Adam had a choice. He knew what God said. The fruit was forbidden. Instead, Adam ate the fruit that Eve gave him and thus sin was entered into the world.
Don’t worry ladies, this isn’t to heap nothing but shame on you. I found encouraging words in the Book of 1st Timothy that I’ll likely pass down if I have a daughter. If you believe in the Scriptures and endeavor to live your life by Christ’s standards, then as a mother, you have the honor of leading humans out of sin and to salvation.
In 1st Timothy Chapter 2:15 it says that “Yet she will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”
It’s through child rearing that mothers have the greatest amount of influence on their children than their fathers do. Thus, women are uniquely put in positions to steer children to the path of salvation, making up for the fact that we are all born into sin. That path of salvation is through Christ alone. Because it was Christ’s death that allowed God to forgive our sins. Even if you’re a woman who has no children, you can still do your part to influence others.
Think about it…if every woman only gave their affection to other men who lived by Christ’s standards, would grown men “want” to act like outlaws, thugs, get drunk, and sing songs about shooting and robbing people? Would they brag about it in songs or to others? Yeah, those things would get the man money and maybe even clout, but if the world’s most beautiful women rejected those kinds of men because they were doing what’s wrong in God’s eyes…can you imagine what society would be like?
Alright, so why am I talking about this? How on earth did I jump from God warning Solomon about worshiping false Gods to blaming women?
First off, let me make it clear that men are ultimately responsible for their choices, their actions. Adam was responsible for failing to resist Eve and choosing to obey God’s commandment. Even if we’re enticed to do what’s bad, no matter how good it would feel, no matter how much pleasure we think we’d derive from it…we still have a choice to do what’s good in God’s eyes.
Remember, Solomon was a man with a discerning mind. He knows what’s right and wrong. He knows God’s commandments. God personally warned Solomon now, twice, through his dreams. In addition to all that, as you read in Part 1, Solomon saw with his own eyes the sins of his father, the mistakes King David made that caused so much turmoil and destruction.
The fault is with Solomon. Just as it is with all men who give into temptation. What did he do by which he deserves such fault? Brace yourself.
King Solomon had 700 Wives and 300 Concubines…(1 Kings 11: 3)
Just stop for a moment and let that sink in. Can you comprehend it?
When I was 23, I attended my cousin’s graduation ceremony in a gymnasium where the announcer noted there were 200 students sitting in attendance. For some reason, I just remember thinking, “So this is what 200 people looks like.” For Solomon to have over 700 wives, it would fill up those seated at the bottom as well as those sitting in the bleachers.
Here’s the thing…just because it’s recorded in the Bible that Solomon had 700 wives, it doesn’t mean God condones polygamy. There are many Biblical figures who had multiple wives. Abraham had two wives. Moses had several. King David had eighteen.
In the beginning, God created one man and one woman. When Moses constructed the Ark, he was instructed to bring aboard one male and female of every animal. I can’t think of a single scripture in the Old Testament that approves or encourages polygamy, but there are numerous that point out the consequences of adultery.
Just like it seems to be a popular and accepted notion to have sex before and outside of marriage these days, I believe Solomon was a man of his times in taking so many wives. Meaning, it was customary for kings to do so, a superficial sign of wealth…doesn’t mean God condones it.
These problems aren’t exclusive to Israel, mind you. Dynasties around the globe suffered the same symptoms when polygamy and half-siblings were at play. In the future Ottoman Empire, Sultans were infamous for keeping harems of the most beautiful women on the planet. And when the old Sultan died, it was customary for the new Sultan to have all his brothers strangled just to eliminate a threat to the throne.
For God to appear to Solomon, not once, but twice, warning him, reminding him of the consequences, I believe it shows much genuine love and care. I believe Solomon really did endeavor to put God first and exalt him to the best of his abilities, as was demonstrated when he prioritized building the Temple to God, before building his own palace.
But Solomon was beautiful. I imagine he had to be, to be the son of a woman who was so mesmerizing that David caved into temptation and had Bathsheba’s husband killed after bedding her. If Solomon inherited those genes and that of his father, can you imagine the celebrity and sex appeal? That, added with his wealth, intellect, and talent for songwriting…I imagine women far and wide must have found him irresistible.
One of the most sensual books of the Bible is the Song of Solomon…hahaha, it really is so sweet it’ll make your teeth hurt. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’ve just been dumped or you’re in the midst of an unrequited love.
Many believe Solomon wrote this song in dedication to his first wife, known as the Shulammite Maiden. It certainly does sound like first love…perhaps the most cherished of all his loves. It describes his courtship of the woman, their wedding, and a brief time after the wedding, saturated with the intense feelings of compassion and affection they hold for one another. The kind of stuff we all want.
In 1st Kings Chapter 3, we learn that Solomon also married the Pharaoh’s daughter as part of a political alliance. Not much is revealed in Scripture about how he amassed the 698 other wives or the 300 concubines…but we do learn of its devastating consequences. And I hope you read this with a compassionate heart. Because the biggest lesson you’re about to read is not only how Solomon ruined himself…but that of his bloodline and future generations.
Ladies and Gents…the future. Look at our own current society. We are living in the future of our ancestors. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be living in the future of the decisions we make today. And while it’s noble to think of electric cars and the environment, I dare say its our morals and virtues that’s is shambles. Ask others outside the church what “honor” is, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone with an answer remotely relating to God. It’s usually some street code, industry ethics, loyalty to family, loyalty to friends…but what about God?
In Chapter 11, we read that King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh. It gives a list of several ethnicities, but the main concern, was the fact that many of these women worshiped false gods. Starting in verse 4, it says that when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonian, and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. So, Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.
This is huge and tragic. Solomon, the king who built the great and glorious temple of God with such joyous celebration, leading his people in worship where God himself made his presence known…this same Solomon turned away from God to worship false gods. And it was because he married unbelieving spouses.
“Hold on, Rock! How do you know it was because of women? What if he simply stopped believing in God on his own? How do you know his wise and discerning mind wasn’t open to those so-called false Gods and found that they made sense?”
Because it’s in the scriptures. That’s what the Bible says. 1st Kings 11:4 says his “wives turned away his heart.” God himself identifies women as the culprit. I know you might think that’s “shaming women” or “misogynistic”…but that’s because Satan’s conditioned modern society to think that way.
Somewhere along the way, Solomon’s love for women proved to be greater than his love for God. It’s the same as Christians who get divorced after making a vow before God. Somewhere along the way, the love of something else, themselves, their careers, their money, another person…it proved to be greater than their love for God. How do I know this?
Because when faced with the choice of keeping the covenant of marriage or getting a divorce, other than offense of sexual immorality, Jesus Christ himself said that you’re setting yourself or your spouse up for adultery. (Matt 19:8-9) So you have a choice, as Adam did: Do what’s good in God’s eyes, or what’s good in your own. Those who divorce for reasons other than their spouse sexually cheating on them, are choosing to do what’s good in their own eyes.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is why I wrote an essay about the Top 3 Things that Cause Me to Lose Interest in Women Who Claim to Be Christian, and I didn’t do it to bash women. But to stress how seriously I take the covenant of marriage. The current divorce rate is abysmal. 70% of divorces are initiated by women and no, it’s not because adultery occurred in 70% of these marriages.
Ending a marriage just because “you’re not happy anymore” or even physical and verbal abuse, is not acceptable by Christ’s standards. Again, I know that sounds harsh and just plain wrong by human standards. And if I’m wrong, please, send me the scripture that says otherwise. The only other reason I found was in 1st Corinthians 7:12-16. And that’s if your spouse isn’t tolerant towards your religious beliefs.
From the lessons of King Solomon, I’ve surmised these Top Three Follies of Marrying one who Doesn’t Believe in the One True God.
1) The Folly of marrying an Atheist or Agnostic Non-Believer. Out of your love and desire to be with the non-believer, it may cause you to put them before your love of God. Those who have no commitment to any law or standard (like Christ’s standards) have little to no regard for anything sacred or holy, making them prone to trample on that what is sacred or holy…like marriage. It also opens you up to disagreements on how to raise your children. With one parent saying “it’s okay to do this or that,” but you know Christ’s standards and want to teach them the right way.
2) The Folly of Marrying Someone of a Different Faith. Out of your love and desire to please this believer of a false god, you’re tempted to worship the same way they worship, believe their doctrines, and turn away from the one true God. Not to mention, if they’re faith is stronger than yours…meaning, if you’re of the “I believe in God, but I’m not religious” variety, then you’re likely be drawn to their passion like a moth to a flame. Because your faith isn’t strong, and your mind is too flexible, a stronger theist has a better chance of bending your mind to worship the false god.
I’ve seen too many documentaries about cults where husbands or wives were deceived into believing the cult leader was the word of God, letting these assholes have their way with their spouses and brainwashing their children. Male followers of David Koresh allowed Koresh to have sex and procreate with their wives. If they had read the Bible for themselves, they would’ve known Koresh was speaking false doctrines and misinterpreting God’s word. The above picture is of self-proclaimed prophet and Nuwaubian cult leader Dwight York. This guy practiced polygamy, raped virgins, and molested children as young as five.
3) The Folly of Corrupting our Children. Speaking of children, this perhaps is my greatest motivation. The concept of a protective she-bear is quite popular…not sure if there’s many depictions of men like me. The kind when asked, “could you ever kill someone?” wouldn’t hesitate to say yes, thinking of any lethal threat to our sons and daughters.
But it’s not just the physical threat to our children that we have to worry about. Satan’s clutches run deep. He’s infiltrated every facet of society, none more so than the education system. Sending our children to school exposes them to the influence and teachings of worldly doctrines that may go against Christ’s teachings. With the rise of single-parent households, more and more children are vulnerable to leftist ideologies that promotes abominations in God’s eyes. They’re vulnerable to the peer pressure of being ostracized if they don’t agree and go along with what the rest of the class believes.
What’s the point of procreating, having a hand in giving your children the gift of life…only to give them over to Satan and destruction? That’s why I felt bad when I heard a recent Atheist say she didn’t want to have children because she knows the child is just going to grow old and die. For Christians, we shouldn’t have this mindset. Yes, it’s possible that the child will suffer all kinds of hardships. But life is also full of blessings, joy, and triumph. And if we steer our children in the right direction, death is indeed conquered because of Jesus’s sacrifice. They’ll have the hope of everlasting life. This is the gift we should all embrace!
So…when I read what happened with Solomon, it strengthened my resolve. Again, I’m left to ask, “If this happened to the wisest man who ever lived…what kind of man would I be to go, ‘nah, that wouldn’t happen to me. I’d resist temptation and not be led astray.”
Because as I get older, I’m constantly tested in this regard. “Just take a chance, Rock. Maybe you can work with her, teach her about God, and convert her.” they’d tell me.
Dude…if Solomon, blessed with unimaginable wealth, prosperity and wisdom…one of the most powerful kings in the world couldn’t convert his heathen wives to serve the one true God…Come on, man.
Whenever someone gives me the “take a chance,” advice despite the numerous red flags, I can’t help but think of Jesus when Peter tried to persuade him not to go to Jerusalem. At Matt 16:23, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
The consequences of Solomon allowing himself to be led astray was just as God warned. In 1st Kings Chapter 11, God tells Solomon that he will tear the kingdom away from him. God raised adversaries like Hadad and Rezon, leaders who attacked and harassed Israel.
Then there was perhaps the most destructive of the adversaries God raised up against Israel, Jeroboam. He was actually appointed by King Solomon to be a leader of public works, so he was well known. God sent a prophet to Jeroboam and told him that he was going to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand and give Jeroboam ten of the twelve tribes that made up the whole of the united Israel.
Thus, during the reign of King Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, the powerful nation of Israel is divided between the North and South Kingdoms. The two kingdoms would war with each other for generations and it all stemmed from Solomon allowing himself to be led astray.
From reading the New Testament, I can tell you that apostasy and rejecting Christ especially when you’ve come to know the truth, is one of the greatest, if not the greatest offense of all. And yet, I am forever grateful for God blessing us with Solomon’s example through written text…and through Solomon, blessing us with a legacy in which all that wisdom passed down to us.
The Bible Books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. King Solomon was the main author of these three books. Reading them in earnest, realizing you know so little and you’re nothing but a student learning from the teacher…will greatly increase your intellect, expand your mind, and teach you wisdom.
In Ecclesiastes, particularly, it teaches that the only fulfilled life is one lived in proper recognition and service to God. Any other kind of life is frustrating and/or pointless. All earthly goals and ambitions when pursued as ends of themselves, produce only emptiness. Who else would know better than King Solomon himself?
Solomon’s story is unique in that he is blessed with a level of self-awareness and reflection that you really don’t see from a lot of other authors. He passes down knowledge, not just of what he’s observed, but also the lessons from his own mistakes. When I read the Bible, I collected notes of my favorite scriptures, scriptures I could definitely apply to the modern times. These are my favorite. Thanks for reading.
Prov. 29:18 – “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” – this one reminds me of people who do whatever they want, when they think no one is looking.
Prov. 21:14 – “A gift made in secret averts anger, and a concealed bribe, strong wrath”
Prov. 17:15 – “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.”
Prov. 17:24 – “The discerning sets his face to wisdom, but the eyes of the fool are on the ends of the world.”
Eccl. 1:18 – “For an abundance of wisdom brings an abundance of frustration, whoever increases their knowledge, increases their sorrow.” – This one was profound for me during my journey to read the Bible from cover to cover. The more I learned the truth, it really was heartbreaking how far humans have come from God’s principles. Thankfully, there’s plenty of encouragement to counteract the sorrow.
Eccl. 7:16 – “Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself?” – I keep this scripture in mind when it comes to my zeal for God in the face of others. Let’s face it, wickedness is everywhere and more than likely, most of your peers don’t have the word of God on their tongues, save for a few hours on Sunday. We have to be careful when it comes to proving ourselves too overly righteous because it’s the quickest way to make enemies.
Eccl. 8:11 “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.” – Sadly, this reminds me of those who aspire to be thugs, gangsters, OnlyFan Models, rappers and Kardashian wannabes. People see others getting rich, famous, and “successful” by doing things that are wicked and worldly and because they’re celebrated by others, because that’s what’s attracting the opposite sex…the young and impressionable are emboldened to follow their path. This is not good.
Proverbs 5: probably the most Red Pill chapter in the Bible. Solomon tells us what will happen if you fall for the wrong woman, as in adultery. Divorce and agony, all your things given away to strangers. Starting in verse 18, he says, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. 20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? 21 For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths. 22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. 23 He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.
Prov. 17:17 – “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – MacArthur’s study notes explains: “The difference between a friend and brother is noted here. A true friend is a constant source of love, while a brother in one’s family may not be close, but is drawn near to help in trouble. Friends are closer than brothers because they are available all the time, not just in crisis.
Proverbs 30: 7-9 – “Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: 8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 9 lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God”
That one helped me to understand and articulate why it always bothered me when I saw Crips, Bloods, and other gang members tatted up in Crucifixes and proclaiming to be Christians, yet they rob, shoot, and commit all kinds of crimes. I believe when they do all this while proclaiming to be Christians, they are indeed profaning God’s name. Meaning, they’re misrepresenting what Christ taught and died for.
Proverbs 30:18-23 teaches how society is agitated when normal roles are overturned. The metaphors portrayed in these scriptures are the servants reigning, fools are made rich, hated women are married, and maidservants become wives. The MacArthur study notes explains the metaphors as this: “Hypocrisy is illustrated by four natural analogies of concealment: 1) an eagle leaves no trail in the air, 2) a slithering snake leaves no trail on the rock, 3) a ship leaves no trail in the sea 4) a man leaves no mark after he has slept with a virgin. These actions are all concealed and thus serve to illustrate the hypocrisy of the adulterous woman who hides the evidences of her shame while professing innocence.
While Proverbs 31 is written by Lemuel, it definitely gives us advice as to the type of women we’re looking for to marry. One who is self-sacrificing, virtuous, loyal to her husband with a fear of God. Taking care of her household is her joy. The chapter tells us that women like this are far more precious than jewels…(definitely not the kind of woman mainstream society is churning out).
Also, if you’re the type to counter with, “oh yeah, well what about the men…” Even if men are doing what’s wrong in God’s eyes, what will you do? Or are you saying your behavior and choices are all dependent on what men do? I encourage you to read that chapter and discern for yourself.
Eccl. 9:17 – “The words of the wise heard in quiet, are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.” — This scripture teaches integrity. Just to give you some context, in the preceding verses, Solomon describes a city besieged by a king. The city was saved by the wisdom of a poor old man but nobody remembers the old man and they despise the very wisdom that saved their lives. Even still, it’s this wisdom that’s better than “might”.
Eccl. 11:5 – is a good anti-abortion scripture. “As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” implying that life does indeed begin at conception, because the spirit enters the child in the womb. Thus, abortion is a form of murder. You’re killing the life inside the womb.