1 Kings 3:1-4:34 – Solomon’s Wisdom
SummarySolomon's legendary wisdom is presented as a gift from God.
AnalysisSome have wondered at how wise Solomon's marriage to Pharaoh's daughter might have been, but this incident exemplifies Solomon's greatness. In the ancient Near East the lesser of two kings would offer a daughter in marriage to the greater king, or his son, as a way of sealing the treaty (3:1-2). Unfortunately, this brief notice also foreshadows the root cause of Solomon's eventual downfall, as his foreign wives led him into apostasy. Solomon's gift of wisdom is similarly double-edged. While his modest request for wisdom above anything else is appropriately lauded, his lack of wisdom with regard to his own family both echoes his father's inability and augurs his final days. Finally, Solomon was prudent in seeking a nontribal organizational principle, the lack of which had caused David such difficulty. The price tag on Solomon's political reforms, however, was excessive, and the taxation, as well as more serious means of paying for the government, eventually resulted in the division of the nation upon his death.