The King's empire was incredibly huge. His dominion extended over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River, from ancient Tiphsah to ancient Gaza. And there was peace on all his borders. During his lifetime all his people lived in peace and safety. What a respected and well liked king he must have been.
He was immensely wealthy. He had 4,000 stalls for his chariot horses, and he had 12,000 horses. The district governors faithfully provided food for the king and his court; each made sure nothing was lacking during the month assigned to him. (1 Kings 4:22-27). His palace was stunning, and incredibly huge. Picture this...the daily food requirements for his palace were 150 bushels of choice flour and 300 bushels of meal; also 10 oxen from the fattening pens, 20 pasture-fed cattle, 100 sheep or goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roe deer, and choice poultry. That's for just one day!
His wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. The king had very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He wrote three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. Men of all nations came to listen to him, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom. (1 Kings 4:29-34).
His name........... King Solomon, son of King David. What's amazing is how King Solomon actually attained his incredible stature. His wisdom and wealth ultimately came as the direct result of how he answered one single question. It was a question from God himself! That's right, when Solomon first started his reign, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1 Kings 3:5).
Makes you wonder, doesn't it? What would your answer be if God asked you that same question this very moment? If you knew that you would be granted whatever you wished for, what would it be? Would it be success? Would it be wealth? Would it be health? Would it be money? Would it be power and influence? Would it be fame? Would it be popularity?
Solomon's response to God's question didn't match any of the above answers. When God said "Ask for whatever you want me to give you", instead of asking for power and victory and treasures and fame, He gave an answer that was filled with humility and honesty.
Here is Solomon's answer. “Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
His answer was perfect! It was the answer God had hoped he would give. God was so pleased with Solomon's answer He said,“Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” (1 Kings 3:11-14).
God granted King Solomon the discernment he asked for. In addition, God granted Solomon what he DIDN"T ask for - great riches and honor. Solomon was rewarded because of his right priorities, his right attitude, his right heart. What is your priority, your attitude, your heart? I've seen it time and again, when someone's priority, attitude, and heart are right, they are blessed by God. And when priorities, attitude, and heart aren't right, things fall apart.
Anyway, here's a fascinating true story that demonstrates King Solomon's wisdom and discernment. It happened shortly after he became King.
Some time later two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled. “Please, my lord,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was with me in the house. Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house. But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it. Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her. And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all.”
Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.” “No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so they argued back and forth before the king.
Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other. All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king. Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!”
Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child—please do not kill him!” But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!”
More on King Solomon later.............