The Review and Herald


October 19, 1905

Lessons from the Life of Solomon—No. 6

The Gift of Wisdom


Solomon, in his youth, made David's choice his own. Pure and noble in character, he was named Jedidiah, the beloved of the Lord. Above every earthly good he desired a wise and understanding heart. Upon him there rested great burdens of state, which he felt unable to bear alone. Not only was he to strive to be a just ruler, but he was also to carry out the long-cherished plan of his father, by building a temple at Jerusalem. As he began to comprehend the magnitude of this special work, and of the duties connected with his kingly office, he sought the great Source of wisdom for divine guidance. RH October 19, 1905, par. 1

An Offering At Gibeon

Early in his reign, King Solomon went with his chief counselors to Gibeon to offer sacrifices to God, and to reconsecrate himself to the Lord's service. In the time of Moses the Israelites were commanded to bring their sacrifices to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. During David's reign the ark of the covenant had been brought to Jerusalem, and set “in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it;” and there he “offered burnt offerings and peace-offerings before the Lord.” The old tabernacle of the congregation was still at Gibeon. David left “Zadok the priest, and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the Lord in the high place that was at Gibeon, to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the Lord, which he commanded Israel.” RH October 19, 1905, par. 2

With “the captains of thousands and of hundreds,” “the judges,” and “every governor in all Israel, the chief of the fathers,” Solomon “went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for there was the tabernacle of the congregation of God, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness. But the ark of God had David brought up from Kirjath-jearim to the place which David had prepared for it: for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem. Moreover the brazen altar, that Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur had made, he put before the tabernacle of the Lord: and Solomon and the congregation sought unto it. And Solomon went up thither to the brazen altar before the Lord, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it.” RH October 19, 1905, par. 3

These sacrifices were offered by Solomon and his men in positions of trust, not as a formal ceremony, but as a token of their earnest desire for special help. They knew that they were insufficient, in their own strength, for the responsibilities entrusted to them. Solomon and his associates longed for quickness of mind, for largeness of heart, for tenderness of spirit. RH October 19, 1905, par. 4

A Noble Choice

“In that night” “in Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream; ... and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.” RH October 19, 1905, par. 5

Solomon answered the Lord with these words: “Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. RH October 19, 1905, par. 6

“And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that can not be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? RH October 19, 1905, par. 7

“And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. RH October 19, 1905, par. 8

“And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honor, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet has asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king;” “behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor,” “such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.” RH October 19, 1905, par. 9

“And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.” RH October 19, 1905, par. 10

God promised that as he had been with David, he would be with Solomon. If the king would walk before the Lord in uprightness, and if he would do all that God commanded him, his throne would be established, and his reign would be the means of exalting Israel as the light of the surrounding nations,—as “a wise and understanding people.” RH October 19, 1905, par. 11

“And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream.” RH October 19, 1905, par. 12

“Then Solomon came from his journey to the high place that was at Gibeon,” “to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace-offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.” And Solomon “reigned over Israel.” RH October 19, 1905, par. 13

An Understanding Heart

The Lord imparted to Solomon the wisdom that he desired above earthly riches, honor, or long life. His petition for a quick mind, a large heart, and a tender spirit, was granted. He became the wisest of earthly monarchs, because God gave him superior wisdom and an understanding heart. RH October 19, 1905, par. 14

“And all Israel ... feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.” The hearts of the people were turned toward Solomon, as they had been to David, and they obeyed him in all things. Solomon “was strengthened in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.” RH October 19, 1905, par. 15

For many years Solomon's life was marked with devotion to God, with uprightness and firm principle, and with strict obedience to God's commands. He directed in every important enterprise, and managed wisely the business matters connected with the kingdom. His faithfulness in carrying out the directions of God regarding the construction of the temple, resulted in the erection of the most magnificent building the world has ever seen,—a building that could not be excelled for richness, beauty, and costly design; and this caused his fame to spread among the nations everywhere. RH October 19, 1905, par. 16

“God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the seashore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. RH October 19, 1905, par. 17

“And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. RH October 19, 1905, par. 18

“And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” RH October 19, 1905, par. 19

All nations acknowledged, and marveled at, Solomon's superior knowledge and wisdom, the excellence of his character, and the greatness of his power. Many came to him from distant parts of the world to see the manner of his government, and to receive instruction regarding the conduct of difficult affairs. The power of his understanding, the extent of his knowledge, the glory of his reign, commanded the wonder and admiration of the world. RH October 19, 1905, par. 20