SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3 (EGW)

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Chapter 1

13, 14. Learning Without God Is Foolishness—Solomon had great learning; but his wisdom was foolishness; for he did not know how to stand in moral independence, free from sin, in the strength of a character molded after the divine similitude. Solomon has told us the result of his research, his painstaking efforts, his persevering inquiry. He pronounces his wisdom altogether vanity (The Review and Herald, April 5, 1906). 3BC 1165.1

13-18. See EGW on Genesis 3:6, Vol. 1, p. 1083. 3BC 1165.2

14 (ch. 10:16-19; 1 Kings 10:18-23; 2 Chronicles 9:17-22). “All Is Vanity.”—Solomon sat upon a throne of ivory, the steps of which were of solid gold, flanked by six golden lions. His eyes rested upon highly cultivated and beautiful gardens just before him. Those grounds were visions of loveliness, arranged to resemble, as far as possible, the garden of Eden. Choice trees and shrubs, and flowers of every variety, had been brought from foreign lands to beautify them. Birds of every variety of brilliant plumage flitted from tree to tree, making the air vocal with sweet songs. Youthful attendants, gorgeously dressed and decorated, waited to obey his slightest wish. Scenes of revelry, music, sports, and games were arranged for his diversion at an extravagant expenditure of money. 3BC 1165.3

But all this did not bring happiness to the king. He sat upon his magnificent throne, his frowning countenance dark with despair. Dissipation had left its impress upon his once fair and intellectual face. He was sadly changed from the youthful Solomon. His brow was furrowed with care and unhappiness, and he bore in every feature the unmistakable marks of sensual indulgence. His lips were prepared to break forth into reproaches at the slightest deviation from his wishes. 3BC 1165.4

His shattered nerves and wasted frame showed the result of violating Nature's laws. He confessed to a wasted life, an unsuccessful chase after happiness. His is the mournful wail, “All is vanity and vexation of spirit.” [Ecclesiastes 10:16-19 quoted.] 3BC 1165.5

It was customary for the Hebrews to eat but twice a day, their heartiest meal coming not far from the middle of the day. But the luxurious habits of the heathen had been engrafted into the nation, and the king and his princes were accustomed to extend their festivities far into the night. On the other hand, if the earlier part of the day was devoted to feasting and wine-drinking, the officers and rulers of the kingdom were totally unfitted for their grave duties. 3BC 1165.6

Solomon was conscious of the evil growing out of the indulgence of perverted appetite, yet seemed powerless to work the required reformation. He was aware that physical strength, calm nerves, and sound morals can only be secured through temperance. He knew that gluttony leads to drunkenness, and that intemperance in any degree disqualifies a man for any office of trust. Gluttonous feasts, and food taken into the stomach at untimely seasons, leave an influence upon every fiber of the system; and the mind also is seriously affected by what we eat and drink. 3BC 1165.7

The life of Solomon teaches a lesson of warning not only to the youth, but also to those of mature age. We are apt to look upon men of experience as safe from the allurements of sinful pleasure. But still we often see those whose early life has been exemplary being led away by the fascinations of sin, and sacrificing their God-given manhood for self-gratification. For a time they vacillate between the promptings of principle, and their inclination to pursue a forbidden course; but the current of evil finally proves too strong for their good resolutions, as in the case of the once wise and righteous king, Solomon.... 3BC 1165.8

Dear reader, as you stand in imagination on the slopes of Moriah, and look across the Kidron valley upon those ruined pagan shrines, take the lesson of the repentant king home to your heart, and be wise. Make God your trust. Turn your face resolutely against temptation. Vice is a costly indulgence. Its effects are fearful upon the constitutions of those whom it does not speedily destroy. A dizzy head, loss of strength, loss of memory, derangements of the brain, heart, and lungs, follow quickly upon such transgression of the rules of health and morality (The Health Reformer, June 1878). 3BC 1165.9