The First Book of the Kings

Chapter 3

Solomon marries Pharaoh's daughter, 1. High places being in use, Solomon sacrifices at Gibeon, 2-4. Solomon at Gibeon, in the choice which God gave him, preferring wisdom, obtains wisdom, riches, and honor, 5-15. Solomon's judgment makes him renowned, 16-28.

1 And Solomon made himself son-in-law to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter and brought her into the city of David until he had made an end of building his own house, the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem on every side. 2 Only the people sacrificed in high places because there was no house built to the name of the LORD until those days.

3 And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father. Only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. 4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. One thousand burnt-offerings Solomon offered upon that altar. 5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night. And God said, "Ask what I shall give you."

6 And Solomon said, "You have shown to your servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before you in truth, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with you. And you have kept for him this great kindness, that you have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. 7 And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king instead of David my father, and I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of your people which you have chosen, a great people who cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 9 Give therefore to your servant an understanding heart to judge your people so that I may discern between good and bad. For who is able to judge this great people of yours?"

10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 And God said to him, "Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, neither have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern judgment, 12 Behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, neither after you shall any arise like you. 13 And I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings like you all your days. 14 And if you will walk in my ways to keep my statutes and my commandments as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."

15 And Solomon awoke. And behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD and offered up burnt-offerings, offered peace-offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.

16 Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him. 17 And one woman said, "O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house, and I had delivered a child with her in the house. 18 And it came to pass on the third day after I had delivered, that this woman had delivered also. And we were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, except the two of us in the house. 19 And this woman's child died in the night because she laid upon it. 20 And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me while your servant slept. She laid it in her bosom and laid her dead child in my bosom. 21 And when I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, it was dead. But when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son which I bore." 22 And the other woman said, "No, but the living is my son and the dead is your son." And the first woman said, "No, but the dead is your son and the living is my son." Thus they spoke before the king.

23 Then the king said, "One says, 'This is my son who lives and your son is the dead,' and the other says, 'No, but your son is the dead and my son is the living.'" 24 And the king said, "Bring me a sword." And they brought a sword before the king. 25 And the king said, "Divide the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other." 26 Then the woman whose child the living one was spoke to the king, for her heart yearned upon her son, and she said, "O my lord, give her the living child and in no way slay it." But the other said, "Let it be neither mine nor yours, but divide it." 27 Then the king answered and said, "Give her the living child and in no way slay it. She is its mother." 28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Kings, Chapter 3[➚]


[v.6-9] - These verses make up the prayer of Solomon to God for wisdom to rule the people. In this prayer, Solomon humbles himself and seeks favor from the Lord to judge the people. This pleases the Lord, for the Lord "gives grace to the lowly" (Proverbs 3:34). Jesus, during His sermon on the mount, charged the people to conduct themselves in a similar fashion (Matthew 6:33), and that using Solomon as an example (Matthew 6:28-30). In His sermon, Jesus said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). Jesus is saying that we are not to worry about the things of this world, namely, having enough food, drink, and clothing. We are to seek God only and He will provide all that we need to live. Now, Solomon was not only given his request, but God blessed him above and beyond (verse 13). Likewise, God blesses His children with not only what they need, but also eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 3:16).