2 Chronicles 1 (New Living Translation)
Solomon Asks for Wisdom
Solomon son of David took firm control of his kingdom, for the Lord his God was with him and made him very powerful.
Verses 2-6 deal with Solomon’s worship. He gathers the people for worship and then leads them in it, signifying that he places himself, king of Israel, under the rule of God.
2 Solomon called together all the leaders of Israel—the generals and captains of the army, the judges, and all the political and clan leaders. 3 Then he led the entire assembly to the place of worship in Gibeon, for God’s Tabernacle was located there. (This was the Tabernacle that Moses, the Lord’s servant, had made in the wilderness.)
4 David had already moved the Ark of God from Kiriath-jearim to the tent he had prepared for it in Jerusalem. 5 But the bronze altar made by Bezalel son of Uri and grandson of Hur was there at Gibeon in front of the Tabernacle of the Lord. So Solomon and the people gathered in front of it to consult the Lord. 6 There in front of the Tabernacle, Solomon went up to the bronze altar in the Lord’s presence and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings on it.
Verses 7-13 deal with Solomon’s wisdom. The Book of Proverbs is traditionally ascribed to him, and we have stories of his wisdom in judging difficult cases (Who is the real mother? — 1 Kings 3:16-28). Solomon has acquired such wisdom because he asks God for it; he knows that he himself is unable to accomplish the task of leading the people of Israel without divine help.
7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”
8 Solomon replied to God, “You showed faithful love to David, my father, and now you have made me king in his place. 9 O Lord God, please continue to keep your promise to David my father, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth! 10 Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?”
James 1:5 (CEB)
But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask.
11 God said to Solomon, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people—12 I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!”
–greater than anyone until Jesus!
Luke 11:31 (Good News Translation)
“On the Judgment Day the Queen of Sheba will stand up and accuse the people of today, because she traveled all the way from her country to listen to King Solomon’s wise teaching; and there is something here, I tell you, greater than Solomon.”
13 Then Solomon returned to Jerusalem from the Tabernacle at the place of worship in Gibeon, and he reigned over Israel.
Verses 14-17 deal with Solomon’s wealth. And it is magnificent, not to say off-setting. Silver and gold as common as stones, the number of horses and chariots, sacrifices of 1,000 animals . . . a far cry from Jesus’s warning that “it is easier for a camel to go though the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). In the Old Testament, blessings and welfare are often seen in material terms. Certainly there is nothing inherently wrong with wealth — great good can be done with it. Yet as Christ Himself illustrated, one can have perfect faithfulness to God without receiving physical riches and comfort. Material well-being is not the litmus test for obedience to the Lord.
14 Solomon built up a huge force of chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He stationed some of them in the chariot cities and some near him in Jerusalem. 15 The king made silver and gold as plentiful in Jerusalem as stone. And valuable cedar timber was as common as the sycamore-fig trees that grow in the foothills of Judah. 16 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and from Cilicia; the king’s traders acquired them from Cilicia at the standard price. 17 At that time chariots from Egypt could be purchased for 600 pieces of silver, and horses for 150 pieces of silver. They were then exported to the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.
The book of 2 Chronicles presents Solomon in such a good light! But let’s consider a couple questions:
1) Did/Why did Solomon choose to ignore the Mosaic instruction found in Deuteronomy?
Deuteronomy 17:14-17 (ESV)
Laws Concerning Israel’s Kings
“When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.”
2) Was wisdom the best thing he could have asked for? Had David been given the same question, I wonder if he would not have asked for God’s presence and “the joy of Your salvation.”
And to go a step further — if the Lord put that question to you, what would you ask Him for?
To answer that question — HERE is “Give Me Jesus.” Sung by Fernando Ortega.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.