1 Kings 3

The Lord Gives Solomon Wisdom

1Solomon made an alliance by marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt; he married Pharaoh’s daughter. He brought her to the City of David
The phrase City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.
until he could finish building his residence and the temple of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem.
2Now the people were offering sacrifices at the high places,
Offering sacrifices at the high places. The “high places” were places of worship that were naturally or artificially elevated.
because in those days a temple had not yet been built to honor the Lord.
Heb “for the name of the Lord.” The word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor (thus the translation here, “to honor the Lord”). The “name” of the Lord sometimes designates the Lord himself, being indistinguishable from the proper name.
3Solomon demonstrated his loyalty to the Lord by following
Heb “Solomon loved the Lord by walking in.”
the practices
Or “policies, rules.”
of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.

4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for it had the most prominent of the high places.
Heb “for it was the great high place.”
Solomon would offer up
The verb form is an imperfect, which is probably used here in a customary sense to indicate continued or repeated action in past time. See GKC 314 #107.b.
a thousand burnt sacrifices on the altar there.
5One night in Gibeon the Lord appeared
Or “revealed himself.”
to Solomon in a dream. God said, “Tell
Heb “ask.”
me what I should give you.”
6Solomon replied, “You demonstrated
Heb “did.”
great loyalty to your servant, my father David, as he served
Heb “walked before.”
you faithfully, properly, and sincerely.
Heb “in faithfulness and in innocence and in uprightness of heart with you.”
You have maintained this great loyalty to this day by allowing his son to sit on his throne.
Heb “and you have kept to him this great loyalty and you gave to him a son [who] sits on his throne as this day.”
7Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in my father David’s place, even though I am only a young man and am inexperienced.
Heb “and I do not know going out or coming in.”
8Your servant stands
There is no verb expressed in the Hebrew text; “stands” is supplied in the translation for clarification.
among your chosen people;
Heb “your people whom you have chosen.”
they are a great nation that is too numerous to count or number.
9So give your servant a discerning mind
Heb “a hearing heart.” (The Hebrew term translated “heart” often refers to the mental faculties.)
so he can make judicial decisions for
Heb “to judge.”
your people and distinguish right from wrong.
Heb “to understand between good and evil.”
Heb “for”; the word “otherwise” is used to reflect the logical sense of the statement.
no one is able
Heb “who is able?” The rhetorical question anticipates the answer, “no one.”
to make judicial decisions for
Heb “to judge.”
this great nation of yours.”
Heb “your numerous people.”
10The Lord
The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here and in v.15 is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).
was pleased that Solomon made this request.
Heb “And the thing was good in the eyes of the Lord, for Solomon asked for this thing.”
11God said to him, “Because you asked for the ability to make wise judicial decisions, and not for long life, or riches, or vengeance on your enemies,
Heb “because you asked for this thing, and did not ask for yourself many days and did not ask for yourself riches and did not ask for the life of your enemies, but you asked for yourself understanding to hear judgment.”
This statement is introduced in the Hebrew text by the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) which draws attention to and emphasizes what follows.
grant your request,
Heb “I am doing according to your words.” The perfect tense is sometimes used of actions occurring at the same time a statement is made.
and give
This statement is introduced by the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) which draws attention to and emphasizes what follows. The translation assumes that the perfect tense here indicates that the action occurs as the statement is made (i.e., “right now I give you”).
you a wise and discerning mind
Heb “heart.” (The Hebrew term translated “heart” often refers to the mental faculties.)
superior to that of anyone who has preceded or will succeed you.
Heb “so that there has not been one like you prior to you, and after you one will not arise like you.”
13Furthermore, I am giving
The translation assumes that the perfect tense here indicates that the action occurs as the statement is made.
you what you did not request – riches and honor so that you will be the greatest king of your generation.
Heb “so that there is not one among the kings like you all your days.” The LXX lacks the words “all your days.”
14If you follow my instructions
Heb “walk in my ways.”
by obeying
Or “keeping.”
my rules and regulations, just as your father David did,
Heb “walked.”
then I will grant you long life.”
Heb “I will lengthen your days.”
15Solomon then woke up and realized it was a dream.
Heb “and look, a dream.”
He went to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant, offered up burnt sacrifices, presented peace offerings,
Or “tokens of peace”; NIV, TEV “fellowship offerings.”
and held a feast for all his servants.

Solomon Demonstrates His Wisdom

16 Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17One of the women said, “My master, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was with me in the house. 18Then three days after I had my baby, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one else in the house except the two of us.
There was no one else in the house except the two of us. In other words, there were no other witnesses to the births who could identify which child belonged to which mother.
19This woman’s child suffocated
Heb “died.”
during the night when she rolled
Heb “lay, slept.”
on top of him.
20She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side, while your servant was sleeping. She put him in her arms, and put her dead son in my arms. 21I got up in the morning to nurse my son, and there he was,
Heb “look.”
dead! But when I examined him carefully in the morning, I realized it was not my baby.”
Heb “look, it was not my son to whom I had given birth.”
22The other woman said, “No! My son is alive; your son is dead!” But the first woman replied, “No, your son is dead; my son is alive.” Each presented her case before the king.
Heb “they spoke before the king.” Another option is to translate, “they argued before the king.”

23 The king said, “One says, ‘My son is alive; your son is dead,’ while the other says, ‘No, your son is dead; my son is alive.’” 24The king ordered, “Get me a sword!” So they placed a sword before the king. 25The king then said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one and half to the other!” 26The real mother
Heb “the woman whose son was alive.”
spoke up to the king, for her motherly instincts were aroused.
Heb “for her compassions grew warm for her son.”
She said, “My master, give her the living child! Whatever you do, don’t kill him!”
The infinitive absolute before the negated jussive emphasizes the main verb.
But the other woman said, “Neither one of us will have him! Let them cut him in two!”
27The king responded, “Give the first woman the living child; don’t kill him. She is the mother.” 28When all Israel heard about the judicial decision which the king had rendered, they respected
Heb “feared,” perhaps in the sense, “stood in awe of.”
the king, for they realized
Heb “saw.”
that he possessed supernatural wisdom
Heb “the wisdom of God within him.”
to make judicial decisions.

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