The Wisdom of Solomon
Homiletic Quarterly
1 Kings 3:5-15
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give you.…

I. THE HONOUR OF THIS PRECOCIOUS WISDOM IS PERHAPS DUE MORE TO DAVID THAN TO SOLOMON HIMSELF. His understanding, his feelings, his desires are what they are; in one word, he is what he is only because he has the inestimable privilege of succeeding much a father as King David. His dominant thought, from which spontaneously springs his prayer, is that of the immensity of his task and his incapacity to perform it. He feels his profound need of God's help. He learns to rely upon it. He has recourse to it with confidence. What a help to find in the memory of a father, as a second conscience accompanying us through life! Like the Polish King Boleslaus, who carried about with him the portrait of his father, and for whom it was enough, in cases of difficulty or peril, to cast a glance upon the revered image and say, "Boleslaus, thy father sees thee!" to recover his wisdom and courage about to forsake him.

II. A PROPER DISTRUST OF HIMSELF, VERY RARE AT HIS AGE AND IN HIS CIRCUMSTANCES (vers. 7-9). It was no trifling matter to be called upon to govern so important and unmanageable a nation as Israel. Generally speaking, men see the pleasures and privileges of power before they are made aware of its duties. An exalted position is always an object of envy and ambition. But at the age when one casts on life that long look of confidence and hope, which smooths down beforehand all its difficulties, and takes in only its bright and sunny aspects; at the age when one believes and hopes all things, how many others would have become intoxicated with pride and self-confidence!

III. HIS WISE APPRECIATION OF EARTHLY BLESSINGS. To this offer of the Almighty, "Ask what I shall give thee," who would not expect to hear a young man, scarcely yet seated on the throne, reply by demanding what men most desire on earth — a long and happy life, unlimited and undisputed power, a glorious reign, and unbounded wealth? Not so, however; Solomon begins life by wisely putting all these things in their proper place. There before us success, wealth, the open fountain of all earthly felicities, a choice to make from among the prizes which the world temptingly offers its elect. Who, having communed with himself, would say, "Lord, give me the wisdom and grace I need to accomplish faithfully Thy work here below! That is the limit of my desires; I would it were also the limit of Thy gifts"? I fancy I hear, bursting forth from the silence of your hearts some such prayers as these: "Lord, raise me above my fellow-men; give me, in the profession I have chosen, such facilities as will secure for me undisputed success; make me rise promptly to that fame which appears to me from afar as the sweetest of all enjoyments." That is a young man's prayer, no doubt. "Lord, give me all the outward advantages of beauty, grace, wit, all that gratifies vanity." That is, the prayer of a woman who perhaps does not think herself worldly-minded. "Lord, be pleased to increase by successful undertakings the patrimony I have received of my ancestors; assure me an exalted and wealthy station; grant that I may provide for my children such positions as will enable them to move in the highest circles of society." That is perhaps the inward request of a man of deep convictions, and well known in the field of Christian activity. I dare not proceed! God is wise not to lead us into temptation by permitting us, as he did Solomon, to pray for the satisfaction of our earthly desires.

(Homiletic Quarterly.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.

WEB: In Gibeon Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask what I shall give you."

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