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1 Kings 2-4

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

1 Kings Chapter 2

The reigns of King David and King Solomon would be very different, but one factor remained as the basis for both of their kingdoms - obedience to The Lord. On his deathbed, David reminded his son Solomon that what The Lord gives, He can also take away.

The King

"When David's time to die drew near [see What Happens When You Die?], he charged Solomon his son, saying, "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of The Lord your God, walking in His ways and keeping His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that The Lord may establish His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a man on the throne of Israel.'" (1 Kings 2:1-4 RSV)

David then gave Solomon a lesson in political reality. David gave Solomon a list of men who would be a deadly threat to Solomon if he did not prevent their treachery now, beginning with Joab, a man who often was as dangerous to his friends and family (Joab was David's nephew, Solomon's cousin) as he was to the enemy.

"Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner the son of Ner, and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he murdered, avenging in time of peace blood which had been shed in war, and putting innocent blood upon the girdle about my loins, and upon the sandals on my feet. Act therefore according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace." (1 Kings 2:5-6 RSV)

David also instructed Solomon to maintain friendships with those who were loyal, while continuing to eliminate those who were a danger.

"But deal loyally with the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table; for with such loyalty they met me when I fled from Absalom {see also Absalom's Advisors] your brother.

And there is also with you Shimei [see Shimei the Benjamite] the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim; but when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by The Lord, saying, 'I will not put you to death with the sword.' Now therefore hold him not guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol." (1 Kings 2:7-9 RSV)

David then died and was buried in Jerusalem. He had reigned a total of forty years.

"Then David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David. And the time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was firmly established." (1 Kings 2:10-12 RSV)

1 Kings Chapter 3

Solomon's kingdom would become the greatest in territorial extent of any time for Israel, partly because of Solomon's diplomacy with other nations who themselves benefited from peace with Israel. Even the Pharaoh of Egypt made a marriage alliance with Solomon. Solomon was not going to waste blood and treasure for war.

Peaceful Blessings

"Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt; he took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had finished building his own house and the house of The Lord and the wall around Jerusalem. The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of The Lord. Solomon loved The Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father; only, he sacrificed and burnt incense at the high places." (1 Kings 3:1-3 RSV)

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked Solomon what he required to serve Him.

"At Gibeon The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask what I shall give you."

And Solomon said, "Thou hast shown great and steadfast love to Thy servant David my father, because he walked before Thee in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward thee; and Thou hast kept for him this great and steadfast love, and hast given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made Thy servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern Thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this Thy great people?" (1 Kings 3:5-9 RSV)

The Lord was pleased with Solomon's request, so He gave him all that he asked for, and much more.

"It pleased The Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."

And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem, and stood before The Ark Of The Covenant of The Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants." (1 Kings 3:10-15 RSV)

1 Kings Chapter 4

Israel in the time of Solomon extended from Egypt to the Euphrates River in what is today Iraq. Solomon's kingdom, and all of the kingdoms around it, prospered in peace.

Solomon's Israel

"Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea; they ate and drank and were happy.

Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt; they brought tribute [see Custom and Tribute] and served Solomon all the days of his life.

Solomon's provision for one day was thirty cors of fine flour, and sixty cors of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty pasture-fed cattle, a hundred sheep, besides harts, gazelles, roebucks, and fatted fowl.

For he had dominion over all the region west of the Euphrates from Tiphsah to Gaza, over all the kings west of the Euphrates; and he had peace on all sides round about him. And Judah and Israel dwelt in safety, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon." (1 Kings 4:20-25 RSV)

With peace came the time for study and learning about the wonders and beauty of The Lord's Creation.

"And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and largeness of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the nations round about.

He also uttered three thousand proverbs; and his songs were a thousand and five.

He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall; he spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom." (1 Kings 4:29-34 RSV)

Fact Finder: As stated in the verses above, The Lord gave Solomon much scientific wisdom in biology, the study of plant and animal life. Why was such scientific understanding not a threat to the true religion of The Creator?
See The First Scientist; also Hydrogen

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