*Good morning. Today we begin looking into the Books of the Kings. Originally, I and II Kings were one book. Much takes place in these "two" books that detail the actions of, not only the kings of Israel, but of the prophets of Israel. I hope you enjoy these daily studies.

"When King David was old and well advanced in years, he could not keep warm even when they put covers over him. So his servants said to him, 'Let us look for a young virgin to attend the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm. The girl was very beautiful; she took care of the king and waited on him, but the king had no intimate relations with her. Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith ( I sometimes shorten my wife's name and just call her Mel. I hope they didn't shorten Haggith's name.) put himself forward and said, 'I will be king.'" (I Kings 1: 1-5a)

Wow! Isn't this an interesting way to start a book? First of all, a question comes to my mind. Was it some sort of a test to put a virgin with the king to determine whether he was still capable of being king? It almost seems this way. After all, the way this is written insinuates that because David did not have "intimate relations" with the girl his son Adonijah assumes he can no longer be king. Well, I don't think that had anything to do with it. The passage simply wants us to see what kind of shape David was in at the end, and that he lived to an old age. But, isn't it ironic? David who looked at the married woman and wanted her, and "got" her, now can't do anything with this young virgin girl who has been "brought" to him. All she can do for him is keep him warm. Wow! I guess David's needs changed over the years. At the end he just wants to keep warm.

Well, the opening serves another purpose. David's reign is winding down. But, remember David's dynasty would be eternal. If you recall, David has already lost two sons. They would have been the heirs to the throne. Now, it appears that Adonijah is the heir as he is the oldest. Adonijah has his supporters and schemes his way to the throne. However, his reign is very brief. David had earlier promised Bathsheba that Solomon would become king. David is reminded of that promise and declares Solomon to be king. Solomon then eliminates his political rivals and begins his reign over Israel.

Solomon was the first person born to be king. Solomon represented God's promise being fulfilled to David that his kingdom would continue. Solomon, like David, rules a united kingdom and his reign begins in a favorable way. Now, if most people are asked anything about Solomon immediately what comes to mind is (most likely) the wisdom of Solomon.

"Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong." (I Kings 3: 7,9)

Wouldn't it be great if all leaders would pray this prayer? Solomon's plea to God for help comes after God appeared to Solomon in a dream saying "Ask for whatever you want me to give you." (I Kings 3:5b) Wow! What would I have asked for? Solomon asks for wisdom and because he did not ask for wealth, or long life and the death of his enemies God is very pleased. God, not only grants him wisdom, but wealth, honor, and a long life. (Providing Solomon walks in the ways of God and obeys God's statutes and commands.)

It isn't long before Solomon's wisdom is put to the test. There is the story of the two prostitutes who come to Solomon fighting over a child. (I Kings 3: 16-28) One claims the child is hers, the other claims it is hers. Solomon says: "No problem! Bring me my sword. I will split the child in half and they both can have a piece of the boy! The one begs him not to do this, and allows the other woman to take the child so he can live. Solomon realized that the woman who would give up the boy so that he could live would be the actual mother. (The other was fine with the death of the child, because at least the other woman wouldn't get him) Years ago, a scene similar to this one was acted out on an episode of Bonanza. Ben Cartwright was settling a dispute and was beside himself on how to rule. At some point he turned to the Bible and read this story. It helped in his ruling.

"God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than any other man..."( I Kings 4:30-31a)

The fourth chapter gives some insight into the wealth and wisdom of Solomon. We are told that there was nothing lacking in the palace. We are told that Solomon had "four thousand stalls for chariot horses and twelve thousand horses." (I Kings 4: 26) The passage declares that Solomon "spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five." (I Kings 4:32) Solomon is usually credited with the Proverbs. Solomon is described as a teacher, and kings from all over the world would send their men to listen to Solomon. This proves that God is faithful to his promise to Solomon.

Solomon is associated with wisdom. (We'll return to this theme in a few days) Solomon is also associated with something else that is vital to the identity of Israel: The Temple. Before we go any further we will need to understand the importance of the Temple. It will be an important theme from here on out. Join me tomorrow. Have a great day! -Pastor Rick

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