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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 3

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-15

Solomon’s Great Sacrifice and Divine Dream (Comparison of Proverbs 2:1-22 ) 1 Kings 3:1-25 gives us the story of Solomon’s great sacrifice that he offered to God and how God blessed Him in a dream. After Solomon made an offering, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked Him what he wanted. Solomon’s prayer to God was, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad.” (1 Kings 3:9) This is the theme of Proverbs 2:1-22, which is how to develop a hearing heart. In Proverbs 2:1-22 Solomon wants to lead us through the same journey that he had to take as a king in order to hear from God. I believe that God answered Solomon’s prayer, not by speaking to him audibly on a regular basis, nor by imparting wisdom into his heart all at one time, but rather, by revealing to him the secret of how to developing a hearing heart through spending time meditating in God’s Word. It was up to Solomon to work this divine truth out in his life. Proverbs 2:1-22 teaches us how to acquire the same hearing heart so that we, too, can walk with the same wisdom that Solomon achieved.

1 Kings 3:1 And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.

1 Kings 3:1 Comments - King Solomon was establishing a “political alliance” with Pharaoh, [18] which reflects the tradition of kings giving their daughters in marriage to other kings noblemen as a part of an effort to establish peace between two nations. Now, the Lord had promised to establish Israel’s peace because of His promise to David. Yet, King Solomon went about to establish peace in his kingdom by using man’s ways, rather than by God’s promises. When he brought Pharaoh’s daughter into Jerusalem with her gods, he opened the door for his own backsliding.

[18] C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, The Books of the Kings, in Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, trans. James Martin, in P.C. Study Bible, v. 3.1 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc., 1993-2000), comments on 1 Kings 3:1.

1 Kings 3:4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.

1 Kings 3:4 Comments - Solomon’s first offering at Gibeon was a thousand burnt offerings (1 Kings 3:4), the greatest offerings that the people of Israel had ever offered unto God, after which the Lord appeared unto him in a dream and asked what He could give back to Solomon. 1 Kings 8:62-66 records the second offering that Solomon made unto the Lord at the dedication of the Temple, which was much greater; twenty-two thousand bulls, and one hundred thousand sheep. God had given Solomon a great harvest for the seed offering that he had sown unto the Lord with this first offering.

1 Kings 8:63, “And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD.”

2 Chronicles 7:5, “And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.”

1 Kings 3:5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.

1 Kings 3:5 “and God said, Ask what I shall give thee” - Comments - God is a good God. He is a giving God. He takes pleasure in giving good things to His children.

Matthew 7:11, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

1 Kings 3:6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

1 Kings 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

1 Kings 3:9 Comments - David has set Solomon apart as a child to prepare him for the kingship (Proverbs 4:3-4). This is because God had revealed to David that he was the chosen one to succeed the throne (1 Chronicles 22:8-9). Therefore, the quest for wisdom and understanding was instilled in his heart from a child. Naturally, Solomon's prayer would be for wisdom.

Proverbs 4:3-4, “For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.”

1 Chronicles 22:8-9, “But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.”

1 Kings 3:14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

1 Kings 3:14 “I will lengthen thy days” - Comments - Note that God lengthened the days of King Hezekiah by fifteen years (2 Kings 20:6).

2 Kings 20:6, “And I will add unto thy days fifteen years ; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.”

1 Kings 3:14 Comments - It is amazing that God would give King Solomon a mighty anointing of wisdom and an understanding heart, and then warn him not to depart from God. One would assume that a person with that much wisdom would naturally be inclined to serve the Lord, but Solomon did depart, and fell into idolatry because of his many wives. We too, can know and understand all things, but still backslide from the Lord as Solomon did. This happens when pride enters the heart and the fear of the Lord is pushed aside.

Verses 1-28

The Reign of King Solomon (His Prosperity) 1 Kings 3:1 to 1 Kings 10:29 gives us the story of Solomon’s reign as king over the united kingdom of Israel. The emphasis in this passage of Scripture is Solomon’s prosperity as a result of obeying God’s Word. In contrast, the final chapter of Solomon’s reign will end sadly with the story of Solomon falling away from God and how his kingdom grew weak and became divided as a result of his sins.

One of the reasons for Solomon’s prosperity can be seen in his willingness to give generously to the Lord. 1 Kings 3:1-15 gives us the story of Solomon’s great sacrifice that he offered to God and how God responded to him in a dream and blessed him. As a new king he had a great need, which was to rule over his people with wisdom and discretion. In his need he came to God with an offering. It was Solomon’s offering of one thousand burnt offerings to the Lord that prompted God to give back to the king a gift. This great sacrifice opened the windows of heaven for Solomon that forever changed the effectiveness of his ministry, for God gave him great wisdom and wealth.

Then God came to Solomon a second time and promised to be with His people and bless the entire nation (1 Kings 6:11-13). Although God blessed Solomon in his first divine encounter, the people were blesses during this second visitation. During these years God did not mind Solomon’s prosperity. In fact, it was God who had given him the power to gain this wealth. In fact during his second great sacrifice at the dedication of the Temple Solomon was able to offer sheep and oxen without number (1 Kings 8:5). His first offering to God consisted of one thousand burnt offerings (1 Kings 3:4). This time he offered twenty-two thousand oxen and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep (1 Kings 8:63). The Lord responded by visiting him again in a dream (1 Kings 9:1-9). This time God promised to establish his royal lineage forever and to honour the Temple with His presence. Solomon continued to give (2 Chronicles 8:12; 2 Chronicles 9:12). As he gave he continued to prosper, and he built to his heart’s desire. In fact, he became the richest man on earth, receiving tribute from many kingdoms around him. Solomon made silver as common as stones (2 Chronicles 9:27). In other words, he made the city look more and more like Heaven itself, whose streets are paved with gold.

There is a teaching in today’s churches that one should be specific to God in prayer with his particular need as he gave an offering. In other words, an act of giving should be accompanied with a request to God for a particular need. If someone wanted a Scriptural basis for speaking these blessing forth as they gave an offering, then this verse would certainly support such a teaching.

Verses 16-28

Solomon’s Great Wisdom Demonstrated to Israel 1 Kings 3:16-28 gives us the story of Solomon’s great wisdom as he judged two harlots. Note the proposed outline of the story of two harlots:

1. The Situation Presented (1 Kings 3:16-22)

2. The Solution Proposed (1 Kings 3:23-25)

3. The Sacrifice (1 Kings 3:26-28)

1 Kings 3:26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.

1 Kings 3:26 “for her bowels yearned upon her son” Comments - This reveals the true mother’s love and compassion for her son (Isaiah 49:15). This display of emotion touched the heart of King Solomon (Proverbs 22:11).

Isaiah 49:15, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”

Proverbs 22:11, “He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.”

1 Kings 3:26 “O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it” - Comments - Only a mother could have this kind of compassion and sacrificial love. The real mother said to give the child to the other lady. Why? Genuine love does not seek its own way. Note:

Proverbs 10:12, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”

1 Corinthians 13:5, “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own , is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;”

Greed says:

Proverbs 21:26, “He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.”


Proverbs 22:12, “The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.”

1 Kings 3:28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

1 Kings 3:28 “the wisdom of God was in him” Scripture References - Note:

Proverbs 8:15, “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.”

Proverbs 20:8, “A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.”

Proverbs 20:26, “A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.”

Proverbs 20:28, “Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/1-kings-3.html. 2013.
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