Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 3:12

behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Children;   Communion;   Dream;   Heart;   Longevity;   Prayer;   Solomon;   Wisdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Prayer;   The Topic Concordance - Obedience;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Dreams;   Justice;   Prayer, Answers to;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ecclesiastes;   Gibeon;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Solomon;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Biblical Theology;   Justice;   Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   Mind/reason;   Prayer;   Wisdom;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Heart;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ecclesiastes, the Book of;   Meshach;   Solomon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Intercession;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Hardening of Heart;   Worldliness (2);   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Dream;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Wisdom (1);  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Covenant, in the Old Testament;   Divide;   Dream;   Ecclesiastes, or the Preacher;   Intercession;   Wisdom of Solomon, the;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart - I have given thee a capacious mind, one capable of knowing much: make a proper use of thy powers, under the direction of my Spirit, and thou shalt excel in wisdom all that have gone before thee; neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. But, query, Was not all this conditional? If he should walk in his ways, and keep his statutes and commandments, 1 Kings 3:14. Was it not to depend upon his proper use of initiatory inspirations? Did he ever receive all this wisdom? Did not his unfaithfulness prevent the fulfillment of the Divine purpose? Instead of being the wisest of men, did he not become more brutish than any man? Did he not even lose the knowledge of his Creator, and worship the abominations of the Moabites, Zidonians, etc., etc.! And was not such idolatry a proof of the grossest stupidity? How few proofs does his life give that the gracious purpose of God was fulfilled in him! He received much; but he would have received much more, had he been faithful to the grace given. No character in the sacred writings disappoints us more than the character of Solomon.

None like thee before thee - That is, no king, either in Israel or among the nations, as the following verse explains.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

A wise and an understanding heart - Solomon‘s wisdom seems to have been both moral and intellectual (see 1 Kings 4:29-34). But it was moral wisdom alone which he requested, and which was promised him. The terms translated “wise” and “understanding,” both denote practical wisdom. (See Genesis 41:33, Genesis 41:39; Deuteronomy 4:6; Proverbs 1:2, etc.)

Neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee - i. e. in the knowledge of what was in man, and in the wisdom to direct men‘s goings, he was to be the wisest of “all” mere men. In such wisdom the world would know one only “greater than Solomon” Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-3.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Behold, I have done according to thy words,.... Expressed in his request: he not only promised he would grant him it, but he had already done it, or at least had begun to do it:

lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; had greatly increased his wisdom and understanding in things political, things respecting civil government, and also in things natural, in the knowledge of the things of nature as appears from 1 Kings 4:33; and of the arts and sciences:

so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee: which some restrain to kings, and to the kings of Israel; that there were none of the kings before him, as Saul and David, like him for wisdom, nor any of the kings of Judah and Israel after him; but it may include all men of all nations in the world, since he is said to be wiser than all men; and some other nations, and particular men of other nations, famous for wisdom, are expressly mentioned as inferior to him, 1 Kings 4:30; but then this must be understood of men since the fall; for Adam, doubtless, had a larger stock of knowledge and understanding in his state of innocence than ever Solomon had; and it must be restrained to political and natural knowledge; for, as for divine knowledge, Kimchi excepts Moses; and we may well except the apostles of Christ for spiritual and evangelical knowledge; and as for our Lord, the antitype of Solomon, he is greater than him in all kind of knowledge, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge being hid in him, see Matthew 12:42.

Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-3.html. 1999.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

AN UNSPEAKABLE GIFT

‘Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart.’

1 Kings 3:12

As He is wont, God gave Solomon more than he asked. There is a difference between the favour that was sought and the boon which was granted. ‘The heart’ is the affections; ‘the understanding’ is the intelligent knowledge of any subject; ‘wisdom’ is the sensible and right use both of the knowledge and the affections.

I. Wisdom is the only thing of which God has said that He gives it liberally and never upbraids.—No man need be afraid to ask for wisdom, however often or however much. Solomon’s wisdom went higher than all natural history, higher than political economy, higher than moral science. It went up to essential truth, to the Truth of truths, to Christ Himself. Read the eighth chapter of Proverbs, and you will see, beyond a cavil, what and who was the ‘the Wisdom’ that God gave to Solomon. All this was the result of one good choice, and the answer to one simple, humble prayer in early life.

II. There is a very solemn lesson in the fact that Solomon afterwards abused that vast gift, that that very heart went wrong.—No one prayer can secure continuance; one period of life is no guarantee for another period of life; the intellect may be darkened, and the heart may go wrong, and the wisest man become the worst.

III. The triple band of wisdom, intellect, and love is a ‘three fold cord, which shall not be quickly broken.’—Affections are the springs of life, without which the man lies dormant and useless. Affections are the seat of faith, and the heaven of this present life. And intellect is strength. Intellect takes in all truth, and is the characteristic of man. But wisdom takes us higher. Wisdom teaches us that the affections and the intellect have a far end beyond; that we must live up to our immortality; that we must be like God. Wisdom blends and sanctifies the heart and the understanding, gives unity, completes our being, moulds nature into grace, and turns the man into a saint.

Illustration

‘Solomon’s choice pleased God, and He gave him his request—a wise and an understanding heart, that he might be a good king. Then He gave also more, new riches and honour. Riches are a blessing when one has the wisdom to use them well. Honour is a blessing when one knows how to wear it for Christ. When one’s heart is right God loves to give this world’s good things to add to one’s power for doing good. As we read these words of God to Solomon we think of the words of the Great Teacher: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” These are not the first things—the first things must always be God and good. Then if we put God and His kingdom first, He loves to add the blessings of His grace and providence to meet all our needs and to fill our hands for all service.’

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-kings-3.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 3:12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

Ver. 12. So that there was none like thee before thee.] Solomon was not only wiser than Trismegist, Orpheus, Homer, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Lycurgus, Ptolemy Philadelph - who was βασιλευς φιλολογωτατος, saith Cyril, a most learned king, but also Abraham, Moses, David, yea, Adam himself after the fall: he was the wisest mere man, take him for everything, that ever was; insomuch as he had all manner of knowledge, natural and supernatural, infused into him - his deep insight into the mystery of Christ, he discovered in the Canticles - and so became a notable type of Christ, "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." [Colossians 2:3] And here Solomon had more than he asked, so have we; [Ephesians 3:20] and not only more than he asked, but other things also that he asked not.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-3.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 Kings 3:12

As He is wont, God gave Solomon more than he asked. There is a difference between the favour that was sought and the boon which was granted. "The heart" is the affections; "the understanding" is the intelligent knowledge of any subject; "wisdom" is the sensible and right use both of the knowledge and the affections.

I. Wisdom is the only thing of which God has said that He gives it liberally and never upbraids. No man need be afraid to ask for wisdom, however often or however much. Solomon's wisdom went higher than all natural history, higher than political economy, higher than moral science. It went up to essential truth, to the Truth of truths, to Christ Himself. Read the eighth chapter of Proverbs, and you will see, beyond a cavil, what and who was "the Wisdom" that God gave to Solomon. All this was the result of one good choice, and the answer to one simple, humble prayer in early life.

II. There is a very solemn lesson in the fact that Solomon afterwards abused that vast gift, that that very heart went wrong. No one prayer can secure continuance; one period of life is no guarantee for another period of life; the intellect may be darkened, and the heart may go wrong, and the wisest man become the worst.

III. The triple band of wisdom, intellect, and love is a "threefold cord, which shall not be quickly broken." Affections are the springs of life, without which the man lies dormant and useless. Affections are the seat of faith, and the heaven of this present life. And intellect is strength. Intellect takes in all truth, and is the characteristic of man. But wisdom takes us higher. Wisdom teaches us that the affections and the intellect have a far end beyond; that we must live up to our immortality; that we must be like God. Wisdom blends and sanctifies the heart and the understanding, gives unity, completes our being, moulds nature into grace, and turns the man into a saint.

J. Vaughan, Sermons, 12th series, p. 101.


References: 1 Kings 3:24-27.—A. Mursell, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxii., p. 172. 1 Kings 4:20-28.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxv., No. 1504.



Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/1-kings-3.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I have done according to thy words; I have granted, and do at this present grant, unto thee thy desire. And accordingly at this time God did infuse into him a far higher degree and greater measure of wisdom than he naturally had.

A wise and an understanding heart, i.e. wisdom to govern thy people, to know and do thy several duties; which was the thing that Solomon desired, 1 Kings 3:7,9, and the effects whereof here follow, 1 Kings 3:16, &c.; and withal, all Divine and human wisdom, the knowledge of all things, of all the arts and sciences, as may be gathered from 1 Kings 4:29, &c., and that in a far greater proportion than by his years, and the time he could get for his study, could possibly produce.

So that there was none; either no king, or rather, no man; for he is herein preferred, not only before all kings, but before all men, 1 Kings 4:31; no mere man since the fall equalled him, to wit, in universal knowledge, and especially in the art of well-governing his people.

Neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

Quest. Did not the apostles excel him? Answ. They did not in natural and political knowledge, but only in the knowledge of the mysteries of faith, which were more freely and more fully imparted in those times; the ignorance whereof was no disparagement to Solomon’s wisdom, because they were not discoverable by any creature without Divine revelation, which God saw fit not to afford in Solomon’s time. I know no inconvenience in affirming that Solomon’s natural capacities were higher than any of the apostles; and Solomon had a more comprehensive knowledge of all things known in that age, than the apostles had in all the discoveries of their age.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-3.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12.Lo, I have given thee — It is the Father’s good pleasure to give wisdom to them that seek for it. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5.

None like thee — Solomon’s wisdom was, to a certain extent, a supernatural gift, a signal dispensation of Divine favour, which must not be classed with natural acquirements which are ordinarily obtained by dint of mental application alone. But while this much appears upon the face of the history before us, we must not suppose that all his knowledge was so special and supernatural an endowment as that he received it without any effort on his part. He doubtless studied and toiled like other men for his acquirements, but he was divinely and supernaturally assisted in a manner and to an extent which no other man ever enjoyed. We shall see further in 1 Kings 4:29-34, that Solomon’s wisdom comprehended natural science, political sagacity, and a deep insight into spiritual truths.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-3.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

After thee. Solomon has given us some idea of his wisdom in the works which he has left. They were dictated by the Holy Spirit, who adorned his soul with so many graces, chap. iv. 29, 30. (Haydock) --- His knowledge of nature, and of the art of governing, excelled that of any of the kings of Israel; (Lyranus, &c.; 2 Paralipomenon ix.) though Moses and the apostles had a more comprehensive knowledge of the mysteries of God. (Calmet) --- Yet, even granting that no mere man might come up to him, Jesus Christ, in whom the treasures of wisdom were contained, was far superior. (Haydock) --- General propositions are often to be understood with a limitation. (Menochius)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

like thee. Supply Figure of speech Ellipsis, by adding "among the kings" from 1 Kings 3:13 with 1 Kings 10:23.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-3.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
I have done
Psalms 10:17; Isaiah 65:24; Romans 8:26,27; 1 John 5:14,15
I have given
28; 2:6,9; 4:29-34; 5:12; 10:3-8,23,24; 2 Chronicles 1:11,12; 2:12; 9:5-8; Ecclesiastes 1:13,16; Luke 21:15
neither
Matthew 12:42; Colossians 2:3
Reciprocal: Exodus 31:6 - wise hearted;  Exodus 35:35 - he filled;  Deuteronomy 34:9 - full of the spirit;  1 Kings 4:31 - wiser;  2 Chronicles 9:2 - there;  2 Chronicles 9:22 - passed all the kings;  Job 32:8 - the inspiration;  Psalm 119:173 - for;  Proverbs 2:6 - the Lord;  Proverbs 16:21 - wise;  Ecclesiastes 2:9 - GeneralEcclesiastes 2:15 - even to me;  Ecclesiastes 7:23 - I said;  Daniel 1:17 - God;  James 1:5 - any;  James 3:17 - the wisdom;  2 Peter 3:15 - according

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-3.html.