Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 3:7

Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Children;   Communion;   Dream;   Humility;   Prayer;   Solomon;   Wisdom;   Scofield Reference Index - Bible Prayers;   Thompson Chain Reference - Earnest Suppliants;   Earnestness-Indifference;   Humble;   Humility;   Humility-Pride;   Leaders;   Prayer;   Religious;   Seven;   Solomon;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Dreams;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Egypt;   Gibeon;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Dream;   Solomon;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Kings, First and Second, Theology of;   Prayer;   Wisdom;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Child;   Gibeon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ecclesiastes, the Book of;   Solomon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Gibeon;   Intercession;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Prayer;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Solomon;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Worldliness (2);   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Dream;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Divide;   Intercession;   Solomon;   Wisdom of Solomon, the;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Solomon;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I know not how to go out or come in - I am just like an infant learning to walk alone, and can neither go out nor come in without help.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See 1 Kings 2:2 note, and on the hyperbole contained in the phrase “little child,” compare Genesis 43:8; Exodus 33:11.

How to go out or come in - This expression is proverbial for the active conduct of affairs. (See the marginal reference.)

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "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

And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father,.... Removed by death, in whose stead he reigned by the appointment of God, and through his overruling providence, notwithstanding the attempts made to prevent it, and therefore to God he ascribes it:

and I am but a little child; not in age and stature, but in knowledge and understanding; for though his father called him a wise man, and he was judged so by others, and really was one, yet in his own opinion and thought of himself such was his modesty and humility, that he was but a child as to his intellectual powers and capacity for government: some understand this of age; and the Jews commonly say he was but twelve years of age when he was anointed king, which they reckon thus; that he was born at the time that Ammon ravished Tamar, two years after which was Absalom's sheep shearing, when he slew Amnon, on which he fled to Geshur, and was there three years; here are five years; he returned thence and was at Jerusalem two years; lo, seven years; he rebelled and was slain, and after that there was a famine of three years, which make ten; and in the year following David numbered the people, which was nine or ten months in doing; the next year he died, which was the fortieth of his reign, in all twelve years; so reckon Jarchi and Kimchi; and Eupolemus, an Heathen writerF14Apud Euseb. ut supra. (Praeparat. Evangel. l. 9. c. 30, 31, 32.) , is express for it, who says, that David, when he had reigned forty years, delivered up the kingdom to Solomon his son, being then twelve years of age, which he must receive from the tradition of the Jews; the same is said by several of the ancient fathers, as IgnatiusF15Epist. ad Magnesios, p. 141. Ed. Voss. and JeromF16Epist. Rufino & Vitali, fol. 24, 25. tom. 3. ; but this cannot be fact; for, if so, his son Rehoboam must be born to him when he was but eleven years of age; See Gill on 1 Kings 3:5; it is best therefore to interpret this of the sense he had of the weakness of his understanding, and of his incapacity for government, as the next clause explains it:

I know not how to go out or come in; in the administration of government, to execute his office as a king, in allusion to shepherds, as kings are sometimes called, going in and out before their sheep.

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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 3:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I [am but] a little child: I know not [how] to f go out or come in.

(f) That is, to behave himself in executing this charge of ruling.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-kings-3.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

I am but a little child — not in age, for he had reached manhood (1 Kings 2:9) and must have been at least twenty years old; but he was raw and inexperienced in matters of government.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-kings-3.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

Child — So he was in years: not above twenty years old; and withal (which he principally intends) he was raw and unexperienced, as a child, in state affairs.

Go out, … — To govern my people, and manage affairs.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-3.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 Kings 3:7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I [am but] a little child: I know not [how] to go out or come in.

Ver. 7. And I am but a little child.] So he seemed to himself; though his father counted and called him a wise man, [1 Kings 2:9] even before that wonderful increase of his wisdom after David’s death. See the like modesty in Agur, that great wise man. [Proverbs 30:2-3]

I know not how to go out or come in,] i.e., To sway this massy sceptre, to rule this great people. An allusion to captains or shepherds, or, as some think, to a little child who learneth of his mother to go out and come into the house. (a)

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-3.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

I am but a little child; so he was in years; not as if he were now but twelve years old, as many gather from this name of child; for that name is given to Ishmael when eighteen years old, Genesis 21:14,15, and to Rehoboam when forty-one years old, 2 Chronicles 13:7, where the word is the same in the Hebrew; and before this time David calls him a wise man, 1 Kings 2:9: but he was now not above twenty years old; and withal, (which he principally intends,) he was raw and unexperienced, as a child, in state affairs, and altogether unfit for so hard a task.

To go out or come in, i.e. to govern my people, and manage affairs, as that phrase signifies, Numbers 27:17 Deuteronomy 31:2 Joshua 14:11.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-3.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And now, O YHWH my God, you have made your servant king instead of David my father, and I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in.”

But having received his authentication by YHWH Solomon recognised what his great problem was, and that was that he was ‘but a little child’ when it came to running an empire. He was openly acknowledging that as a very young and inexperienced man the task was too big for him and that he did not know how precisely to go about it (thus revealing that he already had some wisdom). The idea of ‘going out’ and ‘coming in’ refers to a person going out of the house or city in order to fulfil his purposes in life and do his duty and fulfil his responsibilities, and then returning, both to rest from his labours, and also to see to the internal problems at home in order also to fulfil his responsibilities there. It thus referred to all aspects of life both near and far. And he was admitting that he needed help with regard to all of them.

An interesting example of a similar humility shown by a king, and vividly depicted, is found in a sculpture at Pi-Rameses of Rameses II where he is portrayed as squatting like a young child and sucking his thumb under the protection of an image of Horus depicted as a giant stone falcon. It was an indication that in the hearts of all men, however great, there is a recognition of their own inadequacy and need for supernatural help, which if not met by trust in God, will find other avenues by which to express itself such as in Nature, ‘Evolution’ or the occult.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-kings-3.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7.I am but a little child — His exact age at this time is not known, but he was evidently still a youth, probably not more than twenty years of age. David, in his old age, spoke of him as “young and tender.” 1 Chronicles 29:1. Solomon, with graceful modesty and humility, feels and acknowledges his youth and inexperience.

To go out or come in — An idiomatic expression denoting the whole official conduct of a ruler before his people. Compare Numbers 27:17.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-3.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

In. So as to judge with discretion, and to lead my people. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

a little child. In his father"s eyes a "wise man" (1 Kings 2:6, 1 Kings 2:9).

I know not = I shall not know. Some codices, with Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "and know not", indicating the Figure of speech Polysyndeton here, and in the following verses. App-6.

to go out or come in. Compare Numbers 27:17. Figure of speech Synecdoche (of Part). App-6. Put for whole manner of life.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

I am but a little child - not in age, because he had reached manhood (1 Kings 2:9), and must have been at least 20 years old (Josephus erroneously makes him only 14 years old, 'Antiquities,' b. 8:, ch. 7:, sec. 8); but he was raw and inexperienced in matters of government.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-3.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
thou hast
Daniel 2:21; 4:25,32; 5:18,21
a little
1 Chronicles 29:1; Job 32:6-8; Ecclesiastes 10:16; Jeremiah 1:6; Matthew 18:3,4
to go
Numbers 27:17; Deuteronomy 31:2; 1 Samuel 18:16; 2 Samuel 5:2; Psalms 121:8; John 10:3,4,9
Reciprocal: Exodus 3:11 - GeneralDeuteronomy 1:12 - GeneralJudges 11:11 - uttered;  1 Kings 1:37 - As the;  1 Kings 2:2 - and show;  1 Kings 2:24 - set me;  1 Chronicles 4:10 - God granted;  1 Chronicles 22:5 - Solomon;  2 Chronicles 1:9 - for thou hast;  2 Chronicles 6:10 - I am risen;  2 Chronicles 34:1 - eight years;  Isaiah 3:4 - children;  Matthew 18:2 - GeneralActs 1:21 - went;  Acts 9:28 - coming;  James 1:5 - any

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-3.html.