Solomon’s reign was off to a solid start. The men who he did not trust had proved themselves unworthy of it, so he had them dispatched by Benaiah, including his brother Adonijah. He then married Pharoah’s daughter, developing a strategic alliance with one of their powerful neighbours. He continued to follow God’s word and make sacrifices at local shrines because there was not yet a temple.
One one particular day Solomon made a thousand whole burnt offering sacrifices to God at a shrine in Gibeon. He then slept at Gibeon where God appeared to him in a dream. God asked him what he wanted and Solomon asked for wisdom to be able to lead and care for God’s people. God was delighted with this request and gave Solomon great wealth and glory too.
The very next day Solomon gave a feast for his court and during this banquet two women arrived arguing over a baby. They had both given birth to live children but during the night one had died. They both claimed that the living child was their’s. Solomon listened to their argument for a while and then he called for a sword. He pronounced that the child would be cut in two and they could each have half a baby. The mother of the child begged him not to do this and said the other woman could have the whole living child. But the woman whose baby was already dead demanded he kill the child. Solomon identified the mother in this way and gave her the living baby.
This was recognised as the start of Solomon using God’s wisdom.
What would you ask for if God offered you anything? I hear people often say, “when I win the lottery” – how many of us wouldn’t ask for just enough to be comfortable?
But what do you think David would have asked for? From his Psalms and his life, perhaps he would have simply asked to know that God would never leave him, that he could live in God’s presence always? Did Solomon take that for granted, and therefore ask for more on top of that? Yet we know that in spite of all his wisdom, Solomon did not have the closeness to God his father had had.