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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

1 Kings 3

Verses 1-28

  1. Intro: Solomon, Foolish Wise King
    1. Ch’s 3-11 will start to focus in on Solomon’s building projects.
    2. What do you put at the very tip top of the list, of a request of God? Ask.
      1. Moses said, to know You and find grace your site. Ex.33:13. Or, Paul said, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. Phil.3:10
  2. FOOLISH WISE KING (1-15) Asking for Wisdom
    1. (1) In the ancient Near East, the practice of marrying the daughters of neighboring rulers served as a peace treaty.
      1. While Solomon’s reign represented a period of peace, foreign marriage alliances eventually caused the kingdom to crumble from within.
      2. This is the only historical record of the pharaoh of Egypt alone his daughter to marry foreigner and then go to live in husbands home country.
        1. This is most probably Siamun 978-959bc [6th Pharaoh of Egypt]. This note then is testimony to the worldwide power and influence of Israel in the days of Solomon, as well as to the relative weakness of Egypt during this time.
    2. (3-5) During the period of the Judges, the Israelites adopted the Canaanite custom of offering sacrifices at…high places.
      1. These were on hilltops and other elevations. The pagan Canaanites felt that the closer they got to heaven the more likely was the possibility that their prayers and offerings would reach their gods.
      2. Offering sacrifices at places other than the tabernacle was prohibited in the Law (Lev. 17:3–4). Nevertheless this practice was commonly observed in Israel at this time, even by Solomon.
    3. Great high place meaning the most popular or largest. (gadol bamah, Canaanite origin)
      1. Eg. In Istanbul, we visited the famous Hagia Sophia (Gk Ortho, Mosque, Museum)
      2. Gibeon was about 5 miles north of Jerusalem in the territory of Benjamin.
      3. What I see is God showing up in Pagan-ville. (5 at Gibeon...)
        1. I hear some Christians say, that place was so spiritually dark, it just felt creepy. Now, I’ve been in places where I’ve felt darkness. And maybe I just don’t have the spiritual discernment as some, but I guess what I look for now is for just a little ray of light seeping through the darkness, in places like that. (or bringing a lil light to it)
        2. Here God showed up in a dark place. A prohibited place. A forbidden place. verboten
        3. God doesn’t seem scared to going into these “dark” places. Actually if I understand Him correctly, Jesus was sent from heavens light into earths darkness.
          1. Is.9:1b,2 In Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
          2. Eg. North of Davao (Pat & Sh). LTL. Rohingyas.
    4. There are times I think I get God figured out...and then... (mind blown).
    5. I understand receiving brownie points for doing good. I understand if I am good and the result is God blesses me for it. But I still don’t fully understand Him being faithful...even when I’m not.
      1. I also know, I can’t do wrong then expect God to react with blessings toward me. Shall I sin that grace might
    6. Read 2 Tim.2:11-13 - If we are faithless, He remains faithful.
      1. ​​​​​​​Christ’s faithfulness to Christians is not contingent on their faithfulness to Him.
    7. Possibly an early Christian Hymn, or confession of faith, or a Creed of the day.
      1. It emphasizes the believer’s oneness with Christ.
    8. Note the 4 conditional statements: If...each statement is an action of the believer.
      1. His main point…the faithfulness of God.
      2. In the 4th Stanza - Faithfulness. The final stanza comes as a surprise a magnificent reversal.
    9. He remains faithful - We are often unfaithful…God is never unfaithful.
      1. We can always trust God to act according to His character & promises.
      2. What a promise to end on. Especially to those of us saints, like Peter, who fall into unfaithfulness at times.
        1. Samuel Rutherford, who spent years in Aberdeen prison, wrote, Often & often, I have in my folly torn up my copy of God’s covenant with me; but, blessed be His name, He keeps it in heaven safe; & he stands by it always.
    10. He cannot deny/disown Himself – No man is always himself, but God is always Himself.
    11. (5) Ask! which I gave you? - the only limitations are those imposed by our faith or are capacity to receive. Happy are we if we seek not our own, but Christ’s! Seek 1st the kingdom of God…
    12. (7b) Inexperience & humility.
    13. (9) Understanding heart - literally means hearing heart. Shomea means hearing or sometimes observant. [what a great prayer for us]
    14. Slide9 (15) He came to Jerusalem - This is in contrast to the great high place at Gibeon, where Solomon had the dream and offered sacrifices.
      1. Solomon’s newfound wisdom affected his decision regarding where to worship.
      2. 2 Chron.1:5 adds that Solomon offered these sacrifices on the bronze altar that Bezalel built in the desert and David installed before the ark of the cov.
      3. As is often the case, a blessing from God drew the person blessed into a closer relationship with Himself. Inspired by this revelation Solomon turned from the high place and proceeded to the divinely appointed place of worship, the tabernacle.
  3. JUSTICE MATTERS (16-28) Showing Wisdom
    1. ​​​​​​​(16) The social position of these women (very low in social standing) demonstrates that Solomon believed justice and sound judgment should be applied to all cases and made available to all subjects, regardless of gender or social status.
      1. Solomon was concerned with these 2 women because God was concerned about them.
      2. Strikes against them societally: 2 women. Forced into Harlotry by trade (it’s my opinion, on good sources, that no lil girl dreams of growing up to be raped, beaten & abused by men, multiple x’s a night, every night). Have to live together to afford rent. Plus, both pregnant now, so less money in household.
    2. And stood before him - by making himself available to the public, Solomon addresses the criticism Absalom raised against David when he accused him of not holding proper hearings. Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy/listerner of the king to hear you. 2 Sam.15:3
    3. (17-21) The Tragic Story of a co-sleeping death.
      1. Between 1990 and 1997, 515 infants died while sleeping in adult beds, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. [or 64 a year]
        1. 121 of which were specifically Co-sleeping deaths (rolling on top of or against a baby while sleeping).
    4. (23) Solomon’s recap & most likely quick prayer for wisdom.
    5. (26) For she yearned with compassion for her son - 1 way this is translated is...her womb grew warm over her son.
      1. I like that the bible portrays, this poor women, caught up in harlotry, and terrible life circumstances, unleashes a true parents motherly instinct.
    6. (28) The wisdom of God was in him - God’s promise to grant Solomon wisdom is fulfilled right before the eyes of his subjects.
    7. God has answerers for todays moms also. God has wisdom to spare for parenting today.
    8. Daises - Ladies please pick up a Daisy on the way out if you didn’t receive one.
      1. He loves you...and He never loves you not.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Kings 3". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.