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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

1 Kings 4

Verses 1-34

  1. Intro: Wisdom & Wealth
    1. Trump got in office & what we hear most on the News is him picking his cabinet.
      1. Cabinet members are responsible for advising the head of government on areas within their purview/scope of influence.
      2. So this week as Solomon stepped into office as King of Israel, we also have him choosing his cabinet members. (see vs.2 his officials/high officials/his cabinet)
        1. Did you know Solomon’s campaign slogan was, Make Israel Great Again! :)
  2. SOLOMON’S CABINET CHOICES (1-19) pic/Knesset [read highlights]
    1. (19) Why is the wealth, wisdom & this long roll-call of all who served Solomon faithfully placed here in the bible?
      1. Maybe to remind us of the greater than Solomon. Think of the unsearchable riches of Christ. Think of the long roll-call of all the names who has served Jesus faithfully. Now picture them gathered around His throne. Oh how happy and safe are all those who have owned Him as their King. Eating, drinking, rejoicing.
  3. SOLOMON’S WEALTH & PROSPERITY (20-28)
    1. (20) Solomon administered his kingdom politically, economically, and militarily from Jerusalem.
      1. The next step will be to centralize worship there as well. (next few chapters)
      2. For now the people are happy...but would they continue to submit to a unified government or did their loyalties remain with their tribes?
    2. (20) The Israelites had enough to eat and drink, and they were happy, enjoying the basic comforts of life.
    3. (21) Map: Solomon inherited the largest empire that Israel would ever know.
      1. His father built the kingdom while he got to bask in its glory.
    4. (25) Judah & Israel - Solomon attempted to replace the old tribal loyalties with a new, national identity.
    5. (25) Each man living under his own vine and fig tree is a figurative expression for peace and prosperity (Micah 4:4; Zech. 3:10).
      1. The vine and fig tree were both symbols of the nation Israel and pictured the Promised Land’s agricultural abundance.
  4. SOLOMON FINDING GOD OUTDOORS (29-34)
    1. ​​​​​​​(29) Wisdom is the ability to live life successfully.
      1. While Solomon possessed this ability, he did not always apply it to his own life.
      2. Thus the wisest man who ever lived did not live as wisely as many others who preceded and followed him.
        1. Having insight into life does not guarantee that one will choose to do what is right.
    2. (29b) Great understanding - we’d call him a man of encyclopedic knowledge.
    3. (32,33) 3,000 proverbs - several hundred of Solomon’s have been preserved in the book of Proverbs as well as a few in Ecclesiastes.
    4. 1 of his 1,005 songs is the Song of Songs.
      1. 3000 proverbs indicates a great number, but not necessarily 3,000 exactly.
      2. 1005 Conveys the idea of “many, and then some.
    5. (33) Solomon’s literary output was extremely prolific.
      1. He became an authority in dendrology (trees), zoology (animals), ornithology (birds), herpetology (creeping things, small animals including reptiles), Ichthyology (fish).
    6. *The ability to learn through observing the natural world, particularly the animal world, was a large component of what it meant to be wise in the ancient Near East.
      1. Both the book of Proverbs and Job reflect this.
        1. Job 12:7,8 Just ask the animals, and they will teach you. Ask the birds of the sky, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will instruct you. Let the fish in the sea speak to you. (and Job does that in ch’s 38-41)
    7. (34) Wisdom hochma - denotes skill in living.
      1. It includes the ability to reflect on the things of the world and apply knowledge gained through observation to the problems of daily life and the ultimate questions of existence. Shepherd’s Notes, pg.21.
  5. SOUL GERMINATION
    1. ​​​​​​​God wants to plant seeds in our hearts daily.
      1. Once the seed is planted, it takes sun, rain, air, soil, time. Before we see any visible action above ground, the taproot must grow deep. Allow word seeds to germinate deep down within your heart and mind.
    2. Solomon shows many examples of him being a student of nature throughout his Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon.
      1. ​​​​​​​The Bible mentions 150 different species of animals.
    3. Readers cannot understand the verse Then shall the lame man leap like a deer (Isa 35:6) without knowing the agility and quickness of a Mediterranean fallow deer.
    4. Jesus pointed to the lilies, seeds, sparrows, and other forms in nature that teach us about God. He said, look at the birds, and consider the lilies.
    5. We wouldn’t understand the book of Joel and the end times without studying/knowing the 4 stages of growth of the Locust (chewing, swarming, crawling, consuming).
    6. Prov.30:26 The Rock badgers (coney) are a feeble folk, yet they make their homes in the crags.
    7. Prov.30:28 the spider (lizard/gecko) skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in the King’s palaces.
    8. Prov.30 - Agur [only writing, all we know]
      1. Agur brings up the leech; eagle; serpent; ants; rock badgers; locusts; lizard.
      2. Every creature on planet earth has a unique display of God’s grand design.
        1. Their survival depends on their willingness to recognize & do something really well.
      3. Grizzly catch fish or Cheetah’s run down prey. [switch roles...they go extinct]
        1. Only in cartoons & fairy tales do animals wish they could be something else.
    9. PSALM 19 - David communicates, read & master 3 books:
      1. ​​​​​​​Book of Nature (1-6). Book of the Bible (7-10). Book of Humanity (11-14).
    10. THE BOOK OF NATURE
    11. (1) The heavens declare the glory of God – How?
      1. By openly bearing testimony that they have not been put together by chance, but were wonderfully made by the Supreme Architect.
      2. The stars arranged in such a beautiful order, yet despite their immense number there is no confusion. (see beautiful conjunction in the sky? Moon, Venus, Mars)
        1. (Wiersbe) If the stars came out only once every thousand years, we’d stay up all night & look at them in awe & wonder.
    12. (3) Different nations vary from each other as to language; but the heavens have a common language to teach all men w/o distinction.
      1. Sometimes were impressed by a certain wonder of a landscape scene, sometimes by a night-scape.
      2. The Psalmist draws special attention to the sun, the most prominent member of the daytime choir.
    13. (5,6) The sun & moon perform their daily revolutions flawlessly.
      1. The sun wakes in the morning like an excited bridegroom leaving his home in the morning on his wedding day. And like a champion marathoner running his course & finishing well.
    14. The Babylonian & Egyptian’s had hymns to the sun, because to them it was deity.
      1. To the psalmist it is a creation of God, set in the heavens to reveal HIS Glory!
    15. *What has God shown you in nature over the years? What have you seen, and what has He shown you about it? Any simple illustrations you’d like to share? I’ll start.
      1. A Lotus is a type of water lily considered a sacred plant in the Far East.
        1. Buddhism teaches 4 stages of the Lotus is similar to the 4 stages of growth of a Buddhist.
        2. The Lotus starts out growing in the mud; growing in the water; growing out of the water; It blooms into a beautiful flower.
        3. Yet, in Buddhism it really doesn’t matter which stage you’re in, as it only affects you. [In Christianity it effects you and those around you]
        4. What plant/tree would you use to describe Christianity? Can you think of a plant/ tree where it grows best together with other pants?
        5. Dragonflies - fastest insect, 35mph. Move in 6 directions. 5900 diff kinds.
          1. Dragonflies lay their eggs on lily pads/water plants. They hatch into nymphs.
          2. 1 day they get the urge to climb up a reed, break through the water surface.
        6. Story: A group of these water bugs made a pact: next 1 will return/explain where he went & why?
          1. A few days later the next water-bug felt the urge to climb. He broke through the water line & was exhausted & lay on the lily pad & took a nap.
          2. When he awoke, he shed his skin & emerged with 4 wings & long tail
          3. He could breathe air. He could fly. This new worlds colors were beautiful.
          4. This new world was so much more beautiful then his dark muddy water world.
          5. Remembering his promise he darted towards the water & hitting the surface, he found he couldn’t return. I guess they’ll have to wait until they become dragonflies too.
            1. ​​​​​​​Sometimes we might be scared to die & go into the next world. What’s it going to be like?
            2. Why wont someone come back from the dead & tell us what heaven is like? Oh wait, Someone did! - He came down into our muddy dark world & explained how wonderful life with His Father would be…& His name is Jesus Christ.
        7. Cashew Nut - When the nut is Picked it must be 1st Cracked Opened properly (If it’s not, the resin will get on the cashew nut, making it inedible). It then is Roasted which removes 1st shell. The Black Oil removed (a toxic resin also found in poison Oak/Ivy). It is Roasted again thus removing the 2nd shell [Most companies now steam the shell open at a high temperature, thus cooking the cashew nut inside so it is ready to eat]. Finally the Nut is Free.
          1. A perfect picture of our salvation & sanctification.
          2. We’re Picked (chosen by God). Cracked Open (our hearts scored open before God with a surgeons care). Roasted thru trials through life. The Black Oil drained from our life (aka sin). And then Re-Roasted in life’s toughest trials. Then finally the Nut is Free.
    16. Haiti Donkey/dog. Haiti Hen/chicks. [Lobsters shed 10x a yr. Growth makes 1 vulnerable. Tempted to stay in its orig shell, safer. But will become its casket]. Lion purr in Thailand. Elephant in Thailand.
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 4". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-kings-4.html. 2017.