David was old and weak and could no longer attend to the affairs
of his kingdom himself, he named his son Solomon to be king in his
loved the Lord and followed His commands and made many offerings
to Him. One day, Solomon went up to Gideon, a high mountain, to
night God appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, "What
shall I give you?"
"O Lord, You showed great mercy to David my father, and now
You have made me king in his stead over a great people. Give me,
therefore, an understanding heart so that I may surely know good
from evil and judge Thy people well."
The Lord was well
pleased with Solomon's answer, and said, "Because you did not
ask for great riches or a long life, because you did not ask that
I kill your enemies, I have done as you asked. I have given you a
wise and understanding heart, like no one before you and no one
that shall follow you. I have also given you what you did not ask
for, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be another
king like you. If you walk in My ways and keep My commandments,
then I will give you a long life."
And Solomon grew
rich and powerful, and reigned for many years with justice and
mercy. Three thousand proverbs did he write, and many beautiful
songs. And he became, as God had promised, the wisest king of all
One day two women
came before King Solomon to ask him to settle their dispute. One
woman said, "This woman and I dwell in one house. I have
birth to a child, and three days later so did she. There was no
stranger with us in the house.
night, this woman's child died. At midnight she arose, took my son
from beside me while I slept, and laid her dead child by me. When
I rose in the morning, I found the dead child. But when I looked
at it, it was not my son."
Then the other
woman interrupted to say, "No, the living child is my son,
and the dead one hers." And they quarreled until Solomon
said, "Bring me a sword!"
When the sword
was handed him, he said, "Divide the living child in two.
Give half to the one and half to the other."
Then the first
woman, who was the real mother, cried out, "O my lord, give
her the living child, but do not slay it." But the second
woman said, "Let it be neither mine nor yours. Let it be
Then the king
answered, "Do not divide it. Give the living child to the
first woman, for she is the true mother." And all Israel
heard of the judgment and feared the king, for they saw that the
wisdom of God was in him.
It was in the
fourth year of King Solomon's rule that he began what was to be
remembered as his greatest accomplishment, the building of the
temple at Jerusalem. The site selected was Mount Moriah, where in
years past the Lord had appeared to David on the threshing floor.
It was ninety
feet long, thirty feet wide, and three stories in height, with
ample wings and a noble porch. Hundreds of artisans had labored in
the forests and quarries, hewing the timbers and dressing the
stone, for the outside was built entirely of stone, while the
interior was completely lined with cedar of Lebanon. Winding
stairways led to the floors above, and an inner room was prepared
to hold the ark, guarded by two huge winged bulls carved from
olive wood. And much gold and brass and many precious stones were
used tin making Solomon's temple the most beautiful yet built by
the hand of man.
The building was
many years in construction, but at last came the day of its
completion. Then Solomon commanded the priests to bear the ark
with its two tablets of stone which Moses had placed within it, so
many years ago, and the sacred tent and the sacred vessels, and to
place them all within the inner room of the temple.
And as they did
so, a cloud filled the entire temple, and Solomon stood before the
brazen altar, and in the presence of a great assembly of his
people, gave thanks to Jehovah for having kept the promise He had
made to David.
So great was the
fame of King Solomon that it reached into the kingdoms of the
south, and word of it was brought even to the Queen of Sheba by
travelers and merchants from distant lands. There came a day when
the beautiful Queen decided that she would go to Jerusalem to see
for herself whether the tales were true. Bringing rich gifts and a
train of servants, she presented herself before Solomon's throne
to ask him many difficult question, all of which the king answered
from the great depth and breadth of his wisdom.
bestowing upon him many rare gifts from her treasury, Sheba
returned to her own country to ponder the things she had learned