Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Kings Chapter 3

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (586 BC)
Overview: A History of the Kings of Israel and Judah (c 1-22)
Theme: The United Kingdom (c 1-11)
Message: Solomon's Wisdom (v 1-28)

1 Kings 3 Commentary 

(3:1) Solomon and Marriage - Marriage between royal families was a common practice in the ancient Middle East because it secured peace between people groups. Although Solomon's marital alliances built friendships with surrounding nations, they were also the beginning of his downfall. These relationships became inroads for idolatrous ideas and practices. Solomon's foreign wives brought their gods to Jerusalem and eventually lured him into worshiping false gods (11:1-6). It is easy to minimize religious differences in order to encourage the development of a friendship or relationship. What can seem small while dating, however, will have an enormous impact upon a marriage. The early stages of falling in love easily lead to idealism, and it can be easy in this season to minimize religious differences as something that can be 'worked out" later. The reality, however, is that God gives us standards to follow for all of our relationships, including marriage, for our own good. If we follow God's will, we will not be lured away from our true focus. You must be compatible in a relationship in what you and the other person believe and also in how you both practice those beliefs. If not, compromising your own relationship with God is inevitable.

(3:2-5) A Wrong Sacrifice - God's laws said that the Israelites could make sacrifices only in specified places (Deuteronomy 12:13-14). This was to prevent the people from instituting their own methods of worship and allowing pagan practices to creep in. But many Israelites, including Solomon, made sacrifices at the surrounding hills. Solomon loved God, but this act was sinful. It also took the offerings out of the watchful care of priests and ministers loyal to God and opened the way for false teaching to be tied to these sacrifices. God appeared to Solomon to grant him wisdom at night, not during the sacrifice. God honored his prayer but did not condone his sacrifice.

(3:5-9) Solomon Asks for Wisdom - When given the chance to have anything in the world, Solomon asked for wisdom- "an understanding heart"-in order to lead well and to make right decisions. According to the New Testament, we can ask God for this same wisdom (James 15). Notice that Solomon asked for understanding to carry out his job; he did not ask God to do the job for him. We should not ask God to do for us what he wants to do through us. Instead, we should ask God to give us the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to follow through on it.

(3:11-14) Wisdom Over Wealth - Solomon asked for wisdom ('understanding"), not wealth, but God gave him riches, fame, and long life as well. While God does not promise riches or fame to those who follow him, he gives us what we need if we put his kingdom, his interests, and his principles first (Matthew 6:31-33). Setting your sights on wealth and possessions will only leave you dissatisfied because even if you get the riches you crave, you will still want something more. But if you put God and his work first, he will satisfy your deepest needs because he knows just what they are.

(3:12) Solomon Receives Wisdom - Solomon received " wise and an understanding heart" from God, but it was up to Solomon to apply that wisdom to all areas of his life. Solomon was obviously wise in governing the nation, but he was foolish in running his household. Wisdom is both the ability to discern what is best and the strength of character to act upon that knowledge. While Solomon remained wise all his life, he did not always act upon his wisdom (116)

(3:16-28) Solomon Uses Wisdom - Solomon's settlement of this dispute is a classic example of his wisdom. This wise ruling was verification that God had answered Solomon's prayer and given him an understanding heart. We have God's wisdom available to us as we pray and request it. But, like Solomon, we must put it into action. Only then will the benefits of wisdom bear fruit in the lives of others.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Seek the Lord for Wisdom

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 1 Kings with Chapter 3.  In our text, we see Solomon's wisdom as he asks God for wisdom and then demonstrates great wisdom in a conflict between two women. In making an application, we see God's Wisdom is found in our acknowledgment that wisdom is located in the Lord when we seek Him. Today we need to follow the facts of the Scriptures as the Lord Speaks to us, Through His Word. The Bible says," If any man lacks wisdom, let come to the Lord and ask of the Lord who giveth liberally and freely and abraideth not." How about you? Do you ask the Lord for wisdom? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Solomon to ask the Lord for Wisdom.


1 Kings 3

1 Kings 3

 1And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about.

 2Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days.

 3And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.

 4And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.

 5In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.

 6And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

 7And 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.

 8And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

 9Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

 10And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.

 11And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;

 12Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

 13And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.

 14And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.

 15And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.

 16Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.

 17And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.

 18And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.

 19And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.

 20And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.

 21And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.

 22And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.

 23Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.

 24And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.

 25And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.

 26Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.

 27Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

 28And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.