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1 Kings 3:1-15

Context
The Lord Gives Solomon Wisdom

3:1 Solomon made an alliance by marriage with Pharaoh, king of Egypt; he married Pharaoh’s daughter. He brought her to the City of David 1  until he could finish building his residence and the temple of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem. 2  3:2 Now the people were offering sacrifices at the high places, 3  because in those days a temple had not yet been built to honor the Lord. 4  3:3 Solomon demonstrated his loyalty to the Lord by following 5  the practices 6  of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.

3:4 The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for it had the most prominent of the high places. 7  Solomon would offer up 8  a thousand burnt sacrifices on the altar there. 3:5 One night in Gibeon the Lord appeared 9  to Solomon in a dream. God said, “Tell 10  me what I should give you.” 3:6 Solomon replied, “You demonstrated 11  great loyalty to your servant, my father David, as he served 12  you faithfully, properly, and sincerely. 13  You have maintained this great loyalty to this day by allowing his son to sit on his throne. 14  3:7 Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in my father David’s place, even though I am only a young man and am inexperienced. 15  3:8 Your servant stands 16  among your chosen people; 17  they are a great nation that is too numerous to count or number. 3:9 So give your servant a discerning mind 18  so he can make judicial decisions for 19  your people and distinguish right from wrong. 20  Otherwise 21  no one is able 22  to make judicial decisions for 23  this great nation of yours.” 24  3:10 The Lord 25  was pleased that Solomon made this request. 26  3:11 God said to him, “Because you asked for the ability to make wise judicial decisions, and not for long life, or riches, or vengeance on your enemies, 27  3:12 I 28  grant your request, 29  and give 30  you a wise and discerning mind 31  superior to that of anyone who has preceded or will succeed you. 32  3:13 Furthermore, I am giving 33  you what you did not request – riches and honor so that you will be the greatest king of your generation. 34  3:14 If you follow my instructions 35  by obeying 36  my rules and regulations, just as your father David did, 37  then I will grant you long life.” 38  3:15 Solomon then woke up and realized it was a dream. 39  He went to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant, offered up burnt sacrifices, presented peace offerings, 40  and held a feast for all his servants.

1 sn The phrase City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.

2 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

3 sn Offering sacrifices at the high places. The “high places” were places of worship that were naturally or artificially elevated.

4 tn Heb “for the name of the Lord.” The word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor (thus the translation here, “to honor the Lord”). The “name” of the Lord sometimes designates the Lord himself, being indistinguishable from the proper name.

5 tn Heb “Solomon loved the Lord by walking in.”

6 tn Or “policies, rules.”

7 tn Heb “for it was the great high place.”

8 tn The verb form is an imperfect, which is probably used here in a customary sense to indicate continued or repeated action in past time. See GKC 314 §107.b.

9 tn Or “revealed himself.”

10 tn Heb “ask.”

11 tn Heb “did.”

12 tn Heb “walked before.”

13 tn Heb “in faithfulness and in innocence and in uprightness of heart with you.”

14 tn Heb “and you have kept to him this great loyalty and you gave to him a son [who] sits on his throne as this day.”

15 tn Heb “and I do not know going out or coming in.”

16 tn There is no verb expressed in the Hebrew text; “stands” is supplied in the translation for clarification.

17 tn Heb “your people whom you have chosen.”

18 tn Heb “a hearing heart.” (The Hebrew term translated “heart” often refers to the mental faculties.)

19 tn Heb “to judge.”

20 tn Heb “to understand between good and evil.”

21 tn Heb “for”; the word “otherwise” is used to reflect the logical sense of the statement.

22 tn Heb “who is able?” The rhetorical question anticipates the answer, “no one.”

23 tn Heb “to judge.”

24 tn Heb “your numerous people.”

25 tn The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here and in v.15 is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

26 tn Heb “And the thing was good in the eyes of the Lord, for Solomon asked for this thing.”

27 tn Heb “because you asked for this thing, and did not ask for yourself many days and did not ask for yourself riches and did not ask for the life of your enemies, but you asked for yourself understanding to hear judgment.”

28 tn This statement is introduced in the Hebrew text by the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) which draws attention to and emphasizes what follows.

29 tn Heb “I am doing according to your words.” The perfect tense is sometimes used of actions occurring at the same time a statement is made.

30 tn This statement is introduced by the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) which draws attention to and emphasizes what follows. The translation assumes that the perfect tense here indicates that the action occurs as the statement is made (i.e., “right now I give you”).

31 tn Heb “heart.” (The Hebrew term translated “heart” often refers to the mental faculties.)

32 tn Heb “so that there has not been one like you prior to you, and after you one will not arise like you.”

33 tn The translation assumes that the perfect tense here indicates that the action occurs as the statement is made.

34 tn Heb “so that there is not one among the kings like you all your days.” The LXX lacks the words “all your days.”

35 tn Heb “walk in my ways.”

36 tn Or “keeping.”

37 tn Heb “walked.”

38 tn Heb “I will lengthen your days.”

39 tn Heb “and look, a dream.”

40 tn Or “tokens of peace”; NIV, TEV “fellowship offerings.”



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