1 Kings 3:11
And God said to him, Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself long life; neither have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies; but have asked for yourself understanding to discern judgment;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Because thou hast asked.—It is obvious to note this verse as a fulfilment of the Divine law, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and -all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). All these secondary blessings are good, just so far as they conduce to the supreme good, which is the growth of the human nature, by the knowledge of God and by faithfully doing His work on earth, to the perfection designed for it in His wisdom. So long as Solomon used them in subordination to true wisdom, they were a blessing to him; when he made them idols, they became a curse. The connection of these lower gifts with the moral and intellectual gifts of wisdom, is the result of the natural law of God’s Providence, so far as that law overcomes the resistance of evil and folly, still allowed to strive against it.

1 Kings 3:11-12. Nor hast asked the life of thine enemies — That God would take away their lives, or put it into his power to destroy them. Behold I have done according to thy word — I have granted, and do at this present grant thy desire. And accordingly at this time God did infuse into him a far higher degree of wisdom than he had before possessed; and that not only to govern his people, and to know and do the several duties which he owed to God and them, but also the knowledge of divers arts and sciences, and of things human and divine, as appears from 1 Kings 4:29-34; and that in a far greater measure and proportion, than with the best natural understanding he could have attained by the most diligent study, if he had been employed therein from a child. So that there was none like thee before thee — Either no king, or rather no man. For in these respects he is preferred, (1 Kings 4:31,) not only before all kings, but before all men. No mere man, it appears, since the fall of Adam, ever equalled him in universal knowledge, especially in the art of well governing his people. But, it may be asked, did not the apostles excel him? Not in natural and political knowledge, but only in the knowledge of the mysteries of faith, which were more freely and more fully imparted in these latter times; the ignorance whereof was no disparagement to Solomon’s wisdom, because they were not discoverable by any creature without that divine revelation which God saw fit not to afford in Solomon’s time.3:5-15 Solomon's dream was not a common one. While his bodily powers were locked up in sleep, the powers of his soul were strengthened; he was enabled to receive the Divine vision, and to make a suitable choice. God, in like manner, puts us in the ready way to be happy, by assuring us we shall have what we need, and pray for. Solomon's making such a choice when asleep, and the powers of reason least active, showed it came from the grace of God. Having a humble sense of his own wants and weakness, he pleads, Lord, I am but a little child. The more wise and considerate men are, the better acquainted they are with their own weakness, and the more jealous of themselves. Solomon begs of God to give him wisdom. We must pray for it, Jas 1:5, that it may help us in our particular calling, and the various occasions we have. Those are accepted of God, who prefer spiritual blessings to earthly good. It was a prevailing prayer, and prevailed for more than he asked. God gave him wisdom, such as no other prince was ever blessed with; and also gave him riches and honour. If we make sure of wisdom and grace, these will bring outward prosperity with them, or sweeten the want of it. The way to get spiritual blessings, is to wrestle with God in prayer for them. The way to get earthly blessings, is to refer ourselves to God concerning them. Solomon has wisdom given him, because he did ask it, and wealth, because he did not.Thine enemies - e. g. Hadad the Edomite 1 Kings 11:14-22 and Rezon the son of Eliadah 1 Kings 11:23-25, whom Solomon might well have wished to remove. 10. the speech pleased the Lord—It was Solomon's waking prayers that God heard and requited, but the acceptance was signified in this vision. Nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; that God would take away their lives, or put them into thy power to destroy them. And God said unto him,.... Being yet in a dream:

because thou hast asked this thing; wisdom for government:

and hast not asked for thyself long life; which is naturally desired by men, and always reckoned a great temporal blessing, and especially to be wished for by a king living in great pomp and splendour:

neither hast asked riches for thyself; to support his grandeur; for though David his father had left him much, yet not for himself, but for the building of the temple:

nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; victory over them, and to have it in his power to take away their lives when he pleased; which kings, and especially tyrants, are desirous of, such as are ambitious, haughty, and revengeful:

but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; where the right of a cause lay, that so he might make a right judgment of it, and pass a righteous sentence, a sentence not to the injury of any.

And 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 {h} enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;

(h) That is, that their enemy would die.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. to discern judgement] Literally,‘to hear judgement.’ The word is the same as in 1 Kings 3:9, where see note.Verse 11. - And God said unto him. Because thou hast asked this thing and hast not asked for thyself long life [Heb. many days]; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life [i.e., destruction in battle] of thine enemies [not so much personal enemies, like Hadad and Rezon, (Rawlinson) as military foes. The meaning is explained by the corresponding word, "honour" (כָּבוד glory) in ver. 13]; but hast asked [The word is repeated, according to Hebrew usage, now for the sixth time] for thyself understanding to discern [Heb. hear; see on ver. 9] Judgment. The one thing wanting in the place of sacrifice at Gibeon, viz., the ark of the covenant with the gracious presence of Jehovah, was supplied by the Lord in the case of this sacrifice by a direct revelation in a dream, which Solomon received in the night following the sacrifice. There is a connection between the question which God addressed to Solomon in the dream, "What shall I give thee?" and the object of the sacrifice, viz., to seek the help of God for his reign. Solomon commences his prayer in 1 Kings 3:6 with an acknowledgment of the great favour which the Lord had shown to his father David, and had continued till now by raising his son to his throne (הזּה כּיּום, as it is this day: cf. 1 Samuel 22:8; Deuteronomy 8:18, etc.); and then, in 1 Kings 3:7-9, in the consciousness of his incapacity for the right administration of government over so numerous a people, he asks the Lord for an obedient heart and for wisdom to rule His people. ועתּה introduces the petition, the reasons assigned for which are, (1) his youth and inexperience, and (2) the greatness or multitude of the nation to be governed. I am, says he, קטן נער, i.e., an inexperienced youth (Solomon was only about twenty years old): "I know not to go out and in," i.e., how to behave myself as king, or govern the people (for ובא צאת compare the note on Numbers 27:17). At 1 Kings 3:8 he describes the magnitude of the nation in words which recall to mind the divine promises in Genesis 13:16 and Genesis 32:13, to indicate how gloriously the Lord has fulfilled the promises which He made to the patriarchs.
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