Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And 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.
1Ki 3:1. Solomon Marries Pharaoh's Daughter.
1. Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh—This was a royal title, equivalent to "sultan," and the personal name of this monarch is said to have been Vaphres. The formation, on equal terms, of this matrimonial alliance with the royal family of Egypt, shows the high consideration to which the Hebrew kingdom had now arisen. Rosellini has given, from the Egyptian monuments, what is supposed to be a portrait of this princess. She was received in the land of her adoption with great eclat; for the Song of Solomon and the forty-fifth Psalm are supposed to have been composed in honor of this occasion, although they may both have a higher typical reference to the introduction of the Gentiles into the church.
and brought her into the city of David—that is, Jerusalem. She was not admissible into the stronghold of Zion, the building where the ark was (De 23:7, 8). She seems to have been lodged at first in his mother's apartments (So 3:4; 8:2), as a suitable residence was not yet provided for her in the new palace (1Ki 7:8; 9:24; 2Ch 8:11).
building … the wall of Jerusalem round about—Although David had begun (Ps 51:18), it was, according to Josephus, reserved for Solomon to extend and complete the fortifications of the city. It has been questioned whether this marriage was in conformity with the law (see Ex 34:16; De 7:3; Ezr 10:1-10; Ne 13:26). But it is nowhere censured in Scripture, as are the connections Solomon formed with other foreigners (1Ki 11:1-3); whence it may be inferred that he had stipulated for her abandonment of idolatry, and conforming to the Jewish religion (Ps 45:10, 11).
Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the LORD, until those days.
1Ki 3:2-5. High Places Being in Use, He Sacrifices at Gibeon.
And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.
3. And Solomon loved the Lord—This declaration, illustrated by what follows, affords undoubted evidence of the young king's piety; nor is the word "only," which prefaces the statement, to be understood as introducing a qualifying circumstance that reflected any degree of censure upon him. The intention of the sacred historian is to describe the generally prevailing mode of worship before the temple was built. The
high places were altars erected on natural or artificial eminences, probably from the idea that men were brought nearer to the Deity. They had been used by the patriarchs, and had become so universal among the heathen that they were almost identified with idolatry. They were prohibited in the law (Le 17:3, 4; De 12:13, 14; Jer 7:31; Eze 6:3, 4; Ho 10:8). But, so long as the tabernacle was migratory and the means for the national worship were merely provisional, the worship on those high places was tolerated. Hence, as accounting for their continuance, it is expressly stated (1Ki 3:2) that God had not yet chosen a permanent and exclusive place for his worship.
And 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.
4. the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there—The old tabernacle and the brazen altar which Moses had made in the wilderness were there (1Ch 16:39; 21:29; 2Ch 1:3-6). The royal progress was of public importance. It was a season of national devotion. The king was accompanied by his principal nobility (2Ch 1:2); and, as the occasion was most probably one of the great annual festivals which lasted seven days, the rank of the offerer and the succession of daily oblations may help in part to account for the immense magnitude of the sacrifices.
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
5. In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream—It was probably at the close of this season, when his mind had been elevated into a high state of religious fervor by the protracted services. Solomon felt an intense desire, and he had offered an earnest petition, for the gift of wisdom. In sleep his thoughts ran upon the subject of his prayer, and he dreamed that God appeared to him and gave him the option of every thing in the world—that he asked wisdom, and that God granted his request (1Ki 3:9-12). His dream was but an imaginary repetition of his former desire, but God's grant of it was real.
And 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.
1Ki 3:6-15. He Chooses Wisdom.
6. Solomon said—that is, had dreamed that he said.
And 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.
7. I am but a little child—not in age, for he had reached manhood (1Ki 2:9) and must have been at least twenty years old; but he was raw and inexperienced in matters of government.
And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
Give 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?
And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
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.
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 enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
Behold, 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.
And 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.
And 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.
And 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.
15. behold, it was a dream—The vivid impression, the indelible recollection he had of this dream, together with the new and increased energy communicated to his mind, and the flow of worldly prosperity that rushed upon him, gave him assurance that it came by divine inspiration and originated in the grace of God. The wisdom, however, that was asked and obtained was not so much of the heart as of the head—it was wisdom not for himself personally, but for his office, such as would qualify him for the administration of justice, the government of a kingdom, and for the attainment of general scientific knowledge.
Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.
1Ki 3:16-28. His Judgment between Two Harlots.
16. Then came there two women—Eastern monarchs, who generally administer justice in person, at least in all cases of difficulty, often appeal to the principles of human nature when they are at a loss otherwise to find a clue to the truth or see clearly their way through a mass of conflicting testimony. The modern history of the East abounds with anecdotes of judicial cases, in which the decision given was the result of an experiment similar to this of Solomon upon the natural feelings of the contending parties.
And 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.
And 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.
And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.
And 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.
And 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.
And 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.
Then 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.
And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.
And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
Then 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.
Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
And 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.