THE WISE YOUNG KING
I Kings iii: 1, to iv: 34; II Chronicles i: 1 to 13.
OLOMON was a very young man, not more than twenty years old,
when he became king and bore the heavy care of a great
land. For his kingdom was larger than the twelve tribes
of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba. On the north he ruled
over all Syria, from Mount Hermon as far as the great
river Euphrates. On the east, Ammon and Moab were under
his power, and in the south all the land of Edom, far
down into the desert where the Israelites had wandered
long before. He had no wars, as David had before him,
but at home and abroad his great realm was at peace as
long as Solomon reigned.
Soon after Solomon became king he went to Gibeon, a few
miles north of Jerusalem, where the altar of the Lord
stood until the Temple was built. At Gibeon Solomon
made offerings and worshipped the Lord God of Israel.
And that night the Lord God came to Solomon, and spoke
to him. The Lord said, "Ask of me whatever you choose,
and I will give it to you."
And Solomon said to the Lord, "O Lord, thou didst show
great kindness to my father, David; and now thou hast
made me king in my father's place. I am only a child, O
Lord. I know not how to rule this great people, which
is like the dust of the earth in number. Give me, O
Lord, I pray thee, wisdom and knowledge, that I may
judge this people, and may know how to rule them
The Lord was pleased with Solomon's choice, and the
Lord said to Solomon, "Since you have not asked of me
long life, nor great riches for yourself, nor victory
over your enemies, nor great power, but have asked
wisdom and knowledge to judge this people, I have given
you wisdom greater than that of any king before you,
and greater than that of any king that shall come after
because you have asked this, I will give you not only
wisdom, but also honor and riches. And if you will obey
my words, as your father David obeyed, you shall have
long life, and shall rule for many years."
Then Solomon awoke and found that it was a dream. But
it was a dream that came true, for God gave to Solomon
all that he had promised, wisdom, and riches, and
honor, and power, and long life. Soon after this
Solomon showed his wisdom. Two women came before him
with two little babies, one dead and the other living.
Each of the two women claimed the living child as her
own, and said that the dead child belonged to the other
woman. One of the women said, "O my lord, we two women
were sleeping with our children in one bed. And this
woman in her sleep lay upon her child, and it died.
Then she placed her dead child beside me while I was
asleep, and took my child. In the morning I saw that it
was not my child; but she says it is mine, and the
living child is hers. Now, O king, command this woman
to give me my own child." Then the other woman said,
"That is not true. The dead baby is her own, and the
living one is mine, which she is trying to take from
The young king listened to both women. Then he said,
"Bring me a sword."
They brought a sword, and then Solomon said, "Take this
sword, and cut the living child in two, and give half
of it to each one."
Then one of the women cried out, and said, "O my lord,
do not kill my child! Let the other woman have it, but
let the child live!"
But the other woman said, "No, cut the child in two,
and divide it between us!"
Then Solomon said, "Give the living child to the woman
who would not have it slain, for she is its mother."
THE WISE DECISION OF THE YOUNG KING SOLOMON
And all the people wondered at the wisdom of one so
young; and they saw that God had gave him
Solomon chose some of the great men who had helped his
father David, to stand beside his throne and do his
will. Among those was a man named Benaiah, the son of
Jehoioda. He was one of those who had come to David
while he was hiding from Saul, as we read in Story
70. At that time Benaiah, while still a
young man, did a very bold deed. He found a lion in a
deep pit, leaped into the pit, and killed the lion. For
this act, Benaiah became famous, for few people would
dare to venture so near to a lion, with the weapons in
use at that time. This brave man was old in Solomon's
day, but he was still strong, and Solomon gave him a
high place, at the head of his guards.
BENAIAH, THE BRAVE COMMANDER OF SOLOMON'S GUARD