March 22, 2013

King Solomon was known for his wisdom. He loved “hard questions” (problems and riddles).

“The gold, however, as others think, may have been the amount of forfeits paid to Solomon by Hiram for not being able to answer the riddles and apothegms, with which, according to Josephus, in their private correspondence, the two sovereigns amused themselves.” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I (See 1 Kings 9:14.)

The queen of Sheba traveled to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions, (problems and riddles), (See 1 Kings 10:1).

Yes, he was wise, but not too smart, as we see in today’s verse.

1 Kings 9:19, “And all the store cities which Solomon had and cities for his chariots and cities for his horsemen, and whatever Solomon desired to build for his pleasure in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.”

“Once on the throne Solomon became a thoroughgoing despot. All political power was taken out of the hands of the tribal sheiks…and placed in the hands of officers who were simply puppets of Solomon. The resources of the nation were expended not on works of public utility but on the personal aggrandizement of the monarch. In the means he took to gratify his passions he showed himself to be little better than a savage (James Orr et al., ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia). The division of the nation at Solomon’s death with all the weakness and misery that it caused [idolatry, ignoring God, captivity, exile, the loss of the ten tribes] through the coming centuries was the direct outgrowth of Solomon’s unholy self-indulgence (Amos R. Wells, Bible Miniatures). Because of his extensive building program and his extravagant expenditures in the maintenance of his luxurious court, he resorted to forced labor and heavy taxation. Bitter opposition to his rule thus engendered the divisions of the united kingdom after his death (The New Jewish Encyclopedia).” Amplified Bible Notes.

No matter how wise you are, it is not smart to indulge in “whatever your little old heart desires.”  It is not smart to seek pleasure wherever you go. It is not smart to use your resources on aggrandizement.

Aggrandize- 1. To widen in scope; increase in size, or intensity; enlarge; extend. 2. To make great or greater in power, wealth, rank, or honor. (The Random House Dictionary of the English Language)