A couple things stood out to me in this chapter – Solomon’s blessings and perhaps one of his greatest conflicts, his wife. The chapter opens with Solomon glitzing up the whole of Israel with fortified towns and supply centers and places to store his horses and chariots, and at the end of that section, in verse 6, it tells us that, “He built everything he desired in Jerusalem and Lebanon and throughout his entire realm.” In other words, if Solomon wanted it, he got it. It wasn’t a matter of if he could afford it. He could. He didn’t need to juggle budgets and borrow from Peter to pay Paul (they weren’t even around yet – harhar) to accomplish his biggest dreams. He didn’t have to consult financial advisors. He didn’t need to get the board’s blessing. He had the authority and the funding to make and back every decision he made. Most importantly, however, Solomon had the wisdom of God to guide him. Was he privileged? Oh, yes. Our dear Solomon was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. That’s a fact. He had his first sippy cup delivered on a gold platter. You can bet your bottom dollar on that. But here’s the thing with Solomon: when he grabbed that sippy cup, he smiled and thanked the person who brought it to him; he stared in awe and wonder at that gold platter; he wondered why on earth he got such special treatment (because his friend Izhariah certainly didn’t have it this good). See what I mean? Solomon could have been like, “Yeah, that’s my sippy cup, man, and you better serve it to me on a silver platter next time because I think gold is ugly. In fact, I think you’re ugly. From now on, I want one of my future wives, a new one each day, to bring me my sippy cups, and you can go back to work in the kitchen.” Now, do you see what I mean? Solomon could have been a horrible person. As super as Solomon was, though, he wasn’t perfect, and his imperfections are as admirable as his perfections. Look at verses 7 through 10 and how it talks about the foreigners living in the land. Now, he did make them descendants, but he could have lined them all up and killed them all (like God told his ancestors to do in the first place). But why didn’t King Solomon do this? Or more importantly, why didn’t God ask him to do this? That last question, I can’t answer. You’ll have to ask God. But the first question, I can guess a little bit just by reading the following paragraph. Solomon was married to a foreigner. Remember way back in the Samuels, he married an Egyptian woman who was a pharaoh’s daughter. In this chapter, we see that despite Solomon knowing that marrying a foreigner was out of line, he still honors God before his spouse, BUT ALSO he still treats his wife with respect, love and kindness. Do you think Song of Solomon is about her? Hmmmm. Anyway, he moves her from what is holy ground to what I’m sure is a pretty splendid pad. Like, he built an entire palace for her. How bad could it have been? But in doing so, Solomon in all his glory and glamour, was able and made sure to honor both God and the spouse he committed himself to. I think that is pretty darn special and tells us even more about the kind of guy Solomon was.
Writing prompt: how do you feel?
How do you feel about King Solomon? Do you like him? Are you jealous of him? Do you know someone like him? Go whichever direction you want today.