1 Kings 3&4: A Mother's Love

Solomon's great wisdom is granted and tested.


If God asked told you that you could have anything you wanted, what would you ask for? A lot of people would ask for riches; some might request love or popularity. Solomon asked for wisdom. It's interesting, because you have to be somewhat wise to know you need wisdom. Solomon was wise enough to know that he was young, inexperienced, and human; there was a great deal that he didn't know, and he couldn't judge Israel effectively without being able to discern right from wrong. Solomon became famous for his wisdom. He was wiser than any man living. During his time, he wrote 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. Many of these are contained in Songs of Solomon and Proverbs.

Discernment Today

Unlike Solomon, we often think we are in a position to judge right and wrong. I've even seen Christian's boast that because they are Christian, they automatically know right from wrong and can thus judge right and wrong. The truth is, however, many of us are like Solomon before God granted him wisdom. We know what we think is right or wrong, but we don't know how to discern God's supreme authority.

God was so pleased with Solomon's humble request that he gave Solomon the wisdom and riches. When we focus on bettering ourself in our relationship with God, and seek out God for advice on how to be more righteous, He will bless us abundantly. The fact of the matter is, wisdom and riches go together. Obedience to God's word and longevity go together. Generating money and maintaining wealth takes wisdom, it doesn't just happened. There is an extensive list of celebrities and athletes who become millionaires only to end up broke. Discernment grants us the ability to make good decisions, and when we do so, we make healthier choices that lead to a longer life. Thus, buy seeking wisdom we implicitly seek wealth and longevity in the process.

Two Mothers Dispute

The first test of Solomon's wisdom comes when he is approached by two harlots. I must note that I'm not entirely sure why it was necessary to note that women were harlots. My guess is that is was used to explain why the two women lived together and why no men were present in the argument.

Each woman had given birth to a son, but one child had died. The women were disputing which child had died, with one woman claiming the other had switched the babies while she was sleeping so as to steal the living child. To solve the matter, Solomon suggests they divide the living child in half. At this point the true mother relinquished her claim on the child to spare the babies life, while the other mother was willing that both children would die.

The one who's child had actually died felt it was better that neither have a child than for her to suffer alone. While this is something most sane people would not admit aloud, many times when we are suffering, we become spiteful and lose our ability to be happy for those around us. Had Solomon actually split the child in half, later in life the woman who was ok with it probably would have felt bad. However, at the time, she was not thinking rationally.

In contrast, the mother who had not lost a child was overwhelmed at the thought of her child dying. She would have rather seen him grow up in the arms of someone else than to see him killed senselessly. This would identify the truth for Solomon to judge whom should have the baby. Not only was it a wise strategy, it serves as a reminder to us that motives and intent can always be fished out by testing a person's loyalties.


1 Kings 4 introduces us to Israel's leadership under the rule of King Solomon. In the chapter, we are told of Solomon's princes, but they are clearly not his own children. Biblically, a prince isn't a title that refers to son of the king the way it does in Europe. Biblically, prince is an office reserved for chief men of power, perhaps it was more like what we could call a cabinet today. Solomon's princes are Azariah (the son of Zadok), Elihoreph, Ahiah, Jehoshaphat, Benaiah, Zadok, Abiathar, Azariah (son of Nathan), Zabud, Ahishar, and Adoniram. Below are the special tasks they were given in the kingdom.
Name Position Father
AzariahOver the officersNathan
ZabudPrincipal officer and confidantNathan
AhisharOver the household
AdoniramOver the tributeAdoniram
Although Abiathar is mentioned as a priest, it is likely he had less influence than Zadok due to Solomon relocating him.


Solomon also appoints 12 officers over Israel; 12 was the number of completeness for leadership and governance (12 disciples, 12 tribes, etc.), so it makes sense that this how many officers he chose. These men provided the victuals for the king and his household for one month each. Each man was over a particular region.

The daily provisions they saw to for Solomon, were quite excessive in number. While the quantity of food illustrates Solomon's wealth, it also begs the question "who was the food for?" Scholars believe the additional food was for the military.[1] Considering the time period, keeping the army strong and content would have been important for the continued existence of the nation. This link is hinted at in verses 26 and 27 which expound on military personnel. 1 Kings 4:26 implies that the army was large enough to substantiate this quantity of food because he had at least 12,000 horsemen.


  1. Holman Bible Publishers. Holman KJV Study Bible, pg. 584. 2014

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