Lectionary Reflection for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

This excerpt comes from 1 & 2 Kings (BTCB) by Peter J. Leithart, commenting on 1 Kings 3:3-14:

Solomon asks for wisdom, more specifically for “discernment of good and evil” (3:9), using a phrase similar to that found in Gen. 2–3 to describe the tree in the garden, a tree that gives wisdom (Deurloo 1989, 12). Solomon’s request can thus be described as a request for access to the tree forbidden to Adam.

Like Adam, Solomon goes into “deep sleep” in order to receive a bride, but Solomon awakes in the company of Lady Wisdom. As in 1 Kgs. 2, Solomon is a new and improved Adam.

In asking for wisdom to “judge” (3:9), Solomon seeks the skill to rule well; he wants to be a royal Bezalel (Exod. 31:2–5) so that his nation will, like the tabernacle, become a place of glory. Carried out with wisdom, politics is a craft, the product of which is social harmony and beauty.

Yahweh’s promise to add to Solomon all the things he does not request (1 Kgs. 3:10–14) no doubt inspires Solomon’s teaching in Proverbs, where he emphasizes that wisdom is the chief thing to seek and that honor, riches, and supremacy come through pursuit of wisdom (e.g., Prov. 8:12–21).

Yahweh, as Paul writes, gives abundantly beyond what we can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20). He is the giving God.


©2006 by Peter J. Leithart. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.