OLD TESTAMENT - LESSON 26
1 Kings 3; 5-11
- The Lord blesses Solomon with wisdom, riches, and honor.
- King Solomon directs the construction of a great temple and has a palace
built for himself.
- Solomon dedicates the temple.
- Solomon becomes excessively wealthy and maries many non-Israelite women
who persuade him to worship idols.
A study of this lesson should encourage us to use our blessings wisely
and to enter the temple worthily.
Introduction - Solomon's Rise To Power
Some Thoughts On George Washington
- In recent days we have celebrated the independence of the United States
as declared by a few brave men in 1776. Among those who helped lay the
foundations for this great republic was George Washington of Virginia.
WHAT LESSONS DO WE FIND IN GEORGE WASHINGTON'S LIFE?
- Commander-in-chief: Washington was not one of those who signed the
declaration, but as a respected military commander he was asked to become
the commander of the Continental. He did not aspire to or ask for this
position, but when he received the call, he left his beloved home at Mt.
Vernon to serve. He was the single most important force in keeping the
Continental Army together during difficult years.
- Constitutional convention: He was not the philosophical force behind
the development of the constitution, but he was man of powerful influence
who was one of the major forces in keeping the convention together until
a workable pattern for government was worked out.
- The Presidency: When asked to run as president, General Washington
reluctantly returned to the service of his country. His personal desire
was to remain at Mt. Vernon and spend the last years of his life there.
But he went when called. He was concerned with setting proper precedent
and many of the patterns and traditions established by Washington continue
to this day.
- Lorenzo Snow: "We look upon George Washington, the father of
our country, as an inspired instrument of the Almighty; we can see the
all-inspiring Spirit operating upon him." (Teachings of Lorenzo
- We live in a time when apathy for government seems to be at an all
time high. A majority of eligible adults refuse to even take the time to
vote. We face difficult problems in our nation and community:
- Dealing with a changing world
- Growth issues
- Crime & drugs
- Washington lived in a time that needed his unique leadership. Washington
loved his home at Mt. Vernon. While attending to business in the Washington,
D.C. a few years ago, I took the opportunity of driving down to Mt. Vernon
and gained greater insight into the man. Even by today's standards, Washington
had a wonderful home. He enjoyed spending time with his gardens, experimenting
with different kinds of plants. Washington's desire was to spend his time
at Mt. Vernon with his beloved Martha. But a nation called and Washington
sacrificed his personal desires for his country.
- We may wish to remain at our Mt. Vernons, but we also have an obligation
to serve our nation. Most of us will not have the impact of General Washington,
but that does not absolve us of the obligation to serve.
- WHAT MIGHT WE DO TO SERVE OUR NATION?
- Keep our own doorstep swept: Several years ago I worked with Scouting
volunteers and became friends with a gentleman who chaired one of the troop
committees. We often discussed current events and how we might have an
impact on the world. He often said that our first was responsibility was
to keep our own doorstep swept or to have our own house in order. When
we do that, we are not a burden on society. This man took care of his own
family and reached out to serve the community in a small way. What a different
world we would have if everyone had that attitude.
- Vote: Many of us complain about the state of politics, but how many
take the opportunity to vote and vote intelligently. It is estimated that
only half of the eligible voters are even registered. And of that amount,
rarely does more than half of that exercise their franchise.
- Become active in political causes/parties: The vast majority of citizens
have little to do with politics and political issues. Those few who do
participate make a significant impact on our communities and nation. If
we wish to stand up for the right, we should become more politically active.
- Become involved in community organizations & causes: We can make
a significant impact on our communities by volunteering for worthy causes
from Scouting to blood drives to neighborhood safety patrols.
Solomon's Rise To Power
- One of the blessings of our governmental system is the peaceful transition
The Monarchy of ancient Israel validates the correctness of this philosophy
of peaceful transition, free elections, and limited terms.
- This transitition is provided for in the Constitution and is one of
the precedents set by George Washington.
- President Washington refused to serve a third term due both to his
age and because he could see the evils of a man remaining in power for
an excess of years.
- The two term precedent was not broken until Franklin Roosevelt was
elected to third and fourth terms. The two term limit has since been included
as an amendment to the Constitution.
READ 1 KINGS 2:1-3. David's charge to Solomon.
- After Saul died, Abner made Saul's son, Ishbosheth, king of the northern
kingdom. There was battling and intrigue before David succeeded in consolidating
his power and becoming king over all of Israel.
- As David approached death his son Adonijah, son of David's wife Haggith,
tried to put himself in a position to suceed to the throne. He was able
to get on his side Joab, head of the armies, and Abiathar, a priest.
- When this conspiracy to make Adonijah king was discovered, Nathan,
the prophet, went to Bath-sheba who in turn went to David.
- READ 1 KINGS 1:32-35. David's response.
- WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED IN ISRAEL HAD DAVID BEEN UNABLE TO CLARIFY
SOLOMON'S POSITION PRIOR TO HIS DEATH?
- There could have been factional fighting.
- The northern kingdom would probably have broken away at an earlier
- Adonijah made an additional attempt at putting himself in a position
for the throne. He was eventually put to death.
- Although we may not always like the men that rise to the office of
President of the United States, we have always had a peaceful transitition
of power. The founding fathers were indeed farsighted and inspired and
we have been blessed by their willingness to work together to find alternatives
to the way governments had been operated for centuries.
- We should give this same charge to our elected officials today.
- 1 Kings 2:12: "Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his
father; and his kingdom was established greatly."
The Lord Blesses Solomon
- READ 1 KINGS 3:5-15. The Lord appears to Solomon
in a dream.
IN WHAT SITUATION DID SOLOMON FIRST EXERCISE HIS JUDGEMENT?
- WHAT DOES THIS EXPERIENCE REVEAL ABOUT SOLOMON?
- He was humble: "I am but a little child" (3:7).
- He sought a gift or blessing that would be used in the service of others:
"Give therefore they servant an understanding heart..."
- WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM SOLOMON ABOUT MAKING REQUESTS OF THE LORD?
- We must be humble.
- We must be living a righteous life.
- Seek for those things that will enable us to bless the lives of more
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE AN "UNDERSTANDING HEART"?
- Marion D. Hanks: "The one gift for which this wise man prayed,
in his humility, acknowledging that God had called him and that he was
not qualified of himself, was an understanding-heart, so that in his respectful
leadership of the people he might know how to judge between good and bad."
(BYU Speeches, May 28, 1964, p7)
- WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?
- "'Watch ye,' Paul said. Be wise. There are a lot of roads to
travel on, many places to go, countless things to see. Companions of all
kinds are available. So watch your step, examine carefully the alternatives.
There are only so many books you can read, so many places you can go, so
many tasks you can prepare to work at and actually give your time to; you
can only have so many real friends; you have one character to form, one
life to live, one Master who can be served at a time. So, said Paul, 'Watch
you.' Be wise. Keep reading, keep thinking, keep asking, keep interested.
Try out your own ideas, weigh them and weigh those of others, thoughtfully,
prayerfully, honestly. Let truth have its chance in the marketplace."
(BYU Speeches, May 28, 1964, p7)
- We are not required to make major judgements as did Solomon, but we
do, as pointed out by Elder Hanks, have many choices to make. Those choices
may impact our lives and the lives of others in a significant way. Previously,
we discussed Saul and some of the errors in judgement he made. These errors
led Saul to a point where he lost the spirit and ultimately lost control
of his life. Like Solomon we should be praying for an "understanding
- HOW CAN WE OBTAIN A THE WISDOM AND THE "UNDERSTANDING HEART"
FOR WHICH SOLOMON WAS FAMOUS?
- John Taylor: "David took no step without enquiring of the Lord.
Solomon also, acted as a priest as well as a king; and it is said of him,
that Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father.
And the Lord gave him wisdom, and instructed him in the affairs of the
kingdom. When he prayed unto the Lord, and asked of him wisdom, God granted
him the desire of his heart, and gave him with wisdom, riches and honor."
(The Government of God, Chapter 8)
- James E. Talmage: "When the Jews marveled at the wisdom of
Christ, He told them of a very simple yet effective way of obtaining, each
for himself, knowledge of supreme worth. 'My doctrine is not mine,' said
He, 'but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of
the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself' (John
7:16, 17)." (The Vitality of Mormonism, p76)
- WHAT ADDITIONAL BLESSINGS DID THE LORD GRANT SOLOMON?
- "And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked,
both riches, and honour" (3:13).
- HOW MIGHT THESE BLESSINGS BE USED TO SERVE OTHERS?
- Heber J. Grant: "I rejoice in seeing the Latter-day Saints
increase in wealth; I rejoice when they build fine homes and to know they
are able to keep carriages to ride in, and to enjoy the comforts of life.
But I cannot rejoice in seeing the people grow in knowledge, intelligence
and wealth unless there is a corresponding growth in good works and love
for their fellow man; unless the desire is manifested in their works to
carry on and advance the work of God. The more wealth and the more intelligence
we can gain, the greater will be our ability to labor for the advancement
of God's Kingdom." (Collected Discourses, Vol.1, Sep. 1, 1889)
The Construction Of The Temple
- Solomon wrote to Hiram, king of Tyre, "I purpose to build an
house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my
father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he
shall build an house unto my name" (1 Kings 5:5).
READ 1 KINGS 6:7. No tools of iron to be heard.
- "Solomon had depended on the skill of Hiram's Phoenician architects
and laborers, as well as precious Lebanon cedar, to construct the most
impressive buildings in Jerusalem--the temple and the royal buildings for
government." (Old Testament Student Manual, Vol. 2, p5)
- James E. Talmage: "Soon after Solomon's accession to the throne
he set about the labor, which, as heritage and honor, had come to him with
his crown. He laid the foundation in the fourth year of his reign, and
the building was completed within seven years and a half. With the great
wealth accumulated by his kingly father and specifically reserved for the
building of the Temple, Solomon was able to put the known world under tribute,
and to enlist the co-operation of nations in his great undertaking. The
temple workmen numbered scores of thousands, and every department was in
charge of master craftsmen. To serve on the great structure in any capacity
was an honor; and labor acquired dignity never before recognized. Masonry
became a profession, and the graded orders therein established have endured
until this day. The erection of the Temple of Solomon was an epoch-making
event, not alone in the history of Israel, but in that of the world."
(The House of the Lord, pp5-6)
READ 1 KINGS 6:11-13. The Lord's promise to Solomon
regarding the temple.
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE SOLOMON REQUIRED THIS WHILE THE TEMPLE WAS UNDER
- Howard W. Hunter noted that "the temple where Jesus taught
and worshipped in Jerusalem was built in such a way as to establish respect
for and devotion to the Father. Its very architecture taught a silent but
constant lesson of reverence…. It was intended to be a place of solace
for men's woes and troubles, the very gate of heaven." (Ensign,
Nov. 1977, pp52-53)
- Thus, if the temple was built to honor God, there should be reverence
during its construction, as well as after its completion.
We read in 1 Kings 7 that Solomon built his own house or palace. It
was 13 years under construction and larger than the temple (and we thought
Bill Gates was slow).
- MIGHT THIS PROMISE GIVEN TO SOLOMON APPLY TO US TODAY?
- D&C 97:15-17: "And inasmuch as my people build a house
unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to
come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; Yea,
and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure
in heart that shall come into it shall see God. But if it be defiled I
will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not
come into unholy temples."
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE SOLOMON BUILT THIS LARGER PALACE FOR HIMSELF?
- One would suppose he got caught up in his wealth and power and wanted
to impress his own people, as well as the other nations.
Solomon Dedicates The Temple - 1 Kings 8
- After seven years of construction, Solomon dedicated the temple.
Solomon's dedicatory prayer (see 1 Kings 8:22-53).
- The Ark of the Covenant was brought up out of Bethlehem and placed
in the temple.
- READ 1 KINGS 8:10-11. The glory of the Lord filled
- The completion of a temple is a sacred event evidenced by this occasion.
We also know of the tremendous spiritual events that occurred at the time
of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. The temple is the doorway to
the greatest rewards of eternity. When that door is opened, it is a time
for celebration on both sides of the veil.
At the end of Solomon's dedicatory prayer he counseled Israel, "Let
your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes,
and to keep his commandments, as at this day" (1 Kings 8:61).
- READ 1 KINGS 8:28-30. Solomon requests that the
Lord hear the prayers of Israel.
- Often we attend the temple, not only to serve and do the work of the
dead, but to seek answers to our difficulties and prayers. What better
place to seek those answers as we endeavor to serve in the Lord's holy
- HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED BY TEMPLE ATTENDANCE?
- Ezra Taft Benson: "In the peace of these lovely temples, sometimes
we find solutions to the serious problems of life. Under the influence
of the Spirit, sometimes pure knowledge flows to us there. Temples are
places of personal revelation. When I have been weighed down by a problem
or a difficulty, I have gone to the House of the Lord with a prayer in
my heart for answers. These answers have come in clear and unmistakable
ways." (Ensign, Aug. 1985, p8)
- Solomon asks forgivenss for the sins of Israel (see 1 Kings 8:33-39).
- Solomon ask for rain (see 1 Kings 8:35-36).
- Solomon asks for help during famine and sickness (1 Kings 8:37).
- Solomon prays for help when Israel goes up to battle (1 Kings 8:44-45).
- READ 1 KINGS 8:41-43. Solomon prays for the temple
to help unbelievers.
- WHAT IS SOLOMON ASKING?
- HOW MIGHT A TEMPLE HELP OR INFLUENCE UNBELIEVERS? EXAMPLES?
- Temples often evoke questions from non-members, thus giving us an opportunity
to expand on their purpose and teach the gospel.
- The Salt Lake Temple has become a world landmark that often attracts
- The opening of new temples provides opportunities for teaching our
neighbors more about our beliefs.
After the dedication of the temple and several days of worship, Solomon
"sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto
their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD
had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people." (1
- HOW CAN TEMPLE ATTENDANCE HELP US PERFECT OUR HEARTS?
- WHAT CAN WE DO TO KEEP THE INFLUENCE OF THE TEMPLE STRONG IN OUR LIVES?
- Regular attendance.
- Talk about the temple and its blessings within our families.
- Display pictures of temples in our homes.
- HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU RETURN FROM THE TEMPLE?
- I think many of us have gone into the temple after a day of turmoil
or having rushed through heavy traffic or any other number of worldly concerns.
A couple hours in the temple is like pouring water on a burning fire. I
usually come away from the temple with an attitude of peace, a desire to
live better, and gratitude for my blessings.
Solomon Becomes Excessively Wealthly & Marries
- Solomon's riches and honor increased after the building of the temple.
- Kings and rulers from foreign lands brought tribute to Solomon.
- "And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which
God had put in his heart. And they brought every man his present, vessels
of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and armour, and spices, horses,
and mules, a rate year by year." (1 Kings 10:24-25)
- HOW DID SOLOMON USE THESE NEW RICHES?
- He used it to build his own kingdom rather than the kingdom of God
(see 1 Kings 10:16-23, 26-29).
- Consider this: "Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory,
and overlaid it with the best gold. The throne had six steps, and the top
of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on
the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve
lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps:
there was not the like made in any kingdom." (1 Kings 10:18-20).
- HOW SHOULD SOLOMON HAVE USED HIS WISDOM, RICHES, AND HONOR?
- See Jacob 2:18-19.
- Neal A. Maxwell: "What sort of individuals will receive eternal
life? Among others, the few rich who sought the kingdom first and wanted
riches only in order to do good (see Jacob 2:18-19); those few who learned
not to cease hearkening to the counsels of God (see 2 Nephi 9:29); those
few whose hearts were not set upon the praise and things of this world;
those few who did not abuse power and authority; the few who learned to
obtain and handle the very powers of heaven through significant personal
righteousness (see D&C 121:35, 36, 39)." ( A Wonderful Flood
of Light, p58)
- READ 1 KINGS 11:1-2. Solomon marries wives of
- WHAT DID THESE NON-ISRAELITE WIVES INFLUENCE SOLOMON TO DO?
- They persuaded him to worship their false Gods (see 1 Kings 11:3-8).
- "And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred
concubines: and his wives turned away his heart" (11:3).
- "And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not
fully after the LORD, as did David his father" (11:6).
- JST: "And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, as David
his father, and went not fully after the Lord."
- READ 1 KINGS 11:11. Solomon to lose his kingdom
for not keeping his covenants.
- "And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith
the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the
hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee" (1 Kings 11:31).
- HOW DO YOU THINK THE BLESSINGS OF WISDOM, RICHES AND HONOR CONTRIBUTED
TO SOLOMON'S DOWNFALL?
- As the Lord said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God"
- There is nothing inherently evil about wisdom, riches, and honor, but
they seem to lead many away from righteousness. Jacob taught, "O
that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and
the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise,
and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing
they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it
profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if
they hearken unto the counsels of God. But wo unto the rich, who are rich
as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the
poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures;
wherefore, their treasure is their God. And behold, their treasure shall
perish with them also" (2 Nephi 9:28-30).
- Over the past few weeks we have talked about three great kings in Israel.
Men who were righteous and blessed of the Lord. How is it that these three
men could give in to the "natural man"? It should be a solomn
warning to be ever vigilant in our fight against temptation. Satan will
attack us in the weakest part of our armor. He did with Saul, David, and
Solomon. Consider the difference these three men might have made in the
future history of Israel if they had remained absolutely devoted to the
Lord and kept their covenants.
- HOW CAN WE ENSURE THAT OUR STRENGTHS DO NOT BECOME A DOWNFALL FOR US?
- Dallin H. Oaks: "How...do we prevent our strengths from becoming
our downfall? The quality we must cultivate is humility. Humility is the
great protector. Humility is the antidote against pride. Humility is the
catalyst for all learning, especially spiritual things. Throught the prophet
Moroni, the Lord gave us this great insight into the role of humility:
'I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient
for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves
before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong
unto them' (Either 12:27).
"We might also say that if men and women humble themselves
before God, he will help them prevent their strengths form becoming weaknesses
that the adversary can exploit to destroy them....
"...If we are humble and teachable, harkening to the commandments
of God, the counsel of his leaders, and the promptings of his Spirit, we
can be guided in how to use our spiritual gifts, our accomplishments, and
all of our other strengths for righteousness. And we can be guided in how
to avoid Satan's efforts to use our strenghts to cause our downfall.
"In all of this, we should remember and rely on the Lord's
direction and promise: 'Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall ead
thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers' (D&C 112:10)."
(Ensign, Oct. 1994, p19)
As we view the life of Solomon, we see that the Lord blesses those who
seek to serve and honor him. Solomon was blessed with riches and wisdom.
He built the temple and dedicated it to the Lord. But as we often see with
those who are blessed with temporal blessings, they are often tempted and
give into the "natural man". Solomon, a righteous man, blessed
with wisdom, honor, and riches gave into the natural man. Eventually this
led to marrying outside of the covenant and the worship of false gods and
idols. It is a warning to us to constantly be vigilant. As Elder Oaks stated,
we must seek to cultivate humility in our life. Another preventative measure
is to live worthy to attend the temple and frequently visit that holy house
and serve the Lord.
Lesson 27: 1 Kings 12-14; Chronicles 17; 20.
Additional Reading: 1 Kings 11:26-40; 2 Kings 17:20-23.
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