King Solomon is an important person in the Old Testament of the Bible. Even today, King Solomon is the symbol for wisdom as well as riches. Though he was a child of King David, he was not the oldest son and his ascension to the throng of Israel was not without controversy. The Bible has interesting stories about this special monarch as told in The First Book of Kings.
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Solomon almost didn't become King of Israel. While his father lay dying, one of his older brothers, Adonijah, had himself declared ruler. When King David was told about it, he called the priests and had Solomon crowned in front of all the people. Solomon felt he didn't have the experience to rule Israel. His father was a great and good king. Solomon also wanted to be a good king. Solomon prayed, but not for long life or wealth. He prayed for an understanding heart and the wisdom to be able to tell good from evil. God was pleased that King Solomon asked to be a good and wise king instead of asking for selfish things, and told him he'd grant him wisdom and understanding. Because he requested wisdom, God also gave him long life and wealth.
Two women came to Solomon's court with a baby. Solomon asked them to explain their problem. One of the women told him, "We share a house. We both got pregnant and I gave birth to my son first. Three days later, she also gave birth to a son." The woman pointed to her companion. "One night, she rolled over on her baby and he died. While I slept, she switched her dead baby for mine."
She continued, "When I awoke to feed my baby I realised he was not mine." "No," the other woman said, "your baby is dead and this baby is mine." King Solomon studied the two women. Finally he commanded, "Bring a sword. Divide the living baby in half so each can have part of this baby." One woman nodded in approval and said it seemed fair, while the other one cried out, "No! Give her the baby. I want my child to live." Solomon told the soldier who held the baby to hand the child to the woman who shouted for its life; she was the real mother, he concluded. From them on, King Solomon became known for his wisdom.
King David loved God with all his heart. He wanted to build God a great temple and began drawing up plans and gathering supplies. God stopped him. God told him that since he was a man of war, God didn't want him building the temple. He told David, "Your son who reigns after you will be a man of peace. He will build the temple." After Solomon became king, he said, "It is time to build the temple that my father planned to build." Solomon bought the best wood and gathered gold and silver. He commissioned the best craftspeople to construct the great building and create the rich draperies and furnishings. King Solomon's temple was almost 20 stories tall. The ceiling was 50 feet tall, 90 feet in one direction and 180 feet the other. Solomon dedicated the temple to God and asked for God's blessing on the people for as long as they honoured and worshipped Him.
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