Solomon: October 2015

Table of Contents

1. Solomon
2. David and Solomon
3. Solomon’s Failure
4. A Great Contrast
5. A Greater Than Solomon Is Here
6. Wisdom
7. Solomon’s Writings
8. Hail to the Lord’s Anointed: Psa. 72


We know God is love and loves all men. However, there are only a few cases in Scripture where His love for an individual is stated. Solomon is one such case. “David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him” (2 Sam. 12:24). The circumstances of this statement are well worth pondering. David had not long before committed the greatest series of sins in his life. What might he now think to receive from God with the woman with whom he had committed adultery and had her husband murdered in an attempt to hide his sin? God had, in His perfect government, already taken the life of the child born of adultery. What could David and Bathsheba expect from God in the future? The human heart so easily thinks that God thinks like we do. We do good  ...  we expect good; we do bad  ...  we expect bad. God is sovereign in His love, and it is not limited by man’s failure. And in spite of Solomon’s failures, what satisfaction must God have had to later be able to record, “Solomon loved the Lord” (1 Kings 3:3).

David and Solomon

The young Solomon did not have to wait until the death of his father to sit upon his throne. “When David was old and full of days, he made Solomon his son king over Israel” (1 Chron. 23:1). The usurpation of Adonijah, not mentioned in the Book of Chronicles, led to a second enthronement. “They made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto Jehovah to be the chief governor.” At this point David’s throne is called “the throne of Jehovah” (1 Chron. 29:22-23). This was a title of exaltation, and it was acknowledged by the Queen of Sheba on the occasion of her visit (2 Chron. 9:8). David’s throne has a place in the ways of God that no other has ever had, or can have. It is the center of divine administration for the earth, and it can only be filled in perfection by the Lord Jesus. It was a sad day for all the nations and for Israel when Jehovah in righteousness was constrained to “make his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground” (Psa. 89:44). “The times of the Gentiles” commenced (Luke 21:24).
A Twofold Picture
The enthronement of Solomon while David yet lived meant that, for the time being, both reigned together. Thus we have a twofold picture of Christ. David typifies Him as the man of war, and Solomon as the man of peace. Our Lord at His appearing will fulfill the David type in His warrior judgments, and afterwards He will fulfill the Solomon type in His sessional judgments. The white horse is the symbol of the one and the throne is the symbol of the other.
Revelation 19:11-21 gives us a vivid description of our Lord coming forth from heaven in His David character. The white horse is the symbol of victorious power, in contrast to the ass’s colt upon which He rode in the day of His lowly grace (Mark 11:7). His name is Faithful and True, for what He was in testimony for God He will also be in the execution of His judgments. “In righteousness He doth judge and make war” (Rev. 19:11). Here at last we have an unquestionably “righteous war.” Throughout the ages men have striven to keep the Man of God’s choice out of His rights, and God has borne with it! The King’s eyes are “a flame of fire” — holy discernment in wrath — and “on His head are many diadems.” Satan has seven (Rev. 12:3), and the Beast ten (Rev. 13:1), but the King of kings and Lord of lords has “many,” for His glory is without limit. Armies follow Him, also riding “upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” These are the glorified saints, previously “caught up” at His descent into the air (1 Thess. 4:15-17). There is no suggestion of mercy in the terrible vision of Revelation 19. “Out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.” The fowls of the heavens are angelically summoned to the greatest feast yet known. Kings, captains, mighty men, and horses go down at the word of Him who rides the white horse. The vast hosts of the Roman group of powers will be impotent before Him, and their leaders, the Beast and the False Prophet, will be “cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
Warrior Judgments
Isaiah 63:1-6 describes another terrible incident in our Lord’s warrior judgments. He comes up from Edom with garments dyed with the blood of the enemies of His redeemed, that is, Israel. These are the northern and eastern powers that will overrun God’s land in the last crisis (Zech. 14:1-3). The groups of Revelation 19 and Isaiah 63 are hostile to each other, each seeking world supremacy, but all are equally opposed to the Christ of God and would frustrate, if they could, the accomplishment of the divine counsels concerning Him. But their schemes are laughable to the Almighty (Psa. 2:4).
There are other fearful incidents in the judgment of the “quick” (living) at the Lord’s appearing upon which we will not dwell. Ezekiel 38-39 speaks of the overthrow of the hordes of Russia and her many allies (or satellites); Isaiah 11:14 tells of the judgment of Edom, Moab and Ammon by Jewish instrumentality, and the following Scriptures suggest much more activity of this painful character: Micah 4:13; 5:8; Ezekiel 25:14; Zechariah 9:13; 14:14; Psalm 149:6-9. All these prophecies bring home to us the solemn meaning of our Lord’s words, “Those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me” (Luke 19:27).
All Enemies Subdued
David, having subdued all the enemies of Israel round about, bequeathed to Solomon a peaceful throne. Only one military incident is recorded. “Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, and prevailed against it” (2 Chron. 8:3). Then there was profound peace during the remainder of his forty years’ reign. “Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river [Euphrates] unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life” (1 Kings 4:21). But Solomon was no believer in disarmament. It is twice repeated, “Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen, and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem” (1 Kings 10:26; 2 Chron. 1:14). Truly every type fails! When He who is “greater than Solomon” reigns in Jerusalem, men “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isa. 2:4). His presence will cause “the name of the city from that day” to be Jehovah Shammah — Jehovah is there (Ezek. 48:35). “I, saith Jehovah, I will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her” (Zech. 2:5 JND).
Abundance of Peace
At this point it would be a delight to transcribe the whole of Psalm 72, but we refrain. In days of universal distress such as our own, it is refreshing to the spirit to read that psalm. David began it as a prayer for Solomon, but the Spirit of God soon led him far beyond his immediate successor to the One who will bring all blessing in and establish it upon immutable foundations. David begins with righteousness (in both king and subordinate rulers), and in his seventh verse he arrives at peace — “abundance of peace as long as the moon endureth.” Justice for all, every oppressor broken in pieces, all enemies subjugated, kings from afar bowing low at the feet of David’s greater Son, widespread prosperity, city life purified and made healthy, and men everywhere calling Him blessed — these are the themes of which the psalmist wrote with joy. We need not wonder that he turned to praise. “Blessed be Jehovah God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be His glorious name forever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory: Amen and Amen. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” This does not mean that David never prayed after he wrote Psalm 72. What is meant is that from his standpoint as a saint with an earthly calling, he could ask nothing beyond an earth filled with righteousness, peace, and glory under the rule of the Man of God’s pleasure. Heavenly saints look for much more — a “vast universe of bliss,” of which Christ will be “the Center  ...  and Sun.”
W. W. Fereday (adapted)

Solomon’s Failure

We can scarcely conceive of one who had such a good beginning or who enjoyed such God-given advantages in his life as King Solomon. He was born into the royal family of his father David, the warrior king, under whose reign all of Israel’s enemies had been subdued. He ascended the throne at a very young age (probably scarcely twenty years old), and recognizing his lack of wisdom and experience, he asked the Lord for wisdom to govern wisely. As a result of this request, the Lord not only gave him wisdom and knowledge such as none before or since have had, but He also gave him riches, wealth and honor, such as none other has had. In spite of all this, Solomon’s life was in many ways a failure, and so much so that his son (Rehoboam) lost the greater part of the kingdom under the government of God. We know that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Rom. 15:4), and in Solomon’s history we find much that is instructive for our own souls, “upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Cor. 10:11).
I would suggest that there were three main areas of failure in Solomon’s life, all of them avoidable, had he been willing to follow the Lord, to obey the law, and to be sensitive to warnings from the Lord.
Three Requirements
First of all, a king was to copy out, personally, the entire law of Moses, in order to impress it on his heart and soul. More than this, he was to read it “all the days of his life,” so that he might “keep all the words of this law” and “prolong his days in his kingdom” (Deut. 17:18-20). Whether Solomon did this is not recorded, but it is certain that after a good beginning, he did indeed disobey three important commandments in the law. In this same chapter (Deut. 17:16-17), the king was told not to multiply to himself horses, wives, and silver and gold. The Lord knew the tendencies of the human heart, and He knew well that a king who multiplied to himself these three things would soon learn to trust in horses rather than the Lord, would have divided affections, and would become occupied with riches rather than the Lord Himself.
Three Failures
As we know, Solomon accumulated all three of these, the number of his wives and concubines being perhaps the most staggering figure of the three. Yet all these women could not satisfy his heart, for in the end he had to say, “Behold, this have I found  ...  one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found” (Eccl. 7:27-28). We need not go into detail about the amassing of horses, silver, gold and wives, but the plain fact is there, that it was direct disobedience to God’s Word. In view of all this, the Lord appeared to him twice, promising blessing upon him and his house if he was faithful, yet warning him (at the second appearing) of the solemn consequences of failing to keep His commandments.
Further Failure
But one act of disobedience leads to another, for wrongdoing seldom exists in isolation. It is recorded that when Solomon “loved many strange women” (1 Kings 11:1), “his wives turned away his heart after other gods” (1 Kings 11:4). This was most serious, for as we have noted, the Lord had solemnly warned him at his second appearing, mentioning the results of disobedience both to him and to Israel. It seems that Solomon did not really take this to heart, for later it is recorded that “the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared to him twice” (1 Kings 11:9). The worship of other gods — abominable heathen deities — was most offensive to the Lord and could not be tolerated. Again the Lord spoke, and again directly to Solomon, pronouncing judgment on him and on Israel. The kingdom would be rent from him and given to another.
The Worship of False Gods
This brings us to the third failure in Solomon’s life, and in some ways the most serious. The worship of false gods was a terrible insult and affront to Jehovah, who had done so much for Israel. But Israel’s history shows that even after they fell into idolatry, when there was true repentance, the Lord was gracious and had mercy on them. But Solomon was warned several times by the Lord, and it seems that these warnings were not heeded. First of all, he had been warned about the consequences of disobedience on the second occasion of the Lord’s appearing to him (1 Kings 9:6-9). Second, the Lord spoke directly to him at a later date, telling him that He would “rend the kingdom” from him. But evidently Solomon did not repent. Third, God raised up adversaries to him, both Hadad the Edomite and then Rezon the son of Eliadah, in Syria. These ought to have been a voice from the Lord. Finally, God had the prophet Ahijah tell Jeroboam that He would “rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon” (1 Kings 11:31) and give him ten tribes over which to reign. Evidently Solomon knew about this, but instead of humbling himself and repenting, he “sought therefore to kill Jeroboam” (1 Kings 11:40).
Sadly, all this resulted in the Lord’s prophecy being fulfilled; under Solomon’s son Rehoboam the kingdom was divided, and the rightful king was left with only two tribes — Judah and Benjamin. The idolatry that began under Solomon continued, and as we well know, the eventual outcome was that all Israel was carried into captivity and uprooted from their land.
Lessons to Learn
What lessons, then, does all this have for us? First of all, let us be reminded that obedience and happiness go together (John 15:10-11), and that disobedience not only dishonors the Lord, but also brings misery into our own lives. The Lord desires our blessing, and “His commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3).
Second, let us be reminded that while all disobedience ultimately dishonors the Lord, the worship of false gods is particularly offensive to Him. False religions are always connected with the sanctifying of man’s lusts, and this continues today. For us who live in the light of Christianity, the idolatry of the Old Testament is the covetousness and worldliness of the New Testament. We have been called to honor Christ and seek His interests in this world. To do otherwise and to embrace a worldly lifestyle is particularly distasteful to the Lord.
Finally, we should be sensitive to the Lord’s voice and respond when He speaks to us. We read that “God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not” (Job 33:14), and all too often we are dull of hearing and fail to listen. We need more of the spirit of what Eli told Samuel to say: “Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth” (1 Sam. 3:9). Wealth, wisdom and power — all of which the Lord had given him — evidently lifted Solomon up in pride, so that he failed to listen to the One who had given them.
David’s Failure and Solomon’s
Some may remark that while Solomon failed, he did not, in one sense, fail in the same serious way that David did. But there was a marked difference in David. He failed seriously, and more than once, but in each case he responded to the Lord’s voice to him and immediately repented. For this reason he was called a man after God’s own heart. Solomon pursued a wrong course of which he never repented, in spite of the Lord’s dealings with him, and is never said to be a man after God’s own heart. Surely all failure is to be avoided, but it is better to be a David than a Solomon.
W. J. Prost

A Great Contrast

Of all the men whose lives are recorded in Old Testament Scripture, Solomon stands out supreme in his intellectual endowments. If we read 1 Kings 4:29-34 and then glance at the first verse of 1 Kings 10, we shall see that his extraordinary mental powers were given him by God. He was not only a literary and poetic genius with great knowledge of all natural history subjects, but he also had great understanding “concerning the name of the Lord.” It was the fame spread abroad as to this latter feature that drew the Queen of Sheba to his presence. He was evidently the wonder of his age.
Solomon and Saul of Tarsus
When we turn to the New Testament and confine our thoughts to those who were merely men, no individual stands out more strikingly than Saul of Tarsus. Like Solomon, he came of pure Hebrew stock, as he states in Philippians 3:4-6, and in religious matters he held a foremost place, for he wrote that he “profited in the Jew’s religion above many my equals [that is, contemporaries] in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers” (Gal. 1:14). In him again we find a man of outstanding intellectual powers.
When, however, we consider the spirit that marked them, the course they pursued, and the end to which they came, we find the greatest possible contrast. In our consideration, we must, of course, remember the great difference that existed between the epochs in which they lived. Solomon had to walk in the light of God as He had been made known in the law system, ministered through Moses; Saul of Tarsus, who became the Apostle Paul, was brought into the light of God revealed in Christ — in the grace of His atoning sufferings and of His risen glory.
The Good Things of Life
We are struck, in the first place, by the fact that Solomon possessed and enjoyed all the good things of this life in superabundant measure, whereas Paul enjoyed none of them. We may gain some idea of Solomon’s abundance by reading Ecclesiastes 2:4-10. We turn to Philippians 3:8 and find Paul saying, “I have suffered the loss of all things.” And if we would know what he gained as regards this world, we may read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. Having done so, the contrast is great in the highest degree.
But now consider the spirit that animated them. Ecclesiastes 2:10 shows that Solomon threw himself wholeheartedly into “having a good time,” as men speak. He pursued everything that came within his reach. His motto must have been, “I do everything,” in the pursuit of pleasure and satisfaction. And what was the principle on which Paul lived? We find it again in Philippians 3:13: “This one thing I do.” And what was the one thing? The things behind him, the things he had lost, he forgot, as he reached forth to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Again the contrast could not be more complete.
Selfishness and Selflessness
The result of this was that Solomon became exceedingly selfish. This too comes out clearly in Ecclesiastes 2. Read the passage again, and note how he puts it: “I made me  ...  I builded me  ...  I planted me  ...  I got me  ...  I gathered me  ...  so I was great.” His life became one of self-gratification, so much so that he might have said, “For me to live is — SELF.” And as to Paul, we have his word in Philippians, “For to me to live is — CHRIST” (Phil. 1:21). No greater contrast can be found than that between a life lived for self and one lived for Christ.
So with Solomon, for a season all went well. He prospered in the most amazing fashion, and his fame was noised abroad in all directions, and in that same chapter in Ecclesiastes he was able to write, “Whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor.” In his immense worldly success, he found his joy.
But when Paul wrote his epistle to the saints at Philippi, he was a prisoner in Rome; he was in very unpleasant circumstances, yet he was filled with joy. Here are some of his words: “I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice  ...  I joy, and rejoice with you all  ...  finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord  ...  rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, rejoice.” Is he rejoicing in prosperous surroundings? Not at all, for his surroundings were anything but prosperous. His rejoicing was altogether in the Lord, and this is the rejoicing that lasts. Solomon rejoiced in his own successful achievements; Paul rejoiced in the Lord. Another complete contrast.
Vanity and Contentment
Lastly, we notice that when Solomon wrote of his rejoicing, he used the past tense: not, “my heart rejoices,” but, “my heart rejoiced.” We glance at the very next verse, and we find him saying, “All was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” His disillusionment was complete.
And what of Paul? We turn once more to the Philippian epistle, and in its closing chapter we find him writing, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content  ...  I have all, and abound.” So while the man who had, as men would say, everything one’s heart could wish, ended with vanity and emptiness; the man who lost all the good things of life, yet found his sufficiency in God, was full “according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The contrast in their finish is not less striking than that which marked their course.
Fascinating Objects
Now these things have a very clear and challenging voice to us today. I would desire to accept the challenge for myself and to pass it on to you, my readers. None of us have the immense wealth and boundless opportunities of a Solomon, but we live in an age far more filled with alluring and fascinating objects and devices. The man of small means can today spend much time listening to the voices of men who speak or to music played all around the world. He can watch scenes that are enacted in the far distance. He can get in his car and drive along the roads to his desired destination, or, perhaps, sit in an airplane and cut through the air at more than 500 miles an hour. These things are very fascinating, but we have to remember that all these extraordinary human inventions in the end are going to prove to be but “vanity and vexation of spirit.”
F. B. Hole (adapted)

A Greater Than Solomon Is Here

In looking back to Solomon’s greatness, we may sometimes be a little overawed by his riches, his glory and his wisdom. He was doubtless the wealthiest king that ever lived, and he has had an influence over posterity that no others have ever had. What he wrote has been part of the Word of God and has been read by millions of people, while his name is synonymous with wisdom, even in worldly circles.
Yet, even in the midst of all this, we are reminded that all God’s purposes are in Christ, His beloved Son, and thus it is more the failure of Solomon that is before us in Scripture rather than his glory and his successes. Even in natural things, the Lord Jesus could remind those to whom He spoke that even “the lilies of the field” were more beautiful than the best clothing that Solomon could boast of (Matt. 6:28-29). While we can and should learn from Solomon’s failure, there are many people, even believers, who would like to have the wealth and influence that he had. I well remember a conversation with a young man, and I pointed out to him that money and material things could not satisfy his heart. His typical response was, “You may be right, but I would sure like to try!”
But when we consider the One with whom we have to do, how his glory and wisdom eclipse that of Solomon! The Queen of Sheba “came from the uttermost parts of the earth” to hear the wisdom of Solomon, but the Lord Jesus could remind the people in His day that “a greater than Solomon is here” (Matt. 12:42). Today men are also impressed by displays of power and glory, but there is One in whom God has centered all His purposes to a coming eternity and whose glory will surpass anything that has ever been seen. Indeed this is evident from the account in Luke, where similar words are used to those in Matthew, except that the order is reversed. In Matthew we get the normal order of salvation: first repentance, which is then followed by the burning desire to know the truth. Thus Jonah’s preaching to the men of Nineveh is mentioned first, and then the glory of Solomon. But in Luke, Solomon’s glory is mentioned first, and then the repentance of those in Nineveh. This is in keeping with the fact that Luke is the introduction to Paul’s ministry — a ministry that begins with God’s purposes in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, we read that “the god of this world has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving, so that the radiancy of the glad tidings of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine forth for them” (JND trans.). First in God’s purposes is His desire to glorify His beloved Son; then He delights to bring us into blessing with Him. Satan seeks to blind men to that glory, but everything must pale before that glorious One, even a man as great as Solomon, who was a type of Christ reigning in millennial blessing.
Solomon’s wealth and glory came at the expense of heavy taxation, while the blessing in the millennium will come from the largesse of blessing from the heart of God. In our day, we read that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:9-10). In the next chapter we read that “all things are yours” (1 Cor. 3:21). Solomon’s glory was his alone, although others could see it and enjoy it. But Christ shares with His own all that He has won, for we are “heirs of God, and coheirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17). The Queen of Sheba came to prove Solomon with hard questions; we have to do with One who is made unto us “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30). More than this, we read prophetically that His name shall be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Father of eternity, Prince of peace” (Isa. 9:6 JND). Solomon filled a place on earth that drew forth the admiration of others from afar off; we behold the glory of the One who has “ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things” (Eph. 4:10).
Finally, the greatness of God’s grace is seen in the fact that He does not usually pick up the wise of this world, but rather “has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Cor. 1:27). Great men of this world seek to surround themselves with other great men, and all the while perhaps despise those whose natural wisdom does not come up to theirs. But God has shown and magnified His grace in bringing the weak and despised people of this world into a place of glory and blessing with Christ. What a position for us, and how we ought to enjoy it more!
W. J. Prost


Wherever the Bible is known, Solomon is famous for his exceptional wisdom. Alas, that one so profoundly wise should have degenerated into a great fool. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, he expressed the fear that his son might be a fool (as indeed he was), but he did not appear to have been apprehensive for himself (Eccl. 2:10). Well does the Apostle Paul say, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).
Job, in his last discourse, speaks of the excellency of wisdom (Job 28:12-28). Having spoken of men’s skill in mining and engineering and their diligent search for the treasures of the earth, he exclaimed, “Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:20). The bowels of the earth will not reveal it, and its value far exceeds that of gold and rubies. God alone can declare its true nature and value. “Unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28). Solomon added to this later: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). Therefore, until God gets His rightful place in a man’s mind and heart, he is incapable of viewing anything wisely. His beginning is all wrong.
The Son of God
Since the days of Job and Solomon, the eternal Wisdom has come into the world in the person of the Son of God. Everything must now be considered in relation to Him. “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). What can man show in the way of power in comparison with the “exceeding greatness” of the power of God “which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:20)? What wisdom can man show, with all his research, that will compare with what God revealed when He turned Calvary’s cross into the means of salvation and blessing for countless myriads? Men denied His beloved Son the kingship over the Jews, and God has given Him the headship of the universe; all that has come to Christ and will yet come to Him was settled in the counsels of infinite love ages before men were created! His enemies will yet be confounded at their own folly and be constrained to acknowledge the surpassing wisdom of God. “The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25). “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Cor. 3:18-19). The man who leaves God and Christ out of his life’s scheme is as hopelessly adrift as a vessel in a storm without chart and rudder.
Solomon was probably the most versatile monarch that has ever lived. Many of the kings who have ruled since Solomon could neither read nor write. But no subject seemed outside the range of Solomon’s knowledge. “He spoke three thousand proverbs,” many of which the Holy Spirit has preserved for us. “His songs were a thousand and five,” but only one remains. It is indeed “the Song of Songs”; no other metrical composition will compare with it. The believer in Jesus, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, reads it with sacred joy.
Solomon spoke of trees, from the stately cedar of Lebanon to the humble “hyssop that springeth out of the wall.” Beasts, birds, creeping things and fishes also came into his discourses. He surrounded himself with all the wise men he heard of. Several outstanding ones are named in 1 Kings 4:31, some now unknown to us. But God’s unique servant surpassed them all, being a type of Him with whom none in heaven or earth will compare! “Never man spake like this man” was said of Him even in the days of His humiliation (John 7:46).
At this point, let us listen to Solomon’s own testimony. “I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments and live. Get wisdom, get understanding; forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honor when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee” (Prov. 4:3-9). To this we must add the young king’s comment, “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding” (Prov. 3:13).
David’s earnest counsel accounts, at least in measure, for Solomon’s answer to Jehovah in Gibeon. How remarkably He met his desire! Solomon pleaded that Israel was “so great”: How could he carry the responsibility of guiding such a nation? Now compare verses 20 and 29 of 1 Kings 4: “Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude”; “God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart even as the sand which is on the seashore.” Wisdom according to the need!
A great lesson is here. The greater the responsibility and need, the greater the divine provision to meet it. Let us take courage! Solomon’s God is ours, and He may be trusted to stand by us in all the sufficiency of His wisdom and grace in any position in which He is pleased to set us, however difficult it may be. Faith can say, “I have strength for all things in Him that gives me power” (Phil. 4:13 JND).
Grief and Sorrow
“In much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow” (Eccl. 1:18). There is truth in his words. The thinking man necessarily suffers more than the frivolous multitude. His studies give him an understanding of the evils that operate around him which others lack! Men sometimes say, “Ignorance is bliss.” The man who increases his knowledge increases his capacity for suffering. But is this true where God is concerned? No! The better we know our God, the more we enhance our joy, and the better we understand His purposes for this poor devastated world, the more fit we are to live and testify in it.
W. W. Fereday

Solomon’s Writings

In another article in this issue, we have seen some lessons we can learn from Solomon’s failures. However, we would like to pass on to something more positive, namely, his inspired writings. To most believers, these are probably more familiar than his failures, for they comprise three books in the Old Testament — Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon. These books are quite different in their content and import, and they reflect various parts of Solomon’s wisdom, some of it learned directly from God, and some learned by sad experience. It is not our intent to give a synopsis, or summary, of the import and content of these books, but rather to connect them with the human writer, Solomon, in the various experiences of his life.
The first book which we read in Scripture is Proverbs. It was probably written roughly at the mid-point of Solomon’s life, and it represents his wisdom, not only as he had received it from God, but also what was his as a result of his experience as king. The words are addressed to a people considered to be in relationship with God, and thus the name Jehovah is used almost exclusively when referring to God. It is wisdom for this world — a world that has been spoiled by sin, but through which one can be guided, who is ready to listen to God’s wisdom. It deals with God’s government, showing the truth of Galatians 6:7: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (In this way the Proverbs are good for all time, as even in our Christian dispensation, grace does not set aside the just government of God.)
It is evident from Solomon’s history that he walked with God for approximately the first twenty years of his life, during which time he completed both the building of the temple and his own house, and also the house of the forest of Lebanon (see 2 Chron. 8:1). During this time, his wisdom was doubtless increased, and it was also during this time that his many proverbs were written, as well as his songs. It was also at this time that the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, not only assuring him of blessing if he and Israel were faithful to Him, but also warning solemnly of the serious consequences should they forsake His commandments and go and serve other gods. Sad to say, and as we have already noted in other articles in this issue, Solomon did indeed forsake the commandments of the Lord, and he even became a victim of some of his own proverbs.
The writing of Proverbs shows us clearly the principle on which God always operates, namely, “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29). God gave Solomon his wisdom, and even though he eventually did not walk in it himself, yet God did not take it away. “Also my wisdom remained with me” (Eccl. 2:9). He was used of God to write down, for posterity, the result of all the wisdom God had given him, both by precept and by experience.
We come now to the Book of Ecclesiastes, and the character of this book is so different from the others that Solomon wrote that critics have even questioned the fact that he wrote it. But Solomon did write it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and God has given it to us for our good and ultimately for our blessing. It was written toward the end of Solomon’s life, and it is the lament of one who had everything in this world that one could possibly wish for, including wisdom. Yet he found himself unhappy and unsatisfied. He remarks, “Whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy” (Eccl. 2:10). But then he has to sum it all up by saying, “All was vanity and pursuit of the wind” (Eccl. 2:11 JND), and he repeats this phrase a number of times in the book, as if to emphasize it to our hearts. The book is most doleful and sad, and in many ways seems to give man no real hope. We may well ask why God chose to give it to us.
First of all, the book is a salutary lesson to those who seek their joy in this world and in the things of this world. Because of the universal application of the book, God is always referred to as God, rather than Jehovah. Solomon, probably more than any before or after him, had riches, honor, a peaceful reign, and wisdom from God. What more could man want? Yet, in seeking his pleasure in those things, he found out that nothing could satisfy. His natural heart led him into all these pursuits, but his wisdom enabled him to write the book at the end of his life, as a warning to others. We can learn from Solomon’s experience and avoid the trap into which he fell, or we can find it out for ourselves. Sad to say, most of the world is still engaged in finding out for themselves that “all is vanity and pursuit of the wind.”
Second, there is a great deal of wisdom in the book, even if much of it is of a negative character. Despite his disappointment at the end of his life, Solomon’s wisdom comes through in his observations and perceptions. For example, we read in Ecclesiastes 7:1 that “a good name is better than precious ointment.” This is surely good advice at any time and in any dispensation. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the hearts of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Eccl. 8:11) is true in any time and place.
Third, and perhaps most important, the book acts as a foil, or contrast, to show the futility of chasing things in this world, against the joy and blessing that God gives. We must remember that the observations made in Ecclesiastes are made “under the sun” — that is, without necessarily having reference to consequences after man has died. Thus it says, “How dieth the wise man? As the fool” (Eccl. 2:16). Or, “that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts  ...  as the one dieth, so dieth the other” (Eccl. 3:19). This in no way implies that man does not exist after death; rather, it is an observation “under the sun,” an observation that can be made without a direct revelation from God, for man must have a revelation from God to know what is after death.
But if we want to show slides or a video on a screen, we generally wait until it is dark, unless we are in a closed room. Then we turn out the lights, and the light from the projector shows up far more clearly. This is perhaps the most important reason for the book. If God is going to show His love and grace to us, He first gives us a full display of the weariness and frustration that results from seeking happiness outside of Himself. Then, against this dark background, He begins to show us what really satisfies.
Song of Solomon
This brings us to the Song of Solomon, which needs very little comment. It was probably written earlier in Solomon’s life and might well have been the result of his taking Pharaoh’s daughter as his wife. If Ecclesiastes is the experience and lament of one whose heart is so large that nothing can satisfy it, the Song of Solomon is the experience of one whose heart is not large enough to enjoy its object fully.
Doubtless the expressions in it refer to Israel in a coming day as being the object of God’s affections, but again, it is instructive that neither God nor Jehovah are mentioned in the book. The terms used are always those of endearment, such as “beloved,” “my sister,” “my spouse,” “my dove,” and other such words. In a coming day, Israel, having rejected their Messiah once, will seek Him, and the godly ones of that day will reestablish their relationship with Him. But today we, as believers, can enjoy the thoughts and feelings of a bride, for the church is the bride of Christ, and it is Christ that is spoken of as the bridegroom in this book. The beautiful descriptions and affections that are part of the book bring out the loveliness of Christ and of His relationship with His bride. With the bride in the Song of Solomon, we too can say, “Yea, he is altogether lovely” (Song of Sol. 5:16)! If our hearts are taken up with Him, how little the things of this world will seem, and if we are required to use them down here, how lightly we will hold them! We will enjoy His love — the One who says, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee” (Song of Sol. 4:7).
W. J. Prost

Hail to the Lord’s Anointed: Psa. 72

Hail to the Lord’s anointed!
Great David’s greater Son:
When to the time appointed
The rolling years shall run,
He comes to break oppression,
To set the captive free,
To take away transgression,
And rule in equity.
The heavens — which now conceal Him
In counsels deep and wise — 
In glory shall reveal Him
To our rejoicing eyes;
He who with hands uplifted
Went from the earth below,
Shall come again all gifted,
His blessing to bestow.
He shall come down like showers
Upon the new-mown grass,
And joy and hope, like flowers,
Spring up where He doth pass;
Before Him, on the mountains,
Shall peace, the herald, go;
And righteousness, in fountains,
From hill to valley flow.
Kings shall fall down before Him,
And gold and incense bring;
All nations shall adore Him,
His praise all people sing;
Outstretched His wide dominion
O’er river, sea and shore,
Far as the eagle’s pinion
Or dove’s light wing can soar.