Story Eighteen

THE WISE YOUNG KING
SŎĹ O-MON was a very young man, not more than twenty years old, when he became king and bore the heavy care of a great land. For his kingdom was larger than the twelve tribes of Ĭś̝ ra-el, from Dăn to Bḗ er=shḗ ba. On the north he ruled over all from Mount Hēŕ mon as far as the great river Eū-phrā́ tes̝. On the east, Ăḿ mŏn and Mṓ ab were under his power, and in the south all the land of Ē̄ dom, far down into the desert where the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes had wandered long before. He had no wars, as Dā́ vid had before him, but at home and abroad his great realm was at peace as long as Sŏĺ o-mon reigned.
Soon after Sŏĺ o-mon became king he went to Ḡĭb́ e-on, a few miles north of Jē̇-rṳ́ sā̇-lĕm, where the altar of the Lord stood until the Temple was built. At Ḡĭb́ e-on Sŏĺ o-mon made offerings and worshipped the Lord God of Ĭś̝ ra-el.
And that night the Lord God came to Sŏĺ o-mon, and spoke to him. The Lord said, "Ask of me whatever you choose, and I will give it to you.”
And Sŏĺ o-mon said to the Lord, "O Lord, thou didst show great kindness to my father, David; and now thou hast made me king in my father's place. I am only a child, O Lord. I know not how to rule this great people, which is like the dust of the earth in number. Give me, O Lord, I pray thee, wisdom and knowledge, that I may judge this people, and may know how to rule them aright.”
The Lord was pleased with Sŏĺ o-mon's choice, and the Lord said to Sŏĺ o-mon, "Since you have not asked of me long life, nor great riches for yourself, nor victory over your enemies, nor great power, but have asked wisdom and knowledge to judge this people, I have given you wisdom greater than that of any king before you, and greater than that of any king that shall come after you. And because you have asked this, I will give you not only wisdom, but also honor and riches. And if you will obey my words, as your father Dā́ vid obeyed, you shall have long life, and shall rule for many years.”
Then Sŏĺ o-mon awoke and found that it was a dream. But it was a dream that came true, for God gave to Sŏĺ o-mon all that he had promised, wisdom, and riches, and honor, and power, and long life. Soon after this Sŏĺ o-mon showed his wisdom. Two women came before him with two little babies, one dead and the other living. Each of the two women claimed the living child as her own, and said that the dead child belonged to the other woman. One of the women said, "O my lord, we two women were sleeping with our children in one bed. And this woman in her sleep lay upon her child, and it died. Then she placed her dead child beside me while I was asleep, and took my child. In the morning I saw that it was not my child; but she says it is mine, and the living child is hers. Now, O king, command this woman to give me my own child." Then the other woman said, "That is not true. The dead baby is her own, and the living one is mine, which she is trying to take from me.”
Then Sŏĺ o-mon said, "Give the living child to the woman who would not have it slain, for she is its mother.”
And all the people wondered at the wisdom of one so young; and they saw that God had given him understanding.
Sŏĺ o-mon chose some of the great men who had helped his father Dā́ vid, to stand beside his throne and do his will. Among those was a man named Bē̇-nā́ iah, the son of Jē̇-hoí a-dȧ. He was one of those who had come to Dā́ vid while he was hiding from Sa̤ul, as we read in Story Seven of this Part. At that time Bē̇-nā́ iah, while still a young man, did a very bold deed. He found a lion in a deep pit, leaped into the pit, and killed the lion. For this act, Bē̇-nā́ iah became famous, for few people would dare to venture so near to a lion, with the weapons in use at that time. This brave man was old in Sŏĺ o-mon's day, but he was still strong, and Solomon gave him a high place, at the head of his guards.
Lesson 29. Solomon.
(Omit Story 16. Tell Stories 17 and 18 in Part Third.)
1. What did David wish to do while he was king? To build a temple to the Lord.
2. Why would not God allow David to build the temple? Because he had been a man of war.
3. What did pod promise to David? That his son should build the temple.
4. How long did David reign? Forty years, seven over Judah and thirty-three over Israel.
5. What does the Bible say of David as king? He was the greatest and best of all the kings of Israel.
6. Whom did David make king before he died? His son Solomon.
7. What did Solomon have through all his reign? Peace in all the land.
8. What did the Lord say to Solomon at night? "Ask what I shall give you.”
9. For what did Solomon ask the Lord? For wisdom to rule the people.
10. What did God promise to give to Solomon besides wisdom? Riches, and honor, and long life.