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    Chapter 36—Solomon

    The hearts of the people were turned toward Solomon, as they were to David, and they obey him in all things. The Lord sends his angel to instruct Solomon by a dream, in the night season. He dreams that God converses with him. “And God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David, my father, great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord, my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David, my father; and I am but a little child; I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give, therefore, thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?4aSG 96.3

    “And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment, behold, I have done according to thy word. Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor, so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.”4aSG 97.1

    God promises that as he has been with David, he will be with Solomon. If he will walk before the Lord in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that God commanded him, and if he will keep his statutes and judgments, he promises to establish his throne upon Israel forever. Solomon feels the magnitude of the work in building a house for God. He thus gives expression to his ideas: “Who is able to build him an house? seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him.”4aSG 97.2

    The Lord imparted unto Solomon that wisdom which he desired above earthly riches, honor, or long life. He was the wisest king that ever sat upon the throne. God gave him an understanding heart. He wrote many proverbs and composed many songs. For many years his life was marked with devotion to God, uprightness, and with firm principle and strict obedience to God's commands. He directed in every important enterprise, and managed the business matters connected with the kingdom with the greatest wisdom. His faithfully carrying out the directions, in constructing the most magnificent building the world ever saw, caused his fame to spread among the nations everywhere. He was greatly blessed and honored of God. All nations acknowledged, and marveled at, his superior knowledge, wisdom, the excellence of his character, and the greatness of his power. Many came to him from all parts of the world to behold his unlimited power, and to be instructed how to conduct difficult matters. The temple built for God could not be excelled for richness, beauty, and costly design.4aSG 97.3

    After the temple was finished, Solomon assembled all Israel, and many nations also came to witness the dedication of the house of God. It was dedicated with great splendor. Solomon addresses the people, and seeks to tear away from the minds of all present the superstitions which have clouded the minds of heathen nations in regard to Jehovah. He tells them that God is not like the heathen gods, who are confined to temples built for them, but the God of Israel would meet them by his Spirit when the people should assemble in that house dedicated to his worship.4aSG 98.1

    Solomon kneels before God in the presence of that immense congregation and makes supplication to God. He inquires in his prayer, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee. How much less this house that I have builded?” He continues, “That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there; that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.”4aSG 98.2

    “Now, when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices: and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshiped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.”4aSG 98.3

    Seven days was Solomon engaged in the dedication of the house of God. And after the ceremonies were ended of dedicating the house, “The Lord said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication that thou hast made before me. I have hallowed this house which thou hast built, to put my name there forever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And if thou wilt walk before me as David, thy father, walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments, then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel forever, as I promised to David, thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel. But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them, then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them, and this house which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and Israel shall be a proverb and a by-word among all people.”4aSG 99.1

    If Israel remained faithful and true to God, this glorious building was to stand forever, as a perpetual sign of God's especial favor to his chosen people. They were called peculiar, because they alone, among all the nations of earth, preserved the true worship of God, by keeping his commandments.4aSG 99.2

    While Solomon remained pure, God was with him. In the dedication of the temple he exalts God's law before the people. While blessing the people he repeats these words: “The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. Let him not leave us, nor forsake us; that he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.”4aSG 99.3

    In the uprightness of his heart, he exhorts the congregation of 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.” As long as Solomon steadfastly obeyed the commandments, God was with him, as he had entreated that he might be, as he was with David. “Thou hast shown unto my father David great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart.”4aSG 100.1

    There is enough contained in these words to silence every skeptic in regard to God's sanctioning the sins of David and Solomon. God was merciful to them according as they walked before him in truth, righteousness, and uprightness of heart. Just according to their faithfulness, God dealt with them.4aSG 100.2

    Solomon walked for many years uprightly before God. Wisdom was given him of God to judge the people with impartiality and mercy. But even this exalted, learned, and once good man, fell through yielding to temptations connected with his prosperity and honored position. He forgot God, and the solemn conditions of his success. He fell into the sinful practice of other kings, of having many wives, which was contrary to God's arrangement. God commanded Moses to warn the people against their having a plurality of wives. “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away. Neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.”4aSG 100.3

    Solomon's heart was turned from God when he multiplied to himself wives of idolatrous nations. God had expressly forbidden his people to intermarry with idolatrous nations, for he had chosen them as his peculiar treasure. “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods. And his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David, his father.” “And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore, the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.” The Lord informed Solomon by his prophet of his purpose concerning him. That he would cause his prosperity to cease, and would raise up adversaries against him, and he should no longer reign as universal monarch upon the throne of Israel. Had Solomon died prior to his departing from God, his life would have been one of the most remarkable upon record. But he tarnished his lustre, and exhibited a striking example of the weakness of the wisest of mortals. The greatest men, and the wisest, will surely fail, unless their lives are marked with trust in God, and obedience to his commandments.4aSG 100.4

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