Introduction: Last week we saw King Solomon off to a glorious start
in his Kingdom. He was firmly in charge, he had answered “God’s
quiz” correctly, and God had promised him a great future and a long
life – if he obeyed. This week we take a sample of how it all worked
out. Let’s jump into our story!

  1. The Food

    1. Read 1 Kings 4:21&24. How are things going for Solomon as

      1. Read Genesis 15:18. What has happened to God’s
        promise to Abraham? ( 1 Kings 4:21 basically maps out
        the large area promised by God to Abraham. The
        Philistines were on the west, “the River” is the
        Euphrates on the east, and Egypt is on the south.
        God’s promise to Abraham has been fulfilled.)

    2. Read 1 Kings 4:22-23. How did Solomon eat? (Indulgently)

      1. People always point to Daniel and tell me about his
        “ten-day vegetable diet” which made him and his
        buddies smarter than anyone else. (See Daniel 1) Why
        does no one mention to me the diet of the smartest
        guy that ever lived?

        1. Is this a selective memory problem?

    3. Read 1 Kings 4:20&25. How did Solomon’s subjects live?

      1. What is the meaning of the phrase “each man under his
        own vine and fig tree?”

      2. Read Micah 4:3-4. What is Micah picturing here? (We
        consider this a Messianic prophecy, and a picture of
        the earth made new!)

      3. Did Solomon’s reign fulfill this prophecy of Micah 4
        (and Zechariah 3:10)? (It surely fulfilled it in
        part. Previously, I thought these prophecies about
        the future of Israel had not been fulfilled. But,
        this phrase “each man under his own vine and fig
        tree” is the very wording of the prophecies. The idea
        is one of safety and security. You are able to live
        on your own land (don’t have to live in a walled
        city), you are able to eat the product of your own
        labors (don’t have to worry about raiders) and you
        own your own property that provides you with enough
        to eat. Sounds like peace, private ownership and

    4. Between the description of Solomon’s diet and the report
      of the food of the people, we have a lot of discussion
      about eating. Why is that? Is eating a source of pleasure
      and happiness? (It is. More than that, this is a practical
      way to paint a picture of a people who had relative wealth
      and security.)

  2. The Instruction

    1. Read 1 Kings 4:30, 33-34. Remember last week we discussed
      Solomon’s request for wisdom to govern his people? What
      kind of wisdom did God give Solomon?

      1. Was Solomon’s wisdom limited to being a wise

      2. What does Solomon sound like? (He sounds like a one-man university! The knowledge described in these
        verses is in the area of science. This shows God gave
        him far more wisdom than just in the area of

    2. We often think of science being opposed to God. Why do you
      think the Bible specifically mentions the breadth of
      Solomon’s learning and wisdom in the area of science?
      (True science and true religion support each other. I
      believe the reason why God gave Solomon wisdom and
      understanding in this area is because he shared with the
      kings of the world the knowledge of the true God. This
      knowledge is reflected in nature. My view is that if you
      want to prove the existence of God, you start with the

  3. The Temple

    1. Read 1 Kings 6:1-2. Anyone up on their cubits? How big a
      temple did Solomon build? (Barnes Notes says that there is
      some doubt about the length of the ancient cubit. The
      estimates vary by nearly eight inches. However, whether
      you take the “long cubit” or the “short cubit” the
      building is not very big. Using the “long cubit,” it is
      less than 120 feet long and less than 35 feet wide
      according to Barnes. The NIV Study Bible notes, apparently
      using the “short cubit,” say the temple is 90 feet long
      and 30 feet wide.)

    2. Read 1 Kings 6:18, 20-22, 29-30. How do you think this
      place looked?

      1. Would “lavish” come to mind? How about “expensive?”

      2. What about the poor people in Ethiopia? (I say
        “Ethiopia” because that was what American parents
        said when I was a kid. Any time you were going to be
        extravagant as a kid, parents would remind you that
        you might instead send some of the money to a
        starving child in Ethiopia.)

      3. Is a lavish church OK?

    3. Read 1 Kings 6:38. It took seven years to build this small
      structure. Why? (This shows, as much as anything else, the
      detail and care with which it was built. This must have
      been something to see. Gold on the floors!)

    4. Read 1 Kings 7:1-2, 8. Solomon seems to have build several
      palaces. The first palace that is described has twice the
      “footprint” of the temple and takes almost twice as long
      to build. What is your reaction to that? (At least Solomon
      built God’s temple first.)

      1. Is it OK to have a great house if you can afford it?

      2. Is it OK to have a “better” house than the church
        that you attend?

    5. Read 1 Kings 9:1-3. What is God’s reaction to the lavish
      temple and Solomon’s palaces? (God accepts it. Notice in 1
      Kings 9:4-7 that God indicates that the verdict is not yet
      in on the rest of Solomon’s life.)

    6. For a final view of Solomon’s wealth, read the description
      of Solomon’s royal throne and his household articles in 2
      Chronicles 9:17-20.

  4. The Fall

    1. Read 1 Kings 11:1. Isn’t this the essence of the gospel — to show love to others?

    2. Let’s read on. Read 1 Kings 11:2. It looks like Solomon
      thought love was more important than God’s rules. What is
      the attitude of the world on this question?

      1. Which do you think is most important?

      2. Do the two (love and God’s rules) have to be mutually

    3. What is the problem with marrying “foreign women?” (Verse
      2: God warned that they would turn the heart of the
      Israelite men away from God.)

      1. Isn’t Solomon too smart to have to worry about this?
        Isn’t Solomon sophisticated enough to avoid being
        “sucked into” worshiping false gods?

      2. Is the “foreign women” (and “foreign men”) problem
        still with us today?

        1. What do we teach our children about this issue?

    4. Read 1 Kings 11:3-4. I thought that when you got older,
      you got smarter! What has happened to Solomon?

      1. Why do you think this happened – that Solomon got
        into more problems as he got older? (Obviously,
        Solomon was not too smart or too sophisticated to
        avoid this sin problem. While the theory is that
        when you get older you get wiser, you may also get
        lazier, less disciplined, less alert and more self-reliant.)

      2. If Solomon was not smart enough or sophisticated
        enough to avoid sin, what does this say about the
        danger to us?

    5. Read 1 Kings 11:5-8. Did Solomon simply fail to
      consistently worship the true God? Or was it worse than
      that? (These verses say that Solomon was actually building
      places of worship for all of these false gods.)

      1. What do you think was the impact of Solomon’s actions
        on the “average citizen?” (There is a desire in the
        heart to act like the “rich and famous.” If the
        activity is also “foreign,” well, then the pull may
        be all the stronger. This no doubt had a very bad
        effect on the average Israelite.)

      2. Our lesson (Wednesday) suggests that Solomon would
        never have considered such a thing when he was young.
        Read 1 Kings 3:1-3. What do you think it mean when it
        says “Solomon showed his love for the Lord … except
        that he offered sacrifices … on the high places?”
        Is the lesson wrong?

        1. Doesn’t 1 Kings 3:3 show that Solomon worshiped
          false gods even when he was young? (No. All of
          the commentaries I consulted, including Matthew
          Henry and the SDA Bible Commentary, say Solomon
          was simply worshiping the true God in the “high
          places.” The problem was that God did not want
          to be worshiped where false gods were worshiped.
          (See Deuteronomy 12 and Leviticus 17:3-4.))

        2. What other problem do you see in 1 Kings 3:1-3?
          (That even as a young man Solomon was marrying
          “foreign women.” The Egyptian was not his first
          foreign wife. If you compare 1 Kings 14:21 with
          2 Chronicles 9:30 you will see that Solomon was
          already married to Naamah the Ammonite before he
          married the Egyptian! Later, both Ezra and
          Nehemiah commented unfavorably about Jews
          marrying an Ammonite. Ezra 9:1-2, Nehemiah
          13:23, 27.)

      3. How important to the future of a young person is his
        or her decision on marriage? What aspects of your
        life does your spouse affect?

    6. Was the root cause of Solomon’s sin marrying “foreign”
      (unbelieving) women? (Read Nehemiah 13:26. Nehemiah says
      that was the cause of the problem.)

    7. Read 1 Kings 11:9-11. Why does the text mention that God
      had twice appeared to Solomon? (God expects more of those
      who have received more. When God personally appears to
      you, He does not expect you to later turn away from Him.)

      1. What is the penalty for Solomon’s unfaithfulness?

    8. Read 1 Kings 11:12. How do you explain the justice of

      1. Parents, what does this text reveal to you? (Your
        actions can affect your children for good or for

    9. Friend, who you marry is one of the most important
      decisions of your life. Solomon shows us that even the
      wisest person can make mistakes in this area – mistakes
      that alienate us from God.

  5. Next week: The Rending of God’s Nation