1 Kings 3:2
The people, however, were still sacrificing on the high places because a house for the Name of the LORD had not yet been built.
RetributionsJ. Waite

These words give a summary of the life of this king of Judah, and faithfully record, as the Scriptures do to admiration, the good and the bad, as these will be considered in the judgment of the great day. Consider -


1. He came of a good stock.

(1) He was "of the house and lineage of David." The traditions of that house were in many respects a glorious inheritance. David was a "man after God's own heart." In no instance was he found inclining to idolatry.

(2) He was the son of Asa. Of his mother we have this significant mention: "And his mother's name was Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi. And he walked in the ways of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the Lord." This suggests the healthiness of his mothers moral influence. The reference here to Asa, too, is highly honourable.

(3) The blessing of pious parents is inestimable. It works beneficially in example, in precept, in solicitude. This last is most effectual in prayer to God. Those who are favoured with godly parents should praise God evermore. Wicked children of pious parents are doubly culpable.

2. He improved his advantages.

(1) He "walked in the ways of Asa his father." These were ways of righteousness. Let the children of godly parents now ask themselves whether they walk in the good ways of their ancestors.

(2) He "turned not aside from it. He showed no favour to idolatry. The note which follows is no impeachment of the truth of this statement: "Nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places." The high places that Jehoshaphat spared were those in which the true God was worshipped in accordance with the usage of patriarchal times (see 2 Chronicles 33:17).

(3) He went farther than Asa in the work of reformation: - "The remnant of the Sodomites which remained in the days of Asa his father he took out of the land." The parallel place to this in the Chronicles is: "And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord: moreover he took away the high places and the groves (אשׁרים) out of Judah" (2 Chronicles 17:6; 2 Chronicles 19:8). By removing the Sodomites we understand that he demolished their shrines, their Asherim, their instruments of pollution. When the nests are destroyed the rooks fly.

3. This was to his praise.

(1) Others, similarly placed, failed to make this good use of their advantages. Jehoram, his own son, may be mentioned in sad contrast to him. Several of his ancestors had scandalously departed from the godly ways of their father David. Men will be justified or condemned in the light of such comparisons in the last great day (see Luke 11:31, 32).

(2) God rewarded him with prosperity (2 Chronicles 17:4, 5). He had an army - probably an enrolled militia - of 1,100,000 men. The Philistines, Arabians, and Edomites were subject to him. The note here, that "there was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king," which prefaces the account of his fleet at Ezion-Geber, was designed to explain how Jehoshaphat was able to have a fleet at a port which belonged to Edom (see 1 Kings 9:26), viz., because he appointed the viceroy in Edom which was tributary to him (see Genesis 27:29, 37; 2 Samuel 8:14).

II. THE BLAME OF JEHOSHAPHAT. This seems all to have been connected with the "peace" which he made "with the king of Israel." It appears to have commenced with -

1. The marriage of his son.

(1) Jehoram, the eldest son of Jehoshaphat, and with his consent, took Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, to be his wife. Jehoshaphat's heart was lifted up with the abundance of his "riches and honour," and "joined affinity with Ahab" (see 2 Chronicles 18:1). He became too great to be content with an humble match for his son, and sacrificed godliness to grandeur. He has many imitators in this.

(2) Unequal yoking has ever been prolific in mischief. Athaliah inherited the evil spirit of both her parents, and she led away the heart of Jehoram from God to his ruin. The object of this marriage was to build up the house of Jehoshaphat, but it well-nigh proved its ruin (see 2 Chronicles 22:10, 11). God is the builder of families (see 2 Samuel 7:11, 27; 1 Kings 2:24; 1 Kings 11:38; Psalm 127:1).

2. His friendship with Ahab.

(1) This evil grew out of the marriage. The peace between Israel and Judah, which in the abstract was a benefit, was probably a condition of the marriage. But the friendship between Jehoshaphat and Ahab which followed, was too intimate for the good of the king of Judah's soul

(2) Evils beget evils. This friendship led to Jehosha. plat helping Ahab in his war against Syria, and had nearly cost Jehoshaphat his life. It also sullied his reputation, for he was persuaded into it by Ahab against the voice of Micaiah. This friendship exposed Jehoshaphat to the reproof of the prophet Jehu (2 Chronicles 19:2).

3. His friendship with Ahaziah.

(1) This son of Ahab was no more a companion fit for Jehoshaphat than Ahab. For Ahaziah "walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: for he served Baal and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done."

(2) Yet Jehoshaphat formed a trade alliance with Ahaziah. They jointly fitted out a fleet at the port of Ezion-Geber, on the Red Sea, to sail to Ophir for gold. But for this God rebuked him, and "the ships were broken" in the port (see 2 Chronicles 20:35-37). Let no money consideration, no gold of Ophir, induce godly young men to enter into trade partnerships with the ungodly.

(3) This judgment of God had a salutary effect upon Jehoshaphat. For when Ahaziah would renew the attempt at Ezion-Geber, Jehoshaphat declined (ver. 49). Let us be careful never to repeat a blunder. - J.A.M.

Then came there two women.
I. THAT SIN PRODUCES SUFFERING. The two women who came for judgment to Solomon were harlots; and the offsprings of their impurity were the means by which they were afflicted. The sin of unchastity is one of the most grievous of offences, because it is the one whose results are the most debasing and the most far-reaching. Of this sin, as of all others, it is eternally true, that the wages of sin is death.

II. THAT IN THE MOST DEGRADED NATURES SOME NOBLE TRAIT REMAINS. Some relic of a vanished Eden lingers in the worst of us, although the slime of the serpent may be over it still. These women, though sinners, loved their children. There is hope then for the worst of offenders, inasmuch as in every human soul there are dormant spiritual symphonies, which, when the dark night of sin is over, shall, at the dawning of a brighter day, be wakened by the touch of sympathy, like Memnon's statue, into music and into life.

III. THAT WHERE THE IGNORANT CAN SEE ONLY CRUELTY AND DISORDER, THE WISE AND FAITHFUL CAN RECOGNISE BENEFICENCE AND ORDER. The king, calling for a sword, ordered the living child to be divided. A cruel decree, superficial thinkers would say; but it was only a test after all, devised by true wisdom, in order the more readily to reveal the true mother. When men are so hasty in impugning the action of the Deity, and in imputing cruelty or unconcern to God at any period of public or private calamity, it would be well for them to bethink them of their own ignorance. So to us, who see but here in part through a glass darkly, the operations of God in grace and in nature must present many difficulties and apparent anomalies.

IV. THAT NOT BY OUTWARD PROFESSIONS, BUT BY THE SENTIMENTS OF THE HEART, MUST EACH OF US BE JUDGED. Both these women professed equally to love the living child; but it was seen speedily in the hour of trial as to which of the two had real feelings of maternal affection in her heart. It is what we are, and not what we have pretended to be, that will avail us "in the hour of death and in the day of judgment."

V. THAT OFTEN, WHEN GOD GIVES TO US A LIVING TALENT, AS A LIVING CHILD WAS GIVEN TO EACH OF THESE WOMEN, WE, LAZILY SLUMBERING AWAY OUR TIME, FAIL TO BE THANKFUL FOR IT, OR TO UTILISE IT AS WE OUGHT. By negligence on our own part, — as in the case of the woman who overlaid her child, — or by the craftiness of other agencies, be it those of world, flesh, or devil, taking advantage of our own supineness, — as in the case of the woman whose child was stolen while she slept, — we lose our gift from God, our living grace, and find, when we awake from our slumbers, only a dead image of a departed spiritual beauty, which no shedding of our heart's best blood can again quicken into life.

(R. Young, M. A.)

Musicians strike a key or note which they call a "natural," sometimes. It was for this note that Solomon was listening — the note of nature. The soldier's naked sword gleamed close to the baby's naked flesh, and, like a tuning-fork, it struck its note before it struck its blow. Its note was differently read by two different auditors. Two women's hearts took up the key. The one followed it with a murmur of contentment, willing that its work of blood should be accomplished. The other caught it with a cry of horror, as if it struck a discord in her soul. The sword was the baton of harmony to jealousy, but of horror to motherhood and love. There was nothing unnatural to the vixen heart in the decree to cut the babe in half. But the voice of motherhood found vent in a shriek which preferred anything to that, and accepted bereavement. and injustice rather than that innocence be harmed.

1. And this is the first instinct on which the relationship reposes. Instinct is a shorter and surer way to right conclusion than reason. It reaches it by a passionate leap, rather than by a patient process. Inference, sequence, deduction, calculation, hypothesis; these are the cumbersome machinery of what calls itself philosophy; and they almost always lead to a separate result in each separate mind which uses them, when they lead to any result at all; so that the only certain issue of their use is confusion worse confounded. With instinct it is all postulate, and all that complicates the logic of love, or encumbers the swift process of its flight, must be conceded, or it will be taken for granted. With the love that springs out of any relationship this will be more or less the rule; but with maternal love it is pre-eminently so.

2. If the mother-instinct pervaded all humanity, there would be no intricate question created out of the vivisection stir, on which science, "falsely so called," is condescending to dispute. It would be taken for granted that it was base and brutal; and that higher reason, to whose platform instinct often vaults by its own innate buoyancy, would declare that true science has resources too vast to be compelled to criminality to reach discovery; that the intelligence that would grope its way through cruelty to daylight misses its path, and takes a false name; and that men who pretend to find instruction in the infliction of agony on what is dumb and defenceless, instead of being a little lower than the angels, are a great deal lower than the beasts they butcher. But if the very principle of motherhood is instinctive and unreasoning, its developments are not unfrequently capricious and unreasonable. Maternal love is often diluted by maternal cares. Necessities increase with each renewal of the relationship; but the means of meeting them too often diminish. The natural selection of the mother's heart is towards the weakest and most helpless; and the survival of the fittest in the breast which is maternal, is asserted by feebleness rather than by strength. The mother loves that best to which she can give most.

3. It comes within the mother's province to lead the child into the fragrant orbit of religious influence, and to guide its feet when young amidst those scenes which shall colour its whole life, giving ballast to its youth, strength to its prime, and light at eventide to illumine its old age. Then if you would not burlesque that religion and repel the child, gild it with the sunshine with which its Author fills it. Let it be a garden of flowers, not an Egyptian brickfield of toil. The patience and the ingenuity of motherhood are boundless, and in no sweeter mission can they be embarked than in leading the children to the Saviour. Show them His sweet example. The wisest and the truest mothers axe the Hannahs who give their children to the Lord.

(A. Mursell.)

Now, by the same law that it would have been wicked in Solomon to have divided the child, is it wicked in us to divide our affections. Divisions at all times are bad. Whether they harass a church, which should be of one mind and one body; or a family, which should be united and strong in fellowship and love; we may rest assured, that evil consequences must arise, most injurious to individual members. And as for a house, we are told, if it be divided against itself it cannot stand. The Jew and the Gentile were two distinct persons, but Christianity made them one people. By the universality of the Gospel, all nations were united; by embracing the same faith they became one; a distinct people, having an appointed priesthood, with the great Author of our religion as their Head. They became indeed a church — one body, with one spirit — "a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure Word of God is preached, and the sacraments are duly ministered, according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same."

(E. Thompson, D. D.)

James the First is said to have tried his hand as a judge, but to have been so much perplexed when he had heard both sides that lie abandoned the trade in despair, saying, "I could get on very well hearing one side only, but when both sides have to be heard, by my soul, I know not which is right."

Among the heathens we read of similar decisions. We read of an emperor having discovered a woman to be the mother of a certain young man, whom she refused to acknowledge as her son, by commanding her to marry him; but rather than this, she confessed the truth. Another instance we read, is that of the King of Thrace, being appointed to decide between three young men, who each professed to be the son of a deceased king, and claimed the crown in consequence; but Ariopharnes found out the real son, by commanding each to shoot an arrow into the body of the dead king; two of them did this without any hesitation; the third refused, and was therefore judged to be the real son. In both cases an appeal was made to the principle of affection; and the truth was discovered, as in the case of the mother of the living child.

(E. Thompson, D. D.).

David, Gibeon, Pharaoh, Solomon
Egypt, Gibeon, Jerusalem
Built, However, Making, Offerings, Places, Sacrificed, Sacrificing, Temple, Till, Yet
1. Solomon marries Pharaoh's daughter
2. High places being in use, Solomon sacrifices at Gibeon
5. Solomon at Gibeon, in the choice which God gave him,
10. preferring wisdom, obtains wisdom, riches, and honor
16. Solomon's judgment makes him renowned

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 3:2-3

     7374   high places

1 Kings 3:2-5

     7442   shrine

A Young Man's Wise Choice Op Wisdom
'In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. 6. 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. 7. And now, O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David my father: and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness," &C.
Matt. vi. 33.--"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," &c. This is a part of Christ's long sermon. He is dissuading his disciples and the people from carnal carefulness and worldly mindedness. The sermon holds out the Christian's diverse aspects towards spiritual and external things. What is the Christian's disposition in regard to the world, how should he look upon food, raiment, and all things necessary in this life? "Be careful for nothing." "Take no thought for your life,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Whether the Degrees of Prophecy Change as Time Goes On?
Objection 1: It would seem that the degrees of prophecy change as time goes on. For prophecy is directed to the knowledge of Divine things, as stated above [3690](A[2]). Now according to Gregory (Hom. in Ezech.), "knowledge of God went on increasing as time went on." Therefore degrees of prophecy should be distinguished according to the process of time. Objection 2: Further, prophetic revelation is conveyed by God speaking to man; while the prophets declared both in words and in writing the things
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Letter Lxxiv. To Rufinus of Rome.
Rufinus, a Roman Presbyter (to be carefully distinguished from Rufinus of Aquileia and Rufinus the Syrian), had written to Jerome for an explanation of the judgment of Solomon (1 Kings iii. 16-28). This Jerome gives at length, treating the narrative as a parable and making the false and true mothers types of the Synagogue and the Church. The date of the letter is 398 a.d.
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome

Love is the Touchstone by which the Reality of Truth is Perceived...
1. Love is the touchstone by which the reality of truth is perceived, and by it shall all men know that ye are My disciples (John xiii.35). I also make use of the sword of justice, so that at first sight some are inclined to think that, like Solomon, I intend to finish My work without mercy (1 Kings iii.16-28), but My object, like his, is to apply the touchstone of love which will bring out the truth, and show that you are the children of that God of Love who gave His life to save yours. You ought
Sadhu Sundar Singh—At The Master's Feet

The Song of Solomon.
An important link in the chain of the Messianic hopes is formed by the Song of Solomon. It is intimately associated with Ps. lxxii., which was written by Solomon, and represents the Messiah as the Prince of Peace, imperfectly prefigured by Solomon as His type. As in this Psalm, so also in the Song of Solomon, the coming of the Messiah forms the subject throughout, and He is introduced there under the name of Solomon, the Peaceful One. His coming shall be preceded by severe afflictions, represented
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Sargon of Assyria (722-705 B. C. )
SARGON AS A WARRIOR AND AS A BUILDER. The origin of Sargon II.: the revolt of Babylon, Merodach-baladan and Elam--The kingdom of Elam from the time of the first Babylonian empire; the conquest's of Shutruh-nalkunta I.; the princes of Malamir--The first encounter of Assyria and Elam, the battle of Durilu (721 B.C.)--Revolt of Syria, Iaubidi of Hamath and Hannon of Gaza--Bocchoris and the XXIVth Egyptian dynasty; the first encounter of Assyria with Egypt, the battle of Raphia (720 B.C.). Urartu
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 7

Tit. 2:06 Thoughts for Young Men
WHEN St. Paul wrote his Epistle to Titus about his duty as a minister, he mentioned young men as a class requiring peculiar attention. After speaking of aged men and aged women, and young women, he adds this pithy advice, "Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded" (Tit. 2:6). I am going to follow the Apostle's advice. I propose to offer a few words of friendly exhortation to young men. I am growing old myself, but there are few things I remember so well as the days of my youth. I have a most
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

Formation and History of the Hebrew Canon.
1. The Greek word canon (originally a straight rod or pole, measuring-rod, then rule) denotes that collection of books which the churches receive as given by inspiration of God, and therefore as constituting for them a divine rule of faith and practice. To the books included in it the term canonical is applied. The Canon of the Old Testament, considered in reference to its constituent parts, was formed gradually; formed under divine superintendence by a process of growth extending through
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

Differences in Judgment About Water Baptism, no Bar to Communion: Or, to Communicate with Saints, as Saints, Proved Lawful.
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The book[1] of Kings is strikingly unlike any modern historical narrative. Its comparative brevity, its curious perspective, and-with some brilliant exceptions--its relative monotony, are obvious to the most cursory perusal, and to understand these things is, in large measure, to understand the book. It covers a period of no less than four centuries. Beginning with the death of David and the accession of Solomon (1 Kings i., ii.) it traverses his reign with considerable fulness (1 Kings iii.-xi.),
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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