The Wisdom of King Solomon   Leave a comment

Above:  The Judgment of Solomon, by William Blake

Image in the Public Domain

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READING 1-2 SAMUEL, 1 KINGS, 2 KINGS 1-21, 1 CHRONICLES, AND 2 CHRONICLES 1-33

PART LV

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1 Kings 3:1-28

1 Kings 4:29-34 (Protestant)

1 Kings 5:9-14 (Jewish and Roman Catholic)

3 Kingdoms 5:9-14 (Eastern Orthodox)

2 Chronicles 1:2-17

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Give the King your justice, O God,

and your righteousness to the King’s Son;

That he may rule your people righteously and the poor with justice;

That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people,

and the little hills bring righteousness.

He shall defend the needy among the people;

he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.

–Psalm 72:1-4, The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

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One should read scripture in various contexts.  The historical record is such a context.  Other contexts include geography, cultural anthropology, and human psychology.  And other scripture provides essential contextualization, too.

Both 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles tell the story of the dream encounter between Solomon and God.  The petition for wisdom, to rule justly, sounds good, does it not?  One could forget the bloody purge in 1 Kings 2.  One could also ignore the foreshadowing of trouble and idolatry evident in King Solomon’s marriage to an Egyptian princess.  Furthermore, 1 Kings 5 and 2 Chronicles 2 refer to the use of forced labor to construct the First Temple.  The account in 2 Chronicles 2 minimizes this problem by stating that the burdens of forced labor fell solely on foreigners.  However, 1 Kings 5:13/27 (depending on versification) tells us that the monarch imposed forced labor on “all Israel.”

Perhaps we would all feel better if we were to focus on the dream vision and on how King Solomon determined which prostitute was lying to him about being the baby’s mother.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 21, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORGE MCGOVERN, U.S. SENATOR AND STATESMAN; AND HIS WIFE, ELEANOR MCGOVERN, HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF DAVID MORITZ MICHAEL, GERMAN-AMERICAN MORAVIAN MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JAMES W. C. PENNINGTON, AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONGREGATIONALIST AND PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, EDUCATOR, AND ABOLITIONIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT LAURA OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA, FOUNDRESS OF THE WORKS OF THE INDIANS AND THE CONGREGATION OF MISSIONARY SISTERS OF IMMACULATE MARY AND OF SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA

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