SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
1 Kings 1:1 through 11:43
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.” (1 Kings 11:2)
The first two chapters of 1 Kings give an account of the closing years of David’s reign, concluding the account recorded in 2 Samuel. They cover the transition from his reign to the reign of his son, Solomon. The main events of this Book are the death of David, Solomon’s reign and death, the division of the kingdom, and Elijah’s ministry.
As David was on his deathbed, his fourth son Adonijah (the logical choice to succeed him as the first three sons, Amnon, Daniel, and Absalom, were dead by this time) attempted to seize the throne without David’s knowledge and proclaimed himself king. When the news reached David, he declared that his son Solomon, born to him by Bathsheba, was to be the next ruler. He gave the order for Solomon’s anointing, thus quickly instituting temporary co-regency. Immediately following the anointing, the trumpet was blown to alert the people that the king’s choice had been anointed.
A mule was a prized animal, to be ridden by the wealthy and powerful. A strong message was sent when Solomon was given King David’s mule to ride. (Only the king rode the king’s mule.) Sacrifices were offered when a new king was anointed, demonstrating the nation’s joy over a new king. These were called peace offerings, and were offered by the priest. Although Adonijah declared himself as king, he did not have the religious ceremony following, while Solomon did.
Solomon began his reign in the steps of his father David, acting in obedience to the Lord. Though he was given wisdom from God, he began making choices that would eventually lead to his downfall.
Chapters 3 and 4 relate the granting of wisdom to Solomon and the grandeur of his kingdom. Chapters 5 through 9 describe Solomon’s building projects and the dedication of the Temple. Chapters 9 through 11 record his greatness, his ultimate downfall, and his death.
SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
- What was David’s parting advice to Solomon? 1 Kings 2:2-4
David told Solomon how important it was to keep God as the center of his kingdom. God would keep His promise to preserve the kingdom if Solomon did his part. In verses 5 through 9, David gave Solomon advice about relations with others — those who had cursed David and those who were allies.
- Why was Solomon so swift to remove his adversaries at the beginning of his reign, and how did it benefit him? 1 Kings 2:13-46
Because Solomon was swift in his judgments against those who tried to take control, he established his authority early on and sent a clear message that he was now king. Direct the class into a discussion of what steps we may need to take as new Christians in regard to our connections with the ungodly.
- What did Solomon request from God? Why was God pleased with Solomon’s request? 1 Kings 3:5-14
Solomon’s request was for an understanding heart. He asked for wisdom that he might “discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” His attitude pleased God because he did not seek personal gain or acclaim. Though Solomon did not ask for wealth, God gave him riches and long life as well.
Class discussion could include the thought that setting our sights on riches will only leave us dissatisfied. Putting God and His work first will satisfy our deepest needs, bringing more benefits than we ever could imagine, though they may not be material in nature.
- What was Solomon’s first demonstration of great wisdom? 1 Kings 3:16-28
Solomon’s first demonstration of great wisdom occurred when two harlots brought one baby to him, both claiming to be the mother of the child. One of the women had smothered her child during the night. When Solomon suggested the child be divided between the two women by cutting it in two, the real mother quickly said to give it to the other, thus preserving the life of the child. Solomon returned the child to its real mother.
- According to 1 Kings 5:13-14, Solomon employed three times as many workers as were needed for the Temple project, and then rotated their schedules so they did not have to be away from their homes and families for long periods of time. Why do you think this was a wise move?
No doubt Solomon’s prudent arrangement alleviated widespread discontent among the workers. It showed his concern for the welfare of his workers and the importance he placed on family life. The strength of a nation is closely correlated with the strength of its families. Solomon seemingly recognized that one’s family should always be a high priority. Discuss with your students the importance of arranging our own work schedules to minimize any negative impact on our families.
- What was the intent of the Queen of Sheba when she came to visit Solomon? (1 Kings 10:1) What was her reaction after she had spent time with him?
The Queen of Sheba, traveling to Solomon’s court from a region possibly in today's Ethiopia or Yemen, came with “hard questions” originally planned to test Solomon’s wisdom that had been proclaimed throughout her part of the world. Riddles and proverbs were often used to test wisdom and she probably brought along quite a few, but when she arrived and was witness to Solomon’s wisdom, the Bible says, “there was no more spirit in her.” She accepted that what she had heard about Solomon was true.
- How did Solomon’s acceptance of wives from foreign religions affect the course of his life? Does compromise affect Christianity today? Explain.
By marrying women from idolatrous nations, Solomon opened the door to sin. God had given him specific instructions not to do this, but he disregarded God’s command. In the end, Solomon allowed idolatry to take over and, although he may have still believed in his heart that the God of Israel was the one true God, he caved in to the pressures from his wives to worship their gods.
Compromise certainly can affect Christianity today. We must be careful not to allow ungodly influences to impact our spiritual lives. Outline several areas where the secular perspectives have infiltrated the church in our day: an acceptance of second marriages, homosexuality, immorality, abortion, etc. A lack of resistance to these philosophies may seem like a small thing to start with, but eventually, it will separate us from God.
- How would you sum up the reign of Solomon? What were his strengths? What eventually led to his downfall?
Solomon reigned over Israel for forty years. The majority of those years were spent honoring God and are sometimes referred to by historians as Israel’s Golden Age. His strengths included being the wisest man who ever lived, and building God’s Temple in Jerusalem. His weaknesses included his lust for women, marrying women from heathen nations, and excessively taxing his people to support his wives and concubines.
- What principles or precepts did you learn from the study of Solomon that you can apply to your own life?
Your students’ answers to this question should provide a good way of summarizing the key points of this lesson.
While our start in the Christian life is vital, how we finish is of even greater importance!