1 Kings 3:3-4:34
3 Solomon loved the Lord and followed the instructions of his father David, but he also slaughtered animals and offered them as sacrifices on various altars.
4 (A)On one occasion he went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices because that was where the most famous altar was. He had offered hundreds of burnt offerings there in the past. 5 That night the Lord appeared to him in a dream and asked him, “What would you like me to give you?”
6 Solomon answered, “You always showed great love for my father David, your servant, and he was good, loyal, and honest in his relation with you. And you have continued to show him your great and constant love by giving him a son who today rules in his place. 7 O Lord God, you have let me succeed my father as king, even though I am very young and don't know how to rule. 8 Here I am among the people you have chosen to be your own, a people who are so many that they cannot be counted. 9 So give me the wisdom I need to rule your people with justice and to know the difference between good and evil. Otherwise, how would I ever be able to rule this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this, 11 and so he said to him, “Because you have asked for the wisdom to rule justly, instead of long life for yourself or riches or the death of your enemies, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you more wisdom and understanding than anyone has ever had before or will ever have again. 13 I will also give you what you have not asked for: all your life you will have wealth and honor, more than that of any other king. 14 And if you obey me and keep my laws and commands, as your father David did, I will give you a long life.”
15 Solomon woke up and realized that God had spoken to him in the dream. Then he went to Jerusalem and stood in front of the Lord's Covenant Box and offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. After that he gave a feast for all his officials.
Solomon Judges a Difficult Case
16 One day two prostitutes came and presented themselves before King Solomon. 17 One of them said, “Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a baby boy at home while she was there. 18 Two days after my child was born, she also gave birth to a baby boy. Only the two of us were there in the house—no one else was present. 19 Then one night she accidentally rolled over on her baby and smothered it. 20 She got up during the night, took my son from my side while I was asleep, and carried him to her bed; then she put the dead child in my bed. 21 The next morning, when I woke up and was going to nurse my baby, I saw that it was dead. I looked at it more closely and saw that it was not my child.”
22 But the other woman said, “No! The living child is mine, and the dead one is yours!”
The first woman answered back, “No! The dead child is yours, and the living one is mine!”
And so they argued before the king.
23 Then King Solomon said, “Each of you claims that the living child is hers and that the dead child belongs to the other one.” 24 He sent for a sword, and when it was brought, 25 he said, “Cut the living child in two and give each woman half of it.”
26 The real mother, her heart full of love for her son, said to the king, “Please, Your Majesty, don't kill the child! Give it to her!”
But the other woman said, “Don't give it to either of us; go on and cut it in two.”
27 Then Solomon said, “Don't kill the child! Give it to the first woman—she is its real mother.”
28 When the people of Israel heard of Solomon's decision, they were all filled with deep respect for him, because they knew then that God had given him the wisdom to settle disputes fairly.
4 Solomon was king of all Israel, 2 and these were his high officials:
The priest: Azariah son of Zadok
3 The court secretaries: Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha
In charge of the records: Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud
4 Commander of the army: Benaiah son of Jehoiada
Priests: Zadok and Abiathar
5 Chief of the district governors: Azariah son of Nathan
Royal Adviser: the priest Zabud son of Nathan
6 In charge of the palace servants: Ahishar
In charge of the forced labor: Adoniram son of Abda
7 Solomon appointed twelve men as district governors in Israel. They were to provide food from their districts for the king and his household, each man being responsible for one month out of the year. 8 The following are the names of these twelve officers and the districts they were in charge of:
Benhur: the hill country of Ephraim
9 Bendeker: the cities of Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh, Elon, and Beth Hanan
10 Benhesed: the cities of Arubboth and Socoh and all the territory of Hepher
11 Benabinadab, who was married to Solomon's daughter Taphath: the whole region of Dor
12 Baana son of Ahilud: the cities of Taanach, Megiddo, and all the region near Beth Shan, near the town of Zarethan, south of the town of Jezreel, as far as the city of Abel Meholah and the city of Jokmeam
13 Bengeber: the city of Ramoth in Gilead, and the villages in Gilead belonging to the clan of Jair, a descendant of Manasseh, and the region of Argob in Bashan, sixty large towns in all, fortified with walls and with bronze bars on the gates
14 Ahinadab son of Iddo: the district of Mahanaim
15 Ahimaaz, who was married to Basemath, another of Solomon's daughters: the territory of Naphtali
16 Baana son of Hushai: the region of Asher and the town of Bealoth
17 Jehoshaphat son of Paruah: the territory of Issachar
18 Shimei son of Ela: the territory of Benjamin
19 Geber son of Uri: the region of Gilead, which had been ruled by King Sihon of the Amorites and King Og of Bashan
Besides these twelve, there was one governor over the whole land.
Solomon's Prosperous Reign
20 The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore; they ate and drank, and were happy. 21 (B)Solomon's kingdom included all the nations from the Euphrates River to Philistia and the Egyptian border. They paid him taxes and were subject to him all his life.
22 The supplies Solomon needed each day were 150 bushels of fine flour and 300 bushels of meal; 23 10 stall-fed cattle, 20 pasture-fed cattle, and 100 sheep, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and poultry.
24 Solomon ruled over all the land west of the Euphrates River, from Tiphsah on the Euphrates as far west as the city of Gaza. All the kings west of the Euphrates were subject to him, and he was at peace with all the neighboring countries. 25 As long as he lived, the people throughout Judah and Israel lived in safety, each family with its own grapevines and fig trees.
26 (C)Solomon had forty thousand stalls for his chariot horses and twelve thousand cavalry horses. 27 His twelve governors, each one in the month assigned to him, supplied the food King Solomon needed for himself and for all who ate in the palace; they always supplied everything needed. 28 Each governor also supplied his share of barley and straw, where it was needed,[a] for the chariot horses and the work animals.
29 God gave Solomon unusual wisdom and insight, and knowledge too great to be measured. 30 Solomon was wiser than the wise men of the East or the wise men of Egypt. 31 (D)He was the wisest of all men: wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame spread throughout all the neighboring countries. 32 (E)He composed three thousand proverbs and more than a thousand songs. 33 He spoke of trees and plants, from the Lebanon cedars to the hyssop that grows on walls; he talked about animals, birds, reptiles, and fish. 34 Kings all over the world heard of his wisdom and sent people to listen to him.
- 1 Kings 4:28 where it was needed; or wherever King Solomon was.
The Seven Helpers
6 Some time later, as the number of disciples kept growing, there was a quarrel between the Greek-speaking Jews and the native Jews. The Greek-speaking Jews claimed that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of funds. 2 So the twelve apostles called the whole group of believers together and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the preaching of God's word in order to handle finances. 3 So then, friends, choose seven men among you who are known to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, and we will put them in charge of this matter. 4 We ourselves, then, will give our full time to prayer and the work of preaching.”
5 The whole group was pleased with the apostles' proposal, so they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a Gentile from Antioch who had earlier been converted to Judaism. 6 The group presented them to the apostles, who prayed and placed their hands on them.
7 And so the word of God continued to spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem grew larger and larger, and a great number of priests accepted the faith.
The Arrest of Stephen
8 Stephen, a man richly blessed by God and full of power, performed great miracles and wonders among the people. 9 But he was opposed by some men who were members of the synagogue of the Freedmen[a] (as it was called), which had Jews from Cyrene and Alexandria. They and other Jews from the provinces of Cilicia and Asia started arguing with Stephen. 10 But the Spirit gave Stephen such wisdom that when he spoke, they could not refute him. 11 So they bribed some men to say, “We heard him speaking against Moses and against God!” 12 In this way they stirred up the people, the elders, and the teachers of the Law. They seized Stephen and took him before the Council. 13 Then they brought in some men to tell lies about him. “This man,” they said, “is always talking against our sacred Temple and the Law of Moses. 14 We heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will tear down the Temple and change all the customs which have come down to us from Moses!” 15 All those sitting in the Council fixed their eyes on Stephen and saw that his face looked like the face of an angel.
- Acts 6:9 These were Jews who had been slaves, but had bought or been given their freedom.
A Prayer for Deliverance
126 When the Lord brought us back to Jerusalem,[a]
it was like a dream!
2 How we laughed, how we sang for joy!
Then the other nations said about us,
“The Lord did great things for them.”
3 Indeed he did great things for us;
how happy we were!
4 Lord, make us prosperous again,[b]
just as the rain brings water back to dry riverbeds.
5 Let those who wept as they planted their crops,
gather the harvest with joy!
6 Those who wept as they went out carrying the seed
will come back singing for joy,
as they bring in the harvest.
26 A laborer's appetite makes him work harder, because he wants to satisfy his hunger.
27 Evil people look for ways to harm others; even their words burn with evil.