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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

1 Kings 4

 

 

Verse 27

SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY

‘They lacked nothing.’ … ‘He was wiser than all men.’

1 Kings 4:27; 1 Kings 4:31

We cannot but contrast Solomon and Jesus. Solomon’s wealth was enormous; Jesus was a poor man—in the world which was made by Him, yet not having where to lay His head. Solomon was a type of worldly prosperity; Jesus was a man of sorrows, living a life which the world called an utter failure. On the other hand, Solomon’s light soon became tinged with darkness. Heathenism crept into his court with the wives he chose and brought there. The smoke from the holy altars of the Temple mingled with other smoke from heathen altars, erected here and there throughout the city in honour of idols. He who began with so much promise ended his life in sorrow and darkness, though, let us hope, in penitence. In contrast with all this, think of Jesus, whose life and teachings and influence remained holy and pure and Divine unto the end. ‘A greater than Solomon is here.’

I. The blessings of peace are very precious.—In Solomon’s time the people dwelt safely—every man under his vine and fig tree. There was no war to make them afraid. They went on with their work on their farms, in their homes, without fear of being disturbed by enemies breaking in upon them. We are enjoying the blessings of peace in our own country. We cannot be too thankful for this. David had fought battles and subdued the enemies of the kingdom, and Solomon’s peace was the fruit of what David had done. The blessings we are enjoying are the results of the sacrifices and toils of those who have gone before us. The blessings of the Christian’s peace are ours also, because Christ went to His cross for us. ‘The chastisement of our peace was upon Him.’

II. We should notice that Solomon’s wisdom and largeness of heart were God’s gift to him.—He was called to do a certain great work for God, and God gave him the wisdom and the ability necessary for it. We should never forget that all our talents and all our powers are God’s gifts to us. If a girl has a good voice for singing, God gave it to her, and she must think of it as sacred, to be used for Him. If a young man has a gift for business, for money-making, God gave it to him, and it must be used in God’s service. If one is a poet, or an orator, or possesses any other fine endowment, it is from God, and is to be employed in God’s work. We must not think that our powers are our own. We must not boast of them as if they were. We ought to be made humble as we think of them, because they indicate our responsibility.

III. We must not imagine that Solomon’s wisdom saved him from all labour.—Evidently he was a great worker. No man could have written the things which are described in verses 32 and 33 without being a most laborious worker. The gifts that God bestows upon us must be developed by us by proper training and exercise. Then we can accomplish good results with them only by incessant diligence and earnest use. Even Jesus, the wisest of all men, did not acquire knowledge without study. He applied Himself to His lessons, and learned as other boys must learn.

IV. We must remember, as we read of Solomon’s wisdom, what Jesus said about it.—People came from all parts of the world to hear Solomon’s wise sayings. Jesus reminded His hearers that He was greater than Solomon. It has become true that all the world has listened to the voice of Jesus as the teachings of the Gospel have gone forth. But we should remember that Jesus, being the wisest teacher the world has ever had, we should go to Him continually to learn the lessons which He alone can teach us.

V. It is very sad to think that although Solomon began so well, with such promise and such endowments, he afterwards turned away from God.—This is one of the saddest things in history. We must remember that great gifts are not enough to make a man’s life finally successful. When God gave Solomon the wisdom he chose, there was a condition—that Solomon should walk in God’s ways. Failing in this, he lost much of the blessing, and his last years were darkened by sorrow. The Book of Ecclesiastes helps us to understand what vanity the world’s riches and honour are unless one’s heart be right with God.

Illustration

‘Here is Solomon “in all his glory,” in the width of his empire, in the bounty of the provision for his household, in his army, in his wisdom and knowledge, in his widespread influence over all lands. But as we turn from him to the Carpenter of Nazareth, Who had not where to lay His head, Who found His close friends among the poor, and Who ultimately laid down His life a ransom for men, who does not feel that, altogether apart from His Divine Sonship, His was the nobler ideal and the more useful career? Probably Solomon himself would have admitted this, but it is to be remembered that He has set us an example that we should follow His steps. A greater than Solomon is here; let us hear Him.’


Verse 31

SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY

‘They lacked nothing.’ … ‘He was wiser than all men.’

1 Kings 4:27; 1 Kings 4:31

We cannot but contrast Solomon and Jesus. Solomon’s wealth was enormous; Jesus was a poor man—in the world which was made by Him, yet not having where to lay His head. Solomon was a type of worldly prosperity; Jesus was a man of sorrows, living a life which the world called an utter failure. On the other hand, Solomon’s light soon became tinged with darkness. Heathenism crept into his court with the wives he chose and brought there. The smoke from the holy altars of the Temple mingled with other smoke from heathen altars, erected here and there throughout the city in honour of idols. He who began with so much promise ended his life in sorrow and darkness, though, let us hope, in penitence. In contrast with all this, think of Jesus, whose life and teachings and influence remained holy and pure and Divine unto the end. ‘A greater than Solomon is here.’

I. The blessings of peace are very precious.—In Solomon’s time the people dwelt safely—every man under his vine and fig tree. There was no war to make them afraid. They went on with their work on their farms, in their homes, without fear of being disturbed by enemies breaking in upon them. We are enjoying the blessings of peace in our own country. We cannot be too thankful for this. David had fought battles and subdued the enemies of the kingdom, and Solomon’s peace was the fruit of what David had done. The blessings we are enjoying are the results of the sacrifices and toils of those who have gone before us. The blessings of the Christian’s peace are ours also, because Christ went to His cross for us. ‘The chastisement of our peace was upon Him.’

II. We should notice that Solomon’s wisdom and largeness of heart were God’s gift to him.—He was called to do a certain great work for God, and God gave him the wisdom and the ability necessary for it. We should never forget that all our talents and all our powers are God’s gifts to us. If a girl has a good voice for singing, God gave it to her, and she must think of it as sacred, to be used for Him. If a young man has a gift for business, for money-making, God gave it to him, and it must be used in God’s service. If one is a poet, or an orator, or possesses any other fine endowment, it is from God, and is to be employed in God’s work. We must not think that our powers are our own. We must not boast of them as if they were. We ought to be made humble as we think of them, because they indicate our responsibility.

III. We must not imagine that Solomon’s wisdom saved him from all labour.—Evidently he was a great worker. No man could have written the things which are described in verses 32 and 33 without being a most laborious worker. The gifts that God bestows upon us must be developed by us by proper training and exercise. Then we can accomplish good results with them only by incessant diligence and earnest use. Even Jesus, the wisest of all men, did not acquire knowledge without study. He applied Himself to His lessons, and learned as other boys must learn.

IV. We must remember, as we read of Solomon’s wisdom, what Jesus said about it.—People came from all parts of the world to hear Solomon’s wise sayings. Jesus reminded His hearers that He was greater than Solomon. It has become true that all the world has listened to the voice of Jesus as the teachings of the Gospel have gone forth. But we should remember that Jesus, being the wisest teacher the world has ever had, we should go to Him continually to learn the lessons which He alone can teach us.

V. It is very sad to think that although Solomon began so well, with such promise and such endowments, he afterwards turned away from God.—This is one of the saddest things in history. We must remember that great gifts are not enough to make a man’s life finally successful. When God gave Solomon the wisdom he chose, there was a condition—that Solomon should walk in God’s ways. Failing in this, he lost much of the blessing, and his last years were darkened by sorrow. The Book of Ecclesiastes helps us to understand what vanity the world’s riches and honour are unless one’s heart be right with God.

Illustration

‘Here is Solomon “in all his glory,” in the width of his empire, in the bounty of the provision for his household, in his army, in his wisdom and knowledge, in his widespread influence over all lands. But as we turn from him to the Carpenter of Nazareth, Who had not where to lay His head, Who found His close friends among the poor, and Who ultimately laid down His life a ransom for men, who does not feel that, altogether apart from His Divine Sonship, His was the nobler ideal and the more useful career? Probably Solomon himself would have admitted this, but it is to be remembered that He has set us an example that we should follow His steps. A greater than Solomon is here; let us hear Him.’

 


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Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Kings 4:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/1-kings-4.html. 1876.

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