Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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1 Kings 3:4-9, (10-15), 16-28 Commentary
by Cameron B.R. Howard
This week’s passage from 1 Kings 3 introduces Solomon from two angles: private and public.
First, the private view: in verses 4-15, the narrator gets us right into the sleeping brain of Solomon. In his dream, Solomon talks with God. God starts the conversation with a command: “Ask what I should give you” (verse 5 NRSV). Different translations yield slightly different renderings of this line, but the first word God utters, “ask”(Hebrew she’al), is inarguably an imperative.
While in some ways this command to “ask” feels as if God is offering Solomon a blank check, it strikes me as more of a test of Solomon’s fitness for kingship. Will Solomon answer rightly? After all, the narrator of 1 Kings has already expressed ambivalence about Solomon, saying, “Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places” (1 Kings 3:3).
This is the classic struggle of the Deuteronomistic History, which revels in the glory brought to ancient Israel by the monarchy, ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 146: Solomon's Wisdom
October 26, 2014
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 1 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the readings for Oct. 26, 2014: 1 Kings 3:4-9, (10-15), 16-28 (along with some thoughts on connecting this text to Reformation Sunday). Accompanying reading: Matthew 6:9-10.