1 Kings 3:16-28
A wise ruling
Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One of them said, ‘Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.
‘During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. The next morning, I got up to nurse my son – and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.’
The other woman said, ‘No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.’
But the first one insisted, ‘No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.’ And so they argued before the king.
The king said, ‘This one says, “My son is alive and your son is dead,” while that one says, “No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.”’
Then the king said, ‘Bring me a sword.’ So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: ‘Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.’
The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, ‘Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!’
But the other said, ‘Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!’
Then the king gave his ruling: ‘Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.’
When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.
1 Kings 4
Solomon’s officials and governors
So King Solomon ruled over all Israel. And these were his chief officials:
Azariah son of Zadok – the priest;
Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha – secretaries;
Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud – recorder;
Benaiah son of Jehoiada – commander-in-chief;
Zadok and Abiathar – priests;
Azariah son of Nathan – in charge of the district governors;
Zabud son of Nathan – a priest and advisor to the king;
Ahishar – palace administrator;
Adoniram son of Abda – in charge of forced labour.
Solomon had twelve district governors over all Israel, who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year. These are their names:
Ben-Hur – in the hill country of Ephraim;
Ben-Deker – in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh and Elon Bethhanan;
Ben-Hesed – in Arubboth (Sokoh and all the land of Hepher were his);
Ben-Abinadab – in Naphoth Dor (he was married to Taphath daughter of Solomon);
Baana son of Ahilud – in Taanach and Megiddo, and in all of Beth Shan next to Zarethan below Jezreel, from Beth Shan to Abel Meholah across to Jokmeam;
Ben-Geber – in Ramoth Gilead (the settlements of Jair son of Manasseh in Gilead were his, as well as the region of Argob in Bashan and its sixty large walled cities with bronze gate bars);
Ahinadab son of Iddo – in Mahanaim;
Ahimaaz – in Naphtali (he had married Basemath daughter of Solomon);
Baana son of Hushai – in Asher and in Aloth;
Jehoshaphat son of Paruah – in Issachar;
Shimei son of Ela – in Benjamin;
Geber son of Uri – in Gilead (the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and the country of Og king of Bashan). He was the only governor over the district.
Solomon’s daily provisions
The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy. And Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the River Euphrates to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These countries brought tribute and were Solomon’s subjects all his life.
Solomon’s daily provisions were thirty cors[a] of the finest flour and sixty cors[b] of meal, ten head of stall-fed cattle, twenty of pasture-fed cattle and a hundred sheep and goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and choice fowl. For he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the River Euphrates, from Tiphsah to Gaza, and had peace on all sides. During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, lived in safety, everyone under their own vine and under their own fig-tree.
The district governors, each in his month, supplied provisions for King Solomon and all who came to the king’s table. They saw to it that nothing was lacking. They also brought to the proper place their quotas of barley and straw for the chariot horses and the other horses.
God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite – wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.[e]
- 1 Kings 4:22 That is, probably about 5 metric tons
- 1 Kings 4:22 That is, probably about 10 metric tons
- 1 Kings 4:26 Some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 2 Chron. 9:25); Hebrew forty
- 1 Kings 4:26 Or charioteers
- 1 Kings 4:34 In Hebrew texts 4:21-34 is numbered 5:1-14.
1 Kings 5
Preparations for building the temple
[a]When Hiram king of Tyre heard that Solomon had been anointed king to succeed his father David, he sent his envoys to Solomon, because he had always been on friendly terms with David. Solomon sent back this message to Hiram:
‘You know that because of the wars waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the Lord his God until the Lord put his enemies under his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster. I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God, as the Lord told my father David, when he said, “Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.”
‘So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians.’
When Hiram heard Solomon’s message, he was greatly pleased and said, ‘Praise be to the Lord today, for he has given David a wise son to rule over this great nation.’
So Hiram sent word to Solomon:
‘I have received the message you sent me and will do all you want in providing the cedar and juniper logs. My men will haul them down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, and I will float them as rafts by sea to the place you specify. There I will separate them and you can take them away. And you are to grant my wish by providing food for my royal household.’
In this way Hiram kept Solomon supplied with all the cedar and juniper logs he wanted, and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors[b] of wheat as food for his household, in addition to twenty thousand baths[c][d] of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year. The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
King Solomon conscripted labourers from all Israel – thirty thousand men. He sent them off to Lebanon in shifts of ten thousand a month, so that they spent one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the forced labour. Solomon had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters in the hills, as well as thirty-three hundred[e] foremen who supervised the project and directed the workers. At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple. The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram and workers from Byblos cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.
- 1 Kings 5:1 In Hebrew texts 5:1-18 is numbered 5:15-32.
- 1 Kings 5:11 That is, probably about 3,250 metric tons
- 1 Kings 5:11 Septuagint (see also 2 Chron. 2:10); Hebrew twenty cors
- 1 Kings 5:11 That is, about 440,000 litres
- 1 Kings 5:16 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts (see also 2 Chron. 2:2,18) thirty-six hundred