The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’ Solomon replied, ‘Lord, my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its numbers cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.’

4 thoughts on “Solomon”

  1. In Matthew 7 there is Ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will be opened… St Ignatius talks about God’s desires being the same as ours. What a great request from Solomon. We live in a selfish world – it is all about me. Solomon invites a world where wisdom is the goal…

  2. This text in relation to Solomon is part of a widespread practice of incubation dreaming in ancient Near East literature where key characters make sacrifice to receive a divine message. This is of course before the building of the temple in Jerusalem. Message to God – wisdom needed. Apparently message received.

  3. Veronica Baum

    I find this request so humble and so appropriate to now – to leaders wherever and whomever they may be leading. Solomon calls himself “Your servant king” then exposes his self-perceived weakness as “young and unskilled” and finally, and most revealing of his already existing wisdom and humility and reflective understanding of the God within (rather than the God of rules and ruling power) “give [me] a HEART to understand”. A heart. Not the mind, the power, the armies, the weapons, but a heart. Ah if that were truly valued in our world, those with honest humble hearts would more often succeed as leaders rather than be lost along the wayside in systems that view them as weakened by actually having, and living and ruling by a heart. Much to ponder in what we seek in leaders and what we actually ‘vote’ for in the end…

    1. I love this insight and definitely agree regarding the great humility with which Solomon makes his request. Aware of his inexperience and the great responsibility of making decisions for so many people he asks that he be granted a great understanding of how to make good decisions. He admits to being unsure of how to do good, even a little overwhelmed.

      To me the focus on “heart” speaks to a desire to be open-minded and empathetic, as well as an awareness that he doesn’t always know the difference between good and evil and needs “heart” (perhaps to listen compassionately?) to get better at that. Whether we’re acting as leaders in a more significant way (i.e., like King Solomon) or just carrying responsibilities at work or in personal lives, I think this is a great take away: be humble and keep an open mind because you need heart to know how to do good.

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