So Solomon asks for wisdom. I mean, it demonstrates humility. I’ve just always found it interesting considering how extensively he messed up throughout his reign. Though, I suppose, it could be argued that his later decisions do reflect an earthly sort of wisdom. He makes strong political alliances, he grows the kingdom, etc etc. If he had only also remained faithful…
The Bible is full of ‘if only.’ Life is full of ‘if only.’ If only David had remained faithful, completely faithful, who would Solomon have been? I mean, would Bathsheba have been widowed without foul play? Would he just not have been a Solomon, even though he was loved by God? Or would he simply have been born to someone else? How does all of that work? What determines who we are born to be?
It can lead to a pretty deep existential crisis if you think about it too hard.
Was David right to open Solomon’s reign with instructions to execute three people? If they were so dangerous, why hadn’t he ever executed them himself? Oh, right, because he’d promised not to kill one of them. So does that make it a little shady that he told his son to kill him instead? All those years later?
At least Solomon didn’t kill his brother until there was some indication that he wasn’t going to let the whole thing go. Asking for David’s concubine wasn’t a very bright move given the cultural ideas of position, authority, and succession. Or did he really think Solomon was that weak?
It’s all a bit much by today’s sensibilities. I’m not entirely convinced most people really believe history was like this, not really. I don’t think most people can conceptualize actually living like that. It’s all one and the same with epic fantasy stories.
So what does it mean to us? Aside from demonstrating the corruption of power and our need for deliverance? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe that’s enough though. Maybe it’s enough for us to see how worldly success and comfort, power and indulgence, can shift our focus if we are not constantly on our guard against it, constantly striving for the humility that David demonstrated, over and over, every time he was wrong. The humility to admit fault, to sincerely repent, and to pursue restoration. Maybe it’s enough to see that we can’t divide our loyalty, no matter how diplomatic we think we’re being. But that’s getting ahead, I think.