(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung 6/5/2021
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. The Bible devotes a great deal of attention to the brilliance of King Solomon. Solomon was King David’s son, the second son of Bathsheba. Many people today consider Solomon as Israel’s greatest King, but he rejected Godly intervention in his life.
1Kings 2:1 Now the days of David drew near that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
1Kings 2:2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man;
1Kings 2:3 And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou may prosper in all that thou do, and whithersoever thou turn thyself:
Solomon got off to a good start. Solomon’s dedication of the Temple is a humble, awe-filled occasion marked by thousands of sacrifices and a prayer overflowing with faith and praise (Read about that in 1Kings 8). David says:
1Chronicles 28:5 And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.
1Chronicles 28:6 And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.
1Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever.
Solomon’ s name means peace.
1Kings 3:5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
1Kings 3:6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son [Solomon speaking of himself] to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
1Kings 3:7 And now, [Solomon is about 20 years of age] O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
We are told in 1Kings 11:42 “And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years.” That period of Solomon’s reign is known as “The Golden Age” of Israel – 40 years of peace and prosperity. King Solomon, built God’s Temple in Jerusalem to house the sacred Arc of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments.
Solomon realized that though he were king, the people belonged to God.
1Kings 3:8 And thy servant is in the midst of your people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
Solomon could have chosen anything – courage, strength, riches or fame, but he asked for an understanding heart and wisdom so that he would make the right decisions for God’s people.
1Kings 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this your so great a people?
1Kings 3:10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
1Kings 3:11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
1Kings 3:12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
1Kings 3:13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
1Kings 3:14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
1Kings 3:15 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.
2Chronicles 1:7-12 is very similar.
1Kings 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceedingly much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
God gave Solomon a brilliant mind, and a good heart.
1Kings 4:30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.
He was the smartest man on earth! Solomon became world famous – on the merits of his wisdom. The Bible mentions some really smart men.
1Kings 4:31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about.
Solomon became an expert in every discipline: As an intellectualist, Solomon outshone all others in ornithology, astronomy, philosophy, sociology, history, finance and government. He shared his wisdom and expertise in all in his writings, poetry, debate, rhetoric, and music.
1Kings 4:32 And he spoke three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.
Solomon was a distinguished horticulturist – an expert in agriculture and forests.
1Kings 4:33 And he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springs out of the wall: he spoke also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.
Solomon excelled as an agronomist and an ichthyologist – in soil management, crop production and the fisheries. We will see that in Ecclesiastes, Solomon pleads with us to learn from his mistakes.
There are a lot of very true things here in Ecclesiastes; There is a great analysis of many, many things. Solomon wrote:
Ecclesiastes 2:5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
1Kings 4:34 And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.
Solomon became the preeminent expert of his day in every field of worldly wisdom and science: He applied logic to human reason to seek more and more wisdom, understanding and knowledge. No one surpassed his wisdom in veterinary science. As a meteorologist, Solomon understood weather and climates more than anyone. He knew about the jet streams, weather patterns, trade winds and cold fronts.
Ecclesiastes 1:6 The wind goes toward the south, and turns about unto the north; it whirls about continually, and the wind returns again according to his circuits.
Solomon was the world’s authority in oceanography, knowing the tides, rivers and currents like the Gulf Stream that runs from Florida to Europe.
Psalm 8:8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas.
Ecclesiastes 1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; and yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
The Nile River of Egypt, the mighty Mississippi River, the Thames in London, they all flow into the sea, – and the oceans never fill up! Solomon understood about irrigation and evaporation, and water vapor going into the clouds – in a never ending cycle, they return again.
Ecclesiastes 2:6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that brings forth trees:
Solomon was a zoologist – understanding the migration of many living creatures – the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea.
Solomon was a great architect:
Ecclesiastes 2:4 I made me great works; I built me houses; I planted me vineyards: [even the Temple of God]
Solomon understood that history repeats itself:
Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:10 Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us.
Solomon did not understand the Plan of God, and that all things were moving forward for God’s purposes – and would be fulfilled.
He did not understand how, or the purpose of building Godly Character. Ecclesiastes explains the lot of carnal man without God’s Spirit. The fruit of God’s Spirit in Solomon is not evident in the story of his life. Where is the evidence of Solomon’s repentance and conversion?
Theme of Ecclesiastes:
Ecclesiastes 1:2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. [Everything is meaningless, pointless and useless]
Ecclesiastes shows that life is meaningless, useless hollow, futile, vain, if not rightly related to God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Church brethren. Life must be based on God and His Word.
Ecclesiastes 1:12 I the Preacher [Solomon] was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
Ecclesiastes 1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom [He used all the intellectual expertise he could muster] concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
Ecclesiastes 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Solomon concluded toward the end of his life that the human experience on earth was all meaningless — just as senseless and futile as chasing after the wind.
Solomon’s wisdom [not Godly wisdom] was an example of mankind’s best logic – it was only worldly wisdom. But Solomon did realize at the end of his life that God always prevailed – not man.
The Book of Ecclesiastes is the legacy of Solomon. Solomon left us these words of wisdom – chronicling his life of human achievement, and yet void of the wisdom of God that comes from above.
We will distinguish between Godly wisdom and merely human wisdom. It goes like this: First comes knowledge (knowing the facts), then understanding (knowing what the facts pertain to), then wisdom (the good sense to use understanding), and finally, Godly Wisdom (The wisdom to always act in a Godly manner). Solomon lacked Godly Wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 9:1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knows either love or hatred by all that is before them.
Solomon finally came to see that you cannot sin against God’s law with impunity.
God is the author of Ecclesiastes – He put it into Solomon’s heart to write down his life’s experiences – so that we could see that a man cannot satiate his desires and find fulfillment.
Ecclesiastes 1:8 … the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
Only God is good, and the giver of every good gift. Man is evil – sold under sin – awaiting God’s redemption.
Mankind deserves nothing except a plot of land six feet long and six feet deep! Mankind deserves nothing – because all that we receive is a gift of God. Solomon is right on point here:
Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing good inherent in man that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. [that is a lesson that Solomon learned late in life]
Ecclesiastes 2:25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I? [Solomon had every opportunity to be satiated, if it were possible without God – but it is not possible.]
God gave Solomon the judgment and wisdom of a psychologist to discern behavioral motives and emotional patterns – for example, those of a loving mother.
Remember the story of the two women where one mother tried to steal a child from the other mother? The case was literally brought to the Supreme Court of Israel – Solomon being the Chief Justice. In the summation of the case…
1Kings 3:23 Then said the king, The one says, This is my son that lives, and “Your son is the dead:” and the other mother says, No; but your son is the dead baby, and my son is the living one.
1Kings 3:24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.
1Kings 3:25 And the king said, Divide the living child into two halves, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
The true mother could not bear to see her son killed.
1Kings 3:26 Then spoke the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other mother [who stole the baby boy] said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
1Kings 3:27 Then the king answered and said, Give her [the true mother] the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
1Kings 3:28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.
Solomon was the government of Israel for 40 years of glorious rule. Solomon did not claim to understand everything. There were some principles of science he did not grasp – and Solomon freely admitted that he did not understand everything, like …
Daniel Bernoulli’s equation of 1738 of high and low pressures which explain how a heavier than air bird could fly, and a ship could sail into the wind.
Proverbs 30:18 There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I cannot understand:
Proverbs 30:19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a young man with a youthful maiden.
How does young love arise – it was too wonderful to grasp!
In today’s sermon, we will try to answer the question: Since Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, how could he have been so foolish in all of his choices? He had a thousand wives. His life is certainly not a role model for the people of God.
What then is Solomon’s Legacy, the Book of Ecclesiastes, all about? It is after all, God inspired Scripture – His Word.
The Queen of Sheba
1Kings 10:1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.
1Kings 10:2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
1Kings 10:3 And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king, which he told her not.
1Kings 10:4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built,
When the Queen of Sheba attended a royal banquet, she was “blown away.”
1Kings 10:5 and 2Ch 9:4 And the abundant food of his table, and the vast seating order of his officials, and the attendance of his waiters, and their splendid raiment; his cupbearers also, and their robes; and his ascent to the Temple by which Solomon made burnt offerings to the LORD, there was no more spirit in her.
…she was overwhelmed, …it took her breath away, …she was in ecstasy, …she was so astonished …It left her breathless and amazed.
Also Read 2Chronicles 9 The Queen of Sheba is written of there also.
1Kings 10:21 And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: [because silver] was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.
1Kings 10:6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.
1Kings 10:7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceeded the fame which I heard.
During his reign, Solomon controlled the trade routes of the world by way of a land and sea trading system that utilized a powerful navy and army to protect Israel’s assets.
1Kings 10:22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
When those sea captains returned – they were fully debriefed on the details of their journey. Some brought back pure copper from the Upper Peninsula Michigan, USA to use in the Temple. Solomon was the renowned metallurgist of his day.
1Kings 10:23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.
1Kings 10:24 And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.
1Kings 11:1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
1Kings 11:2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
1Kings 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
1Kings 11:4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.
Solomon was unable to say “No,” to any of his pagan wives.
When one would ask for a heathen shrine, Solomon would build it for her, whether it be for Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites, Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, or Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon (1Kings 11:5-8).
Solomon slowly moved away from God in order to appease his many foreign wives. Solomon’s disobedience provoked the anger and judgment of the Lord.
1Kings 11:6 Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
As Solomon came down the homestretch at the end of his life, it appears that he had failed miserably.
Did he repent before he died, or simply chronicle his life’s experiences?
1Kings 11:9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,
1Kings 11:10 And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.
1Kings 11:11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant.
1Kings 11:12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son.
The Preacher and author of Ecclesiastes was none other than King Solomon. How could Solomon have written the Book of Ecclesiastes, a book of the Bible, after living a life of debauchery and wantonness? While living away from God, Solomon found no fulfillment, satisfaction, joy or peace.
In writing the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon looked back over his life to share with us his perceptions and earthly wisdom (Ecclesiastes 9:1).
Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s Legacy of a life not led by God’s Spirit.
Solomon gave himself over to fulfilling the lusts of the flesh – anything and everything to satiate his five senses. He had the wisdom – he thought – to beat the system – and avoid the pitfalls of sin. He had to learn that he could not out-guess God.
**Ecclesiastes 2:10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor: and this was my portion of all my labor.
Ecclesiastes 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, it was all vanity [meaningless] and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. [it never brought the joy of fulfillment to Solomon]
At the end of his life, Solomon finally realized that there was never any real fulfillment in doing things his way – trying to please himself.
**Brethren, the main lesson we can take away from the Book of Ecclesiastes is that True Peace, happiness and fulfilment come only in serving others in a Godly devotion to God’s way of life. God uses the book of Ecclesiastes to show us that Solomon’s profligate and extravagant life meant nothing at all.
Yes, the grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence – but it is not! There are no short-cuts to the Kingdom of God. Solomon tried it all, and learned that “You can’t take it with you.”
Solomon is thinking back over his life’s work:
Ecclesiastes 2:21 For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not labored therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
Brethren, we are going to inherit everything – the labors of men who worked and achieved nothing for themselves.
Ecclesiastes 2:22 For what hath man of all his labor, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath labored under the sun?
Psalm 127:1 A Song of degrees for Solomon. Unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it:
Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Solomon tried everything possible; power, wealth, success, women, alcohol, and drugs – anything that money and power could procure.
With all his heart, Solomon attempted to live the good life.
Ecclesiastes 2:3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
Sure, much of what Solomon wrote sounds as good as a sermon preached by a Sunday evangelist.
They read out of this same Bible – yet without Godly wisdom.
But, Solomon’s life is a dark study on a life lived apart from God, because he thought he was so smart that he did not need God.
He thought he could find happiness and fulfillment by not withholding anything from himself that he desired.
Solomon rejected Godly intervention in his decisions. Solomon did not have the wisdom and good understanding that come only with obedience to God.
Psalm 111:10 The reverent respect of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that obey His commandments: His praise endures forever!
Solomon did not allow the Spirit of God to lead in his life (Romans 8:14).
Life is difficult with God’s involvement. It is impossible without God’s direct intervention – but that is what Solomon attempted to do.
Solomon was not able to overcome and grow.
Solomon’s Legacy is our example of someone who tried everything – without success.
God’s way is the only way.
At the close of his life, God allowed Solomon to record the experiences of a man who tried everything possible; power, wealth, success, harems of women, alcohol, money, drugs and every illicit substance that would satisfy his flesh – all to no avail.
Brethren, we do not have to try it – Solomon did, all to no avail. We know that it does not work. Yes, we should be all that we can be – but, under God’s discretion.
What is not found in Ecclesiastes are the concepts of Christianity so often expressed by Solomon’s father, King David. Sure, Solomon learned the hard way that there were many penalties for breaking every one of God’s laws.
Solomon ends his book with the understanding that sin does not pay. He ends with the statement Fear God!
After a lifetime of doing things his way, Solomon learns his lesson.
**Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole of man.
At the end of his life, Solomon finally says, “I realize now that it would have been better to obey God and do things His way.”
You cannot second-guess God. You cannot sin with impunity. We are not told of Solomon’s repentance. Did he ever fully realize how much better things would have gone – doing it God’s way?
Solomon does not speak of conversion, or of God’s Holy Spirit. Solomon’s Legacy is the admonition not to live our lives as he lived his.
God has given us the Book of Ecclesiastes so that we do not have to learn the hard way – like Solomon did.
Paul summarizes what Solomon could not grasp from his life’s experiences.
1Timothy 6:6 But Godliness with contentment is great gain.
Solomon tried to do it without God.
1Timothy 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. [physically speaking]
1Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare [like Solomon], and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
Solomon pursued wealth and power for what it could bring him.
1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
At the end of his life, Solomon was spent, and disheartened.
Paul encourages Timothy to follow Godly principles in all that he does.
1Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things [the things that Solomon did]; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. [Christian principles]
Teach people not to think too highly of themselves. Don’t get the “Big-Head,” saying “I achieved such and such.”
1Corinthians 3:6 God gives the increase.
1Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but trust in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
1Timothyi 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; [it is all about serving and caring]
1Timothy 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
It is not about fame, fortune, and pleasure in this lifetime. Solomon had wisdom – yes, but he lacked Godly wisdom.
He starts in James 3:15 with the wisdom of Solomon:
We are told that there is a wisdom that does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish (James 3:15).
James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits…
Brethren, not many wise men are called, but Godly wisdom from above is ours for the asking. Solomon lacked the Godly wisdom that comes as a gift of God’s Holy Spirit.
Only God knows when Solomon will receive his reward: King David had God’s Holy Spirit, and will be in the first resurrection, and he will rule in the Millennium.
Ezekiel 37:24 David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
David is mentioned in the Hebrews 11 list of Old Testament saints, but the Scriptures do not say so of Solomon.
2Samuel 7:15 But my mercy shall not depart away from [Solomon].
End: Solomon’s Legacy