King David was the previous king. David did many great things:
- conquered the Philistines,
- united the kingdom of Israel (all the tribes),
- built the capital city, Jerusalem,
- and few other things.
David also did one bad thing: he stole another man’s wife and had her husband killed. After being confronted by the prophet, Nathan, David repented (instead of acting like the former King Saul and making excuses). He confessed his sins and asked God to forgive him. David wrote Psalm 51, which is David’s lament at his sin and petition from God. David shows us what to do when we sin. This is why David is called the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14); not because he was perfect, but he knew who was God and who was human.
Who becomes king after David? David and Bathsheba have another son named, Solomon. In 1 Kings, Solomon becomes king after David.
One night in a dream God told Solomon He would give him whatever he wanted.
What did Solomon ask for?
Solomon asked for wisdom: to be wise, to have the ability to make good decisions as king. Solomon didn’t want to be a rich or famous king; he wanted to be a good king. God loved Solomon’s request! Solomon ended up getting rich and famous, too, because of what he had asked for.
- Because he made good decisions as a king (wisdom), Solomon ended up becoming rich.
- Because of his wisdom, people from all over the world came to him, which made him famous.
Solomon used the great wealth he had accumulated to build God a new home, a center piece in the city of Jerusalem where people from across the country of Israel as well as the world would come to worship: honor the LORD and ask Him for forgiveness. It took seven years to build the Temple.
Do things stay good for Solomon and the people of Israel, or do they go bad?
It seems there is always good things that happen and then bad things next (i.e. Saul and David). All that wealth started to have an affect on Solomon. While it took seven years to build the Temple (God’s house), it took thirteen years to build Solomon’s house! Solomon even built a palace for his favorite wife (1 Kings 7:8). Solomon had many wives: 700!!
Not only was Solomon collecting more wives than he needed, he was also collecting more horses than he needed, and that was explicitly against God’s laws (Deut. 17:16).
Many of Solomon’s wives were from foreign lands and they worshiped other gods. They wanted places to worship their gods and Solomon let them. Pretty soon, Solomon was worshiping these other gods, too! This is called apostasy, walking away from your beliefs (you can read more about that here).
Sin has consequences. And because King Solomon sinned, there would be bad things that happen. This will play itself out in the story of the king after Solomon–his son, Rehoboam.
The stories of the kings (Saul and David) in 1 and 2 Samuel as well as King Solomon (in 1 Kings) seem to beg the question:
Which king do you want to be like? Or maybe, which kind of person does God want you to be like?
King Saul who made excuses? King Solomon who was too rich and famous to care? Or King David who fell on his knees and repented?
source What’s in the Bible? Curriculum Unit 5 Week 4