“King Solomon: Man of Wisdom, Man of
The Lord blesses Solomon with wisdom, riches, and honor.
King Solomon directs the construction of a great temple and has a palace
built for himself.
Solomon dedicates the temple.
Solomon becomes excessively wealthy and maries many non-Israelite women
who persuade him to worship idols.
A study of this lesson will encourage us to use our blessings wisely and to
enter the temple worthily.
Scripture references for study: 1 Kings 3;
1 Kings 5–11
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 26 Handout (PDF
Introduction - Solomon's Rise To Power
Thoughts On George Washington
Here in the United States we will be celebrating the independence of this nation as declared by a few brave men on July 4, 1776. Among
those who helped lay the foundations for this great republic was George
Washington of Virginia.
WHAT LESSONS MIGHT WE DISCOVER IN THE LIFE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON?
Commander-in-chief: Washington was not one of those who signed the
declaration, but as a respected military commander he was asked to become
the commander of the Continental Army. He did not aspire to or ask
for this position, but when he received the call he left his beloved home
at Mt. Vernon to serve. He was the single most important force in
keeping the Continental Army together during difficult years.
Constitutional convention: He was not the philosophical force behind
the development of the constitution, but he was man of powerful influence
who was one of the major forces in keeping the convention together until
those present agreed to a workable pattern for government.
The Presidency: When asked to run as president, General Washington
reluctantly returned to the service of his country. His personal
desire was to remain at Mt. Vernon and spend the last years of his life
at his beloved Virginia home. He returned to the service of his nation when
the called upon him. He was concerned with setting proper precedent
and many of the patterns and traditions established by Washington continue
to this day.
Lorenzo Snow: "We look upon George Washington,
the father of our country, as an inspired instrument of the Almighty; we
can see the all-inspiring Spirit operating upon him." (Teachings
of Lorenzo Snow, p191)
WHAT MIGHT WE DO TO SERVE OUR NATION?
We live in a time when apathy for government seems to be at an all time
high. Many eligible adults do not take the time to vote. We face difficult problems in our nations and communities:
A changing world
Crime and drugs
The threat of terrorism
Washington lived in a time that needed his unique leadership. Washington
loved his home at Mt. Vernon on the banks of the Potomac. While on business in the
Washington, D.C., a few years ago, I took the opportunity to drive down
to Mt. Vernon. While touring his home and ground I gained greater insight into the man. Even by today's
standards, Washington had a wonderful home. He enjoyed spending time
with his gardens and experimenting with different kinds of plants. Washington's desire was to spend his time at Mt. Vernon with his beloved
Martha. However, a nation called and Washington sacrificed his personal
desires for his country.
We may wish to remain at our Mt. Vernons, but we also have an obligation
to serve our nation. Most of us will not have the impact of General
Washington, but that does not absolve us of the obligation to serve.
- Keep our own doorstep swept clean: Several years ago I worked with Scouting
volunteers and became friends with a gentleman who chaired one of the troop
committees. We often discussed current events and how we might have
an impact on the world. He often said that our first was responsibility
was to keep our own doorstep swept, to have our own house in order.
When we do that, we are not a burden on society. This man took care of
his own family and reached out to serve the community in his own small
way. What a different world this would be if everyone possessed that
- Vote: Many of us complain about the state of politics, but how many
take the opportunity to vote and vote intelligently. It is estimated that
only half of the eligible voters in the United States are even registered. And of registered
voters, rarely does more than half exercise their franchise. The U.S.
presidential election of 2000 provides powerful evidence of the difference a
few votes can make.
- Become active in political causes/parties: The vast majority of citizens
have little to do with politics and political issues. Those few who
do participate make a significant impact on our communities and nation. If we wish to stand up for
good, we should become politically
- Become involved in community organizations and causes: We can make
a significant impact on our communities by volunteering for worthy causes
from Scouting to blood drives to neighborhood safety patrols.
Solomon's Rise To Power
One of the blessings of the U.S. governmental system is a peaceful transition
The Monarchy of ancient Israel validates the correctness of this philosophy
of peaceful transition, free elections, and limited terms.
This transition is provided for in the Constitution and is one of the precedents
set by George Washington.
President Washington refused to serve a third term due both to his age
and because he could see the evils of a man remaining in power for an excess
The two term precedent was not broken until Franklin Roosevelt was elected
to third and fourth terms. The two term limit has since been included
as an amendment to the Constitution.
1 KINGS 2:1-3. David's charge to Solomon.
After Saul died, Abner made Saul's son, Ishbosheth, king of the northern
kingdom. There were battles and intrigue before David succeeded in
consolidating his power and becoming king over all of Israel.
As David approached death his son Adonijah, son of David's wife Haggith,
tried to put himself in a position to succeed to the throne. He was
able to get on his side Joab, head of the armies, and Abiathar, a priest.
When this conspiracy to make Adonijah king was discovered, Nathan, the prophet,
went to Bathsheba who in turn went to David.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED IN ISRAEL HAD DAVID BEEN UNABLE TO ESTABLISH SOLOMON'S
POSITION PRIOR TO HIS DEATH?
There would have been factional fighting.
The northern kingdom would likely have broken away at an earlier date.
Adonijah made an additional attempt at putting himself in a position for
the throne. He was eventually put to death.
Although we may not always like the men that rise to the office of President
of the United States, we have always had a peaceful transition of power. The founding fathers were indeed farsighted and inspired and we have been
blessed by their willingness to work together to find alternatives to the
way governments had been operated for centuries.
Oh that we could issue such a charge to our elected officials today.
"Then sat Solomon upon the throne
of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly." (1
The Lord Blesses Solomon
1 KINGS 3:5-15. The Lord appears to Solomon
in a dream.
IN WHAT SITUATION DID SOLOMON FIRST EXERCISE HIS JUDGMENT?
WHAT DOES THIS EXPERIENCE REVEAL ABOUT SOLOMON?
He was humble: "I am but a little child"
He sought a gift or blessing that could be used in the service of others:
"Give therefore they servant an understanding heart" (v9).
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM SOLOMON ABOUT MAKING REQUESTS OF THE LORD?
We must be humble.
We must be living a righteous life.
Seek for those things that will enable us to bless the lives of others.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE AN "UNDERSTANDING HEART"?
Elder Marion D. Hanks: "The one gift for
which this wise man prayed, in his humility, acknowledging that God had
called him and that he was not qualified of himself, was an understanding-heart,
so that in his respectful leadership of the people he might know how to
judge between good and bad." (BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964,
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?
Elder Marion D. Hanks: "'Watch ye,' Paul
said. Be wise. There are a lot of roads to travel on, many places to go,
countless things to see. Companions of all kinds are available. So watch
your step, examine carefully the alternatives. There are only so many books
you can read, so many places you can go, so many tasks you can prepare
to work at and actually give your time to; you can only have so many real
friends; you have one character to form, one life to live, one Master who
can be served at a time. So, said Paul, 'Watch you.' Be wise. Keep reading,
keep thinking, keep asking, keep interested. Try out your own ideas, weigh
them and weigh those of others, thoughtfully, prayerfully, honestly. Let
truth have its chance in the marketplace." (Ibid.)
We are not required to make major judgments as did Solomon, but we do,
as pointed out by Elder Hanks, have many choices to make. Those choices
may impact our lives and the lives of others in a significant way. In an earlier
we discussed Saul and some of the errors in judgment he made. These
errors led Saul to a point where he lost the spirit and ultimately lost
control of his life. Like Solomon, we should be praying for an understanding
HOW CAN WE OBTAIN THE WISDOM AND THE "UNDERSTANDING HEART" FOR WHICH
SOLOMON WAS FAMOUS?
President John Taylor: "David took no step
without enquiring of the Lord. Solomon also, acted as a priest as well
as a king; and it is said of him, that Solomon loved the Lord, walking
in the statutes of David his father. And the Lord gave him wisdom, and
instructed him in the affairs of the kingdom. When he prayed unto the Lord,
and asked of him wisdom, God granted him the desire of his heart, and gave
him with wisdom, riches and honor." (The Government of God,
Elder James E. Talmage: "When the Jews marveled
at the wisdom of Christ, He told them of a very simple yet effective way
of obtaining, each for himself, knowledge of supreme worth. 'My doctrine
is not mine,' said He, 'but his that sent me. If any man will do his will,
he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak
of myself' (John 7:16, 17)." (The Vitality of Mormonism, p76)
WHAT ADDITIONAL BLESSINGS DID THE LORD GRANT SOLOMON?
"And I have also given thee that which thou hast
not asked, both riches, and honour" (v13).
HOW MIGHT THESE BLESSINGS BE USED TO SERVE OTHERS?
President Heber J. Grant: "I rejoice in
seeing the Latter-day Saints increase in wealth; I rejoice when they build
fine homes and to know they are able to keep carriages to ride in, and
to enjoy the comforts of life. But I cannot rejoice in seeing the people
grow in knowledge, intelligence and wealth unless there is a corresponding
growth in good works and love for their fellow man; unless the desire is
manifested in their works to carry on and advance the work of God. The
more wealth and the more intelligence we can gain, the greater will be
our ability to labor for the advancement of God's Kingdom."
(Collected Discourses, Vol 1, Sep 1, 1889)
The Construction Of The Temple
Solomon wrote to Hiram, king of Tyre, "I purpose
to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto
David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy
room, he shall build an house unto my name." (1 Kings 5:5)
"Solomon had depended on the skill of Hiram's
Phoenician architects and laborers, as well as precious Lebanon cedar,
to construct the most impressive buildings in Jerusalem--the temple and
the royal buildings for government." (Old Testament Student
Elder James E. Talmage: "Soon after Solomon's
accession to the throne he set about the labor, which, as heritage and
honor, had come to him with his crown. He laid the foundation in the fourth
year of his reign, and the building was completed within seven years and
a half. With the great wealth accumulated by his kingly father and specifically
reserved for the building of the Temple, Solomon was able to put the known
world under tribute, and to enlist the co-operation of nations in his great
undertaking. The temple workmen numbered scores of thousands, and every
department was in charge of master craftsmen. To serve on the great structure
in any capacity was an honor; and labor acquired dignity never before recognized.
Masonry became a profession, and the graded orders therein established
have endured until this day. The erection of the Temple of Solomon was
an epoch-making event, not alone in the history of Israel, but in that
of the world." (The House of the Lord, pp5-6)
1 KINGS 6:7. No tools of iron to be heard.
1 KINGS 6:11-13. The Lord's promise to
Solomon regarding the temple.
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE SOLOMON REQUIRED THIS WHILE THE TEMPLE WAS UNDER CONSTRUCTION?
President Howard W. Hunter noted that "the temple
where Jesus taught and worshipped in Jerusalem was built in such a way
as to establish respect for and devotion to the Father. Its very architecture
taught a silent but constant lesson of reverence.... It was intended to
be a place of solace for men's woes and troubles, the very gate of heaven."
(Ensign, Nov 1977, pp52-53)
Thus, if the temple was built to honor God, then there should be reverence during
its construction, as well as after its completion.
Solomon built his own house or palace (see
1 Kings 7). It was thirteen years under construction and larger than the temple.
MIGHT THIS PROMISE GIVEN TO SOLOMON APPLY TO US TODAY?
"And inasmuch as my people
build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean
thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon
it; Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all
the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God. But if it be defiled
I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not
come into unholy temples." (D&C 97:15-17)
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE SOLOMON BUILT THIS LARGER PALACE FOR HIMSELF?
We might suppose that he got caught up in his wealth and power and wanted
to impress his own people, as well as the other nations.
Solomon Dedicates The Temple - 1 Kings 8
After seven years of construction, Solomon dedicated the temple.
Solomon's dedicatory prayer (see
1 Kings 8:22-53).
The Ark of the Covenant was brought up out of Bethlehem and placed in the
1 KINGS 8:10-11. The glory of the Lord filled
The completion of a temple is a sacred event evidenced by this occasion. History
also records the tremendous spiritual events that occurred at the time
of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. The temple is the doorway
to the greatest rewards of eternity. When that door is opened, it
is a time for celebration on both sides of the veil.
At the end of Solomon's dedicatory prayer he counseled Israel, "Let
your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes,
and to keep his commandments, as at this day" (1 Kings 8:61).
1 KINGS 8:28-30. Solomon
makes a request for
the Lord to hear the prayers of Israel.
We often attend the temple, not only to serve and do ordinances for the dead,
but to seek answers to our difficulties and prayers. What better
place to seek those answers as we endeavor to serve in the Lord's holy
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN BLESSED BY TEMPLE ATTENDANCE?
President Ezra Taft Benson: "In the peace
of these lovely temples, sometimes we find solutions to the serious problems
of life. Under the influence of the Spirit, sometimes pure knowledge flows
to us there. Temples are places of personal revelation. When I have been
weighed down by a problem or a difficulty, I have gone to the House of
the Lord with a prayer in my heart for answers. These answers have come
in clear and unmistakable ways." (Ensign, Aug 1985, p8)
Solomon asks forgiveness for the sins of Israel (see
1 Kings 8:33-39).
Solomon asks for rain (see
1 Kings 8:35-36).
Solomon asks for help during famine and sickness (1 Kings 8:37).
Solomon prays for help when Israel goes up to battle (1 Kings 8:44-45).
1 KINGS 8:41-43. Solomon prays for the temple
to help unbelievers.
WHAT IS SOLOMON ASKING?
HOW MIGHT A TEMPLE HELP OR INFLUENCE UNBELIEVERS? EXAMPLES?
Temples often evoke questions from non-members, thus giving us an opportunity
to expand on their purpose and teach the gospel.
The Salt Lake Temple has become a world landmark that often attracts attention.
The opening of new temples provides opportunities for teaching our neighbors
more about our beliefs.
After the dedication of the temple and several days of worship, Solomon
the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful
and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David
his servant, and for Israel his people." (1 Kings 8:66)
HOW CAN TEMPLE ATTENDANCE HELP US PERFECT OUR HEARTS?
WHAT CAN WE DO TO KEEP THE INFLUENCE OF THE TEMPLE STRONG IN OUR LIVES?
Talk about the temple and its blessings within our families.
Display pictures of temples in our homes.
HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU RETURN FROM THE TEMPLE?
I think many of us have gone to the temple after a day of turmoil or
having rushed through heavy traffic or any other number of worldly concerns. Two hours in the temple is like pouring water on a burning fire. We come away from the temple with an attitude of peace, a desire to live
better, and gratitude for our blessings.
Solomon Becomes Excessively Wealthy & Marries Non-Israelite
Solomon's riches and honor increased after the building of the temple.
1 KINGS 11:1-2. Solomon marries wives of other
Kings and rulers from foreign lands brought tribute to Solomon.
"And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear
his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. And they brought every man
his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and garments, and
armour, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year."
(1 Kings 10:24-25)
HOW DID SOLOMON USE THESE NEW RICHES?
He used it to build his own kingdom rather than the kingdom of God (see
1 Kings 10:16-23, 26-29).
Consider this: "Moreover the king made a
great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. The throne had
six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays
on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the
stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon
the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom."
(1 Kings 10:18-20).
HOW SHOULD SOLOMON HAVE USED HIS WISDOM, RICHES, AND HONOR?
See Jacob 2:18-19.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "What sort of individuals
will receive eternal life? Among others, the few rich who sought the kingdom
first and wanted riches only in order to do good (see Jacob 2:18-19); those
few who learned not to cease hearkening to the counsels of God (see 2 Nephi
9:29); those few whose hearts were not set upon the praise and things of
this world; those few who did not abuse power and authority; the few who
learned to obtain and handle the very powers of heaven through significant
personal righteousness (see D&C 121:35, 36, 39)." (A Wonderful
Flood of Light, p58)
1 KINGS 11:11. Solomon to lose his kingdom for
not keeping his covenants.
WHAT DID THESE NON-ISRAELITE WIVES INFLUENCE SOLOMON TO DO?
They persuaded him to worship their false Gods (see
1 Kings 11:3-8).
"And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and
three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart"
"And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD,
and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father"
JST: "And Solomon did evil in the sight of the
Lord, as David his father, and went not fully after the Lord."
HOW DO YOU THINK THE BLESSINGS OF WISDOM, RICHES AND HONOR CONTRIBUTED
TO SOLOMON'S DOWNFALL?
"And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces:
for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom
out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee"
(1 Kings 11:31).
HOW CAN WE ENSURE THAT OUR STRENGTHS DO NOT BECOME A DOWNFALL FOR US?
As the Lord said, "It is easier for a camel to
go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom
of God" (Matthew 19:24).
There is nothing inherently evil about wisdom, riches, and honor, but they
seem to lead many away from righteousness. Jacob taught, "O
that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and
the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise,
and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing
they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it
profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if
they hearken unto the counsels of God. But wo unto the rich, who are rich
as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the
poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures;
wherefore, their treasure is their God. And behold, their treasure shall
perish with them also" (2 Nephi 9:28-30).
Over the past few weeks we have discussed three great kings in Israel. Men who were righteous and blessed of the Lord. How is it that these
three men could give in to the natural man? It should be a solemn
warning to be ever vigilant in our fight against temptation. Satan
will attack us in the weakest part of our armor. He did with Saul,
David, and Solomon. Consider the difference these three men might
have made in the future history of Israel if they had remained absolutely
devoted to the Lord and kept their covenants.
Dallin H. Oaks: "How...do we prevent our
strengths from becoming our downfall? The quality we must cultivate is
humility. Humility is the great protector. Humility is the antidote against
pride. Humility is the catalyst for all learning, especially spiritual
things. Through the prophet Moroni, the Lord gave us this great insight
into the role of humility: 'I give unto men weakness that they may be humble;
and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me;
for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will
I make weak things become strong unto them' (Either 12:27).
"We might also say that
if men and women humble themselves before God, he will help them prevent
their strengths from becoming weaknesses that the adversary can exploit
to destroy them....
"If we are humble and teachable,
harkening to the commandments of God, the counsel of his leaders, and the
promptings of his Spirit, we can be guided in how to use our spiritual
gifts, our accomplishments, and all of our other strengths for righteousness.
And we can be guided in how to avoid Satan's efforts to use our strengths
to cause our downfall.
"In all of this, we should
remember and rely on the Lord's direction and promise: 'Be thou humble;
and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer
to thy prayers' (D&C 112:10)." (Ensign, Oct. 1994, p19)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- As we view the life of Solomon, we see that the Lord blesses those who
seek to serve and honor him. Solomon was blessed with riches and
wisdom. He built the temple and dedicated it to the Lord. However,
as we often see with those who are blessed with temporal blessings, they
are often tempted and give into the "natural man." Solomon, a righteous
man, blessed with wisdom, honor, and riches gave into the natural man. Eventually this led to marrying outside of the covenant and the worship
of false gods and idols. It is a warning to us to constantly be vigilant. As Elder Oaks stated, we must seek to cultivate humility in our life. Another preventative measure is to live worthy to attend the temple and
frequently visit that holy house and serve the Lord.
- Record your thoughts on Solomon. How was he blessed? Why did he turn away
from the Lord? What lessons can you incorporate in your life from the story of
Resources Used In This Lesson
A Wonderful Flood of Light by Neal A. Maxwell.
BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964.
Old Testament Student Manual - Religion 302.
Teachings of Lorenzo Snow.
The Government of God by John Taylor.
The House of the Lord by James E. Talmage.
The Vitality of Mormonism by James E. Talmage.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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