Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

Wisdom is the most powerful force in the world-a force greater than riches, power, or long life. Solomon realized that without wisdom his youthfulness and lack of experience would quickly disqualify him from leading a nation of millions of people. He therefore asked God, "Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great nation of yours?" (1 Kings 3:9).

God was pleased with Solomon's request and granted him not only wisdom but also riches, honor, and long life. Because of his great wisdom, the kings and queens of the entire earth came before Solomon's throne. His God-given wisdom enabled him to efficiently administrate the kingdom by using twelve district governors. Furthermore, he knew the solution to difficult problems of justice in civil disputes (v. 28).

Solomon's wisdom extended into the natural world, too. "He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs. He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, reptiles, and fish" (1 Kings 4:32-33).

Peter and the apostles realized that if people were "well respected" and "full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom" (Acts 6:3), they could be placed in positions of responsibility. Today, in faith, ask God for wisdom to enter your heart. Then watch as He promotes you to new responsibility and privilege in the eyes of both God and humanity!

1 Kings 3:3-4:34

Solomon showed his loveDt 6:5; Ps 31:23; 145:20 for the Lord by walkingS Dt 10:12; S Jos 1:7 according to the instructionsS Dt 17:19; S 1Ki 14:8 given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.S ver 2; Lev 17:3-5; 2Ki 12:3; 15:4, 35; 16:4; 21:3

The king went to GibeonS Jos 9:3 to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.At Gibeon the Lord appeared1Ki 9:2; 11:9 to Solomon during the night in a dream,S Mt 27:19 and God said, “AskS Mt 7:7 for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithfulS Ge 17:1 to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son1Ki 1:48 to sit on his throne this very day.

“Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little childNu 27:17; 1Ch 22:5; 29:1; Jer 1:6 and do not know how to carry out my duties.Your servant is here among the people you have chosen,S Dt 7:6 a great people, too numerous to count or number.S Ge 12:2; 15:5; S 1Ch 27:23So give your servant a discerningS 2Sa 14:17; Jas 1:5 heart to govern your people and to distinguishS Dt 1:16 between right and wrong. For who is able2Co 2:16 to govern this great people of yours?”

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.11 So God said to him, “Since you have askedJas 4:3 for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment1Ch 22:12 in administering justice,12 I will do what you have asked.1Jn 5:14-15 I will give you a wiseS 2Sa 14:20; 1Ki 4:29, 30, 31; 5:12; 10:23; Ecc 1:16 and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.13 Moreover, I will give you what you have notMt 6:33; Eph 3:20 asked for—both wealth and honorPr 3:1-2, 16; 8:18—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal1Ki 10:23; 2Ch 9:22; Ne 13:26 among kings.14 And if you walk1Ki 9:4; Ps 25:13; 101:2; 128:1; Pr 3:1-2, 16 in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”Ps 61:615 Then Solomon awokeS Ge 28:16—and he realized it had been a dream.ver 5

He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord’s covenant and sacrificed burnt offeringsLev 6:8-13 and fellowship offerings.Lev 7:11-21 Then he gave a feastEst 1:3, 9; 2:18; 5:8; 6:14; 9:17; Da 5:1 for all his court.

A Wise Ruling

16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me.18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.

19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him.20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast.21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”

22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”

But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.

23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”

24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king.25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply movedPs 102:13; Isa 49:15; 63:15; Jer 3:12; 31:20; Hos 11:8 out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdomS 2Sa 14:20; Col 2:3 from God to administer justice.

Solomon’s Officials and Governors

So King Solomon ruled over all Israel.And these were his chief officials:1Ki 12:6; Job 12:12

Azariah1Ch 6:10; 2Ch 26:17 son of Zadok—the priest;

Elihoreph and Ahijah, sons of Shisha—secretaries;S 2Sa 8:17

JehoshaphatS 2Sa 8:16 son of Ahilud—recorder;

BenaiahS 2Sa 8:18 son of Jehoiada—commander in chief;

ZadokS 2Sa 8:17 and Abiathar—priests;

Azariah son of Nathan—in charge of the district governors;

Zabud son of Nathan—a priest and adviser to the king;

Ahishar—palace administrator;S Ge 41:40

AdoniramS 2Sa 20:24 son of Abda—in charge of forced labor.S Ge 49:15

Solomon had twelve district governorsver 27 over all Israel, who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year.These are their names:

Ben-Hur—in the hill countryS Jos 24:33 of Ephraim;

Ben-Deker—in Makaz, Shaalbim,Jdg 1:35 Beth ShemeshS Jos 15:10 and Elon Bethhanan;

10 Ben-Hesed—in Arubboth (SokohS Jos 15:35 and all the land of HepherS Jos 12:17 were his);

11 Ben-Abinadab—in Naphoth DorS Jos 11:2 (he was married to Taphath daughter of Solomon);

12 Baana son of Ahilud—in Taanach and Megiddo, and in all of Beth ShanS Jos 17:11 next to ZarethanS Jos 3:16 below Jezreel, from Beth Shan to Abel MeholahS Jdg 7:22 across to Jokmeam;1Ch 6:68

13 Ben-Geber—in Ramoth Gilead (the settlements of JairS Nu 32:41 son of Manasseh in GileadNu 32:40 were his, as well as the region of Argob in Bashan and its sixty large walled citiesDt 3:4 with bronze gate bars);

14 Ahinadab son of Iddo—in Mahanaim;Jos 13:26

15 Ahimaaz2Sa 15:27—in Naphtali (he had married Basemath daughter of Solomon);

16 Baana son of HushaiS 2Sa 15:32—in Asher and in Aloth;

17 Jehoshaphat son of Paruah—in Issachar;

18 Shimei1Ki 1:8 son of Ela—in Benjamin;

19 Geber son of Uri—in Gilead (the country of SihonS Jos 12:2 king of the Amorites and the country of OgDt 3:8-10; S Jos 12:4 king of Bashan). He was the only governor over the district.

Solomon’s Daily Provisions

20 The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sandS Ge 12:2; S 32:12 on the seashore; they ate, they drank and they were happy.1Ch 22:921 And Solomon ruled2Ch 9:26; Ezr 4:20; Ps 72:11; La 1:1 over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates RiverS Ge 2:14; Ps 72:8 to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt.S Ex 23:31 These countries brought tributeS Jdg 3:15; Eze 16:13 and were Solomon’s subjects all his life.

22 Solomon’s daily provisions1Ki 10:5 were thirty corsThat is, probably about 5 1/2 tons or about 5 metric tons of the finest flour and sixty corsThat is, probably about 11 tons or about 10 metric tons of meal,23 ten head of stall-fed cattle, twenty of pasture-fed cattle and a hundred sheep and goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roebucks and choice fowl.Ne 5:1824 For he ruled over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River, from Tiphsah2Ki 15:16 to Gaza, and had peaceS Jos 14:15 on all sides.25 During Solomon’s lifetime Judah and Israel, from Dan to Beersheba,S Jdg 20:1 lived in safety,1Ch 22:9; Jer 23:6; Eze 28:26; 39:26 everyone under their own vine and under their own fig tree.Dt 8:8; 2Ki 18:31; Ps 105:33; Isa 36:16; Jer 5:17; Joel 2:22; Mic 4:4; Zec 3:10

26 Solomon had fourSome Septuagint manuscripts (see also 2 Chron. 9:25); Hebrew forty thousand stalls for chariot horses,S Dt 17:16 and twelve thousand horses.Or charioteers

27 The district governors,ver 7 each in his month, supplied provisions for King Solomon and all who came to the king’s table. They saw to it that nothing was lacking.28 They also brought to the proper place their quotas of barley and straw for the chariot horses and the other horses.

Solomon’s Wisdom

29 God gave Solomon wisdomS 1Ki 3:12 and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sandS Ge 32:12 on the seashore.30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East,S Ge 25:6; S Jdg 6:3; Da 1:20; Mt 2:1 and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.Isa 19:11; Ac 7:2231 He was wiserS 1Ki 3:12 than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations.32 He spoke three thousand proverbsPr 1:1; 10:1; 25:1; Ecc 12:9 and his songsPs 78:63; SS 1:1; Eze 33:32 numbered a thousand and five.33 He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssopS Lev 14:49 that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish.34 From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings2Ch 9:23 of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.In Hebrew texts 4:21-34 is numbered 5:1-14.

Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the decrees of his father, David, except that Solomon, too, offered sacrifices and burned incense at the local places of worship.The most important of these places of worship was at Gibeon, so the king went there and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings.That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!”

Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne.

“Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around.And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted!Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom.11 So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies—12 I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have!13 And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life!14 And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.”

15 Then Solomon woke up and realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, where he sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. Then he invited all his officials to a great banquet.

Solomon Judges Wisely

16 Some time later two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled.17 “Please, my lord,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was with me in the house.18 Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house.

19 “But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it.20 Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her.21 And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all.”

22 Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.”

“No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so they argued back and forth before the king.

23 Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other.24 All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king.

25 Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!”

26 Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child—please do not kill him!”

But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!”

27 Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!”

28 When all Israel heard the king’s decision, the people were in awe of the king, for they saw the wisdom God had given him for rendering justice.

Solomon’s Officials and Governors

King Solomon now ruled over all Israel,and these were his high officials:

Azariah son of Zadok was the priest.

Elihoreph and Ahijah, the sons of Shisha, were court secretaries.

Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was the royal historian.

Benaiah son of Jehoiada was commander of the army.

Zadok and Abiathar were priests.

Azariah son of Nathan was in charge of the district governors.

Zabud son of Nathan, a priest, was a trusted adviser to the king.

Ahishar was manager of the palace property.

Adoniram son of Abda was in charge of forced labor.

Solomon also had twelve district governors who were over all Israel. They were responsible for providing food for the king’s household. Each of them arranged provisions for one month of the year.These are the names of the twelve governors:

Ben-hur, in the hill country of Ephraim.

Ben-deker, in Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh, and Elon-bethhanan.

10 Ben-hesed, in Arubboth, including Socoh and all the land of Hepher.

11 Ben-abinadab, in all of Naphoth-dor.Hebrew Naphath-dor, a variant spelling of Naphoth-dor. (He was married to Taphath, one of Solomon’s daughters.)

12 Baana son of Ahilud, in Taanach and Megiddo, all of Beth-shanHebrew Beth-shean, a variant spelling of Beth-shan; also in 4:12b. near Zarethan below Jezreel, and all the territory from Beth-shan to Abel-meholah and over to Jokmeam.

13 Ben-geber, in Ramoth-gilead, including the Towns of Jair (named for Jair of the tribe of ManassehHebrew Jair son of Manasseh; compare 1 Chr 2:22.) in Gilead, and in the Argob region of Bashan, including sixty large fortified towns with bronze bars on their gates.

14 Ahinadab son of Iddo, in Mahanaim.

15 Ahimaaz, in Naphtali. (He was married to Basemath, another of Solomon’s daughters.)

16 Baana son of Hushai, in Asher and in Aloth.

17 Jehoshaphat son of Paruah, in Issachar.

18 Shimei son of Ela, in Benjamin.

19 Geber son of Uri, in the land of Gilead,Greek version reads of Gad; compare 4:13. including the territories of King Sihon of the Amorites and King Og of Bashan.

There was also one governor over the land of Judah.As in some Greek manuscripts; Hebrew lacks of Judah. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.

Solomon’s Prosperity and Wisdom

20 The people of Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They were very contented, with plenty to eat and drink.21 Verses 4:21-34 are numbered 5:1-14 in Hebrew text.Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates RiverHebrew the river; also in 4:24. in the north to the land of the Philistines and the border of Egypt in the south. The conquered peoples of those lands sent tribute money to Solomon and continued to serve him throughout his lifetime.

22 The daily food requirements for Solomon’s palace were 150 bushels of choice flour and 300 bushels of mealHebrew 30 cors [6.6 kiloliters] of choice flour and 60 cors [13.2 kiloliters] of meal.;23 also 10 oxen from the fattening pens, 20 pasture-fed cattle, 100 sheep or goats, as well as deer, gazelles, roe deer, and choice poultry.Or and fattened geese.

24 Solomon’s dominion extended over all the kingdoms west of the Euphrates River, from Tiphsah to Gaza. And there was peace on all his borders.25 During the lifetime of Solomon, all of Judah and Israel lived in peace and safety. And from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, each family had its own home and garden.Hebrew each family lived under its own grapevine and under its own fig tree.

26 Solomon had 4,000As in some Greek manuscripts (see also 2 Chr 9:25); Hebrew reads 40,000. stalls for his chariot horses, and he had 12,000 horses.Or 12,000 charioteers.

27 The district governors faithfully provided food for King Solomon and his court; each made sure nothing was lacking during the month assigned to him.28 They also brought the necessary barley and straw for the royal horses in the stables.

29 God gave Solomon very great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge as vast as the sands of the seashore.30 In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt.31 He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite and the sons of Mahol—Heman, Calcol, and Darda. His fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations.32 He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs.33 He could speak with authority about all kinds of plants, from the great cedar of Lebanon to the tiny hyssop that grows from cracks in a wall. He could also speak about animals, birds, small creatures, and fish.34 And kings from every nation sent their ambassadors to listen to the wisdom of Solomon.

And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.

And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.

In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.

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 to sit on his throne, as it is this day.

And now, 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.

And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

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 thy so great a people?

10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

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;

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.

13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.

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.

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.

16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.

17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.

18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.

19 And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.

20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.

21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.

22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.

23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.

24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.

25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.

26 Then spake 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 said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.

27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

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.

So king Solomon was king over all Israel.

And these were the princes which he had; Azariah the son of Zadok the priest,

Elihoreph and Ahiah, the sons of Shisha, scribes; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud, the recorder.

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the host: and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests:

And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king's friend:

And Ahishar was over the household: and Adoniram the son of Abda was over the tribute.

And Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, which provided victuals for the king and his household: each man his month in a year made provision.

And these are their names: The son of Hur, in mount Ephraim:

The son of Dekar, in Makaz, and in Shaalbim, and Bethshemesh, and Elonbethhanan:

10 The son of Hesed, in Aruboth; to him pertained Sochoh, and all the land of Hepher:

11 The son of Abinadab, in all the region of Dor; which had Taphath the daughter of Solomon to wife:

12 Baana the son of Ahilud; to him pertained Taanach and Megiddo, and all Bethshean, which is by Zartanah beneath Jezreel, from Bethshean to Abelmeholah, even unto the place that is beyond Jokneam:

13 The son of Geber, in Ramothgilead; to him pertained the towns of Jair the son of Manasseh, which are in Gilead; to him also pertained the region of Argob, which is in Bashan, threescore great cities with walls and brasen bars:

14 Ahinadab the son of Iddo had Mahanaim:

15 Ahimaaz was in Naphtali; he also took Basmath the daughter of Solomon to wife:

16 Baanah the son of Hushai was in Asher and in Aloth:

17 Jehoshaphat the son of Paruah, in Issachar:

18 Shimei the son of Elah, in Benjamin:

19 Geber the son of Uri was in the country of Gilead, in the country of Sihon king of the Amorites, and of Og king of Bashan; and he was the only officer which was in the land.

20 Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry.

21 And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.

22 And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,

23 Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.

24 For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him.

25 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

26 And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.

27 And those officers provided victual for king Solomon, and for all that came unto king Solomon's table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing.

28 Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge.

29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.

30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.

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.

32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.

33 And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes.

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.

Acts 6:1-15

The Choosing of the Seven

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing,S Ac 2:41 the Hellenistic JewsThat is, Jews who had adopted the Greek language and cultureAc 9:29 among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widowsAc 9:39, 41; 1Ti 5:3 were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.Ac 4:35So the Twelve gathered all the disciplesS Ac 11:26 together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of GodS Heb 4:12 in order to wait on tables.Brothers and sisters,S Ac 1:16 choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the SpiritS Lk 1:15 and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to themEx 18:21; Ne 13:13and will give our attention to prayerS Ac 1:14 and the ministry of the word.”

This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen,ver 8; Ac 7:55-60; 11:19; 22:20 a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit;S Lk 1:15 also Philip,Ac 8:5-40; 21:8 Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.They presented these men to the apostles, who prayedS Ac 1:24 and laid their hands on them.Nu 8:10; 27:18; Ac 9:17; 19:6; 28:8; 1Ti 4:14; S Mk 5:23

So the word of God spread.Ac 12:24; 19:20 The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly,S Ac 2:41 and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

Stephen Seized

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signsS Jn 4:48 among the people.Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of CyreneS Mt 27:32 and Alexandria as well as the provinces of CiliciaAc 15:23, 41; 22:3; 23:34 and AsiaS Ac 2:9—who began to argue with Stephen.10 But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.Lk 21:15

11 Then they secretly1Ki 21:10 persuaded some men to say, “We have heard Stephen speak blasphemous words against Moses and against God.”Mt 26:59-61

12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.S Mt 5:2213 They produced false witnesses,Ex 23:1; Ps 27:12 who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy placeMt 24:15; Ac 7:48; 21:28 and against the law.14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this placeS Jn 2:19 and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”Ac 15:1; 21:21; 26:3; 28:17

15 All who were sitting in the SanhedrinS Mt 5:22 looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Seven Men Chosen to Serve

But as the believersGreek disciples; also in 6:2, 7. rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.

So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program.And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”

Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith).These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.

So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

Stephen Is Arrested

Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people.But one day some men from the Synagogue of Freed Slaves, as it was called, started to debate with him. They were Jews from Cyrene, Alexandria, Cilicia, and the province of Asia.10 None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke.

11 So they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen, saying, “We heard him blaspheme Moses, and even God.”12 This roused the people, the elders, and the teachers of religious law. So they arrested Stephen and brought him before the high council.Greek Sanhedrin; also in 6:15.

13 The lying witnesses said, “This man is always speaking against the holy Temple and against the law of Moses.14 We have heard him say that this Jesus of NazarethOr Jesus the Nazarene. will destroy the Temple and change the customs Moses handed down to us.”

15 At this point everyone in the high council stared at Stephen, because his face became as bright as an angel’s.

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.

12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,

13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:

14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

Psalm 126:1-6

Psalm 126

A song of ascents.

When the Lord restoredEzr 1:1-3; Ps 85:1; Hos 6:11 the fortunes ofOr Lord brought back the captives to Zion,

we were like those who dreamed.Or those restored to health

Our mouths were filled with laughter,S Ge 21:6

our tongues with songs of joy.S Job 8:21; S Ps 65:8

Then it was said among the nations,

“The Lord has done great thingsS Dt 10:21; Ps 71:19; Lk 1:49 for them.”

The Lord has done great thingsPs 106:21; Joel 2:21, 26 for us,

and we are filled with joy.S Ps 9:2; 16:11

Restore our fortunes,Or Bring back our captivesS Dt 30:3 Lord,

like streams in the Negev.S Ps 107:35; Isa 43:19; 51:3

Those who sow with tearsPs 6:6; 80:5; Jer 50:4

will reapGal 6:9 with songs of joy.Ps 16:11; 20:5; 23:6; Isa 35:10; 51:11; 60:15; 61:7; Jer 31:6-7, 12

Those who go out weeping,S Nu 25:6; S Ps 30:5

carrying seed to sow,

will return with songs of joy,

carrying sheaves with them.

Psalm 126

A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,Hebrew Zion.

it was like a dream!

We were filled with laughter,

and we sang for joy.

And the other nations said,

“What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”

Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!

What joy!

Restore our fortunes, Lord,

as streams renew the desert.

Those who plant in tears

will harvest with shouts of joy.

They weep as they go to plant their seed,

but they sing as they return with the harvest.

126 When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.

Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.

The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Proverbs 16:26-27

26 The appetite of laborers works for them;

their hunger drives them on.

27 A scoundrelS Ps 140:2 plots evil,

and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.Jas 3:6

26 It is good for workers to have an appetite;

an empty stomach drives them on.

27 Scoundrels create trouble;

their words are a destructive blaze.

26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.

27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

Jun 7 Jun 9
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