Story Overview: After David’s death, his son, Solomon, became king. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and told him to ask for anything he wanted. Solomon did not ask for selfish things but instead, he asked for wisdom so he could be a good king for the people. God granted Solomon his request. He judged many cases such as the time two women claimed that they were the mother of a baby. When Solomon said he would cut the baby in two so each woman would have an equal share. To save the baby, the real mother said that the other woman could have the baby. By this Solomon knew who the real mother was. These types of judgment and the great Proverbs that Solomon wrote made him famous for his wisdom.
Suggested Emphasis: Learn to be wise.
Memory Verse: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10a
|Background Study||Way to Introduce the Story||The Story|
|Review Questions||Craft and Activity Ideas||Online Resources|
The books of Chronicles record many of the same events that are found in the books of Samuel and the Kings. All of these books cover the time of the United Kingdom (when all of Israel was united and operated as one kingdom) and the Divided Kingdom (when Israel was divided into two parts – Israel and Judah – and operated as two kingdoms). 1 Chronicles 1 is a parallel passage to part of today’s story.
David was King for forty years. His rule was, for the most part, wise and just. An excellent military leader, he conquered the city of Jerusalem and made it his capital. When he died, his son Solomon inherited a powerful empire. The ancient tabernacle had been moved to Gibeon, a few miles northwest of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 1:3). Early in his reign Solomon went there to offer a great sacrifice to the Lord.
Solomon’s dream was not like most of ours. Although he was asleep, God actually talked with him. He told Solomon to ask for anything he wanted.
Solomon began by showing that he was thankful for all God had done for David, Solomon’s father. God had kept him safe through many dangers, had made him king of Israel, had helped him defeat his enemies and build a great empire, and had given him a son, Solomon, to take his place as king.
As king, Solomon was to guide and direct a whole nation – more people than he could count. He knew he could not rule them well without help from God.
This was Solomon’s greatest wish. He wanted the knowledge and wisdom to rule his people well, to know what was right and what was wrong.
The Lord was pleased because Solomon was not selfish. He was thinking of the people. If Solomon had been thinking of himself, he might have asked to be allowed to live and rule a long time. He had inherited wealth from his father, but rich people often want more riches. And kings generally wish destruction upon their enemies. However, Solomon wanted what was good for his people. They needed a king wise enough to rule justly.
Solomon got what he asked for. He was wiser than anyone before or after. Thousands of years have passed, and still he is thought of as the wisest man who ever lived.
Solomon got even more than he asked. In riches as well as wisdom he “was greater … than all the other kings of the earth” (1 Kings 10:23). “The whole world” honoured him by coming to hear his wisdom and bringing costly gifts (1 Kings 10:24-25). Read more about his wealth in 1 Kings 10:14-29.
God also offered a long life – for which Solomon had not asked – but there was a condition with this promise. Solomon was to obey God’s laws as David had done. In later years, Solomon became careless (1 Kings 11:1-10). His life may have been shortened, and yet he lived to rule for forty years (11:42). In his time, the kingdom of Israel was richer and more powerful than it had been at any time before or has been since.
Although it is not covered in today’s story, it is unfortunate to note that Solomon’s wisdom did not keep him from sinning in later life. It seems that his 700 wives and 300 concubines led him astray in his old age (1 Kings 11:1-13).
Someone has said that wisdom is the ability to know how, when and where to put knowledge into action.
- What happened before this story?
- What happens after this story?
- List of all Bible stories and themes on this website.
Way to Introduce the Story:
“If the Lord came to you in a dream and told you that you could have anything that you want, what would you ask for?” (Let the children answer) “Today we are going to learn about a man that could have asked for anything he wanted. He was the king of a country. What do you think he asked for? Let’s listen to the story and find out who he was and what he asked for.”
David was very old. He had been king of Israel for forty years. He had been a good king who tried to serve God. Even when he made mistakes, David was always sorry and tried to do better. The Lord knew that David had a good heart.
David was about to die. He told his son Solomon to be the new king.
“Always follow the Lord, Solomon. Obey His commands,” David told his son. And then David died.
Solomon became the new king. He wanted to be a good king and he wanted to follow God. Solomon wanted to be a good king like his father. He worshiped God and prayed to him. One night Solomon had a special dream. It was like a dream but it was also different from a normal dream. This dream was real.
The Lord came to Solomon in the dream and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
What do you think Solomon asked for? He was already very rich because his father had left him with all of his riches. Do you think he asked to be famous? What do you think he asked for?
Solomon did not ask for any of those things. Solomon did not ask for anything for himself. Solomon asked for something that would make him be a good king.
“Oh, Lord, I want to be a good king. I want to serve the people and help them. Please give me a wise heart so that I can always tell the difference between right and wrong. Help me to be a wise king for the people,” prayed Solomon.
The Lord was very pleased with Solomon. “Solomon, I will give you even more than you asked for. I will give you a wise heart. You will be wiser than any man that has ever lived. You have not asked for riches and fame but I will give them to you anyway. If you follow me you will also have a very long life.”
Things happened just as the Lord said. Solomon became known everywhere as a very wise ruler. He was also very rich and famous. People came from everywhere to talk to Wise King Solomon. They would tell Solomon their problems and he would give them wise advice to help them.
Once, there were two women who were having a fight. They lived in the same house with each other. Each of the women had given birth to a baby. Each of the babies would sleep in the same bed with their own mother.
One of the mothers said, “One night this other woman rolled over on top of her baby and it died. She quietly snuck into my room and put her dead baby beside me in my bed. She took my baby and put it in bed with her. When I woke up I found the baby dead beside me. At first I thought my baby had died. Then I looked closely and I knew that it was not my baby. She has my baby and I want it back!”
“No!” argued the other woman, “It’s my baby!”
“No! It’s my baby.”
Everyone looked at Solomon. How could he ever know which woman the baby belonged to? But remember, God gave Solomon special wisdom.
Solomon ordered one of his servants to bring him a sword. “I order that the baby be cut in half with this sword.”
One of the women said, “Okay, that’s fair. The baby should be cut in half. That way neither of us will have more than the other.”
The other woman looked very sad. “No, do not cut the baby in half. I would rather the other woman have my baby. I do not want my baby to die.”
Then Solomon knew who the real mother was. He told his servant to give the baby to the woman who did not want the baby cut in half. He knew that a real mother would never want her baby cut in half.
Everyone saw that Solomon really was wise. Everyone knew that God had given him special wisdom.
- Which son of David’s became king after David died? Solomon
- Who came to Solomon in a dream? The Lord
- What did Solomon ask the Lord to give him? Wisdom so he could be a good king
- When two women were fighting over a baby, why did Solomon say the baby should be cut in half? So that he could find out who the real mother was
- Choose some favourite Proverbs and read them in class.
- Make a poster of a Proverb. Decorate it with paints.
- Read 1 Chronicles 28:9 and discuss David’s advice to his son, Solomon.
- Discuss James 1:5 and then pray.
- Draw a large crown and write “SOLOMON” on it. Write words on the crown that describe Solomon (wise, dream, son of David, son of Bathsheba, etc.). Add to this next week.
- Set up a courtroom scene and act out the story of the two women. You could use a crown and a doll as props.
- Craft: Make a scroll. Click here for instructions. Write this verse on it: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10a, NIV
A way to tell the story: Dress up in a simple costume to act the part of one of the Bible characters. As you begin to speak “get into character” as if you were actually the person in the story visiting the class today to tell them what has happened to you. Any age above pre-school will enjoy this method. (Use your judgement here. Generally, young pre-schoolers still think literally and could be confused by the teacher “becoming” a Bible character.)
- A fun way to ask review questions: Later in the class session, as a review, the teacher can also use the same method to ask the children review questions as if you are one of the characters in the story talking to the children.
- Colouring page and puzzle worksheets (Solomon made king) at http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/OLD/CURR088.PDF
- Colouring page and puzzle worksheets (Solomon asks God for wisdom) at http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/OLD/CURR089.PDF
- Colouring page and puzzle worksheets (Solomon’s wisdom judging between two mothers) at http://www.calvarycurriculum.com/pdf/childrenscurriculum/OLD/CURR090.PDF
- Craft: Curly paper crown at http://www.freekidscrafts.com/index.php?option=com_events&task=view_detail&agid=1452
- Craft: Instructions for a simple paper crown at http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/mcrown.htm
- Craft: Video instructions (1 minute and 44 seconds) to make a very basic crown out of paper at http://youtu.be/Pz1IwZ1qmlU
- Craft: Doorknob hanger from http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/solomon-doorknob-hanger.php
- Worksheets: There are a number of Old Testament worksheets on the following link. You will need to scroll down quite far to “Samuel/Kings/Chronicles Sunday School Worksheets” and then scroll down to the next one- “King Solomon”. The link is http://www.squidoo.com/bible-worksheets-OT#module110252211
- Online activities and games at http://gardenofpraise.com/bibl16s.htm