In 2 Kings 3, God gave Solomon the opportunity to ask for whatever he wanted. While most men might request things like wealth, women or power, Solomon asked for none of these. His desire as the new king of Israel was to lead the people with an understanding heart and to judge wisely, discerning between good and evil. (vs. 9)
God answered his prayer and gave Solomon wisdom beyond what any other man had been given. During his life, he spoke over 3000 proverbs, and wrote more than 1,000 songs. He knew and spoke of many varieties of plants and trees, and all kinds of animals. (I Kings 4:29-34) But God also gave him what he had not asked for: riches and honor beyond anyone else in the world.
Solomon had tremendous wealth in gold and silver, dominion over all of the surrounding regions and vast numbers of horses, chariots, horsemen, livestock and servants. But out of everything that Solomon received, no one thing is remembered more than his wisdom. And out of all of his wisdom and knowledge, the most profitable were the Proverbs.
Solomon was a powerful and wealthy man, but he was not without compassion for the people, nor was he so far removed from reality that he was ignorant of the issues of daily life among commoners. He understood things like betrayal, unjust business dealings, pesky wives, laziness, and those who would do anything for money. These things and more are problems that he sought to correct by changing the way people think. His contributions to the people of Israel were time-tested solutions that can still be followed today, by Christians and non-Christians alike. They are longstanding principles that are all how God intends man to live, work, and interact with others. The following are some examples of these principles:
- Honesty Proverbs 12:19- "The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment."
- Diligence Proverbs 10:26- "As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the lazy man to those who send him."
- Integrity Proverbs 11:1- "Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight."
- Virtue Proverbs 11:22- "As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion."
Proverbs 19:5- "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies will not escape."
Proverbs 13:4- "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich."
Proverbs 13:11- "Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase."
Proverbs 14:1- "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands."