Solomon gave his heart to God when he was young, and tried to lead a good life, and to do no wrong. And God spoke to him in a dream one night and said, Ask what I shall give thee.
And Solomon said, Grant me, I pray thee a wise mind that I may know right from wrong, and judge well those who look up to me as their king.
This speech pleased the Lord, and he said, Since thou didst not ask me for great wealth, or for long life, or that thy foes might be put to death, I will make thee wise, and will give thee both great wealth and a long life if thou wilt serve me and keep my laws.
There came two women to the king. And one of them said, My lord, I and this woman live in one house, and we each of us had a son. And this woman’s child died in the night, and while I slept she came and took my child from me, and laid her own child by my side. And when I woke, and went to feed my child, it was dead. And I knew it was not my son.
It is your son.
It is not; the child that lives is mine.
The dead child is yours.
In this way they spoke, and the king heard them, and said, Bring me a sword!
And a sword was brought to him.
And the king said, Cut the live child in two, and give half to one and half to the other.
When the real mother of the child heard these words she cried out, O my lord, give her the child, but do not kill it.
But the other said, Cut it in half, and let it not be hers or mine.
Then the king told his men to give the child to the one who tried to save its life, for he knew that she was the mother. And it was to find this out that he sent the men for the sword, and not to take the child’s life.
When Solomon had been king for four years, he laid out the plan that David had made for the house of the Lord.
He had a talk with Hiram the king of Tyre, and told him that it was time to build the house. And the King of Tyre was glad, and did all he could to aid him. He sent Solomon great trees from the woods, and sent him men to help in the work; men who had skill with the ax, and with fine tools of all sorts.
The house was built of stone, and each stone was hewn from the rock, cut so as to fit in the wall ere it was brought to the place where it was to stand, so that no ax nor tools should be used in the house when it was put up.
The walls of the rooms were inlaid with gold, and gems, and the floor of the place where the ark was kept was of pure gold, and in front of the shrine were loops and chains of fine gold.
The doors of the house were made of the wood of the fir tree, and they were carved with great skill, and touched up with gold.
It took Solomon seven years to build the house of the Lord; and when it was done he made a feast, and the priests brought the ark of the Lord from Mount Zion where David kept it.
And all the tribes of Israel came to Jerusalem, that they might be there when the ark was brought.
And when the ark was put in its place, and the priests came out, there was such a cloud in the house that all stood still. For the Lord was in the cloud.
Then Solomon stood up, and with raised hands asked him to come down and dwell in the house, and to dwell in men’s hearts, that they might walk in the right way, and love God all their days.
Now the fame of Solomon came to the ears of a rich queen, who dwelt at Sheba, and she thought she would like to see if this man was as wise and rich as he was said to be. She had a long way to come, and a great train came with her, and these brought loads of rich spice, and gold and silver and gems of worth. And the queen had a talk with Solomon and he told her all she ought to know.
And she said to the king, What I had heard of thee in my own lands I did not think could be true. So I came to see for myself, and I find the half was not told to me. So she gave rich gifts to Solomon, and he gave rich gifts to her, and the queen went back to her own land.
Now it was thought no sin in those days for a man to have more than one wife. And some of Solomon’s wives had been brought up to serve false gods. And it was a sin for the king to wed with such. And as he grew old these wives made him serve their Gods, and turn from the true God whom he had been taught to love and fear.
And this did not please to Lord, and he said that Solomon’s son should not be king when Solomon died. For David’s sake he would let him be a prince of two tribes all the days of his life. But ten tribes he would take from him.
And foes rose up to plague Solomon, and for his sins he had to give up the peace and rest that had long been his. When he had been king for twoscore years Solomon died, and his fame has come down to this day, for no man has been born into the world so wise and great as King Solomon.