Solomon made a peace treaty with Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, by marrying his daughter. Solomon brought her to the City of David. This was when Solomon was still building his palace, the Temple of the Lord, and the wall around Jerusalem.
The Temple had not yet been finished, so people were still making animal sacrifices on altars at the high places.
Solomon showed that he loved the Lord by obeying everything his father David told him to do, except that Solomon continued to go to the high places to offer sacrifices and to burn incense.
King Solomon went to Gibeon to offer a sacrifice because that was the most important high place. He offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar.
While Solomon was at Gibeon, the Lord came to him at night in a dream. God said, "Solomon, ask me what you want me to give you."
Solomon answered, "You were very kind and loyal to my father David. He was your servant and followed you. He was good and lived right. And you showed the greatest kindness to him when you allowed his son to rule on his throne after him.
Lord my God, you have made me the king in my father's place, but I am like a small child. I don't have the wisdom I need to do what I must do.
I am your servant here among your chosen people. There are so many that they cannot be counted.
So I ask you to give me the wisdom to rule and judge them well and to help me know the difference between right and wrong. Without such great wisdom, it would be impossible to rule this great nation."
The Lord was happy that Solomon asked for wisdom.
So God said to him, "You did not ask for long life and riches for yourself. You did not ask for the death of your enemies. You asked for the wisdom to listen and make the right decisions.
So I will give you what you asked for. I will make you wise and intelligent. I will make you wiser than anyone who ever lived or ever will live.
And I will also give you what you did not ask for. You will have riches and honor all your life. There will be no other king in the world as great as you.
And I will give you a long life if you follow me and obey my laws and commands as your father David did."
Solomon woke up and knew that God had spoken to him in the dream. Then Solomon went to Jerusalem and stood before the Box of the Lord's Agreement. He offered a burnt offering and fellowship offerings to the Lord and then gave a party for all of his officials.
One day two prostitutes came to Solomon and stood before the king.
One of the women said, "Sir, this woman and I live in the same house. We were both pregnant and ready to give birth to our babies. I had my baby while she was there with me.
Three days later she also gave birth to her baby. There was no one else in the house with us, just the two of us.
One night while this woman was asleep with her baby, the baby died.
That night while I was asleep, she took my son from my bed and carried him to her bed. Then she put the dead baby in my bed.
In the morning I woke up and was about to feed the baby when I saw he was dead. When I looked at him more closely, I saw that he was not my baby."
But the other woman said, "No! The dead baby is yours, and the one still alive is mine!" But the first woman said, "No, you are wrong! The dead baby is yours! The one that is still alive is mine." So the two women argued in front of the king.
Then King Solomon said, "Each of you says that the living baby is your own and that the dead baby belongs to the other woman."
Then King Solomon sent his servant to get a sword.
He told the servant, "Cut the living baby in two and give one half of the baby to each woman."
The second woman said, "Yes, cut him in two. Then neither of us will have him." But the first woman, the real mother, loved her son and said to the king, "Please, sir, don't kill the baby! Give him to her."
Then King Solomon said, "Stop, don't kill the baby. Give him to this woman. She is the real mother."
The people of Israel respected the king when they heard about this decision. They saw he had the wisdom of God to make the right decisions.
Solomon, the son of David, became a very strong king, because the Lord his God was with him and made him very great.
The people of Israel and the captains, generals, judges, leaders, and heads of the families were all gathered together. Solomon spoke to them, and then they all went to the high place at Gibeon. They went there because God's Meeting Tent was there. The Lord's servant Moses made this tent when he and the Israelites were in the desert.
David had carried God's Box of the Agreement from Kiriath Jearim to Jerusalem where he had set up another tent for it.
But the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri had made was in front of the Holy Tent at Gibeon. So Solomon and the people went there to ask the Lord for advice.
Solomon went up to the bronze altar and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.
That night God came to Solomon and said, "Ask me for whatever you want me to give you."
Solomon said to God, "You were very kind to my father David when you allowed me to rule on his throne after him.
Now, Lord God, continue to keep your promise to my father David. You made me king over so many people that they are like the dust of the earth.
Now give me wisdom and knowledge so that I can lead these people in the right way. No one could rule this great nation without your help."
God said to Solomon, "You have the right attitude. You did not ask for long life and riches for yourself. You did not ask for the death of your enemies. You asked for the wisdom and knowledge so that you can make the right decisions.
So I will give you wisdom and knowledge, but I will also give you wealth, riches, and honor. No king who lived before you has ever had so much wealth and honor, and no king in the future will have as much wealth and honor."
Solomon left the Meeting Tent that was at the high place in Gibeon and went back to Jerusalem to rule as the king of Israel.
Solomon started gathering horses and chariots for his army. He had 1400 chariots and 12,000 horse soldiers. He kept them in the chariot cities and in Jerusalem where he lived.
In Jerusalem Solomon gathered so much gold and silver that it was as common as rocks. He gathered so much cedar wood that it was as common as sycamore trees in the western hill country.
Solomon imported horses from Egypt and Kue. His merchants bought the horses in Kue for a set price.
They also bought chariots from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver each and horses for 150 shekels of silver each. They then sold the horses and chariots to the kings of the Hittites and Arameans.
One of Asaph's maskils. My people, listen to my teachings. Listen to what I say.
I will tell you a story. I will tell you about things from the past that are hard to understand.
We have heard the story, and we know it well. Our fathers told it to us.
And we will not forget it. Our people will be telling this story to the last generation. We will all praise the Lord and tell about the amazing things he did.
The Lord made an agreement with Jacob. He gave the law to Israel. He gave the commands to our ancestors. He told them to teach the law to their children.
Then the next generation, even the children not yet born, would learn the law. And they would be able to teach it to their own children.
So they would all trust in God, never forgetting what he had done and always obeying his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors, who were stubborn and refused to obey. Their hearts were not devoted to God, and they were not faithful to him.
The men from Ephraim had their weapons, but they ran from the battle.
They did not keep their agreement with God. They refused to obey his teachings.
They forgot the great things he had done and the amazing things he had shown them.
While their ancestors watched, he showed his great power at Zoan in Egypt.
He split the Red Sea and led the people across. The water stood like a solid wall on both sides of them.
Each day God led them with the tall cloud, and each night he led them with the light from the column of fire.
He split the rocks in the desert and gave them an ocean of fresh water.
He brought a stream of water out of the rock and made it flow like a river!
But they continued sinning against him. They rebelled against God Most High in the desert.
Then they decided to test God by telling him to give them the food they wanted.
They complained about him and said, "Can God give us food in the desert?
Yes, he struck the rock and a flood of water came out. But can he give us bread and meat?"
The Lord heard what they said and became angry with Jacob's people. He was angry with Israel,
because they did not trust in him. They did not believe that God could save them.
But then God opened the clouds above, and manna rained down on them for food. It was as if doors in the sky opened, and grain poured down from a storehouse in the sky.
These people ate the food of angels. God sent plenty of food to satisfy them.
He sent a strong wind from the east, and by his power he made the south wind blow.
He made quail fall like rain until they covered the ground. There were so many birds that they were like sand on the seashore.
The birds fell in the middle of the camp, all around their tents.
The people ate until they were full. God had given them what they wanted.
But before they were fully satisfied, while the food was still in their mouths,
God became angry and killed even the strongest of them. He brought down Israel's best young men.
But the people continued to sin! They did not trust in the amazing things God could do.
So he ended their worthless lives; he brought their years to a close with disaster.
When he killed some of them, the others would turn back to him. They would come running back to God.
They would remember that God was their Rock. They would remember that God Most High had saved them.
But they tried to fool him with their words; they told him lies.
Their hearts were not really with him. They were not faithful to the agreement he gave them.
But God was merciful. He forgave their sins and did not destroy them. Many times he held back his anger. He never let it get out of control.
He remembered that they were only people, like a wind that blows and then is gone.
Oh, they caused him so much trouble in the desert! They made him so sad.
Again and again they tested his patience. They really hurt the Holy One of Israel.
They forgot about his power. They forgot the many times he saved them from the enemy.
They forgot the miracles he did in Egypt, the miracles in the fields of Zoan.
God turned the rivers into blood, and the Egyptians could not drink the water.
He sent swarms of flies that bit them. He sent the frogs that ruined their lives.
He gave their crops to grasshoppers and their other plants to locusts.
He destroyed their vines with hail and their trees with sleet.
He killed their animals with hail and their cattle with lightning.
He showed the Egyptians his anger. He sent his destroying angels against them.
He found a way to show his anger. He did not spare their lives. He let them die with a deadly disease.
He killed all the firstborn sons in Egypt. He killed every firstborn in Ham's family.
Then he led Israel like a shepherd. He led his people like sheep into the desert.
He guided them safely. They had nothing to fear. He drowned their enemies in the sea.
He led his people to his holy land, to the mountain he took with his own power.
He forced the other nations out before them and gave each family its share of the land. He gave each tribe of Israel a place to live.
But they tested God Most High and made him very sad. They didn't obey his commands.
They turned against him and were unfaithful just like their ancestors. They changed directions like a boomerang.
They built high places and made God angry. They built statues of false gods and made him jealous.
God heard what they were doing and became very angry. So he rejected Israel completely!
He abandoned his place at Shiloh, the Holy Tent where he lived among the people.
He let foreigners capture the Box of the Agreement, the symbol of his power and glory.
He showed his anger against his people and let them be killed in war.
Their young men were burned to death, and there were no wedding songs for their young women.
Their priests were killed, but the widows had no time to mourn for them.
Finally, our Lord got up like a man waking from his sleep, like a soldier after drinking too much wine.
He forced his enemies to turn back defeated. He brought them shame that will last forever.
Then the Lord rejected Joseph's family. He did not accept Ephraim's family.
No, he chose the tribe of Judah, and he chose Mount Zion, the place he loves.
He built his holy Temple high on that mountain. Like the earth, God built his Temple to last forever.
He chose David to be his special servant. He took him from the sheep pens.
He took him away from the job of caring for sheep and gave him the job of caring for the descendants of Jacob�Israel, his chosen people.
And David led them with a pure heart and guided them very wisely.
Brothers and sisters, we have something to say about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We want to talk to you about that time when we will meet together with him.
Don't let yourselves be easily upset or worried if you hear that the day of the Lord has already come. Someone might say that this idea came from us�in something the Spirit told us, or in something we said, or in a letter we wrote.
Don't be fooled by anything they might say. That day of the Lord will not come until the turning away from God happens. And that day will not come until the Man of Evil appears, the one who belongs to hell.
He will stand against and put himself above everything that people worship or think is worthy of worship. He will even go into God's Temple and sit there, claiming that he is God.
I told you before that all these things would happen. Remember?
And you know what is stopping that Man of Evil now. He is being stopped now so that he will appear at the right time.
The secret power of evil is already working in the world now. But there is one who is stopping that secret power of evil. And he will continue to stop it until he is taken out of the way.
Then that Man of Evil will appear. But the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath that comes from his mouth. The Lord will come in a way that everyone will see, and that will be the end of the Man of Evil.
When that Man of Evil comes, it will be the work of Satan. He will come with great power, and he will do all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders.
The Man of Evil will use every kind of evil to fool those who are lost. They are lost because they refused to love the truth and be saved.
So God will send them something powerful that leads them away from the truth and causes them to believe a lie.
They will all be condemned because they did not believe the truth and because they enjoyed doing evil.
Brothers and sisters, you are people the Lord loves. And we always thank God for you. That's what we should do, because God chose you to be some of the first people to be saved. You are saved by the Spirit making you holy and by your faith in the truth.
God chose you to have that salvation. He chose you by using the Good News that we told you. You were chosen so that you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, brothers and sisters, stand strong and continue to believe the teachings we gave you when we were there and by letter.
We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through his grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end.