King Solomon was wealthier and wiser than any of the kings of the earth. (2 Chronicles 9:22).
Solomon was the son of King David and succeeded him on the throne of Israel. Scripture tells us that King Solomon had more riches and greater knowledge than any other king on earth (2 Chronicles 9:22). Kings from all over the world came to Solomon to consult with him and to hear his wisdom firsthand (2 Chronicles 9:23). Those who visited Solomon brought him gifts of gold, silver, and many other things of value (2 Chronicles 9:24). To illustrate the wealth that Solomon possessed, 2 Chronicles 9:25 tells us that he had 12,000 horses and 4,000 stables in which to house those horses and his chariots. With all of his wisdom and his great wealth, Solomon became the most powerful king of his time.
Why did Solomon possess such great wisdom? Why did he become the wealthiest king on earth? How did Solomon become so powerful? The answers to these questions have nothing to do with Solomon himself and everything to do with his relationship with God. In the first chapter of 2 Chronicles, we read that after David died and Solomon took the throne, Solomon traveled to Gibeon, where the bronze altar made by Bezalel, son of Uri and grandson of Hur, sat in front of the Tabernacle of the Lord. Solomon went there to worship God by sacrificing 1,000 burnt offerings on the bronze altar. Solomon made his offering of worship and that night, God appeared to Solomon and asked him what he wanted. Pleased with Solomon’s worship, God told Solomon to ask and, whatever he wanted, God would give it to him (2 Chronicles 1:1-7).
But it was Solomon’s reply that pleased God even more than his worship. Solomon could have asked for anything, and God would have given it to him. He could have asked for gold, he could have asked for power, and these things would have been given to him by God. But, these are not the things that Solomon asked for. Solomon was young and inexperienced and now found himself reigning as the king of Israel, the earthly ruler of God’s people. So, Solomon’s request to God was, “Give me the wisdom and knowledge to lead them properly, for who could possibly govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10, NET). The Hebrew word translated as “wisdom” is ḥoḵmâh, which refers to discernment and judgment while the word for “knowledge” is maddā‘, which refers to practical know-how in everyday affairs. Solomon wanted to lead God’s people well, and he knew that only God could provide these things for him.
Because Solomon’s request revealed an unselfish character, God granted Solomon what he asked for. In His reply to Solomon, God said, “Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people—I will certainly give you the wisdom and knowledge you requested. But I will also give you wealth, riches, and fame such as no other king has had before you or will ever have in the future!” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12, NET). Solomon received his great wisdom and all his wealth because he sought the things of God first.
We can all learn from the example of Solomon. God knows all the things we need in life and we should ask Him for them. But Jesus taught that we must first seek God’s kingdom. When we seek the things of God first and seek to live righteously, God will supply all that we need (Matthew 6:33).