4 The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. 5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, "Ask what I should give you." 6 And Solomon said, "You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. 7 And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. 8 And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?" 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14 If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life." 15 Then Solomon awoke; it had been a dream. He came to Jerusalem where he stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. He offered up burnt offerings and offerings of well-being, and provided a feast for all his servants. 16 Later, two women who were prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 The one woman said, "Please, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth while she was in the house. 18 Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. We were together; there was no one else with us in the house, only the two of us were in the house. 19 Then this woman's son died in the night, because she lay on him. 20 She got up in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your servant slept. She laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast. 21 When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, I saw that he was dead; but when I looked at him closely in the morning, clearly it was not the son I had borne." 22 But the other woman said, "No, the living son is mine, and the dead son is yours." The first said, "No, the dead son is yours, and the living son is mine." So they argued before the king. 23 Then the king said, "The one says, "This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead'; while the other says, "Not so! Your son is dead, and my son is the living one.' " 24 So the king said, "Bring me a sword," and they brought a sword before the king. 25 The king said, "Divide the living boy in two; then give half to the one, and half to the other." 26 But the woman whose son was alive said to the king—because compassion for her son burned within her—"Please, my lord, give her the living boy; certainly do not kill him!" The other said, "It shall be neither mine nor yours; divide it." 27 Then the king responded: "Give the first woman the living boy; do not kill him. She is his mother." 28 All Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered; and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him, to execute justice.
Solomon had a dream.
Solomon had a dream that he would have an understanding mind.
Solomon had a dream that he would have the ability to discern between good and evil.
Solomon had a dream that his dreams were pleasing to God and therefore God blessed Solomon with riches and honor.
Solomon had a dream that God would lengthen his life if he followed God's ways and follow God's statues and commandments.
Solomon had a dream.
What's your dream?
Of course when I first read the text this time, I laughed at the line that says, "Solomon awoke, it had been a dream." As if the text is teasing us... it was only a dream.
The dream is tested with this scene of the two mothers and two babies, one dead and one living.
Mothers have dreams too. These dreams can be seen when their children are giggling on the playground. These dreams can be seen when their children are learning to read or write or make friends or face adversity or learn to love. Mothers have dreams too.
And Solomon's wisdom sought to find the mother who wishes the child to remain whole, safe, living. This first test foreshadows the largest issue of Solomon's reign - the dividing of the kingdom of Israel. How does Solomon's wisdom fair with this task? Which mother, or ruler, or nurturer, or leader wishes the child to remain whole, safe and living.
Solomon has been dream that he would have an understanding mind and be able to discern between good and evil. Mothers have dreams. Kingdoms have dreams. Churches have dreams. And long ago Israel had a dream. His name was Jacob at the time. He dreamed that there was a portal between heaven and earth. He dreamed angels moved back and forth between the realms of God's world.
It's been a long time since Israel had that dream. Israel has moved to Egypt and then been delivered from Egypt. Israel has wandered in the desert. Israel has fought for the promised land. Israel has built homes and gardens and schools and places of worship in this promised land. Israel has formed a monarchy. Israel has come a long way since the dream of the portal between heaven and earth.
Solomon has inherited this dream of Israel, along with promises made to Noah and Abram. Solomon had inherited the wandering and the fighting for the promised land. Solomon has inherited the monarchy. The young Solomon lives far away from Israel's dream the angels moving back and forth between the realms of God's world. And yet his dream is similar in its meaning - Dear God, give me an understanding mind to govern. Help me to discern between good and evil. Dear God, create in me a portal between heaven and earth that I might understand, that I might discern between good and evil.
Solomon had a dream. Mothers have dreams. Israel had a dream. Kingdoms have dreams. Churches have dreams.
What's your dream?
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