Artifacts of the Word: Solomon’s Wisdom


Who was King Solomon? Why is he sometimes referred to as ‘Solomon the Wise’?

Solomon, son of King David, was not only King of Israel, but also he was a man of God; and it was God who gave Solomon his immense wisdom.

There are two main reasons why Solomon is remembered and why Israel prospered under his reign, and they are both tied together:

  • Solomon had a great love of God: His desire was to do right by God and his people.
  • Solomon had great wisdom: He was not born with this wisdom, but was granted it by God at his request.

(Artist’s Proof from John Sartain’s steel engraving of a painting by Christian Schussele: The Iron Worker and King Solomon. Circa 1871.)

Solomon requested of God an understanding heart and the ability to discern between good and evil for the sake of his people. Being pleased with Solomon’s unselfish request, God granted him not only wisdom, but also wealth, honor, and a long life (see 1 Kings 3:4-14). These gifts Solomon wouldn’t have been granted had he asked for God’s blessings out of selfish desire—Solomon’s love brought him many blessings…

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men… and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five. Also, he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish. And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth… came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.”—1 Kings 4:29-34

The Lord blessed Solomon with not only wisdom, wealth, and honor, but also with a peace-filled land. Gifts that not only allowed Solomon to complete the task laid down by God and his father—David—in building the Temple, but also to create a stronger and more beautiful kingdom.

(Image Credit: BAS Library. Areas in blue show the relative size of the walled city of Jerusalem during the reign of the respective kings. Area size, population, and dates are not definitive, and many sources believe the areas and population to be larger.)

Why was Solomon’s wisdom greater?

King Solomon was wise in many ways, but the reason his wisdom was so unique was because it was God based. Not only was Solomon’s wisdom given by God, but the desire for that wisdom was pure. Solomon desired the safety of his people, and the ability to rule with wisdom and honor—he realized that in his own earthly wisdom he’d be lost ruling Israel. He needed God.

Yet, while Solomon was wise in discerning good from evil—lies from truth—and knew more than anyone… his wisdom is perhaps best shown in what would not be man’s idea of wisdom. For Solomon was wise in the Lord, he loved not only God but His creation, and his wisdom reflected this love.

 Solomon’s Love for God’s Creation:

King Solomon, the man God entrusted to build His Temple, was a lover of God’s gifts of the vine, branch, and earth; building gardens in and around Jerusalem. Even Solomon’s songs, psalms, and proverbs often included plants and wildlife—his relationship and understanding of God were closely connected to God’s physical gifts of nature.

“The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell…”—Song of Solomon 2:13

Solomon understood the importance of God’s creation. He’d known it in acts such as the giving of firstfruit offerings, sin offerings, and burnt offerings to God. He’d seen it not only because of his father and the priests, but because he himself followed these commandments.

“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”—Proverbs 3:9-10

Even in building the Temple, Solomon didn’t forget God’s creation. He used creation in the very ornaments that adorned God’s House. He had pomegranates made of ivory, bronze, and gold for priestly articles; and for the Temple he had “made one hundred pomegranates, and put them on the wreaths of chainwork” (see 2 Chronicles 3:16) (see images below). Also, in the Temple, he placed two cherubim of olivewood standing side-by-side, while all forms of palm trees and plants adorned vessels, implements, and pillars.

(Photo Credit: Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Ivory pomegranate believed to be the top of a scepter used in The Temple built by King Solomon. The inscription, while legible, does have portions missing, it reads: lby[t yhw]h qdsû khnm which translated reads “Belonging to the Tem[ple of Yahwe]h, holy to the priests.”)

Yes, Solomon understood God’s gifts of the earth. He was wise in this and sought to bring forth God’s beauty in all he built—even in his gardens.

While no physical proof currently exists, many believe that it was King Solomon himself who was responsible for the creation of the King’s Valley garden mentioned in the Bible. Not only does Solomon speak of his love for gardens within his biblical writings, but there’s also mention of the garden existing during King Hezekiah’s lifetime (see 2 Kings 25:4, Jeremiah 39:4, and Nehemiah 3:15).

Additionally, Solomon was known for crafting pools to water gardens and groves—another example of the wisdom God gave him—and such an irrigation system would have been required for the King’s Valley garden to flourish.

Within this garden, as in many of Solomon’s gardens, would have resided the seven species—wheat, barley, grapes, pomegranates, figs, date palms, and olives—in addition to flowers such as lilies, hennas, and roses, many of which Solomon spoke of in his proverbs and songs. It was often through building projects such as these that Solomon sought to bring forth God’s gifts of the earth in abundance; using the wisdom God gave him to succeed, along with his love for God and His creation.

Bringing the beauty of God’s creation to Israel today…

A mere 100 years ago the land of Israel was desolate. Much of the beauty and establishment of King Solomon and others was lost to generations of invaders and occupiers who didn’t love or care enough for God’s beauty to maintain what was there. Yet, Israel is thriving. Images of Israel from even 70 years ago show a land struggling to maintain life, while images of the same areas today show a prosperous nation, filled with green. It’s an incredible transformation!

Still, there is much work to do. Israel is blossoming as the prophets foretold, but we have to help! At Curt Landry Ministries we are celebrating Israel’s 70th anniversary as a reestablished nation, and we are celebrating it in a way that would have made King Solomon proud. We are planting olive trees throughout the nation, making the land green and fruitful!

When YOU sponsor an olive tree in Israel not only are you making the land green again, but you are also giving jobs and beauty for generations to come! Additionally, when you sponsor an olive tree through our Israel’s 70th Project, you’ll receive the book, Israel Rising, which contains photos from before Israel’s reestablishment, AND photos from those same locations today—allowing you to see how Israel is blossoming once again.

Let us be a light to Israel in her 70th year and see the beauty that King Solomon so loved come to life!