Proverbs 9:10-12 (Modern King James Version)
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
To understand the Second Phase of King Solomon’s life we should read the sections of Proverbs ascribed internally to Solomon:
- Chapters 1 through 9, with the heading, “The proverbs of Solomon, Son of David, King of Israel…” (Proverbs 1:1).
- Chapter 10 through 22:16, with the heading, “The proverbs of Solomon…” (Proverbs 10:1).
- Chapters 25 through 29, with the heading, “These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied…” (Proverbs 25:1).
It is estimated there are about 800 Solomonic proverbs in the Book of Proverbs. The problem with counting an exact number is that in several places, some scholars count one proverb while others might divide that one into two or three. According to I King 4:32 we are told, “[Solomon]…spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five.” So even at 800 extant, we only have about 27% of his proverbs!
But besides reading the book of Proverbs, we have to go back to what the LORD told Moses and the Israelites in Deuteronomy 17:14 through 17:
When you come into the land which the
LORD your God is giving you...and say,
“I will set a king over me like all the
nations that are around me,” you shall
surely set a king over you whom the
LORD your God chooses....But he shall
not multiply horses for himself, nor
cause the people to return to Egypt
to multiply horses, for the LORD has
said to you, “You shall not turn that
way again.” Neither shall he multiply
wives for himself, lest his heart turn
away; nor shall he greatly multiply
silver and gold for himself.
One more very important thing God said the king must do! It is in the next three verses of Deuteronomy 17:
...when he sits on the throne of his
kingdom...he shall write for himself a
copy of this law in a book...and he
shall read it all the days of his life,
that he may learn to fear the LORD his
God and be careful to observe all the
words of this law and these statutes
...that he may not turn aside from the
commandments...and that he may prolong
his days in his kingdom, he and his
children in the midst of Israel.
- The king himself was to write a copy of the law (most likely the whole Pentateuch – the first five books of our Bible).
- He was then to read it every day, heed it, and obey it!
- If the king obeyed, the LORD promised His blessing on the king’s reign over Israel, and for his children, his royal successors, his kingly line, to be blest as well!
Let’s consider our featured Scripture, Proverbs 9:10-12 (Modern King James Version). These verses must have been written by Solomon relatively early in his reign, because it echos what God told him to do:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning
of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy
One is understanding. For by Me your
days shall be multiplied, and the years
of your life shall be increased. If you
are wise, you shall be wise for your-
self, but if you scorn, you alone shall
The reason I quoted the Modern King James Version is because it only, of the thirteen versions on my computer Bible application, captializes “Me” in the second line. “Me” obviously refers to God, and so (in my opinion) should be capitalized!
Did Solomon, in this second phase of His reign, closely follow the LORD? Let’s look at the Biblical record:
- Deuteronomy 17:16 – “…he shall not multiply horses for himself….” Did Solomon multiply horses for himself ?
✡ I Kings 4:26 – “Solomon had forty
thousand stalls of horses for his
chariots, and twelve thousand
horsemen.” II Chronicles 9:25 has
the number at “...four thousand
stalls...,” but forty thousand is
thought to be the correct number;
the other, a scribal error.
✡ Why did God want the king to limit
the number of horses (and chariots)
in the kingdom?
➔ As it says in Psalm 20:7,
“Some trust in chariots,
and some in horses; but
we will remember the name
of the LORD our God.”
➔ Also in Psalm 56:11 – “In
God I have put my trust;
What can man do to me?”
✡ It is like America trusting in
guns, tanks, airplanes, and bombs.
The LORD can quickly remove any
protection we might mistakenly
in God through Jesus Christ our
- Deuteronomy 17:16 – “…he shall not…cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not turn that way again.’ ” Why? What is wrong with Egypt?
✡ It is a place that represents the
world! In I John 2:15 through 17
we are told:
Do not love the world or the
things of the world. If any-
one loves the world, the love
of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world
— the lust of the flesh, the
lust of the eyes, and the
pride of life — is not of the
Father but is of the world.
And the world is passing away,
and the lust of it; but he who
does the will of God abides
✡ It is a place that represents
➔ When Abram and his nephew Lot
separated because of their
large flocks and herds (so
large that the land could not
support their combined hold-
ings), Abram, the eldest, gra-
ciously gave first choice to
Lot. In Genesis 13:10 we are
told, “And Lot...saw all the
plain of Jordan, that it was
well watered everywhere...
like the garden of the LORD,
like the land of Egypt as you
go toward Zoar.”
❏ This reminds me of an
old cigarette commer-
cial (when such adver-
tising was allowed on
TV): “You can take Sa-
lem out of the country,
But....you can’t take
the country out of
❏ “You can take nephew Lot
out of Egypt, But....you
can’t take Egypt out of
➔ What was wrong with Lot’s
choice? It led him into ter-
rible sin! (read Genesis
chapters 18 and 19). And that
place, “...like the garden of
the LORD, like the land of
Egypt...,” was the location
of Sodom and Gomorrah, now
utterly destroyed and under
the dead waters of the Dead
✡ It is a place that represents sla-
very of the people whom God came
➔ In Exodus chapters 1 through
14 we read how God redeemed
the Israelites from long years
of slavery by Moses’ leader-
ship and the LORD’s miracles!
➔ In John 8:34 and 36, Jesus
said, “Most assuredly, I say
to you, whoever commits sin
is the slave of sin....[But]
if the Son makes you free,
you shall be free indeed.”
✡ It is a place that represents
false religion! The Egyptians
were a very religious people. But
their religion was man-made and
➔ Their many gods were tied
to the sun, the moon, ani-
mals, reptiles, insects,
and other creaturely things
of this world.
➔ According to Paul in Romans
1:21 through 23, man apart
from the one true God had
made gods in the “...image
...like corruptible man —
and birds and four-footed
beasts and creeping things.”
So the best that unregenerate
man can come up with is God
like himself, or less than
himself, which makes him even
higher than God!
- Deuteronomy 17:17 – “Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away….” Did Solomon “…multiply wives for himself…”?
✡ According to I Kings 11:3 through
...he had seven hundred wives,
princesses, and three hundred
concubines; and his wives turn-
ed away his heart. For...when
Solomon was old...his wives
turned his heart after other
gods....For [he]...went after
Ashtoroth...of the Sidonians,
and...Milcom...of the Ammonites
....[And he] built a high place
for Chemosh the abomination of
Moab...and for Molech the abom-
ination of Ammon. And he did
likewise for all his foreign
wives, who burned incense and
sacrificed to their gods.
➔ And Solomon, in I Kings 4:31,
was said to be “...wiser than
all men....” And he still
tried to keep a thousand wo-
➔ I have had one lovely wife
for almost 55 years! I can’t
imagine trying to keep two
women happy, let alone 999
✡ Paul warns...
➔ ...believers in II Corin-
thians 6:14, “Do not be
unequally yoked together
➔ ...widows in I Corinthians
7:39, “A wife is bound by
law as long as her husband
lives; but if her husband
dies, she is at liberty to
be married to whom she
wishes, only in the Lord.”
✡ Why? Because a mate who is not a
Christian will have a strong in-
fluence on a husband or wife to
forsake the true faith of God!
- Deuteronomy 17:17 – “…nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.” Yet he certainly did!
✡ There was none richer than Sol-
omon! I Kings 10:21 gives us a
hint of his riches: “All King
Solomon’s drinking vessels were
of gold...pure gold; not one
was of silver, for [silver]...
was accounted as nothing in the
days of Solomon.”
✡ Riches, like multiplying horses
and chariots (tanks and planes)
for protection, are a poor sub-
stitute for the security of
trusting in the LORD God!
✡ In I Timothy 6:6 through 10, Paul
warns about the lure of material
Now godliness with contentment
is great gain. For we brought
nothing into this world, and
it is certain we can carry
nothing out. And having food
and clothing, with these things
we shall be content. But those
who desire to be rich fall into
temptation and a snare, and in-
to many foolish and harmful
lusts which drown men in des-
truction and perdition. For the
love of money is the root of all
kinds of evil, for which some
have strayed from the faith in
their greediness, and pierced
themselves through with many
Dear believer, be wise!
- Do not follow the foolish actions of the wisest man in the world!
- Follow Solomon’s wisdom when he wrote Proverbs 9:10 through 12:
The fear of the LORD is the begin-
ning of wisdom, and knowledge of
the Holy One is understanding. For
by Me your days shall be multi-
plied, and the years of your life
shall be increased. If you are
wise, you shall be wise for your-
self, but if you scorn, you alone
shall bear it.