Discerning Between Good and Evil – I

I Kings 3:7-9

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

The caption in the picture above is from James 1:5, and it says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God….That’s just what Solomon did as God appeared to him in a dream (recorded in I Kings 3:7 through 9):

     “Now, O LORD my God, You have made your servant king 
     instead of my father David, but I am a little child; 
     I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your ser-
     vant is in the midst of Your people whom You have 
     chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered 
     or counted.  Therefore give Your servant an under-
     standing heart to judge Your people, that I may dis-
     cern between good and evil. For who is able to judge 
     this great people of Yours?”

God’s answer includes these words, from I Kings 3:12 through 14:

     “...behold, I have done according to your words; see, 
     I have given you a wise and understanding heart....And 
     I have also given you what you have not asked: both 
     riches and honor....So if you walk in My ways, to keep 
     My statutes and My commandments, as your father David 
     walked, then I will lengthen your days.


  • Solomon’s days were not lengthened! Although, according to I Kings 11:42, he reigned for forty years, he died at the young age of about 52 to 56 years old!
  • He did not walk in God’s ways! He did not keep the LORD’s statutes! He did not obey His commandments!

We will get back to that. But I find it interesting that God’s challenge to “…walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments…” are followed by “…as your father David walked…! But David messed up big time!

  • In II Samuel 11:1 through 5, David committed adultery with…Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite…” (verse 3), impregnating her!
Bathsheba was bathing on the flat rooftop of her 
          house, just a couple of doors away from David’s 
          palace.  She could have refused David’s call for 
          a dalliance, but she didn’t!  So Bathsheba is al-
          so to blame for this sinful tryst!

     ✡   It says she was “...the daughter of Eliam....” 
          (II Samuel 11:3) Who was Eliam?  In II Samuel 23:
          34 we discover that “...Eliam [was] the son of 
          Ahithophel the Gilonite....”  Besides being the 
          grandfather of Bathsheba, what else do we know 
          about Ahithophel?  

              ➔   According to II Samuel 15:12, “...Ahith-
                   ophel the Gilonite...[was] David’s coun-
                   selor...He was a trusted counselor 
                   to the king!

              ➔   But Ahithophel turned agianst King David 
                   and joined Absolom’s rebellion (see II 
                   Samuel 15:31) when David’s son tried to 
                   take the kingdom by force, even if it 
                   meant murdering his father!  
Ahithophel’s plan focused on killing 
                   King David! (see II Samuel 17:1-3).

              ➔   But Ahithophel’s counsel was opposed 
                   by Hushai the Archite, who was sent 
                   secretly by David to negate what 
                   Ahithophel had proposed for Absolom to 
                   do (see II Samuel 17:5-14).

              ➔   Apparently, Ahithophel never forgot what 
                   David did to his grand-daughter Bathshe-
                   ba!  And his heart burned for revenge!  
                   But when Absolom took Hushie’s advice 
                   over that of Ahithophel, the traitor 
                   knew that his influence was lost! 

     ✡    It says in II Samuel 17:23:

             Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was 
             not followed, he saddled his donkey, and arose 
             and went home to his house, to his city. Then 
             he put his household in order, and hanged him-
             self, and died....   

So how could God command Solomon in I Kings 3:14,…walk in My ways…[and] keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked…?

  • It is because, although David was a great sinner, he was also a great repenter! (Read Psalm 51 and 32). And he had great faith in his God!
  • This is why, as Paul preached in the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, he said in Acts 13:21 and 22, “…God…raised up…David as king, to whom He also gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David…a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’
  • David’s sins were covered and cleansed by the LORD Himself! (see Isaiah 1:18).

When God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, Heboughtthem to be His own people! The LORD’s perfect will for His redeemed nation was that He Himself would be their King and Ruler!

  • But He also knew the Isaelites’ rebellious heart. He knew they would ask for a king! And so God warmed them in Deuteronomy17:14 through 17, giving them several restrictions concerning that future ruler Israel would insist on having:
     “When you come to 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 him-
     self, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to 
     multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You 
     shall not return that way again.’ Neither shall he 
     multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn a-
     way; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold 
     for himself.” 

Now remember that Solomon asked the LORD specifically to “…give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil.

How did King Solomon do compared to his own request and God’s previous warning?

There are four prescriptions the LORD laid out in Deuteronomy 17:17. In our next Gem, we will rate Solomon in each of these catagories.