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In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee, and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on the throne, as it is this day. And now, O LORD
my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but as a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart, to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy sogreat a people? And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.
And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment: Behold I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream :
and he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up a thousand burnt-offerings, and offered peace-offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Notwithstanding David had taken such extraordinary pains to establish the public worship of God at JERUSALEM, it still remained irregular in some instances; particularly in respect to sacrificing on HIGH PLACES, which custom was practised by Abraham and the rest of the patriarchs through necessity, as the wandering lives they led would not admit of a settled place. Therefore every high hill and every grove, where these faithful servants assembled their families, in order to perform their devotions to ALMIGHTY God, was sanctified by his acceptance of their offerings, and became, in the general sense of the word, the House of God to them. As soon as the Ark was deposited in the Tabernacle, and holy ordinances were appointed of the Lord, it became unlawful for the Israelites to offer burnt-sacrifices at any other place but the BRAZEZALTAR; and that the people might have an opportunity of resorting to it on proper occasions, the Tabernacle, with the Ark, and all the appurtenances of holy worship, were carried about and set up, wherever the children of Israel rested during their journeyings towards the land of Canaan, till at length it was fixed at SHILOH.
We have read, how greatly this sinful people corrupted the worship of God, by mixing with idolatroys nations ; and we know, that when the goodness of God recalled them to a sense of their duty by chastisements, they soon drew his anger upon them again by fresh provocations, so that the DIVINE PRESENCE did not constantly abide H 6
with them; for the ARK was neglected, and few thought or desired to have recourse to it; but instead of that, many who professed to adore the true God, worshipped him according to the customs and rites which other nations practised toward idols.
The Israelites had preserved the Tabernacle, with the identical Brazen Altar, &c. made according to the directions of Moses, by Bezaleel, and fixed it at Gibeon, where the sons of Eli had brought it into disrepute, by their abominable profanations; and made the people suppose, that their sacrifices might be more efficacious, if offered on altars erected where there forefather had sacrificed. Numbers however still resorted to the Holy Altar; but the service was incomplete, as the Ark was separated from it; and even the prophet Samuel, in compliance with the custom of the times, offered sacrifices on High PLACES,
It has been related, with what solemnity David conducted the Ark to Jerusalem; and there is no doubt but that it was his intention to remove the Tabernacle also, had he been permitted to execute his purpose of building a Temple; but as he was commanded to consign that work to his son, David contented himself with giving direc. tions concerning every particular to Solomon, who continued to follow the usual mode of worship, till such time as the House of the Lord should be built. We find however that he went to Gibeon, in order to add all possible solemnity to his GREAT sacrifice. It is supposed, from the number of oxen, &c. which Solomon is said to have offered at Gibeon, that he extended the festival; and instead of keeping it seven days, as the law required, continued sacrificing every day, till he had offered the number of victims related. It is very probable, that during this solemnity Solomon
made the following excellent reflections, which are preserved in the Apocryphal Book, called the Book of WISDOM*.
Wisdom reacheth from one end to another mightily: and sweetly doth she order all things.
In that she is conversant with God, she magnifieth her nobility: yea, the LORD of all things Himself loved her.
For she is privy to the mysteries of the knowledge of God, and a lover of His works.
If riches be a possession to be desired in this life: what is richer than wisdom that worketh all things?
And if prudence work, who of all that are, is a more cunning workman than she?
And if a man love righteousness, her labours are virtues for she teacheth temperance and prudence, justice and for. titude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in their life.
If a man desire much experience, she knoweth things of old, and conjectureth aright what is to come : she knoweth the subtilties of speeches, and can expound dark sentences: she foreseeth signs and wonders, and the events of seasons and times.
Therefore I purpose to take her to live with me, knowing that she will be a counsellor of good things, and a comfort in cares and grief.
For her sake I shall have estimation among the multi tude, and honour with the elders, though I be young,
I shall be found of a quick conceit in judgment, and shall be admired in the sight of great men.
When I hold my tongue they shall bide my leisure; and when I speak they shall give good ear unto me : if I talk much, they shall lay their hands upon their mouth.
* Wisdom of Solomon, viii. ix.
Moreover, by the means of her, I shall obtain immortality, and leave behind me an everlasting memorial to them that come after me.
I shall set the people in order, and the nations shall be subject unto me.
Horrible tyrants shall be afraid-ruhen they do but hear of me; I shall be found good among the multitude, and valiant in war.
After I am come into mine house, I will repose myself with her : for her conversation hath no bitterness : and to live with her, hath no sorrow, but mirth and joy.
Now when I considered these things in myself, and pondered them in mine heart, how that to be allied unto wisdom, is immortality.
And great pleasure it is to have her friendship; and in the twrks of her hands are infinite riches, and in the exercise of conference with her, prudence ; and in talking with her, a good report : I went about seeking how to take her to me.
Nevertheless, when I perceived that I could not otherwise obtain her, except
her me, (and that was a point of wisdom also to know whose gift she was ) I prayed unto the Lord, and besought him, and with my whole heart I said:
O God of my fathers, and LORD of mercy, who hast made all things with thy word,
And ordained man through thy wisdom, that he should have dominion over the creatures which thou hast made,
And order the world according to equity and righteousness, and execute judgment with an upright heart.
Give me wisdom that sitteth by Thy throne, and reject me not from among Thy children :
For I Thy servant and son of Thine handmaid, am a feeble person, and of a short time, and too young for the understanding of judgment and laws. Forthough a man be never so perfect among the children