ATA – Solomon’s wisdom

Was Solomon wise (1 Kings 3:12) or unwise (1 Kings 11:1-4)? Is there a contradiction?

In 1 Kings 3:5, the LORD spoke to Solomon in a dream, “Ask! What shall I give you?” There are a number of things he could have asked for (wealth, long life, victory over his enemies, etc.), but he asked for wisdom. And so God granted Solomon wisdom, more than any before or after him in the land.

In 1 Kings 11:1-4, we are told about Solomon’s love pursuits. Women, and women, and more women. In the end, he would be married to 1,000 women. Obviously this was not wise, and it was even foretold in the Law (Exodus 34:16) that if they Israelites intermarried with the nations around them, they’d be turned away from the Lord to their pagan gods.

Certainly, Solomon did not exercise wisdom by marrying so many women, and foreigners at that. He followed the dictates of his heart rather than his head. I have no doubt he knew it was wrong to marry these women, but he did it anyhow—he decided to serve his flesh rather than his God.

Can a wise man do things that are unwise? The gift of wisdom did not take away Solomon’s ability to exercise free will. He, wise Solomon, acted unwisely. Having wisdom yet doing what is contrary to wisdom is unwise, however, it does not negate whatever wisdom he had.

There is no contradiction.

A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.

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