Editorial: The Harlots and the Queen

They came from polar ends of the spectrum. One was a queen from Sheba. Her C.V. was rather impressive and you would like to really impress her in return. But the others were two harlots, scarcely worth any real concern or involvement. And they came with a story about infants – one dead and the other living. At different times, they both stood before Solomon.

But rewind a few years to the beginning of the saga. “You are wise” David said (see 1 Ki 2:6) to his son, Solomon. Yes, he was wise enough to know that when God offered him a blank check for whatever was his desire, Solomon opted for wisdom (1 Ki 3:9; 2 Chron 1:10). A wise man knows that he needs more wisdom. Imagine the thrill of Solomon knowing the Lord had answered his prayer. No doubt he would sit upon his royal throne with awe and excitement. No doubt he expected that soon he would be presented with the really tough cases, the issues that had stumped everyone else!

But into his court, instead, came two women, harlots, with a dispute over an infant. What a waste of talent, or so we would have thought. Yet in using his God-given gift in a God-honoring manner, “all Israel feared the king” (1 Ki 3:28). Wisdom not only adjudicated and brought joy to a mother’s heart, but it also established the kingdom in Solomon’s hand. He used his gift to the best of his ability in whatever God brought into his life.

It was reserved, however, for near the end of his life for his wisdom to dazzle a queen and render her speechless (2 Chron 9). Perhaps, just perhaps, if he had not bothered to have an interest in the harlots, the queen would never have come. If he had never used his God-entrusted gift in what many would consider an insignificant sphere, it may never have been used in the bigger. What an opportunity to witness to the greatness of God he would have missed.

But notice as well that in the account given by the chronicler to 2 Kings, the wisdom he was given is used in making judgments for God among the people of God. In 1 Chronicles, the gift of wisdom is linked immediately with building a house for God. Wisdom for discerning and aiding the people of God, and wisdom for building for God: both are critically needed – even in the 21st century.

Wisdom is the chief thing (Prov 4:7) or principal commodity which we all so desperately need. Whether we are seeking to be a help to God’s people, facing as overseers the perplexing issues of a modern day, or seeking to build for God, wisdom is crucial. And while there are few of us who have Gibeon experiences, wisdom can be purchased by waiting and watching at wisdom’s gate (Prov 8:32-35).