How can we consider all of Solomon’s proverbs as wise when we know he turned away from the Lord?

“And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods. But he did not keep what the Lord commanded. Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, "Since this has been your practice and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem that I have chosen.”

Clarify Share Report Asked May 15 2018 Data Sherrill Schlimpert

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I would say that the six primary means of evaluating the wisdom of Solomon's proverbs are Solomon's desire, God's promise, Solomon's actions, Solomon's circumstances, Scripture's candor, and Scripture's consistency.

First of all, at the beginning of his reign, Solomon expressed to God his desire to be wise (1 Kings 3:5-14). Wisdom was not something that God thrust upon him unwillingly, but that He gave him as a reward for what was (at the time) the genuine desire of his heart.

Second, God Himself promised Solomon that He would give him a wiser mind than any who had come before him, or who would come after him. If we believe (as we do) that God always keeps His word, and that all Scripture is inspired, then the book of Proverbs reflects the visible fulfillment of that promise, which has been preserved as a witness of Solomon's wisdom for thousands of years. 

Solomon then displayed the same wisdom contained in the words of the book of Proverbs by his actual deeds (of which 1 Kings 3:16-28 provides just one example) over a period of many years in which he retained God's favor. (That is, his words in Proverbs were not hypocritical, but were reflected throughout most of his reign by his actions.) In fact, the wisdom apparent in his actions was so great that rulers of other lands came to Jerusalem just to be in his presence and hear his words (1 Kings 10:1-13).

Next, when Solomon began to move away from God, it was not from any basic change in his thinking, or a conscious decision to reject God, but under the influence of his many foreign wives and concubines (1 Kings 11:1-8), and it also occurred in his later years. His actions at that time were indeed wrong, but did not necessarily reflect negatively on the wisdom of his prior words or deeds.

In addition, the same Scriptural writings that testify to Solomon's wisdom also give an unvarnished account of the failings of Solomon in his later years. This gives added assurance that the Bible provides an objective, truthful account of the whole of Solomon's reign -- both his wisdom and his folly.

Finally, the observations in the book of Proverbs are not in contradiction with the rest of Scripture, but are consistent with its teachings and principles. In fact, we have the witness of Jesus Himself (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31)) as to the wisdom of Solomon's words.

May 16 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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