Then God said to him: “Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. 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.” 1 Kin 3:11-14
Solomon as the seed of David is a type of Messiah who is also the seed of David. Yesterday we saw how great David was among the kings of the ancient world; but not even David was as great as Solomon for wisdom, honor, greatness, wealth, and renown. Solomon was the greatest king, and his kingdom was the greatest kingdom, ever to be seen in the ancient world, as we learned today. He was greater than Rameses the Great of Egypt, and greater than Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and greater than the Darius kings of Persia. But don’t expect museums or the Discovery Channel to admit that anytime soon.
Even so, the kingdom of Messiah will be likewise – His honor and power and wealth and majesty and renown will be greater than any who have come before Him, even greater than Solomon, and His people will be too numerous to count, living on the blessing and the fatness of the land with prosperity under His reign. The nations will be subdued before Him, and all men everywhere will come to Him because of His greatness.
God gave Solomon wisdom, riches, and honor unlike any who were before him or who were coming after him, unconditionally. Solomon had these things by grace. God added a promise to him, that He would also give him long life, however this gift was conditional: if walked in all the LORD’s ways and kept His commandments, God would also give him long life.
Keeping God’s commandments is the same as walking in His ways. He revealed His way of righteousness to man by commandment. But this promise of long life is not only for Solomon, or only for kings: any man who likewise keeps the LORD’s commandments and walks in His ways has also been promised life this side of heaven:
“Therefore you shall be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.” Deu 5:32-33
Keeping the LORD’s commandments is important to Him – what other incentive could He offer to Solomon, or to every man, to keep His commandments, than the incentive of long life? But what can Solomon add to the LORD by keeping His commandments? It does not benefit God if we do so, but it benefits us if we do so, and that is why it is important to God – He loves us and He desires our benefit!
On a side note, at the beginning of Solomon’s glory, he had one queen – the daughter of Pharaoh. I believe it is this queen about which he wrote the Song of Solomon. She seems to have been black, but an Ethiopian dynasty reigned in Egypt for a time, and if biblical history is harmonized with Egyptian history, it was during Solomon’s era.