“He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame” (Pro. 10:5).
Covetousness Lesson 14: KING SOLOMON
King Solomon was the richest king who ever lived (1 Kings 3:10-13; 2 Chr. 1:11-12). He was beloved of God (2 Sam. 7:13-15). The name Solomon means peaceful, and he was the builder of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. He also was the first king of Israel to trade commercial goods profitably with other nations, and was the author of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.
According to the chronology in 1 Kings 11:42, Solomon was about 20 years old when he was crowned King over Israel. He assumed leadership of Israel from his father King David at a time of great material and spiritual prosperity. During his 40-year reign (970 B.C.—930 B.C.), he expanded his kingdom until it covered about 50,000 square miles-from Egypt in the south to Syria in the north to the borders of Mesopotamia in the east.
Among the first acts of King Solomon was offering sacrifice at Gibbeon. God appeared to the new king at night and asked him, “What shall I give thee?” Solomon asked for an understanding heart to judge the people of Israel and the ability to tell good from evil. God not only granted Solomon’s request, but He also promised him riches and honor if he would walk in the steps of his father, David (1 Kings 3:4-15).
Despite his good standing and his blessings, King Solomon disobeyed more than one command of God given to the children of Israel (Deut. 17:15-20).
Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel (Deut. 17:15-20).
If Solomon had studied the Law like David his father (Psa. 1:2), would he have brought horses from Egypt? He not only brought them for himself but also for the kings of the Hittites and of Syria, whose favor he coveted. The Law of Moses forbade this action, and the prophets also warned the people of the consequences of disobedience.
Deuteronomy 17:16—But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
1 Kings 10:28—And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price.
2 Chronicles 1:14-17—And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. 15 And the king made silver and gold at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the vale for abundance. 16 And Solomon had horses brought out of Egypt, and linen yarn: the king’s merchants received the linen yarn at a price. 17 And they fetched up, and brought forth out of Egypt a chariot for six hundred shekels of silver, and an horse for an hundred and fifty: and so brought they out horses for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, by their means.
2 Chronicles 9:27-28—And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the low plains in abundance. 28 And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands.
Isaiah 31:1—Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord!
Ezekiel 17:15—But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered?
Amos 4:10—I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.
Why did Solomon take to himself 700 wives and 300 concubines? At the dedication of the temple God assured Solomon that his prayers had been heard and that the temple had been blessed. At the same time He warned Solomon that the divine favor and protection, which had been bestowed upon Israel, would continue only if their faith remained uncorrupted. If Solomon or anyone introduced idolatry, Israel would be punished and the temple would be destroyed (1 Kings 9:1-9). Not only did Solomon disobey the command not to multiply wives, but he also disobeyed the command not to introduce idolatry into the land. How could he rationalize his behavior?
From a deeper study of Solomon’s life, we know that trade with other nations was another of his contributions to the nation of Israel, but it also contributed to his disobedience in marrying foreign women. Solomon entered into trade agreements with a number of nations, increasing Israel’s wealth and prestige. Although Solomon had a strong army, he relied upon a system of treaties with his neighbors to keep the peace.
Egypt was allied with Israel through the marriage of Solomon to the daughter of the Pharaoh. The sea-faring cities of Tyre and Sidon were also united to Israel by trade agreements. Some of Israel’s trade was conducted overland by way of camel caravans. But the most significant trade was by sea, across the Mediterranean Sea through an alliance with Tyre. Solomon’s ships apparently went as far west as Spain to bring back silver. Soon Solomon became the ruler of a huge commercial empire.
Obviously Solomon became a victim of his own trade agreements. By custom, beautiful women were awarded to the most powerful member of a treaty to seal the covenant.[i] The constant influx of wives and concubines in Solomon’s court led eventually to his downfall (1 Kings 11:1-4), and we read that Solomon clave to these in love. Thus, Solomon broke the Law of Moses and violated the specific warning not to stray from the path of his father David. The scriptures are clear that Solomon understood the danger.
We read in 2 Chronicles 8:11—And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of the Lord hath come. No doubt the large number of foreign women in Solomon’s court made many demands upon the king. Eventually he allowed these “outsiders” to practice their pagan religions. The result was that Jerusalem, and even its holy Temple, was the scene of pagan practices and idol worship (1 Kings 11:1-13). Solomon’s own faith was weakened. Later we read that he approved of, and even participated in, these idolatrous acts. The example he set for the rest of the nation must have been demoralizing.
1 Kings 11:1-5—But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 2 Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
Ecclesiastes 7:27-28—Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account: Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. Another law which Solomon disobeyed had to do with the amount of gold he brought back to Jerusalem. He brought 666 talents of gold each year
1 Kings 10:14—Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold.
2 Chronicles 9:13-14—Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold; Beside that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.
Later King Solomon himself acknowledged the uselessness of accumulating more and more
Eccl 5:10-12—He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
[i] (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
What is Gambling? (part 1)
(Outline notes taken from a sermon on the same topic)
I. Gambling Defined
- Legal – “Gaming or playing for money; or betting on the result of a game; the playing of a game of chance or skill for stakes.”
- Dictionary – “To play or game for money or other stake; to hazard; wager. Connected with gambling is the strong element of uncertainty, the large chance of losing.”
- Popular View – “Getting something for nothing without rendering service or exchange of goods and is essentially stealing and a form of robbery.”
- Psychiatrists – “A compulsion. Habitual gambling is a mark of a disturbed personality, an undesirable character trait.”
- Summary – Gambling involves three parts:
- Chance is a major element. Some skill may be needed.
- A prize or payoff in cash or merchandise.
- To be eligible for the prize something must be placed at risk.
COVETOUSNESS: First Review
We all know that discipline of unrighteous members should be carried out within the body of Christ. There are certain things that a man may do which not only make him repugnant to God but also would corrupt the body of Christ, the church.
Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person (1 Cor. 5:10-13).
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Eph. 5:3-5).
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
Examples from scripture show how covetousness affects the work and ultimately the destiny of specific men and women. We have studied these accounts to find out how we compare and how we can avoid being caught up in the same traps.
EXAMPLES WE HAVE STUDIED
- Eve, in desiring the forbidden fruit
- Lot, in choosing the plain of the Jordan
- In giving Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife
- In deceiving Jacob when he served him seven years for Rachel
- In deceiving Jacob in his wages
- Coveted food
- Gave away his birthright
- Pharaoh and the Egyptians
- Coveted slaves (human bodies to serve them)
- Coveted their property during the famine
- Ahab covets the vineyard of Naboth
- Gehazi, the servant of Elisha coveted clothing and money (2 Kings 5)
- Ahaz in coveting an altar of a heathen (conquered) nation (2 Kings 16:9-20)
- Required Urijah to build one like it before the temple in Jerusalem
- Worshipped at the new altar every evening
- Balaam, in loving the wages of unrighteousness
- Achan, in hiding the treasure
- Eli’s sons, in taking the flesh of the sacrifice, and Samuel’s sons, in taking bribes
- Saul, in sparing, Agag and the booty
- David coveted Bathsheba
DIFFERENT WORDS USED FOR COVETOUSNESS:
OT:2530 chamad (khaw-mad’); a primitive root; to delight in: KJV – beauty, greatly beloved, covet, delectable thing, (X great) delight, desire, goodly, lust, (be) pleasant (thing), precious (thing).
OT:183 ‘avah (aw-vaw’); a primitive root; to wish for: KJV – covet, (greatly) desire, be desirous, long, lust (after).
NT:1937 epithumeo (ep-ee-thoo-meh’-o); from NT:1909 and NT:2372; to set the heart upon, i.e. long for (rightfully or otherwise):KJV – covet, desire, would fain, lust (after).
NT:2206 zeloo (dzay-lo’-o) or zeleuo (dzay-loo’-o); from NT:2205; to have warmth of feeling for or against: KJV – affect, covet (earnestly), (have) desire, (move with) envy, be jealous over, (be) zealous (-ly affect)
GREEK DICTIONARY DEFINITION:
pleonexia (pleh-on-ex-ee’-ah); from NT:4123; avarice, i.e. (by implication) fraudulency, extortion: covetous (-ness) practices, greediness.
beauty, greatly beloved, covet, delectable thing, (X great) delight, desire, goodly, lust, (be) pleasant (thing), precious (thing).
ENGLISH DICTIONARY DEFINITION:
cov•et “k€-v€t verb [ME coveiten, fr. OF coveitier, fr. coveitié desire, modif. of L cupiditat-, cupiditas, fr. cupidus desirous, fr. cupere to desire] (14c)
1 : to wish for enviously
2 : to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably
: to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another
: to wish for enviously
: to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably
verb intransitive: to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another syn see desire
1 : marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another’s possessions
2 : having a craving for possession <covetous of power>
covetous, greedy, acquisitive, grasping, avaricious mean having or showing a strong desire for esp. material possessions.
covetous implies inordinate desire often for another’s possessions <covetous of his brother’s country estate>.
greedy stresses lack of restraint and often of discrimination in desire <greedy for status symbols>.
acquisitive implies both eagerness to possess and ability to acquire and keep <an eagerly acquisitive mind>.
grasping adds to covetous and greedy an implication of selfishness and often suggests unfair or ruthless means <a hard grasping trader who cheated the natives>.
avaricious implies obsessive acquisitiveness esp. of money and strongly suggests stinginess <an avaricious miser>.
LESSON 12: Saul Spared Agag and the Booty
“But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly” (1 Sam. 15:9).
Saul is one of the most tragic figures in the Old Testament. Head and shoulders above all the other men in Israel, he began his reign with great promise but ended it in shame.
“And he (Kish) had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people” (1 Sam. 9:2).
As Israel’s first king, Saul had the opportunity to be an example for all future rulers, but his covetousness for the praise of men and for power over them, was his downfall.
Saul had other admirable physical qualities that made him fit to be received by Israel during the period immediately after the last judge. Because of his stature, he was quickly accepted by the people. Furthermore, the Lord used him as a good military leader, as shown by his victories early in his reign. Here we have a king who was not only is a warrior himself, but a man whose sons were also warriors. Note that his son Jonathan’s victory over the Philistines comes the first year after King Saul was anointed (1 Sam. 14:6-16).
One of Saul’s first sins was his failure to wait for Samuel at Gilgal (1 Sam. 13:8-9). The Philistines had gathered together against Israel with a large army and the Israelites had fled to hide themselves. Saul had to know if God wanted him to go to battle or not, and in order to approach God, he had to offer a sacrifice. There he assumed the role of a priest by making a sacrifice to ask for God’s blessing and to seek God’s counsel. His excuse for acting as a priest was totally unacceptable:
And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; 12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering” (1 Sam. 13:11-12).
He was willing to force himself to disobey God so he could win the people’s favor. Strangely, he determined to disobey God in order to persuade God to help him. Saul knew he had done wrong, but he justified his sin instead of following the law exactly (Lev. 3:5 and Lev. 6:9-13). There is no doubt in this incident that he knew that only the priests of God (descendants of Aaron) were to offer a sacrifice, and he knew Samuel’s purpose and promise was to do just that. So why is he so faithless in following a command of God he knows to do? He feared losing the people! He coveted their allegiance.
Another sin followed soon afterward. After defeating Moab, Ammon, and Edom, Saul was told by Samuel to go to war against the Amalekites and to “…slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (1 Sam. 15:3). Saul carried out his instructions well except for two things: he spared the life of Agag, the king, and saved the best of the animals. When he returned from the battle, he lied to himself and to Samuel and told Samuel that he had “performed the commandment of the Lord.” He imagined that disobedience to some of God’s commands was acceptable. Samuel approached Saul that day with a heavy burden on his heart. King Saul’s problem was that he had turned back from following God. During the night of the battle, God had spoken to Samuel and said, “It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments” (1 Sam. 15:11).
At the end of verse 15 we see that Samuel was grieved and cried all night to the Lord—interceding for Saul that he might remain Israel’s king. Saul was a mighty man of valor and a great military leader, but his covetousness of the people’s praise and allegiance had overtaken him, causing him to sin greatly. Was being a military leader enough? Was having a handsome well-liked king the plan God had in mind for Israel? No, God was seeking a man who would obey all His commands—a spiritual leader whose thought was not for himself, but for serving God by training the people in righteousness. King Saul had not remembered the one who had set him up as king, given him his power nor why. God had called King Saul to do His (God’s) work, not his own. King Saul’s first and foremost thought should have been, “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people (Psa. 116:12-14).
From that time forward, Saul exhausted his total strength and power to pursue one whom he perceived to be his enemy, when his greatest enemy was actually himself. He wasted all his time and energy in fruitless attempts on David’s life because he could not accept that God had removed him from being King over Israel.
- Was it natural for King Saul to be afraid of the Philistine’s great and strong army and to seek God’s help?
- Did King Saul try to do what was right in God’s sight by asking God if he should go against the Philistines?
- Who were the only ones that God allowed to offer sacrifices to him? (Lev. 1:7-9; Lev. 3:5 and Lev. 6:9-13)?
- Was King Saul a descendent of Levi or Aaron? Give specific BCV here.
- Why was King Saul wrong to offer the sacrifice?
- Was King Saul justified in doing evil that good may come (Rom 3:8)?
- Even though King Saul had the right desire to draw near to God, did he approach God according to God’s law?
- What does God say must happen when someone draws near to him (Lev. 10:1-3)?
- Had King Saul turned back from following God (1 Sam 15:11)?
- If King Saul was not fighting Israel’s battles for the Lord, for whom was he fighting them (1 Sam 15:24)?
- Whose voice did King Saul obey: God’s or the people’s (1 Sam 15:24-26)?
- How many of God’s commands did King Saul obey when he killed all the Amalekites?
- How many commands did King Saul disobey (1 Sam. 15:8-9)?
- Whose will did King Saul do when he feared the people and obeyed their voice?
- How many commands did King Saul tell Samuel that he obeyed?
- Does God accept man’s obedience when they are not willing to obey all of his commands (James 2:9-10)?
- When God told Saul that He had rejected him from being king, did King Saul listen to God’s correction?
- When God told King Saul that he had appointed another man to be king over Israel, what should King Saul have done?
- When King Saul refused to obey God to give the kingdom to God’s chosen man, was he justified in seeking God to know if he should fight against the Philistines as king of Israel?
- What did King Saul spend most of his time doing, instead of obeying God?