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(The Bible)

1 Kings tells of the united kingdom under King Solomon. Near the end of David's life, Solomon becomes king through the intrigue of Bathsheba and other supporters. After David's death, Solomon arrests or kills his opponents. Solomon prays for wisdom to rule the people and builds a palace and Temple in Jerusalem. To secure political alliances, however, Solomon takes foreign wives, who bring the worship of foreign deities to Jerusalem. It recounts the division of the kingdom into north and south. Solomon's son Rehoboam vows to rule harshly, and the northern tribes secede, forming the kingdom of Israel. Jeroboam, the king of the north, placed golden calves in the sanctuaries of the northern kingdom. David's descendants continue to rule only the southern kingdom, which is known as Judah. It centers on Elijah the prophet. Elijah works miracles and opposes the idolatrous worship promoted by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. He flees to Mount Sinai after calling down fire from heaven and slaying the priests of the god Baal. There God tells him to anoint three people to foment rebellion in Israel. In response, Elijah anoints Elisha to be a prophet. He also denounces Ahab and Jezebel for arranging the death of a man named Naboth in order to seize his vineyard.
Solomon Asks for Wisdom
Solomon made an alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt and married his daughter. He brought her to the City of David until he finished building his palace and the temple of the LORD, and the wall around Jerusalem. The people, however, were still sacrificing at the high places, because a temple had not yet been built for the Name of the LORD. Solomon showed his love for the LORD by walking according to the statutes of his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places. The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, Ask for whatever you want me to give you. Solomon answered, You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours? The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for?both riches and honor?so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life. Then Solomon awoke?and he realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem, stood before the ark of the Lord's covenant and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then he gave a feast for all his court.

Solomon's Prayer of Dedication
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said: O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below?you who keep your covenant of love
with your servants who continueheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it?as it is today. Now LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, You shall never fail to have a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me as you have done. And now, O God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true. But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant's prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.

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