Summary: Pulpit monologue-drama, in which "Solomon" describes how his father’s example influenced him negatively, but his father’s repentance redeemed him.

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“A wise child makes a glad father, but a foolish child is a

mother’s grief.” Would you agree? I wrote that, you know.

“Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not

stray.” Ah, but how do we train them? That is the question.

Just by commands? Or do we train them by example?

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” It’s

nice if you can have both. But I am learning that going after

riches and power tarnishes my name.

“My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of

his reproof, for the Lord reproves the one he loves, as a

father the son in whom he delights.” I have not always

believed that. But I have come to see its truth.

Oh – have you heard these sayings of mine before? I am

known for the proverbs I have written. I have a reputation for

being wise. Throughout Israel and even beyond our borders,

they tell stories about my wisdom. King Solomon, they say,

has a proverb for everything. He has a wise saying for every

need. The queen of a great African country heard of me,

and came all the way from Sheba to test me with riddles! No

problem; I enjoyed the contest, and we pulled off some

lucrative deals while she was here. It hasn’t hurt to have this

kind of reputation.

Yes, I’ve spoken many wise sayings. I’ve pronounced my

ideas on several issues, many of them having to do with

family life. If it’s about husbands and wives, I once said, “It is

better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and

fretful wife.” Actually, there’s nothing special about that.

Listen, I have upwards of a thousand wives and harem girls.

It should be obvious where that proverb came from!

Once I even had to decide between two women arguing over

the custody of a child. My tongue was in my cheek when I

suggested that we just cut the child in half and give each one

a share, but it did sort things out in a hurry! It’s really rather

fun to be the one everyone comes to for advice.

But some things about family life I have had to learn the hard

way – by bitter experience. I have come to see that the

example set by my father David fell short of wisdom. Maybe

today I can help some father here to see that when he thinks

he is doing good things for his children, he may actually be

serving his own needs more than theirs.

But I have also come to appreciate my father’s humility. He

was willing to change his ways and to start over. I have

come to see that there is hope for me to get out of my mess,

if I can learn from my father. Maybe today I can help you to

get beyond what your father did or did not do for you.

Now there are some things about my family that you will

need to understand. I was born, shall we say, under a cloud.

There is no getting around it. When somebody tries to keep

family secrets, they just get more and more ugly. So let me

come clean with my family secret: my father and my mother

had had an affair before I was born. They knew that God’s

will is for sexual behavior to be confined to marriage, but

they did what they felt like doing anyway. Nothing about that

is pretty. It is very ugly indeed. And yet, there is a wonderful

side to it as well.

My father, David, who had cobbled together this kingdom of

Israel out of practically nothing, became restless. His eye

wandered, and he thought he was above the law. After all,

was he not king? Who would call him to account? So one

day he noticed a young woman, Bathsheba, and wanted her.

Never mind that he was a married man; never mind that she

was another man’s wife. He wanted her, and so he took her.

Worse yet, when it became clear that their love nest was

going to produce a child, David arranged for Bathsheba’s

husband, Uriah, to be killed. If you have an inconvenience,

get it out of the way; that’s what I learned from my father.

And I have done that myself, many times. When I came to

this throne, I found that were certain great men who were

against me. I eliminated them. I got rid of my problems.

Joab the general, Abiathar my half-brother, Shimei the

palace official who broke away from house arrest – all of

them I had killed. I got rid of the problem. Do you think I am

harsh and calculating? Maybe I am. But I learned it from my

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