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