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David slept with his ancestors, and was buried in the city of David. The time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.
Solomon loved Yahweh, walking in the statutes of his father David; except that he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and said elohim, “Ask what I should give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, Yahweh elohay, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”
It pleased adonay that Solomon had asked this. elohim said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.”
This is the Track 1 optional Old Testament reading for the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 15], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If chosen, it is paired with Psalm 111, which sings, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; those who act accordingly have a good understanding; his praise endures forever.” They will precede the Epistle reading from Ephesians, where Paul wrote, “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” All will accompany the Gospel selection from John, where Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”
In 2018, the last time this reading came up in the lectionary cycle, I wrote a commentary and published it on my website I maintained at that time. The article is available on this website, which can be accessed by this link. I welcome all to read the views I posted then, as I still stand behind them. It is a view that still applies today. However, at this time I will take a new direction with this reading.
In the first nine verses of 2 Kings 2, David has chosen Solomon to follow him to the throne. Before David’s death, he counseled Solomon to be a king that obeyed all the laws and ordinances of Yahweh. David had been so led, so he told his youngest son to be likewise. Twice, David told Solomon to be wise in his decisions, which were David’s way of influencing his young son to exact revenge against those who were secretly and openly David’s enemies, who had been past allies. Young Solomon acted on his father’s guidance, ordering a series of executions that ceased any possible subversion that would take advantage of a young king; and, it was David’s sage advice that ensured “his kingdom [passed to Solomon] was firmly established.”
When we read, “David slept with his ancestors,” the better translation says, “so laid down David with his fathers.” The image of death being taking a nap, resting, or laying down to sleep is metaphor for reincarnation. While the body of David ceased to support life on the physical plane, the soul did not die. Because the soul is eternal and cannot die, death is then symbolic of sleep; and, just like sleep brings a new day when one rises and gets out of bed, so too does a soul come back into a new body of flesh. When we see that David’s soul followed suit of his father – those elders of Israel – this becomes a statement that David’s soul had not gained eternal life with Yahweh. Yahweh was not the Father of David; and, that is why David could sin and be punished with reincarnation, not rising with the Father into His kingdom. It is in this statement that one can return to the relationship David had with Jonathan, where both their souls had lived past lives together, in service to Yahweh; so, for David’s soul to be reincarnated, this was arranged by Yahweh, with David’s soul in full agreement.
When we read, “Solomon loved Yahweh, walking in the statutes of his father David,” this gives the impression of a one-way love: Solomon’s love of Yahweh. The same words can also be read that Yahweh loved Solomon, whenever Solomon walked in the statutes of his father David. What is easy to overlook is the NRSV translation of “only,” which I have adjusted [in bold type] to say, “except that.” The Hebrew written is “raq,” which means “but, even, except, howbeit howsoever, at the least, nevertheless.” This small word states what Yahweh did not love that Solomon did. When that exception is said to be, “he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places,” it must be understood that “high places” were in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, which was kept hidden behind a curtain, where only a high priest could enter and make burnt offering of incense.
In the history of the nation of Judah, which would come after Solomon’s reign ended and the two regions split into two separate nations, King Uzziah was said to be the second greatest of the kings of Judah, who reigned for fifty-two years. After forty-one years of excellent rule, Uzziah tried to burn incense at the altar in the temple and was stricken with leprosy. That physical curse came from Yahweh, because Uzziah had broken the rules. Of this, the Wikipedia article on Uzziah states this:
“[Uzziah] entered the Temple of Yahweh to burn incense on the altar of incense. Azariah
the High Priest saw this as an attempt to usurp the prerogatives of the priests and
confronted him with a band of eighty priests, saying, "It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn
incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn
incense." (2 Chronicles 26:18). In the meantime a great earthquake shook the ground
and a rent was made in the temple, and the bright rays of the sun shone through it, and
fell upon the king's face, insomuch that the leprosy seized upon him immediately
(Josephus Flavius, Antiquities IX 10:4). Uzziah was suddenly struck with tzaraat before
he had offered the incense (2 Chronicles 26:19), and he was driven from the Temple
and compelled to reside in "a separate house" until his death (2 Kings 15:5, 27; 2
Chronicles 26:3). The government was turned over to his son Jotham (2 Kings 15:5), a
coregency that lasted for the last 11 years of Uzziah's life (751/750 to 740/739 BC).”
It must be realized that Solomon broke the rules of Moses and he did not follow the advice of his father David, who said: “observe what Yahweh eloheka requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses.” In that use of “Yahweh eloheka” the meaning says David expected Solomon’s soul to be merged with Yahweh’s Spirit, so Yahweh was not only Solomon’s divine Husband, but Solomon (like David) would be one of Yahweh’s elohim – the extensions of Yahweh on earth in the flesh. To be one of Yahweh’s elohim, Solomon would have to fully submit his self-will and self-ego to Yahweh, as Yahweh’s wifely king.
When we read, “The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar,” that is a statement of ‘field trips’ Solomon would make, north of Jerusalem, while the Temple of Solomon was being built. It was in Gibeon that Solomon’s dream occurred, where he spoke with God. Following the promise, “If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life,” Solomon went to Jerusalem and offered burnt offering. Not read aloud, but stated in verse fifteen is this: “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.”
In the history of Solomon, it is said he lived to be sixty. David lived to be seventy. The fact that Solomon did not have a live that exceeded the length of his father says Solomon did not walk in the ways of Yahweh and he did not keep Yahweh’s statutes and commandments. With this known, one needs to take a closer look at what occurred in this dream that Solomon had.
We read, “At Gibeon Yahweh appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and said elohim, “Ask what I should give you.” This appearance comes after we are told, “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.” This boy king had prior [not read aloud] married an Egyptian princess, to bring a Gentile [maybe] alliance, which subverted total faith that Yahweh would protect the people of Israel. Solomon then had a temple built to replace the tabernacle that David had established in the City of David [formerly Jebus]. Nathan was still alive and advising Solomon, so either Nathan no longer talked with Yahweh (after David’s death) or Solomon rejected the advice of a prophet, which said Yahweh does not want a house built for him. It was while that temple was being built [along with other palaces and walls of defense] that Solomon took the time to go break a law of Moses, with one thousand slaughtered animals burnt as an offering [not to Yahweh] but to Solomon’s new reign. Therefore, when Solomon heard a voice ask, “What should I give you,” he was too stupid or ignorant to understand the question was about punishment, not reward.
The failure of Solomon to realize this was Yahweh speaking to him through divine possession, which was the Spirit merged with Solomon’s soul – an elohim – it was not Yahweh speaking to Solomon, but his ego. When Solomon responded to the question by saying, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart,” this translation misses an important aspect. Where the translation says, “he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart,” the Hebrew is “hā·laḵ lə·p̄ā·ne·ḵā be·’ĕ·meṯ ū·ḇiṣ·ḏā·qāh ū·ḇə·yiš·raṯ lê·ḇāḇ ‘im·māḵ.” That literally translates to say, “he walked with the face of truth with righteous and uprightness of soul with you.” That says David was blessed by Yahweh when he wore His face of truth and led a life directed by Yahweh’s marriage with David’s soul. This was not Solomon knowing this, but the elohim that possessed his soul.
Solomon’s ego then assumed it was that marriage to Yahweh that brought about little baby Solomon to rule after daddy was dead. That ignorance does not know that when David stole another man’s wife, forced her to have sex with him (because he was king and had that power), which brought about her pregnancy with Solomon, causing David to lie to keep Solomon from being his responsibility and then murder when he could not get out of that, then David had stopped that relationship with Yahweh that brought David’s soul such great kindness. Solomon’s ego assumed he deserved to rule. Thus, his ego heard the question, “What should I give you?” as an opportunity to enhance himself further.
To read Solomon say, “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties,” that must be understood as an admission of fear. Everything Solomon had done, up to this point in his reign, he had done because David gave him advice. Now that there was no external guide supplying him with suggestions for action, little boy Solomon wanted to forego any need for a prophet to tell him what to do. Solomon did not want to rely on Yahweh to tell him directly what to do either. Therefore, Solomon asked for himself to be like a god on earth.
In this aspect of Solomon admitting his fears about being too stupid to rule as a child, knowing others would readily take advantage of his lack of knowledge and mature wisdom, he spoke much unlike David. David had the experience of a shepherd, one who was led by the Spirit of Yahweh to know no fear. Had Goliath faced an Israel led by Solomon, it would have fared no better than the fear that shook Saul. Most likely, a Solomon-led Israel would have surrendered, because he admitted he did not know how to lead out or lead in. There was no fight in Solomon, other than for self-preservation.
Solomon then said, “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?” In the words that have been translated to state, “give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people,” the word translated as “heart” [“lêḇ”] must be seen as a soul. A soul equates to a self, which is a request to be a god – an elohim – that is capable of “understanding how to judge Yahweh’s people.” David had been a true “judge” of the Israelites, because Yahweh controlled his soul. Now, Solomon wanted to have full control to himself.
When Solomon then continued, stating “to distinguish between right and wrong,” or “between good and evil,” this is a request that says the soul of Solomon was led by the serpent that tricked Eve to eat the fruit of the tree that leads a soul to be banished from heaven. This must be read as Solomon’s soul seeking banishment from Yahweh’s advice. Rather than submit his soul to Yahweh, so Yahweh would lead him in response to his prayers, which included Yahweh speaking to a true prophet to guide Solomon with faith, Solomon asked to be free of Yahweh’s involvement in his rule over God’s people. The people would then be left to follow Solomon’s lead, not Yahweh’s.
This is where having been written about Yahweh telling Samuel to anoint David, when Yahweh then poured out His Spirit into David’s soul, which remained with him forever, nothing like that being written about Solomon speaks a lot about how Solomon was nothing like his human father. Like the sons of Eli, the sons of Samuel, and the sons of David – all three true judges of the Israelite people – Solomon was as corrupted as are all sons of human fathers. Therefore, the people of Israel would be led by having true judges sent by Yahweh, so their marriage to Yahweh’s Spirit would flow from them to the people, leading the people to follow the lead of Yahweh, through a judge. Solomon’s soul was so devoid of Yahweh’s presence that the people of Israel would refuse to follow his son, after Solomon’s death.
This is where it is vital to realize that “Yahweh,” “elohim,” and “adonay” are not references to one and the same. Both “elohim” and “adonay” are plural forms of “gods” [from “el”] and “lords” [from “adon”], neither of which is a fixed statement of Yahweh’s presence. Certainly, a soul married to Yahweh is divinely possessed, so a soul in union with Yahweh’s Spirit becomes a divinely led “elohim,” a soul can equally be possessed by evil spirits, which enslave a soul to serve its flesh and not Yahweh. These evil spirits gaining possession of one’s soul-body then become that soul-flesh’s “lords.” Thus, I have adjusted verses ten and eleven in the above text, where the proper translation should say, “It pleased adonay that Solomon had asked this” and “elohim said to him”. This says the dream experienced by Solomon was not truly Yahweh in possession of bad boy King Solomon, when asked what punishment he deserved; although Yahweh was well aware of this conversation.
For verse ten to say, “It pleased adonay that Solomon had asked for self-control,” that says the “lords” of Solomon were all of the flesh, not of a soul divinely led. For verse eleven to then say, “elohim said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word,” this is nothing short of a pact being made with Satan. Solomon’s elohim was not Yahweh’s Spirit making promises to his flesh, but Satan promising worldly powers, in exchange for Solomon’s soul.
The reward for breaking the rules of a non-priest of the tabernacle burning sacrifices and incense being to grant Solomon a bigger brain that anyone ever possessed before was not given by Yahweh. Instead, it was allowed by Yahweh, as Yahweh knew the soul of Solomon when He placed it into his body of flesh at birth. Solomon was the child of sin; and, he would be the perfect new king to lead a nation of people to ruin, becoming the model of how wrong minds can be, when they are led by Satan. Therefore, the truth of Yahweh’s promise came through as the hypothetical, “If you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life,” knowing Solomon could only break the rules and walk according to his own path of self-righteousness.
When verse fifteen [not read aloud] says, “Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream,” this says Solomon was living a dream. The soul state of being is according to the ways of the flesh, such that to dream is to enter the everlasting realm of eternity, where true life never ends. For Solomon to “awaken” says he returned to the realm of death that is the material world. The think one has “dreamed” of promises from God, that says Solomon no longer believed in Yahweh. He saw Yahweh as a dream, and his new wisdom said dreams are not real. Therefore [also not read aloud], Solomon went to his new Temple and offered himself some fresh kill sacrifices, knowing there was no God who could ever punish a god on earth.
This reading option to be read on the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry to Yahweh should already be well underway, is a lesson in selfishness. Anyone who believes he or she can break the laws of Moses and make up new rules [said to be what Jesus meant, as if one’s brain can figure out what Jesus meant] means one is playing a role like that of young King Solomon. One sees Solomon as being given the gift of great wisdom, when such a gift is actually a curse. It is the brains of the world that lead the people away from a commitment to Yahweh. The seminaries of Christianity have long since given up belief in Yahweh [they now call him a generic “Lord”], as if being Jesus resurrected is only a dream, one which can never come true.
Ministry to Yahweh means submitting one’s heart, mind and soul to Yahweh, out of the love of marriage. One does not think what is best or what is worst, as one only acts according to the divine possession of Yahweh’s Spirit. One’s personal “Lord” is Jesus, the Son of man reborn as one with one’s submissive soul. One becomes like young David, not like young Solomon. One does not point to the diplomas and plaques of achievement in a church that serves an organization, not Yahweh and certainly not the people who choose to believe in a God. A true priest of Yahweh does not teach dreams that are beyond materialization. They teach the reality of dreams come true.