“Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Kings 3:9) After a large burnt offering in the city of Gibeon, Solomon sleeps and God appears to him in a dream. God offers Solomon one thing that will help this new king lead the nation of Israel. Solomon could have chosen longevity, wealth, strength, or even victory over his enemies, but he chose wisdom.
A majority of what we find in the Book of Proverbs is the work of Solomon early in his reign at approximately 960 BC. God had blessed him with profound wisdom that he shared with his people and recorded into history. Two other authors are also credited in Proverbs: Agur, Son of Jakeh and King Lemuel of Massa. Outside of their sayings in Proverbs, little is known about these authors and their history. The Men of Hezekiah are also credited with compiling and editing several of the writings included in the Book of Proverbs.
During his reign, Solomon comprised over 3,000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:32). The selection found in the Book of Proverbs aims to give simple statements and illustrations on how to live wisely. Solomon knew very intimately that foundation of all wisdom was rooted in a “Fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 9:10). For his people and for his court, Solomon tackled issues of money, sexuality, marriage, work, speech, justice, and parenting. Each proverb typically has one single truth to convey. Through these simple illustrations, Solomon clearly shows that daily practices of morality can not be isolated from the presence and foundation of the Lord.
God gave Solomon this incredible gift. He had his choice of any gift and any talent imaginable, and he chose very wisely. Reflect upon your own gifts and abilities. As you read Proverbs, look for ways that God could be speaking into your life.