According to the Bible, King Solomon was the third king in the ancient United Kingdom of Israel. He was known for his wisdom, writings, accomplishments, and massive wealth. It is believed that Solomon was born around 1000 B.C, became King when he was 20 years old, and reigned for 40 years in the most prosperous period in the country’s history, known as the “The Golden Age” of Israel.
The life of Solomon is told in the biblical books of 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles and 1 Kings. According to tradition, King Solomon also wrote three books of the Bible himself; Proverbs (a collection of fables and wisdom of life), Ecclesiastes (a book of his self-reflection) and Song of Songs (a collection of poetry regarding a romantic relationship between a man and a woman.)
According to the Bible, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him what he desired. Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge. Pleased, God answered Solomon’s prayer, promising him great wisdom because he did not ask for wealth, honor, or the death of his enemies. The Bible states, “Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.” (1 Kings 4:30)
A further study of Solomon’s life will show that despite his great knowledge and accomplishments, he also made very foolish choices that caused him incredible regret and anguish. However, we can still learn from his great wisdom, which is still relevant 3,000 years after his death.
Is it ironic that our leaders, business coaches, and motivational speakers are preaching the same message today, more than 3 millennia later? Perhaps it’s finally time we listen and apply the words of King Solomon.
- Seeking wisdom is more important than seeking prosperity
- When Solomon was King of Israel, God appeared to him in a dream and promised to give the king whatever he requested. In response to God’s promise, Solomon asked for the wisdom to effectively lead the people of Israel. God blessed Solomon for asking for wisdom and not fortune and fame. As a result, God gave him all three. Often the primary goal of our pursuits is focused on how the outcome will provide wealth, status, and security. The best leaders know that a focus on growing in knowledge and wisdom first will provide the foundation to sustain any success achieved as a result of our work.
- Great leaders surround themselves with great people
- King Solomon wrote “with many advisors there is success” (Proverbs 24:6). In business or personal life, we must surround ourselves with people who possess the skills we lack, who we can seek for advice, who we can share responsibilities, and who will challenge and / or encourage our ideas and decisions. Together we are stronger than by ourselves. King Solomon did not lead Israel into the “Golden Age” alone.
- Great leaders confront and remove toxic people
- Solomon wrote: “Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for the silversmith; remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness” (Proverbs 25:3,4). No matter how talented, a toxic individual who spews poisonous behavior will succeed in destroying an organization from the inside out if not dealt with properly. Great leaders correct or eliminate toxic people.
- Great Leaders live with great character
- Even though he was wisest person on earth, King Solomon did not always act in the wisest manner. For example, as King, he built a harem of 700 wives and 300 concubines, much of which were gifts from kings of neighboring nations. In addition, he bowed to the pressure of his many wives and erected shrines to foreign gods and idols. This was a slap in the face of the God who provided Solomon’s many blessings. As a result, Solomon’s indiscretions caused himself anguish and pain, and led his descendants to stumble. Ultimately, the Kingdom of Israel was torn apart during his son’s reign. No matter your wisdom, knowledge, and success, it’s your actions that matter. Especially, don’t burn bridges with the people who helped you along your path to success.
How can you grow in wisdom to improve your actions and decisions?