Pentecost +12 - Year B
O what tangled webs we weave when we begin cherry-picking the scriptures. The elided section does not speak well for David or Solomon. There is no “peace from the Lord forevermore” when it is based on retribution leading to more. Oh, Solomon can fool some of the people some of time with his reputation for wisdom and wealth, but all that is left out will come back to haunt for generations. Power remains an uneasy ally.
It is simply not kosher to make this sort of false advertising for Solomon. One might think there are political ads in religious politics as well as public politics. Well, of course, they would be correct, but that is not good PR and the prosperity gospel of Solomon will eventually bite David’s descendants who get all privileged and out of touch with reality.
What sort of G*D plays these succession-of-power games? Make me look good, says G*D, and I’ll do the same for you. This is an unequal bargain and eventually it tarnishes both parties.
So what will a congregation take away from this passage with a huge hole in it? That religion is surface-oriented, say humble things and be rewarded with expensive things? Any depth available here may well be stripped out with an appeal to a second-class wisdom (our wisdom is smaller than Solomon’s as no one as wise will follow him?). What is intended to make G*D look good, just shows the tricks Solomon has learned from David and Bathsheba to get his way. A rather sad passage, all in all.