In 1 Kings 3, God visits King Solomon in a dream. This discussion will set the tone for how he will reign as king. God asks him a poignant question, “What do you want from me?”
5 In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
Solomon is honored and humbled to be King David’s heir.
7 And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people whom thou hast chosen, a great people that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
Solomon reflects on his weaknesses, shortcomings, and overwhelming responsibilities.
9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
Solomon asks for an understanding heart, which literally means hearing heart. Solomon is asking God for the ability to hear from Him so that he can obey His instructions and directions. He’s requesting God’s revelation. Solomon is hungry for God’s thoughts and ways.
10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
God grants him the desire of his heart because he was pleased with Solomon’s response.
13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
14 And if you will walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
The blessings of riches, honor, and a long life resulted from his answer are conditional on obeying God’s word. Solomon was a blessed man, one of the wisest that ever lived. Later in life he stops obeying God which culminates in the Kingdom of Israel is dividing after he dies — never to be reunited.