To recap: Yesterday we watched Solomon having a moral meltdown, a crisis of faith. How did this happen? In his own words,
“I devoted myself to study and explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven… I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also madness and folly…” Next, he says to himself, “I will test you with pleasure… laughter… I undertook great projects: I built houses… vineyards… gardens… parks… reservoirs… I bought male and female slaves… herds… flocks… silver and gold… treasure… singers… a harem… I denied myself nothing my eyes desired.”
In the middle of his rant, Solomon says, “In all this, my wisdom stayed with me.”
Uh, I’m not buying it.
I’m going to mess with a presupposition we often bring to this book — that if Solomon wrote it, that if it’s in the Bible, he must have been totally self aware and that the conclusions he drew from his experience were bang on. I respectfully disagree. He was on to something, sure, but if we dig deeper, he also totally missed the boat, even at the end when he thinks he gets it. Not only had his wisdom left him, he fits his own definition of a fool to the tee (see Proverbs 10:21; 12:15; 14:1; 5:2; 17:7; 17:24; 26:11). Come on, what would you say to someone who felt like God was calling them to explore the depths of sin by indulging in everything personally… er, from a merely clinical perspective?
Just because he’s Solomon doesn’t mean he’s right. In fact, my impression after reading the book with my new lens yesterday was that Solomon got it mostly wrong.* He’d come to believe that the rules didn’t apply to him, that he could somehow remain above temptation while indulging in it. And then he melted down because when he looked in the mirror his life had become meaningless.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
In fact, I Kings 11:1-13 outlines just how dumb he got. It ain’t pretty, and pretty much contradicts everything Solomon just said.
Tomorrow: Why Solomon missed the point
* I’m not saying the Bible is wrong; I’m saying the Bible often records people doing and saying stupid things so we can learn from their mistakes.