1 Kings 3; 1 Kings 4; 1 Kings 5; Luke 20:1-26

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1 Kings 3

1 Solomon and Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, agreed to help each other. So Solomon got married to Pharaoh's daughter. He brought her to the City of David. She stayed there until he finished building his palace, the LORD's temple, and the wall that was around Jerusalem.
2 But the people continued to offer sacrifices at the high places where they worshiped. That's because a temple hadn't been built yet where the LORD would put his Name.
3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord. He did it by obeying the laws his father David had taught him. But Solomon offered sacrifices at the high places. He also burned incense there.
4 King Solomon went to the city of Gibeon to offer sacrifices. That's where the most important high place was. He offered 1,000 burnt offerings on the altar that was there.
5 The LORD appeared to Solomon at Gibeon. He spoke to him in a dream during the night. God said, "Ask for anything you want me to give you."
6 Solomon answered, "You have been very kind to my father David, your servant. That's because he was faithful to you. He did what was right. His heart was honest. And you have continued to be very kind to him. You have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
7 "LORD my God, you have now made me king. You have put me in the place of my father David. But I'm only a little child. I don't know how to carry out my duties.
8 I'm here among the people you have chosen. They are a great nation. They are more than anyone can count.
9 So give me a heart that understands. Then I can rule over your people. I can tell the difference between what is right and what is wrong. Who can possibly rule over this great nation of yours?"
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for that.
11 So God said to him, "You have not asked to live for a long time. You have not asked to be wealthy. You have not even asked to have your enemies killed. Instead, you have asked for understanding. You want to do what is right and fair when you judge people. Because that is what you have asked for,
12 I will give it to you. I will give you a wise and understanding heart. So here is what will be true of you. There has never been anyone like you. And there never will be.
13 "And that is not all. I will give you what you have not asked for. I will give you riches and honor. As long as you live, no other king will be as great as you are.
14 Live the way I want you to. Obey my laws and commands, just as your father David did. Then I will let you live for a long time."
15 Solomon woke up. He realized he had been dreaming. He returned to Jerusalem. He stood in front of the ark of the LORD's covenant. He sacrificed burnt offerings and friendship offerings. Then he gave a big dinner for all of his officials.
16 Two prostitutes came to the king. They stood in front of him.
17 One of them said, "My master, this woman and I live in the same house. I had a baby while she was there with me.
18 Three days after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone. There wasn't anyone in the house but the two of us.
19 "During the night this woman's baby died. It happened because she was lying on top of him.
20 So she got up in the middle of the night. She took my son from my side while I was asleep. She put him by her breast. Then she put her dead son by my breast.
21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son. But he was dead! I looked at him closely in the morning light. And I saw that it wasn't my baby."
22 The other woman said, "No! The living baby is my son. The dead one belongs to you." But the first woman said, "No! The dead baby is yours. The living one belongs to me." So they argued in front of the king.
23 The king said, "One of you says, 'My son is alive. Your son is dead.' The other one says, 'No! Your son is dead. Mine is alive.' "
24 He continued, "Bring me a sword." So a sword was brought to him.
25 Then he gave an order. He said, "Cut the living child in two. Give half to one woman and half to the other."
26 The woman whose son was alive was filled with deep concern for her son. She said to the king, "My master, please give her the living baby! Don't kill him!" But the other woman said, "Neither one of us will have him. Cut him in two!"
27 Then the king made his decision. He said, "Give the living baby to the first woman. Don't kill him. She's his mother."
28 All of the people of Israel heard about the decision the king had given. That gave them great respect for him. They saw that God had given him wisdom. They knew that Solomon would do what was right and fair when he judged people.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

1 Kings 4

1 So King Solomon ruled over the whole nation of Israel.
2 Here are the names of his chief officials. Azariah was the priest. He was the son of Zadok.
3 Elihoreph and Ahijah were secretaries. They were the sons of Shisha. Jehoshaphat kept the records. He was the son of Ahilud.
4 Benaiah was the commander in chief. He was the son of Jehoiada. Zadok and Abiathar were priests.
5 Azariah was in charge of the local officials. He was the son of Nathan. Zabud was a priest. He was the king's personal adviser. He was the son of Nathan.
6 Ahishar was in charge of the palace. Adoniram was in charge of those who were forced to work for the king. He was the son of Abda.
7 Solomon also had 12 local governors over the whole land of Israel. They provided supplies for the king and the royal family. Each governor had to provide supplies for one month out of each year.
8 Here are their names and areas. Ben-Hur's area was the hill country of Ephraim.
9 Ben-Deker's area was Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth Shemesh and Elon Bethhanan.
10 Ben-Hesed's area was Arubboth. Socoh and the whole land of Hepher were included in his area.
11 Ben-Abinadab's area was Naphoth Dor. He got married to Solomon's daughter Taphath.
12 Baana's area was Taanach, Megiddo and the whole territory of Beth Shan. Beth Shan was next to Zarethan below Jezreel. Baana's area reached from Beth Shan all the way to Abel Meholah. It also went across to Jokmeam. Baana was the son of Ahilud.
13 Ben-Geber's area was Ramoth Gilead. The settlements of Jair, the son of Manasseh, were included in his area in Gilead. The area of Argob in Bashan was also included. That area had 60 large cities that had high walls around them. The city gates were made secure with heavy bronze bars.
14 Ahinadab's area was Mahanaim. He was the son of Iddo.
15 Ahimaaz's area was Naphtali. He had gotten married to Basemath. She was Solomon's daughter.
16 Baana's area was Asher and Aloth. He was the son of Hushai.
17 Jehoshaphat's area was Issachar. He was the son of Paruah.
18 Shimei's area was Benjamin. He was the son of Ela.
19 Geber's area was Gilead. He was the only governor over the area. He was the son of Uri. Gilead had been the country of Sihon and Og. Sihon had been king of the Amorites. Og had been king of Bashan.
20 There were many people in Judah and Israel. In fact, they were as many as the grains of sand on the seashore. They ate, drank and were happy.
21 Solomon ruled over all of the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines. He ruled as far as the border of Egypt. All of those countries brought the gifts he required them to bring him. And Solomon ruled over those countries for his whole life.
22 Here are the supplies Solomon required every day.
23 ten head of cattle that had been fed by hand 20 head of cattle that had been fed on grasslands 100 sheep and goats deer, antelopes and roebucks the finest birds
24 Solomon ruled over all of the kingdoms that were west of the Euphrates River. He ruled from Tiphsah all the way to Gaza. And he had peace and rest on every side.
25 While Solomon was king, Judah and Israel lived in safety. They were secure from Dan all the way to Beersheba. Each man had his own vine and fig tree.
26 Solomon had 4,000 spaces where he kept his chariot horses. He had a total of 12,000 horses.
27 The local officials provided supplies for King Solomon. They provided them for all who ate at the king's table. Each official provided supplies for one month every year. The officials made sure the king had everything he needed.
28 They also brought barley and straw for the chariot horses and the other horses. Each of them brought the amounts that were required of them. They brought them to the proper places.
29 God made Solomon very wise. His understanding couldn't even be measured. It was like the sand on the seashore. People can't measure that either.
30 Solomon's wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all of the people of the east. It was greater than all of the wisdom of Egypt.
31 Solomon was wiser than any other man. He was wiser than Ethan, the Ezrahite. He was wiser than Heman, Calcol and Darda. They were the sons of Mahol. Solomon became famous in all of the nations that were around him.
32 He spoke 3,000 proverbs. He wrote 1,005 songs.
33 He explained all about plants. He knew everything about them, from the cedar trees in Lebanon to the hyssop plants that grow out of walls. He taught about animals and birds. He also taught about reptiles and fish.
34 The kings of all of the world's nations heard about how wise Solomon was. So they sent their people to listen to him.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

1 Kings 5

1 Hiram was the king of Tyre. He heard that Solomon had been anointed as king. He heard that Solomon had become the next king after his father David. Hiram had always been David's friend. So Hiram sent his messengers to Solomon.
2 Then Solomon sent a message back to Hiram. It said,
3 "As you know, my father David had to fight many battles. His enemies attacked him from every side. So he couldn't build a temple where the LORD his God would put his Name. That wouldn't be possible until the LORD had put his enemies under his control.
4 "But now the LORD my God has given me peace and rest on every side. We don't have any enemies. And we don't have any other major problems either.
5 So I'm planning to build a temple. I want to build it for the Name of the LORD my God. That's what he told my father David he wanted me to do. He said, 'I will put your son on the throne in your place. He will build a temple. I will put my Name there.'
6 "So give your men orders to cut down cedar trees in Lebanon for me. My men will work with yours. I'll pay you for your men's work. I'll pay any amount you decide on. As you know, we don't have anyone who is as skilled in cutting down trees as the men of Sidon are."
7 When Hiram heard Solomon's message, he was very pleased. He said, "May the LORD be praised today. He has given David a wise son to rule over that great nation."
8 So Hiram sent a message to Solomon. It said, "I have received the message you sent me. I'll do everything you want me to. I'll provide the cedar and pine logs.
9 My men will bring them from Lebanon down to the Mediterranean Sea. I'll make them into rafts. I'll float them to the place you want me to. When the rafts arrive, I'll separate the logs from each other. Then you can take them away. "And here's what I want in return. Provide food for all of the people in my palace."
10 So Hiram supplied Solomon with all of the cedar and pine logs he wanted.
11 Solomon gave Hiram 125,000 bushels of wheat as food for the people in his palace. He also gave him 115,000 gallons of oil that was made from pressed olives. He did that for Hiram year after year.
12 The LORD made Solomon wise, just as he had promised him. There was peace between Hiram and Solomon. The two of them made a peace treaty.
13 King Solomon forced men from all over Israel to work hard for him. There were 30,000 of them.
14 He sent them off to Lebanon in groups of 10,000 each month. They spent one month in Lebanon. Then they spent two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the people who were forced to work.
15 Solomon had 70,000 people who carried things. He had 80,000 who cut stones in the hills.
16 He had 3,300 men who were in charge of the project. They also directed the workers.
17 The people did what the king commanded. They removed large blocks of fine stone from a rock pit. They used them to provide a foundation for the temple.
18 The skilled workers of Solomon and Hiram cut and prepared the logs and stones. They would later be used in building the temple. The people of Byblos helped the workers.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Luke 20:1-26

1 One day Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courtyard. He was preaching the good news to them. The chief priests and the teachers of the law came up to him. The elders came with them.
2 "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things," they all said. "Who gave you this authority?"
3 Jesus replied, "I will also ask you a question. Tell me,
4 was John's baptism from heaven? Or did it come from men?"
5 They talked to each other about it. They said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Why didn't you believe him?'
6 But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will throw stones at us and kill us. They believe that John was a prophet."
7 So they answered Jesus, "We don't know where John's baptism came from."
8 Jesus said, "Then I won't tell you by what authority I am doing these things either."
9 Jesus went on to tell the people a story. "A man planted a vineyard," he said. "He rented it out to some farmers. Then he went away for a long time.
10 "At harvest time he sent a servant to the renters. They were supposed to give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the renters beat the servant. Then they sent him away with nothing.
11 So the man sent another servant. They beat that one and treated him badly. They also sent him away with nothing.
12 The man sent a third servant. The renters wounded him and threw him out.
13 "Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What should I do? I have a son, and I love him. I will send him. Maybe they will respect him.'
14 "But when the renters saw the son, they talked the matter over. 'This is the one who will receive all the owner's property someday,' they said. 'Let's kill him. Then everything will be ours.'
15 So they threw him out of the vineyard. And they killed him. "What will the owner of the vineyard do to the renters?
16 He will come and kill them. He will give the vineyard to others." When the people heard this, they said, "We hope this never happens!"
17 Jesus looked right at them and said, "Here is something I want you to explain the meaning of. It is written, " 'The stone the builders didn't accept has become the most important stone of all.' (Psalm 118:22)
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces. But the stone will crush anyone it falls on."
19 The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest Jesus at once. They knew he had told that story against them. But they were afraid of the people.
20 The religious leaders sent spies to keep a close watch on Jesus. The spies pretended to be honest. They hoped they could trap Jesus with something he would say. Then they could hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.
21 So the spies questioned Jesus. "Teacher," they said, "we know that you speak and teach what is right. We know you don't favor one person over another. You teach the way of God truthfully.
22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
23 Jesus saw they were trying to trick him. So he said to them,
24 "Show me a silver coin. Whose picture and words are on it?"
25 "Caesar's," they replied. He said to them, "Then give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. And give to God what belongs to God."
26 They were not able to trap him with what he had said there in front of all the people. Amazed by his answer, they became silent.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.