It's about time to share a portion of a Non-fiction picture book for older children which I wrote last year. It's entitled, "You're on the Wrong Road, Solomon!"
It is based, of course, on the Biblical account of King Solomon in the book of I Kings, and is in keeping with the language and flavor of Old Testament times.
Here's the excerpt:
Solomon, King of Israel, began his life and rule on the narrow road. It was God and Solomon...room for two.
"What would you like me to grant you, Solomon?" God asked the young king.
Solomon remembered his father's words. "Continue to walk in God's path, and obey Him, and He will surely bless you. Then you will always have a son on the throne to rule Israel." King Solomon thought for awhile, and then gave God his answer. "I am young, and your people are many. Give me an understanding heart to discern right from wrong, so I can rule your people well."
That answer pleased God, so He not only granted the new king a heart of wisdom, but riches and honor as well. "There will not be another king like you in all your days," He promised. "If you walk in My ways, as your father David, I will give you long life."
Solomon's wisdom was soon put to the test.
One day two women, who had given birth to baby boys, came begging for justice.
"This woman and I each gave birth to a baby boy," one of the women said. "In the middle of the night, she rolled over onto her son, and smothered him. In the morning, she placed him by my side, and she took my son in his place."
"No!" said the second woman. She is lying...the baby is mine!"
What should be done? This was a hard task...but not too hard for Solomon. "Bring me a sword," the King said to his servant. All eyes were on Solomon. A sword? What was he thinking?
A gasp was heard throughout the room! "No," said the first woman, "please don't! Spare the child's life and give him to the other woman."
Yes, yes," said the second woman. "Give us each half, for that is fair."
"Ah ha!" exclaimed Solomon. "Now I know to whom this baby boy truly belongs. Give him to the first woman, for she is his mother." What a wise King! And Solomon continued down the narrow road His God had paved for him...
Solomon obeyed and continued down God's straight and narrow path, prospering because of it. But, his wife, the daughter of Pharaoh, ruler of Egypt, did not believe in the one true God. She worshipped many false gods on high places. Many stones were found on Solomon's path, which caused him to stumble.
One day, the Queen of Sheba came to witness Solomon's wisdom, and see his wealth and possessions for herself. She came with camels bearing spices, with gold and precious jewels. One question after another flowed from her lips, and the King answered them all!
When she discovered his wisdom, observed the house he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the cupbearers and the attendance of his waiters and their attire, and the stairway by which he went into the house of the Lord, it took her breath away!
"How blessed you are, Solomon," the Queen of Sheba said, "and your servants and people as well. God has shown them favor because of your wise words and ways!" She could see that blessing comes with wisdom.
Even though God warned him, Solomon married more women from far away countries, where they knew nothing of the God of the Israelites. They also worshipped and sacrificed to false gods, who could not see or hear. Great festivals were held in their honor. Since Solomon loved his wives, he wanted to please them, so he began to worship these gods, too. In his heart, he knew this was wrong. He wanted to be faithful to the one true God.
Solomon's path became broken down in places. Sometimes, he took his eyes off the path. It would widen a bit, and he would trip and almost fall...
photo credit: Phillip Ratner: http://www.ratnermuseum.com/israelbiblemuseum/virtual/heroes/img0023.htm