For some time now I've been teaching on the biblical wisdom literature and enjoying the study this involves. One thing in particular is the way that the structure of 1 Kings 1-11 emphasizes stresses Solomon's wisdom as absolutely foundational to his kingship. It is not just that he is a king who 'happens to be wise'. He is the expression of wisdom.
1 Kings 1-11 follows a precise 'chiastic' structure, at the heart of which is the building of the Temple. (I'll post on this another time.)
Up until now, however, I'd simply presented the temple-building as the necessary 'hinge' in this passage - allowing the narrative to stress Solomon's wisdom both on the 'way in' and the 'way out' of the chiasm.
Then today on Facebook (yes, I know), I saw a post about Christianity and aesthetics. This is also a subject that interests me, and as I was putting in my two penn'orth, the light slowly began to dawn. This is (pretty much) what I posted:
I often ask, "Who were the first people in the Bible we are told were specifically filled with God's Spirit and why was this?"So in other words, the chiasmus of 1 Kings 1-11 is not built around the temple building merely because of its importance as an event, nor just to give us two bites at the 'cherry' of Solmon's wisdom, but because Wisdom is the key to temple building.
The (surprising) answer is:
“See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you (Exodus 31:2–6 [ESV]).Unfortunately, the ESV (even more so than the NIV) blows it in 28:3, which it translates, "You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments etc." Compare the AV: "And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted (חַכְמֵי־לֵב) whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom (רוּחַ חָכְמָה), that they may make Aaron’s garments etc."
Putting the two together, building the Tabernacle is a task requiring wisdom expressed in the aesthetic crafts. Who is the next 'Tabernacle builder'? Solomon, the 'man of wisdom'.
And who is the true Tabernacle Builder?
Of course there should be a Christian aesthetic, flowing out of the Wisdom of God through us, into the world. Wonderful, eh?
Make of this what you will. I need to give my poor brain a rest.
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