Day 153: The Decline of Solomon

1 Kings 11:1-13 Unfortunately, Solomon’s wisdom did not extend to his personal moral life. Just as he had accumulated wealth, he accumulated over a thousand wives and concubines, drawing them largely from the pagan cultures of the region whose women the men of Israel were forbidden to marry. The very reason for this prohibition became apparent: Solomon was led into idolatry by his pagan wives rather than remain completely dedicated to the will of God. On account of these grave sins, God announced that the Kingdom of Israel would be divided once again after Solomon’s death. (CCC 1610, 2113)

Ch 11:14-43 The enemies of Solomon stood ready to revolt against Israel. St. Cyprian saw Jeroboam’s encounter on the road with the prophet Ahijah as highly significant: whereas the prophet tore the garment into twelve pieces and gave Jeroboam ten of them, signifying his share of a divided Israel, the Roman soldiers overseeing Christ’s Crucifixion left his seamless tunic intact, thus signifying the permanence of the Church until the end of time. Though Israel, a type of the Church, was divisible, the Church is not (De Unitate Ecclesiae, 7)

Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 No matter how wise or virtuous a person may be, he or she can never be immune to defects and weaknesses. At times, the foolish may seize on mistakes a wise and good person makes. An imprudent person will use the shortcomings of others to justify his or her own personal vices; however, a prudent person will struggle to maintain self-control and a temperate lifestyle and will refrain from rash or harsh judgements of others. (CCC 1809, 2290, 2539)

Ch 11:1 This is one of the many passages that stress trust in God’s care and protection, provided there is fidelity to his Commandments.

Ch 11:2-10 God’s goodness, wisdom, and beauty are reflected wonderfully in creation. The magnificent grandeur, harmony, and order give a certain knowledge of God, albeit limited and imperfect. God has revealed his attributes in all his works to facilitate a loving relationship between himself and individual persons. (CCC 31-34, 287-288, 302, 1147)

Ch 12:1-7 Death is a reality that involves everyone, and it can come at any time. Therefore, it is very important to take full advantage of the years of life to grow in love for God and others. Precious time is wasted when selfish ends become a priority over God and a virtuous life. One’s mortality and the finite nature of human life should serve as an incentive to center one’s life on Christ. (CCC 1007)

Ch 12:8 The author’s refrain is a constant invitation to embrace God’s Commandments and to remain detached from the goods of this world. ASs Thomas a Kempis wrote, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, unless one strives to love and serve God alone” (The Imitation of Christ, 1, 2). Vanity in many instances becomes a springboard to self-centeredness and sensuality. (CCC 2514)

Ch 12:9-14 These cherished sayings of Qoheleth were originally transmitted orally to his disciples and listeners and were later written down and compiled for later generations. In fact, all of Scripture began FIRST AS ORAL TRADITION. (CCC 126)

Psalm 9 In the original Hebrew, the verses of Psalms 9-10 form an acrostic poem, meaning that the first letter of each verse begins with a particular letter of the Hebrew alphabet and in their recognized order. This hymn of praise shows gratitude to the Lord for all that he had done for Israel, primarily in defeating Israel’s enemies and in imparting justice on evildoers.

Sheol: This underworld is an amorphous place where the Jews believed souls went after death.

He has executed judgement: God’s judgement will be definitive at the end of time, and the faithful can take solace knowing that his justice will prevail. The Chosen People, as they reflected upon their history, noted that-despite many hardships, misfortune, and infidelities-God’s loving providence and fidelity to his covenant never failed them. (CCC 1021, 1040)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

“Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in our days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” (1 Kgs 11:11-13)

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible By Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, yes give us wisdom. Give us wisdom to number our days correctly. Give us wisdom to know who we are. Yesterday we prayed Psalm 8 of who are we that you care for us? Who are we that as human beings that you even keep us in mind? And now, today Lord God, we just are struck by our need to ask you please to be reminded of how we need you to care for us, how we need you to pay attention to us because of the fact that there are so many obstacles, there are so many battles, there are so many things that are facing us this day, that we just ask you for your Grace and for your strength. We ask for your attentiveness and your love to be present in our lives, especially in the midst of battle, in the midst of struggle, in the midst of this life. We trust in you. We praise you. And we love you. Please receive this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”