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Jesus: The New Solomon

by John Bergsma March 06, 2019 0 Comments



One more image that we have to bring into play as our Lord goes up on the mountain to teach is the image of Solomon. Solomon too was a great teacher; he was a teacher of wisdom. From Solomon comes our wisdom literature.  He was the fountainhead of what we call the wisdom literature. Solomon went up on Mount Zion and from Mount Zion he taught wisdom to the nations. So the nations came, they lined up to hear him, maybe they took a number, waiting to hear Solomon’s wisdom. This is 1 Kings 4.  His throne was on Mount Zion. 

If we went back to 1 Kings 4 and look carefully, as we got near the end of the chapter we would read that Solomon taught the people and he wrote 3000 proverbs, 3000 proverbs of wisdom. The word for proverb in Hebrew is mashal. In Greek it is translated as parabolē, from which we get parables. So King Solomon taught 3000 parables. 

Lights should be going off in our heads because our Lord is noticed for his habit of teaching in parables, so much so that the disciples come to him and say, “why do you always teach in parabolē?  One of the reasons why our Lord teaches in parabolē is because he's come to fulfill these types and images in the Old Testament. He is the greater son of David. He is the better teacher than Solomon — “One greater than Solomon is here.” So our Lord teaches in better parabolēs.

What is a mashal in Hebrew, or a parabolē?  We tend to think that it is a story with maybe an allegorical meaning or something like that, but the concept is broader than that. It's teaching via literary devices.  Teaching via all kinds of wordplay, metaphors, similes, analogies, short stories, allegories; any kind of teaching through wordplay was a parabolē or a mashal.

So our Lord is coming now and he teaches in parabolē; he teaches in figures of speech and images much like Solomon, but the content of much of what he's teaching is a correction of Moses. Our Lord is the new son of David; he is the one greater than Solomon who has come to restore the kingdom.  Our Lord is also the one who has come to build the Temple. Solomon was the great Temple builder, and as we are going to see in the Sermon on the Mount, there are going to be Temple images, strikingly, throughout the Sermon on the Mount.  The Sermon on the Mount is telling us how to go up to the heavenly temple, in fact, in a sense, how to be part of the heavenly temple. So all of these images are in play…

John Bergsma
John Bergsma


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