The Lord gave Solomon a "wise and an understanding heart." (1 Kings 3:12.)
As a result of this blessing from the Lord, Solomon "spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom." (1 Kings 4:32-34.)But wisdom was not enough. It did not make Solomon immune to apostasy.
In the April 1966 general conference, Presiding Bishop John H. Vandenberg said: "Most of us know of some people who showed promise of great attainment but who lived their lives so they never quite measured up to that promise. Such a person was Solomon, who was blessed with numerous privileges, opportunities, and great wisdom. Yet he strayed into a path of foolishness. Solomon asked God for wisdom and was blessed so that there was not a king like him in all his days. His philosophy indicates he had an understanding of life and the experiences that were connected with it. He knew of life's purpose and its eternal nature. In fact, few men have had the experience he had. Even the Lord appeared to him and set him a goal: the strait and narrow way that leadeth to life." (See Matt. 7:14.)
The Lord said to Solomon:
"And the Lord said unto him, I have heard thy prayer. . . .
"I have hallowed this house [the great temple], which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
"And if thou wilt walk before me in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do . . . all that I have commanded thee, and . . . keep my statutes and . . . judgments:
"Then I will establish the throne of kingdom upon Israel for ever. . . . There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel." (1 Kings 9:3-5.)
Bishop Vandenberg said, "The alternative was the wide gate and the broad way of destruction."
The Lord warned Solomon: "But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and statutes, . . . but go and serve other gods and worship them:
"Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them: and this house . . . will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people." (1 Kings 9:6-7.)
Bishop Vandenberg said: "Solomon had his choice of roads, and he turned from God. He bartered his long-range goal for Israel for worship of other gods and day-by-day gratifications. He failed himself and failed Israel."