Solomon is the epitome of the wise person in the Bible. When, as a young king, he asked the Lord for an understanding heart to judge the Israelites and to distinguish right from wrong, God was pleased to give him a wise and understanding heart greater than any human person’s. Solomon’s judgment is proven in the story of a child claimed by two mothers (1 Kgs 3:16-28) and the visit of the Queen of Sheba to test him on every subject in which she was interested (1 Kgs 10:1-3).
Jesus, however, claims that “there is something greater than Solomon here.” In person, Jesus is greater than Solomon because he is God’s Word that became flesh (Jn 1:14). Moreover, he performs miracles that Solomon never did.
The comparison has to do with the people’s unwillingness or slowness to believe in Jesus and his call for a change of heart. The queen of the south, a non-Israelite, came from afar to see the wisdom and splendor of Solomon and bless the LORD, the God of Israel, who has made Solomon king (1 Kgs 10:7-9). On the other hand, Jesus’ hearers are unable to believe. They even see Jesus as being in league with Beelzebul, driving out demons by the power of this prince of demons (Lk 11:15). The Ninevites responded to the preaching of the reluctant prophet Jonah and repented. And the queen of the south believed in the story of how the Lord gave Solomon wisdom and came to investigate. The foreigners were more open to God and his messengers than the “evil generation” in Jesus’ time.
GOSPEL • Lk 11:29-32
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
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