c. 880

c. 880

There is a curious passage in the third book of Kings (or the first book). Solomon sets a throne for his mother at his right hand, and says that he will do whatever she asks. Then he refuses to do the only thing that she asks him (chapter 2:19-23). We sometimes quote the first part of this episode as a type of the Blessed Virgin enthroned at the right side of her Son. What then should we make of the second part, when the request is refused?

The very fact that these two parts hardly fit together is itself suggestive. When I say that they don’t fit, I’m not disputing the fact that these events happened on that particular day in Jerusalem c. 1000 BC. I mean that the solemn build up, the placing of the throne, Solomon’s saying to his mother ‘ask, for I must not turn away thy face’, makes the story fall rather flat when he simply refuses the request and then the narrative passes elsewhere.

But if the ending seems hardly worthy of the solemn build up, that itself suggests that the solemn build up has another purpose; it has a significance beyond its obvious significance. In other words, we are brought back, by a round about way, to the figurative sense.

 

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