Solomon serves as a type of Christ. Jesus Himself rebuked the Pharisees for denying that someone who exceeded Solomon in greatness was in their presence.
The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. Matthew 12: 42
Not only is Solomon a type of Christ, but the wisdom of Solomon is a type of the wisdom of Christ. Solomon’s wisdom was on full display when he was asked to judge a dispute between two women.
Then two women who were harlots came to the king and stood before him. The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house; and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house. It happened on the third day after I gave birth, that this woman also gave birth to a child, and we were together. There was no stranger with us in the house, only the two of us in the house. This woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on it. So she arose in the middle of the night and took my son from beside me while your maidservant slept, and laid him in her bosom, and laid her dead son in my bosom. When I rose in the morning to nurse my son, behold, he was dead; but when I looked at him carefully in the morning, behold, he was not my son, whom I had borne.” Then the other woman said, “No! For the living one is my son, and the dead one is your son.” But the first woman said, “No! For the dead one is your son, and the living one is my son.” Thus they spoke before the king. Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son who is living, and your son is the dead one’; and the other says, ‘No! For your son is the dead one, and my son is the living one.’” The king said, “Get me a sword.” So they brought a sword before the king. The king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.” Then the woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply stirred over her son and said, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him!” Then the king said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him. She is his mother.” When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice. 1 Kings 3: 16 – 28
This episode is especially significant because it occurs directly after the account of Solomon praying to God and asking for wisdom and a heart that was capable of ruling God’s people. Solomon had just taken the throne as a Davidic king and wanted to rule God’s people well. Solomon’s wise ruling regarding the child is evidence to the reader of Scripture that God answered Solomon’s prayer.
In this important passage, which demonstrates God’s kindness not only to Solomon but to David (because God promised David an eternal house), there appears a third day reference. The lying woman gave birth to her son on the third day after the other woman gave birth. The events after that led to their appearing before Solomon, giving him an opportunity to make a wise judgment. And so the Old Testament “third day pattern” is once again seen – an Old Testament figure is involved in a spectacular event, which at some point involves a three day period of time. The figure – Solomon. The event – his wise ruling as Davidic king. The three day period of time – the time that elapsed between the two births of the women.
Now how do these things typologically relate to Christ and his third day resurrection? It was mentioned before that the wisdom of Solomon is a type of the wisdom of Christ. What is the wisdom of Christ? It is the cross and the third day resurrection.
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1: 18 – 24
The wisdom of the cross is far superior to the wisdom of man. Solomon was extremely wise, and yet he fell into extreme sin. His vast intelligence was not enough to overcome his intrinsic nature, which was corrupt and fallen. Only the power of God is enough to overcome an intrinsically wicked human nature. And that power of God, that wisdom of God, is Christ. Upon that cross He paid the penalty for our sins. As part of the New Covenant He transforms our hearts and our nature and frees us from the bondage of sin. We are given fellowship with the Holy Spirit, who helps us contend with the sin that remains in our lives. We may not be as wise as Solomon was, but we are in every way better, not because of ourselves, but because of the wisdom of Christ upon the cross.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5: 17