Luca Giordano: The dream of king Solomon (1694-1695)

(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)

This painting by the Italian master Luca Giordano ((1634-1705) concerns an episiode in the life of the famous King Solomon of Israel (970-931 B.C.). The story comes from the the books of kings in the Bible (1 Books of Kings 3:5-15). In it God appaers in a dream before Solomon and promises Solomon anything he wants. Solomon only asks for wisdom, nothing more, which Gods then gives to him:

5 At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”
6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.
8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.
9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.
11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice,
12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.
13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.
14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”
15 Then Solomon awoke—and he realized it had been a dream.


Painting from 1694-1695

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