Which one became King?

King Solomon is best known for his wisdom, wealth, and wives. He also had a great talent to solve riddles and purportedly gambled huge sums in a game of riddle solving with King Hiram of Tyre.  

I surmised in this novel excerpt a riddle he might have used to convey a reason to the Queen of Sheba about why one should rise up early. The novel is a contemporary application of a story form to promote understanding of proverbs and ancient wise sayings in relation to our modern times.


After Abishag finished singing, the music continued as we conversed at our tables. During the meal, Hiram, King of Tyre, my special guest at my table presented me a challenge.

“Solomon, I have a riddle for you. Allow me to tell this riddle and I will wager that you will not solve it before this night ends.”

I replied. “Hiram, please by all means, tell your riddle.”

Hiram presented his riddle in a loud voice for all to hear.

“A king had two sons, only one could succeed him. When it came time to decide which would rule after him, he presented them with a challenge. He gave each of them a horse and instructed them to ride together to a certain city. Their challenge would be that the winner would be the son whose horse entered the city second, rather than the horse that entered first, without any fighting or harming each other. The sons rode together for six days until they came to the outskirts of the city and camped, neither wanting to ride their horse first into the city.”

“Solomon, which son won the Kingdom?” Hiram concluded.

We wagered ten small stones of gold. Other guests also started making side bets. It was an easy riddle to solve. Within a short time, I explained my answer.

“Hiram, when night fell, I surmise that both sons ate and drank a hearty meal and went to sleep. One son awoke early while his brother still slept, then he mounted his brother’s horse and rode to the gate of the city leading his own horse by the reins behind him. Therefore, the answer to your riddle is he entered the city riding his brother’s horse first so that his horse would arrive second in order, and won the kingdom.” Do not be too fond of sleep, lest you lose your inheritance, wake up (early), and eat your fill of bread. (Proverb 20:13)


As A Lily Among Thorns – A Story of King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, and the Goddess of Wisdom by Rudy U Martinka

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