1 Kings 3:3 (ESV)

3 Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places.

Verse 3 gives us the assurance that at the beginning of his reign, Solomon was sincere in his commitment to and love for the Lord. It also tells us that he demonstrated that love and commitment by patterning his life after his father David.

Nevertheless, a question arises that cannot be answered apart from speculation. Why does the writer of 1 Kings name the statutes that Solomon obeyed as the statutes of David, not the statutes of the Lord? If we had not been told that Solomon loved the Lord, we might be tempted to think that his commitment was second-hand (a commitment depending upon another’s personal relationship). Yet, Solomon did truly love the Lord.

One possibility is that Solomon did not have personal access to the Torah (the law). If that was the case, he would know God’s statutes only through the teaching of David. Such a situation would be in itself a violation of the Law, which requires that the king would be required to make (or have made for him) a copy of the Law. This the king would be required to continually study so that he might govern according to God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 17:18–20).

One reason to believe that Solomon did not possess a copy of the law is that in the verses before the ones referenced above, the law disallowed the king's gathering many horses or taking many wives. These are two things that Solomon did do. In the prohibition of many wives, Moses warns of the danger of the king’s heart being turned away from the Lord, and such was the case near the end of Solomon’s life (see Deuteronomy 17:16–17)

The verse also suggests an exception to the obedience of Solomon in the practice of worshipping at the high places. You may ask, if this was the people’s practice before the building of the Temple (as we are told in 1 Kings 1:2), why is Solomon’s practice seen as an exception to following in the statutes of David? Based upon the supposition in the comment on 1 Kings 3:2, we would suggest that David’s practice was to sacrifice only at the one high place where the tabernacle (also called the Lord’s tent) was located.

Apart from the observations just mentioned concerning the first verses of chapter three, these verses serve as an introduction to the succeeding verses. Why did Solomon travel where he did? What did he intend to do there? The answers to these two questions are exactly what we are given in the next verse.